Posted under That's Life Columns
Some people can be educated. I don’t mean brainwashed, I mean taught by exposing them to facts, principles, and mathematical rules. Obviously some can’t or choose to remain ignorant.
In Dixon, we have this insidious element of control freak politicians who are very good at what they do. Rather than looking at a specific issue, they bring in other elements which only peripherally have something to do with the observed problem. Such has occurred over the last two council meetings. This is designed to confuse the issue, to dupe the dummies who are naive and can’t understand how a shell game works.
Last night, we were looking at our garbage company on three specific issues: rates, recycling, and street sweeping. The staff report was a cheerleading effort for the company, touting all the wonderful things they do for our community as volunteers. While it may be appreciated by many, the acceptance of their “gifts” help some ignore overcharging, paying for more than is needed, forcing you to pay for a service you don’t want, and with street sweeping a little bit of all of that. All I can say to that is to use a term from the past which has seemingly gone to the wayside: SUCKER!!!
For those of you politically opposed to me who thought that I was going to control this council with the addition of Thom Bogue, you must be pleasantly surprised. If all it takes for Thom to vote for something or to establish a position is to help him out on something of personal interest to him like the Teen Center, I guess I need to put my overalls on and volunteer to drop a transmission or two for him for free.
Maybe I should volunteer to wax his “beater” truck. That would be as applicable to determining correct rates on fees throughout the city for permits as his logic in defending contracts that are out of whack on the basis of the company’s charity work. So Thom doesn’t get it. But do you?
Some would like smaller trash containers with smaller corresponding charges. Isn’t that what we did for our sewer charges based on usage? Yes, some are now paying more but they are paying for what they are using instead of being subsidized by those who use less. That isn’t a conceptual, moral or principle based problem unless you are a socialist. Even this is an aside.
The real issue was the monthly rate being charged. There was a 33% reduction in dumping fees to the company. This supposedly amounts to a $1.50 per month reduction. Yet Dixon saw no reduction. When asked for an explanation, they (Scott Pardini) told the council that there were a number of other charges that countered this reduction. Let’s look at this concept alone.
How is it that Recology told us that there was a 1.7% drop in the cost of living index which does not allow them to raise rates, yet they are now telling us that their costs were up by $1.50 prior to receiving the notice that their disposal rates were going down by that much. If you are able to absorb that much in profit reduction, you must have a pretty hefty profit margin to begin with.
In addition, they had the notorious non-cash expense of depreciation in this calculation. I asked the question, “are the costs of replacing the vehicles included in the rates or do you pay cash then raise rates?” The question was answered by saying that if a truck is needed they go out and purchase it. The fact that the depreciation expense is included in the calculations says the opposite.
The nonsense on recycling is more of the same. The worry from our liberal fascist boss on the dais is that we will have to abandon the program if we allow everyone who wants to opt out to do so. I say that we need to see how many people actually want to opt out. If the program isn’t viable at a reasonable cost after this is done, then simply to force your liberal progressive agenda on the rest of us is morally and constitutionally wrong and the program needs to be ended.
Finally we have the street sweeping issue. If we put it out to bid, we get the citizens the lowest possible cost. How should we pay for it? Do we take it out of the general fund which is the recipient of the 10% franchise fee, tax, bribe, inducement to allow Recology to act as a monopoly or do we ask the citizens to pay a second time or in addition to what they are already paying?
As usual this comes back to budgetary issues. What is the reason we don’t have a balanced budget? Is it because of the employees who enjoy the higher pay given to them by previous councils at the behest of the ex-city manager who touts keeping the same system? Being accused of making the employees my whipping post by the ex-vice mayor must be true unless you can give me an alternative reason for our looming bankruptcy.
Now the question remains, am I off base on any three of these issues? How is it that once again I heard little from my comrades, my supposed team? Yet I heard plenty of defense coming from a mayor who accepts large campaign contributions from the company.
It is discouraging when you know you are right, can prove you are right, but can’t get anything done because your colleagues would rather feel warm and fuzzy about a company than about those who elected them…
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One other thing from last night, the school district had a special meeting that no one knew about to correct holding a questionably noticed or conducted meeting of last Thursday supposedly to give the “citizens” another opportunity to address the board. How exactly do you accomplish this when no one knows or expects the meeting to occur?
