Editorial

We would hardly have any quarrel with someone who would use a lesser

office such as city council or school board as a springboard to bigger

and better things.

That simply is how politics works, and probably for good reason, as

those who learn the rough and tumble world of deal-making and

consensus-building at the lower levels often have an easy transition onto

the bigger stage.

But in the case of Costa Mesa Councilwoman Karen Robinson, who has

announced her candidacy to be a write-in candidate for the troubled seat

of Judge Ronald Kline, we can't help but wince in amazement.

It was only a little more than a year ago that Robinson, a political

neophyte with no citywide name recognition, knocked out incumbent Heather

Somers by a razor-thin margin and, along with Chris Steel, became one of

two fresh faces on the Costa Mesa City Council.

That change was a fortunate one. Somers, herself once a feisty

activist, had become, to many, an ineffective and unresponsive

representative.

Bigger than that, though, was the state of the city itself. Commercial

and housing development issues, as well as the continuing cries to repair

the decay of the Westside, had made Costa Mesa a firestorm of civic

activism and council criticism.

A year later, those problems still exist. So we must admit we are a

bit dismayed to see Robinson, now just learning the craft of city

government, raise her hand to leave in the thick of the battle.

There's much too much to do and too many reasons to stay.

First, of course, is her commitment to Costa Mesa residents. When

Robinson was elected, they elected her to a four-year term, not a year

and a half.

Residents here elected her to become fluent in local matters and

issues, to represent them well and improve this city, not be on the

lookout for the next opportunity that pops up.

The next reason to stay is the stability of the council itself. With

longtime Councilman Gary Monahan opting to return to private life, Steel

facing felony charges that could force him from his seat, and Mayor Linda

Dixon up for reelection, there is the potential of having as many as four

new faces on the council come November.

Finally, Robinson should take a look at the field of write-in

candidates. There are as many as eight candidates, including former Daily

Pilot columnist Gay Geiser-Sandoval. That many candidates can only serve

to weaken the field opposing Kline, who just last week was arrested on

suspicion of child molestation and is also facing earlier charges of

being in possession of child pornography.

Kline needs to be defeated, but Robinson's chances of doing so are

pretty slim, by most accounts.

So instead we urge Robinson to make a choice.

Either she should be honest with her Costa Mesa constituents, let them

know that she no longer has an interest in representing them and step

down now to let them find someone who does.

Or, the better answer -- and the one we favor -- is to acknowledge

there will be plenty more opportunities to be a judge down the road.

To that end, we urge her to end this write-in candidacy idea. Instead

she should fulfill her four-year commitment to the residents of this town

who voted for her.

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