Just A Thought – Election Reflection

If it feels like afterglow or hangover, there’s always one person responsible for how you feel when you wake up in the morning, and that’s you.

While the election process in Culver City was a two hour nail-biter for the Cooper and Sahli-Wells camps, an easy skate for Malsin and a sinking feeling for Zirgulis, the contest is over. It’s the commentary afterwords that shows who we really, just as clearly as looking in the mirror at that big smile, or those bloodshot eyes.

Personally, I never felt the revolution was at stake. I can’t say enough about how important it is to vote, but in this election, as it so many others, it seemed to be a choice between different flavors of vanilla, or different shades of blue. Everyone wants to have sustainable development, everyone wants the community to be heard, everyone is committed to public transportation. But as soon as I bring that metaphor out, I think of the women I know, professional bakers and costume designers, who could argue persuasively that the difference between one kind of vanilla and another is essential to the success of a recipe; that there is a whole spectrum of blue from powder to turquoise to teal, and deciding which one to use is crucial.

What I can see is that we have a democratic, liberal council that is focused on the good of the community, and to that end, I am satisfied.

While we had a “good” turnout for a local election, the numbers were still feeble. When you can look at a precinct turning in 17% of the registered vote, as did Blair Hills, and call that good, we are very easily pleased.  It’s sad that a community filled with such educated, talented and connected people can’t be bothered to get to the polls for the sake of their own city.

Scott Malsin won handily, as most had predicted that he would. The campaign was a good exercise for him to get out and talk to his constituents, shake hands and listen to their concerns. I expect him back on the dais with a renewed focus on why he’s there.

Zirgulis lost, as expected, but that more than 700 people voted for him truly surprised me. Still, that’s several hundred less than voted for him in the school board election, so perhaps the law of diminishing returns applies here. I’m grateful that we don’t have another local election coming up. He did say he wasn’t going to run for congress in my last interview with him, but I’m not sure he isn’t thinking about it. Still, the waste of that many votes must have had the Sahli-Wells and Cooper campaigns gnashing their respective teeth. That people who are interested and committed enough to vote would turn around and vote for someone who didn’t address any of the big issues facing the city is paradoxical. So you care, but not really? Did you pick all the petals off a daisy before deciding? What kind of political interest thinks we need to have the right blow off traffic signals, but we don’t have to be concerned about how to create economic development?

Which brings us to the close contest, still not settled, between Cooper and Sahli-Wells. While Cooper is up as the “winner” there are less than 50 votes separating the two, and with more than 100 votes by mail and provisional ballots still not counted, things could turn. They raced neck-and-neck all evening, with each different precinct report taking the balance to the other side. My feeling is that Cooper will prevail, based on the very scientific “lawn sign” analysis, and supported by the other extremely statistically accurate “letters to the editor” theory. But, a very close race. Kudos to both candidates, who worked hard and won as much of the field as they could.

I am disappointed that Sahli-Wells didn’t get more votes, but I’m resigned to the fact that the gender of government tends to be male. I think we need more women in office. I know that many people agree with me, and I know not enough of them voted yesterday.

School board member Karlo Silbiger, who inexplicably endorsed both Sahli-Wells and Cooper, was disappointed and frustrated that Sahli-Wells didn’t get in. Perhaps his understanding of the whole chess game is too colored by his easy win in his first race, but how he could not have foreseen that endorsing Cooper would make it harder for Shali-Wells to get in is puzzling. Perhaps a little political hangover can help to prevent the overindulgence on the next adventure.

Only the incumbent can really call this morning an afterglow, and I doubt that any of the voters feel any differently about Malsin than they did last week or last year. He inspired enough people to get out and vote, and so he succeeded.

It’s all about getting the people to the polls. As the popular proverb asserts, we tend to get the government we deserve.

Still, there’s that final cliffhanger…Stay tuned-

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. Hi Judith, thank you for the as usual, very well thought-out commentary. I agree with your end assessment that we need more women in government. As much as I like the “other half” (I’m married to a great guy!), I would like to see a woman on city council again.

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