The bloated local ballot in Malibu needs some attention, that is if we can possibly tune out the inanities emanating from the national elections, where the gut issues of the day are being drowned out in the nit picking of a trumped up Trump, and a harassed Hillary,
For the first time they are being held the first Tuesday in November, concurrently with the national and state ballots, in hopes a decent turnout, as I comment in The Local, on 97.5 KBU. FM and select websites.
Ever since the city of Malibu was founded 25 years ago the local elections had been held in the Spring, with the results there has been a depressing decrease in voters.
Generally the turnout over the years has registered about 25 percent lower that state and national elections.
The reasons have been many: The time of year, which occasionally conflicted with Spring break for schools and families going on vacation; and no gut-wrenching issues threatening residents, such as the closure of PCH, or a blatant municipal scandal.
In addition, a self satisfied, comfortable public seemed frankly content with the status quo, whether just an illusion, the lack of municipal transparency or an undiscerning local media. Whatever.
To be sure, there was a quiet complaint that the low turnout feed a favored a select clique of residents who dealt in personal favors. But this was put down as scattered whining .
That is, until recently, what with traffic on PCH becoming increasing intolerable; the civic center being stripped of local serving business for high end shops; the public schools being neglected by a distant school district, and a languid City Council, except when it came to self aggrandizing.
But even it could not ignore the low turnouts and the heightened concerns, and subsequently approved moving the elections from the Spring to the Fall, to coincide with State and National elections. No doubt a factor was that the move gave incumbents an extra 9 months in office.
The question now is whether it will actually improve the local vote. That will require voters to wade through the top of a long ticket, plus some 17 propositions, before having to ponder the local elections, and the six candidates vying for the 3 council seats.
For some indication of that task coming soon in the mail to every registered voter is a 224 page Voter Guide, said to be the most voluminous election guide in California history.
Voters are just going to have to be more alert than ever, listen harder, and think more about what the candidates, are saying and doing. That especially applies to our local candidates judging from the recently launched election campaigns.
All six presented themselves to a crowd of about 100 elbowed into the community room in City Hall at a recent forum sponsored by the local Democratic Club.
Most of the statements of the smiling candidates tended to be indistinguishable, all pledging their commitment to uphold the city’s mission statement to avoid suburbanization and commercialization, try to somehow to better handle traffic on the PCH, and to encourage a transparent and responsive City Hall.
The most excitement came after, when the club voted to see whom it will endorse. It was chaotic, raising questions concerning the eligibility of some who voted and whether the balloting was handled correctly, and should the vote be nullified. It is a mud pile that whomever emerges no doubt will be sullied.
One hopes the official balloting in November will go more smoothly.