Voting is a Gift, Use It, Cherish It

The election is next Tuesday. The vote will decide several issues close to our hearts here in South Pasadena.

There is Measure N, the hotly contested initiative dealing with the city’s Utility Users Tax, money that goes directly into the general fund that is used for a variety of services from public safety to infrastructure to the library.

The issue has been discussed and debated and on Tuesday it will be decided. We will be watching the results with great interest.

There are three City Council candidates running for two seats, although it will be decided by districts for the first time in the city’s history. I think a city this small, about 25,000 people, having to parcel up the votes in districts is ridiculous. It should go back to the old standard of the top two vote-getters, if it’s for two seats, be elected.

Another example of someone using the courts for singular advantage and not for the benefit of the whole. Anyway, that’s my thinking on the matter. Hopefully, the district protocol will be reversed and we can stop all this silliness.

There are two incumbents and one newcomer vying for two seats on the council. One is running unopposed while the other two battle it out for District 4.

Then you have four people vying for three seats on the School Board. Two incumbents and two newcomers are running for those seats. In this race, it is the top three vote-getters since it’s decided by a citywide vote. Although the two non-incumbents are new to local politics, neither are new to So Pas schools.

I didn’t mention any of the names of those running because this missive isn’t about the people running it’s about the process that allows people to run.

Our Republic is based on participation. We vote for someone because we trust them to vote for us on matters that affect our lives. In other words, we vote for them to vote for us. That’s a huge deal.

Whether you voted absentee, drop-off by mail, or at your polling place this Tuesday, I salute you for saying “yes” to our collective freedom.

And it still saddens me to this day, after 68 years on this planet, when people don’t exercise this gift of voting. They are dismayed, disinterested or just too lazy.

They accept the gifts a free society grants them, especially in America, and complain because they don’t get more, but they will not vote. They will not vote. Shame on them.

It’s inexcusable not to vote in a free society. It’s also dangerous. There are those who will gladly fill the void created by non-participation with fascism or a dictatorship. Yes, they will.

It’s better to vote. Talk soon.

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.


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