Monday, September 24, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #50 - Broken Democracy

A friend referred me to an article in The Atlantic about the problems in Washington, D.C. but the article could just as well be talking about San Juan County. It says the public sector has become a "deviant subculture." Rather than regurgitate the article, I'll leave you with this quote and urge you to read the original. It's a gem.
America should move the national capital. It wouldn't matter where, as long as government is run by new people not infected by the current culture. But if we can't, the only way to change the culture is to put public employees on the spot.


  1. Then, for current practical application, read Bob Woodward's new book, "The Price of Politics"

  2. Anyone who attended the Consignment Treasures public forum last week got a real good taste for the political rot that is now the deviant subculture of our own local government.

    Just plain folks cannot imagine people behaving this way, they would spank their children. That's one reason these clowns get away with what they do.

    But they are now so out of control, they don't even try to hide their behavior any longer, they are so normalized to it now.

  3. Stepan Maximovich PetrichenkoSeptember 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Perhaps it is well past time for us to abandon the veneer of "civility", give up our forced smiles and uncomfortable silences, and instead speak out openly, honestly, and directly whenever we encounter poor behavior and performance from our public servants.

    I think we need a complete sweep of the County Council, and about half of the staff.

    Let's get to it.

  4. Hmmmmm. Seems a radical notion, but voting to reduce the Council back to three would at least shake things up. Also could be a very bad idea, so I would be interested in what others think about that. Oh, and it sure seems awful quiet on the Patty/Fact Checker front.

  5. I am strongly tempted to vote for the 3-person Council proposal, simply as an efficient method to throw all of the current bums out in a timely fashion, and with no other consideration of the merits of the 3-person vs. 6-person system.

  6. Before this turns into a CRC debate (please don't turn it into a CRC debate), I would like to say that whichever system "wins" in the election, serious housecleaning is in order, in my opinion. And by housecleaning, I mean looking at committees, staffing, the way money flows ... everything.

    Personally, I think many people are focused on left/right wing etc. whereas The Atlantic article suggests that we are all being used by the bureaucracy. It's bureaucracy versus leadership/individualism.

    We need leaders in whatever system who will not become part of the bureaucracy once they are elected, but who will fight against the bureaucracy's impersonal claims to defend and represent people.

  7. The Atlantic article does invite some speculation about how things work around here so not really about the CAO Countdown I guess, but not entirely un-related either.

    Completely agree. Without the house-cleaning, any change in the Charter would be little more than re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    I really, really do NOT want our county government to sink. I want it to avoid the bloody iceberg it's heading towards and time is running out. This election is the last chance to course. Our situation is not national politics. These are local issues, nonpartisan.

    And, creating six months of brand new political vacuum around a new primary and general election for council or commissioner critters is just an open invitation for all kinds of insects to infest the crawl-spaces of committees, advisory groups, and staff positions. It could easily wind up even worse.

    At the end of the day, it is all about leadership. Ask Lovell. Her mother sat in the New Hampshire state assembly for decades. (That's right. Lovell's not from around these parts it turns out. She comes from an old east coast political clan. Can you tell?) There are over 400 representatives in the New Hampshire assembly. Just imagine. Six here doesn't seem so bad by comparison. Hard to say.

    OK. I'll drop the CRC thing now.

  8. FOLKS, here is our chance. Tomorrow on Orcas is the council meeting.

    You all are allowed (yes, still allowed) 3 minutes of "Citizen Access time".

    You could read the pledge of allegiance, you could comment on current topics, or you could openly and publicly question any sitting member of the Council about things they have done, or are alleged to have done".

    For instance, you could say, "Howie, I remember you used to sleep through these meetings, how come you are awake now"....

    Or if you thought someone had, say, excavated in a wetland, you could ask them questions that pertain to that.....

    Orcas supporters???

    Anyone got the day off tomorrow to go??

  9. We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

  10. Howie slept during the wetland discussion last Thursday morning...nothing has changed there.

    No CRC debate here, but just think the HRC does not have term limits either. Might be very costly to vote a powerful 1/3 out of office. Do I hear "special interest money?" Not a good idea in my mind.

  11. What I want (need) to know is where do I take my trash after Sunday? The County won't tell me!

  12. Don't ask the County, ask the guys at the dump. They have work schedules.

    OK, Not the CRC, (and I do not blame you on that decision) but I spent two hours on this West Orcas Council contest and It IS a tough call! (I'm innocent cause I'm over here safe as a new born baby in Rich Peterson's District)

    So as a person with 11 years behind the dais I lean toward Hughes.

    An open mind is better than experience, and what your really want is an open mind with experience. Them folks are hard to find. (Take what I have to say with a grain of salt cause I thought Stephens was one...ouch)

    There is a planning Commissioner, I don't know his name who said he wanted to hear from the public! WOW!!! Give me ten of that person.

    So let us drop the "civility" and FULLY vet people before we get more of the Patty and Jamie Jerks we now have.

  13. Fully vet, as in actually running for office. Patty never ran for office. She had no opponent.

    During the League of Women Voters forum in Eastsound during the last election, she sat in the front row and asked questions of candidates, even though she, herself, was a candidate.

    That's you who have running the County Council these days.