Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kangaroo Court

Be a critical thinker. In contemporary times, in a seemingly unregulated digital age with terabytes of unfiltered information and multiple perspectives, it is very difficult to discover the bedrock facts of an issue. And even then, there are different interpretations and definitions to be understood. Information overload.

No one should sit back and accept injustice, nor should they grab pitchforks and torches. Both are ugly extremes of the spectrum. There are many delusions of grandeur being played out by local bloggers and former political players in an attempt to placate their sense of significance and attempt a political comeback with the integrity of a sand castle.

Ask questions, even more importantly, ask the right questions. Our police department, fire department, parks and recreation, waste water, city garage, human resources, general employees help maintain and safeguard our city. This does not make them heroes, or deserving of special treatment, but they do deserve the basic respect of the honest citizen. Because of the economical climate we are in, many want answers. Residents have screamed "the civil servants are not worth the money we pay them," with no clue about their qualifications, responsibilities, duties, and sacrifices; simply by job title. A squawk was recently made about a janitor making over 40,000 a year in El Segundo; "how can someone who cleans toilets and mops floors make 40K a year?" An elementary school mentality emerges, alarmists satisfy simple prejudicial arguments and the uneducated judge based on an arbitrary understanding of how things should be. They are disrespecting the person and the profession.

Let us agree there is a point that is too much and there is a point that is too low. From there, one can establish a norm relative to surrounding areas, including cost of living and revenue. This translates into how one cannot compare a job here in El Segundo to a job in Idaho. It is called economies of scale. These unfair comparisons are the crux of many unfounded arguments. Also, it is important to realize that comparing a small department to a large department does not equate either. In fact, a member of a smaller department more often than not has a larger workload, broader responsibility, and requires an extensive skill set.

There are those who would like you to believe there is a great conspiracy and that El Segundo is worthy of a Hollywood rendition of a political scandal...hardly. There are those who claim foul, that the city is an incestuous family of incompetent fools, well, I can make up stories too. In fact, I heard through my sources that the City Council is a puppet of Scientology and has been secretly embezzling general funds to make monthly donations and that is why El Segundo is in the red. Take it and run L.A. Weekly...

Consider the decisions made by our elected council and city management; are they erroneous or are they a convenient move to save money now. Just because someone collects a pension and gets paid a salary doesn't make it wrong. Universities throughout the state are asking retired professors to teach for an additional five years while collecting their pension and getting a salary...why, because it is cheaper and they utilize their experience. But they're double dipping...who cares? This model is cheaper for the State School System. Is this model cheaper for our city and its citizens? Maybe. Again, ask the right questions. We don't need circus tent preachers trying to convince us that our city is tainted in order to boost their credibility and garner political attention.

It seems that many are willing to judge before they understand. A kangaroo court has been fostered amid frustration along side scape goat mentality. We cannot allow ourselves to be caught up in this generic attack on institution. If there are problems then they need to be dealt with, if there is abuse then it needs to be addressed and stopped. I am not trying to steer you away from the truth, but to expose a bigger picture from both sides. Beware of those who have put their ego above appropriate interpretation of the facts.

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