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Voice: Mendoza bringing enlightened government to IID

February 23, 2002

Enlightened government is called government of, by, and for the people. It shall be founded at the local level.

Mundane government is practitioner (generalist) oriented. Its "system" is disjointed-incrementalism and muddling-through. Like the element phosphorous, mundane government is unstable based on (1) the politician saying — The system is dumb and there's nothing we can do; and (2) the grubby adding — so let's get ours. If we don't get it, someone else will.

Therefore, mundane government leads to establishment government, which is "discreetly gross." (The establishment serves itself first.)

There is the adage — It has to get worse before it gets better.

Establishment government is as common as an old shoe. Therefore, it is hard to change. In contrast, most gross government is stark.

Up until about two years ago, the Imperial Irrigation District was most gross. Its hierarchy included:

(1) The greedy water marketing interests, which I call the "skarves."


(2) IID board members who are bought and paid for by them.

(3) IID's "dream team" and other IID staff being ordered and directed by the board behind closed doors.

(4) The dream team and other staff carrying out its orders and directions, including ordering and directing consultants.

The most gross nature of IID government included:

(1) The board trying to set policy in closed session.

(2) Dismantling the Law of the River through the Key Terms/Quantification process.

(3) Having a devious Key Terms policy-making process.

(4) The board members being arrogant, insolent, and impudent.

(5) The board members running government through its study groups (which were not open to the public).

The turning point was when Stella Mendoza ran for and was elected to the board (as a representative of the people). Even though the majority of the board was still of the "family of Skarves," IID government got better, i.e.,

— The board members were less arrogant.

— The study groups were replaced by board committees (which are open to the public).

— Staff started to plan the policy issues.

How can Stella, as one representative of the people, make that much difference? I conclude that she can't. I conclude the underlying political force of good government is the "awareness, understanding, expectancy, and action of the people" (as government of the people). And that government of the people precedes and is the foundation for government by and for the people.

We should honor Stella as our representative. We should also recognize and appreciate all the people who make up government for the people.

I conclude that the "balance between good and bad government" will always be tenuous. And that the role of the people, as government of the people, is ongoing and never ending.


El Centro

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