Flushes & Flourishes
If the Tribune can offer editorial Bouquets & Brickbats, then here’s my Flushes & Flourishes on the Hideous Los Osos Sewer Wars & Recall:
Flushes to the ousted CSD Board members who deliberately put the recall vote off as long as possible, deliberately chose to destroy the Tri-W site trees and dig up as much dirt as possible, deliberately turn-keyed ripping up as many streets as possible in order to pound as much of the community’s money into the ground before the election. They were heedlessly, imprudently and arrogantly gambling that the recall would fail and all would be well. They lost that bet, but unfortunately for the taxpayers, they were gambling with your money. So, now you’ll pay big time to clean up a train wreck that didn’t have to happen in the first place. The big, stupid, ugly, wasteful mess left at the Tri-W site should be bronzed and left to serve as a visual monument to these directors’ lack of prudent common sense and absolute contempt for this community.
Flushes to Supervisor Bianchi who went on the air to mislead her constituents on the supposed rapid take over of the project by the county should the recall be successful. Her political ads clearly implied that it would be a simple, no-time-lost matter, so don’t bother to support the recall because it will make no difference. Ms. Bianchi shamefully “forgot” to let her constituents know just how long and complicated a process such a County “take over” actually would be, even IF the voters approved and even IF county engineering signed off on the project, which they have not. In addition to A Flush, Ms. Bianchi will be required to write on the blackboard 100 times Edward R. Murrow’s dictum: “To be persuasive, we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful.”
Flushes to whoever designed and ran the Save the Dreamer’s various ad campaigns. Los Osos was a community of citizens in desperate need of accurate information on a very complex issue. You treated us as if we were marks to be spun and manipulated by clever Madison Avenue advertising tricks, false information and snappy slogans in order to be manipulated into buying a shoddy box of overpriced of soap. The ethical standards behind that post-card mailer threatening totally phony THIRTY FIVE FOOT TALL STRIP MALLS AT THE TRI W SITE EEEK WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! showed me everything I needed to know about the rest of the “truth” you were telling me to “trust.”
Flushes to the Tribune. They found the time and money to run a three day, wall-to-wall, pages-and-pages long detailed story about a movie star who’s been dead for fifty years, but couldn’t manage even one in-depth look at the root causes behind the recall, not to mention keeping their readers apprised of all the deferred and hidden costs on the proposed sewer project that so many in the community still remain in the dark about, even after the election.
Huge World-Sized Flushes to the 34% of the registered voters who didn’t even bother to vote. What was the problem? Was the little pencil stub used to mark in the ballot sheet bubbles too heavy to pick up?
Flourishes to the many people who did the heavy lifting required to even qualify a recall and an initiative for the ballot. Such instruments of self-governance are deliberately constructed so as to be extremely difficult in order to discourage frivolous attempts. People hate recalls – hate ‘em – so the fact that this one actually made the ballot should have been the warning bell to our CSD that something was going seriously wrong with this project and their governance. A good civic project, even an impossibly expensive one, does not need threats and intimidation and hype and lies and spin to move forward. And a trusted Board will not face a successful ballot-box challenge.
It is unfortunate that the vote margin was so slim and the community remains divided, but the size of that margin was entirely up to the voters. Which is what the recall and sewer initiative was all about in the first place: Giving the community a voice in a matter that will have a direct impact on their lives for years to come. So, a huge flourish for our democratic processes. As messy and horrible as they so often are, they actually work as intended.