System of a Down is a band that took their name from a poem written by one of their members, the poem’s title is “Victims of a Down.” 29 Palms is currently experiencing a System of a Down. Our current situation, in my opinon, is a result of a breakdown in transparency and honesty. Mr. Warne’s powerpoint is an example of what happens when the governing body is not working as a healthy team. Our system is sick and it is up to us to fix it. The good news is we can fix it, but we can’t fix it without a discussion that comes from the point of what is best for 29 Palms. We will need to set aside our personalities for the moment and work for something that is bigger than the individual human condition.
The difficult relations between the fire, water, and city are not insurmountable. In fact I believe we were on the way to mending those fences. The majority of the council had instructed staff to develop ways that will work with the other agencies and the public. I wish I could say that I trusted Warne to do so, but I did not. I have had a couple of conversations with the city attorney, shortly after winning the election in which I told him of my concerns that Mr. Warne would not work in the best interest of the city.
I don’t know why Mr. Warne felt it was ok to have a City Council meeting that didn’t include the Water District and the Fire Department as equal partners to be treated with respect. I understand that we weren’t specific enough for him, but neither did we instruct him to include LAFCO and County Fire. So obviously he picks and chooses what he wants to listen to. In my opinion the powerpoint shows his true character. A trait that has followed him from city to city. I always try to believe who people are the first time they show me. Mr. Warne does not have an interest in finding solutions, but in pointing fingers and showing all the ways that keeping the fire department local won’t work.
While I don’t have any information yet, regarding the sanctioned meeting between the City Council and the Water Board, I do have faith in those men to work towards a common solution for the common good.
In regards to the meeting Monday, I find that the fact Mr. Warne will only be allowed to show some of the powerpoint, of small solace, because once words are spoken or written they can never be recaptured. However challenging this meeting may be, I hope that We the People of 29 can overcome and meet each other in the spirit of finding a reasonable and fiscally responsible solution to the public safety issues.
I don’t have the answer to everything, but one thing I do believe is that you need to hold the leadership accountable and judge us by the directives set forth in the Brown Act, insist on your right to have the city’s business conducted in the open, educate yourself to your rights to public documents. Public record rights are Constitutional Rights. Prop 59 changed California’s Constitution and added the right to public documents to enhance your right to instruct your government.
There are some that believe that you the people are but a small part of making governing decisions. When those people are exposed, you need to ask those people to step down and get out of the way, because until they are removed 29 Palms will continue to be perceived to be a city that makes back room deals and operates in their own self interests.
This is a small town, there is no reason for the game playing that is going on. I don’t know the answer to everything, but I do know if you will hold your leaders accountable to following the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act we will have a transparent and accountable local government.