It’s election season and the media has made certain that voters’ attention has been focused on the presidential primaries. But there are hundreds of state and local races, critical to our future that garner very little media attention. On June 7, California Primary voters will take the first step in selecting those candidates who will be elected in November.
Candidates for Congress, the Legislature, county boards of supervisors, city councils, and school boards will become the officials who will have a great say over the caliber of service government provides and the quality of life for all. Some office seekers will be self-serving, interested in being somebody important. Others will genuinely want to accomplish something positive for their constituents. Some will want to provide good value for taxpayers’ dollars, while others will become beholden to special interests who benefit from higher taxes and more spending.
Deciding who is whom, is the challenge.
Most of us will never meet the presidential candidates, but the opportunities to meet and size up local candidates are fairly plentiful as they strive to be heard and to distinguish themselves from their opponents.
By now, it is clear that there is a lot of anger and frustration throughout our nation and our state over the performance of government. But keep in mind that, we, the voters, have the power to make changes.
Howard Jarvis, the father of the 1978 tax revolt, used to say that if we don’t like the direction of our government or elected officials, it is up to us to work together and use our votes to make changes.
The Primary Election is just four weeks away and it is time to think about our options and to take action to make sure our friends, our family and our colleagues are registered to vote and are informed of what is at stake.
In thousands of appearances all over the state during the Proposition 13 campaign Howard delivered the following message: The people of California are the government. The people we elect are not the bosses; we are. The elected officials are just temporary employees and this is your chance to tell them you’re fed up with their record of “Tax, tax, tax; spend, spend, spend; reelect, reelect, reelect.”
Howard would warn that most legislators seek to pass legislation and appropriate money for the simple purpose of getting themselves reelected. Further, he noted that government power comes from the ignorance of the governed whom the politicians and bureaucrats have set out to discourage from participating in the political process – the people in power would be just as happy if the people they rule didn’t even bother to vote.
And Howard Jarvis had a pithy comment that seems especially appropriate today: Only the knowledge that the people care will keep the politicians honest.
We can show the politicians we care by making sure all our contacts are registered to vote and they cast ballots. Registration information can be obtained from your county registrar of voters or you may register online at the California Secretary of State’s website. Remember vote by mail ballots will be in mail boxes in just a few days. Let’s get out and vote.
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.