Mass casualty exercises are a training technique for military medical corps. Two of their anchoring truths are that everyone plays and participates in the autopsy or “hot wash” after it’s over. The greatest fear is “GIGO” (garbage in-garbage out). Crap begets crap.
Nielsen ratings reveal we are addicted to TV whodunits starring uncannily clever, sexy sleuths cracking the toughest cases while wearing chic designer clothes and push ups bras. The successes of these whip smart gum shoes is largely based on the mantra of Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet; just the facts. As a new council grabs the reigns, lets do an election hot wash and tune into another C.S.I.; “Clearly Seen Issues- Fairfield” (C.S.I.-F).
We missed the pilot which envisioned a highly publicized and televised professionally moderated candidate debate where all could decide the facts of whether a candidate’s life was germane to leading a 100,000+ city; what candidates knew about Fairfield crime data, its multiple causes and their solutions; candidates’ knowledge of city finances; their take on legal and financial consequences of Measure Q; the evidence behind their views on youth activities, fire stations, city staffing, business and land development, traffic and how to address voter apathy.
C.S.I.-F would hunker down to a hefty meal of serious episodes, silence the sizzle and get down to the steak. So, in no particular order here is an episode guide.
Those who had any “inventions” to fight crime would reveal them. Councilmen who had arranged for a comprehensive independent audit of the city would immediately post it without spin publicly on the web for peer review just like the city whose externally audited financial statements have won state and national awards for 20 years.
One episode would be “Awaken the Q”. All would be shocked learning they are still paying the same amount for water, there is no rebate authorized, $3.2 million is still collected and it now sits where we don’t need it and we can’t get it without...a vote.
Might the so ripe city adroitly court a BMW and Lexus dealership?
Could the city do better legally and safely than the many millions in interest it earns at 3.6% in investment capital?
Will bellicose bellowing about a messianic inside-job anointed city manager wake up the community? Do citizens realize that the city manager’s job is enormously complex, takes highly developed skill sets, is not ideally learned on the job, and comes at a time when major and crucial contract negotiation are upon us. Will anointing from within without looking without to learn who is best for the city create an unholy contract for the future?
Will cast members aimlessly ramble on about singing Kumbaya with the school board or will they painstakingly partner to design meaningful stable alliances with the school board, the parents, the teachers union, community services and perhaps the police? Will all stop being so parochial with our public life’s blood, our children?
Will we stop spinning unimproved crime data with helicopter blades thinking intimidation and arrests alone are cure alls? Will we grapple with the multifactorial causes of crime or simply bowl over the audience as we skate away from the real issues?
Will councilman Kardos habeas his corpus one way or the other and help us resolve things so we can all move forward with a stable potent engaged leadership.
Will our cast learn the optimal use of town hall meetings, intensive intelligent internet and cable TV marketing, print and personal appearances to quell citizen apathy?
Will leaders learn it is better to break bread with Chicken Little than Pollyanna? If CSI Fairfield programmers fail to hot wash this election, a mass casualty is looming. We will all end up soiled by the manure of those maverick horses of the democratic Apocalypse; Apathy, Antipathy, Absenteeism and Abdication. Stay tuned.
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