Remembering back to my days as a shop steward working at General Motors, my international rep told me that his boss complained about having to “put out the multitude of brushfires” rather than working on larger issues. Some of these brushfires need to be squelched before they turn into conflagrations. Others are simply devised to make the news. Then we have those created by those you have elected. Some people aren’t all that sharp, some are too indoctrinated to see certain issues clearly, and then we have those who are just outright enemies of the populace. Ever hear that phrase, “smile to your face then stab you in the back”…
As with most liberal “regressives” who just don’t get the message, the modus is to simply continue bringing something back until it is approved. I was looking forward to hearing new reasons from Gary Erwin as to why Dixon Downs should be resurrected and all I got was the same old tired bush chants. “It will be good for the schools.” “The crime element is overstated.” “It will be good for agriculture and support businesses.” “They pay a lot of taxes.” So what all of a sudden has got them all worked up over at the internet rag known as the Dixon Patch?
It seems that there is a movement afoot to buy the land in San Pablo by the University of California to build another facility along the lines of Livermore Laboratories, the nuclear experimentation adjunct to the university. So why wouldn’t Frank Stronach and crew want to relocate their racetrack to the land he owns in the northeast quadrant?
More importantly, before it was Steve Alexander against the world as the lone councilman who spoke out against the project. This time maybe there are two opponents. Those who favor this have Dane Besneatte who thought this was a great idea when it was first presented and Jack Batchelor as the delegated if not surreptitious mouthpiece of the Chamber of Commerce whose members supposedly endorsed the track unanimously. Another lie but that is besides the point.
First off, gambling is a non-productive venture. The house rakes off the top to pay wages and for their facilities, while the much lessened pot is then given back to the winners to lose again. It is a lot like taxes. Eventually there is nothing left to distribute as chunk after chunk is taken out. The only thing that perpetuates it is new suckers thinking they can beat the system. The only product produced is “entertainment” if losing money can be called that.
Second, the traffic problem still exists with a freeway of three lanes instead of four and no reliever lane. I stated the last time the Downs was an issue that although millions were spent on a less than accurate environmental impact report, the traffic study ignored impacts to the First Street overpass which was the front entrance to the facility.
Finally, in this short concise analysis, the people spoke in opposition to the idea. Erwin thinks it needs to be explained better. I think there are many better uses for that property than a racetrack. Let Magna put in a plant to build automobile body parts. Create jobs that pay people a living wage rather than taking their rent money from their pocket. While quality of life and what people think are important, there is a higher point of law that everyone forgets.
The owner of the land has the right to do what he wants with it given the limitations of zoning and land use, both of which are bureaucratic annoyances created by those who don’t own the land and feel they are more qualified to dictate how the land will be used than the actual owners. However, the landowner must mitigate any impacts his development will have on already existing landowners or users of public infrastructure. The bottom line is if you really don’t like the idea of a racetrack coming to town, you have two choices.
Move or litigate…
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Well, I hope the new vice mayor, Dane Besneatte, will be happy with his desired position. As promised, I relinquished the seat after only a year. It will be interesting to see the dynamic between BJ and Dane, both Rotarians and Chamber members. My bet is the contrary Dane will now become the acquiescent Dane or should I say BOB.
Much as many of you have been expressing your displeasure with Dane’s sonorous monologues reminiscent of Gil Vega’s dissertations about nothing, there seems to be a growing concern that Dane has drifted from his constitutional focus to just benefitting his buddies. I have noticed it but kept silent as the project in question is long overdue. I just expect Dane to fight for all projects just as hard, whether or not the personalities involved are familiar or not. I also expect some simple logic.
Drifting back to the last meeting of the council, it rather amazed me that both Dane and Thom Bogue supported Herb Cross’ personal opinion rather than that of the wastewater committee which did not. Dane attempted the lame argument that just because the committee did not support Herb that didn’t mean they supported lowering the compensation for water softeners. Maybe you should have talked to the ones who voted it down, Dane, just as I did.
