Sonoma County's K-12 schools are struggling. Some are failing. The reasons include the declining birth rate, the changing demographics, the poor economy, or our dysfunctional state government. But I lay the fault squarely in the lap of the social visionaries - those high-minded folk who think that the rest of us are too stupid to run things and so they want to (oh so gently, mind you) take the tiller from our hands, so that the ship of state (county, city) is steered in the right direction. In the light of the struggling county schools, one outstanding example of social re-engineering run amok came to mind - S.M.A.R.T., which has already raised taxes and squandered tens of millions of dollars which could have been put to better use. Or, since the size and function of the still-proposed rail system seems to dwindle by the week - use, period. Oh heck, let's call it what it is - another Progressive Boondoggle. When the economy was booming, these sorts of hair-brained fantasies could slide through. I suppose a silver lining to the current economic storm clouds is that tight times make people re-think their economic priorities. I sure hope that people who don't have their heads in the clouds - or in the sand - will take another look at the "train to nowhere."
The Graton Rancheria and their wise guy (I'm sorry, professional gaming company) enablers promise that the 500,000 clams to support Tolay Regional Park comes to Sonoma County with "no strings attached." I don't know about you but I consider a casino just down the road not an attached "string," but more like a noose around our necks. Truth told, casinos overwhelmingly prey on (there I go again - cater to) the under-educated, the poor, and the elderly. Additionally, statistics show that casinos bring to the nearby communities a rise in crime and drunkenness. Even the staunchest personal-rights advocates among us can appreciate the impact that increased demands on already under-funded Public Safety services will have. A regional park is a nice thing for some, but trading it for a casino as bad deal for all.
I grew up within earshot of train tracks and especially remember hearing the trains whistles at night. As kids, we used to walk on the tracks and watch the trains go by. My first trip away from home - alone - was on a train. And like probably every boy of my generation, I had a Lionel train with 3 cars and a caboose and about 7 feet of track. I spent hours pouring over the lush Lionel catalogues and imagine the tiny plastic loading docks, warehouses, water towers, bridges that make my train set the coolest ever.
Despite all the foot-dragging, long-rolling, hand-wringing, buck-passing and frivolous litigation (to date, anyway), it looks as if Petaluma is one step closer to having it's own Target store. Despite the hysterical efforts of the anti-big-box, Keep Petaluma Egregious (erroneous, execrable...whatever) bunch, many who are forced to burn up fossil fuels and abrade their rubber tires driving out of town to shop at the nearest Target, may soon be able to stay in town and reduce their carbon footprint. And let's not forget that sales taxe revenue. Not that the city needs it, of course.
Of course, the ultimate goal of our friends at PETA is to make raising animals for food so difficult that we'll all become vegetarians (organic, of course). Or, failing that, confine us to scavenging the bodies animals who died naturally. And were that to happen, more groups would arise to protect the "rights" of buzzards. They would advocate a "carrion" tax, and the creation of protected buzzard sanctuaries. In the end, PETA is just one more group of people who are so arrogant and self-important that they feel they have a God-given - check that, they don't believe in God - right to tell others how to live.
Among the most cherished of Progressive pipe dreams is inter-city light rail. Not the classic, steam and smoke belching juggernauts that drove American commerce for over a century while hauling goods from coast to coast. The Birkenstock set are agog over electric people movers, pure and simple. Advocates love to cite (as examples of successful urban transit) cities such as London, Paris, New York, etc. forgetting to mention, of course, that the majority of urban transit preceded the auto and its effects on cities. In the hopes of rolling back time, and forcing the hated gas-guzzling moto-genie back into its bottle, fantasies such as the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit are foisted on a gullible public with low-ball-cost and inflated-usage estimates. I'll bet they'd promise that the trains will be solar-powered, but they know that even Progressives are not that dumb.
Petaluma's self-annointed Progressives elected the mayor to represent their heartfelt goals and achieve their most profound purposes. In short (no pun intended), the mayor is the living embodiment of a Petaluma Progressive - abusing subordinates, aiding a trespasser who interferes with legally-mandated activities, claiming ownership of projects that have survived despite his determined opposition. On one hand, you can say that he's no worse than most politicians, e.g., people who do whatever they have to do to get their own way, which (in my view) perfectly characterizes our local brand of "Progressive."
Why would someone steal water from a municipal fire hydrant? Makes about as much sense as standing in a field in front of a tractor in a futile attempt to halt legally mandated weed-mowing. In a town where the mayor has nothing better to do that bear witness to such Pyrrhic acts of political theater, I guess nothing should be considered strange.