Sunday, December 30, 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser

Little did I know -- Alamo has a political underground, it seems. It's mind boggling to me.

Apparently, there are a lot of people who feel intimidated by The Man, and have organized themselves like a revolutionary movement with "Neighborhoods" (cells) represented by a somewhat known individual, the members of which are held to confidentiality for protection against retaliation. Mail goes through the cutout, er, neighborhood representative, and then to anonymous mail addresses. This is called an "e-chain", a term that I have never heard before in 30 years of net use (predating the Internet, when it was the ARPAnet with 30 hosts in the whole country).

I learn we live in the "Greater Miranda Neighborhood", one of 29 "Greater Neighborhoods".

We are told that in this back-channel, most are opposed to incorporation, think of AIM as carpetbaggers, and a good number seem to want to change the name of the town -- "Diablo Vista" anyone?

What can be made of this?

Heck if I know! On one hand, the secrecy strikes me as just bizarre, but I suppose the possibilities of retaliation against local professionals and businesses is real, and not to be dismissed.

Yet, how does a shadow organization communicating through essentially anonymous email accumulate credibility? What I've heard so far is mostly vague allegation of chicanery by the proponents. The main substance seems to be that the preliminary finances were cooked to the tune of $3.7 million in year one. The alternative proposal of a "citizen-led contract service municipality" sounds interesting, but I don't have a clue what that would be like.

Where is a website explaining the opposition position and the alternative it offers?

We are not without criticism of AIM's selective communications, but we're not at all sure that guerrilla opposition is a high road to take in response.

It's easy to criticise (Hi Mom!), and always hard to do something. But what should Alamo do? I fear the "antis" are adopting a negative strategy of attacking AIM rather than the proposal itself, and not offering concrete alternatives.

I, for one, don't feel duped by claim the petition was presented as a "feasibility study", and filed as an "application", because I don't much see the difference. There is a formal study being done, and a real election to be held. If the formal study is shoddy, it will be ripped apart. If the proponents can't make their case in a run-up to the election, it will be hard for them to win.

I don't see any upside to the Powers of county politics for Alamo to secede from county administration and incorporate. And I don't yet see any real downside for the town.

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