A Los Ososian made a comment at the last CSD meeting that got me to thinking. He wondered aloud at public comment Where are the Dissolvers and Dreamers and anti-Recallers and pro Tri-W Sewer folk? Why don’t they come to the public CSD meetings? Where’s their public input into this community? Instead of suing the community, why don’t recalled CSD Boardmembers Stan Gustafson and Gordon Hensley come to a public meeting and explain in public their reasons for doing what they are doing? Where are the people who signed the Dissolution Petitions? Why don’t they come to a public meeting and explain in public why they think dissolving the CSD will allay their fears and solve their concerns. And so forth.
And I thought later, He’s right. Where IS everybody? Oh, sure, for a while, a few folks showed up for public comment to announce they were passing petitions to dissolve the CSD. And sure, a few folks would get up a public comment period to denounce the newly elected CSD as wrongheaded evil spawns of Hell. Probably the longest running Denouncer was Joyce Albright (part of Taxpayers’ Watch, the group suing the CSD and supporting (behind?) the Dissolution Group). Like clockwork, she could be counted on to read her carefully polished little masterpieces of purest vitriol into the record in a lady-like voice of sweet reasonableness. The effect was always startlingly funny, like seeing Queen Elizabeth in one of her flowery summer hats swearing like a sailor at a bunch of bureaucrats in her Oxonian plumy U.C. voice. Joyce’s efforts were always a delightful startlement. But I haven’t seen her at meetings recently so maybe even she’s stopped her performances. And the CSD meetings have now returned to civil quietude again. Oh darn.
Instead, it appears that what we have is what CSD Chairperson referred to as a Shadow Government – people unwilling to engage in the public marketplace of ideas, the public forum, the public process. Instead, they are quietly, privately, working to destroy the very system of governance that many of them both helped create and fully supported until that system didn’t give them what they wanted. Then, instead of engaging publicly and politically – another recall, running a slate of “pro-county” candidates for November’s upcoming election, starting initiatives to repeal Measure B, for example, or an initiative to separate the CSD’s control over Sewers in order to return that function to the county, and so forth – their response is to smash down the house entirely.
What’s also of interest is that they decided to bring down the house only weeks after the recall election. Why that’s interesting is that the recall supporters remained fully engaged in the Loyal Opposition process for years – Lord, who can forget the years of their public engagement at meetings, public debate during public comment time? They ran alternative candidates and won seats and finally they engaged in the system via the recall and initiative process. At no time did the Recallers ever move to destroy Home Rule, even though they, like the Dissolvers, felt that Home Rule was running amok.
Which means, of course, that the Dissolvers are, at heart, anti-democratic. They do not trust the process of democracy. And when The Public makes decisions with which they disagree, then The Public must be removed from the process. And one way to do that quickly is to shut down the process entirely.
To folks who view themselves as the rightful heirs of governance, the notion that governmental power derives from the people, is a profoundly disturbing notion. The unwashed, unhorsed, and unbooted simply cannot be allowed to operate the reins of government.
There is a great deal of irony at work here for the Dissolvers. Insofar as their flyer falsely conflates eliminating the threat of the Cease & Desist Orders with dissolution and rejoining the county, the public who believed that conflation were profoundly misled. Everyone who signed the petition thinking that was the case needs to view the tape of the Feb. 15th. Informational meeting of the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s CDO Prosecution Staff. The question was asked directly and answered directly:
Does the dissolution of the CSD have any effect on the CDOs? NO.
Does the County have a project or any plans for a project? NO, we have no knowledge of any project or plans the county has.
Well, it’s not the first time the public’s been lied to by slick techniques mastered by Madison Avenue. But for even more irony, it’s hard to beat the fact that the CSD recently was granted Designated Status, which means they will be legally entering this CDO hearing as an active, informed, knowledgeable participant – a mother hen able to spread her governmental wings to act both as point man (point chicken?) and sheltering cover for her 45 following little chicks.
By signing the dissolution petitions, the other 4,500 sitting ducks (everyone else in town, all of us in the prohibition zone fully in the cross hairs of the RWQCB) are attempting to remove the only protection they have in order to flee into the arms of an indifferent County who not only doesn’t want it’s red-haired stepchild, but has never shown any history of caring what happens to any of us out here.