In his epic novel about California politics, The Ninth Wave, the late great Eugene Burdick (Fail Safe) wrote that the formula for winning elections in the Golden State was I+H=P. Ignorance plus hate equals power. Accorinding to Burdick, appealing to paranoia and an unknown boogieman was a winning strategy. Apparently, the local law enforcement union (POA) have adapted this demagogic strategy in its attempt to (re)elect Dan Helix and newcomer Tim McGallian to Concord City Council seats.
On its first page in red letters reads “a message from the Concord Police
Association” It shows a masked intruder with a flashlight in one hand and an automatic weapon in the other. Underneath this jump the shark image, is a caption which reads “we need city leaders who will make public safety a top priority.”
This leaves the impression that if the POA’s endorsed candidates are not elected, the pristine city of concord will become a lawless hell hole where criminals will rule the streets and citizens will be threatened by rampant crime.
Inside the expensive four-color glossy papered pamphlet one finds endorsements of the two candidates by professional fire fighters, District Attorney Mark Peterson and County Sheriff David Livingston. On the opposite page one finds crime statistics for Concord, CA without context of what they mean.
What does 1,820 cases of burglary mean? About five a day which is a modest figure for a city like concord that has a population of over 130,000 citizens. The same goes for 11 murders/manslaughter and 15 cases of arson for 2010/11 in concord.
The inference for all of this is that without a fully funded police
department as it is today, criminals will move to Concord to ply their
trade against defenseless families.
In viewing this brochure which also features a nefarious looking character holding a crow bar, one must ask why the POA would invest so much money to endorse particular candidates when it appears that everyone running for city council seats appears to be law abidding citizens?
Again, we must answer this question with the obvious answer, “it’s the money stupid.” The POA is endorsing Helix and McGallian to guarantee
their pay checks that include benefits averaging well over $ 100,000 per
year. So what is $25.00 or so per officer to win an election and have its people running the city with a secure voting majority on the City Council?
How odd that this is not mentioned in the brochure, which further peddles fear tactics with tips to prevent break-ins and burglaries(!) Should the salary and benefit packages be reduced, (as recently occurred in the Central Valley town of Atwater by 20%) would law and order be brought to its knees?
I say B.S. It’s time in Concord citizens stand up and resist being bullied by self serving law enforcement unions. While I respect as much as anyone, the jobs they do, cops have to realize that they too, just like everyone else must take a bigger hit in the dismal economy where fewer tax dollars are available for public services.
Mailing this pamphlet and other materials to voters using people’s respect for law enforcement to disguise the POA’s real intent to play upon fear to gain power is outrageous and a sham. The POA’s appeal to the worst fears of voters while fulfilling Eugene Burdick’s “ignorance plus hate equals power” formula, ought to be rejected by voters on November 6th.