Claremont Insider: Election Tomorrow

Monday, November 7, 2011

Election Tomorrow

The polls open at 7am tomorrow, and a select few voters (less than 20% of the eligible registered voters, if the past is any guide) will have the opportunity to vote for two seats on the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education as well as for the Citrus College Board of Trustees District 2 seat.

If you need to know where your polling place is, check the LA County Registrar-Recorder's website and enter your street address and zip code.

There are two candidates for the Citrus College District 2 position:  incumbent Sue Keith and Tracy Rickman.

The three CUSD candidates are, in alphabetical order, Joe Farrell, Hilary LaConte, and Sam Mowbray.   Farrell is the outsider, having been one of the leaders of the No on CL school bond campaign last year.  LaConte is the incumbent, having been board president when the district tried unsuccessfully to pass the $95 million CL bond.  Mowbray is a former CUSD board member and is seeking to return for a fourth term on the school board.

The Daily Bulletin endorsed Farrell and LaConte.  The Claremont Courier, on the other hand, endorsed Mowbray and LaConte.  Judging from candidate lawn signs, campaign supporter lists, and letters to the Courier, the Mowbray-LaConte combo is the Claremont 400's ticket of choice for this election. The Courier and the 400 seem to have given LaConte a pass on the failed bond, which got less than 40% of the vote a year ago.

The Courier and the 400 have also opted to look the other way with regards to LeConte's possible circumvention of the state's Brown Act sunshine law when she was board president in October, 2010 - something that drew criticism from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Bureau of Public Integrity recently.   This last bit we thought particularly odd for the Courier, which in the past has been something of an advocate for open government.

Through its endorsments the Courier has usually been the most accurate barometer of voter sentiment in Claremont, so we'll see if 2010 CL bond vote or the Brown Act inquiry have much of an effect on the voting. We suspect that it neither issue will matter much at all, but the turnout should tell all.   If CUSD voters are really bothered by enough to overcome their usual apathy, then LeConte might be in some trouble.  

Last Saturday's Courier carried letters from two LeConte-Mowbray supporters, Nancy Tresser-Osgood and Dave Nemer.  Both lamented the low turnouts in past elections (Nemer also had a haiku on the same subject in a prior edition of the Courier).  Tresser-Osgood and Nemer are either terribly naive or just plain ignorant, or both, when it comes to local elections.   The 400's candidates traditionally do best in low-turnout elections.   When election turnout goes over 30%, the vote usually goes against the insider (small "I") candidates.

That's why our City Council elections are in March and the CUSD elections are in November of off-years.   If those elections were changed to general election dates, the turnout would swamp the Claremonster candidates.  In past council elections Llewellyn Miller, Peter Yao, Jackie McHenry, and Corey Calaycay all ran as outsider candidates in what were relatively high-turnout municipal elections.

Similarly, because it was a bond measure, the CL vote had to be held during a general election and was soundly defeated.   Conversely, the City's $12.5 million Measure S Johnson's Pasture bond won because its support base was much wider than just the Claremont 400.  Measure S got over 72% of the vote in November, 2006.

We'll have to wait until after the polls close at 8pm tomorrow night to know the answers.  Check back here to see the final results.