Oops! ‘My mistake’

If you file papers to run for an election, make sure you know what papers the public can see.

At least, that was the lesson Charles Gilcrest, who is running for a San Leandro City Council seat, learned this week.

On a ballot designation worksheet, which is available for the public to view at City Hall, Gilcrest wrote that, as an alternative to being designated on the ballot as a local business owner, he would have liked to be designated as “The Best Choice.”

Each candidate is required to write in how he wants to be designated on the ballot, and the form states that the designation

must be your prinicipal profession, vocation or occupation and may be no more than three words.

If the first designation doesn’t make it, then the candidate can put in two alternatives.

So it looks like if “local business owner” wasn’t suitable enough, “The Best Choice” was the next best thing for Gilcrest.

His reason: It was supposed to be an inside joke between he and the city clerk.

“I figured she might tell us that none of us could use commissioner on the ballot,” Gilcrest said in a phone interview Monday. (He also is a Board of Zoning Adjustments commissioner.) “And I figured the (candidate) statement itself was public, but not the worksheet. My mistake.”

The irony in this Freudian slip is that no other candidate who turned in papers for the election made this same mistake. And Gilcrest is a political consultant who has worked on numerous elections, so you would think he knows better.


  • craig

    The next question we and the journalist might ask is “how well do we know the candidates and their positions on issues?”With what political scientists call political IQ, people in 1920 knew as much if not more about politics than people know today. This at a time when maybe a third of the population go to college and we live in the so called information age.
    Locally the political parties are very weak, some political scientists would say that’s because we have a candidate centered system where interest groups contoll the party.
    Local TV stations also keep citizens in the dark. Covering 80 or so cities and towns in places like the Bay Area and having a fondness for crime stories , most folks who get their news through TV are likely to get “no local coverage,” from local TV news,unlike TV’s very boastful but maybe Orwellian like, actual motto of “complete local coverage.”
    Charles is a good guy in my opinion, I think he’ll run a relatively good campaign.
    A futuristic thing we might be able to do in a decade or two would be to purchase the domain name http://www.sanleandroelections.org and then allow all candidates to ‘steam’ their reason for running and their priority issues.Perhaps a bright ‘techie’ will advocate something like this. Signs all over the city “complete local election information” http://www.sanleandroelections.org.
    My site http://www.developingdemocracy.com also addresses this issue but has been coldly rejected by school and elected officials.
    We all, in theory ,love democracy and support campaign finance reform, to mix a Sorjourer Truth “Ain’t this campaign finance reform.”