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An Epiphany


By Joey Porter

July 12, 2008

 

My name is Joey Porter and I moved to Vallejo in 1995. After many years moving around the USA in the construction industry I settled here. In many ways Vallejo has been very good to me. I purchased a house on the elm lined street of Nebraska in 1998 and have seen both my house and neighborhood spruced up. I have watched my daughter attend Vallejo schools where she actually obtained a great education. Even though I have voted in every Congressional election since 1976 I felt no need to vote in local elections. I did not feel myself as a citizen of Vallejo but more as a resident. Local elections were for local yokels. My wife and I joked about Osby Davis every election running for offices from city council to dog catcher. I remember my daughter attending a city council meeting as part of a high school government project and coming home to tell us of the great feral cat problem discussed at the meeting.  The Times Herald was discussed around the dinner table as a complete joke. The worst excuse we had ever seen for a local newspaper.


A couple of years ago my eyes were opened when my wife and I took some dance classes at the Dance Unlimited club on Georgia Street. We heard about police and building inspector harassment. The most amazing story involved a building inspector's request that a beautiful old oak bar be removed from the building even though they were not going to sell alcohol. Fortunately the bar was not removed but my eyes were opened. Eventually I learned the city was teetering toward bankruptcy and I found the Vallejo is Burning web site. I hoped (and voted for the first time in a Vallejo election) for change but alas change is both slow and fickle in Vallejo. It appears the new housing developments in town are full of residents and not citizens.

 

I had a profound thought the other night or what I might call an Epiphany. Question: Why would Nugget Markets spend 5 million dollars to put a store in Vallejo and then pull out when they heard a super Wal-Mart was coming to town? How can the downtown development and the development on Mare Island turn into the fiasco they are? How can firefighters and police unions obtain wage agreements that bankrupt the city? How can the city newspaper sit quietly as Vallejo becomes a laughingstock?

 

The answer is quite simple. One person got their palm greased when Nugget was coming to town. Another person got their palm greased when they negotiated with Wal-Mart to come to town. The fact that Vallejo got neither is irrelevant what was relevant is that some old money old guard Vallejo cronies got their palm greased. Other cronies get their palms greased from the developers . Others get their kickbacks from the unions and the city finances go down the toilet. The newspaper is indebted to its establishment news sources and good friend cronies.

 

I welcome bankruptcy. There are many fine civil servants in Vallejo, but there are a few who need to go to jail. Trust me when other sets of eyes go through the books some will be embarrassed, some Will lose their jobs and some will go to jail. The news will be reported by television and the Chronicle. The Times herald will whimper in silence. At that moment maybe more of us will become citizens of Vallejo and not just residents.