Payton Perspective: Elections are about we the people hiring others to work for us

Let’s hire those who have proven themselves, are trustworthy and are running to do something, not just seeking a title; beware of catchy slogans and empty promises

Payton Perspective logoI view campaigns as the time the public gets to decide whether to hire a new office seeker, renew the contract for an incumbent running for reelection, or give a promotion to a candidate running for higher office.

The election is the interview and job performance review process. We the people, as their employers, have a right to know what all candidates believe, hear all candidates share their positions on the issues and defend their records. All candidates have that responsibility.

The question we should all ask ourselves before voting is, what have the candidates done before seeking office to deserve getting hired or what have they done in office to deserve to have their contract renewed or get a promotion? Talk is cheap. Action and results are what matter.

I can’t understand why someone who has done nothing for the community they wish to serve wants to start out doing so in elected office. I say, accomplish something, make some improvements, prove yourself, first.

Some candidates, unfortunately, have just put their name on the ballot and have done little or nothing to let us know who they are, what they stand for, what they’ve done or what they’ll do, if elected.

Others, including those in office, already, have arrogantly refused to appear at candidate forums or debates and be held accountable by those who they seek to represent, or answer the questions of their opponents, as if they’re entitled to be elected. That’s just wrong.

Remember, candidates, you already or want to work for us – we the people.

Then there are the candidates who have serious issues in their backgrounds. The question is who is responsible for vetting those candidates? It’s not the City or County Clerks’ nor the California Secretary of State’s jobs to do so. They merely verify if the person is at least 18 years old, is registered to vote and, under penalty of perjury, lives where they say they do on the forms they complete, including the voter registration forms.

It’s the media’s job to vet the candidates, look into their backgrounds, verify if what they’re telling us is accurate and true, and inform the public about who they are and what they’ve done, both good and bad in their lives and for the communities they wish to represent, so voters can make an informed decision.

We’ve done our best to do our part to provide that information over the past few months. On our website we have published and in our November we will publish some news stories that have information that makes both the candidates and us as writers, editors and publishers, as well as you voters, uncomfortable. It’s not enjoyable dealing with those kind of issues, but it must be done for a fully informed electorate.

In 1988, nationally syndicated columnist George Will wrote that there are two types of candidates: those who run to do something and those who run to be something.

We’ve had enough of those, elected already who just want to be something, who then don’t speak out on the issues or accomplish anything, or just go along with the majority, while in office. We don’t need any more. And we surely don’t need any more of those with merely catchy slogans who overpromise during election time and underdeliver after they’re elected.

Good luck to all the candidates. May the best ones win.

But, those who don’t, should stay involved. Don’t lose and just go away, like so many before have done. That just shows you really didn’t care about the community, you just wanted to get elected, to be something. Trust me, serving in office isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, many long hours and putting up with some rather unpleasant things, at times. So getting elected for a stroke to your ego is pretty foolish. You need to be running for office to accomplish things for and improve the community in which you want to serve. Seriously, who cares about a title or position if you don’t do something with it to benefit others? It’s just a waste. So, do something to benefit the community, whether you’re elected or not. Getting elected should be about wanting to help more people on a larger scale than you’re already doing. If you’re not already doing so, you shouldn’t have been running for office, yet. That’s my perspective.

For those who haven’t yet voted, please do so with the long-term, best interest of our community, in mind.

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