November 14, 2006 > After the loviní
After the loviní
Did Englebert Humperdinck have it right when he crooned his hit single, After the lovin’, to audiences around the world in 1976? Now that we have emerged from the latest round of soothing political love fests, promises of all things to all people may just drift over the horizon. What remains? Will new faces emerge with fresh ideas and strategies or will the “tried and tired” remain in disguise, waiting for another surge of unrest?
In many cases, familiar names are back with notable exceptions, typically when incumbents surrendered their hold on office. Some campaigns were lackluster as those in power understood that name recognition and lack of choice engineered by political operatives made selection almost a foregone conclusion. The electorate did, however send a few clear messages at least in the local arena. Fremont voters gave a “thumbs up” and a vote of confidence to a public planning process by soundly defeating Proposition K, the Northern Planning Area Initiative while letting the Fremont city council know, once again by soundly defeating Proposition L that “trust” is simply a five letter word without substance when applied to the relationship between these two parties.
Time and time again, Fremont politicians, using a variety of ploys, have failed to grasp the simple fact that asking for additional money from taxpayers is more than a matter of charts and graphs accompanied by long faces. Trust is built over time with proven performance and visionary leadership. The electorate expects and demands superior results with severe consequences waiting for those who do not meet high standards. Any sympathy with safety personnel does not extend to extra funds in the General Fund. It appears that the public is saying that if the fire department and police department have extra needs, let them make their case directly to the electorate through a request for a special tax. After two failed attempts to add funds to the General Fund, maybe it is time to try something different by exploring use of some of the increasing reserves, monies set aside for “downtown” and allowing a direct appeal from our safety services.
In physics, one of the first set of lessons learned are Newtons Laws of Motion. The first law dealing with “inertia” notes, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” This can be extrapolated to city government. A body such as a city council at rest will not move on its own without an external force applied to it. In a case such as this, the only action that occurs is simply reaction to an outside stimulus. There is no control of direction, simply movement in response to others. The appearance of previous councils has been of simple reaction to whatever comes their way. This is not leadership and will not inspire the electorate. So far, there has been little reason to follow the Fremont flag since it is firmly planted in a stationary position, waiting for the wind to blow.
Over and over, citizens have asked for tangible results from its council. The hope is for inspired administration by city officials and competent oversight by a council that demands results. Instead, much of what is touted with great fanfare and promise devolves with time and inaction. Attention is being drawn to the possible relocation of the Oakland A’s to Fremont with much regional and even national attention. This is an exciting possibility for the area, but is reactive and should not turn attention from existing promises including the water play complex at Central Park, Centerville Marketplace and other redevelopment projects.
Now that citizens have applied a push to city council by rejecting the plea for more funds, the question for council is will they simply react by gnashing their teeth and wailing with woe or finally understand the need for independent action. How about trying something new and bold such as following through on at least one major project that is their idea from start to finish? A good start would be to take an honest look at the swim complex and either do it with realistic expectations or change to something that will work. Demand quality and fulfillment of the agreement with Charter Properties on the Centerville site or get someone who can make it work.
Let’s take a hard look at why we need a large and costly agency for redevelopment. How about committing to real redevelopment by purchasing the Centerville Theater and making it a resource for the entire Fremont community? It will cost money and it is a risk, but that is the goal of redevelopment! How about developing an attitude of getting things done rather than finding reasons why it can’t be done. Newton’s Third Law states, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Let our elected representatives on all boards and councils make the pledge that they understand elections confer the power of change, to make meetings functional without wasting time and effort, and provide meaningful representation stressing the responsibility to bring an alert and functional mind to any discussion. For once, let us be the ones to take action creating the reaction.
I believe that most of us want to be able to recite the verse to John Lennon’s “Hard Day’s Night” and mean it:
It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright