Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How Not to Win an Election... 

Here's an object lesson for candidates running for minor offices...

We had one of those very local elections in LA today; maybe it was statewide, maybe not; I don't know. But the candidates on the ballot were for City Council, School Board and College Trustees, plus two city ballot measures.

Turnout was something like three percent of registered voters. Yeah, that kind of election -- one that's actually far more important to the people involved than anything national, but which gets no publicity.

Now, I have to admit that I really don't follow LAUSD politics all that closely because I have no children in the system, and I really couldn't care less. But... when I went to the polls today, I specifically voted AGAINST one candidate in the running. His name was Jon Lauritzen, and he lost.

Why did he lose, and why did I vote against him, do you ask?

Well, over the last two weeks, I've received at least one piece of campaign literature from him a day, sometimes two. The first couple of days, I took a look, had a read, thought, "Yeah, he might be okay."

But then the onslaught continued, with negative ads about his opponents. And, at the point I'd received half a dozen adverts, I was leaning decidedly against him.

By election day, if he'd been on the ballot against Hitler, he wouldn't have gotten my vote.

Why not? Well, as the glossy campaign fliers started stacking up in my trash, I had to ask myself one thing: "Why is this guy spending so much on direct-mail campaigning for a dinky school board position?" More importantly, why is he spending out of all proportion to the future income he would receive from this job?

And that's what decided it for me. If he's got that much money to burn to try to bribe the voters with his flashy literature, he doesn't deserve the job.

And that's the lesson for candidates: try too hard, we will question your motives. At last count, Lauritzen was losing to one of his two opponents, a woman who sent me exactly one piece of literature, a faux personal letter, three days before the election.

Of course, after researching the candidates, I voted for the third candidate, who sent me nothing -- but who had been thoroughly trashed in Lauritzen's snide literature.

In other news, Wendy Greuel waltzed to re-election un-opposed. I voted for a write-in candidate instead of her, and said vote has yet to show up in the official results -- but that's grist for another post.

Just keep in mind that Greuel rhymes with "tool" -- as in tool of the fat-cat developers who are trying to turn every square foot of livable housing in the Valley into over-priced condos. Luckily, the sucky mortgage and housing markets have thwarted their efforts. But the sooner Greuel is ridden, tarred and feathered, on a rail back to the Westside, where she belongs, the better.

Unfortunately, it wasn't this time.

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