Calhoun’s Can(n)on, The Bay News, January 4, 06
Old New Year
I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions long ago. Too many are easily made and just as easily broken, usually by February 4th. But I sure did have some New Year’s Wishes, all either broken by now or pipe dreams in the first place. But, here goes:
The first was a wish that everyone in Los Osos would stop suing the new CSD Board until the dust on this train wreck had settled long enough to figure out who the players were. But no such luck. Taxpayers Watch (a group self-identified as being composed of several recalled Board members, among others, and in this case, Joyce Albright specifically) has filed a lawsuit that, among other things, demands that the individual new CSD “ . . . Board members be held personally liable to repay the monies wasted as a result of their thoughtless and wasteful decisions . . . .” Uh, considering how many gazillions the recalled Board deliberately pounded into the ground only weeks before a critical election, I have to agree with Ms. Albright’s accusation, but I have to conclude that she’s aiming it at the wrong Board.
For even more delicious irony, Ms. Albright’s suit expresses outrage at legal settlements made “without cause or legitimate rationale,” and paid out to what she characterizes as the new Board’s “political cronies.” Then, at the bottom of her petition, she asks for – you got it – all attorney’s fees and costs, including, I have no doubt, settlement monies, should the case come to that.
Well, starting out the New Year with full employment for attorneys was inevitable. It’s what happens after train wrecks. Take a number. Get in line. Next stop: Ironyville.
After reading a recent Op/Ed piece by John C. Phillips, a professor of crop science at Cal Poly, I had a fervent wish that we SLO Folks would wake up and smell the rutabagas.
All over California we’re plowing under incredibly valuable cropland to plant houses, relying on cheap oil and energy to get us cheap food from Chile or China. Naturally, we’re heedless of what will happen when the oil runs out and we’re left with no cropland to grow food locally and will find, to our dismay, it’s pretty hard to eat a house. Mr. Phillips’ modest proposal suggested that the good citizens of this county should tax themselves a few shekels to purchase Mr. Dalidio’s Madonna Road drop-dead-gorgeous black bottomland and have it leased out to be farmed organically (avoid excess nitrate runoff and toxic sprays), thereby allowing us to have our own little locally grown, farmers’ market food source right here instead of in Paraguay.
I would also add a ditto for all that rich, yummy, high-grade soil running up Los Osos Valley. Surely we could agree that for Homeland Security’s sake, we’d be better off collectively saving that bottom land to grow broccoli instead of inedible “ranchettes?”
I know. It’ll never happen. We’ve lost all sense of the long-term value of The Public Commons, a failure of vision that we will pay dearly for in our race for the quick buck.
And so, to finish off my short but hopeless List, I futilely wished that a good start to the New Year would be that the following statement from Laurie Zoloth, professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, which appeared in a Dec. 23 L.A. Times Op/Ed piece, be made a centerpiece for ALL our political, legal, scientific, journalistic, business, financial, regulatory, and voter-led and/or governmental decisions: “ . . . Tell the truth, always, we teach students, withhold nothing from your data. It is a categorical imperative for science and indeed for all societies. It comes from Immanuel Kant, whose early writing on truth in the new discipline of science shaped what we teach as core questions in bioethics: What can I know? How ought I to act? For what can I hope? Bioethicists cannot reflect on complex moral issues without a truthful narrative. Policy makers cannot regulate without good facts. The public cannot know what to hope for if it cannot know what is real.”
Do you suppose that simple mandate is too much to hope for in a new year? All we need do to make it so is . . . to make it so. After all, that’s what successful resolutions are all about, aren’t they?