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Do You Pay Any Attention To Politics?

Notes On The Local Scene

I just wondered if you pay attention to politics. If so, how do you keep abreast of what is going on? What level of government are you most interested in? And, if you don’t pay any attention, why is that?

I recently read a column by David Sirota in the San Francisco Chronicle, (7/12/2012), entitled, “Ignorance has a certain logic to it.” According to the article, Xavier University did a study which shows that, “many Americans have wholly tuned out of politics” and can’t answer the simplest questions about government.

Some speak of the dumbing down of the country, however, like Sirota, I’m not sure that’s the case. We’re all ignorant on some topics. It’s more a matter of where people choose to put time and attention.

Sirota’s conclusion, one I agree with, is, “many Americans have consciously decided that the information no longer matters.” He points to big money in elections, presidents who ignore the constitution, and a judiciary which “spends much of its time helping Big Business tilt the law against the population, and where the major parties resemble each other on most policies.” Thus he concludes many of us choose to ignore the whole matter because, “they accurately perceive the fraud being perpetrated on them…” In fact, the stupid people may be those who, “doggedly pretend that America is still a functioning democracy.”

I listen regularly to Bill Moyers and usually come away unsettled. Here’s a link to his comments with the contention that “the poor people haven’t lost their voice, they can’t afford a voice.”

I spoke to Mayor Patterson recently and confessed though I’ve always had an interest in politics, I haven’t paid close attention to local issues. I brought up the matter of the . She believes that the building is unique and that it should have been restored. I don’t so much disagree with that as questioning the amount spent—about four times what local contractors say it should have cost and how it has been used since.

Monday evening was warm and lovely. I sat outside , imbibing with friends. Owner, Lynne Pareloa has bingo on some Monday evenings. The cost is $20 which goes to various charities, which Lynne defines as supporting “people who can’t help themselves.” Ten games are played. Appetizers are served and prizes given. Other businesses contribute some of the prizes: Randy’s Bar and Grill, Christina S, Pacifica, and Benicia Home Improvement. Lynne is also owner of  Lynne’s Invitations and Gifts, a few doors from The Chill.

Finally, last week there was a in front of The Rellik. It didn’s start inside and didn’t involve Rellik patrons. People work hard to make their businesses succeed; they get upset with bad press.

Gary W Smith July 11, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Lois. Recent comment to the Vallejo City Council - "we come and talk to you but have no assurance that you listen." The same may be said of the Benicia City Council. Too many self-serving, know-it all, 'good old boys & girls' networks working in local, State, Federal Government today. I, however, am hopeful that there will be a backlash of significant proportions because, in spite of the gentlemens observations, there are some American voters that are actually awake and attuned. Ignorance is most certianly bliss on the part of the current political scene.
Lois Requist July 11, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Interesting comment, Gary. How often do those who comment on politics think that those who don't agree with their point-of-view are the ignorant ones? To actually help even the local government work better, citizens have to pay attention, listen, and then speak.
Robert Livesay July 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Lois as you know I follow politics very closely. I wrote many LTTE about the Mayor's ability to lead. I was right. She has divided the council 4/1. I do believe some of the members do not even speak to her. Residents in many cases do not pay attention, listen or speak. Those that do in this city if you are a conservastive do get called names etc. I will continue ny conservative thinking because I do see a big change about to happen. Even if it does not I wll always be a conservative and very proud of the fact.
Susan Street July 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM
The council has divided itself. The opportunity exists to work together and there are basics that we probably all agree on: open and fair government, keeping our small town ambiance, providing the best service possible to the citizens, encouraging new business, maintaining a vibrant downtown. Leadership means listening, having vision, staying positive. Those five people on the Council are all elected to lead. Citizens need to attend or watch the City Council meetings and see who listens, who has vision and who stays positive. Susan Street
Robert Livesay July 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Susan you know I follow the council/mayor very close. What you are saying is true, but it is words not really what is happening. The mayor has divided this council in a way that I believe will not be repaired. It is up to the mayor to change her ways. Susan why is this council divided? It is very simple Susan it is the mayors style and condecsending attitude. She is very difficult to get along with. Yes she has her worker bees and her followers. Tell me why the mayor would not put the #1 candidate up for approval for the planning commission. The council respected her first three choices even though the #1 candidate was not put up for approval. When approved candidate dropped out she would still not put up the #1 candidate. That was a slap in the face to her fellow council members. So just who is trying to lead. It is not the mayor. She try to dictate and from now on she will be all by herself. Enough is enough. She has no one to blame but herself. The vote on the grant rather than a loan is a perfect example. She votes for the grant for consensus and wants the minutes to reflect she really was for a loan and not a grant. Now just what is that all about. I am with you but I am really against you. You call that vision, leadership and positive. I think not. It is stubborn bull headed my way or I will act like a child. Not at all a good quality of a leader. I spotted this long ago and I am not alone by any stretch.

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