Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Political Reality Appears in all its Horror

The Fence Around the Cloud Preserve

The more I became involved in the Neighborhood Council, the more I was horrified by how far astray it was from what I believe to be the proper scope and function of government.  At one point, I was so appalled that I decided I couldn’t go forward.  It was not the right thing for me to do or be involved in.  I sent the following letter to the leader of our little coalition.

Dear ____________,

     I had an interesting realization today.  The process began when I received a Facebook notification that the agenda for a special meeting of the Governing Board of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council had been posted to the SLNC website.  Interesting, I thought, the last I checked the next meeting was in April.  I opened up the SLNC page and navigated over to the special meeting agenda.  After reading it through, I realized that there were almost no items there that I agreed with or would support.  In fact, there are several items that I oppose, other items that are empty gestures and none that I could support.  I thought back to the first SLNC meeting which I attended, the March Governing Board meeting, and realized that this is what the SLNC does.  These are the issues in which its members and the community are interested. 
     At our candidate meeting the other night, when I said I believe that I was the most conservative member of the group, I believe I understated my position.  I realize now that I was the only conservative member of the group that evening.  In fact, one of the few ideas I have in common with the group is the concept of civil debate.  That may well be the only thing we have in common politically.  The SLNC is nothing if it is not a political organization.  It is by design a tool of the City of Los Angeles to engage citizen support and input into local government.  Like most, if not all, government bodies in this city the SLNC operates on the left of the political spectrum; that much is obvious just from reading the latest Governing Board Agenda.  As I tried to say in that first meeting, I am on the right side of the political spectrum. 
     The SLNC reflects the political views and philosophy of the community.  I am at odds with those views and that philosophy.  There is no point in my spending time campaigning for election to a government body where the majority of members will always directly and often vehemently oppose my beliefs.  I’m not interested in being the lone dissenting voice, or the guy who opposes everything the council proposes.  That wouldn’t be fun, or useful for anyone.  My time would be better spent supporting a group that is working toward those goals and purposes which I consider vital and important.  The SLNC is not that group. 
     I should have done my homework before I ever submitted my name as a candidate.  I regret not doing that.  Until this evening, I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t dislike anyone on the “team.”  As a matter of fact, I believe that the team is made up of good, caring people who really do want what they think is best for the community.  We just don’t agree upon what is “best.”  That doesn’t make any of us bad people, just people who disagree. 
     I believe that my best course of action at this point is to withdraw my candidacy for the SLNC.  I hope this is not a great inconvenience to the team.  As I said, I should have done more research before I sent my name in to the city clerk.  I do want to continue to work with Nadine as a volunteer on the Public Safety Committee.  I think I can do some good there.  I’ll also, of course, continue to be active in my Neighborhood Watch.

Respectfully submitted,

I immediately received a return e-mail telling me that it would be unfair to the rest of the coalition for me to withdraw at that point since flyers had already been printed and the website created, all of which included my name.  I saw her point and the error of my ways.  I agreed to see the campaign through to the end.  The worst that could happen was that I might be elected, as unlikely as that seemed.  I made plans to speak at the candidate forums.

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