Poway and the recall election

Poway Roger Poway Roger 7 Comments

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First of all, let me lay my biases on the table. I’m an idealist.  That can be good or bad. I hold politicians to a higher standard. I expect more from them.  I’m also supporting Chuck Cross for Poway City Council which I will describe why later. I’m also Poway Councilmember Merrilee Boyack’s appointee to the City’s Park and Recreation Citizen Advisory Committee. We (My wife, our kids and collies) have lived in Poway since 1991 and have been very active in our community (Sounds like the usual statement of a person running for office, doesn’t it??).  And, thanks to Barry Jantz, I was the Republican nominee for the 79th State Assembly seat way back in 1990 (Isn’t it amazing how many people Barry has pushed into politics??).

Regarding the recall, I don’t know if Betty Rexford is guilty of what she has been accused. The reason I am supporting this recall is that she had “promised” to have a press conference and kept on postponing it, and never had one and then stated that with her website telling “her” side, there was no need for one. Once again, I hold politicians to a higher standard. She was elected, and promised the press conference and didn’t have one. Yes, the press can be tough, but if you’re an elected politician, well, you better be able to deal with that or you shouldn’t be a politician.

Now on to the recall election.

To run or not to run, that is the question. I would hope (The idealist in me) that most people that run for public office, are running to better the community that they wish to represent and NOT just for their egos. A few years ago, I seriously considered running for Poway City Council. I asked Barry Jantz (My former housemate, former La Mesa City Councilmember, political strategist and all around nice guy) about running. He asked if I was happy with the current Council. I was, but thought that a fresh viewpoint was needed. He replied that if I was happy with the Council that I shouldn’t run. Well, I didn’t. A few years later, I was having a conversation with the aforementioned Merrilee Boyack (All around GREAT community organizer) and she made the observation that come 2010, we could be looking at a entirely new Poway City Council and Mayor (This was because Bob Emery was retiring. Don and Mickey had stated that they would not be seeking reelection and Betty was questioning about running again). Well, it’s 2010 and Merrilee’s comment almost came true (I applaud her for her reasons why she is not running for Mayor and I hope that we do get some real choices for the Poway Mayor race).

Assuming that the recall is successful, we will be electing a new member of the Poway City Council.  We will have eight choices — Chuck Cross, Dave Grosch , David Radcliff, Howard Collins, John Mullin, Pete Babich, Roger Willoughby and Steve Vaus (Sabrina Butler was a frontrunner for this seat until she decided to put her family in front of politics, something I applaud and wish that all politicians would consider-if the importance of being an elected official is more important than their family. My church teaches “Families are forever” and it is something we should consider-if our temporal rewards are really worth it, but I have somewhat digressed from the purpose of this article.). I will make my observations from personal experiences and if I have none, what I have gathered from their websites.

Chuck Cross. (http://www.chuckcross.com/) My family and I have volunteered with him and his wife for 9 years with the Poway Midland Railroad. He and I have talked. While we disagree on some issues, I see him as a fresh voice for the Council. He is for our Parks, Open Spaces and among other items, for a “greener” Poway. He knows the need to “Buy Poway” to increase tax revenue for the City.

Dave Grosch (http://www.grosch4poway.com/) has been associated with the “NO” Wal-Mart Supercenter. I don’t know how that is going to impact us since we don’t have all the facts. If he so adamant against this expansion I wonder if he would change his vote if new facts prove the “No” agreement incorrect (Politicians must be willing to change if the facts dictate such). I do like his stance regarding saying “No” to the fringe benefits (Health and retirement) of the Council. I wish more of the candidates would support getting rid of this benefit package. Dave doesn’t seem to be “Status Quo”, which is good. We need change.

David Radcliff. I have no information. No website. If you’re running for office, get at least a website.

Howard Collins. (http://www.bepowayproud.com/) Active in the community, but I really don’t see any great ideas for the future from his website. Should we settle for “status quo”?

John Mullin. (http://www.putpowayfirst.com/) Long time resident of Poway, however, he’s connected with the “Old Guard” of Poway. We really need new and fresh views on the Council and I don’t see that when reading his “mission statement”. His campaign will probably bring in the most in contributions and if based upon some past elections in Poway, those with the money tend to get elected. On another note, he did donate late to the recall effort. So the question I must ask-Did he do that with plans to seek this seat, or was running for this seat an afterthought?

Pete Babich. (http://www.peteforpoway.com/) I had a conversation with him at a community meeting regarding the proposed new Community Park. I don’t know if he was serious, but he stated that he saw no reason to have a “dog park” at the new Community Park. That struck me strange because a person running for council should have known about the battle to get that dog park added to Community Park. While Pete does have experience, his statements on his website about the issues, seem to follow the “Old Guard” approach of the Council, which is “Status Quo”.

Roger Willoughby. Just like David Radcliff above. I have no information. No website. If you’re running for office, get at least a website.

