On account of how the stakes is so low

The subject of the elections here lately means Bush vs. Kerry, the clash of titans that the whole world watches with bated breath, etc. Since my state isn’t in contest, I go off to vote but not with a feeling of dire importance for the future of the world.

However, our local elections are always fun! We have candidates with names like “Buttolph” and “Garlich”, and everyone is white except for a few ethnic warlords, and all the fights are about local money and educational policy. The amounts and effects are small but very important locally.

In my town we have a municipal vote on “Measure L”. This measure would allow the use of some public beachfront land by real estate developers who wish to put timeshare resort housing there. This has to be approved by the voters because of a history of conflict between slow-growth locals and aggressively commercial development. With beachfront property there is a built-in conflict between current residents who want to keep things pleasantly folksy and builders who want to do a 15 story hotel and make $50 million.

The problem for the pre-development crowd is that they have no reason other than “business is good” to make their case. So, while the slow-growth people have all these great slogans (”No giveaway of public beaches”, “Don’t give up the beach”), the pro Measure L people are stuck. So far they’ve had “Benefits Girl Scouts!” (the developer apparently is giving them money), “Take Pride in Newport!”, and “Let’s Move Forward!” that I’ve seen.

To cap it off we have internationally known nutcases as some of our local politicians, including the comically right-wing Dana Rohrabacher, who was the model for Tim Robbins’ character in Bob Roberts, and the comically left-wing Larry Agran, the socialist mayor of Irvine. Larry has really lost it lately, gibbers and squeaks and waving arms, and appears to have a corruption problem too. His career is at a Nader (sic).

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