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I've begun to think of this as the Seinfeld City Council. Not due to anything funny ever happening there because that is decidedly not the case. This is not a humorous bunch. Rather it is a show about nothing. You can watch an entire meeting and see nothing in particular, and nothing much ever changes.
Quite a feat if you think about it.
Of course, this could be deliberate strategy. Given some of the chaos from the not too distant past, many in town might feel this is preferable. With perhaps the best way of taking the residents out of the picture being to simply bore them to death by feeding them a steady diet of nothing.
If that is the case, then they have succeeded admirably.
On that rather privacy-averse "WaterSMART" Consent Calendar item there was virtually no discussion. Not a single solitary word. How can you spend $75,000 without saying anything? The Seinfeld City Council did just that.
Rachelle Arizmendi was absent, Denise Delmar attended by phone from a hotel somewhere, the three dudes sat motionlessly, just staring at the papers the Interim City Manager had prepared for them. The item passed unanimously. No one on the council had any comment, nor did anyone in the public speak at the podium. Business as usual, and nothing that wasn't predicted here.
Obviously Sierra Madre is no hotbed of civil liberties these days. The only priorities now seem to be the ones that city staff wants. Especially those that give them an upper hand over residents.
All is not lost, however. There was a reader comment that made me laugh.
Thank God for the comments.
Back to our coverage of the American Constitutional Crisis
U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack (NBC News link): U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.
Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump. The FBI and other agencies don't fully endorse that view, but few officials would dispute that the Russian operation was intended to harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing emails about Democrats.
The latest intelligence said to show Putin's involvement goes much further than the information the U.S. was relying on in October, when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the Democratic National Committee hack to Russia.
Mod: So why would a ruthless and bloody autocrat like Vladimir Putin prefer Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton? Obviously you must know the answer to that.