Thoughts from the Publisher

by Neena Strichart

I will now state the obvious: “The City of Signal Hill will be having an election Tuesday, March 6.” Between the sea of signs and banners all over town, the political mailers and door hangers arriving on our porches, as well as the coverage in this publication, one would have to be oblivious to his or her surroundings to claim ignorance of this important, upcoming, political happening.
Up for grabs this go-round are three city council seats. For those not in the know– four individuals are challenging the three incumbents this time. When the same incumbents ran four years ago, they faced only one challenger, Edward Villanueva. On election night, the incumbents won back their seats, and, although Villanueva was not victorious, he was able to walk away with his head held high knowing that he ran a clean campaign. Who knows, with as active as he has remained in this city, maybe he’ll run again one of these days.
As the publisher of a community newspaper, I don’t look forward to local elections because we usually receive a cartload of Letters to the Editor, and when that happens I am forced to set up firm ground rules. This election cycle has been rather quiet as far as letters go. Other than at election time, we do our best to run nearly every letter that is submitted to us by mail or email and even those that are hand-carried. With only one week before election, I think it’s safe to assume our letter-carrier has nothing to worry about.
For those who haven’t had the chance to meet the candidates at the last two forums, you have one more opportunity to do so. The Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum Monday evening at 6:30pm at the new Signal Hill Police Station, 2745 Walnut Ave. Signal Hill voters, please do your best to attend and participate in the event. Listen, learn, ask questions, introduce yourselves to others and meet the other interested parties at the forum. We all claim to have one thing in common– we care about this city!
If you do, then prove it– VOTE! The election four years ago had approximately a 16-percent turnout. That means that less than 875 voters out of more than 5,000 registered voters bothered to vote in person or by mail. I certainly hope we have a better turnout this time. If you are registered, please take the time to vote. Your vote counts in every election, but in a small town just one vote can be the difference between a win or a loss for a candidate. Ask Signal Hill City Councilmember Larry Forester how he feels. Back in 2007, Larry ran as an incumbent and won back his seat by the narrow margin of one vote.
Lastly, as I’ve said before in my election-themed columns, my 9th-grade government-class teacher Mr. Smith told us to watch out for candidates who do nothing but slam the other guys– he claimed it was an act of desperation because those who ran negative campaigns had nothing good to say about themselves. Let’s hope that the candidates take a page or two out of Villanueva’s campaign playbook for the next two weeks and play fair. Up until now, it appears that some have not– and that saddens me.

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