Monday, July 14, 2014

• So You Want To Be A City Council Member

At the last city council meeting City Clerk Debbie Lee mentioned that those wanting to run for city council had to make an appointment with her, that was to last about an hour, and I asked Council Member Tim Walker if I could sit in on his meeting, to which he replied yes.

This is an election year, and three of the five city council seats are up for grabs. Though, truth be told, it's going to take a miracle to unseat any of the three. All three take their positions seriously, and all are doing a god job. We have Mayor Marsha Swanson, Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit, and Council Member Tim Walker that have had the requisite meeting with Debbie Lee.

There is a fourth appointment set, but that name will only be released if the person chooses to tell people, or they return the paperwork with the $450 fee. Though I did learn that there is NO FEE if you choose to not post a candidate's statement in the Official Voter Information Guide.

The time period for filing papers is from July 14th until August 8th. If any of the three incumbents fail to turn in their papers on time, then there will be three additional days added, though they would be excluded from that additional grace period. (Gotta love the various rules that go along with elections, and there are a ton of them).

Here are the points that most stuck out to me:

  • Wildomar Logo may NOT be used in connection with your campaign... or as I learned, for any other purpose including facebook. (One of you facebook admins should be expecting a call soon... just sayin'.)
  • August 19th, candidate orientation at the city council chambers.
  • City Clerk's office will be Mon-Fri, 8-5 during this period. Make an appointment —unless you like waiting around.
  • Election day is November 4, 2014.
  • The term concludes at the first city council meeting following the election, and the official canvass 2018.
  • Candidate must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must be a resident within the city of Wildomar.
  • You must be registered to vote at your current address.
  • You need 20 signatures, from registered voters within Wildomar. It's highly recommended that you get 30.
  • Get ready to give financial statements. COMPLETE statements at that.
  • $450 deposit, which you will be getting some back (this goes to the printing of your candidate's statement). 
  • All the paperwork needs to be filed together.
  • You cannot withdraw your candidacy after the nomination paper filing deadline. Even if you drop dead, you'll remain on the ballot.
  • You have to pick a ballot designation. Such as; Businessman; Community Activist (giggle giggle), Grandmother (assuming it applies), Long Time Resident, or nothing at all. You may not choose a political party or say you're "Retired". There are 13 pages from secretary of state of guidelines for Ballot Designation... which you shouldn't confuse with Ballot Statement... there, you can say more about yourself... but still not a reference to your political party since this is a local election. You can't make false statements [I'm thinking that must be a new one] ;)
  • You have ten days to make sure your statement is correct and how you want it to appear. After that, it's going in as submitted. You're limited to 200 words.
  • Campaign disclosure statements. Get ready for a can of headaches here. Plenty of numbers to make your eyes glaze over. 700 form
  • If you plan on spending over $1000 you have to file the paperwork. If you aren't planning on spending $1000 you should be getting your concession speech ready as soon as possible.
  • If you are late with your filing, you'll be penalized $10 a day —up to $100.
  • You'll need to talk to the planning department about your political signs. They cannot go up any sooner than 90 days before the election or stay up more than 10 days afterward. (Someone should be notifying Zellerbach about this rule). They cannot be in the public right of way, they cannot impede a line of sight, if your sign is in the wrong place it will be picked up by code enforcement, you can't nail them to trees or utility posts (again, this must be new since that's about the only place I usually see them). 
  • Be prepared to have your signs stolen and/or defaced. There is nothing the city can do about it. It's up to you to investigate or call the police about it. If they get graffiti on them, they will be removed.
  • December 10th will be swearing in time for the winners.
  • If you win, you'll be getting $300 a month. It will bump up to $400 if/when Wildomar hits 50,000 residents.
  • Candidate order on the ballot will be determined August 14. The Secretary of State does a randomized alphabet draw to determine order.
  • On your mailers you cannot use false or misleading information. (Again, I'm thinking that as long as you don't say something very obviously false, like that you are a Time Lord that travels around in the TARDIS, saving mankind —you'll be fine since all I ever seem to see is severe bloviating in campaign mailers.)

Dr. Who is not on the ballot this year.

  • You cannot electioneer at a polling place... something that has been done by the spouse of a council member in the past. If you want to do that, then learn to count to 100 feet, and shout your name from there.
  • Wildomar is about 50% vote by mail. So if you wait too long to start your campaigning, there's a good chance you'll get the short end of the stick. Just check out the results of the 2010 Wildomar elections if this fact confuses you. 
  • You'll get a CD version of the candidate handbook (we're paperless now... woohoo!).
  • Only one person can circulate the paper to gather the 20 necessary signatures.
  • If it turns out that the only ones that file papers are the three incumbents, then the city council will vote whether or not to have the election. A savings of $35,000-$38,000 if that were to eventuate.

I'm hoping to be able to chat with each of the candidates as we get past Labor Day. Letting you get a fuller picture of who wants to represent our city. It's always fun to have a horse race, but the three incumbents we have, have been doing a good job and it's not like any of them have been there too long. Marsha Swanson has been in for 6 years, and Ben Benoit and Tim Walker haven't even made 4 years yet. I'm a term limits kind of guy, but I'm not for getting new people, that won't know the ropes, simply because the calender dictates it.

Lastly, you should be prepared to put in real hours if you win. This isn't just a photo-op. This means you should be prepared to read the agenda for the meetings —all of it. You should also consider yourself an ambassador of the city and be at as many city functions as you can realistically make. In other words, if you're in town, be there, and since events are known months in advance, work them into your schedule. Also you should be prepared to communicate with your constituents. Ignoring emails and phone calls is something that isn't cool. 

You can use my city seal for WillyMar because it's cooler than the original... no offense, nothing personal


Wildomar Rap has never left a single political sign out to fade in the sun.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's hear what you have to say... for other inquiries try the email listed under "view my complete profile" but if you want to discuss a blog topic, I'll only do it in this comment section, not by email.

Subscribe by Email