Dear Editor – A Response to ‘Silent Majority’

Dear Editor, 

Since Mr. Schwartz’s article mentions me, even if my name is misspelled, I feel I should respond. In my outgoing speech from the Council, when I was addressing Alex Fisch and Daniel Lee, I invoked the adage that “more people didn’t vote for you than did.” I would have said the same to any newly elected or re-elected City Council member.
Given that only about 20% of registered voters in Culver City vote for a winning candidate, including myself, that means that four-fifths of registered voters either did not vote for that candidate or did not vote at all. If one considers the number of residents who are not registered, the percentage drops further.

The point I was making, then and now, is that it is incumbent upon elected officials to represent all Culver City residents and not just those who voted for them. This means getting out into the community to learn what is on people’s minds and to try to incorporate their opinions into the development of policies that benefit the entire community, not just the few vocal individuals who show up at Council meetings. This was something I tried to do throughout my term in office and the reason I was referred to as Mr. Everywhere.

Mr. Schwartz seems to imply that the Silent Majority – the majority who are registered to vote but do not submit ballots – are conservatives. However, Mr. Schwartz’s thorough research shows that Culver City is an overwhelmingly Democratic (and progressive) city. That means that the majority of registered voters who didn’t vote for me or other candidates – the Silent Majority – are probably progressive. The issue is not conservative vs. liberal but being open to all our residents, including those who did not express themselves at the ballot box.

Mr. Schwartz also contends that conservatives in Culver City opposed consolidating our elections in November. That might be so. But I opposed consolidation, and I am no conservative, having spent more than 25 years as a member of Americans for Democratic Action as its SoCal chapter executive director and chair of the National Executive Committee. I opposed consolidation for some of the practical reasons Mr. Schwartz mentioned. But I also proposed an alternative that was rejected by my Council colleagues – to mail everyone in the city an absentee ballot and let all vote by mail. Seems to me that is what the Democrats are trying to do across the country before the November election.

Lastly, here’s something I said in my outgoing speech that remains true today. If you and I agree all the time, then one of us is redundant. If all five members of the Council agree all the time, then four of them are redundant. It is great that we are starting to have more diversity on the Council after 103 years. But it is equally important that there be a diversity of ideas and opinion among the Council members and not a follow-the-pack mentality. We still need to work on that.

Jim B. Clarke
Culver City Council 2012-2018

The Actors' Gang

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