YOLO SUN OPINION :
Recently, Woodland is very thin on political venues for its City Council Elections. Happily, the League of Women Voters provides a fig-leaf forum as the only civic function for such important elections, otherwise, there would be nothing — because the good ol’ boys want it this way, easing their buying of our city hall, by eliminating illumination and education.
Actual debates are forbidden, deemed too personal (and risky) for toleration by this town’s good ol’ boys’ political system. Debates are fundamental to politics in the public interest, though, so I’ll now have to proceed with some text (below) on this blog’s opinion platform, in absence of needed public debates.
As a candidate in District 2 — I’ve repeatedly requested participation of competitors, Tom Stallard and Jim Hilliard, for a few such political encounters / events, actual debates. But they abruptly refuse, consistent with their good ol’ boy tactic of avoiding fair political exposure and civic accountability. They prefer to just smile at city voters and simply pretend they properly behave, while rather they are running and hiding from public discourse and city voters — yet they desire election to our city office.
Stallard and Hilliard believe all they have to do is tolerate one, single forum event, with little chance of debate, where political accountability is confused with personal attack (at least it was on this occasion).
Hilliard and Stallard have flatly refused to respond to very basic city planning questions, such as the legal nature of the city’s voter-enacted Urban Limit Line Ordinance, unimplemented for an entire decade, as well as to questions about starkly apparent and potentially chronic violations of our city General Plan. To obtain their plain response about such basic city actions — Hilliard exclaims that the public must: “Sue us!”
Such outrageous conduct raises obvious issues and concerns about what the city is attempting to evade / suppress / bury — similar to its big recent project, Gateway 2, being completely overturned and voided by state courts.
Both Stallard and Hilliard have a lot of explaining to do regarding their time and actions in office, so they instead want to play adolescent politics with our civic good and future in this election, secluding themselves away from regular voter scrutiny in any debates.
The so-called newspaper (Daily Democrat, often called Daily Disappointment and best resolved as birdcage / garbage-can liner) in Woodland is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, its editor often described as: “a despot.”
Please see my specifically relevant campaign handout about the Daily Democrat, further below. It is working its own crass, corporatist agenda in unprincipled ways — undermining our local democracy — practicing its dismal industry against our civic interests.
Publishing the regular, standard (short) profiles of all city council candidates — except me — the Daily Democrat is now busy attempting to sell its usual editorial substance as advertising space — violating the primary ethic of proper / good newspapers (effective separation of editorial content from advertising influence) — corrupting its basic mission. Our problem is that its (legendary) corruptions and incompetences conjure adverse civic consequences, because communication within a community is elemental to its cultural character.
In Woodland, the so-called newspaper is a regularly demonstrated and reliable lap dog for the good ol’ boys’ political control, not being able to report its way out of a paper bag.
Vote: Bobby Harris for Woodland City Council
Woodland voters in this election – must separate personal from political; this is essential if our city is to politically progress.
Are Stallard and Hilliard nice people? Of course they are, and in different ways they have community value. I’m happy to go fishing with them. But — they both lack political integrity and are a huge mistake to leave in our political office.
Hilliard led our city council into improperly using its member appointment power — denying, depriving local voters of their legitimate civic interest in the last two years of Bill Marble’s term. Hilliard acted to further interests of Conaway Ranch, appointing its foremost local champion — Skip Davies — to the council, against our plain and obvious civic interest. Hilliard has also accepted $20,000 in recent Conaway campaign donations, for advancing its civic boondoggles. He must go.
Stallard and Hilliard have for months, both refused to respond to very basic inquiries about fundamental city planning issues, while falsely claiming that they are available and responsive to public concerns. Clearly, both of them sorely lack political integrity and basic understanding about important issues of Woodland.
Stallard says real estate developers can — “choose what they build” — projects plainly in violation of our city’s General Plan and Urban Limit Line Ordinance, ignoring for all of his six years in city office, that the city’s Affordable Housing Ordinance has been dysfunctional for at least a decade — being used to excuse bad projects — against our vital civic interests. He is asleep at our civic wheel. At root a developer, Stallard identifies with developers — against his civic role.
Stallard seemingly believes that his immense wealth, philanthropy and downtown properties should win him yet another city council term, while he lacks the ability or willingness to become aware of, understand and confront key city issues.
