The city council met Monday and the city was subjected to a nuclear option power play by Linda Ruffing and the city machine. They played it to a packed house of preordered supporters, mainly social services servitors and functionaries, with a few blind to the facts advocates of authoritarian machine politics.
The place was packed. But lurking in the awareness of all of them was the far greater number of disenfranchised ripped off and pissed off voters, who were not there as a matter of policy and that had against every encumbrance obstruction and obstacle that city hall could throw at them finally gotten their election. A day in the court of the people.
Linda Ruffing was grim, a commander under fire. A woman by the by of keen intelligence who I think understands far better than the dopey city council what she is getting into in this election and what she has done to the city by her outrageous governance, that is to say by skirting the law, shamelessly manipulating the city council, muzzling the (horribly willing) newspaper, stacking the meetings, lying to the council and many other creative and entertaining dirty ticks. She keeps a guy on his feet. Truly she is a polished and professional liar.
Monday Night Linda pushed every power button she had. In an audacious and almost mad, but effective gamble she staked everything on a public demonstration that won very big Monday night. Tuesday morning Linda was asking herself what it would cost.
Her power play was direct and effective. She simply corrupted the city attorney.
Samatha Zutler trotted out her trust me I am a kitten professional best and slammed the law and her job discretion around like an all star wrestler whipping the hell out of a skinny pigmy. (Perhaps not my best metaphor). We are indeed fortunate in Fort Bragg that we have a sharp attorney to tell the people how to vote. She put her points with her own unique syrupy cuteness strangely appropriate to the conveyance of deception.
Point: Discriminates against the homeless (wrong and wrong at law) it stops Ortner.
Point: waste of money, (wrong) hearing the voice of our community in a profoundly contentious issue by free election is the best money city hall ever spent.
Point: It will be deemed Illegal and unenforceable. (wrong) according to the attorneys for the opposition, dead wrong. But thank you Ms. Zutler if the powerful and those that hold the public trust could get a few lawyers as abject and unethical as you are, we could dispense with courts altogether. No more courts just Zutler. I know Scott Menz would favor a thrifty reform like that. Zutler has a future. But it may be in jail.
And best of all the surprise Nuke. In a surprise interpretation wholly unsuspected by the framers of the initiative or any party so far we were informed that this is not a zoning ordinance that affects only one social services scam. Hey our astute city council told us, if we (the city machine) wanted to, by the power invested in us by imputation in this damnable ordinance we could make life a trifle more difficult for every social service agency. OMG. This creative interpretation of the proposed ordinance is indeed possible if and when a city government wanted to commit suicide by needlessly hassling everybody. They would not have to do it, but they could. Therefore they unanimously concluded, this Initiative is actually a sly and diabolical attack on the very edifice of social service. Horrible.
Linda was doubtless satisfied with the performance of her pet attorney. Not so much, I am suspecting, the attorney general and the bar association and a half dozen other organizations and institutions are the recipients of both Zutler performances by email played to the accompaniment of the rage and outrage of opposition voters in the city.
It is too late for that kind of bare knuckles lawlessness Ms. Zutler the people of the city are hip. What you are dismissing is a public election. What you are pronouncing as law had better come about, If we win the election and the case too, your career will be over. Big surprise, Linda, the career maker you have sold out to, will professionally not care.
Sorry Samantha, for sure the election will occur, and we accept that it will go to court but the part that you got so clearly and logically wrong is that retroactivity is not unknown to the law, but, determined when it is invoked on precisely the kind of voracious overriding of the public interest that your boys are pulling.
But no one thought of any of that in the Monday night power lie and screw the people contest. The contrived crowd was predictably captivated. They believed the city attorney implicitly of course, who would not? so did the city council. Lawsuits discrimination, lions and tigers and bears. The Zutler pronouncements were delivered to the people of the city in oracular solemnity. This she says is the law. A very brazen and actually daring career move. But was it wise? Probably. In the wider world which she understands much better than I do, obsequious misrepresentation is no doubt highly marketable. Of course when the opposition prevails she wont work in Fort Bragg. We will certainly win the election and very likely the court case.
