This website has been called “Politics for Grown-ups.” I consider that a meaningful, worthwhile compliment.
Far, far too many people avoid politics because of the conflict. That is a shame. Unfortunately Politics is inherently about conflict. If we all agreed about everything – there would be no politics.
The problem is that some people make politics gratuitously nasty to intentionally keep nice people away. Nice people are rarely greedy, can’t say the same for non-nice people.
Like so many others I started out believing that politics was about honest and ethical disputes in values. I thought – just let the officials know what is wrong and how to fix it and they would immediately realize the wisdom of my ideas and put them right into place.
Well . . . I have since learned that “place” invariably turns out to be the trash can. I’ve learned the hard way — in politics no good idea is ever adopted without a Titanic struggle. And no good deed goes unpunished.
If you want a government decision in your favor and you aren’t making money from it – well good luck ! Yet for for those who make money from government decisions, lots of money, their paths are paved with red carpet.
Smells funny doesn’t it?
How to Make Our Community Better – While Avoiding Conflict
We can and must do better. Somewhat before Rodney King made “Can’t we all get along” famous I coined the phrase “Respectful Disagreement” to inspire people that we can disagree and still work together.
So the aim of this website is to inform nice folks like you about what is really going on, what is wrong – and what you can do to EASILY fix it.
The Motto here is “If Monterey Peninsula media competently covered important news – we’d be out of business.” Yes, our local media is sadly stunningly superficial, and often viscerally driven in amazingly malignant directions. So that’s a challenge to our local currently superficial “media.” Go ahead – I invite you, I implore you, I beg you — Make this website irrelevant – report the public interest point of view – so I can do other things.
Hardball Politics – I’ve Earned Enemies Honestly
President Harry Truman said “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”
When you “play” hardball politics, you will step on a few tails.
In the course of stopping more than a Billion dollars worth (really) of horrible development and advocating for public interests, investigating and publicly telling the truth and naming names about dirty deeds in Monterey Peninsula politics – I have made a few greedy people mad.
Well, Peninsula politics is not a softball game – its “played” with bulldozers, chainsaws, millions of dollars and sometimes extremely vicious ink – and I’ve earned my enemies honestly.
I’ve been frivously SLAPP sued by County Supervisor Barbara Shipnuck, falsely called a liar by the notorious developer’s attorney Tony Lombardo and Herald writer Joe Livernois, attacked by the Pine Cone’s Paul Miller and Weak Coastly’s Bradly Zeve and the Herald’s mentally unstable Royal Calkins who Blacklisted (total censorship of) all my letters and commentaries since 2004. (Blacklist still in place as of 2014)
In spite of that I give everyone at least one chance to do good.
I’ve called the Pine Cone’s notorious environment hater Publisher Paul Miller to ask him to lunch, but he never returned my phone calls. I’ve called Royal Calkins to meet with him. Instead he yelled at me, admitted Blacklisting me, then lied about it to his publisher. Along with others, I gave Mayor and developer Dan Cort two chances to gracefully resign and avoid a Recall campaign started on him. Instead he paid for a publicity campaign to personally attack me – rather than the people who organized the Recall. Then he resigned, claiming it had nothing to do with the recall campaign. To cap it off Cort corrupted the Ballotpedia report about his recall to eliminate his name (hmmm, a Recall with no named elected official – how does that work? That has since been partially corrected.) and put my name all over it.
I’ve been offered bribes by some mighty powerful developers; one even sent a check with my name on it after I said no. It was easy to turn them down and fun too.
One event might stun a few folks. I once called Tony Lombardo for his take on a project. He returned my call immediately and we had a friendly chat.
I’m tempted to offer all those who are doing wrong with political power the same deal as Adlai Stevenson —
The reason I could offer is that my work is about political actions – not personalities.
Sincerity Most Important
Oddly enough, I get along remarkably well personally with many whose politics and projects I oppose.
That might be because I respect sincerity, more than I even knew myself until recently. It turns out I have a ton more respect for a political opponent who is sincere — than superficial allies who have no values but falsely claim them for political or personal reasons. One County Supervisor, Potter, and two recent Pacific Grove Mayors jump right to mind (Koffman and Cort).
Outlasted all Government and Media
My decades of public interest work here has outlasted every Monterey Peninsula elected official; every politician (except Sand City Mayor David Pendergrass – who does an amazing amount of harm considering he gets elected with only about 70 votes – total). My work has outlasted every “Planning” Director, planner, City Manager, every reporter (my list is over 100), editor, newspaper letter editor/censor, and publisher. (Though there are two agency attorneys that have been around longer.)
Serious hit and run damage is done to our Peninsula politics by many carpetbagger politicians, so-called “planners” and hit and run “reporters” (and even a few who fashion themselves as activists). Their biased incompetence finds them talking only to the Electeds, the developers, PR flacks and the Chamber of Commerce. Why do so many curry favor from money and power – and ignore the obvious public sentiment to protect our community from developers?
The good news is how I’ve found a wonderful few with caring values, stellar integrity and competence. Those few help make enduring the rest of them worthwhile.
Almost every newly arrived news(wo)man, elected official, and government staffer arrogantly thinks they know more than anyone else here. Not just more, but massively more than the “ignorant rubes” in this backwater set of Monterey Peninsula towns they have to put up with while waiting for a ticket out of here to a big city job.
The funny thing is – the reverse is usually true: Those who are the most arrogant (e.g. carpetbagging City Managers, agency lawyers, far too often Herald Letter Censors, and yes even some activists) – usually know the least — and exhibit the worst judgment.
Most of them never learn how people in every facet of our Peninsula politics are a long shot smarter, wiser and know a whole heck of a lot more than our national “leaders” in DC and Sacramento. More importantly, our local “backwater rubes” have made some genuine first class legislation locally that are models for the rest of the world.
You rarely hear of those wonderful people who have been doing good public interest protection longer than I: Janice O’Brien, Darby Worth, Corky Matthews, Robert Greenwood, Neil Agron, Mike Weaver, Steve Brooks, and Rosemary Matson – to name a few local living breathing heros.
Sadly, we’ve lost some world class fabulous people along the way: visionary Gunnar Norberg (Carmel Mayor), the fearless Jane Mayer and Ann Woolworth (who along with Carmel Pine Cone publisher Al Eisner regularly exposed Mayor Eastwood’s awful acts), and Elizabeth Leeper and Barbara Bass Evans of Monterey. Others have served well and moved on: Jim Wright, Bud Nunn, and Mark Worth (Coast Weekly Editor) – to name just a few.
In any case – this blog is for amusement – mine and yours, and perhaps best of all it is interactive – you are encouraged to add your respectful thoughts or ask questions like a Letter to the editor of a newspaper.
If you have any questions about commenting, you might take a look at this set of commenting principles by Sean Carrol and Eugene Volokh describing a blog as a party. If you want to stay at the party – key themes are respectful, constructive and actually paying attention to other’s ideas.
If you have an article or a commentary you wish to publish or believe needs investigating – let me know.
In sharp contrast to the Carmel Pine Cone’s Paul Miller, the Herald’s Royal Calkins and Joe Livernois (recently moved to the Pine Cone and writing signed articles) and the anonymous hit and run commenter hiding behind the name “Skeptico” – I always sign my opinions and take full responsibility for them.