Stallard made a fool of our city, maligning from its council dais, a distinguished panel of our state appellate court, which found a half-dozen serious violations of state environmental law at the city’s Gateway 2 project; he invited Paul Petrovich to cry on his (mayor’s) shoulder, as our city was ordered by the appellate court to vacate this horribly absurd project, so adverse to civic interests.
Stallard did not even properly accept civic responsibly for five very long years of adverse city manipulation and focus on civic disaster of the Gateway 2 project; seemingly, since he did not want to offend politically supportive, local chamber of commerce attitudes, huge cheerleaders for this unlawful and unwise city project.
Stallard has stonewalled my own proposals for calming traffic on downtown Main Street, by using 4-way stops, presented four years ago; while, he also ignored a formal petition on parking items, filed by a majority (38) of Main Street merchants.
Stallard has mismanaged the Woodland Farmers Market, by its wrongful (former) location on Main Street, without bringing such a key issue to our city council, instead contriving with Hilliard and Denny — without any city council hearing.
Stallard and Hilliard refused to evaluate civic benefits of raising the sales tax by a quarter cent, so as not to explore city options they would — personally — not accept, preventing our city from best understanding its basic values and options, such as expanding our library, parklands, swimming pools and other beneficial programs. They are not accountable for the fact that the city is largely eliminating the public projects of Measure E / F sales tax, to backfill its fiscal fiasco over the community and senior center, eroding our quality of life to pay its bonded debt.
The “good ol’ boys” refuse to recognize our dire need to raise sales tax to fill the debt hole they’ve dug; instead — they intend the city suffer for their big mistakes.
Stallard and Hilliard want to obscure that our city’s parkland standard has been hugely inflated, by odd inclusion of city land generally unavailable to residents.
Stallard and Hilliard agreed to wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars and city staff time to include Conaway’s outrageous ‘option’ within our new General Plan.
Stallard and Hilliard represent the two basic political cliques in our town, between which political power so adverse to community interests has so long been held. These are viewed as the “new money” (chamber of commerce) and “old money” (gentry) cliques. With these pernicious influences, public interest / good are lost.
They are the city council members of the good-ol’-boys’ heretofore tight control of our city, which will continue to retard our progress — unless well challenged.
Stallard and Hilliard have both participated in Daily Democrat’s so-called ‘election supplement,’ which profoundly violates basic journalistic ethics – by forcing candidates to purchase newspaper editorial content — undermining our local democracy / civic values. On vivid display by such conduct, again, is their lack of ethics and civic values and their inability to comprehend our civic good.
Neither Stallard nor Hilliard are up to the key challenges of Woodland’s future.
Please see my other political handout, noting our city’s most crucial: “Needs.”
Woodland’s choice is clear, it’s the usual, sour, good ol’ boys’ routine — or me.
Woodlanders can rely on me, Bobby Harris, to best accomplish our civic interests.
Please, provide your vote for our best future.
FOR MEMBER OF WOODLAND CITY COUNCIL
BOBBY HARRIS AGE: 64
Occupation: Community Advocate / Lobbyist
- Woodlander since 1983;
- First City Council candidate advocating Woodland Downtown Revitalization (1990);
- Knowledgeable about Woodland’s social contexts and challenges;
- Advocate responsible for Woodland renters’ right to display political signage;
- Journalist (Yolo Sun : https://yolosun.wordpress.com) covering the City since 2008;
- Devoted community advocate, a fresh voice, independent of local political cliques.
- Help design and promote affordable homeownership and diverse inclusionary housing;
- Support increasing our community resources by ¼ cent for 2018 sales tax renewal;
- Expedite proper renovation and expansion of Woodland Public Library;
- Challenge city hall’s “good-ol’-boy” system, ending corrupt civic planning practices;
- Support 4-way stop signs on downtown Main Street, help rehabilitate County Fair Mall;
- Strengthen / widen community understanding, cohesion, while raising our quality of life.
Woodland City Council sold-out our Downtown areas, allowing 10 years to resolve serious environmental impacts of Gateway Center.
Recently, Woodland City Council violated state and local laws at proposed Gateway 2 project, approving development adverse to municipal interests. State appellate court opinion exposed sham environmental processes permitting subversion of our community interests and values.
Please display homemade signage (4 square feet: Vote Bobby Harris) for this grassroots campaign to improve Woodland.
/s/ Bobby Harris
Woodland is politically run by a corrupt “good ol’ boy” system, not in the pure public interest.
Under threat of litigation, the city council has finally moved our city elections to: Districts in Nov..
