by Hon. Merrilee Boyack
As we approach election time, you will note that I have been vocal in my support of Steve Vaus for Poway Mayor. You may ask why I care since I have moved away. Well, I gave my heart and soul to Poway for almost 25 years — and I deeply care about the people there. Also, I believe that this election is a critical step in moving Poway FORWARD.
I support STEVE VAUS for POWAY MAYOR for many reasons. My main ones:
1. Steve Vaus been a stellar councilman. He has put out more initiatives (Poway Secret Service, free business permits for vets, Poway Now, and more) than Donnie Higginson has in the last 20 years. He hasn’t missed a single meeting nor a single vote.
2. Steve Vaus cares about people. Those who know me know that this is CRITICAL to me and my primary criterion for an elected official. Steve doesn’t just talk about it in an election year, I could recount COUNTLESS instances where Vaus has stepped up to the plate to help the people.
3. Steve Vaus communicates with the people. Vaus has been putting out an amazing weekly newsletter to over 7,000 recipients since elected, both keeping people informed and offering them a chance to speak up on issues they care about. He’s given out his cell phone since day one (not just at the last minute to get elected). He has monthly open coffees for the residents. I could go on forever on this one.
I DO NOT support reelecting Higginson for many, MANY reasons but I shall only list a few:
1. I do NOT believe in supporting lifetime politicians. I ask you, how long do you think a person should hold a political office? Eight years, 18 years, 28 years? Donnie has been in office for almost THREE DECADES. He has promised many times not to run again but always does. ENOUGH. Democracy thrives on fresh ideas, new perspectives, new blood. It stagnates when the same people are elected over and over again. Donnie’s time is done.
2. Donnie’s heart is NOT with the people —
When the first wildfire hit Poway, I was serving at the evacuation center. It was by far THE WORST disaster ever to hit the city. Don never showed up until the press conference on day three. He trotted to the front with the rest of the council. Mayor Mickey Cafagna gave his speech. And they all trotted out. Don didn’t say ONE WORD to any of the people there — the man beside me said, “That was the mayor and the city council?” I said yeah. He said, “I expected more.” So did I. This man had lost everything he owned. Did Don stop and talk to a soul? No.
OK, maybe he had a bad day . . . No. As we moved on to help all the families who had lost everything, he never once asked if he could help. He never once asked if he could contribute. He never once asked if he would do anything for those devastated families.
OK maybe he had a bad year. Let’s fast forward to the next wildfire.
This time 90 families lost everything. Now it was an even bigger disaster that hit Poway.
Again, true to form, Don didn’t show up at all. Didn’t ask about the families. Didn’t contribute to our relief efforts. Nada. Zip.
I could cite multiple examples to illustrate this point but that should suffice. In the two biggest disasters of our city, Donnie did NOT reach out to the people. He probably helped his friends, but he didn’t help the residents who lost everything.
3. His commitment level –
Donnie has the WORST attendance record of any member of the Poway City Council in history–missing many key votes. Beyond that, I have been involved in Poway politics for about 20 years – and I cannot tell you one single thing that Donnie proposed all on his own to improve the city — not one initiative, program, building, service, nada. He will move forward things that staff is proposing or co-opt an idea of another councilmember. But I cannot think of one thing he actually proposed himself. He attends functions vigilantly — in campaign years. His time has come.
It is time to move past the good-old-boy network that has ruled Poway for years. It’s time for fresh leadership and new ideas. It’s time for Poway to move beyond the status-quo into a great future.
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Boyack is a former member of the Poway City Council. Now living in Utah, she is an attorney, author and speaker.