Please Don’t Vote

By Marc Garman — Editor and Curmudgeon-in-Chief VIB


This is an open letter to the twelve thousand or so of you out there who blithely voted for candidates Richard Porter and John Lewis after they announced their withdrawal from the recent Vallejo School Board election.

Let’s face it. Most folks in Vallejo don’t give a crap about local politics. This despite our fair city having suffered the turmoil and stigma of bankruptcy, and the school district having gone flat bust for all the wrong reasons which include incompetence, cronyism, corruption, mismanagement or just outright idiocy. And yet, the majority of you still can’t be bothered to vote or entertain some interest in the facts surrounding candidates’ competence or even their status or eligibility. I still regularly encounter folks who don’t even know Osby Davis is The Mayor.

Now, school board candidates Porter and Lewis were still on the ballot despite having withdrawn. This is unfortunate. The way the system handles candidates who drop out late is clearly flawed and prone to generate confusion. There is no provision for a note or update at the polling place, although both candidates made very public announcements in The Times Herald. A thousand or two confused souls voting in error, or casting protest votes would be comprehensible. But to see Richard Porter, who dropped out and took a teaching position with the district instead come in second in a field of 8 candidates with 7534 votes and John Lewis last, but still pulling 4637 votes was a bit of a shock even to an avowed cynic and political curmudgeon such as myself.

The past school board election clearly proves not one, not two, but three things:

  1. Most people in Vallejo don’t give a crap about local politics and can’t be bothered to vote, but often do like to complain (Just shut up please.)
  2. Large numbers of people who actually attempt to give the appearance of giving a crap, whether through guilt or some misplaced sense of duty are in fact utterly clueless and go to the polls with no idea of who is running and merely color in those circles based on the description and their best guess.
  3. There are a lot of stupid people in Vallejo. Unfortunately, a lot of them also vote.

This whole mess is really a very illustrative example which confirms the suspicions of many as to the political make-up of this place. There are a number of voting blocs based around our varied ethnicities, ideologies and social groups. Now, there is a need to take a new group into account: Ballot Box Morons.

The impact the truly clueless voter can have on our politics (and budget) should not be underestimated. The Vallejo School Board is facing a potentially rather messy process of appointing a provisional replacement for Porter. Ordinance does not mandate that the next highest vote-getter in the election (Cayangyang in this case) be placed. However, should the board not appoint Cayangyang, a special election is probable. With an extremely low bar to call for a special election (835 signatures) it is more than likely that the blessed event will be crammed down everybody’s collective throat for the bargain price of $550,000 if the board goes for a different appointee. The current ordinance seems ill equipped to handle this situation and probably could do with some amending, but we’re stuck for now with a situation subject to posturing and efforts to influence the boards’ decision. Not very reassuring.

Well folks, we have an election for three city council members and a mayor in 2016. At least twelve thousand of you out there (probably more) have some time to buy a clue. Or not. VIB will continue to try to put information out there to help inform voters. I personally spent a lot of time providing video coverage of candidate forums (full and complete coverage without editorial comment) leading up to the school board election. Obviously a pretty pointless exercise in windmill tilting. Oh well. Never stopped me before.

And finally, may I suggest that when next election time rolls around if you have absolutely positively no idea on voting day that you JUST STAY HOME. I hear that the CW Network has some highly titillating dramas on TV that might hold your attention for a time…just long enough for the polls to close. PLEASE!



'Please Don’t Vote' have 13 comments

  1. December 19, 2014 @ 12:50 am Caring

    We suspect collusion with respect to bribing Richard porter. Here is the deal , by hiring porter the day after the candidate revision process was over, and by offering a tremendous bonus, the school board knew that he would quit his candidacy. They gambled on the fact that without porter, hazel would at least come in fourth which would slam dunk their ultimate appointment. Hazel wasn’t fourth, now they will do a dance to manipulate her back in.
    Get a grip folks. Hazèl Wilson is toxic. When the petition for a special election comes around in the next few weeks, sign it. Tell a friend and get on with democràcy. I say , also, let us sue the heck out of the entire previous board and the superintendent. It is calked election fraud. But that is for a different day.


  2. Firebug

    December 19, 2014 @ 7:08 am Firebug

    Clueless voters? Do you recall the “Jumpstart Slate”? All they have delivered is a Chipotle, Chiq Filet, and a Storage Facility.


    • December 19, 2014 @ 8:04 am Anonymous

      Meanwhile, there is that fiber optic thing available for exploitation, and nobody at City Hall or Council or Chambers of Commerce willing or able to do anything with for attracting real techie startups or businesses. Sad commentary on Vallejo politics and business acumen.


  3. December 19, 2014 @ 7:38 am MG

    But at least they were actually still in the race.


  4. December 19, 2014 @ 8:10 am Billy Goat

    Vallejo voters have been especially clueless with respect to the school board. Witness the teflon coating on Wilson & Verder-Aliga — both of whom were on the board when it went into receivership — and both of whom have continued to win elections. Hey, infamy provides name recognition. That, plus support from the right voting blocs seems to be all you need. Pathetic.


  5. December 19, 2014 @ 8:14 am Bong Hit

    Please folks, please. The children in these under-performing districts desperately need a paradigm change in the structure of public education. I’m sorry many of you don’t like to hear this but the democrats have destroyed Vallejo on almost every front. You can’t support the democrat machine and expect anything at all to change. You remember the definition of insanity.

