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Mailbag: Advice for City Council candidates

August 23, 2010

It's been kind of quiet here in Glendale the last year, with developers too broke to fire up the neighborhood associations with mega-anything and the idiots in Bell stealing all the prime headlines.

Rumors are beginning to circulate about City Council candidates testing the waters, and you can almost feel the anticipation. Maybe it's more of an odor. I have never had a seat at the table in any of those back rooms I've heard about, though, so I won't have any worthwhile gossip to share.

But I can tell you that I won't be one of the candidates this time. Our little girl will come to our family right about the time that shoes are supposed be hitting the pavement, so I will be a little preoccupied.

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I do have a wish list though. Not so much about political positions or where someone should stand on any particular issues, but about character. The kinds of things you should ask yourself before you ask anyone to sign your petitions.

And a little advice. Not that it's worth much, but the price is right.

If the notion of getting a seat on the City Council is your idea, it probably isn't a very good one. If someone you respect hasn't asked you to consider the office, you probably haven't done anything noteworthy enough to deserve it. I am little tired of the same old candidates whose sole ambition is vanity.

If you used to be on the council and have been on vacation for a while, be prepared to tell us all the admirable things you have been doing for the city without the benefit of a plaque upon which your name is carved. Being on the City Council should be an extension of your commitment to public service, part of what you do every day. It should not be the only thing you think you could be good at. Or deserve.

If you ran an unsuccessful bid for council (and there were quite a few of us), show us you were a good loser and didn't just give up on Glendale because we didn't want you. I lost better than just about any other candidate, but still kept up the good fight and had good company serving with me on the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council.

Show us your character and not your ego.

If you are on the council, be prepared to tell us why you really want to keep torturing yourself. You know how rough the job is and yet you still want to do it. You are either a saint or a sociopath. Just give us a hint.

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