The Santa Ramona election for Mayor takes place from June 6 to 9am June 9. Nominations close this Monday at 8am.
To help people make their mind up as to whether to run or not, the Chronicles spoke to three previous mayors, Carlita Brucato-Angel (referred to at the time as Carly), Roman Ramirez and Chiara Villanova, three very different individuals with three very different stories.
The three very different stories revealed a city that is very divided, a division that perhaps still exists today. Despite the rebuilding that took place during the evacuation of the city, the distinction between Northside and Southside remain as obvious as ever.
But the fact that the three are so very different reveals the first bit of advice to a potential candidate: you don’t have to be a stereotypical politician to stand and win.
We asked each of them what motivated them to stand, what they thought they did right in the campaign and their opponents did wrong, the problems they faced and what they thought they’d achieved.
All three were motivated, in their own ways, by a desire to help the city. Carlita Brucato-Angel wanted to break what she saw as the dominance of mobsters over the everyday citizens, Roman Ramirez wanted to bring stability and a safer city for his newly-born son, and Chiara Villanova wanted to end the polarization of politics in the city and be a voice for the people.
Both Roman Ramirez and Chiara Villanova attribute their success to getting out and talking to the voters. Carlita Brucato-Angel attributed her success to promising change, with the slogan “Morning in Santa Ramona”.
All three listed mistakes their opponents made, though in the case of two of them, Roman Ramirez and Chiara Villanova, their opponents were the previous incumbents attempting re-election. In each of these cases they thought the record of the incumbent played a major role in their failure to get re-elected, though Ramirez also thought the descent into personalities of his opponent played a role.
Carlita Brucato-Angel, who faced several opponents, thought the major error made in the campaign was the refusal of one of them to participate in the candidates’ debate unless his armed bodyguard was let into the room. She thinks his belief that he was above the law cost him.
Their main advice to candidates is, again, all different, but they don’t contradict one another. Carlita Brucato-Angel advises that you should explain why people should vote for you, what makes you different, and show what you can do for each person, Northside and Southside. Roman Ramirez advises you should get out there and meet people, and learn from them. There are, he says, a lot of diverse people in Santa Ramona. Chiara Villanova advises avoiding making it all about you, try to see the good points in what anyone is pushing for. But learn to say no.
And Ramirez also advises against smearing your opponents. Focus on the issues. The more you focus on trying to discredit your opponent, he points out, the more you look threatened and lose focus on what you want to say.
As far as actually being mayor is concerned, Carlita Brucato-Angel faced a police strike, supported by the then Chief of Police – now the Sheriff – for almost the whole of her period of office. Brucato-Angel feels this helped get the Chief of Police’s husband elected as the next Mayor, and consequently feels her achievement of the establishment of the Police Oversight Commission was somewhat diminished by its subsequent composition of the Mayor, the Sheriff and the District Attorney.
Roman Ramirez says his major problem was inheriting a city divided, but that his main achievement was stability. Chiara Villanova describes as her major problem the evacuation of the city for a lot of her period of office, but that, nevertheless, she got the potholes filled.
So there you have it, the pluses and minuses of standing for Mayor, and the pluses and minuses of actually winning. Nominations close on Monday May 24 at 8am.
If you have opinions about issues in the election, please send them into the Chronicles ((IC notecard to VenusMari Zapedzki)) and we’ll publish the most interesting and relevant ones