October
20th 2011
Electricity and Electrodes

Posted under That's Life Columns

 

Mike “Daddy Warbucks” Ceremello

 

We, the citizens of Dixon, are a little more focused on our community than citizens of other nearby localities presumably because of our smaller size.  Another reason is local columnists who actually report both sides, the positive and negative nodes as it is, rather than ignoring stories of interest.  Keeping you informed is a full time job.

 

Before we look at the two major issues of the last council meeting, the repeal of the “social host ordinance” which no other paper has even mentioned and the continuing battle over how the water system will be run and by whom, I must digress back to two important topics to many of us.

 

I happened to be listening to Barbara Simpson on KSFO on the weekend and she mentioned the major media stories on gas prices falling nationwide.  Her point was that she had not seen prices fall at all in the Bay Area recently.  The actuality is even worse.

 

Raw crude prices briefly dropped below $80.  Did we see gas prices back below $3 per gallon as they were the last time crude was this low?  No.  On top of that, prices at the pump didn’t even decline 10 cents.  As soon as the barrel of oil price rose, the local stations quickly raised their prices by 10 cents or more.  Something isn’t right.

 

I am not an advocate of big government “investigating” the oil companies or gas station operators.  What is the solution then?  As I like to say paraphrasing Ayn Rand’s John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, “just get out of our way!”  We need more competition and less regulation.  This goes for oil exploration as well as alternative energy sources such as nuclear.

 

I spoke with a manager of a local station and he told me that the owner sets the price based on what others are charging.  Somehow I can’t buy the lie that there is no money in retailing gasoline.  It would seem to me that their profit margin has gone through the roof.

 

As consumers and voters, we must tell our government officials that what they have been doing isn’t working.  The “oppose Wall Street” crowd has only one thing right: politics and big business are in a mutually beneficial bed.  You don’t stop that by ending capitalism, you rid yourself of it by destroying governmental regulation designed to protect the bureaucrats’ food source.

* * * * *

The second topic is the Vacaville Repeater’s never ending mindless endorsement of status quo candidates.  This time for the school board they have endorsed John Gabby and Guy Garcia, neither of whom should receive a vote from you.  The only candidate worth his salt is Joe DiPaola.

 

Both Garcia and Gabby are champions of the former superintendent Roger Halberg, who gutted educational programs within the district to achieve financial stability.  While we now have over $4 million in reserves, we have an educational failure to actually “educate”.  Yet the Repeater gives a free pass to those who would continue down this same path while recognizing that all of our schools are technically in “program improvement”.  You have to be kidding.

 

Perhaps DiPaola is too intimidating to the boneheads running the out of town, out of touch newspaper.  After all he is imminently more qualified educationally than any of the others.  He has been as active in the affairs of the district as the others.  The difference is he opposed what was proposed and what has been going on in the district, unlike the others.

 

Once again, now that absentee ballots are out, you need to do us all a favor and vote for Joe DiPaola and only for Joe DiPaola.  Let the two status quo “bad old boy” candidates fight it out between themselves while Joe wins by a landslide.

 

It will be your way of saying “we have had enough of this nonsense and we are moving ahead …”

* * * * *

I briefly mentioned in concluding last week’s column the foul behavior of your mayor with the repeal of the “social host ordinance”.  This piece of garbage legislation allows the police to respond to a complaint of you throwing a party, loud or not, where there is a suspicion of the “possibility” of you serving alcohol to minors.  On its surface, this might appear to be reasonable to you as our deluded society figures that prohibition somehow equates to a guarantee that the desirable act won’t occur.  Desirable to those whom you are attempting to control might I add.

 

Despite the best arguments of “constitutionality”, parental responsibility, creating a “mystique” over the illicit behavior, and invasion of privacy, the rubber stamping Gestapo of two years ago, Fluffy, BJ, and the Fooler, pushed this through.  Again, those same arguments were ignored at this meeting.

 

Adding to the insanity was Cookie Powell of Dixon Family Services who quoted figures about alcohol use in the schools.  When confronted with the fact that the ordinance has never been used and is therefore not having any impact on these statistics, the cookie monster responded with a dumbfounded look and a retort, “would you get rid of all the ordinances you don’t use” to which I responded “absolutely”.

 

We also had to listen to the prose of Kay “Fluffy” Cayler attempting to pull our heart strings with tales of missing youth at graduation due to death from drinking.  Really.  How many of those could have been prevented by this ordinance?  The statistics and details were strangely absent.  Decisions made on “feeeeelings” rather than logic has always her certifiable lunacy.

