Category Archives: City Council

Chickens and Roosts and Dogs and Boycotts

121216-uspreselection2-1050x600As Monday dawns, the chatter from the weekend has been about Russia “tampering” with the US election. This has people posing all kinds of scenarios from a Manchurian Candidate to outright fraud. Of course, nothing is further from the truth, but neither side lets go of a good conspiracy theory if it feeds their confirmation bias and gets people to donate money to their cause.

Consider for a moment a couple of things, internationally countries have always “tampered” with other countries elections to very little avail, but also always deny it. In 1960, the Soviets were very clear that they preferred Kennedy over Nixon, and while they were not accused of directly interfering, they were accused of doing things that favored Kennedy. Which was weird because Kennedy was the hardliner who kept talking about the “missile gap” and the need to contain communism. As we would later learn, the Soviets were flat out scared of Nixon and believed that he would not have hesitated to start a war, whereas they believed Kennedy was bluster and bluff, especially since he knew that there was no “missile gap” but it appealed to voters he needed.

In the end, there is something rather amusing about the same Administration that openly admits that it tried to influence another countries election – a close ally –  and in fact spent your money to do so, but failed, crowing now about how Russia tried to “influence” our election. You can’t really have it both ways. Either you stay out of it and accept the outcomes or you try to influence them and then whine about how the chickens come home to roost. Read the rest of this entry

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Fun with Flags

Recently I caught a film that I missed in the theaters, “Now You See Me.” I love a good crime drama, and while this film is not perfect (Marc Ruffalo is essentially playing the same character he did in Zodiac), it is entertaining. Unless you have pretty good Sherlock Holmes skills, it will keep you guessing up until the final moments. The clues are obvious after the fact, but not so much as you see it for the first time, which is what is supposed to happen. Especially in a story about using magic to commit crimes.

Magic is about distraction. You can’t help yourself, you follow the bouncing ball and and you see what the magician wants you to see. Meanwhile the “trick” happens in plain sight without you ever noticing. Astonishment sets in and we look on in wonder as we cannot figure out how he (or she) did it. We applaud without ever considering what it is that for which we are clapping.

We’re clapping because we got fooled. And we like it.

So now the City of Modesto has an idea it hopes will “improve Civic pride,” let’s design a City flag! But not just any old flag, a flag that will “showcase the city’s history, beauty and great sense of community.” Is true that some flags can accomplish things similar to that, I give you “The Star Spangled Banner” as an example, the truth is that pretty much nobody ever sacrificed anything, life, limb or treasure after being inspired by the multi-colored cloth representing the history, beauty or great sense of community” for a city anywhere. So unless the underlining purpose of this proposed flag is to have something to plant in the middle of Broadway Avenue and the corner of the Beckwith Triangle after the tanks roll into Salidavakia and Wood Colony, it’s hard to imagine exactly why the City actually needs a flag.

But… that’s just the distraction. And we’re falling for it.

This whole design the new flag contest will cost $2000. How dare the city waste a couple of grand on a piece of cloth??? Outrage! Phone calls, letters to the editor! Social media posts of outrage and mockery! On the other side it’s all about how the City is going to get donors for the $2000, so how can you opposed to something that will increase civic pride? Why are you so negative??? After all, other local Cities have them, even Turlock!!!!!

We applaud for whomever screams our position the loudest, or re-posts the most clever posts that reflect our personal view of the matter.

And we never realize that we are being tricked…

 

 

Modesto and Turlock, Inc.

The City of Modesto has – at least for the moment – decided to delay the giving of nearly $1 Million to a not-for-profit that it had a significant role in creating to “teach residents to organize and solve their problems while working with the City.” But the bigger problems with this process remain.

Turlock_Farmers_MarketAnd in Turlock, another QUANGO setup has resulted in the Mayor and some Council members receiving campaign cash from an individual who now seeks to gain their official stamp of approval for a for-profit takeover of the Turlock Certified Farmers Market.

Both processes remind us that even City Governments have to be 100% transparent in what they are doing, lest they find themselves trying to explain why they did not follow the processes which – even had the predetermined the outcomes – would have made the results at least look like they were trying to look like they were doing things the right way instead of just more of the same old “jobs for the boys” approach to government in exchange for money and influence.

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