Calhoun’s Ca(n)nons , The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, For Sept 28, 06
Tin Ears & Price Tags
To be persuasive, we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful.
Edward R. Murrow.
When I read in the Tribune that Los Osos CSD board member Julie Tacker had been hired by developer Jeff Edwards on Sept 1 to work as “an environmental-permit consultant on his estimated 12-development projects . . ,”one of which includes possible plans for locating one of his huge projects at the Tri-W property, what immediately came to mind was a scene from Robert Bolt’s play, A Man For All Seasons.
In it, Richard Rich, a former student of Sir Thomas More, has perjured himself before the King’s council, thereby ensuring More’s death sentence. As he’s leaving the chamber, More asks about the new chain of office Richard is wearing and is told that Sir Richard was appointed Attorney-General for Wales. To which, More replies, “Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . But for Wales!”
But for Wales? Caesar’s Wife knew, in her cunning political bones, that not only does one have to actually BE above suspicion, but one must APPEAR to be above suspicion. This is especially important in a community full of hidden agendas, shadow players and many, many long knives. A tin-ear will cost an elected official dearly, and the case of Ms. Tacker, raises the same question Sir More posed: What consultancy fee could possibly be high enough to compensate for what will be lost?
Well, Los Osos, like Wales, is a small potatoes place and prices for things like “reputations” are bound to come pretty cheap.
But, Ms. Tacker’s new consulting job does carry with it some comic possibilities. Jeff Edwards is running for the CSD Board. Should he get elected, think of all the delightful Alphonse & Gaston routines of The Jeff & Julie Abstention/Recusal/Conflict-of-Interest Show. Not to mention the awkward reality of a Boss and His Employee both pretending that their relationship doesn’t present very real ethical questions about their ability to freely make independent decisions – a vital requirement for any elected Board members.
On a more serious note, Ms. Tacker’s new employment is a perfect illustration of just why this community needs to stay awake. We are surrounded by chaparral, thick, dense and filled with critters you can hear skittering around but often can’t see. It’s the same in our little human community. There’s so many busy little fingers stuck into so many pies, so many hidden agendas at work, so many foxes, so many chicken coops, so many vested interests and sly thumbs-on-the-scale that it’s easy for the community as a whole to be forgotten in all the rustling self-interested busyness.
While The County has now taken over the sewer project, only a complete fool would think that this town is “saved.” It isn’t. The same Sewer Players who set in motion a series of wrong choices and missed opportunities that culminated in the Sewer Train flying off the cliff are all back at work driving spikes and laying new track.
And the people in this community who snoozed in their Barcaloungers, knew but didn’t want to know, swallowed horse-pucky as truth, and spin as fact that resulted in a profoundly dangerous disengagement that allowed the train wreck to happen, are showing signs of getting sleepy again.
Big mistake. With a CSD election coming up, work beginning on the new sewer project, the formation of a septic management plan that could help the Regional Water Quality Control Board consider a much smarter phased-in approach to septic tank mitigations instead of community-wide CDOs, it is absolutely vital that everyone in Los Osos pay attention!
There are powerful vested interests working in the shadows to make sure that you get what they want. So, it’s time to connect the dots, follow the money, get to know the players, make sure you know that the person you’re voting for has a track record of actually saying what they mean and meaning what they say, and, above all, Dear and Gentle Reader, you’d better make sure that all of you insist -- loudly and in huge numbers -- that everybody better get their sneaky little fingers off the scales and allow The County-Promised Process to work honestly and fairly.
If you don’t, you’ll get exactly what someone else decides to give you. Again. Then you’ll get the bill. And it’ll be a doozie.