Tired of the Mark Sanfords, Sarah Palins, Marion Barrys and Pedro Espadas? Try Elections the Fallbrook Way



By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

It is summer in Fallbrook.

I know this because the blue jays have stopped attacking other birds’ nests; no more freshly desecrated eggs stop me along the path to the laundry shed, to wonder at the efficiency of the swarming ant waste haulers. Instead, the ants now attempt to haul away the contents of my kitchen.

I know it is summer, because the brilliant fragrance of our spring has faded into the organic rot of drops beneath our trees.

[caption id="attachment_3635" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A Fallbrook lychee"]Lychee[/caption]

Exotic fruits from our microclimates abound, while we are admonished to conserve water, from which we filter the resentment of distant rivers that nurture our arid land.

Sere heat ripples the winding road ahead, browning our verdant hills and valleys, and summer is indeed upon us.

Our little Main Street plays host on hot Friday nights to appropriately-aged tipplers and classic cars, tasty tidbits from the kitchens of local eateries, chilis competing to produce the most fiery reaction (to hell with the County that rules our unincorporated land with disregard, insisting it’s all happening on Main "Avenue").

We have poolside barbeques and enjoy the fruits of Mexico’s cheap labor in our primly landscaped yards, while we spout unpruned slurs at those who dare drop brown babies in our fields — “invasion by birth canal,” one local yokel dubs it, surely afflicted by the delusion of sunstroke.

We hose the season’s dust from our air-conditioned vehicles, as large and as greedy as our wishes, while we decry the raucous herd of military helicopters overhead that prepare to battle terrorists — so we can feed our cars and have our apple pie, too.

The Citizens Crime Prevention Committee takes a break from hosting meetings of mostly white citizens who believe criminals are mostly brown aliens.

Unlicensed adolescents bemoan our boring-ass-redneck-nothing-to-do-town, while the Youth Prevention Group advises adults not to let our jaded teens take to drink. (Do you suppose they indeed want to prevent youth, with all its dratted problems — those darned hickeys, acne, toilet-papering the latest heartthrob’s front yard?)

Yes, I know it is summer in Fallbrook, when our overheated grove dogs chase their fleas with frenzied abandon, because it is campaign season for our honorary mayor, a thirty-six year staple in the Chamber of Commerce’s bag of fund-raising tricks, and the boldest of our local business owners step up to chase votes in the form of dollars. Politicians nationwide might give heed to Fallbrook’s electoral process.

HonoraryMayorThe Chamber declares it a “pure and clean system: The person who turns in the most money to the organization wins.”

But our candidates stand no chance of claiming a seat among an august body of decision makers. Instead, they vie for the opportunity to represent the Chamber at every ribbon cutting and mixer, every dedication and grand opening in town; they compete for voters’ dollars to lend their mayoral lips to every new concoction whipped up to heal or thin or moisten or calm or simply sate with the essential bounty of our groves; they eagerly sell votes to friends, family and countryfolk — $1 each or 6 for $5 — to secure an honorary ride in a parading car, with smile in tow and those little sideways beauty queen waves. And they do it all with passion, making not a single vaporous promise, but pitching their civic assets — and cleavage assets when they’re available.

The honesty of Fallbrook’s system is refreshing. If only our candidates for elected office would be so forthright — just write a check for the seat of choice, and the biggest contribution wins. We couldn’t do any worse than the crop of rotting incumbents who serve us now, and it would help pay down the nation’s deficit.

From Mark Sanford, the unfaithful governor of South Carolina, who repeatedly practices his mea culpa press conference — with cameras rolling — to Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, who would be presidential except even in her quitter’s speech she can’t embrace coherence, to Marion Barry, the former mayor and current Washington D.C. councilman, who awards a contract to his lover and tries to rescind it when she dumps him, to Pedro Espada, the New York State Senator, who sells his party affiliation to the highest bidder (if he’d just apply the concept to getting into office!).

So how about it? Transfer all those brimming campaign coffers right to the U.S. Treasury; scrap all the consultants and pollsters, all the phone banks and direct mail houses; and just give us the candidate with check in hand — décolletage, a nice bonus — and get on with the business of governing.

Love, K-B

©2009 Kit-Bacon Gressitt