Ramona Town Hall Open House on Sunday afternoon
Ramona Town Hall Open House and Honorary Mayor Contest Kickoff will be in the historic building at 729 Main St. from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, the date in 1893 that pioneers Augustus and Martha Barnett donated $17,000 in cash to build the hall.
Closed since 2002, when town hall trustees ran out of money to pay for insurance and taxes on the 115-year-old building, the open house gives the public an opportunity to “come and see the progress that’s been made,” said Bob Hailey, one of town hall’s five trustees. “Come and see a page from Ramona’s history…Come and nominate your choice for honorary mayor.”
Visitors to the building on Sunday will find Ramona history buffs eager to tell the story of the Barnetts’ generosity and what Ramona Town Hall has meant to the community. Revived interest started last year to bring the building’s bills current and to pay for insurance so at least one wing could be open to the public. Since then, the dwindling board of trustees has been restored to the five members intended, and a fundraising committee has been started to finish restoration work. There’s even talk of forming a Ramona Foundation under the umbrella of the San Diego Foundation to attract donations from people interested in restoring historic buildings.
A tradition started in the mid-1980s will be revived when the Ramona Honorary Mayor Kickoff is held at the open house. This contest is proof that wannabe Ramona politicians see nothing wrong with selling votes. For $1, a person gets a vote in the contest. Each candidate’s goal is to get as many votes—translated, raise as much money—for Ramona Town Hall as possible.
The town’s next honorary mayor will be the person receiving the most votes—translated, money.
Honorary mayor nominations will open Sunday and close on April 1. Of course, each nomination will cost $1.
“Once the nominations are publicly announced, voting will start,” said Hailey, admitting the contest is about “shamelessly purchasing votes.”
Details of the contest will be available on Sunday, but Hailey assured interested candidates that the honorary mayor “will be entitled to all the fringe benefits enjoyed by the town hall trustees.” Monetarily, that is nothing, but if pocketing money for town hall interests Ramonans, this could be the race to enter.
Information about Ramona Town Hall’s history and current events are online at www.ramonatownhall.com.
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