Balancing work and family sometimes makes it difficult to sit down and write. I write all day at work, and usually by the evening, I am all written out and headed to the gym or to play softball with my friends. Lately and despite not writing too much, many of my friends have seen my name in the paper or on the radio and laughingly ask me, "Dude. What is going on?" And my stock answer is "Dude. F___ those guys," and then we die laughing before I explain. For those who know me well, I am one of the most calm and unshakable people out there. There is freedom in only truly caring about that which is important and then letting the rest go. Being the son of one of the biggest shit talkers on the south side of Chicago, what other people think does not bother me. Go ahead, talk shit. It motivates people like me.
In addition, you are instantly my friend until you are not by your choice and by your actions. I believe that all people have an inherent value simply for being alive and always deserve respect until they have proven otherwise. That said, I gravitate towards people who have sound moral foundations and are strong in their convictions. Understanding that there is always a gray area around truth, I cannot tolerate outright dishonesty. Outright dishonesty causes the loss of my respect almost instantly with little prayer of allowing myself to be fooled twice. So then, the explanation to my friend's question becomes one of honesty.
After my first wife and I divorced in 2015 and because she works for Congressman McClintock, I removed myself from local politics in order to give her space in her world to heal. We both needed it, and now things are very good. Remarkably, my wife and my ex-wife celebrate Mother's Day together with all of our children. My ex-wife is, in some respects, still a part of my life, and it works and is good. So, when 2022 rolled around, I had not spoken to anyone in local politics aside from comments on blogs for nearly seven years and apparently most of these folks thought that we had moved back to Chicago.
Then at the beginning of 2022, the election office in Nevada County started playing politics with a group of citizens and with COVID, bullying them, and lying to the public about it. I was given outrageous videos demonstrating how county elected officials and employees were treating its own citizens about whom the County was telling bald-faced lies. I told all of my friends that helping these folks was a one-off, and I was going to finish my PhD when the mess was finished. Inevitably, and after seeing firsthand the demeanor and foul character of some of the elected officials and employees, I went a little further and asked Gregory Diaz for a public election record - a copy of Natalie Adona's check indicating that she paid the filing fee for her candidacy for his office. He straight up refused to give me a public record which he was legally required to disclose. As I walked out of the election office and after being treated in the same bullying manner with which he treated his constituents in January earlier in the year and in my head, I said to myself, "F___ those guys." Absent that moment, I would likely be enjoying my life working and studying history, as I had been. The problem is that I cannot. Our country is sick. Our government does not seek the betterment of those whom they serve, but its own betterment. Our government bullies and mistreats those whom they serve and lies about it. At that moment on one hand, I was done, and on the other hand, I was just beginning. So, I sued Gregory Diaz arguing that, if he did not give me the check, his chosen successor could not be on the ballot. What happened in court? Simple. He coughed up the check, because it was required by law.
Then a slew of dishonesty came from the County regarding the scam known as Measure V. The County wants to raise the sales tax half of a percent in order to "prevent" wildfires and "for general government use." The County (who is supposed to be as neutral as Switzerland in elections) and Measure V supporters continually told the public that revenue from Measure V will be set aside for "preventing" wildfires. Then after being sued, Nevada County tells the Court that "no specific projects are earmarked for the funds," and that they can spend Measure V revenue on anything they desire, including payroll and salary as a "general government use." Why is it so hard to follow the law and tell the truth? I think that lots of folks support a special tax earmarked for wildfire mitigation, but what a ton of folks do not appreciate is being misled and lied to by Nevada County in connection with the scam known as Measure V. Measure V is not a wildfire mitigation sales tax as they pretend; it is, by the County's own admission, a general tax with which the County can do as it pleases.
There is a disease in our local Nevada County government, and there has been no leadership from our supervisors for years. The public is treated by those at the top of our local government as second-class citizens for demanding honesty and transparency from the same local government, and our supervisors have done little or nothing. It is our government's duty to serve our citizens above the fray and with honesty, neutrality, transparency, compassion, and empathy. That is not happening. Nevada County wants to continue bullying its constituents and play partisan politics. Our local citizens do not deserve such foul treatment. As with any disease, it must be rooted out at the foundation. If our elected officials won't take care of this mess, we will.