Mailbag: Advice for City Council candidates

It's been kind of quiet here in Glendale the last year, with developers too broke to fire up the neighborhood associations with mega-anything and the idiots in Bell stealing all the prime headlines.

Rumors are beginning to circulate about City Council candidates testing the waters, and you can almost feel the anticipation. Maybe it's more of an odor. I have never had a seat at the table in any of those back rooms I've heard about, though, so I won't have any worthwhile gossip to share.

But I can tell you that I won't be one of the candidates this time. Our little girl will come to our family right about the time that shoes are supposed be hitting the pavement, so I will be a little preoccupied.

I do have a wish list though. Not so much about political positions or where someone should stand on any particular issues, but about character. The kinds of things you should ask yourself before you ask anyone to sign your petitions.

And a little advice. Not that it's worth much, but the price is right.

If the notion of getting a seat on the City Council is your idea, it probably isn't a very good one. If someone you respect hasn't asked you to consider the office, you probably haven't done anything noteworthy enough to deserve it. I am little tired of the same old candidates whose sole ambition is vanity.

If you used to be on the council and have been on vacation for a while, be prepared to tell us all the admirable things you have been doing for the city without the benefit of a plaque upon which your name is carved. Being on the City Council should be an extension of your commitment to public service, part of what you do every day. It should not be the only thing you think you could be good at. Or deserve.

If you ran an unsuccessful bid for council (and there were quite a few of us), show us you were a good loser and didn't just give up on Glendale because we didn't want you. I lost better than just about any other candidate, but still kept up the good fight and had good company serving with me on the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council.

Show us your character and not your ego.

If you are on the council, be prepared to tell us why you really want to keep torturing yourself. You know how rough the job is and yet you still want to do it. You are either a saint or a sociopath. Just give us a hint.

Do your homework. Government is complicated, much more than you might think. Take a non-elected city official out for a drink. Three drinks. Pick their brain and tell them everything is off the record. Employees want to be proud of where they work and can be a great resource for helping you make that happen.

Subscribe to the various newsletters purporting to have the inside scoop on everything, do a quick search for your name, and if nothing shows up, drag it to the trash. They serve a purpose, but they get an awful lot wrong. Like how they should have set up shop in Bell instead of Glendale. I guess my name will be in the next one.

Don't take accounting lessons from Herbert Molano. He's interesting and engaging, but he will insist that you drink the Kool-Aid, and he will turn on you when you don't. Mike Mohill will be right once in a while, and it will surprise you. And Margaret Hammond knows where all the bodies are buried, if anyone would stop to listen.

Glendale is a great place to live and could be even better. Try not to screw it up.

Michael Teahan


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