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Did I miss something?
Two Cents Worth
by Bill Evans, The Bay Times

The headline a couple weeks ago said something like, “Commissioners reach settlement on Four Seasons.” You know the rest of the story, or what there is of it. Which is not much.

 My first thought was that I almost certainly must have been in a coma for the past few weeks and missed all the public dialogue leading up to this event. But my wife assured me that, although I have been slogging my way through life in my customary stupor, there was no coma. And that, no, there also wasn’t any public dialogue leading up to this event that she could recall.

Just as disturbing, there hasn’t been any explanations forthcoming after the event.

So what do we know?

We know that Commissioner Ben Cassell, Rodney "Nemo" Niedomanski, and Joseph Cupani voted in favor of the settlement. Commissioners Gene Ransom and Mike Koval voted against it. 

We know from a follow-up story in the Bay Times that “Commissioner Joe Cupani said he came to office with a mandate, but also with independent thought, and made his decision after listening to arguments from both sides.” 

“Mandate?” The last time I checked my Funk & Wagnall, mandate was defined as A command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative.” So much for mandates. Ransom and Koval also came to office with mandates but with one small difference – they honored theirs.

“Both sides?” 

Cupani didn’t define who the both sides he listened to were, so we’re left to fill in our own interpretation. Let’s see, one side has to be the voters who opposed Four Seasons, and who coincidently were part of a citizen majority that voted him into office.

The other side? Well, certainly K. Hovnanian qualifies. As do a handful of businessmen who claim to speak for the entire business community. And, lest we forget, there are all those Friends of Four Seasons who took time out of their busy day to mail letters to the editor from out-of-state.

We also know from the same follow-up story that, “Commission President Ben Cassell said he ran for office on a pledge to keep growth at historic rates. ‘Its not over until it’s over,’ he said.” 

So we know that Cassell can quote Yogi Berra, but beyond that, we’re offered no clue to what he’s talking about.

There were no snappy one-liners from the third vote in favor of the agreement. I guess “Finding Nemo” is easier at Blockbuster than in real life.

I’m left to assume that none of them felt an explanation was needed which leads me to this important question. 

Exactly what part of  “communicating with the public” don’t they understand?

For now the “ayes” have it, but I’m not sure exactly what they have. I do, however, know what I have. 

It’s called déjà vu.

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© 2000 - 2003 Bill Evans.  Used By Permission.  All Rights Reserved.
Two Cents Worth columns appear weekly in the Bay Times in spite of the editor’s usual good taste and judgment.

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