By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
The election of 2016 will undoubtedly go down as one of the most bizarre and contentious in our nation’s history and be remembered more for its breakdown in civility than a thoughtful discussion on policy ideas. It is easy to see why at a time like this people may become discouraged and decide to sit out the election and not vote. That would be a mistake.
On page six of this issue, local author Kathleen A. McLaughlin sums up the cynical sentiment of many voters this election cycle when she asks, “Who can I trust?”
I think the answer is: yourself.
When you vote, you empower yourself to begin engaging in the political process. Whether your preferred candidate wins or loses, you learn about their platforms; you read about propositions and the arguments for and against them; and you become aware of the processes and institutions that can enact or block change — nationally as well as locally.
In La Mesa, there are several important races and issues on the Nov. 8 ballot that will affect life here.
There are two seats up for City Council and three candidates vying for them. For the first time ever, Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board members will be voted in by local areas, rather than the district as a whole. Water is a major issue while California still is in a draught and the Helix Water District has two seats up for election. Voters in the unincorporated parts of La Mesa will decide the makeup of the San Miguel Fire District board, which will decide whether the district returns to a stand-alone agency or continues working for CalFire.
Voters will also decide several local issues. Measure U in La Mesa will determine whether the city will allow medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits and how they will regulate them. Measure BB is a $128 million bond proposal for GUHSD. Measure A is SANDAG sales tax proposal to fix roads around the county but could also affect whether La Mesa will be able to add its own sale tax.
There are also many statewide races and ballot proposals dealing with everything from recreational marijuana, the death penalty and plastic bags.
All of these issues are important and when you make the decision to vote, you take the initiative to educate yourself and to care a bit more about the community you live in.
To learn more about the election, including about local races and ballot initiatives, visit these helpful resources:
- San Diego County Registrar of Voters, sdvote.com
- BallotPedia, ballotpedia.org
- League of Women Voters San Diego, lwvsandiego.org
—Jeff Clemetson can be reached at Jeff@sdcnn.com.