Americans love a good end of the year list. Top 10 Albums, Top Five Performances — we are enamored with topics of this sort. There is something so agreeable about summarizing an entire year in a neat, tidy list, trimming the superfluous fat along the way.
So I went ahead and compiled my own list, giving you the Top Seven Most Entertaining Moments In Local Politics. You have to admit, it has been an interesting (if not downright embarrassing at times) year in the local political arena. In fact, this could easily become a Top 100 list, but we all know how publishers get with ink and space.
1. Perhaps the most convoluted and hotly contested issue we saw out of North County this year was the Oceanside recall attempt. Long story short, Councilman Jerry Kern’s seat was in jeopardy for a number of reasons. Kern and company pleaded their innocence. As it turns out, Oceanside voters don’t think Kern is too bad of a guy after all, and the Kern camp crushed the recall attempt. The most unsettling move subsequent to the recall was how Kern wasted no time going straight for Melba Bishop’s jugular, suggesting that the city rename Melba Bishop Park. The recall attempt would definitely make the Top 10 Biggest Waste of Taxpayer Money list if we had one.
2. Voters spoke, and Carlsbad City Council didn’t accommodate. Carlsbad voters overwhelmingly support the preservation of open space, as evidenced with the passage of Proposition C in 2002. The city put on a believable front for a while. Now the Village H property is in serious jeopardy. The city had opportunities to purchase the land for a smoking good deal, but balked until a developer stepped forward. A fence has gone up around the property, and residents are none too pleased.
3. Remember the e-mails being exchanged by Encinitas council members during the Orpheus Park tree sitter fiasco? Here we caught a glimpse of raw emotions and honest feelings. Never mind the backdoor dealings. What a joke!
4. And speaking of Encinitas City Council, does council majority really think we believe they passed up Teresa Barth’s appointment for deputy mayor because “Maggie had cancer”? Barth summed it up best with a quote in a U-T article dated Dec. 11: “It’s like high school and picking the prom king and queen.”
5. Francine Busby knows how to party, because when she’s hosting the sheriff’s department shows up. And they bring plenty of backup just in case those crazy Busby supporters want a piece of the action. In all seriousness, Busby was hosting a political fundraiser at a private residence when the cops responded to a noise complaint. The situation quickly escalated, tempers flared, people were pepper sprayed and even handcuffed. This one will be in court for some time.
6. Dave “Family Man” Roberts withdrew his bid for the 50th Congressional District. Many are calling Roberts’ decision honorable, including his opponents. And I agree. In a year marred with political sex scandals and general politician sleaze, it is so refreshing to see a man just wanting to be a good dad.
7. Carlsbad City Council agreed to fork over even more cash to the Carlsbad Crossings golf course, to the tune of $150,000. Meanwhile, Carlsbad is still without a public pool or skate park.
Let’s hope 2010 brings just as many entertaining political tales as 2009. Happy New Year!
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