If They Can't Do the Job, Fire Them

By Darryl Manzer
"Way Back When"
The Signal
Sunday, October 22, 2006

    During my recent short trip to the SCV, a longtime friend and I had a serious discussion about local politics.
    We clearly have very different perspectives, and I do respect him and his views — but unfortunately, it all comes down to the usual, "I would agree with him if he were right."
    You see, his opinion was based on how much his company has benefited from some government contracts, and not the merits of his preferred candidate's support or lack of support on major issues in the SCV. My friend would vote the party ticket even if his political party had an "ol' yeller dawg" as a candidate.
    Funny, after all this time in the South, I thought the term "yeller dawg" referred to the other party — as in, "yeller-dawg Democrat."
    My friend said he really enjoyed my columns about the history of the SCV and my memories of growing up in Mentryville. "Maybe you should stick to writing about history..." Well, I'm going to take his advice and write about history as I see it — only I will continue to write about recent history. You know, the history that isn't in the books yet.
    We all complain about how our elected representatives aren't doing a very good job of late, yet we continue to "vote the party line" or vote for "our" senator, congressman, county supervisor, council person, water board member, school board member, ad nauseam — and all the time we expect different results.
    You should also know that a good working definition of the word "insanity" is "doing the same thing over again the same way and expecting different results." I hope that is most evident to all of us.
    Many folks, in fact most folks, do not even bother to vote. Our country has had more success in getting folks to vote in Afghanistan and Iraq then it has in getting folks to vote here. (Of course, if more people had voted here, we might not have had troops in those two countries.)
    As long as those elected to represent us at the various levels of government keep bringing home some bacon, we will continue to keep voting for them.
    "Gee, we got the new (circle all applicable choices: school, courthouse, park, highway, bridge, contract, development, law, proclamation) from our (again circle: school board, state representative, county supervisor, congressman, senator, councilman) — and we should vote for them again."
    Using the list above, what are we left with when we vote?
    Try these on for size:
    "He helped us stop Cemex."
    "They disbanded the foundation controlling the sites and building of schools and got the school district's construction costs under control."
    "She got us a workable and comprehensive solution to illegal immigration."
    "He helped reduce the size of a housing development by keeping homes off of ridgelines and getting lot sizes increased."
    "They lowered tax rates."
    "They lowered the cost of water."
    If any current representative isn't working actively on a plan to accomplish something from that list, then he or she should be replaced by someone who can do something to accomplish the items on this list.
    Sorry, the list doesn't include "stuff" in the usual way. Those are just the items that need to be done.
    If those elected and serving now don't have what it takes to do those jobs, fire them and hire someone new. They have proven themselves unqualified to do the job you hired them to do.
    While I was out and about the SCV, I finally realized why I don't like the look of "Lower Pico Canyon" these days.
    All of those houses of the same color and nearly the same design, seeming to march in endless rows up a hill and over a ridge, are just a smaller version of those apartment buildings constructed row upon row, mile after mile, in many cities of the former Soviet Union.
    I just wonder, comrades, how you can find your house? Maybe there is a special HOA-approved plant or tree out front? They are pretty homes, but boring! One color choice. One roof style. It made the developer's job easy. "Any house, any color, as long as it looks like adobe, sort of."
    And folks in West Ranch thought they could escape another week. No way.

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley and eventually relocated to Boulder City, Nev. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].