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
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.