Election Commentary by The (Not Reverend) Al J. Love
Reprinted with Permission
|Newly elected candidates took their seats on the dais at City Hall last night. They are Gary
Cloutier, mayor, and City Councilmembers, Erin Hannigan, Joanne Shivley, and Mike Wilson. All four of them made statements.
Architecturally, City Hall follows a plan that is at least as old as the Middle Ages (Eurocentric History) where the important people, i.e., wealthy owners, are elevated and separated from the plebeians. Spatial disparity dictates that they command respect.
Shivley, who has a grasp of the financial quagmire Vallejo is facing, came roaring out of the gates by giving the City Manager actual assignments, e.g., analysis of union business leave abuses by firefighters and possible reimbursement to go to community based organizations which had their funding slashed this past summer; organization of a public forum to study and understand the city budget, etc..
Cloutier, expressed his vision for Vallejo with details regarding the downtown, waterfront and Mare Island projects. He expressed his dismay at the inordinate proportion of the General Fund that goes to pay public safety employees stating that it should be more like 60% rather than the 78% it currently is. He symbolically descended the dais by requesting the involvement of Vallejo citizens in solving our problems.
Cloutier also mentioned improving the appearance of Tennessee Street which is one of the main entrances to Vallejo from route 80.
Tennessee Street is competing with Sonoma Boulevard for ugliest street in town. Why is Sonoma Boulevard called a boulevard? It's wide but otherwise lacks any features that characterize boulevards, Where's the landscaping and foliage? Go to Paris to see a boulevard. Better to call it Boring-Get-Ya-Thru-Vallejo-As-Fast-As-You-Can Street.
Hannigan's and Wilson's statements were bereft of ideas and filled with the kind of fluff that characterized their appearances at campaign forums. Hannigan mentioned fielding the "hard" questions at some of the campaign forums. Many Vallejoans are disappointed in the format of the forums because questions from the audience are never allowed. They have families and are going to work hard for a wonderful, beautiful Vallejo which is very dear to their hearts. They have supporters too some of whom they thanked by name, but neither of them specifically mentioned the IAFF 1186 (firefighters union) who endorsed them and contributed a lot of money to their campaigns.
We hope that somewhere down in the recesses of their consciences Hannigan and Wilson can reconcile their rhetoric with their funding sources. They will have to prove that they are more than just another mouthpiece for the IAFF (Tom Bartee; Hermie Sunga) and they will have to prove that they are not as inept as Mr. Sunga. Otherwise that dais means nothing to us plebeians. It would just be more of the best democracy money can buy.
Al J. Love