Remember when you were a kid and you did something to piss off your parents—you know, like insist on wearing adult diapers to the dinner table so you didn’t have to walk to the bathroom or swapping your little sister for a Siberian husky puppy—and as punishment they’d withhold your allowance? It happened frequently. Still does, actually. Just the other day my mom told me she’d reduce my allowance if I didn’t stop lobbing JELL-O shots at her Precious Moments figurines. It sucks. At least my mom warned me she’d reduce my income and provided a coherent reason why.
The South County Advisory Council hasn’t had the luxury of an explanation from county Supervisor Paul Teixeira since they sent him not one but two letters requesting money from his discretionary account. I have it on pretty good authority that such requests are generally considered a slam-dunk. After all, the group received money every time they asked for it throughout the last decade, which sets kind of a precedent. Of course, you have to take into account that Paul’s a little pissed at the South County Advisory Council ever since they got all uppity when he tried to gut their authority earlier this year. Apparently he didn’t much agree with the decisions the council made, so he wanted to, you know, create a new committee comprised of his buddies. Which didn’t go over too well with the community. In fact, you might say the attempt raised a storm of opposition. He seems to have held the group responsible for making him look stupid ever since, which is kind of silly really, because I’m getting the impression he doesn’t need much help in that department.
If you don’t know who Teixeira is, don’t feel too badly. Sure, he’s a supervisor, but he’s pretty easy to overlook considering he usually seems to have trouble making a basic declarative statement.
To be honest, I had to ask around about the guy. He’s the political equivalent of Maalox when everyone else is pouring whiskey. Compared to the guy turning off people’s microphones during public comment (how’s it going, Adam Hill?), Paul’s downright mild-mannered. Docile. Some might call him a blunt tool. Think spatula, but less impassioned.
But don’t worry, kids. Uncle Paul’s got a list of other vague but important stuff he’s spending the money on. What?
Feeding people, clothing people, something about caring for the children. Noble goals. Except that I’m not really sure how Oktoberfest—which he gave $2,000 from his piggy bank to help fund—meets his “feeding the children” criteria. I’ve always held that children function just fine on a steady diet of booze—I turned out just fine, after all—but most health experts tend to disagree. A quick glance at his Facebook page shows him riding in a parade with a dopey smile on his face. Which parade, you ask? You know, the one he helped fund with his discretionary money—the Harvest Festival. Which leads me to conclude he’s just buying $2,000 firetruck rides. So much for noble.
Hey Paul, if you give me $2,000, I’d be happy to drag you around town on a Radioflyer red wagon.
To be fair, most of the supervisors spend their money on the same types of events. Except I’d hope most people wouldn’t try to pass off Oktoberfest as charity work.
Paul also gave $200 to the Girl Scouts, so he’s not totally a bad guy. So long as those damned Girl Scouts keep their mouths shut and don’t go trashing him. One peep from them, and he’ll withhold his money faster than I can shotgun a box of Tagalongs. He might even try to dissolve the existing troops and re-form a new one led by some of his fishing buddies. I mean, that’s what they all do, right? Fish and golf and then sit silently by while their assistants snort about expenses like ink cartridges?
Being a supervisor means making tough decisions. And then—and this is what Pauly-boy doesn’t seem to grasp—you have to face the firing squad (aka the rabid public you purport to represent). You want to disband this council? Fine. Then disband it and prepare for the hate mail. Don’t try to disband it, give up when people get mad, and try to screw them behind closed doors.
I don’t mean to go all Miss Manners here, but if someone sends a couple of letters asking for a yay or nay, at the very least answer the damned letters! Don’t sit on your ass, scratch your head, and feign confusion. Be a freaking adult. Make a decision—which you seem to have already done—and tell them why. The ball is very obviously in your court, and while you don’t strike me as the star player in this particular game, it is your responsibility to lob it back.
I’ve always had more respect for people who don’t hide from their decisions, even when myself and others think their decisions are Grade A stupid. In my book, conviction and honesty are always a better read than cowardice and sneakiness.
Here’s my advice, Paul: Fess up. Admit that you’re not going to give your advisory council so much as a penny, then acknowledge that it’s not because you’re too busy clothing poor people with your donations to Oktoberfest. Admit that you don’t like them because you think they made you look bad.
Then, take a nice long look in the mirror and recognize that you’re a politician, which means you never looked all that good to begin with.
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