Saturday, September 26, 2020



Early in the life of this blog, on May 9, 2006, I posted this entry.  Today I re-post it for your consideration.  My thoughts back then seem very relevant today. 


Since the campaign season looms on the horizon, it's time for us to begin considering what the next few months hold for us as a covey of candidates start jockeying for position in the race for our votes in November. Of course, opinions differ on just what constitutes a good candidate for city government. Each of us, based on our background, bias and expectations, may have a different take on that subject.

I suspect most of us in Costa Mesa would just like to have people on the city council we can trust, who are willing to work hard on important issues and calmly debate them with their peers to do the best job possible for all residents of the community. We will likely gravitate toward candidates who share our values and goals for the future of our city.

As I consider candidates who will vie for my vote I use a kind of mental template against which I compare their qualifications. My template presently includes the following characteristics, not necessarily in order of importance:

INTELLIGENCE - I want a candidate with the intellectual capacity to understand the complex issues that will come before the council. That doesn't mean any candidate must be an "expert" in municipal government - we have an excellent city staff to help them navigate through the process. It does mean that any candidate I will consider must have demonstrated, either through academic achievement or professional accomplishment or both, that he or she has sufficient gray matter to do the job.

LEADERSHIP - I want a candidate with proven leadership experience. This doesn't necessarily mean military leadership, although that would be acceptable. Heck, in recent months a little combat command experience might have come in handy. I want a person to whom others look for guidance and direction. I want a person who has demonstrated the skills necessary to guide the discussion of complex and controversial issues and arbitrate resolutions.

ENERGY - I want a candidate with the energy and stamina to do the job. That doesn't necessarily mean youth. I wouldn't consider a young person based simply on age - just as I wouldn't discount an older person for the same reason. I want a person who has shown, through recent accomplishments, that there's sufficient fuel in the tank and horsepower under the hood to take on the tasks ahead.

VOLUNTEER SPIRIT- I want a candidate who feels our city is important and has demonstrated, through significant community involvement, a willingness to make it even better by volunteering time and energy to worthy causes.

VISION - I want a candidate who shares my vision for the future of this city. We don't have to agree on everything, but I want a person on the council who shares my core beliefs and has the skill to prioritize the challenges ahead so they can be met with success. I want a candidate who understands that Costa Mesa is not an island - it's part of a broader regional entity, the needs of which must be considered as critical issues are debated. I want a candidate who has a vision to lead this city into the future, not permit it to regress by espousing half-century old philosophies on social issues and pandering to the darkest side of a few people in this town.

COMPASSION - I want a candidate who wants to make our city a place for anyone willing to work hard and contribute to our society, regardless of ethnicity or religion. I want a candidate who will repudiate those who advocate exclusion of groups because of race or national origin.

EVEN-HANDEDNESS - I want a candidate who is willing to listen to all residents with courtesy and compassion and who will try to negotiate each issue to a fair, just conclusion for all residents, not just a vocal few.

MATURITY - I want a candidate who has the maturity to lead our city of well over 100,000 souls into the next decade. Typically, this maturity comes from time spent in the trenches, learning from experience. It's highly unlikely that I will feel comfortable entrusting the future of our city to the whims of the youth among us - those with the attention span of a gnat.

That's my list - at least part of it. I'm sure other elements will be added as we begin to see who the real candidates will be this year. I'll leave it to create your own, personal list and to do the homework necessary to make an informed choice in November.


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