BY GUEST COLUMNIST MICHAEL CEREMELLO
FORMER COUNCILMAN AND VICE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF DIXON
(NOTE BY EDITOR: Dixon is near Sacramento. We share many of the same problems here in Crescent City. For your convenience I have highlighted those similarities.)
It seems the phrase of the day is “paradigm shift”. This is not a “pair uh dime” as in twenty cents, even if it is pronounced that way instead of “pare-ah-didge-em” which is what it looks like. It simply means a change in the way things are done such as shifting from using a horse and buggy to the horseless carriage. Why professors and others can’t convey that in every day English must be an egotistical attempt to appear educated and brilliant.
Musings is conducting its own paradigm shift today in that I am going to start off praising a group and individuals before my more traditional carpet call on those who have difficulty learning their lessons. We will start with the Library Board whose composition is identical to the Dixon School Board.
For those of you who only sleep here, there is a group of concerned citizens and former library staff who were harassed, intimidated, spied on, and berated by former library director, Greg Atkins, who tendered his resignation when his hand picked library commission was dissolved for basically not doing their job. Commissions, boards, and city councils all have a duty to the public first rather than staff. While the mayor has a philosophy reverse of this, more and more of our citizens are beginning to understand the concept and are taking government back into their own hands.
Enter State Senator Lois Wolk and her staff. One of those is former mayor Marime Burton’s daughter Caitlin O’Halloran. It was my preconception that Caitlin was just one of those unthinking automatons of the “bad old boy” club with close ties to Jack Batchelor and Herb Cross. While the “beautiful people” societal associations may be there, Caitlin proved me wrong about being her capability to “do the right thing”.
Wolk had proposed a bill to change the governance of the library district, removing it forever from the oversight of the school district, and placing it in the hands of the disgraced commissioners of the now defunct commission. I guess no one informed Lois that the commission was dissolved and her staff just “cut and pasted” the existing language from two cities, Santa Paula and Banning, who decided to go in this direction. Rather than look at the dysfunctional situation, Wolk was instead re-enabling it.
This is exactly what Atkins had wanted. People he hand picked for the commission, aided by Jim Ernst and Herb Cross, to act as his unquestioning puppets. In fact, Atkins had championed this plan as did Cross. Luckily, Irina Okhremtchouk, Joe DiPaola, and Gildardo Piñon could not be co-opted and listened to the public rather than their administrator. There was just too much proof and testimony to ignore.
So there was a special meeting of the Library Board this last Thursday to discuss whether there was support for this bill or the need to amend it. Ever affable Ian Arnold, the only former commissioner attempting to make things right, participated in the discussion as well as numerous community members who regaled the Board with their complaints. I made my points about creating the same environment we just eliminated and later called for solutions as the time for venting had passed. Much as the school board did the prior Thursday under Guy Garcia’s direction, the library board actually listened and perceived the common sense arguments being made.
As I stated, the problem was not the existence of a commission. The problem was who its members were. The appropriate legislation to carry is changing the control the school district has over this commission. All control never should have been relinquished to an appointed board. Whether this board is advisory, such as the city’s planning commission, or has the ability to make certain decisions without the school district’s approval can be designed. The final requirement is that the commissioners’ continuing tenancy should be subject to not only the scrutiny of the Board but to termination at any time for cause.
Poorly written legislation prior to Wolk, should not be exacerbated by more of the same. Rather than blindly supporting her boss’ attempt at helping the ne’er-do-wells in town, (yes I have heard that Atkins is still haunting Dixon through his Rot-ary connection), Caitlin did what any person who can think on her own should do. Caitlin accepted the facts, is working with the group toward a solution, and will be part of that solution when it arrives. She isn’t rejecting it based on my involvement as the reconstituted Three Stooges on the city council dais consistently do.
Now we have a library board working to make things not only better but acceptable to all involved. We have a school board committed to addressing programs for the improvement of student performance rather than increasing salaries for staff. While Joe DiPaola likes to kid me about “everyone is agreeing with you … this needs to be stopped”, his other line of saying “the school district board is head and shoulders above the city council in performance” is no lie.
After 18 years of participation in the affairs of this community, it is rewarding that someone is finally listening …
* * * * *
The “paradigm shift” came up at the city council meeting on this Tuesday. Darth Bogue was glowing ecstatically as he described his introduction to the term during his “interest based bargaining” indoctrination class. YOUR mayor, BJ, made the snide comment it was time to get back to this instead of “the adversarial style” of bargaining experienced in the past. As Batchelor has no problem giving the farm to the peasants in the fire and police departments, whose union supports those who pay them back, his statement was expected.
