There were no photographers; it wasn’t a ‘photo-op’. There were no reporters (that they were aware of). It was the afternoon of what should have been the busiest day of their political campaigns: Saturday on the last weekend before the voters of Torrance go to the poles to elect what is likely to be the most important City Council for the next twenty years.
They were tired. Alex looked like it was hard for him to keep his eyes open. He mentioned that he would be glad when the campaign was over: he had a business to run, a highly technical job to maintain and more political stops to make. Gina came in looking like she, also, had been hard on the campaign trail; but some things are important – even if you are a candidate for City Council or City Clerk. No matter how busy or tired you are: some things are important.
They had come to the First Christian Church in Torrance at the invitation of Clint Andrew Paulson, who is also a candidate for the Torrance City Council. Mr. Paulson had extended an invitation to all candidates for city offices: Instead of spending thousands of dollars renting billboards and purchasing campaign materials, why not do a donation to a local charity. He thought it would be a ‘better use’ for the money.
In fairness to other candidates, perhaps some of their campaign contributions had been extended with certain ‘conditions’. Without exaggeration, tens of thousands of dollars have been sent into Torrance campaigns from out of city, even out of state, donors. It is reasonable to assume that something was expected in return. What could non-residents possibly want? Well, for one thing, they could want their dollars to support candidates who won. What they would expect after that, only time will tell.
Torrance residents are proud of their city – and they should be. It has provided them with stable and comfortable neighborhoods and life-enriching programs for as long as most can remember. But with one hundred and fifty thousand residents, it isn’t the largest city on the map. And, like many other cities and towns in America, Torrance is facing the possibility of a difficult financial future. So, what does the out-of-town/out-of-state money think it is buying?
Judging by where the money was placed, it would appear to want the ‘status quo’ and ‘business as usual’. But the times are not ‘as usual’ – even though many of the candidates and much of the ‘media’ have ignored the looming financial reality.