In addition to that, the board was told that one of the items on the closed session agenda was incorrectly listed as a dismissal related to discipline when it was simply giving pink slips to 14 temporary employees because of budget constraints. You can’t hold a closed session on budget issues even if it is related to employee dismissal. The district’s excuse relayed through their demented delusional superintendent? It would be embarrassing to the employees to be named. They are public employees. Get over it.
We talk about transparency and trust, yet the district does its best at every turn to hide anything and everything from the public. In this, they get aided by outside well paid attorneys who write opinion letters at the behest and direction of staff to condone misconduct then back that up by getting county counsel (who wouldn’t know how to interpret the Brown Act if it bit them – see Fraser vs DUSD) to second the opinion. Dennis Bunting who sat as the judge in the Fraser case is now evidently training Carrie Scarlata who was just elected president of the Solano Bar Assn. in his “bad old boy” style of government.
What is so damn difficult in going beyond the requirements of the law to create trust? Why interpret every issue as something the public doesn’t need to know? As Mr. Rogers would have said, “can you say sunshine …”
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The previous council meeting actions has brought a few comments from the unintelligent as well as the outright ignorant. In some cases, both terms apply.
We approved “safe and sane” fireworks despite the disgruntled disapproval from the former fire chief who got the ban in placed to begin with. It didn’t look like the current chief was all that thrilled either. However 11 or more “non-profits” have now come out of the woodwork to wholeheartedly make the Fourth of July more traditional in its celebration.
Unfortunately for all involved, government in the form of the fire department wants to put in their draconian regulations to make it as difficult as possible for the free market to work. Limit the amount of booths, divvy up the proceeds, determine where appropriate locations are. I don’t remember the council giving them direction to do anything other than to design an ordinance. Evidently the control police aren’t stopping there with their cry baby attitudes.
From what I gathered at last night’s meeting from the carping of Warren Salmons, he believes I said both of us watched the immense roll of firecrackers being ignited alongside each other. I did not say that as that did not happen. What actually happened was my observing him outside his house from my second story window as the crackers exploded. The point was that as a city manager you would have thought he would have been on the phone to the gendarmes immediately for this grave violation of the law. As usual with Warren, the law was only a political tool to be used against his enemies or that of the council.
My final item for your consideration is who will be the negotiators for the city, and by city I do not mean city staff but rather the citizens of Dixon? No one has represented you in the past. Should it remain as the city manager? Salmons was down endorsing that too. Was it merely as personal validation for the suspect or outright financial debilitation of the city’s balance sheet by Salmons, something he has a hard time seeing through his miasma of self grandeur?
Not far behind him in buffoonery was Rick Fooler in his statements outright attacking a fellow councilman rather than addressing the issue which as an outright violation of Robert’s Rules of Order. I can excuse that as I understand his passion for his hierarchical former position in city government that clouds his duty to the citizens who elected him to protect their tax money. Once an employee pretty much always an employee no matter what Rick says to the contrary.
Then we have a James Goodland who makes some outrageous claims about sexism on my part. Put down the Kool-Aid buddy and drink some bottled water. Before you write any more letters to the editor, I suggest you get your facts straight and don’t substitute your delusional opinions for the same.
The fact of the matter is you won’t get a different result doing things the same way they have always been done. The fact is that the city manager has skin in this game no matter what my opponents say. The fact that anyone can be a negotiator is borne out by various books on the subject.
The final fact is you can be a sucker and buy into the lies, hypocrisy, and outright bull designed to confuse you or you can look at the results from the past. You can look at the impact on the salary of the negotiator if her subordinates have to take cuts. Most of all you only have to look at the quick vote on Local One’s contract after the last election results came in to determine whose side she is really on.
Ask yourself who is looking out for your, the citizen and taxpayer’s, best interest. It isn’t Jack Batchelor, Rick Fuller, nor was it Fluffster Cayler. It isn’t the city manager who did their bidding. That only leaves three left to choose from.
And one who can’t figure out whether he is a sucker or Darth’s brother …