From the Bullpen: Let your local voice be heard

February 18, 2011|By Craig Sherwood

Hey everyone, the election is here!

Oh, I’m sorry to bother you with this trivial information. I know there are much more pressing matters, like what to do Friday night, or whether that vacation should be in July or August.

Let’s face it, you wake up in the morning, only concerned that the power works, and your alarm goes off. As long as the water works, the trash cans get picked up and streets remain freshly swept street, it’s all good.


In other words, as long as all the city services work the way you want, you don’t care who sits on the council, or for that matter that there even is a City Council.

Most people in Burbank can’t even name their City Council members, let alone their representatives in the state Assembly, Senate or Congress.

Most people are just happy in their everyday lives and, as long as everything works, there’s not much reason to get involved.

Now if you live on Screenland, and the evil city is going to put a sidewalk in front of your house, you’ll become a political activist. Give me a break. I would love to know how many of you with your newly erected lawn signs even bothered to vote in the last council elections. You just won the award as the flavor of the week.

And by the way, that wall of signs you put up in front of your houses: I would bet that 40% of Burbank citizens have no idea where Screenland Drive is, much less will ever drive down that street and see the signs.

Another major reason for voter apathy is the mail-in ballot. How many people are now receiving their first campaign mailings two weeks after they mailed in their ballots? While most ballots are turned in the last couple of days, there is no real building of suspense as election day approaches.

A community election should have an election day. Candidates should go out and have rallies and make speeches. Elections have now been reduced to get-togethers with a few friends. What we have now is the opposite of Meg Whitman. Instead of trying to buy an election, the candidates now seem to disappear, and most people know about as much of Jacqueline “Jackie” Waltman as they do Oswaldo “Ozzie” Lopez.

Now if you’re reading this and feel insulted, I’m sorry. Most people who read newspapers (or local news websites!) are more likely to vote or get involved than the uninformed people who go home and watch “Jersey Shore” reruns.

No matter how you vote, or when you vote, please vote. Only 9% to 10% of Burbank’s population put the last councilman in office; there should be 40,000 votes cast instead of 11,000, which would be an 80% turnout compared with 22%. I know it’s cliché, but how many people are dying in the Middle East right now to do something that you won’t take five minutes to do in the privacy of your own home?

After you have voted, stop by City Hall election night and watch the results come in. It might be the only thing that actually resembles a real election with all the fun, excitement and disappointments.

I know we will all see the Screenland Drive residents there — not!

CRAIG SHERWOOD is the executive editor of and a baseball coach at Burbank High School. He can be reached at

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