Op-Ed: Voting (and the March 7th Upcoming Elections)


Op-Ed: Voting (and the March 7th Upcoming Elections)

Ari Bussel

Why is it important to vote?

Some of us prefer to vote by mail.  Many are “absentee voters.”  Once we receive the ballot, normally within the next few days we mail back the ballot, and thus we have completed our civic duty.

Some of us prefer to vote in person.  We like to take our kids or grandkids along, so that they, too, will learn that this is something important, positive, and worthwhile.

They get a sticker (reading “I voted” or with the American flag), sometime a cookie and most often an encouraging smile from the volunteers at the polling place.

But most of us neglect to vote.  We do not know the candidates (especially the judges) or the measures, and we really do not care.

Thus, we see miserable voter turnout and we hear constant complaints:  “We do not like this, we do not like that.”

We take voting, like so many other privileges and freedom, for granted.  We should not.  It is a great honor and privilege to vote, so we should exercise it to the fullest.

The City of Beverly Hills

vera_001On March 7th, in the City of Beverly Hills, eight candidates are running for three open seats on the City Council.

The term is four years.  There are five members of the City Council, and mayorship is by rotation.  Serving on the Council quickly turns out to a full time job that only pays a very humble honorarium.

The Council has three employees:  City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney.  All other people work for the City Manager (i.e. Police, Fire and all other departments).  There is only one other elected official in the City Government (as separate from the School District) and that is the City Treasurer.

Beverly Hills is unique is very many ways, but for us it is unique for it is one safe haven of Israel support.  It is a beacon of light, a “sanctuary city” for all things-Israel.

Where in other places anti-Israel venom is commonplace, poisoning the minds and hearts of people, not so in Beverly Hills.

The Council stands with Israel in good times and in bad.  It is unanimous in its support.  It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel (similar to the MOU signed between Israel and California), and has already held day long conferences on Water and Cyber Security.

The Orthodox Candidate

Among the candidates, one is called the “Orthodox Candidate.”  Vera Markowitz, a fifty year resident of Beverly Hills, has been featured in our Jewish Home LA November 3rd, 2016 issue.  For many years, Vera could be seen standing in line at Schwartz Bakery on Pico on Friday mornings.  A friend and member of Beth Jacob and Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, Vera is a relatively “newcomer” to politics, but not to Jewish causes and communal organizations and activities.

Vera promises to be the residents’ voice on the Council, a “peacemaker”-conciliator.  Having ran her husband’s practice (Dr. Harold Markowitz), Vera understands the fine line between running a business and caring for patients, becoming involved and part of her “clients’” lives.  She has done it for decades, now she intends to do so on the Council.

For those of us in Beverly Hills, go out and vote.  Consider giving one of your three votes to Vera.  It is easy to remember:  VOTE VERA * VISION * VALUES.

Values.  Integrity.  Wisdom.  Ancient wisdom (we all call Judaism).

For all others, go out and vote.  But do something extra – urge your family or friends who might live in Beverly Hills to vote for Vera.

Why is it important?  Because it will send a signal that our community cares, and that we can spring to action when needed.  Vera is already called “The Orthodox Candidate.”  Let us make all of us proud, by justifying this label.  Let us make sure Vera gets elected in the upcoming March 7th Elections!

The leap from talk to action can easily be done, but we need to do it.  Let us try with something seemingly so simple like a local election in one city.  For if we do not succeed here, how can we hope to stand against much greater challengers, such as BDS or the planned anti-Israel activities for “50 years of Occupation” (what we will be celebrating as the 50 years for the reunification of our eternal capital, the City of Jerusalem)?

To contact Vera (she calls back!) or to learn more, please visit:  vera4bh.com