Thanks, but no thanks

I find irony particularly delicious. Not as delicious as candied yams, but delicious nonetheless. That may come as a surprise to readers who think I’m polite and positive too much of the time, but there you go—irony!

That’s why at this time of year, when many people count their blessings and write about things they’re thankful for, I do the opposite. So, without further ado, here is the second installment of ‘Thanks, but no thanks":

Misleading leaders: It really bothers me when a person states a firm belief and contradicts it … I don’t know … say … an hour later.

I can see changing your stance after a decade. Circumstances change. So, for instance, officials who’d lobbied for a bond to build a third high school can, in good conscience, decide the school is unnecessary when attendance figures drop.

But if a city councilman sermonizes about … oh … going against legal counsel, then does so on the very next agenda item—or preaches fiscal prudence and approves contracts that deepen the deficit—that’s hard to endorse.

Even worse, of course, is bald-face lying. You know: ‘We don’t torture,” ‘Good job, Brownie"—that sort of thing.

Benefits brinksmanship: When times are tough, it’s disconcerting to learn people on the public payroll are getting sweet, sweet deals.

Take Chico and Chico State—the city, despite its deficit, inked a benefits-rich contract with firefighters that will carry over to police, thanks to a ‘me, too” clause; and the CSU, despite saying it needs to raise tuition again, gave its executives another hefty raise.

The argument proffered by both: We can’t attract Nordstrom people with Kmart contracts. My reply: You won’t even have Pic ‘N’ Save people if you run out of money.

I’m reminded of Reagan and the Soviets: He waged economic war by baiting them into playing ‘Top this!” and drained their resources. Chico and the CSU can keep pretending they can hang with the big spenders, but they should stick to reality checks.

Potholes: I know I may sound like a contradictory councilman, but there’s got to be some way to fix the avenues so drivers don’t blow through shock absorbers like the city burns litigation funds …

Hey, Chico State concrete folk, got anything to turn leaves or mulch into asphalt?

Dangerous intersections: A stoplight at Second and Flume streets would save many an accident. But that would be something to give thanks for, so instead of that request, I’ll call out drivers who speed through crosswalks.

As cities go, Chico is pretty calm and casual. Walking and biking are part and parcel of the lifestyle Chicoans cherish. So think a second, Speed Racer—do you really need to turn pedestrians into matadors and risk goring ’em with your Taurus?

Bipolar discourse: Last Thanksgiving, I lamented left-right bickering. Sadly, partisans are just as conspicuous and myopic as ever.

The paradigm I prefer is Hegelian Dialectic: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. (Or, if you like art more than philosophy: black, white, gray.) I’m neither ‘stay the course” nor ‘cut and run"; I’m ‘phase us out"—somewhere in the middle ground, a shade of gray. Give peace a chance … to actually take place.

Kumbaya, and happy Thanksgiving.