There was a great essay in November 2 issue of The Economist on credulity and politics, pretty much asking “Why isn’t lying more damaging [to politicians]?”
I could quote the whole piece – it’s fascinating. But the excerpt I’ll give you is as follows:
“At the heart of the lying-politician paradox (people trusting leaders for whom they have voted, whatever those people say) is an uncomfortable fact: voters appear to support liars more than they believe them. Mr. Trump’s approval rating is 11 points higher than the share of people who trust him to tell the truth. A third of British voters view [Prime Minister Boris] Johnson favorably, but only a fifth think he is honest. Voters believe in their leaders even if they do not believe them. Why?
The answer starts with the primacy of intuitive decision-making. In 2004, Drew Westen of Emory University put partisan Republicans and Democrats into a magnetic-resonance-imaging scanner and found that lying or hypocrisy by the other side lit up areas of the brain associated with rewards; lies by their own side lit up areas associated with dislike and negative emotions. At no point did the parts of the brain associated with reason show any response at all. If voters’ judgments are rooted in emotion and intuition, facts and evidence are likely to be secondary.”
The tough thing about politics is that so many of the battles – at least the battles the public gets to witness – are in real time. And in plain sight. They’re not like those sparring matches one has with a child or a spouse or a friend where you have enough time to be able to digest a conversation, sometimes over the coiurse of days, and get past the self-righteous part (where you keep repeating all your best arguments to yourself) so that you can realistically look in the mirror a bit and own your own shortcomings.
The fallible are tolerable.
The infallible are intolerable.
And a lack of a sense of humor is a full-blown crime.
Which brings us to the wonderful conclusion of the essay.
“John Maynard Keynes, a famously intelligent British economist, is said to have asked someone: ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’
If they were honest, most would reply: ‘I stick to my guns.’”
I attended the Inyo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday because I had a question about the Independence and Lone Pine water systems that was bugging me.
How come places like Big Pine and Bishop have community service districts in place to manage their own water systems while Independence and Lone Pine rely on the county to do it for them?
Aside: There’s just something about standing in front of the board during public comment that is more effective than simply trying individual members on the phone. Maybe it’s because they know you drove an hour to get there. They respect the effort.
This was Supervisor Mark Tillemans explanation. He said that at the time of hand-over of water systems from the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power, LADWP provided financial incentives to those communities which formed Community Service Districts (CSDs).
Those incentives no longer exist.
As County Administrative officer (CAO) Clint Quilter and other Supes explained, the county can’t force Lone Pine and/or Independence to form CSDs, and there’s no incentive for these communities to establish CSDs unless the water systems they are poised to inherit are in good shape.
So what’s the downside to the current arrangement (county as big brother) for Southern Inyo communities? It’s that they’re ultimately beholden to the goodwill and sympathy of Supervisors from other districts.
I asked a Bishop City Councilmember last week about the status of Bishop’s search for a new City Manager – in other words, how long will the city be content to have its City Clerk, Robin Picken, serve as the Interim.
I was told that the City should have a new Manager in place within 90-120 days.
I was also told that Picken has applied for the job.
And from Hite’s desk …
Mammoth Councilman Kirk Stapp used the purchase of two properties at 550 Mono Street to make a larger point about the Town’s chronic inability to set any sort of standard or process when it comes to funding priorities.
Wednesday night’s discussion inSuite Z began with Town Manager Daniel Holler laying out the logistics of the purchase. It involves two properties located at Meridian Court; a one bedroom unit and a three bedroom unit.
Holler claimed he negotiated a reduction in price and believes the purchase can be completed by the end of November. The negotiated price was $663,000 for both units before closing costs.
Community Development Director Sandra Moberly added that one more formality is needed before the deal can close. “The Planning and Economic Development Commission needs to make a finding to confirm the general plan consistency.”
The Town has a couple options of what it can do with the properties. The first is the preferred option of the Homeowners Association, which would be put the units on the market for sale under a 120% AMI (Area Median Income) restriction. The second option would be to provide the housing to those earning below 80% AMI on a rental program through Mammoth Lakes Housing. The third option: Use the units for the Town government’s own employee housing needs.
*The irony, of course, is that the units used to have affordable housing restrictions placed upon them – restrictions which were stripped away during the 2008 financial crisis when Mammoth Lakes Housing could not afford to buy back the units, triggering an ‘out’ clause on deed restrictions.
Mayor Bill Sauser didn’t want the discussion to be about the usage of the property, “I would ask us to stick to the purchase of the two properties and not get into the weeds of how they’re going to be used at this time.”
When Council was given the opportunity to comment, Stapp said, “I will be voting no because we haven’t, as a council, looked at all the different projects and prioritized them.”
Stapp expressed his concern with future expenditures looming over the town citing the $60 million funding gap for the Parcel, the town taking its trash to Nevada once the Benton Crossing landfill closes down, and finally the lack of workforce housing available – anecdotally referencing Mammoth Mountain shuttling employees in from Bishop.
Another bit of irony, obviously, arguing against his #1 priority.
He wants the Town to decide what is important so they can solve issues with a coordinated attack. Right now, he says, the town has a lot of goals and is pursuing all of them at the same time.
*Lunch observation:If that’s the case, best to get to the front of the line!
Council passed the agenda item 4-1 and the purchase of the properties at 550 Mono Street will be completed by year’s end.