2006-09-01 / Editorials

In the name of democracy? How about in the name of common sense?

The Simi Valley City Council decided at its Aug. 21 meeting to go ahead and spend $40,000 on a November general election despite the fact that all three candidates-Mayor Paul Miller and Councilmembers Glen Becerra and Michelle Foster-will be running unopposed.

Was this a move inspired by true democratic ideals-or just an attempt to satisfy the egos of three politicians at a cost of $40,000 to the taxpayers?

Although Miller, Becerra and Foster have the legal right to appoint themselves back into office, they and the other city council members say they want to give voters a chance to experience democracy by taking part in an election in which they can decide for themselves whether to vote or not to vote, or to write in a candidate.

The right to vote is held in high esteem in this country, and few would appreciate the idea of our elected officials just passing over this long-held tradition. But when the outcome of the election is predetermined--there are no challengers--how are we really preserving democracy by giving people the opportunity to vote?

And at a cost of $40,000, is it really worth it to hold an election just so citizens can experience a voting booth, even though their ballots will carry no real power?

While it's just a miniscule amount compared to the city's 2006-07 general fund budget of $65 million, $40,000 isn't small potatoes.

If this council, which fancies itself to be fiscally conservative, had decided to forgo this unnecessary election, the money could have been used for other purposes that could have made a real difference in the city.

And if the money couldn't be put to good use by one of the city's departments (a very unlikely scenario) wouldn't donating the money to a good cause have been an even more meaningful option?

This is the first time in the history of Simi Valley that every city council candidate will be running unopposed. Since it's their first whack at it, maybe we can give the council a pass for this bad call.

But whether Simi voters choose to vote for Miller, Becerra or Foster, or Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck as the mayor put it, there's no doubt that the clear loser in this mock election is the taxpayer.

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