Where have all the young, politically active people gone to in Ventura?

October 9, 2009

Or did they ever exist to begin with?

Aside from myself, some student camera people, and one or two stragglers, there didn’t seem to be a single person under the age of 50 at last night’s candidates forum at Ventura College.

The forum, hosted by the local branch of the League of Women Voters, was a question-and-answer panel between all 15 candidates for the Ventura City Council: 4 incumbents and 11 challengers.

It was well attended in the campus’ sizable Guthrie Hall, by the most dedicated, passionate members of our middle aged and senior citizen communities. Women sitting on either side of me were keeping what looked like scorecards on each candidate, scribbling down answers and notations, while exchanging some important, election-themed, whispered banter between themselves, listening intently to each word, each campaign promise, spoken by the 15-member panel.

Maybe evening classes were in session. Or maybe there was some party or downtown bar to be at. Whatever was the priority at hand, there were no young people at this forum to voice their opinion on how they want their city to be led.

It’s another bad sign that this is a terribly apathetic town. It’s a shame; for all of the issues facing Ventura this year, caring community involvement is what we need now.

We’ve faced millions of dollars in cuts leaving our city’s budget in the hole. The crime rate is not going down. Our homeless problem: it’s unacceptable to have so many people living on the streets.

Not to mention the fact that we have choice in so many matters because we’re allowed to vote, not just for four of 15 candidates, but for three ballot measures that will determine how much we pay in sales tax, how high our buildings can be built, and how large some corporate retailers can expand to.

There are voter registration tables set up at many of these forums for the younger residents who may not have done so. And there’s plenty of opportunity; the LWV is holding two more forums next week (Oct. 13 & 15) at the same location on campus.

Heck, at least stand in the back of the room and pretend like you care.

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