24th 2011
The World … It’s a Ball of Confusion

Posted under That's Life Columns


The title from a Temptation’s hit record of the 70’s referenced the craziness within our society.  In forty years, we continue down the same ubiquitous path.  We all sit around and wonder why this is happening when we all want a completely different world.  You can’t make that type of generalization.  Many of us want exactly what is occurring.

You might ask yourselves why that is.  Certainly none of us want racial tensions or America brought to its knees as a nation.  We don’t want “the selling of pills are at an all time high” as our national anthem … or do we?

As much as you have to wonder why I would say this after backing medical marijuana, I would simply point out to you that those most against legalization of anything are those who have a financial stake in investigating, controlling, restricting, and prosecuting those involved.  Rather than making my usual argument that it didn’t work with Prohibition, I just have to ask you what type of progress is being made.

You can’t justify continuing down the same path.  It hasn’t worked and isn’t going to work.  Those morally against legalization must come to realize that short of eliminating those who partake, either through incarceration or harassment, the escalation most desired by the extremist control types is execution.  It doesn’t even have to be the police doing it as the drug lords do a fine job all by themselves with collateral damage now occurring.

Coming back to Dixon, are there those here who are more interested in control than working within the system to change it?  Frankly I have my doubts that the system can be changed thanks to those at the State level who simply want to throw more money at it instead of examining the results of their ineptitude.

I have to think that the reason mayor BJ and the Fooler went along with the goals to “protect and maintain fiscal sustainability” was simply because they had no other choice.  They could have said we, (the other three), were alarmists and the city was in fine shape or would be with further cuts along the lines of what we have done.  They could have attempted to raise taxes and fees as some other cities have done.  But they were smarter than that.

They realized the people of Dixon are not sheep any longer and don’t respond well to having a wool snood pulled over their eyes.  It also helped that finance director Jeremy Craig had a chart which showed the potential loss of all of our reserves by 2016.  If you cut police and fire services when that is the prime function of city government, you are going to have to answer a whole lot of questions from an irate public.

The point of this is not to belittle Fuller’s and Batchelor’s move to financial sanity.  Why we are examining it is because it is an abrupt change for them and you need to understand the reasons behind it.  If it weren’t for eminent disaster which even they can see, no change would have been forthcoming and they would have fought bitterly despite the potential for 3 to 2 votes against them.  You have to wonder what they would have done if their minions had succeeded in their attempt to drag Darth Bogue down into their mire.

Perhaps where I really want to go with this is the similarity at all levels of government between those of the elite who feel they are better than the rest of us either due their employment history or station in the community.  Education means nothing to these churls.

We have fools leading us.  The Bush family is a good example of this.  Simply because Daddy has a lot of money and they have all the right friends, two of them have been put into the presidency with a third waiting in Jeb.

Getting back to things we actually have some control over, the school board and the library commission were at it again last Thursday.  They managed to schedule both meetings at the same time attempting to dilute whatever oppositional presence they feared.

It was interesting to see Carrie Scarlata, the county counsel du jour, sitting at the library commission meeting.  This is the same woman who gave the school board the okay to hold an illegal closed session in spite of being provided with case law contrary to her opinion.  When asked to produce case law or code justifying her position we were told that her position and that of the attorney who wrote the letter for the school board were covered by attorney/client privilege.

That is like saying you have broken the law but I don’t have to tell you what rule it was and you are fired because of it.  I don’t believe any of us can allow this to stand as the board can now state that their attorneys have told them they can do whatever for undisclosed reasons and we, the public, just need to go away.  As the school district is so fond of litigation, they may find they have another lawsuit on their hands.

I also noticed that the board again pulled the item on extending Roger A. Hal … Berg’s contract for another year into the distant future.  So what’s the problem?  You know Herb Cross and the senile Jim Ernst are going to rubber stamp it.  Are you telling me that John Gabby is afraid because he will be running for reelection this year.  That’s a hell of a reason to not vote for it.  Why not simply be a man and say it is unreasonable given the performance of our schools and the fiscal instability of the district?

Seeing that I drifted to the board meeting, which I also attended in time to give public comment, I found it interesting to hear the complaints coming from the teachers at CA Jacobs about potential retaliation keeping them from voicing their concerns about management.  It seems that the management style is similar to another agency in being one of intimidation, persecution, and retribution.  From what I heard, that was not the end to those voicing rebellion in the ranks.

While it would be very easy to just walk away from this mess and let the State deal with it, you out there who are parents must be totally oblivious to what is going on.  Either you don’t care or you don’t know.  A third option is you were so dumbed down by this system you don’t know any better.  I would bet that most of you do care about your kids, you just have better things to do with your time such as watching tv.

Going back to the library commission meeting, it appeared that there would be no conflict given the presence of Scarlata.  Greta (Greeta) Galindo told the audience that any public comment not related to the closed session evaluation of Greg Atkins would be limited to 3 minutes.  That was recorded in her presence.  Sandy Myers was evidently the official time keeper as she kept ringing the bell along with being the resident KA.

At first I thought it was just that Myers didn’t understand Galindo’s intent.  When Galindo interrupted Byron Chapman, her intent became very clear.  She really didn’t want any commentary longer than three minutes on any subject.  If that was so then she needed to say so.

The rest of the commissioners sat there just like the door posts they are.  Any one of them could have said that they wanted to hear all the testimony before going into the closed session.  The chairwoman does not have the ability to unilaterally stop that any more than the mayor does at city council meetings.  It leads one to believe that although they heard from the vocal majority of the citizens affected by Mr. Atkins’ behavior, they are treating this expanding group as a minority within the community.  This is a simple divide and conquer tactic.

After another hour behind closed doors, the best this group could do was announce that they were forming an “ad hoc” committee composed of Shane Taber and Susan Ostergard to review the allegations.  Sorry folks but you don’t need two people to “review” what all of you have heard.  Nothing is going to change and no new evidence will come forward unless Atkins retaliates against Susan Werrin for having the nerve to stand up for herself at this meeting.

As Atkins himself didn’t deign, yes deign as if ruling from on high, to defend himself or give some explanation for his behavior to the public which then could be refuted, the commission should consider this as justification for his termination.  I sat through several meetings and heard the majority of his former employees echo each other’s complaints giving validity to a hostile work environment claim.  There is no question as to how this should end.

But the ball of confusion at the school district and the library will just go on.  No one wants to take action to change the rules of the game or enforce the ones in place to prevent the demise of these two organizations.

I would suggest those in charge think about this before they come out with a parcel tax for the school district or a bond for a new library.  I wouldn’t give you a penny for either.  It is just pouring more money down a black hole…

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