I can certainly understand elected officials expressing frustration when they are confronted by citizen activists when those activists are pushing their government to do what those elected officials might be reluctant to do. On a couple of occasions I quite likely was someone causing this kind of heartburn, and if in private a few elected officials felt the need to use some colorful language about what I wanted to do, or me personally, I don’t care. We’re all human after all, and we’re all sinners. It’s policy that counts, and I can forgive all else.
What concerns me most about the latest unsourced, unconfirmed, and potentially inaccurate rumors cropping up about Supervisor Candland’s latest effort at ethical reform on the Board of County Supervisors isn’t that the story sounds so spirited, and quite plausible, but that the policy position seems so incredibly idiotic. Who in their right mind would continue to pursue a political vendetta against someone introducing ethical reforms that address issues the electorate has been at the very least grumbling about for many years? Smart political sense, which you’d expect veteran elected officials would have in spades, would suggest that when someone does something that is popular, ethical, responsible and fiscally conservative you jump on the bandwagon, grab a share of credit, and use that in the next election.
Elected officials with poor political sense don’t tend to stay elected officials for very long.
The political calculus at play here is blindingly obvious. On one side you have a freshman legislator focusing on good policy that has virtually unanimous support within the electorate and who is building up a reputation that’s going to pay enormous dividends for a long, long time. On the other side you have most of the remainder of the Board of Supervisors fighting tooth and nail to protect such drastic political liabilities such as the chance to display conflicts of interest that allow them to funnel taxpayer money to a very small group of political allies. The majority of the Board has already lost the first battle of this war, gotten politically wounded rather badly by trying to exact revenge after that loss, and is now setting the scene for a politically phyrric victory of absolutely epic proportions. If the majority of the Board manages to kill Supervisor Candland’s initiative, that victory will provide fodder for the most devastating direct mail campaigns the county has ever seen.
In a way, it might be the best thing for the Board to collectively act like a group of political numbskulls and seal their fate this way. Only a few of them are worth squat anyways, and having this policy cudgel to beat them with until the next election might be awfully helpful to get rid of folks like Caddigan, Nohe, Covington and Principi, who desperately need to find a different way to amuse themselves than find ways to ladle out favors to large developers, raise our taxes, and invent creative ways to divert taxpayer funds to their friends. It’s not often we get a chance to see political miscreants inflict huge electoral disabilities on themselves like this.
So in the end, perhaps they should just do whatever they want. It could be a lot more entertaining, and quite a bit more productive for them to continue to act like idiots. Go ahead, you fools. Make my day.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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