Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Library Comment

Libraries have taken on many roles these days. The Nixon library is as much a monument and museum.

The LA Times just ran an article on the the new exhibits at that library that remind us that even those in the highest power can't always be trusted to do the right thing when seeking to maintain personal power.

The library is a giant lesson in the mistake of trying to cover up errors. Nixon, "Its not the crime that kills you, its the cover up." While the deed may have only implicated a few, cover ups often require a much broader group of people to act, even if only by omission.

The new Nixon exhibit is titled dirty tricks.

More important than going back over Nixon's misdeeds is telling this part of the story, ran by NPR.

That scheme, and many others hatched by Nixon, never happened, says Naftali, because people in the government said no, "people who received orders that they would not, could not implement.

"That is a story that must be remembered. That is something that we have to teach students and future members of our government," says Naftali, "that you can say no when you're asked to do something that is unconstitutional or illegal [or unethical]."

That mostly untold part of the story is the part of those who put doing the right thing ahead of their fear of being kicked out of the political crony club. In hindsight, they must realize that they even their own personal interests were improved because they would have been caught up in the Nixon scandal.

The public and public employees should seek to foster and promote checks and balances in the system to make it harder for elected officials to even consider putting the public interest second to grabs at personal power. There are lots of ways to do that at the local level.


  1. Kevin-You mention that there are a lot of ways to hold our public officials accountable for their actions. Perhaps you could elaborate on that. Most public officials know that they can get away with a lot, so unless citizens sue and win, again and again, what are some ways that you see we can do this? Seems like a lot of cities just ignore efforts by Calaware, etc, to do what they are supposed to do under the "Sunshine Laws". Or even if citizens protest, or want something different, it ends up the way the "officials" want it to be. We recently saw this in Wisconsin and Florida. Masses of people at the Wisconsin Capital, but did anything change? And if so, what? Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Well said Kevin

    Dr. Lorri
    (This may sound a bit harsh, It's meant to be constructive. I hope you take it appropriately)

    I believe you just hit the nail on the head. It is your assumption that your actions won’t make a difference is the core issue that Kevin trying to communicate. The corrupt politicians manage their corrupt agendas by the masses assuming there actions don’t matter.

    It is the continual vigilance of the individuals that makes a difference.

    In an earlier response to the “firefighter gone wild” you said “Mark Muir is a dear friend of mine, so I really find this post more than a little unsettling. In the next few days, I will add more things about the L.A Fire Dept. , as well as a response from Chief Muir”.

    I have been so hoping you would follow through with a response from Chief Muir. If Chief Muir is your dear friend, please call him and ask him if you can address the issues for him. (this would be a way to hold an official accountable)

    The absurdity of this is, why Chief Muir is not doing this himself? Why is it we even have to ask him to? More importantly, why is the city manager and city council standing by and allowing him to avoid the issues?

    This is just one of the many issues of the lack of accountability and transparency in our city.

    Thanks Kevin, Very informative and appropriate for our city.

  3. "fear of being kicked out of political crony club" ... Or how about fear of losing a pension that hasn't quite vested!

    When I watched this youtube video ( of these workers taking down this poor guys basketball hoop, the government worker guys simply have no choice. If they stop and think about the corrupt stupidity of their action, then they risk losing part of their pension (something they thought they already earned!).

    That kind of control is powerful! Pensions give politicians direct access to your life savings.

  4. David- As I think I stated, I am not going to say anything more about Mark Muir or the EFD. For the record, in case any of you think I am running for City Council, put your minds at rest. I can assure you that I have no intention of sticking my head into that rabbit hole, not in 2012 or anytime EVER! I have a successful practice and don't have the time. or inclination, to do it. Just because someone has a friend at City Hall does not mean they are a "sellout" as a few people have suggested. I am looking at other issues at City Hall. It seems that there are enough of you looking at the firefighters, and if you find anything, I say good for you. Hope that helps clarify my position. And, no I have never taken offense to any of your comments. I was just asking Kevin what he thought. That was all.

  5. Dr Lorri

    I have to say I’m disappointed. Not so much at you, but the situation. Every time it seems like there is a glimmer of hope that I might have a chance to see what goes on in city hall. The door slams in my face. :-(

    I was hopping you could have been our spy on the inside. Oh well, I guess I have to keep trying to peek over the fence or through the crack in the door.

    I am going to rent The Big Lewbowski soon. It seems I’m missing too many inside jokes.

  6. HH,

    Ever worked as a manager in a government job? You can't fire anyone unless they want to get fired.

    Getting the job in the first place is a whole other story.

  7. The Encinitias libarary is stunning but very NOISY.

    I have never witnessed the library staff attempt to rein in the gabby soccermoms, the mumbling homeless folks and overly loud meeting attendees, each of which combine to create an atmosphere that's not remotely condusive to reasaonably uninterrupoted studying or reading.

  8. The Encinitias libarary is stunning but very NOISY.

    I have yet to witness the library staff attempt to rein in the gabby soccermoms, the mumbling homeless folks and the often overly loud meeting attendees, each of which combine to create an atmosphere that's not remotely condusive to reasaonably uninterrupted studying or reading.

  9. Typo alert for the above posting. Conducive, not condusive. Thanks.

  10. Thanks a lot, McDuff. Condusive was one of my favorite words until I attempted to correct you and discovered after all these years, it does not exist.

    They sell Soccer Mom earplugs in the library lobby. But I can't help you with your distain for poor people. Maybe you could put in a request to segregate them into one area with their own fountain.

  11. Your magnanimity towards the alcohol-addled is inspiring and infectious.
    Perhaps the library staff could set up a free Tiki bar outside next to the coffee cart and effectively eliminate the need for the drunks to skulk off to Viewpoint park to drown their sorrows.

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  13. Breathalysers at the entrance would eliminate inebriated riffraff and most of the loud soccer moms.

  14. Sound idea Winston, but enforcing sobriety on library patrons could have a significant negative impact on local sales of fortified red wine for the riffraff and inexpensive white zinfandel for the soccer moms.

  15. Ah yes, the fond aromas of libraries past: The English Leather and Muriel cigars. Mothers passing through sported an Evening in Paris rather than a day in Zinfandel. And soccer? Just a silly game for foreign communists.


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