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Editorial -- How Not to Lose an Election

Carmel Pine Cone – Nov. 20, 2009

AFTER A hard-fought campaign, feelings on the losing side can understandably
be hard. Nevertheless, one of the important rituals of American politics
is for unsuccessful candidates to graciously concede defeat, congratulate
their opponents, thank their supporters, and look to the future for themselves and
the people they hoped to serve. While you don’t have to come right out and say,
“I lost because the majority of voters liked the other guy better,” you certainly
do not try to claim you lost because your opponents lied or because the voters
were stupid.

Unfortunately, the losers on two key ballot measures in the recent local election
evidently believe they’re above such silly traditions and common courtesies.
They are also delusional about why they lost.

Backers of incorporation in Carmel Valley had to know their cherished
Measure G was headed for defeat. And when the results were announced on
election night, it indeed lost by a solid margin. Yet its backers refused to concede,
holding out hope that provisional ballots remaining to be counted would
somehow reverse the result. Last Friday, the final ballot count was revealed, and
Measure G still lost. Nevertheless, its supporters pointedly refused to concede in
the traditional way.

Instead, incorporation proponent Glenn Robinson sent out a combative email
to his allies, attributing the loss to misinformation supposedly spread by their

“One wonders how many voters voted ‘No’ because they were told their
address would change, they would have to sewer, they would have to pay a business
license tax or their flood insurance rates would automatically go up — all
false claims made repeatedly by the opposition campaign leaders,” Robinson

He left out the fact that incorporation proponents also spread plenty of B.S.
around. For example, they repeatedly claimed defeat of Measure G would result
in homes and apartments carpeting Carmel Valley’s hilltops. Yet, ridgeline development
is already banned by the Carmel Valley Master Plan.

The truth is that Measure G failed because most residents of Carmel Valley
don’t think incorporation is a good idea. They were not misinformed, and they
are not stupid. Get used to it, Glenn.

Even more shocking was a letter to the editor received by The Pine Cone this
week (and which appears elsewhere on this page) from Skip Lloyd, an opponent
of the sale of Flanders Mansion. Lloyd does not live in the City of Carmel; nevertheless,
he takes it upon himself to explain to the people who do — and who
must pay the bills for Flanders Mansion and the legal battle over it — why the
lawsuit to stop the sale should proceed despite the overwhelming vote in favor
of the selling the mansion.

First, he claims the vote should never have been held, because the EIR on the
sale of the mansion has not been finalized, and, therefore, the people voting to
sell it could not have known the environmental impacts that might result from
the sale.

And then he claims voters should be glad the lawsuit was filed in the first
place because, without it, the vote would not have taken place.
He thereby contradicts himself. And he is wrong on both counts.

■ Nobody reads EIRs. Especially not the public. The function of these documents
is not to fully inform decision makers and the public about the environmental
impacts of a project, but to cause permit applicants to go to a lot of extra
expense, and to provide a pretext for them to be sued. When an EIR is required,
it is usually something to be regretted by anybody who cares about fair play and
doesn’t like to see lots of money spent for nothing. In the case of Flanders
Mansion, the EIR requirement is nothing more than a ridiculous waste of everybody’s
time and the taxpayers’ money.

Furthermore, the fate of Flanders Mansion has been debated so much and for
so long, not only is everybody fully informed about it, they are sick of hearing
about it.

■ The results of Measure I do not in any way show that the election was a
good idea; rather, the overwhelming vote in favor of selling Flanders Mansion
demonstrates that the election was never needed in the first place.
We have pointed out on this page over and over again that public sentiment
was obviously and overwhelmingly in favor of selling Flanders Mansion.
Otherwise, the last four city council elections would not have turned out the way
they did.

Here at The Pine Cone, we believe in majority rule. Therefore, we also believe
the idea of incorporating Carmel Valley should be dropped for the next 20 years.
We also firmly believe Flanders Mansion should be sold without any further
ado. And that people who have something else in mind should find another subject
to obsess over.

Last Updated: Nov 20, 09

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