The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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"The Just Right Democratic Mayor"

By Paul DeSantis

Recently, you read letters to the editor claiming that the Measure HH (VERITAS) Mayor will be a "boss mayor." This is absurd. Rather than a detailed legal analysis to prove there is no basis to that argument, we thought that at this point in the campaign, dear voter, you might enjoy our reply in the form of a light story. The title of our story is "The Just Right Democratic Mayor"

Once upon a time, the present time, Santa Monica had a Mayor. He was toooo weak. All he did was cut ribbons, preside over Council meetings, and talk a lot. Everyone was polite, of course, but no one really listened to him. He had no power. He wasn't even democratic because the People did not elect him. Only the seven people on the Council choose the Mayor.

The People were not happy. The City had lots of problems. The powerless ribbon-cutting Mayor was a nice man but he just couldn't help. He could not provide the leadership they needed. The People were sad. They felt as if they were on a big ship without a rudder lost in the ocean. They said we can never solve our big problems with a "weak, undemocratic Mayor."

So the People started looking for a better system. First, they went to see their neighbor, the big city of Los Angeles. They had a Mayor who was democratic, but he was too powerful for a moderate -sized city like Santa Monica. He was toooo strong. Not only could this powerful Los Angeles Mayor affect policy, and veto legislation, he also was the Chief Executive. He hired and fired people at City Hall to make it work the way he wanted it to be.

Nevertheless, the People of Los Angeles liked their powerful Mayor because they elected him all by themselves. They needed a powerful Mayor for their big city. He was called "the strong, democratic Mayor."

Then one day the people came upon nearby Redondo Beach, a moderate-sized city like Santa Monica. Everyone there was much happier with their government than in Santa Monica. And their government cost a lot less to run. It was one of the most efficient governments in California.

Redondo Beach had the secret formula for medium-sized cities -- a Mayor who was not too weak and not too strong. He didn't sit around cutting colorful ribbons. He was a Mayor with moderate powers. The People respected him because the People democratically elected him.

"Hooray!" they said, "Here is the 'Just Right Democratic' Mayor we have been searching for."

"Look, he is a Mayor with moderate powers who can guide his city by proposing policy and vetoing bad legislation, subject to a Council over-ride."

"He has power but he is not too strong," they said.

He was not like the strong Los Angeles Mayor who also was the Chief Executive who hired and fired City staff. In Redondo Beach, the chief executive power belongs with their City Manager. "This is the just right Democratic Mayor," everyone exclaimed, "We need this type of Mayor in Santa Monica."

The People came home and placed Measure HH (VERITAS) on the ballot to give Santa Monica a just right democratic Mayor who is not too weak and not too strong. A Mayor with moderate powers to improve government policymaking but without the strong chief executive powers to run City Hall.

"We will keep the nice lady who is our Santa Monica City Manager as the Chief Executive," they said. "That is her job." Above all, the new Just Right Mayor will be a truly democratic Mayor because he or she will be elected by the People. We say "he or she" because a Mayor can be a man or a woman.

The People of Santa Monica were so happy. They passed Measure HH(VERITAS), democratically elected a wonderful person to be the first "just right democratic Mayor," and everyone in Santa Monica lived much more happily ever after.

The End.

DeSantis is a co-sponsor of Measure HH and heads the Yes on VERITAS Committee


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