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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Entertaining

One of the many benefits of a democracy is that we are entreated to the opinions and insights of other people. Unlike dictatorships where all one hears repeatedly is the banality of the ruling elite, in a democracy we get to hear everything – yes, including some banality from the citizenry – which arguably is more entertaining and unquestionably less lethal.

The citizens of a democracy are allowed to make public comments – many being salient, insightful and useful observations and recommendations. That their elected officials actually consider these comments beyond contrasting elements to special interests of ulterior agendas is determinable through observation.

Last night’s city council meeting showed us as much – the people with good insightful comments, the people putting forth political agendas masked as science but transparently revealed as propaganda, the council treading in the unknown, many trying to do what they thought was right, and some councilors clearly forgetting their 5th grade civic and chemistry lessons thereby deciding based on political expediency, ignorance (albeit bliss) and on the comfort of the advice from the worst advice givers.

Here are the highlights:

  • The STRP was not accelerated. Nor was it decelerated.
  • A councilperson insists that hydrogen sulfide is only a gas.
    • Fact: any gas can be diffused in water
    • Fact: a “gas” can be a liquid, a solid, even disappear depending on pressure, temperature, etc …
    • Fact: not all hydrogen sulfide is released from water
    • Fact: water contaminated with diffused hydrogen sulfide is corrosive
  • The city manager insists that hydrogen sulfide exists naturally in nature
    • Fact: so does uranium, petroleum, arsenic, botulism, mercury, lead, plutonium, iodine …
    • Fact: only the highly inconsiderate or the highly naïve pump concentrations of this stuff into the open without regard for public or environmental safety
  • The only persons expressing concern for the safety and health of our children is …
    • is a man that dislikes children and has no children of his own, while …
    • the MOMS that elected the MOM on MOM issues are nowhere to be seen or heard from
  • The council opts to wait for “government experts” – the ultimate oxymoron – on the health effects of the dewatering process … despite
    • The report from the “government experts” will take “30 or 60 or 90” days
    • An MD and a PhD – experts in their fields – have publicly documented the deleterious effects of the watering on human health, marine health, and on the environment
    • Two workers have already been seriously injured
    • Citizens complaining about the effects of the gas
    • A citizen describing his dog’s horrific injuries from having come in contact with the toxic water
  • A speaker notes that beer has bubbles but they go away after the container is opened. Oh, and that the marshes off of SR92 in the early morning give off hydrogen sulfide gas.
    • Fact: Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid, Prussic Acid … all have bubbles – so according to the speaker, we can infer, once the bubbles go away, it is safe to drink Hydrochloric, Sulfuric and Prussic acid.
    • Fact: Water has bubbles
    • Fact: Any liquid infused with a gas has bubbles
    • Fact: Just because the bubbles go away does not make the liquid safe
    • Fact: The marshes are not giving off concentrations of hydrogen sulfide
  • A councilperson reminisces taking the oath of office and thereby swearing to uphold the law as a pretext to deny the POP petition
    • But apparently the oath does not encompass the health of the people or the environment since that same councilperson voted to continue the toxic dumping
  • And the most satirically comical moment if it wasn’t so pathetic: Lift stations are being built 3 years before they will be used.
  • And a speech from a resident that may have been telepathically conveyed from North Korea: “Letting people vote will undermine the authority of the city council. What the electorate think [sic] should not matter.”

Of particular interest was the argument that certain decisions should or should not be made because the next council will invariably cancel the STRP. We find this line of reasoning irrational. All councils should act in the now. Particularly this council. Two reasons: the majority of this council will look for any reason to do the wrong thing so why give them one more reason? Secondly, such rationale is tantamount to wagering. That is all we need – a casino run by the present “staff” management.

The discussion centering on POP was as odd as it was revealing. Based solely on the argument put forth by the city attorney du jour, no citizen initiative will ever make it on the ballot. And here was democracy at its best and at its worst. Two councilors – Messieurs Forcth and Kiester - readily disagreed with the petition but voted to let it go in front of the public. Such courage gives us hope in the knowledge that there are two councilors that know what it means to be an elected representative of a democratic republic. But the other five take the cake. Hiding behind the advice of the worst advice givers ever in the history of the world, the legal advice was negative. Enough said. One councilor went off needing to listen to the advice of “our attorney” (presumably the council’s and not the publics’). Well guess what esteemed councilor, let us make an appointment for you at Tommie Barfield so you can learn invariable for the first time in your life that attorney’s have a disgusting and disreputable reputation for giving advice – as the Dread Scott decision, Jim Crow laws, denying women the right to vote, justifying infanticide, (and many more decisions based on illicit advice) have long demonstrated. It only takes courage and vision and the will to do the right thing that moves this great republic forward, and not by hiding behind the advice of lawyers for the sake of justifying cowardice.

The chill on the democratic process and on citizens’ right to petition their government was furthered when the council decided to “discuss” seeking attorney’s fees from the Recall effort. When one councilor suggested that the council had already tread on this highly illegal maneuver, the caucus responded almost in unison – they will look to seek the attorney’s fees from the “chairman” of the Recall effort, not the petition signers. Do we look that obtuse? Federal courts will not allow such a maneuver: how is any group every going to be formed for the purpose of garnering petitions (a U.S. constitutional right) if the “head” (translation – anyone the governing body does not like) can be sued if the petition fails?

But let’s end on a positive note: a citizen suggested that special headsets be provide for people (like himself) that are hearing impaired. Good idea. And make them available to the council.


  • A little humor is most appreciated. Put me down for two (headsets for hearing what is really being said at our meetings).

    I had the same thoughts about the pros/cons of pointing out the obvious (counting chickens before they hatch) regarding the results of the upcoming election and decided that it is better for the public to understand that the decisions made by the current council can and will affect the city's contractual obligations, ergo, cost to our residents after the new council is seated should it decide to cancel the STRP. Hopefully, they will put some pressure on the councilors to give some rational thought to their decisions to obligate the city to contracts that may or may not ever be implemented. Chuck Kiester

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:46:00 PM  

  • Thank you Mr. Kiester for your bravery to know that we can have the right to vote even thou some may not agree with it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, August 23, 2007 11:19:00 AM  

  • Chuck Kiester:

    Your integrity in voting to allow the POP petition to go forward despite disagreeing with its proposed Charter amendment has been rightfully applauded.
    Now it is your sense of humor that is so refreshing and appreciated, such as your recent statement: " ...put some pressure on the councilors to give some rational thought to their decisions... " Considering the dismal track record of this council, that is one of the most humorous lines I've heard in recent history! I'm hoping your wonderful optimism will be shared by the next newly elected councilors!

    Russ Colombo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, August 24, 2007 7:16:00 AM  

  • Wayne Waldack is the idiot referred to in this article saying that the council should not listen to people. He will make a great replacement for Minozzi and Tucker and Moss

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, September 01, 2007 9:17:00 AM  

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