The answer is actually pretty simple, but when we see what happened at LAFCO with the removal of Hughson Mayor Matthew Beekman by a 5-4 vote of other Mayors around Stanislaus County, it may not be as readily apparent as we want to believe.
In the broader sense, the removal of Beekman for his “treasonous” support of Farmland Preservation policies in a rural part of the County dominated by… well… farmland, is not surprising, as LAFCO has very little to do with common sense or doing “what the people” want. All those ad’s urging people to “send letters of support to LAFCO” for the upcoming usurpation of PG&E by SSJID are a great example. The letters won’t have nearly as much effect as the various “loans” made by SSJID that resulted in City Council members “changing” their minds from dead set against the takeover to full support of it did.
Moreover, I wouldn’t read too much into the our votes of support that Beekman got either. Knowing that the five votes were already there to eject him, makes it much easier to make some sort of show of support to firm up an appearance. I refer to this as “Pulling a Denham,” which savvy readers wlil recall refers to a politician taking money from groups and giving them support, but only when he or she knows there is no chance that he or she will actually get what the group wants. Thus, he or she gets the money and the credit for doing something, without any of the potential fall out for having done it in the first place, since it didn’t actually happen. In this case, Der Mayor’s “support” for Beekman is arguably more about appearances than realities, given his past positions on the matter.
At the end of the day, we are left with the profound realization that speaking his or her actual beliefs in politics is akin to an old Mongolian proverb I heard recently, “A Man who speaks his mind should keep one foot in the stirrup.”
One way or the other, that man or woman in Office who lets his conscience guide his speech, is going to be run out of the opportunity to do just that.
On the other hand, a sacked LAFCO member no longer has to even pretend to play the game, Beekman is now free to speak out and actually lead the opposition against whatever LAFCO decides t the bequest of it’s donating overlords.
And ultimately, that is why honest people don’t last in politics. They will get run out of the money and the power. And so those who get a taste of both choose to be “house trained” and become “reliable” on whatever board or body they manage to get elected to in the first place. And that is when the real money and power begin to flow.
And honesty and integrity – as well as following one’s “beliefs,” – goes right out the window.
And all that is left, are the ones who will compromise their beliefs.