I know it is Christmas time and all of us are involved with getting presents for our loved ones and getting ready for Christmas dinner, but we also have people trying to suppress or remove our rights to vote in some states while we are trying to motivate people to vote in San Bernardino.
As of this writing, the national office of the NAACP is fighting the fight in several states to oppose several state initiatives that would require a voter to have a driver’s license in order to vote. We know that many people do not drive especially senior citizens or those living in cities relying mainly on the use of public transportation. You also have states not wanting those with any criminal records to vote at all regardless of current status. The NAACP is trying to maintain the voting rights we have gained over the past fifty years, while in our area we have the right to vote but are not exercising it.
This brings me to the run-off election for San Bernardino City Clerk to be held in February. It will be a “vote by mail” election with the ballots going out on the 9th of January, a week before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday that is at the height of the national football playoffs, and after the New Year’s celebration. So I know the last thing on people’s minds will be voting-- especially for the position of city clerk.
During the last citywide election just over 12,000 voters took the time to vote for the city clerk position out of a voting population of over 70,000 registered voters in the city. We must do better if we want a more open, transparent, and honest government.
Given this scenario, you might ask the question, “why concern yourself about the city clerk position.” I will answer that question this way; for those who attend church meetings or any meeting for that matter and a motion is made then seconded, then a discussion starts and the original intent of the discussion takes off in another direction and later someone asks the secretary to read the original motion and then the maker of the motion says that is not what I said or meant and the person who seconded it says I did not second that. So you finally pass something and you come back to the next meeting and have the minutes read for approval and the minutes read like something from another group. You wonder if the secretary or keeper of the minutes attended the same meeting you attended, this is why electing the right person as the city clerk is so important. That position governs the records that might wind up in court as what happened in a public meeting.
The city clerk position is responsible for accurate recording of all legal transactions of our city government and ensuring that all elections are conducted in a proper and fair manner. In other words, the city clerk is the “integrity agent” of city government. This person must not compromise or be so closely aligned with others at city hall to give the impression they would change documentation if requested to do so.
According to the primary election documents, the candidates were so closely aligned to another candidate, City Attorney Jim Penman, that they even printed their names on the same yard signs. Her campaign literature was even paid for by Penman. Now I am not saying she would not be independent but the printed evidence gives the impression she would owe her entire election to him. Even without that political baggage she does not match her opponent when it comes to qualifications to hold the position.
Gigi Hanna is a trained public records expert and has the college education to handle the job. If we want to continue a legacy of competent city clerks in the position; efficiently run departments; keeping politics out of the office; being a friend to citizens; and improving public access to government records through technology and conducting a fair and accurate election then join with me in voting for Gigi Hanna for San Bernardino City Clerk.
When you get your ballot in the mail during that first week of January, fill it out and mail it back. This will be your response in letting the NAACP know you take voting seriously. This will be your response to people who think we do not vote. This will be your response to people who think you do not care or count. Remember this will be a “vote by mail” election. This will be a message to Martin Luther King, Jr. that his death was not in vain. This will be your way of saying I want an open and transparent city government that is independent of other elected officials at city hall with a person who cares about me.
Please join me and vote for Gigi Hanna.
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