There's something about community meetings and voting for local boards that makes people shudder or go underground - unless they fear they or their neighborhoods are in danger.
Whatever the reason, they don't get involved. Maybe they KNOW they'll be bored to tears or don't think their voice will be heard, or maybe it's just not convenient.
They'll complain 'til they're blue in the face because they didn't like the decision that was made, but for the most part, they just don't show up. And when they do decide to enter the fray, it's usually because they're "mad as hell and not going to take it any more."
Take your La Jolla community group elections, from Bird Rock to La Jolla Shores.
- When the Shores Association held its election to fill eight open seats, there were seven candidates who filed and one who was a write-in. The association has about 700 names on its list of member, which includes every resident and business owner in the Shores boundaries. Paper ballots were mailed to everyone, and a whopping 41 completed ballots were returned.
- La Jolla Town Council just elected new members - nine ran for 14 open seats.
(The council may soon consider reducing the size of its board because it can't fill the others and its size seems unmanageable.) Of the 450 members, about 150 showed up to vote. (Not bad, but could be better!)
- La Jolla Community Planning Group, the only one that spans the entire community, requires that you attend one meeting a year, be a resident, property or business owner and be older than 18. It has 420 eligible voters, and 180 turned out to vote in person for nine candidates seeking six seats. (Pretty good.)
- Bird Rock Community Council, which has a mail-in ballot, has 335 eligible to vote; 120 returned ballots.
- Promote La Jolla has about 1,200 member businesses; 284 voted in the last election, despite the fact that there was a strong showing of candidates in that one.
La Jolla faces some real challenges in the months ahead - from figuring out how to help merchants through resolving longstanding debates about parking to keeping our beaches and streets clean as the city's budget gets squeezed.
We do have a lot of hard-working people spending a lot of time doing their part. But if you take the time to go to meetings, you'll see many of the same people showing up to hear what's happening or serving on more than one board. It's no wonder they sometimes get cranky!
Think what our community could be if more people got involved, from going to your community council's meeting to finding out what the Recreation Council wants to do at the Rec Center.
If you get your ideas in at the front end of a project or put your money where your mouth is and volunteer to help, we'll be a much stronger community.