YOLO SUN OPINION :
A double dose of democracy will be needed, for Woodland’s good ol’ boys’ political system to be uprooted.
Primarily caused by its lack of a proper newspaper, Woodland has a relevantly uneducated electorate, easy prey for unscrupulous political shenanigans, such as Tom Stallard’s arrogant, gentry-styled refusal to address his apparent violations of our City’s Urban Limit Line Ordinance and General Plan, his obscuring and evading key sales tax matters and his impeding of downtown traffic circulation reform, among other important civic issues.
An educated electorate is, of course (on the Jeffersonian model), the very foundation of democracy, the utter basis for accountable management of our common civic resources.
This failure of proper voter awareness has led to Stallard winning a critically flawed, depressed turnout, rain dampened election process, portraying himself as some Mr. Clean candidate, supposedly required to retard impending progress between Jim Hilliard’s (chamber of commerce, new money) clique and Conaway, risking eastward city sprawl.
Yet, Stallard voted to use hundreds of thousands of city dollars for funding this very sprawl as a new and basic, General Plan option. Conaway now influences (by paying for their election / appointment) a majority of our city council (Davies, Barajas, Rodriguez). Stallard’s political style is excessive compromise, ‘peace before justice’ (indicated by his support for city analysis of Conaway’s ridiculous General Plan option). He votes to help pave Conaway’s path, then claims he wants to stop their using it. His posture is too conflicted and lax, to succeed.
Instead of a tyranny of Conaway influence, Stallard proposes / represents a cagey local plutocracy, based upon big election dough from the shallow but deep-pocketed, gentry – old money clique, relatively equivalent with Conaway’s funding of Hilliard.
Hilliard wasted Conaway’s money on huge signs, some outside of this election district and worthless local media ads, while Stallard denigrated the election by participating with Hilliard in undemocratic local media efforts, flinging political gimmicks like shower timers and a superficial sea / snowstorm of lawn signs — and steadfastly refusing to confront and debate his numerous and serious political problems.
Stallard seems to believe his tens of thousands of dollars are pure and Conaway’s money is corrupt; while, his funding sources are an incredibly thin veneer of local voters.
Debates are inherent to democracy, avoiding them is anathema to our basic political principles and electoral system. People’s issues and concerns must be thoroughly aired; otherwise, our commons is corrupted. With proper debates and adequate press coverage, big money and adverse influence by these small and pernicious cliques becomes tempered and balanced, serving the public interest.
But, Stallard and Hilliard arrogantly chose to run and hide from city voters, using their influence-fattened wallets as political cover.
Bluntly, Stallard lacks political integrity and peril for our community arises by his stubborn, egotistical unaccountability, clearly demonstrated in this election process. He, for one example, led recent council action to continue ignoring the vast, good ol’ boys’ boondoggle of bonded debt regarding the city’s community and senior center.
Stallard and the good ol’ boys stole / erased our sales-tax based capital projects (library expansion / renovation, opera house expansion, parkland acquisition, swimming pool rehabilitation, youth center creation, etc), to fill their debt hole, starkly refusing to recognize and accept this imperative civic responsibility by adjusting the local sales tax. They would rather our city suffer, distressed by significant declines in quality of life, rather than admit and fix their monstrous mistake of crazily predicating key bond payments on fees from uncertain and fickle housing cycles.
When Stallard says: “We don’t have the money” for improving capital facilities, that’s because he and the good ol’ boys have stolen our money to cover up their bonded debt boondoggle — and this civic predicament will continue — unless challenged and overcome with a pivotally essential sales tax increase.
Stallard has demonstrated his inclination for violating local and state planning laws, such as our General Plan and Urban Limit Line Ordinance, in order to best appease real estate developers, permitting projects adverse to our community. At root, Stallard is himself a developer, conflicted with his supposed civic posture.
Stallard chose to run and hide from Woodland’s voters in an adolescent manner, just as politically unethical as Hilliard’s ill-fated election scamper. The simple contrast was that in District Two, the old-money clique is more powerful than the new-money clique, with both intent on buying the election, while denying voters’ opportunity for understanding pertinent, indeed crucial civic issues.
Knocking on doors and talking with hundreds of local voters, it is quite plain that Stallard’s support (as well as improperly founded) is generally shallow, soft and tepid. Most of his supporters are unaware of his serious political problems, since he tries so hard to hide them. If he had tried so hard to do our public good, he would then deserve respect.
Stallard has violated the local voters’ trust and respect with his juvenile approach to a landmark election, in addition to his other political failings, and he must go.
Therefore, a grassroots committee is now forming to: Recall Stallard in 2017.