How many residents of Laguna Beach actually believe that they have been put first? Among other catchy campaign messages, “Residents First” is turning out to be the latest buzz phrase for those vying to serve as one of our city council members in 2018. This “specialness” tagline is meant to convince us that we actually matter. Or better yet, that we matter more than the six million visitors who supposedly make our economy soar. Really? Somehow, I’m not feeling that special.
Another message bafﬂing me is: “We’re a coastal town, not a resort town.” Has this candidate looked around in the last decade? Have Visit Laguna and Laguna’s locals been informed of this?
What about the 70s tag: “preserve open space.” I didn’t realize it was in jeopardy. Or the latest “local free parking” pitch or pawing at dog owners’ heartstrings with “dog beaches ﬁrst?” Sorry, putting dogs before residents, commerce and our ocean is just doggone ridiculous!
Or everyone’s favorite: “I love Laguna!” Call me crazy, but loving our town doesn’t qualify one to oversee our government, ﬁnances, local complexities and self-appointed uniqueness.
As the election gears up here’s my voter messages: Don’t believe campaign rhetoric. Hear beyond the buzz words and promises as they are mostly ﬂuff and marketing. Dig deeper.
Demand transparency ﬁrst. This job is important and there are serious consequences to accepting the unqualiﬁed. They become dangerous politicians. Take the time to ﬁnd out who they are before putting them in public ofﬁce. Check their personal and professional history. Seek proof of how well they understand ﬁnances and policy making and their level of stability, commitment and interpersonal skills. Review campaign 460 forms at lagunabeachchat.com to see who’s ﬁnancing their campaigns.
Practice due-diligence and trust, but verify. Don’t consider anyone who can’t be fully vetted. This goes for the oldies, newbies and name-changers. If you can’t verify their education, occupations, experience and performance claims, pass over them. Accepting jargon like, “local groups support me,” “I still have more to do,” “here before and it’s comeback time,” “I’m new, therefore I’m not tainted or haven’t under-performed” or “my personal and professional history isn’t important,” without question can result in getting stuck with ineffective representatives or more of the same. It’s all about transparency and trust. Vote responsibly. Support only transparent candidates.
MJ Abraham, Laguna Beach