(NOTE: Since the links to the letters mentioned below are no longer available at the SM Times, this 2006 comment is being re-posted with the added correct information.)
Well, it's been an interesting week in Santa Maria. Two evening candidate forums were scheduled this week by the League of Women Voters.
One Tin Soldier is informed that both of the two incumbent city council members who are up for election in November (Marty Mariscal and Alice Patino) declined to attend these meet-the-candidate events.
Well, that spurred another flurry of letters to the editor of the Santa Maria Times. League of Women Voters President Jennifer Barber wrote on September 27th, 2006, that for the live TV debate to be held on public-access TV, "Six council candidates were invited . . ., and only three will be attending."
She didn't mention which three.
We didn't have to wait long to find out which 2 candidates were blackballing the event.
Lynn Melville previously wrote a Santa Maria Times letter to the editor on September 24th, citing Councilman Marty Mariscal's recent commentary "defending the City Council's decision to accept $28 million from Chevron, in exchange for allowing the toxic, diluent-contaminated soil from Guadalupe to be transferred to the Santa Maria landfill."
Hearing that Candidates Marty Mariscal and Alice Patino were refusing to appear at this live, public access television Meet the Candidate night (!!), Melville chimed in with another letter to the editor.
This time Melville asked, "What are Marty Mariscal and Alice Patino afraid of?"
Melville asks if Mariscal and Patino are afraid they'll be asked about their approval of the diluent-contaminated soil from Guadalupe being transferred to the Santa Maria landfill.
Or perhaps they don't want to admit their past support for the county split movement, after studies showed it to be a losing proposition, that Santa Maria would end up being a banana republic if it passed.
Or maybe they don't want to talk about the fact that the citizens of Santa Maria haven't been able to vote for their mayor in the last ten years (due to mayors resigning mid-term and the current sitting council just appointing one), or the forced retirement of former Police Chief John Sterling, despite hundreds of citizens pleading that he be retained.
Melville concludes by saying that, "The citizens of Santa Maria deserve city council members who are willing to attend public meetings and be accountable for their actions."
One Tin Soldier agrees.
(September 29th -- Tin Soldier has just been informed that Mariscal decided to attend the Thursday night event -- and both Mariscal and Patino attended the live TV debate on public-access TV Friday night.
Democracy in action.)