I was unable to personally attend the Fort Bragg city council meeting Monday and I missed a hell of a show.
Those who follow the city council know that David Gurney, in the face of raw contempt and gratuitous belligerence from the mayor, forced through an obvious and I thought) innocuous reform of council procedure by moving the public comments to the beginning of the meeting.
Mr. Gurney and his supporters had researched the matter and found that most municipalities did it that way. He saw the value in it, stood up to the mayor and got them to cave in to common sense, a rare occurrence.
Last Monday we saw the difference that having the consent agenda first has made in the council meetings. The public comments coming first stimulated a meaningful dialogue and engaged the council with the citizens, which is what should happen at a public meeting.
Thus it was that this council meeting afforded an opportunity for a local public venting of the nationwide dismay, depression and anxiety which now afflicts millions of Americans following the election of The Donald to the nation's highest office.
Right off the bat Charles Brandenburg made a piteous appeal alleging that the maids he employs at his Inn were afraid and much distressed. I believe him. Then up popped the redoubtable Simon Smith, our new local champion of blended gender, politically correct, authoritarian dogmatism all in one package. She really put it to them. The Obama administration, she intoned, has made the world a better place by its relentless commitment to human rights and civil liberties, and now look what we are going to have to deal with.
I thought that it was nice of her to mention the outgoing president, although I am less sanguine about the Obama administration's achievements in the sphere of civil liberties than she is. This is the administration that sent the heroic Chelsea Manning to prison for 34 years, and the great Edward Snowden to exile.
Obama has jailed or prosecuted more whistleblowers than any US president. He did not live up to his eloquence as a candidate, killed a lot of people with drones, made possible the Saudi bombing of Yemen using US tanker planes to refill the American planes sold to the Saudis and which are now dropping American bombs on desert tribesmen, etc., etc.
Obama was a great improvement over his predecessor but it is a good thing he won the Nobel Peace Prize before he took office; he would not have gotten it afterwards.
Facts be damned. Simon Smith don't care. She has him down in her book as officially enrolled among the politically correct, and for that she is willing to forgive all. She only sings one song.
The great cry Monday night was that Fort Bragg should become a sanctuary city. The looming deportation of immigrants would greatly harm our community. The mayor was ahead of the game. He'd talked to councilman Lindy Peters about forming an ad hoc committee to investigate the possibility of becoming a sanctuary city and to determine if it could be done without undue inconvenience to city funding.
I must ask Simon Smith to tell me what the allowable name for the Mexican and Latin American immigrants to our city is. She certainly will know. Whatever they are called , there is no doubt in my mind or in the minds of any person in Fort Bragg that these are our fellow citizens widely respected and deeply loved.
There is not a more hard working, more highly respected segment of our Fort Bragg bone and marrow.
If they were being deported en masse. I and not I alone, would chain myself to the bus that was removing them. I am not exaggerating.
I wonder what the immigrant community thinks. One thing is for sure they were not represented at the meeting.
Now that what we can begin to call the old city council is on the ropes they are gasping at straws. The long list of failures, the empty toxic mill site, the collapsing infrastructure, the imploded economy — to name but a few — have awakened the people and Fort Bragg has kicked the bums out almost as fast as electoral process has permitted.
And their proposed replacement clone, Scott Menzies, has been roundly rejected by the voters.
I would be more impressed with a principled stand to protect our immigrant community if it were not an easy exception to the rule of doing nothing. It is very good to act on principle, but when acting on principle is a complete novelty it is less impressive.
I am simply observing that the new city council can hide the continuance of failure behind the declaration that we are a sanctuary city and hope for a good result at the next election. It has worked before.