Friday, December 28, 2012
That it worked showed us that when it came to government here in Sierra Madre many people had little concept of what those issues might be, or the possible consequences of allowing inept people run City Hall.
2010 became more of a contest based on how the voters felt about themselves than any actual discussion of the issues, most of which seemed hostile and discordant to people out of touch with what was really going on. And with many having little notion about the serious matters at stake, they chose instead to go with decorum and civility. It was a concept far easier to understand.
It is now nearly three years later and the consequences are a City facing financial crisis, crumbling infrastructure, endlessly rising taxes and fees, unspoken agendas, inept leadership in the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem positions, endless process-based tautologies, and no real direction when it comes to getting a true grip on our problems. Sadly, civility politics in no way translated into quality government.
One of the great ironies here is that the candidate most responsible for injecting the civility issue into the political discourse of that election later indecorously resigned his office midterm and then abruptly left the country. Something that has yet to be adequately explained by anyone, civil or otherwise.
None of this is unique to Sierra Madre, of course. Kristin Rawls is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications spanning the political spectrum. The Christian Science Monitor, GOOD Magazine, Truthout, Religion Dispatches, The Huffington Post and Global Comment being just a few. Here is how she defines the phenomenon:
Notwithstanding the fact that "love" is perhaps the vaguest, most unhelpful political prescription of all time, this kind of thinking removes any analysis of power from the conversation. It falsely presumes that we all enter the conversation on equal footing. Indeed, everyone is so busy preaching "unity" and "loving one another" that there is never any interrogation of privilege or power. It's a bit different out in mainstream society, but the message is clear. Love your oppressors ... (We) are accustomed to being silenced because we have a "mean tone." We're asked to speak more respectfully so that we can earn a hearing. We're taught to submit to our oppressors. We're being angry and irrational, and it's our job to make everyone comfortable.
All of which is good and needs to be said. But now it appears that there is another important reason to avoid putting too much emphasis on the psychological constraints of civility and not just letting your true feelings be clearly heard. It could be bad for your health. This from United Press International (click here):
Holding back emotions may reduce lifespan -- German researchers say exercising self-restraint and holding back negative emotions -- what Britons call keeping a "stiff upper lip" -- may reduce lifespan.
Researchers Marcus Mund and Kristin Mitte at the University of Jena in Germany said the findings might explain why the generally more emotional Italians and Spanish live almost two years longer than the cool English who "keep calm and carry on," MedicalDaily.com reported.
After analyzing more than 6,000 patients, Mund and Mitte found people who internalized their anxiety suffered from an elevated pulse, suggesting those exhibiting self-restraint and holding back negative emotions -- who they call repressors -- could have serious repercussions for physical and mental well-being.
Over time, an elevated pulse can result in high blood pressure and increase the risk of developing a wide range of conditions including heart disease, cancer and kidney damage.
I'm telling you, you're really better off just getting a grip on what is really going on and speaking your mind. It is good for you.
More on the "Reverse It!" Question
Yesterday we had a pretty lively conversation about reverse mortgages. The Mayor of Sierra Madre, Josh Moran, works in that field as an account executive for a company called Reverse It!, a division of the Urban Financial Group, which in turn exists beneath the corporate aegis of Knight Capital.
As was discussed, the selling of reverse mortgages is quite controversial as it involves exchanging the home equity of seniors 62 years of age and older for some quick cash. Often in a lump sum that can quickly disappear when placed in the hands of people ill-equipped to manage such things. There is also the notion that many seniors do not fully grasp the potentially negative ramifications of reverse mortgages, and therefore can be easy prey to unscrupulous sales representatives looking to take advantage.
A sharp-eyed commenter picked on a Wall Street Journal report that suggests all might not be rosy with the reverse mortgage business at Knight Capital (click here).
While recent ideas on the value of Urban Financial Group to its parent company Knight Capital Group (NYSE:KCG) have suggested the company provides upside in the wake of near-financial ruin experienced by Knight in early August, a Wall Street Journal report on the company’s current position suggests otherwise. Knight says, however, it remains committed to the business.
Having announced this week the appointment of new leadership to Knight’s board of directors, new information obtained by WSJ indicates the company may be interested in the sale of Urban Financial Group.
“Urban Financial, Knight’s reverse-mortgage division and part of the institutional unit, represents a capital-heavy business that carries reputational risk; it is seen as a potential target for trimming, according to a person familiar with the thinking of one of the new investors,” WSJ reports.
The key words here being "reputational risk." It seems that even Knight Capital is now holding its nose.
Posted by The Moderator at 6:00 AM