” In silencing, one removes the ability of a target person or group to communicate. ” – Jason Stanley

That summarizes the MO of most Alameda politicians.

Dr. Deutsch bombastically tells others that they do not know what they are talking about if they deign to talk to him about the healthcare district boards medically-inferior business strategies; and in this way, he has kept discussions from being about substance, facts, medical facts….he has attempted to silence those who think something’s not quite right at the hospital….

GilBonTam silence us every time we speak at city council, sometimes with derogatory statements about us, but mostly by redirecting the critical discussion we are asking for—100% away from the facts.  Away from the mounting credibility that regular ol’ citizens (ROCs!) are gaining from being well informed (well done people!).

City Manager Russo—-in his first city council meeting and despite the onslaught of many, well thought out arguments based in fact coming out against any approval of the firefighter contract that night—-announced that he’s going to provide a class to teach residents about contract law or something, so that we are not so ill-informed, uneducated about his job processes. He seriously dissed us. And announced, in a profound-sounding manner like he was tired of our nonsense, that the mayor should vote to approve the contract.

People in charge think they sound like they are making sense and the citizens will simply go away and leave them alone to “do what’s best”.  There, there, don’t go worrying your pretty head about things, we’ll take care of it all, and if you argue against that, we’ll tell you you’re rude and unappreciative, and we’ll tell you that you’re stupid and are wasting our time with your concerns.

Discrediting others from a position of authority is a common tactic to silence concerned citizens. …..  Sadly, in Alameda, this seems to be the preferred MO for elected officials.

But curiously, very curiously, it’s not working anymore. People were infuriated at the last city council meeting. Why? Oh, maybe because Alamedans have been silent and trusting for so very long…..and now there’s a pile of evidence that shows our trust is no longer warranted. And to continue to try to silence us—-instead of acknowledging and heeding our very serious and well-founded concerns—-is morally outrageous.

GilBonTam think the sweet syrupy talk conceals their arrogance, their disdain for us, and engages citizens into believing them, into feeling better about them…they think it lulls the citizenry into complacency. And that may be what works for some people: it sounds nice, so it must be, so we can go home and relax now.  NOT. Thinking adults are not fooled one whit. In fact, we see accurately what’s going on—it’s easy to perceive—and we feel their insults.

For GilBonTam, it’s business as usual; they don’t care if they have credibility because they have power. But CM Russo has no clue how he’s exacerbated the situation…or what a minefield of mistrust he’s created for himself within the court of public opinion.

“What may begin as a temporary method to circumvent reasoned discussion and debate for the sake of a prized political goal may very well end up permanently undermining the trust required for its existence.” – Jason Stanley

To do his job well, to achieve his goals for our city and for his career, CM Russo needs a relationship with us. The city is ours; he’s at the helm on our behalves. There must be a mutual and interdependent relationship of trust. His fealty must be to us, not the Mayor.  He should be focused on running the city in a way that makes sense to us, the residents, you know, the people he’s sworn to be working for? We deserve his respect and consideration.  He needs to be focused on optimizing the city for us…and no one else.

We—-as individuals, and our culture and way of life full of good small-town American values—are the foundation of this city and we are now exercising our rights to be heard whether or not they are listening! We are smart. We know what doesn’t make sense when we see it. And we know the alternatives—things that make sense—that we should be seeing and are not.  ROCs rock!


About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

4 responses to “Silencing.

  • elliott.gorelick

    And they prattle on about civility while essentially telling people to shut up, sit down, stop bothering us.

  • Maria Gordanier

    Well said, Denise, and Elliott.

    I watched the videos of the council meetings and the general tone is unmistakable: Go away, leave us alone, you guys are rubes. It’s extremely offensive. Waiting for the indpendent investigation?


  • Denise Lai

    MG: Waiting to see if the talked-about yet since unheard-about investigation will take place transparently at all and moreover, whether it will actually be ‘independent’.

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