The 2016 election was truly a dynamic one, not just on the national level, but also boiling down to local government. The theme: the power of one.
While we have seen one man change the national conversation on politics, forever altering the way we see our democracy and redefining the terms of freedom and its inherent costs, we have also seen one federal judge at a time halt the presidential executive orders, including two travel bans and the effort to prevent federal funding of so-called sanctuary cities. We have also seen the one man (former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn) who led the call to “lock her (Hillary Clinton) up” come under federal investigation for criminal activities, and it’s starting to look as if he is the one who might be locked up after all.
We have seen stunning displays of individuals taking stands against corruption and collusion, including former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, who warned the White House about Flynn, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who protested the nomination of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and was shut down; but her act was popularized by her Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, noting her performance as “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Of course, there is Hillary Clinton herself, the first female presidential candidate to win the popular vote. Plus Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who managed to stir up a fever-pitch dedication of many who felt they were undervalued and underserved.
In Ventura County, there are a few standouts who have managed to shake up the status quo. In Oxnard, former City Council candidate Aaron Starr continues his rallying cry against what he perceives as unwarranted utility hikes, particularly the wastewater rate increase that led to passing a ballot initiative that forced the city to go back to square 1. He has now continued his stance by suing the city over new proposed wastewater rate increases. Next up is the newly elected City Treasurer Phillip Molina, who has sent out more emails for the sake of transparency regarding the city’s financial transactions and questioned the standard operating procedures more than any other elected official in recent memory, though for better or worse remains to be seen.
In Port Hueneme, for years, the city had some serious financial and top managerial malfunctions, too often seemingly not being addressed by the majority of three. And with one election, the majority voice became the minority, with one who retired (Doug Breeze) and one newly elected member (Will Berg), and the whole city seemed to settle down from the combative nature that was once practically the norm during City Council meetings. And the one (Tom Figg) often accused of malfeasance by the former majority is now the mayor. What a difference one makes.
As we progress through this year filled with uncertainty, consider those individuals who have stood their ground, for better or for worse, to make a difference. The world does not change waiting for someone else to make the first move. Will that person be you?