Thursday, March 9, 2006
SILENT LOU… In the past, County Supervisor LOU CALCAGNO has been accused of trying to play both sides of the political aisle. He calls it “building consensus,” but his detractors call it…well, Squid’s a polite cephalopod, so Squid’s not gonna ink it in these pages. Anyway, sometimes it works for the Supe, and sometimes it doesn’t—remember the REFINEMENT GROUP?
Squid’s not exactly sure what role Calcagno was trying to play at last week’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting when three of the five elected officials shot down the public’s right to vote on the general plan initiative.
Squid’s not faulting Calcagno for his vote. In fact, Squid’s glad that Calcagno voted with Supervisor DAVE POTTER against the other three Supes who succeeded in keeping the initiative off of the ballot. But where was Calcagno when Potter made the first motion of the night?
Potter introduced a motion to allow the initiative to go on the ballot. And…silence. Squid waited for Calcagno to second Potter’s motion. Squid waited some more. The second never came.
History will show that Calcagno voted against yanking the anti-sprawl plan from the ballot. But when he had the chance to actively make a motion—or a second—to allow voters to weigh in on the county’s blueprint for growth, Calcagno kept quiet.
SILENT SALINAS… Squid was pleased when Salinas voters and passed MEASURE V—a half-cent sales tax to fund city services. All residents needed to do next was go to a community meeting, and tell the council where they wanted the $10 million to go. Does it get any better? Residents get taxed, and they get to decide how to spend the dough. Squid was psyched.
Well, right up until the meetings—held in every district over the past couple of months. As it happens, turnout was disgracefully low. Maybe 10 private citizens showed up to the first meeting. The rest were equally abysmally attended.
The meetings are over now, and the city’s so desperate for feedback, ads will be running in newspapers begging for input. The committee is even going to be hitting school districts for input. Just to let these silent citizens be heard.
One district chair told Squid: “Anyone who doesn’t bother to drop the bag of Doritos, turn off Lost and show up at a meeting or to write or e-mail city hall can just shut up later.”
First Squid cringed. Now Squid’s just sad. No one’s speaking up. Squid has to believe residents care. Squid has to believe it matters. It does. Doesn’t it? Ambivalence sucks.