And finally, Steve Vaus. (http://www.votevaus.com/) Steve was the “MAN” behind the recall effort. His energy level on this issue rivaled the energy levels of Merrilee Boyack (If you know Merrilee, you know what I’m talking about!). During the recall, Steve stated that he had “no interest in running”, however, he’s running. Apparently lots of good Powegians (They must be good since I consider many of them to be friends) asked him to run. My issue is with his involvement in the recall and now with him in the race makes things questionable. I told him that he should have waited until the November election and then there would have been no question about his motive to run. But he’s running so let’s look at how he is with the issues. Steve understands the need for a strong business base and has ideas to get the tax dollars here (Since Poway is pretty much “grown out” we can’t rely on increased property taxes. Having people “Buy Poway” is the key for bringing in the much needed tax dollars). Steve is pushing for a stronger “Code of Ethics” for the Council. Too bad we didn’t have a stronger one prior to this recall mess. Maybe we would have known all of the truths long ago.

In closing, as stated, I’m supporting Chuck Cross. I think he’s the person we need right now. However, if you don’t want to vote for Chuck, and you don’t have a problem with his involvement in the recall efforts, I would give Steve Vaus a serious look.

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Comments 7

  1. If Poway Roger was in my group during the Community Park workshop, then apparently he forgot or does not understand brainstorming rules. The main one being, there are no bad suggestions. We were tasked with putting 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag. Since people wanted more open space and picnic areas in the park, I suggested we “get rid of the dog park and ball fields and move them somewhere else.” It was arguably a bad choice of words on my part; I have no intention of “eliminating the dog park.” Apparently, Poway Roger only heard what he wanted to hear. By the way, I participated in the whole workshop. John Mullin was the only other candidate in attendance and he left about half way through.

  2. I don’t recall the bit about moving the ball fields, but Pete does make a good point. As far as I remember, he was the only Candidate there for the whole time (I don’t recall John being there, but Pete states he was, then he was. I don’t recall any of the other Candidates being there either. Running for this spot, you would have thought that it would have sparked the other Candidates interest, since if they are elected, they would be voting on this).

  3. BTW, we are all selective in what we hear, no matter what we might say or believe. Certain phrases and words do spark interest when spoken.

  4. From what I’ve observed, only a couple of the candidates have been attending the council meetings regularly for more than just the past few months since the recall started. Longer-term regular attendance indicates having interest in all the issues (not just one or two) and actually having the time to serve on the council. The decision to run for office should be one that has been addressed with a lot of thought, family discussion, observing the council in action, and weighing in of all the pros and cons. It’s not something one should just suddenly decide to do. There are a lot of minds changing (no I won’t run, yes I will run) lately in Poway.

  5. Mary makes a very good observation. I will add that Chuck Cross has been attending these Council meetings long before he decided to run for Council. How many of those currently seeking that can say so? Also what about when the Council decided to fill Don Higginson’s Council seat. As I recall, none of those finalists had been active attendees prior to deciding to fill this vacant seat. Money might be able to decide elections, but I vote for the candidate, not for the one who has the most ads or signs.

  6. Mary keeps forgetting that the Poway Council meetings are televised. So physical attendance is not an indication of activity or awareness of council or city issues. 98% of the population does not attend meetings. It sometimes takes a event such as the Rexford abuses to galvanize a community. Steve led this charge.

    As far as any validity to your arguments Poway Roger – by your own admission you don’t even know or understand the basis of the Recall. Until you understand that Betty violated the rights of her neighbors; that this is a civil issue (no finding of guilt or innocence – but a preponderance of evidence) then you can’t really weigh in with any credibility on this issue.

    Mullin showed up late to the Recall movement and at his first meeting announced his intention to run once he realized the petition drive was going to be successful. That’s just opportunistic. He is absolutely old guard. Sharon Cafagna’s letter to the editor stated it clearly when she said Mickey had asked Mullin to run and first Mullin declined because his kids were young and then declined when Mickey was mayor because Mullin didn’t feel there was a need. Is that because he already had solid insider connections? Her statement while meant to support Mullin raised more concerns than settle fears of more of the same old Poway politics.

    I think Steve makes an excellent addition to the City Council. He led the charge. He motivated 7,000 politically diverse individuals into getting the Recall on the ballot. Steve spent hundreds of hours canvassing neighborhoods talking to people. Door to door. Merrilee Boyack solidly supports Vaus as does Kevin McNamara and Sabrina Butler. Not one of the other candidates has spent that kind of time to find out what Poway voters want. Not on the scale and not with the honest intensity that Steve has.

    I would sooner trust Steve who realized at the end that for the change he is advocating to come about he had to put his money where his mouth is and step up and run than any other candidate. I still find it ironic that Cross who opposed the Recall is running in it. Or Babich for that matter. If you are opposed to the Recall then fight the recall – don’t run in the election.

    For that reason, I fully support Steve Vaus. Steve stands for the honesty and open accountability that is missing from politics today.

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