    Education vouchers, funding that follows the child, would create a boom of entrepreneurial activity here in Vallejo. Can you imagine the potential for high quality education if we were to strip out large pieces of the overhead burden in school management and create opportunities for small start-up schools. I think Vallejo is getting more and more talented people and talented educators each and every day but they get in their cars in the morning and head off to work in other communities.

    We don’t need a federal department of education! What a waste of money and waste of time and paperwork trying to stay in compliance with those funding streams. Children deserve better than this but they are held hostage to a group of monsters that pledge allegiance to adult union workers and democrat power blocs.

    When you don’t vote, don’t vote more democrats into this failed machine.


  6. December 19, 2014 @ 6:08 pm Ben

    Gotta love those who see the world in right or wrong, black or white, democrat or republican. Simple thinking for simple folks. Just do as I say and everything will be wonderful. No offense, but BS!
    The edinator is right on in blaming people who don’t care do matter how hard some people try to accomplish good things. But, he and other like minded thinkers who can become discouraged, need to have the grit to stay with it. America was not made great by quitters. Belly aching is alive and well on the public electronic forums. But how many of these gold brickers ever really get involved and try to make a difference? Everybody here hates Sam, who indeed has his many deep seated problems. But, at least he ran for public office. His thinking may be off. But, he tried. How many of you are at the public meetings where things really get done? We are in the second decade of the 21st century. Make it your New Year’s resolution to start going to the public sessions and contributing ideas that are worth actually considering. Either others will agree with you, disagree, or you might even start to help.


    • December 20, 2014 @ 8:50 am Chris

      Ben raises an interesting point about public meetings. Yes, the way things are done in this town–and in many others–it is at public meetings that decisions are made, votes taken, and “things get done”. But public meetings scare the crap out of most people–most people are simply afraid, even terrified, of public speaking. THAT is the cause of the ‘silent majority’–they are literally too scared to speak, to express their views in public.

      Speaking at the podium before City Council is a scary prospect for MANY people. The act of speaking in public is often overwhelmingly scary and intimidating, and also people do not want to put themselves in the spotlight, to subject themselves to scrutiny and potential criticism for whatever it is they say. Many people want no part of anything that could lead to confrontation, and are unprepared to defend their views when subjected to the spotlight.

      A significant portion of the silent majority remains silent out of simple fear.


      • December 22, 2014 @ 10:25 am B. A. Groves

        It is quite understandable that many people have a fear of speaking in public. The best way to overcome any anxiety when speaking is to do your HOMEWORK. Always make comments on topics you fully understand and are willing to back up with evidence. If you are making comments and want the public to become aware of something, then invite the public to help you get your point across. Always be prepared to be scrutinized, but don’t let this stop you from sharing information that will help others in the long run. Again, do your HOMEWORK prior to speaking in public.


  7. December 20, 2014 @ 8:34 am Bong Hit

    I like your spunk Ben and you give good advice when you encourage people to take a stand. “America was not made great by quitters” says Ben and I say spot on. Get mad as hell and take back your neighborhoods from the low life animals that stalk your homes day after day. We’re under attack right now in a silent war with thieves of all descriptions. You’ll need spunk and grit to fight back the enemy in our midst.

    Ben, here’s what some of us have discovered over the years and decades of volunteer service. We have spent many thousands of our own dollars, many hundreds and thousands of hours and toil on the various boards and commissions. There are some really good people here in Vallejo who work hard for little or no money but more times than not the net result is status quo. Many of the problems that plague Vallejo can’t be corrected here at the local level. There is simply not enough local political leverage and will, time or local money to correct the bad policy that gets pushed down our collective throats by the democrats in Sacramento and Washington.

    Bens says you shouldn’t look at the world in a binary fashion but the one lever that we do have is a binary choice on election day. People, you won’t get any change here in Vallejo by keeping democrats in political control of this region. It’s not going to happen. This system that we live with now is the system the democrats have designed and implemented; it works well for them. They spend vast amounts of money on government jobs with unionized work forces, take a cut of the revenue stream through union dues, funnel that money back into the political pockets of the democrat machine and the cycle becomes self sustaining. Rinse and repeat.

    Please folks, when you don’t vote don’t vote for more of the same, don’t vote more democrats into this failed system.


  8. December 23, 2014 @ 10:23 am BE

    @ Chris: “Courage isn’t lack of fear. It’s standing your ground in spite of it.” Hugh Walpole


  9. December 24, 2014 @ 12:08 pm Salty Dog

    As an advocate of Public Education and the structure of locally elected governance, I am appalled by the action of this Board to appoint a final trustee. I understand the need for by-laws to provide guidance when there is a sudden vacancy due to a variety of reasons. But, coming on the heels of a regularly scheduled tight election, this Board has demonstrated a breathtaking ignorance for a traditional process of elections without which PE is no longer public.

    Now we have three of the contenders lining up to be “interviewed” for an “appointment” made by sitting trustees who were elected. Bizarre? And dangerous too. Two of the three were already interviewed by the electorate and were rejected. But, one will be selected by a wiser and less biased panel. How sad is such hubris.


    • December 29, 2014 @ 12:07 pm Pinoy Boy

      The Board will not only be selecting the appointed trustee, they will also be deciding whether or not to spend $500,000 + of the district’s money on a special election. If they appoint anyone other than the 4th place finisher, a petition campaign will start that will call for a special election. It only needs less than 850 valid signatures to be inacted.

      Are the trustees willing to waste that kind of money just to deny Ruscal Cayangyang the position that he fairly won?


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