That said, I found his last minute endorsement by e-mail approach to be an interesting choice. And I think it might be a rewarding journalistic exercise this morning if we were to explore the possible reasons for his choosing what is a rather limited venue for letting one's preferences be known. Because, and let's face it, as the senior political leader for those advocating his particular philosophy of local governance, many would be looking to Mr. Buchanan for leadership and guidance in this election. It is legitimate to ask why he would choose to share his preferences with what is only a comparatively small audience. And even if this notice does get put into an envelope and mailed out, the lateness of his endorsements raises questions as well.
Our current Mayor, MaryAnn MacGillivray, made her recommendations available to the residents of Sierra Madre in a letter that was sent out to all the voters of this town weeks ago. Which means this physical mailing was sent out to over 4,000 homes. It was important that those who vote early by absentee ballot be briefed on the important issues facing Sierra Madre, and her timely mailing assured that this would be the case. And along with her candidate endorsements she also included the following statement:
This is a critical election year for our city as we work to maintain the quality of life we are accustomed to in the face of regional and state pressures to do otherwise. In the last eighteen months, the majority of the City Council has reset the course of policy making to maintain local control of our city finances and property rights.
Mayor MacGillvray then went on to list the many categories where she saw this claim being put into action. Balanced budgets along with a surplus, up-to-date audits, a fully funded Library, Senior Center and Sierra Madre Community Room renovations, the Canyon Zone and General Plan Committees (volunteer run and saving the City hundreds of thousands of dollars), public safety and the proper funding for our emergency response services such as the Police and Fire Departments, infrastructure, our tenuous water supplies, the eminent domain ballot initiative, and unfunded state development mandates such as AB 32 and SB 375 were all discussed.
Yet compare the scope of MaryAnn's range of issues with the limited picture offered in John Buchanan's endorsement of Joe Mosca:
Joe Mosca has done the hard work of councilmember (sic) who takes seriously the honor voters gave him. He has been at the forefront of public safety improvements, cast the deciding vote so that our strengthened hillside ordinance would apply to the Stonehouse property, helped build the alliances that will provide support and resources for continuing necessary improvements to our water system, and continues to put street improvement at the top of our public agenda. Joe does not just talk about fiscal responsibility, improved public safety, and conservation of resources both historic and natural, he has made the wise policy choices and cast the critical votes that make them happen.
Now as far as I can tell, all 5 City Councilmembers cast critical votes, and any they submit could be considered a decider as each one represents 20% of the total. And by equating fiscal responsibility with road repairs hasn't John brought up something that Joe has received quite a bit of criticism for recently? Mosca suggested at a recent City Council meeting that he would like to have a Bond Measure passed to pay for repairs to our streets. Interest on a $5,000,000 bond at the current rate of approximately 4.5% for a 20 year term is over $2.6 million dollars. That to me does not seem like fiscal responsibility at all, but rather the same kind of live for today mentality that typifies so much of what we see coming out of Sacramento. A pay-as-we-go approach being by far the more fiscally prudent course.
I also can't help but wonder if John Buchanan lists among Joe's "wise policy decisions" the newly elected Councilman's reneging on his 2006 campaign promise to the voters that he would support a vote on the development scheme known as the "Downtown Specific Plan." Something that led to the costly Measure V battle plus an attempt to recall him.
There is also the rather faint praise John Buchanan has for Josh Moran:
Josh has spent most of his life in Sierra Madre and knows as much as anyone that this town thrives when its residents give back.
Again we see something being brought up that has been a problem for the candidate being endorsed. Josh Moran was not registered to vote in Sierra Madre until just days before he submitted his nomination papers to City Hall. Until then he was listed on the voter rolls as being a resident of Monrovia. Despite his having been raised here, the "carpetbagger" and "opportunist" charges have dogged Josh throughout this race.
I can't help but feel that John Buchanan is just going through the motions here. A proud man keenly aware of the image he hopes to project in town, can it be that this last minute and poorly distributed statement was meant to make it seem like he really isn't all that invested in the results of this election? Is he cutting his losses in hopes of protecting his political brand?
My opinion is that John believes that the Joe Mosca ticket is not going to do as well as originally hoped, and he is now distancing himself from what he fears could be reputation harming results.