But Monday it was a rout. The opposition voters have long since given up on city council meetings. So they were not there. The social services world and Scott Menz and his Go buddies were.
Suffice to say they triumphed triumphantly. Every city council member caved in like wet cardboard. Lindy and Mike went down in disgrace (on this one issue). Very nice public manipulation Linda, very expert. But crazy. She has to know what the city council momentarily forgot, that absolutely the contrived scene at town hall dose not matter. Mikes deluge of phone calls dose not matter electorally. They were every one Go brats. The real people are going to vote and not for not trying clever Linda was just not able to stop that. We forced her to go nuclear. So who is winning? The people of Fort Bragg are going to talk anyway. Can’t stop it. And consequently they are going to find out for themselves in free public discourse that Linda is lying about everything including the intention and proposed application of the law. People have until June (just enough time) to really discover the depth of what she did. Our city manager deliberately skirted the law, made deals and hid the facts from the public. In the heat of debate they will discover that she did indeed brazenly corrupt the ethical practice of governance in Fort Bragg to achieve illicit objectives.
And one word about the people that came to the meeting. I approve of it entirely, and of the expression of their pious views. I hammer the city because I care about it. I do not care about the social services industry as it is called, so I leave it out of my raves. To slightly correct that I note about them that the sometimes vicious, always indifferent manipulation of the poor for profit is what the social services industry does. Sometimes they try to help, rarely, sometimes they do help, more rarely, mostly they just have jobs.
Agencies of public succor grow out of real needs and of course sometimes visionaries and people with insight do manifest clever and useful ideas about social cooperation. Sometimes folks get together and put into practice good ideas. It happens. But in dismal Fort Bragg, down in the trenches, creativity is distinctly of secondary importance to job security. I think it fair to observe it of the weeping saints that came to decry the bigotry of the people of the city, that the exploding money machine of federal dollars and psychotropic drugs does truthfully attract profiteers. In a no-economy economy those schemers with an angle can get cash just as though they were producing something useful. Is that bad? Not really. We need to try things, but the visionaries give inevitable first place to the plodders and then too often to the truly venal. The morally self righteous. But regardless of the earnestness of their intention after a while each and every Sob sister schemer has a need for money. They know it.
I would say of them that generally, if in any situation it becomes possible to help someone in their specific category and if it does not endanger the weekly check, they are all willing to do some good. They do a lot of harm too. But in all candor I do not think that they for all their self interested sanctimony, are any better than the rest of us, and I decline, and I think the city will decline to govern ourselves on the basis of a self interested and questionable morality. They demand that we subvert the law suspend debate, stop making rude remarks about money and cruelty and abuse of the homeless and the venality of government that is after all their ultimate sugar daddy. They demand it.
I am sure that the people of the city will repudiate at the ballot box, the homeless services, tax dodge and disappearing money trick I am very sure that a venal city government in Fort Bragg is commencing to fall. Linda Ruffing’s attempted massive intervention in our election proves it.
We are winning. But I think we have won more than we know. Much more. When we the people of the city discover that we can actually win an election. Then the machine really falls.
It falls when at a gut level we know as a city that at any time, 350 people put an issue to the people that if the people if they want to can change the damn law.
I wonder that Scott Menzie has emerged as the spokesman of the pro machine faction. He does not seem too engaged in the particulars of policy, preferring I guess to trust in the authorities that he so admires to define his agenda for him. Go is a singularly apt name for their organization, they just want Linda to go. To keep on getting grants, for crying out loud. Go Linda go.
Anyway Menzie was there, earlier he had said he is willing to talk things over with me in some public forum. Perhaps on cable. That would be fun. Scott Mayberry was quietly there also.