The fact of the matter is that my solution of reducing the payment to $200 in cash and $200 as a credit on the person’s sewer bill from $300 and $300 while also slashing the money paid to plumbers for removal of the systems from $300 to $200 would have allowed the city to fund the removal of close to 75% of the suspected self regenerating salt discharging water softeners. The most we will achieve even with the new funding of $250,000 is around 50%. We have a meeting coming up with the State Water Quality Control Board early next year.
Thinking outside of the box is to re-examine your position going in. Dane’s position was we were kicking the can down the road and eventually we all are going to have to pay. Well don’t look for any solution, Dane, just go with your hand out to the citizens and tell them it couldn’t be prevented. Only problem with that is there is a big mouth on the council who also writes in the local paper who will tell the citizens the truth. From this aspect, Dane is no better than Jack or Rick Fooler … or Herb Cross.
But let’s not leave out Darth Bogue. Darth joined in the fun by suggesting we pay even more to people to remove these items. The $250,000 would be depleted twice as fast paying $400 instead of $200. Yet that fact seemed to escape the Thom who suggested reducing the sewer bill credit to $100. He thinks the money for the credit is coming from the same source. It isn’t.
The credit affects the operations fund. It means for a short period of time that $250,000 match will result in a loss in revenue to the fund. Luckily there is a healthy balance in this fund at this time. What it does not affect is the amount of units that will be pulled out and, in fact if we had listened to Bogue’s bull, we would have pulled even fewer units from service. The depletion of the fund itself will be just one more reason for consultants to ask for a rate increase.
The only reason I don’t mention BJ or Fooler’s arguments is that they have none. BJ blindly supports Cross. Fooler appears to be along for the ride and too fearful of losing the waiting list of individuals. Let me remind you what I said during the debate on the new city manager salary: “there will be plenty of applicants even with a starting range of $110 to $130K.”
Rather than listen to me, BJ insisted that the top end be raised to $140K. Does 57 applicants tell you something? Like you are still offering way more than necessary? No wonder Batchelor and Fuller don’t want me as a negotiator. They know nothing about the subject and are unwilling to learn, being the old dogs who are too lazy to learn new tricks.
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I was surprised that I got so much cooperation out of Batchelor and the others during the time we were discussing the city manager’s selection process. That should have raised any hair I have left on my head. But it was only a matter of time before the real meaning of cooperation could be felt right between my shoulder blades.
Is the fix already in? Could be. This is one of the reasons I asked that all of the applications be made available for councilman review. As I only expected that I would be the only one interested, I didn’t make it clear that this option was available for all councilmen’s advantage. The mayor felt it necessary to spell this out.
In the past, the council did not review all applications but took what the consultant gave them. Mistake number one. The council also had their mind’s made up such as when the Queen encouraged Nancy Huston to apply. Well, duh!!!
As I have taken some heat from Terrible Ted Hickman on appointing a committee to do my elected duty, I feel the need to respond. Don’t expect to get different results from putting the same committee comprised of a majority of BOB dummies in place to give me advice. Simply because I went along with the process as defined by the mayor and the rest of the council to give them some solace and comfort in doing things “traditionally”, does not mean I put one iota of confidence in this committee’s opinion.
Much like the mayor stuffing lower advisory commissions with his think alike cronies, I hold suspect any opinion not based on fact, logic, or reason emanating from these political parrots. Great decisions can not come from closed minds … or basically ignorant ones.
I intend to make my decision the way it should be made. I will do the research. I will examine all 57 applications. I will develop my own short list and ask why any of my selections were discarded. During the personal, confidential interviews I will be asking questions specifically related to each candidate’s background rather than the “fairness” based model of asking the same question to each applicant.
I will listen to the committee member’s individual questions. I will listen to their logic in how they assess the candidates. If that jibes with my selection, then great. If it doesn’t, then maybe those differing individuals need to run for office so they can make the decisions.
That is what I was elected to do and that is what I will do. Good enough, Ted?… ( Ted’s note: “Yep.”)