Personally, I am never in favor of someone who has been on a city council or school board and lost or quit, running again. Give someone else a chance. Besides been there, done that, what possible new ideas could retreads bring?
In Tuesday’s city council election, there were two candidates who fit this description that I know of. Betty Tom Chu won in Monterey Park (after having served previously on the city council) and Bob Low of Covina.
I was fascinated with Bob Low’s victory in particular. He served on the City Council for 12 years, from 1978 to 1990. And has never served since. There are seniors graduating from Covina High School that never lived a day in Covina with Low in office. Yet, he won a seat Tuesday capturing 15.1 percent of the vote, enough to take the third seat, despite being outspent by other candidates (there were eight running) by a margin of 100-to-1, he says.
“I spent less than $200,” he said, not including the cost of his ballot statement. The number of campaign pieces he mailed out? Zero. This kind of frugality fits Low’s watchdog message of reducing taxes, fees and doing a better job spending the ones in place.
Low is a late-blooming anti-tax crusader. He was opposed to the city’s utility tax that was passed by the voter last year. This time, he focused on open government issues and one of his long-held mantras, improving the city library. “The library facilities are atrocious,” he told me, not mincing words. He fully believes the city can refurbish and or expand the library and staff the expansion. He points to cities of Monterey Park and Monrovia as two examples.
Low may be untypical of the retread phenomenon that often doesn’t work out. He is not here to rejoin the City Council, but to oppose them. Every city needs a counter voice. Maybe Low is a different kind of retread. Time will tell.