This year (2016) is the first election held in such a way. Citizens should act upon this change.
Briefly, on the second page of this handout, are listed various aspects of what I believe to be our key city needs, including: affordable housing, augmented city fiscal resources, southerly (not easterly) growth, better property tax split with county, traffic calming for Downtown Main Street.
ELECT BOBBY HARRIS FOR WOODLAND CITY COUNCIL
- Affordable Home Rental And Ownership – Woodland’s Affordable Housing Ordinance Is Dysfunctional And Rigged For Developers’ Benefit, Losing Millions Of Dollars In Community Housing Equity;
- Elevated Sales Tax – Most Of Woodland’s Sales Tax Revenue Is Used To Pay Debt At Community & Senior Center And Fix Roads, Leaving Little Money For Valuable Civic Purposes, City Library;
- Southern (Not Eastern) Growth Toward City Urban Limit Line — Disregarding The Cons Of Conaway Ranch And Associates, Such As Pacific Coast Producers’ Cannery Operation Being At Risk;
- Specialized Housing Developments Upon (Former) County Fair Mall Expansion Area (38 acres) — On East Street Between Mall And Community & Senior Center, Next To City YoloBus Hub;
- Optimization Of New, Reformed Property Tax Split With County;
- A Paul Petrovich (Inc.) Performance And Management Program;
- Creative, Community Bridge-Building Programs With Davis;
- End Of City Planning Corruptions (Gateway 2 Lawsuit, Gateway 1 – No Mitigation For A Decade, Conflicting Policies On Urban Limit Line, Unlawful Use Of Development Agreements, Housing Fees);
- End Of City Staff Practice Of Making “Recommendations” To Elected And Appointed Panels, Just Presenting Relevant Facts;
- End Of City Political Control By Local “Good-Ol’-Boy” System – Example: Responsibility For Unreasonable Appointment, Instead Of Election, For Filling Recent Two-Year City Council Seat.
- Campaign Flier About Daily Democrat :
Dear [Woodland City Council] Candidates,
Please take a stand against the unethical practices of the Daily Democrat! [R]equiring you to pay money to have your candidate profile in the paper is extortion and borders on illegal. All candidates should be given equal coverage by the press. I implore you all to NOT pay the money and ignore any paid coverage by the Daily Democrat. Better yet, I encourage all of you to take a public stand denouncing this action all together. [ ] By taking a stand against these types of practices, you are showing your city and its citizens that you are working for them and not yourself or the newspaper.
Thank you for listening,
Lisa Lutton, Woodland Resident
My response —
Thanks for your vital concerns. Bobby Harris will take a stand on this item; we’ll see which council candidates cave in to the DD’s unethical and undemocratic demand.
What is a newspaper’s so-called “election supplement” worth — if its editorial substance does not equally cover all candidates? Less than nothing!
Obviously, DD didn’t think its notion through and it depends upon cooperation by council candidates willing to sacrifice basic political values for a crude attempt at personal gain.
Any Woodland City Council candidate who cooperates with the DD’s — “pay to play” –scheme is clearly demonstrating: (a) their inability to understand and serve the local public interest, (b) their plain lack of ethics, (c) their propensity toward civic corruption.
The lazy DD is not properly reporting local council election news, expecting candidates to do its job, answer its stewed-up questions and also pay it for what should be its ordinary press coverage (for me, there’s no DD profile article, at all, since its editor, Jim Smith, doesn’t like me solidly challenging good-ol’ boy buddies, Stallard & Hilliard).
Paid political ads are normal practice; but here — the DD is starkly violating the conventional, “advertising – editorial firewall,” by mixing / conflating what should be conventional news coverage with paid advertising –- excluding candidates who cannot / will not pay its price.
Thus, the DD has hijacked our public commons of information for ransom — there is nothing more deplorable, more despicable, for what claims to be a local newspaper.
Such press behavior undermines our local democracy and offends our political values.
The political culprit is DD’s corporate identity and undemocratic logistics. No genuinely, locally accountable newspaper would attempt such conduct. DD is owned and operated by one of the largest and worst media corporations in the U.S. – MediaNews Group.
[Wikipedia: MediaNews Group is known as a cost-cutter in the newspaper publishing industry. The company has a reputation for buying smaller daily newspapers in a single area (examples include Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area) and consolidating their operations, including sharing staff writers and printing facilities. As a result of the cost-cutting, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, some former employees say that its newspapers are focused on making a profit to the detriment of good journalism.