Imagine the scenes at the Pacific Dining Car and in the back rooms of City Hall in the next few days as the nation’s highest paid municipal officials and their armies of staffers, each with their taxpayer-supplied Priuses, back slap and praise each other for all their hard work above and beyond the
Job well done.
High fives all around. They have been in combat these last few weeks. They have seen the enemy and it is us, the taxpayers, the businesses, the people. And they have survived through daily sessions, and the pitfalls of posturing and hypocrisy as if they had braved incoming shells and snipers and improvised explosive devices.
No, it hasn’t been easy but they have gotten through and have lived to destroy again another day.
You can understand their need to fly off to the nation’s capital to wine and dine with the men and women at the pinnacle of the political machinery of public deceit, or to spend a few days on the beaches of Maui far from the maddening crowd of ordinary folks begging for crumbs from their table of power.
Such is the burdens of self-importance in an age of transformation when the rules no longer apply, when the center of inertia no longer holds, when the abnormal has become the norm.
These are the people we have anointed to lead us through these times of troubles and they are delighted to have danced and preened, to have shown their heartfelt concerns, to have made it through pretending to have faced the demon of their massive deficits without having done anything at all.
And they are still in place in their high stations to enjoy the privileges and perks they have come to expect as a birthright for their virtue and goodness.
Oh, what a happy day it is, what a well deserved vacation they have coming next week for their public service.
They have confused and fragmented the populace and shown their superiority and put the grumbling rabble in their place, worried about themselves and their parks and libraries and their petty concerns as they try to preserve the quality of their little lives.
It was brilliant and worth all the sweat of donning their fancy clothes every day though they will have to call in chits from their wealthy friends to cover the inflated dry cleaning bills they have from having to show up at work every day.
Of course, they never all show up at the same time.
That’s one of the wonders of the Council. They arrange their schedules so that they have just enough members — a dirty dozen — to enact everything they and their puppet masters want on unanimous votes on first reading.
By so doing, they reduce the time for the public to figure out what they
are up to and limit the opportunity for public input. And since they
can put their votes on automatic dial for “aye,” they don’t even have to
be in the Council Chamber or even in City Hall for that matter.
should be obvious why 99 percent of the public comments come from the
regular gadfly crowd. They really don’t want to waste their time and
don’t care what the public has to say. They do not listen, they do not
The more I watch what passes for this deliberative body
called the City Council, the more I think maybe we don’t need them at
Right off the top we’d save $25 million or so in salaries
and perks. Then, we’d save tens of millions more that they squander from
their slush funds and hundreds of millions even beyond that from
eliminating all the money that goes into political pandering to keep
them in high office.
Without a Council to muck things up, the
lobbyists, developers, contractors, consultants and union leaders could
come out of the back rooms and gather around the horseshoe and take care
of city business in public and on camera.
We’d at least know
what was really going on that way, and how so much of what city
government does is for the good of the few and harms the interests of
And as for the office of mayor with its 200 staffers,
We could live better without all of them. It’s little more than a
ceremonial office these days so why not have a mayor for a day, a person
chosen from some kind of reality show by public vote.
audience would be huge and the advertising revenues would clean up the
structural deficit. There could be contests for who could cadge the most
money in the area that was supposed to be the Grand Avenue Project or
who could run the fastest around a circuit of massive subsidized
developments or who could sell the most dope out of a street vendor’s
The possibilities are endless. Think about it, would we
really be any worse off?