Posted under That's Life Columns
Dixon, as with many cities in California, is at a cross roads. Our city has an advantage that most do not. We have more than slightly altered our political landscape in electing three individuals who claim that they are going to serve all of the people to the extent that is possible given conflicting viewpoints. More importantly, all three have taken up the chant of wanting to hear all the options and alternatives.
Go down the road to the even smaller burg known as Rio Vista. They have begun a similar process. In the town known for the striped bass derby, they have elected Fred Kogler as the focal point of the opposition. An aspect not to be overlooked is that the local chapter of the taxpayers’ organization managed to frighten two incumbents out of office as they didn’t run for reelection. Rio Vista is ahead of where Dixon was 10 years ago but on the same path. One more election, perhaps the one repealing water and sewer rate increases, will solidify the direction toward responsibility to their own citizens.
The TEA party movement (Taxed Enough Already) is a further example on a national level of the people who are fed up with the life long politicians spoon fed to all of us by the power brokers in the major parties. On our local level it was the same elitist philosophy which led to the entrenched bureaucratic support by the hand picked candidates to make sure nothing ever changed. This is exactly why you had “do nothing” councils, or should I say “doing things only so the few benefitted as in labor unions”, rather than seeing progressive (however that might be defined in our fair city) councils.
The point is cities all across our country are taking back the political power from the ne’er-do-wells who are basically destroying the most productive, most charitable, most free, and most progressive in quality of life country the world has ever seen. Many look at this task as daunting. Others simply think it is impossible. I prefer the saying “every journey begins with the first step.”
Many of you who read this column on a regular basis are going to notice a change. The dragon is taking a nap when it comes to criticizing the new council. Certainly if they stray from their political pledges of poignant principles, and that includes myself, the Hammer will come back. I think we all have had enough of campaign lies just to get into office. That is what our last election trumpeted loudly and clearly.
It is obvious that we all get a chuckle and occasional belly laugh out of smacking those who are out of touch with the people while they are holding office. The dragon is still hunting its prey at school board meetings and easy prey it is. Those of you who need their fix of what some refer to as “negativity”, which I prefer to call “negative reinforcement” or constructive criticism which falls on deaf ears of denial, will still get your dose of that. The dragon might even have to do some traveling to the county as the problems found no solution with the defeat of Don Pippo.
Speaking of the county, I read the pap and puffery in the Repeater about the wonderful new facility the Solano Irrigation District will soon be occupying to house their administrative crew. To paraphrase the words of one of our early patriots, I believe it was John Paul Jones, I have only begun to irritate and investigate as well as fight. I understand public records requests are just beginning to be served on this essential agency which now has evolved from serving its constituency at low cost to one which has no problem raising rates thereby enslaving those served for management’s own pecuniary purposes. Glad to hear someone else is paying attention.
This demonstrates a potential for any and all of us in the public. If we don’t like what is going on, get down to your favorite problem child’s meeting and raise some hell. That hell can be simply saying what you want for your town. At our last meeting of the city council, it has already begun. Rather than listen to some BOB (bad old boy) committee stuffed with “community” members who parrot the mayor’s desires, I prefer to hear from the real people. I define them as those who moved to Dixon or its rural areas for what Dixon was and still is to a large extent. They didn’t move here to make a buck with the government’s help or to become the “boss” of the town.
Why has the General Plan committee failed? It isn’t due to the lack of funding. Funding would only have forced this group to be fed more pablum from the consultant who was acting on instructions from staff who was leading the group by their collective noses. What was needed and still is needed is for this group to be allowed to brainstorm without having staff standing on their throats or looking over their shoulders telling them reasons why things can’t be done. Perhaps it is time that the council takes back the delegation and does some leading by example. What is wrong with demonstrating real debate and defining the problem? Lack of the skill set to hear opposing views?
You might be asking yourselves what can be expected from this new group assuming power in December. As this column reaches all councilmen, or at least has the potential to, it would be a stretch of imposing the Brown Act in prohibiting serial meetings to make the conclusion that these statements are attempting to have others arrive at a conclusion. However, the principle is correct and right. Although it is preferable to talk about decisions after they are made, even if further actions will embellish wrongful actions, I do not speak for my fellow councilmen. What follows is a simple recitation of what has already been promised.
In what will be no surprise to many of you, this new council will be focused on two things. The first is creating a sustainable budget with discretionary funds to get projects done which have been long wanting. The second is to repeal and readdress many actions by the prior councils which have placed us in the position of dealing with the “sins of our forefathers.” Hmm … that doesn’t sound specific enough to be a violation of any law.
I believe we can go further than this. I was listening to Thom Bogue as he spoke of “all alternatives and options” as well as “making Dixon self sufficient”. As often as I criticized Gil Vega and Mike Smith, I listened when they spoke of creating our own energy district. Along with many other issues including our recently revamped water agency, I just don’t think they went far enough.
Why not create our own city water agency that further lowers the cost of providing water? How about an energy company that creates so much excess power that citizens’ utility bills are cut to nil? Let’s take another look at Measure B and put it back to what it was before our last city manager and city attorney Dave McMurtry screwed it up to enable “stockpiling” of allocations essentially defeating its purpose. Why do we have to have development in “tracts” instead of the old style development which gave us the eclectic mix of housing in the older sections of town?
What will the fall out from all of this be? While it is hard to predict, Dixon the city will benefit in becoming very desirable. That is why Measure B and the housing issue is so important. Given the change in leadership style, and the new council knowing who sets policy and what the role of our city staff is including carrying it out, I can see that the prediction of staff turnover will occur. It is no secret that our city manager is already interviewing for the same position elsewhere.
I view our city staff, at least our current city staff, as capable individuals whose capacity for ingenuity has been stifled by past administrations and an all controlling city manager. I understand the years of indoctrination that has led to a certain mind set that the citizen or new business must be fought at every turn rather than encouraged to provide new ideas of how things can be accomplished. I believe the cockroaches have already followed Elvis out of the building and we are ready for a new day. This includes the potential for our current city manager and city attorney. Anyone can change their perspective if they wish. Anyone can grow.
You wanted a council and local government that will listen to you. I believe you have that. I do not believe that Thom, Dane, and I will agree on every subject like Jack’s stooges did. I expect Rick Fuller to grow in his role as a councilman and to help the three of us to do likewise. The fifth councilman can either join us in working for the entire community or he will be left by the wayside. In other words, he has been “marginalized”, a term that was used to describe me as I converted from one side of the podium to the other up on the dais.
You should all look forward to Dixon becoming an example of responsible government, a model for the county and the State. This is not ego speaking as anyone with any intelligence realizes the fact that one vote accomplishes nothing. Given the lackluster economy, many of you probably think this is just a pipe dream.
Not if you can think outside of the box …