Thursday, October 22, 2009

Only a True Friend Would Save You from Winning

I tend to ignore local politics as it's simply large scale politics with even bigger egos to make up for the less that's at stake. Everything gets hyper-parochial, where each and every individual backyard makes one NIMBY-enough to vote for a candidate despite all of his or her other positions with which one might not agree.

Things only get worse when comments start running like they have of late on FB, and I should know better sure. But here's how an exchange went recently, and let's see what you good people think.... As you might have seen, Craig Smith, ever on top of things, posted about a meeting between mayoral candidates Steve Cushman and Dale Francisco. He also linked a PDF of a letter that Cushman sent Francisco after the meeting, requesting that the only honorable thing Francisco could do would be to drop out of the race, for the good of Santa Barbara, of course. For nothing could be better for the good of Santa Barbara, then, uh, Steve Cushman. I mean, just ask him. (If you haven't read the letter, go do so at once to learn what a patronizing tone is.) A big part of that is if Francisco loses, then he's one lonely voice amidst the 7 council members and mayor, just as he is now. Of course, Cushman can't imagine (perhaps accurately, but still) that any of the more conservative council candidates might win and help support a Francisco agenda. But, at the same time, Cushman can imagine that if he's mayor and Francisco is still a councilman, their 28% share of the city power will move mountains. (Remember, this is a guy with a business background making this claim, not some dumb writer like me.)

But, separate from all that, there are direct points that drive me nuts in the Cushman letter that I have to assume reveals more of him than he would want revealed. For instance, when he writes "I want to stop the massive giveaway of our neighbors' tax dollars" it's instructive to remember that Cushman lives on the Riviera. So his neighbors probably aren't your neighbors. I doubt he considers the westside or lower eastside his neighbors.

But then there's this--Cushman's insistence that the biggest threat to Santa Barbara is employee unions. I guess that's what it means to be pro-business these days--to assume you can run one without any pesky workers. Or at least any that might think they need to band together to get a fair wage and good working conditions. But demonizing the unions is a simple, nay simplistic, solution--the kind someone as vapid (and only about her own money) as a Wendy McCaw might make. Is someone who is willing to scapegoat like that the person we want to be our mayor? (And that's leaving aside thinking the town would have a better way of life if the people who lived in it had crappier jobs. Uh, thanks, mayor.)

So, back to the FB worries. I posted a link to this letter on a FB friend's page who has been trying to run a forum on the election. I linked to the letter and said, "Anyone who wants to blame all of the city's woes on employee unions is blind to the complexity of running a city and going for the easy scapegoat." And then someone else posted this, and unless it's Harry Shearer or someone from The Onion making wise, I'm really really worried: "We precisely need someone who is blind to the complexities and end this 'we can't do anything about this mess' mentality."

Didn't 8 years of The Decider teach us anything? Are our only two choices thinking complexly or doing? Action and thought are not opposed, my friends. What we need is informed action.

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Blogger Trekking Left said...

Yeah, just what we need ... more "think with your gut" politics.

10:21 AM  
Blogger commoncents said...

Great post! I really like your blog!!

ps. Link Exchange?

11:43 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Thanks for the clarity, George. It's a little alarming to see, for the first time in my memory in Santa Barbara, such well-funded candidates from the right.

1:37 PM  

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