I, on the other hand, really don't care in the least where the comments are coming from. I would much rather know what people are thinking (or, in some cases, not thinking), than what their names might be. I usually forget names anyway, so not having to know them spares me a lot of potential embarrassment. I don't know how it is with you, but in my world many of the folks I deal with are referred to as pal, bro, buddy or dude. Most seem OK with it.
As you may also be aware, this blog recently filed a Public Records Act request with the City of Sierra Madre for copies of Mayor John Capoccia's constituent emails. In particular, those emails dealing with the tender issue of raising utility taxes to 10% in order to help pay for some of Sierra Madre's $9 million dollars in CalPERS debts.
Though, and as you can imagine, nobody working for the city has actually put it in those terms. They would rather tell you the UUT increase is needed to save things like the Wistaria Festival, or Police Department. Yes, they do believe many residents are that innocent and childlike.
Mayor Capoccia has said on many occasions that one of the reasons he wants to try and save the extremely challenged SMPD is because his emails are running 20 to 1 against bringing in the Sheriffs. And that this can only be achieved by raising utility taxes to a full 10%. Or 66% more than what the voter verdicts of the previous two elections decreed.
I have personally found that 20 to 1 figure to be hard to swallow. Either for the SMPD or Measure UUT. It seems like an unreasonably large margin. I do not doubt that there is a sizable amount of folks who like the idea of this town having its own Police Department, just like there are a lot of residents who think the fiscal advantages of bringing in the Sheriffs could rescue Sierra Madre from possible insolvency.
I thought I needed to put this matter to the test, and filed a PRA asking to see those emails. In this case dealing mostly with Measure UUT. I figure I'll go fishing for the SMPD emails next time.
However, we are talking real life here, and as is often the case there are caveats. My life has been an endless series of caveats, and even when the law appears to be completely on my side I do not often get what I really want.
In this case City Hall, in the person of City Manager Elaine Aguilar, has a problem with me knowing the identity of who those emails actually came from. I also suspect Mayor Capoccia is equally unexcited about that. Probably because both believe I would put author names to some of the more outrageous ones and have fun with them. As would this blog's many anonymous commenters.
In a letter I received earlier this week, here is how the City Manager of Sierra Madre made her argument in favor of anonymity in Internet communication. In this case those emails sent to Mayor Capoccia backing his claim of public support for Measure UUT.
Here is the problem as I see it. Without knowing the names of the folks who sent those emails, how will I be able to tell if the Mayor's claims of support for raising utility taxes is accurate? After all, and knowing some of the likely suspects, it could be the same two or three people sending in their thoughts over and over again.
Which defeats the whole purpose. It means my attempt to disprove Mayor Capoccia's claims of constituent support for his taxation policies would not be successful.
I suppose that could be the point.