Commentary News

COMMENTARY: Just stay out of La Habra’s business

I think I need to say something about what’s going on in our town. I know the LH Journal has been lying low the last couple months. It hasn’t been due to lack of heart, but rather lack of time. There is a possibility that a version of the LH Journal will be back in print in the near future…but that’s another commentary.

This one is about politics. We live in a very polarized and politicized time. During elections, it can get even more polarizing and downright ugly. The era of “fake news” and pumping information that can cause confusion and even doubt is something that has fallen upon us.

I’m not talking any political party, but rather the culture as a whole. All sides are guilty of it and as a voter, it’s frustrating and sad to see this happen.

Case in point, our local elections and in particular the race for Orange County Supervisor. I’m super excited to see THREE candidates from La Habra stepping up and running for the office. That’s almost unprecedented. In the past the position has been handed off from Fullerton city council member, with an occasional Anaheim or Buena Park council member on there. But now, little ol’ La Habra has three great candidates running for the office. La Habra that doesn’t have an entertainment center, a university or even a freeway, might have a seat at the county table.

So what happens? Candidates from outside our city look to exploit a La Habra issue for their own political gain. Really? Yes, the issue of the Westridge Golf Course is divisive. Yes, there is time to still talk and discuss it. Yes, I am working on an article that includes all sides in it. But it is a La Habra issue and it is still being discussed. It hasn’t even gone to the LH Planning Commission for a public meeting yet. It has to do that before it can go to the City Council or any action. But that doesn’t stop the political opportunists.

I’m all for free speech. I am for public discussion about public issues. I think the Westridge issue needs continued civil discussion in order to be effective for any side. But a recall effort on just one of the council members, it just so happens that it’s during his campaign for a higher office.  To me, that really calls into question the true motives of the effort. It also could be considered a little grandstanding.

See, all five council members have the same vote. It doesn’t matter if you’re mayor, mayor pro tem or even newly elected…it’s all one individual vote and no “extra power.” In La Habra, like many cities, the mayor position is rotated annually among the council members. It has done so for decades. Cities like Anaheim have voted to change the system and they elect their mayor individually. To serve the sitting mayor with a recall effort doesn’t really do anything. If even two of the other four members vote with the person who is mayor, then the motion carries. So why serve just one council member.

If you remember in 2012, Fullerton residents went after and successfully recalled three (a majority) of the city council members. Of course, that was after the turmoil brought on with the beating death of Kelly Thomas. People were upset with the action (or lack of action) by the city council during the investigation of the death. So, why was just one La Habra council member served with recall papers?

It was stated that it was because he wasn’t listening to the people….in regards to Westridge. He actually voted in favor of extending the Environmental Impact Report period to allow for more public comments and testimony.

It is said that maybe people don’t want him.   However, two of the last three elections have been canceled in La Habra because there haven’t been any people running for office. Aside from saving the city money, that tends to show that the citizens support the incumbents. In the last election, where there were opponents, the incumbents won. So, I ask again, why was just one La Habra council member served with recall papers? I kind of find the whole effort questionable. I support a process, but I wonder about the true reasons for this effort.

Not too long after the recall papers were served, campaign mailers were sent out from candidates running or OC Supervisor that touted that LH residents want to “recall their mayor” and that he isn’t right for supervisor (*note, the mailers were not from either of the other two LH-based candidates who are running).

To me, that’s too opportunistic. I was born and raised in La Habra (well, technically born at Whittier Presbyterian), and I hate when people from other cities butt into La Habra business or say they speak for me! In my view, council members from other cities should deal with what they have going on in their cities. Candidates should focus on highlighting what they have done and what they can do for the position if elected. There’s enough politicized anger in our society today. It doesn’t need to be in our local races.

I made an effort to not name candidates in this commentary because I’m not endorsing any one of them. However, everyone should consider all the facts, not getting caught up in marketed hoopla, and vote for whomever they want.  As stated, I think it’s great that La Habra has three amazing candidates running for OC Supervisor. And despite all the politics, it’s nice to know that there is a potential for little ol’ La Habra to be heard.

VOTE ON TUESDAY!

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.