Jack’s solution to bankruptcy caused by $130,000 per year firefighters is to lay off employees, impose a parcel tax much as his buddy Herb Cross did in 1996, or whine that there is no easy solution. Without the “adversarial” bargaining triad, the citizens of Dixon would have received less service, creating pain, the liberal’s qualifier in going to the public demanding more and more money so that an unsustainable system can continue. The house of cards was going to fall on Batchelor like a ton of bricks.
I was in the closed session where Batchelor came out of his chair when three hard nosed negotiators gave direction to cut salaries rather than services. Batchelor is no friend of the public. He pays back those who support him. Is it any wonder he supports “interest based bargaining” where the only interests considered are that of the staff and those running city government? The citizens and residents who actually pay the bill through their taxes are only the proverbial cash cows to be milked and asked for even more milk production.
My introduction to the paradigm term was in an entrepreneurship class taught by Richard Dorf at UC Davis. He is now a professor emeritus. Dorf was an administrator at Kent State during the National Guard shootings. For those who think American citizens will never be killed by our own military, that should be proof enough. But I digress …
I want to return to the Three Stooges, Dodo, Jerry, and Jackie, our substitutes for Moe, Larry, and Curly. Once again we have a demonstration of a paradigm shift away from individual freedom and Constitutional guarantees toward heavy handed governance by those who believe their elected positions are justification for forcing people to conform to their idea of propriety. Once again the “screening ordinance” was on the agenda for discussion about modification. According to Dave Dowswell, he had the thirty six minute discussion of July 24, 2012 set up to be played but had only given councilmen a 6 minute short version.
Now we all know how well Dodo Bird does investigative work. He couldn’t be expected to actually use his computer to go on-line and look at the actual entire discussion. At least he only voted to violate his oath of office rather than opening his mouth and compounding his mistake like Jerry Has-None. I would also warn Mr. Castañon that is he continues to mis-pronounce my name as mad cow Cowville did, its going to get very warm at the next or ensuing council meetings.
It seems that only Jose Hermasillo, the latest victim of unequal application of the law, had any sense in staying away from this moron’s morass. Castañon, the papagayo (parrot for those of you who don’t speak Spanish), repeated Silvia Gil-Blanco’s statement that there has to be some order in refusing to allow homeowners to use all of their property while others already enjoy that advantage. If Jerry could come up with even one unique statement which could counter his ever increasing reputation as the biggest dummy ever to hold a council seat, I might, might, cut him some slack. And, yes Jerry, a planning commission with you on it should have been dissolved as utterly useless and worthless in giving thoughtful advice.
Community development director Dave Dowswell doesn’t get a free pass on this one. While most of his statements were true, Dowswell stated there was no support for Thom Bogue’s recommendation to eliminate side yard setbacks entirely. Two of us supported it, but were immersed in the details of illogical and non sequitur examples given by Ginger Emerson. As I have said, it was my fault for not spelling out the elimination of the “irregularly shaped” lots section or for not vehemently supporting Bogue’s position. It was clear Dowswell was more interested in “winning” this argument rather than implementing the will of the council at that time. However, Dave did indicate this council could change the ordinance if they chose to do so.
One of Dowswell’s funniest lines was in response to his comment to me that more affluent communities allow privacy fences much taller. “No one can confuse Beverly Hills, Atherton …” and a number of others cities with Dixon. Not when you have stupid laws guaranteeing no ingenuity or variety. Stick to forcing McDonald’s to putting in siding instead of stucco, Dave.
Once again Jack Batchelor proved he is a compulsive liar. When I stated I asked twice if this meant a person could put his fence out to the sidewalk, Jack shook his head. I asked if he had viewed the DVD. He responded yes. It was at 1:35:35 and again at 1:35:54 that I did so. Perhaps it wasn’t on Dowswell’s shortened version but that wasn’t the question I asked. Repeatedly, YOUR mayor has no problem robbing you of control of your property and funds while lying to get his way.
As Dane Besneatte made the constitutional arguments about peaceful enjoyment of the property you own and the taking of it through governmental mandates, let’s look at the veracity and applicability of his thoughts.
There is the common law concept of peaceful enjoyment of your property. You do not have the right to infringe on your neighbor’s property by actively creating “real” and not imagined nuisances. Neither does your neighbor or the government have the right to “take” your property or otherwise make it worthless in whole or part.
There is also the 14th amendment section stating that laws should be equally enforced. The 5th Amendment speaks of seizure of property without compensation. The 4th Amendment directs security in your home and effects. Yet we have central government communists dictating to the citizens of Dixon.
The bottom line is this. Dodo, Has-None, and BJ will continue with their bad behavior until they are all recalled en masse. They will cost you money by raising fees, rates, and taxes wherever possible. They will bring in high rise housing which isn’t Dixon so Has-None’s union buddies can do construction work. They will make more things illegal because “we say so”.
I say it is time for one more paradigm shift … where is the “eject” button?