This is the complete piece, without interruptions.
The Politics of Economics of Politics
(a musical explanation)
Surprised to find myself enjoying Ionesco’s seriously existentialist novel, Le Solitaire, (Viking 1973), in that it mirrors current thoughts of my imminently transitory existence. As if I am the 21st century’s incarnation of a 19th century Franco-Russian Jew, who, doing nothing particularly well, except, perhaps, putting down in words, the absurd context, for lack of a better explanation, we call, life. In Ionesco’s Hermit, I experience a recognizable emptiness I find familiar, which actually brings me peace, knowing that, as painful as it sometimes is, life is not to be missed.
I took it upon myself to create, with others, a hybrid web structure by means of which residents of any community can take responsibility for anything they complain about. An innovative feature allows any resident to bring an issue into a general forum and conduct a poll in accordance with civil guidelines and depending on the outcome of this poll, an elected council is required to address and resolve the issue.
Since some issues affect various areas in the community differently, we described eleven geographic districts, each with an elected representative. Voting for representatives can be done on a cell phone, online or on paper at a public library by showing evidence of residence. The website will be fully launched in the Spring of 2018, however, there is information at pointlomatowncouncil.org now that can answer many questions.
For this innovative marriage of emerging technology with democratic principles to work requires broad participation and the objective is to empower constituencies with the expectation that, with direct input into legislative processes, priorities of government will be better aligned with their needs.
If all goes as currently planned, the online functions will be fully paid for, ready and able to be used by anyone who wants to conduct a poll and get something done.
When enough people participate by electing town council members, we will have accomplished what we set out to do and I may spend more time composing which will make people I love happy.”
*with God’s grace.
Alcestis volunteers to die to save her husband, who was condemned by Artemis for failing to sacrifice to that Goddess after winning the heart of Alcestis. Apollo had helped her husband in this quest, pleads his case on Mt. Olympus and Hades returns Alcestis to life.
This song is “All Too Human”, for which I will now write lyrics. It’s a duet for two baritones, later reprised with two baritones and a soprano, and eventually a quartet adding a contralto.
(Photo; Arthur Schopenhauer 1854, public domain.)
Master at work…
Last May, we got the idea that since we have no easy way to make a difference about the lack of infrastructure and increasing density, we could create a new model for a town council, designed to make participation easy and even fun. We became a formation committee to incorporate Point Loma Town Council with a mandate to hold an election in the Fall of 2018, to elect members of a town council to represent residents. It’s like a conventional town council but integrated with an online app that will allow every resident with a smart phone or internet connection to inform and poll their community. Poll results can trigger consideration by the elected town council, empowered by our bylaws to take appropriate action. Kinds of action are common to town councils, running the gamut from education and communication to litigation.
Any member that is a resident of our Peninsula can launch a district-wide poll about anything they believe impacts their ability to flourish. The Peninsula is divided into districts of less than 5,000 households, c. 9000 voters, about the number of people in Del Mar. A priority of our app is relationship-building: it promotes civil discussion and is a source of trustworthy information and a forum for conflict resolution.
A possible outcome of this experiment in democracy is that it reduces dependence on mass media in election campaigns.
Yesterday, I heard an NPR interview with John Cox, a wealthy lawyer in Rancho Santa Fe, who previously unsuccessfully ran for president and congressional races in other places. He has been a Trump-flavored Republican and has now announced he would be governor of California, another venture capitalist out to “drain the swamp”. The interesting thing is that he’s mentioned a strategy for revamping representation based on dividing the entire state into 10,000 person districts. sounded similar to the design we came up with for PLTC, however the top-down plan that he suggests, though it works in theory is politically impossible, while it has great potential as a community-based project.
The difficulty, however, is in enrolling participation in the beginning. Unlike Mr. Cox’s suggestion, PointLomaTownCouncil.org doesn’t require changes to election law, and it’s independent of partisan, economic or cultural issues. Mr. Cox’s program requires us to rewrite parts of the State constitution. Perhaps, a good idea but for greed, economic interests, resistance from the California League of Cities and so on.
We all know that local representative government is skewed in favor of priorities of those who fund campaigns. As Mr. Cox has noticed, democracy works best in small, homogenous populations, where there’s more chance that constituents know each other and share values, whether or not they actually like each other. This means our democracy is based on 18th century populations and uses 19th century technology.
It is said (by Tip O’Neill when he was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, “All politics is local”. With our mobile population, rapid urban growth and diversity that was unimaginable in 19th century America and most of the 20th century, constituents are powerless about governmental decisions that create conditions that impact enjoyment of life. Since local media makes this powerlessness clear in the way it discusses every issue, and those who are new to San Diego, get the impression this is a place where lip service is paid to problems like climate change and growing congestion and it’s not cool and extremely hard for people to engage in political action.
We realize that land use and economic decisions in Houston, Puerto Rico, Fukushima, Santa Rosa, Las Vegas made these places vulnerable, not to mention the ease with which Russia influenced the voting of hundreds of millions of Americans in the last election.