Once upon a time, before absentee balloting became the preferred way for voters to express their candidate preferences, newspaper publishers and editors would spend considerable time and energy on offering ballot recommendations to their readers.
That tradition dates back to days long before the Internet, when most of the information gained by voters about those seeking pubic office would be found in printed media. The thinking behind making newspaper endorsements went something like, “We have been covering the campaigns and the issues, we have met in person with the candidates, and we’d like to offer our considered opinions as to who should be elected.” The endorsements typically were printed a week or so before Election Day.
That was then, this is now. The practice of good citizens waiting until Election Day to cast the ballots has changed. Now a majority of all ballots cast in San Diego County are done through the mail. Of ballots cast in the low-turnout June primary, 73 percent were by absentee. The November 2012 election saw 56 percent of the voting done by mail.
Absentee ballots are mailed 29 days before Election Day. For our endorsements to have any relevance, they would have to be printed four weeks before Election Day. That, in our opinion, is much too early. A lot can happen during those four weeks. Candidates can (and do) stumble.
Early endorsements might also open us up to allegations that coverage of an endorsed candidate might be “slanted” toward his or her election success. That would never happen here, but perception is seldom influenced by facts.
For these reasons, we have decided to no longer endorse candidates for political office. It is the end of a long tradition here, but one that needs to be ended.
We encourage our readers to do their own research on candidates running for office. Read us for profiles on local candidates and coverage of public candidate forums. Study our reports on how their campaigns are financed. Be skeptical of all campaign literature. Dig a little deeper. Be informed, and cast an intelligent ballot.
Aug 16 2014 | Posted in Editorial
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Appreciates coverage and Mainstage Regarding Ms. Watzek’s letter condemning the Sentinel and her comments about the attendance at the Arpaio event in Ramona Mainstage Theatre: I have been to several of the Tea Party forums there and at every one of them, all the seats were filled. I have yet to attend the midget wrestling, [...]
We hear a lot about how bored many Ramona youngsters are — particularly teenagers.
Everyone at the Ramona Junior Fair and Livestock Auction saw a different breed of youth Saturday afternoon. When the downpour started, calling a temporary halt to the livestock auction, 4-H’ers and FFA’ers and their leaders sprang into action.
They invited the buyers to seek shelter from the rain in the Ramona Community Center. As buyers enjoyed a sumptuous meal of pulled pork, chicken and beef with barbecue sauce, salad, baked potatoes, corn, rolls, watermelon, pineapple upside down cake, chocolate chip bars and other desserts, the teenage exhibitors cleared the covered beef barn of animals, eliminated the individual stalls, swept piles of shavings out of the way and, under the direction of leaders, moved bales of hay, plants and chairs from the auction arena to the beef barn.
As they were doing that, other adults were hauling the bleachers into the barn. Within a short time, everyone was ready for the buyers to finish dinner.
All of this happened in less than an hour, and not one whine or negative comment was heard. To the contrary, the teens held expressions of determination and enthusiasm and served as outstanding models to the younger exhibitors.
This isn’t to say that every teenager needs to raise a pig, goat, lamb or cow for the summer fair. What it is saying is take a fresh look at this town and what it has to offer young people. Individual and team sports, library activities, swimming, hiking, park playgrounds, music and art opportunities and more are available.
From our perspective — please comment if you disagree — the adults of this community are the key, particularly the parents.
The adults at the junior fairgrounds aren’t paid. All are volunteers. They’re parents, grandparents, older sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and community members, and they’re all interested and involved in helping to shape the ethics and values of Ramona’s younger generation.
The next time you hear a teen or child say he or she is bored, ask yourself: Is there something I can do to wake this young person to the joys and simple pleasures of life?
Aug 7 2014 | Posted in Editorial
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The current Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors has been one of the most dysfunctional boards in the water district’s history. That says a lot for a district with a long history of dysfunctional boards.
It’s time for Ramona citizens and voters to do something to fix the situation.
As reported, San Diego Gas & Electric has made the decision to increase rates for “small users.”
As mentioned in the article on this issue, “Large users currently pay up to 2½ times as much per kilowatt hour (compared to so-called “small users”), a disparity that diminishes under the adopted changes.”
“Homelessness is a problem in our country. We know that. But this is not the place for the homeless.” That statement came from Ramona resident Scott Milner, a member of the sheriff’s mounted patrol in Ramona.
As a volunteer who rides the Santa Maria Creek bed as part of his patrol, he joined others at the dedication of the Santa Maria Creek Greenway staging area in the 1700 block of Montecito Road. He and others at the dedication mentioned the mess in the creek bed a short distance from the staging area, the Arriba Teen Center, a public park and apartment complexes.
Photos in this week’s Sentinel are a sample of what is in that creek bed. The smell is a dimension that can’t be conveyed in a photo. Yet wildlife agencies won’t let a community clear it of the trash, human waste, furniture and general debris clogging it?
It makes no sense, but that’s been reality here too long. After a brief tour of the creek after the dedication, Jim Piva, chairman of the Ramona Community Planning Group, vowed to put the issue on the agenda of the planning group’s July 10 meeting. If a property owner or environmental groups have a problem clearing the area, perhaps county code enforcement won’t. Through the planning group, pressure can be applied to “get it done,” he said. Work in that direction is taking place along the creek bed from Ramona Community Park to the 10th Street bridge. Energy also needs to be applied from there toward Montecito Road and beyond.
Past efforts have petered out, but the approach this time seems to be working. Lifetime Ramonan Crissy Tobiason is weaving her way through the bureaucratic maze to unravel any legal restrictions in the way of clearing the community park to 10th Street. With the light lit on the unsanitary rubble to the west, we hope public agencies tasked with protecting native vegetation and species see the sense in clearing the creek bed of dry brush — a serious fire hazard — and ridding a residential area of the filth and foul conditions there.
Jul 3 2014 | Posted in Editorial
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It is really fun to see a boy and his dog representing the Ramona cowboy tradition, or a beautiful woman and her gorgeous poodle both stylishly dressed, and the amazing dog who prays with Mom. Throw in helpful community-based booths, a down-home barbecue and excellent entertainment in the series of competitions, and the day was great.
Keep mulch, bark 3 to 5 feet from home
Mulch or bark can be valuable because they conserve moisture and reduce weed growth.
However, as I’ve witnessed firsthand, especially last week while assisting with the Poinsettia fire in Carlsbad, mulch and bark are highly combustible and very receptive to flying embers. Homes, which were several streets over from the main fire, had fires in their yards because of flammable ground cover, and some of these spread to fencing that was attached to the homes.
Natural gas will soon be used to power the pump that delivers water to Ramona from the Poway pump station.
No longer will Ramona residents be at the mercy of SDGE electric outages that close Ramona whenever there is a wildfire.
This $2 million project comes at NO expense to the ratepayers, and natural gas pumps cost less to operate.
On behalf of each of the 5th and 6th grade families at our school district’s six elementary schools, please let me thank you for the wonderful gift you and your Old West encampment partners have provided to us.
It is rare, indeed, for community members to donate their resources to our local schools. It is rarer, still, when community members volunteer hundreds of hours of their time and energy away from their own homes and families to stage extraordinary learning opportunities as you and your colleagues have done for us these past few days.