Some would make the February 7 run-off election for San Bernardino City Clerk a referendum on current or past elected officials and have made it clear that they want me to do so also. But politicizing the Clerk’s office sells it short and diminishes the importance of true neutrality in providing San Bernardino residents the best possible service. It also belies my 25-year record of maintaining a healthy distance from elected officials in order to maintain professional independence.
First as a journalist and then as a public information and communications officer for public agencies, my only allegiance has been in letting the public know what its elected leaders are doing. My career choices have required that I maintain professional distance, take accurate notes, develop a firm backbone, thick skin and ability to speak for myself—all vital skills for the City Clerk.
Running for office is new to me, but managing people, projects and public information is not. I am the clear choice for City Clerk because I have the appropriate education, extensive communications experience and an unmatched passion for open government. My motivation in running for City Clerk is to post agendas, not promote or oppose one, even if it behooves me. That’s what ethics is about, and it’s what I’m about.
I came to San Bernardino in 1994 when I accepted a job as a reporter. The affordable housing, proximity to the mountains, and the people I met kept me here long after I traded my reporter’s notebook for a public relations job. And now I’m eager to use my skills and experience to benefit my adopted community. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, with a minor in political science. My graduate work in communications focus on open government and public records law—key aspects of the City Clerk’s job. Most notably, I am the only candidate with formal City Clerk training from the City Clerks Association of California.
Besides keeping the City Clerk’s office independent and local elections fair, I’d like to increase the volume of city records that are digitized, make them easier to find online and streamline the business registration process to allow business owners to apply for, get approvals, renew and pay for registrations online, saving them time and effort.
As the public’s main link to its government, the caretaker of its history if you will, the Clerk must treat everyone equally and be committed to fair elections and integrity in the official record. We cannot allow our city’s records to be managed by someone who favors one elected official over others. San Bernardino needs a City Clerk who values accuracy in the official record, and has the skills and independence to protect those records them from those who might not. I am that person, and I need your vote.
Directly related professional experience and educational focus, not any political alliances, are what will ensure the City Clerk’s office is run professionally, and—most importantly—independently—from other City Hall departments.
Therefore, in order to avoid even an appearance of collusion that might affect my ability to remain independent, I have not sought endorsement from elected officials or special interest groups—even those I agree with, and even though it may mean greater financial support. Ethics is doing the right thing even if it isn’t personally beneficial. I understand the constraints I place on myself in not seeking endorsement, and in maintaining my “independent” political party affiliation; abandoning these positions would make it easier for partisan groups to endorse me. It’s the way to win, people have told me. But I think we’re capable of something better in San Bernardino.
That is why you won’t find my name next to any other elected official in this city in this election, or any other. Instead, I’m asking you to consider my qualifications, consider my demonstrated commitment to independence, and then make the choice to support me, the clear choice for this most important position. Ballots come out the week of January 9; please vote and return them early.
Gigi Hanna is a candidate in the run-off for San Bernardino City Clerk. Her web site is www.gigihanna4sbcityclerk.com. If you’d like to add your name to her list of supporters please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (909) 709-2019.
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