Editor’s Notebook: A fair return

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David N. Young

Like other citizens around the nation, the citizens of Seal Beach must return to the polls in November. Every election is important, but the one on Nov. 6 could be especially interesting.

The voters will choose a representative on the school board, a U.S. Congressman, state initiatives, etc. and the Sun will provide coverage of the issues as the election approaches.

In Seal Beach, while there were seats in three city council districts up for re-election, it appears as two incumbents will be re-elected without opposition as four candidates will vie for the seat being vacated by Ellery Deaton in District 1, who terms out this year.

Also, another hot button issue this fall will be the somewhat controversial sales tax by another name that the council has asked voters to consider as the city faces a growing budget deficit.

The city decided, after much debate, to ask voters to approve an additional 1-cent tax on every dollar spent in the city to help make up the deficit. Although city officials have said the tax would generate $3.8 million, it was learned later, and clarified, that a full penny tax will generate approximately $5 million per year.

This column does not attempt to fully describe the candidates, the issues, the tax or any of the issues that will be decided in November. Future stories, in depth, will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead to satisfy the needs of citizens to be informed. The Sun has always welcomed Letters to the Editor. We believe publishing them is one of the paper’s most critical roles as a voice for the citizens we serve. This will continue. However, during the election season, the Sun reserves the right to moderate the debate in the following way.

Letters about issues that serve to inform citizens will be considered, and encouraged. However, the Sun reserves the right to reject letters that seek to serve purely political purposes, make endorsements or otherwise contain punitive material beyond generally accepted election guidelines. The Sun will seek a lively and informed discussion on all of the candidates or the issues, but if supporters seek to endorse the candidates they support, space will be available in the advertising section for those purposes.

Now as never before in our nation’s history has the role of a citizen has ever been more important. Not only should we vote, but there are serious issues at every level that deserve a healthy debate.

And it’s hard to have an intelligent debate if citizens are not informed, so the Sun will do its part. But citizens should step up and get active in the future of their community.

According to an opinion in the New York Times, “localism” could easily become the most popular political movement in America. Many citizens are losing faith in the ability of our national and state leaders to solve problems facing our communities so citizens are becoming more active where they believe they can be more effective; close to home.

After all, citizens pay the taxes that our leaders spend each year so why shouldn’t taxpayers become more engaged in civic affairs?

To be sure, Seal Beach is a unique place with a great quality of life. Much is going right in the city.But lingering problems and serious questions do exist that will be best solved by community involvement. Major financial decisions, strategic decisions about the future and other questions need guidance and resolution. Robust discussions around elections sometimes produce workable ideas for the future.

Citizens should engage, learn and vote. Not just vote, but citizens are better served to debate the issues as well. Easier said than done, granted, but these are transformative times when duty calls and citizen participation is crucial. For its part, the Sun will provide coverage that is aggressive, open and fair and therefore, we will adopt an editorial policy to allow our citizens to do the same.

David N. Young is editor of the Sun News.