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Friday, May 3, 2013

Ready, fire!, aim  

We’ll use the charter to analyze some “activist” arguments that start with opposition, never mind the problem.

“I won’t vote for the charter unless you can show me what, exactly, it will do that’s better.” As we mentioned before, that could have been the Tories’ demand as the Revolutionary War was beginning. We had a representative in Britain who couldn't have much effect, but he was there. It was taxation without representation, and the British were confiscatory in their governance.

Back in 1775 

But what, exactly, would a War of Independence, do for us? What would a constitution do that the British aren't doing for us right now? Why don’t we study it some more?

And in 1860

Or, during the early Civil War naysayers would say, “Wait, the South needs the slaves to stay in business. What, exactly, will attacking the South do for us? Why are we in such a hurry? What is the concrete advantage here? I don’t want emancipation until someone can tell me what, exactly, it will do for us.”

And in 2013

And similarly we have the naysayers crying, “What will a charter do for us, exactly? Why can’t we continue the same as always? I won’t vote for it because it was defeated before, and because it was proposed by Righeimer.”

Reality intrudes

We know that a charter is essentially a constitution, permitted under state law, that sets the parameters for a city’s self governance. If written poorly and administered in a hidden or opaque atmosphere, as was Bell’s, it leads to too much power in the hands of a few. Those few broke the laws, bankrupted the city and went to jail.

Or, it can be written to guarantee maximum benefits to city unions and maximum costs to the city. The city, like Sacramento and San Bernardino, will sooner or later run out of money and declare bankruptcy. This may lead to diminished or non-existent pensions for those retiring, and even for those already retired.

Why do it

We know that the State legislature is dominated by Big Labor’s, and to some degree Big Business’s and Big Cities’ lobbyists. Costa Mesa has representation, but, like the representation allowed the American Colonies, it’s ineffectual in the face of all that “Big” power. A charter allows us to govern ourselves without the confiscation by the State Legislature.

Confiscatory? When the legislature wants money they assess it from Costa Mesa. They legislate costly projects and policies, but without adequate funding. The shortfall is Costa Mesa’s. If all else fails, they “borrow” money, such as vehicle license fees designated for the city. If the State ever becomes solvent, they may give our money back. If the State goes bankrupt we don’t get paid back.

Why do they think that

Before we declare the naysayers to be idiots, we should find out what they think they see. First of all, if what they think they see were true, what would be the circumstances? This helps us understand how they are viewing their world. We must know what their perspective might be if we are to understand their diatribe.

In Revolutionary War times, the Tories were mostly afraid of losing their financial and prestige status. Officials, officers of the court, and trading-associations stood to lose their special status. They were afraid so
they supported Britain. The United States is here because farmers, laborers, carpenters, and tinkers devoted their limited resources, including their lives, to the cause. They fought and died to insure that American Citizens would never again face taxation without representation. They risked all to take charge of their own destiny.

The same thing happened again

During the Civil War associations of cotton growers, teamsters, agency officers, and government officials wanted to maintain the status quo. The war was fought again, on both sides, by farmers, laborers, druggists, carpenters. ..

The speculators, associations, and government officials were fearful that change would diminish their financial and prestige status. Is fear a factor in the Costa Mesa Charter diatribes?

Where their fear originates

Organized labor has lots of power right now. It’s like a pendulum, labor, then management, then labor and on and on. They trade being on top – and corrupt. Government and government unions are no different. And a charter could be written to reduce labor’s power. Therein lays the fear.

For example, if the “no payroll deduction for political contributions” clause were included in a charter, the union’s access to ready cash would be made more difficult. Of course, that would affect businesses, too, but few businesses in Costa Mesa have “contribution by payroll deduction.”

So, if the naysayers have subscribed to propaganda from the unions, their fear – and opposition to the charter idea – is understandable. Logically indefensible, but understandable. Since most of the naysayers change complaints and demands pretty much in chorus, there’s probably a pipeline of hysterical warnings feeding them all. The key is: if their foolish remarks are provoked by fear, then what do they fear? What are they losing?

Maybe they are afraid of losing their benefits if they are almost retired. Maybe they fear a weakening of their union. They fear pension loss or decrease, loss of status.

Is that likely? Well, we've had several retirees get quite aroused while insisting Costa Mesa save money (for their pensions) by not funding infrastructure which would grow the City. If they want to hold back the City’s growth to save money for their pensions . . .

Is the diatribe motivated by fear? It fits.

Bloggers infesting the City 

As an aside:

We've noted recently that three bloggers seem to focus on Costa Mesa matters. Two of us have published books and articles in national magazines, one (not this one) even writes for Mensa publications. The third repeatedly insists that we three are not journalists. After a brief review of the encyclopedia, Wikipedia, and an article from our School of Journalism, we’ll accept his personal withdrawal from being classified as a journalist.
So, two journalists, albeit advocacy journalists, and a self-described “older guy with too much time on his hands sitting in a darkened room in his underwear*” will be debating Costa Mesa issues from now on.

*From his blog dated April 29th.

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