To me, Dan Kimber’s analysis (“Education Matters: Rising to Drayman's defense,” April 15) was the most insightful comment on the election. I am among those who consider the 24.4% turnout to be shameful.
Of greatest concern is the report that less than 10,000 voters actually voted at the polls, more than 60% of all votes being cast by absentee ballots. I agree with Kimber that the trend toward use of absentee balloting as the primary way of voting is disturbing. By abandoning the traditional American way of voting at polling locations, we are abandoning the secret ballot, a fundamental safeguard of fair elections, which is the cornerstone of democracy. That is a dangerous trend.
Nevertheless, absentee balloting certainly wasn’t the main reason why John Drayman lost the election and why Dave Weaver squeaked by, doing more poorly than anticipated. The last two years have been rocky for our City Council. Considering the Advanced Development & Investments Inc. affair and the concern about overly generous city pensions, any incumbent running for reelection this year would be vulnerable.
While the attacks on the council by gadflies Barry Allen, Mike Mohill and Herbert Molano were brutal and often distasteful, this trio certainly found the places where the incumbents were most exposed — ADI and hefty pensions for city employees.
Meanwhile, Drayman and Weaver failed to protect themselves on these two issues. Drayman, the most articulate of all the candidates, was not articulate in his response to the charges of conflict of interest made by Allen and Mohill. In view of the lackluster performances of Drayman and Weaver, it was almost inevitable that the one solid challenger, Rafi Manoukian, would prove to be a winner.
I believe that with Manoukian complementing four competent incumbents, we may look forward, in the next two years, to having a strong City Council that will seriously deal with conflict-of-interest problems and work to correct the pension predicament.
Since these are tough problems that are plaguing most California cities these days, it will take persistence and diligence to solve them.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise in the election was the landslide passage of Measure S despite the quirky opposition of the teachers union. Our public schools will greatly benefit from the passage of this bond issue.