 

The atmosphere became electrified when it came to the vote.  Why?  They already knew they were in the minority as Thom “Darth” Bogue had spoken against the ordinance when it was first considered.  So the vote goes down and Jack and Rick act like two spoiled brats because their toy got taken away?

 

This is the hypocrisy of the left.  What happened to collegiality and civility?  Debra Minnema Dingman needs to be contacted so she can slap some sense into her confreres.  You only have compromise and civility when you are winning, eh Jack?

 

I don’t recall Dane and I getting up and leaving or making inane comments when we lost the votes on medical marijuana not once but twice.  Maybe this is why BJ and the Fooler were upset.  Perhaps they figured “Darth” would fall off the fence on their side one more time.  Wrong.

 

It is my distinct hope that you, the citizens and voters of Dixon, are watching this juvenility for yourselves.  Those of you who blindly and massively supported these two should be embarrassed for both them and yourselves.  They have proven themselves not worthy of the offices into which they have been placed by you.

 

I would hope you learned something from this…

* * * * * 

Finally we get to take a quick look at our water situation, another polarized issue.  Where, on one hand, you have an SID board who works for the management of Solano Irrigation District rather than for the citizens who elected them as overseers, the other side is comprised of the city council of Dixon which includes three very attuned individuals plus the Fooler who fluctuates from his negative to positive electrode position on a regular basis.

 

The Solano Irrigation District board held a special meeting on Friday after the council discussed taking over the water system.  They were supposedly going to discuss the staff report of Paul Fuchslin, who attended the council meeting.  I guess they didn’t feel they could speak freely given that there were two surprise attendees from Dixon at their meeting.  Manager David Mansfield told them they could read the report.  No discussion occurred.

 

What was done, though, was to look at a draft of a document required for SID to terminate their operation of the system.  After apologizing for his remark about “shutting off the water to Dixon customers”, board member Glen Grant stated what he really meant was SID could not continue to provide service if Dixon wouldn’t be able to pay their bills.

 

Perhaps if you had cut expenses like I suggested last year, Glen, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.  As Glen is the only board member facing an opponent in this election, Priscilla Rolley should be receiving your vote.  At least I will have one more board member who might actually listen if not understand what I am saying.

 

Also at that meeting, David Mansfield’s retirement was accepted with all the backslapping and inappropriate camaraderie you would expect.  How exactly do you leave in the middle of a major conflagration?  What exactly were Dave’s contributions?  Let’s see.  Higher water rates, big new unnecessary building to use $32 million in excess funds, a salary almost double his predecessor, and no growth to the district.  Wonderful …

 

Back to the council side of this confrontation, mayor BJ exuded his belligerent personality one more time attacking my “rationality”, or perhaps it was Dane’s and Thom’s also as they have been on the same page, in stating that the proposed ad hoc committee to study operating our own water system should not include two of the three proponents.  This is an assumption, or at least it was at the time, as Dane had not given his opinion on the subject.

 

After reviewing the staff report, Dane wanted to dissolve the JPA immediately rather than do the ad hoc meetings.  Again, staff inadvertently or on purpose slanted the report toward retaining our present arrangement.  Not only that, but they did not consider all of the financial impacts that would be beneficial to the city.

 

Meanwhile Thom pushed ahead and asked for “grunt” representation on the committee from SID or our wastewater plant.  SID has since said they aren’t interested in providing this sort of “expert advice” from one actually in the trenches.  I wonder why not.  I also wonder if some of my readers from inside of SID might ask their coworkers to volunteer to participate.  You can find Thom in his First Choice auto repair shop Tuesday through Saturday in the old downtown next to Bud’s.  Nothing like a free “plug”, right Thom?

 

So what can you gather from all of this?  First, we have those who always defend the status quo no matter how bad it is continuing to defend it.  (Thanks Jack)  Second, we have no consideration of lowering expenses unless the city of Dixon takes over the system.  Third, we still have no answer on where the $2.2 million in depreciation expense went.  Fourth, we have a partner who hides from the public at every opportunity rather than encouraging open dialogue.  (I still haven’t convinced SID board chair Robert Hanson to ask for public comment after discussing each item) Finally, we have the mayor playing games for SID demanding that the water rate study be concluded before we make any other decisions.

 

It seems that the only solution that is acceptable to some people is raising the cost to the rest of us.  They continue to tell us that we have the cheapest water around.  “It will only be a little more.”  I prefer to say that the rest of the water companies are performing legalized rape rather than saying simply that their rates are too high.  Yet, when one says “NO”, the bad old boys just tell us to shut up and quit misbehaving because we deserve the reaming we are getting.

 

I would suggest you are all very lucky, or maybe very smart, for having put three of us into office who actually don’t buy the BS …

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