Let common sense rather than ego fill vacant Poway council seat
By Dick Lyles
Now that California’s June primary is behind us, the November general election looms on the horizon. It brings significantly more consequence for Poway voters on a number of levels.
Therefore, before the airwaves become cluttered with the battle for the presidency and what promises to be a slugfest over Governor Brown’s proposed tax increase, I’d like to suggest to Powegians that we join forces in a collaborative demonstration of common sense that befits our history and serves our future.
Merrilee Boyack has announced she will not seek re-election to the Poway City Council this November, thereby creating an open seat. Although she ruffled a few feathers along the way, by and large she served Poway with dedication, passion and a commitment to high standards of governance for our city. Thank you, Merrilee, for your accomplishments and leadership.
Several people have mentioned they might seek Merrilee’s seat in November, but one person in particular stands out as the ideal replacement. Jeff Mangum, who previously served on the Poway Unified School District Board of Trustees, has stated he will run. I suggest that we all unite behind him from the beginning. We can’t possibly find a better replacement than Jeff to meet the needs of the City of Poway today.
As a school board member, Jeff was tested with the toughest fiscal challenges local government entities have faced. Many school districts failed the test (think San Diego Unified) while Poway passed with flying colors. Virtually everyone who worked closely with the board and with Jeff admires his work and exemplary leadership through these difficult times. Poway is still recognized as one of the top school districts in the country. Such recognition doesn’t come without steady, sustained leadership at the board level.
During most of his tenure on the school board, Jeff served as the board liaison with the City of Poway, finding ways to collaborate and work together to solve community problems. His efforts are one of the main reasons why the collaboration between the city and the school district is the envy of other local governments. It also means Jeff understands the city and its needs.
Penny Riley and her staff are doing a great job of managing the city. But the loss of redevelopment agency revenues, combined with future economic stagnation present huge challenges to our future — challenges similar to those Jeff battled with the school district. They are complicated, with far-reaching implications. No one else who has expressed an interest in running comes close to being as qualified to deal with these issues as Jeff Mangum.
So here is my simple proposal. Let’s put egos aside for this November’s election and let’s all work together to elect Jeff Mangum to the Poway City Council. If you are thinking about taking out papers in July or know someone else who is considering doing so, stop (or stop them). Before taking out papers take time to meet with Jeff Mangum and discuss the challenges the city currently faces and what it will take to meet and overcome them. You’ll be impressed by his humility, his honesty and his acumen and you’ll learn why so many people trust him. Afterward, if you honestly believe you can do it better, then go for it. We all embrace the democratic process. But if, in all honesty, you can’t really offer a better alternative, then put the old ego aside, choose what’s best for our city, and help elect Jeff.
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