Steve Wilson

I am the first to admit last week’s offering under this byline exists as anemic example of writing, so henceforth I’ll try to be more careful with the space so generously available to me. That said, or read, let us on to a couple issues and items I hope bear considering.

We are all trained, to some degree or other, to be political animals from a very early age. I recall way back in my elementary school years in Greenfield when we held classroom elections as far back as the fourth grade for such lofty positions as Chalk Board Monitor, Desk Monitor and Floor Monitor; all actually cleaning jobs but the honor of the position was not to be denied.

In the sixth grade, we became eligible for such campus offices as President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Boy’s and Girl’s Representative and Safety Commissioner, to name a few. Through these little elections we learned tenants of American democracy from campaign to voting responsibility to, for those elected, how to conduct oneself in an elected position. It was introduction to that great American franchise known as voting.

And like many others about a month ago I exercised that franchise, and while I would like to say that put me in with the majority of Monterey voters, I cannot because we voters were not in the majority, the non-voters were. And that ain’t good, folks.

According to the latest results posted by the Monterey County Elections Department, of the 209,045 registered voters in Monterey County, a total of only 103,117 votes were cast on Nov. 8; this represents 44.33%, less than half. And the totals for Greenfield and King City are even lower.

While I do not pretend to be able to decipher all the statistics associated with the vote tally, it is a fact that in Greenfield’s mayoral race with two candidates on the slate, only 34.27% of eligible voters cast ballots. In the District One city council seat race, 513 votes were cast of a possible 1,421, or 36.10%; District Two saw a lesser percentage of 34.37%, with 584 of 1,689 possible ballots cast. For the Greenfield Union School District board of trustee race, 2,242 votes of 6,376 were cast, representing only 35.16%.

Here in King City, the statistics are not any better. Darlene Acosta, running unopposed, received 334 votes of the 1,421 registered voters in District One; in District Two, Mike LeBarre had 190 voters of 623 eligible cast ballots for his return to the council. These results represent 32.0% and 30.50% voter turnout, respectively. These are not numbers any society should be proud of; quite the contrary.

There is an old adage paraphrased in different ways, but the gist is this: “If you don’t vote, shut-up.” If any citizen fails to register to vote when qualified to do so and those registered to partake in the American franchise don’t opt to engage that right, then those individuals have no real basis for commenting on political issues. If a homeowner fails to maintain their property, they can hardly complain about how bad the neighborhood looks without drawing caustic criticism; “How do you contribute to the betterment of the neighborhood?”

But as long as this nation survives as a democracy with one vote, one voice as the bedrock of society, then there will be future elections that will determine whether, as was once said, “this nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” It is up to all of us to keep this ship of state afloat, so it would behoove us to do something about apathetic voter turnouts or surely a day of reckoning will come.


On a far more upbeat note, the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture’s Annual Lighted Christmas Parade was last night (well, last night as I write; now five days ago) and though a bit shorter than parades past, it was a grand event for children and kids alike. The first time the parade was announced bi-lingually, and comments were positive enough I am sure all subsequent parades will also follow suit. I have always loved parades, if for no other reason than the price of admission is reasonable: nothing. All one has to do to enjoy a feast for the eyes and ears is get up out of their houses and find a place at the curb; and what could be less affordable than that?

I spent an hour this morning (again, four days ago) lending a bit of assistance to the Monterey County Dance Foundation as they move into the Robert Stanton Theater for the 63rd annual presentation of “The Nutcracker Ballet.” The affixing of the huge backdrops to the counter balance rods and the setting of lights and sounds marks the beginning of what in the theater world is know as Hell Week; the final days before opening night when the work of months of rehearsals are fine tuned so when the curtain opens for the audience, every cast and production crew member know their duties and do them. It is a process I never tire of, even when at 70 years old it tires me; if you catch my meaning.

It is not the only event scheduled for this coming weekend. There will be a gathering down at the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum as staff and board members hold their Holiday Open House on Saturday the 10th at one o’clock in the afternoon. A good way to enjoy some treats and beverages and entertainment, with a special visit from the Jolly Good Elf of Christmas, and then make your way down to the high school campus and enjoy the ballet. Pretty fancy stuff for a small “cowtown” if you ask me.

Occasionally I come across folks who take the time to mention they enjoy reading this column, and the other night I found that a Greenfield lady of my youth is one such reader, so I’d like to say, “Hello, Christine Allred; hope you are well and have a Merry Christmas.”

Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].


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