However, and in the name of saving a few bucks, Councilmember John Harabedian has taken it upon himself to upend 100 or so years of Sierra Madre tradition and attempt to move municipal elections here to November. Thereby giving our very local leaders the unenviable task of trying to get heard over the national billion dollar political campaigns of the likes of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
A competition for the attention of the voters I am not certain the local guys will ever win. Making our city's politics little more than an obscure and irrelevant afterthought for most.
But who knows, maybe that is the point. The less informed people are the more likely they are to vote for the high tax and employee benefits agenda of Councilmember Haradedian.
Here is how this item reads in the staff report prepared for Tuesday evening's City Council meeting.
So why would Councilmember Harabedian want to take the trouble to move Sierra Madre's elections from their ages old traditional April date to November, thereby causing our important local governmental issues the unenviable task of having to compete with national elections and politics?
If Councilmember Harabedian loves this community so much, why does he want to take away the individuality inherent in Sierra Madre's hometown elections? Certainly that had to have played a role when this community's founders decided it was best to hold our local elections here in April.
Are we going from Lucky Baldwin to Unlucky Harabedian here?
There is also this. If they were move the election from April to November it extends the term of Harabedian and Capoccia a full half of a year. What did they do to deserve that? And would they have to recuse themselves from a vote that would grant them extra time in office, time they were not elected by the people to serve?
This November election tactic is exactly what Governor Jerry Brown is doing for tax increases and bond issues. Getting them in front of the casual voters who are more likely to cast ballots for them. This isn't exactly an original idea.
So can it be that City Hall's unprecedented third attempt at getting a big utility tax increase passed has something to do with this? The answer to that one is yes, of course it does. As always, it is about the money. Here is the most relevant passage from this week's City Council Agenda Report.
Like it or not, there are a considerable number of people who only vote in national elections. Here that number is apparently around 1,100 persons. These folks think little about local government, and therefore know nothing about the issues that concern those who do care about Sierra Madre government and politics.
These low information voters are more likely to vote for things like utility tax increases because they do not understand what the real issues are. Making them more susceptible to misleading and baseless appeals to the emotions like "they want to close the library," or "we won't have ambulances anymore and granny will die."
And that is what Harabedian is banking on. He believes, and not without justification, that it would be far easier to get things like tax increases and bond measures passed when more people are paying attention to national politics than local issues. And, perhaps more to the point, when people who know nothing about Sierra Madre governance and its often difficult to grasp politics are more likely be going to the polls and voting.
It is a kind of underhanded and cynical thing for the Councilmember to be doing.
But hardly surprising.