It's been a busy week. Monday through Thursday were filled with incorporation activities, loaded with facts, lies, and more than a couple surprises. Monday night there was an open forum debate between yes and no speakers... except the No side decided not to show up. This was after repeated calls and emails from the organizers to book a speaker. Can't help but wonder what they were afraid of.
Whatever it was, they hadn't overcome it by Tuesday night, when about 300 people packed into El Camino High School to hear a two-part session, a debate between yes and no speakers, followed by short presentations from the city council candidates. But wait, once again the no group neglected to send a speaker. No worries, as Nick Burnette, a professor at Sac State and area resident, came form the audience to represent the No side.
Professor Burnette isn't like the other Stay Sacramento speakers we've heard. He actually has some credibility. After I listen to him speak I don't feel like I need a shower. And while I will completely give him the benefit of the doubt, it sure did sound like he has spent some time studying the Göbbels... I mean Blanas/Cahill... propaganda machine. As credible as he may have been , he still spewed out the same old lies, innuendos and fear-mongering we've heard so many times through this whole process. Hard to tell if he really believes this stuff, or just drank the Kool-Aid. It's a shame, cause he really does seem like a decent guy.
I didn't make it to Wednesday's meeting at Rio Americano, but from what I heard, it was a repeat of Monday night, with the opposition side conspicuously AWOL. Go figure. At least some more people for to hear the truth, although the truth is easier to accept when you have the chance to hear both sides and reason it out for yourself.
Last night was Mira Loma's turn. Under-attended, and from the looks of things, most of the audience had already made up their minds. Applause for both sides was enthusiastic, although louder for the Yes crowd. This time the organizers were prepared, and asked Mr. Burnette to come speak again. This time he had the opportunity to prepare a bit, but didn't change his tune to reflect any more truth. More's the pity. Unlike the usual Stay Sacramento PR flaks, I really don't have the desire to urinate on this guy's shoes.
At last night's event I submitted a question that was actually used (I can't tell you how many times my questions end up in the trash). The question was a bit loaded, I'll confess, but I believe it was a relevant one to ask. With the donor list now public, how does Stay Sacramento justify their claim to be a "concerned grassroots group of local residents and business owners, up against a well-funded organized campaign of special interests"? Prof. Burnette was caught a bit off guard, as he isn't a rep for the group. But from out of nowhere, someone jumped up and started shouting: "I brought that money to the table because I live in this area and I..." The moderator shut him down, so we never got to hear him finish.
Since Professor Burnette isn't an official representative of Stay Sacramento, my score card shows four forfeits in a row for them. Now I don't understand much about politics, but a thinking person gets some questions running through his mind at times like this. Why is "Stay Sacramento" suddenly becoming "Stay Away"? Did we offend them, so now they're snubbing us? Does this mean they won't take us to the prom? Are we no longer BFFs?
My politically-uneducated mind immediately came up with the response that now that their donor list has been made public, they have some major truthfulness issues to deal with, and it's easier just to slink back into their pile of decaying leaves and wait it out. But as logical as this sounds, there has to be more to it. So I spent some time picking the brains of a couple of my more astute acquaintances, and this is what I learned.
Stay Sacramento isn't showing up, because they think the battle is over. All along they have been preying on seniors in our community, telling them that cityhood would increase taxes and fees, and lower property values on the homes they've been paying off for the past 30 years. And some folks have been gobbling it up. As our people have been out walking precincts and speaking with people, it's amazing how many people put out a Stay Sac sign based on nothing more than the tax threat. Fortunately once they hear the truth, many of them are coming around. But there are many throughout the area who bought the lie and got scared too much to listen anymore.
Now, the thing about seniors is that they tend to vote absentee in overwhelming numbers. So Stay Sac capitalized on that by doing their fear-mongering in advance, counting on the absentee ballots to win their battle, knowing once the donor list came out, those ballots would be secured away downtown somewhere. Wouldn't surprise me if Susan Peters even offered therm a storage facility in her underground bunker.
Does this mean the war is over? No chance. The folks we have on phone banks and knocking on doors, both for Measure D and the individual candidates, are making a difference. The tide is turning, people. And it's turning in our favor. We are winning this thing, one mind and one heart at a time. To quote the good book: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9)
If you really believe in this, now is the time for action. Talk to your neighbors. The Measure D campaign is doing phone bank calls every night until the election. Drop by the Fulton Ave office and bring your mobile phone. Head out this weekend and knock on some doors. It's not nearly as scary as you might think. Get the facts out in any (ethical and legal) way possible. One person at a time. On sign at a time. One vote at a time. When this is over and we have a new city to be proud of, you will be able to look back and say that you made a difference. You made this happen!
My goal for the next week is to approach small businesses with the Stay Sac signs on their lots and ask the managers if they authorized the signs. There is a Kragen at Marconi and Eastern that suddenly gained about 7-8 signs overnight. I'll be dropping by today to see if I need to start shopping at Auto Zone. I suspect that if 5-6 of you did the same, those signs might just disappear.
I just can't close this note without saying something I've been thinking for a week or so now. Last year, Bob Stevens, Joel Archer and I had lunch with Sheriff McGinness. At that lunch he made the statement that incorporation would be the best possible thing that could happen for Arden Arcade. Now he has publicly come out against it. Any idea why he would change his tune?
Hmmm... come to think of it, there must be 21 million good reasons.
Now, I don't blame him one bit for looking out for his people, and doing what it takes to keep them on the job. But the object lesson we should take away is that, like it or not, this is politics. Treat everything you hear as such, and dig between the rhetoric to get the facts. Paul M and Ray the Accountant did.