Claremont Insider: Dumb and Dumber: Rise of the Machines

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dumb and Dumber: Rise of the Machines

The mess over at Three Valleys Municipal Water District over board member Xavier Alvarez's apparent false claims of winning a Medal of Honor has gotten wide play in the local blogosphere, at least on the FC Blog.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune writer Frank Giradot got into the act, filling readers in on the story behind the story. Alvarez's imaginative powers must not be too great. He seems to have pulled a lot of the material for his war stories from movies, or so Giradot's piece tells us. At least Alvarez seems to have been watching dramas and not movies like "Stripes" or "Private Benjamin." Though, if he had, he might make for a more sympathetic character, rather than simply pathetic.

All this Alvarez news has the Insider waxing philosophic. How exactly does such an obvious doofus like Alvarez replace a respected, knowledgeable incumbent like Luis Juarez as Pomona's District I representative on the Three Valleys board?

The vote, in November, 2006, was close - 50 votes out of 7,658 ballots cast. Yet, Alvarez emerged victorious. How? One reason, may be that he had some powerful supporters, such as Pomona mayor Norma Torres and some of her well-placed friends, telling people what a fine fellow Alvarez is.

That sort machine politics makes the quality of the candidates irrelevant, at least until some embarrassing, unpleasant truth comes out. The machine just tells people to vote a certain way, and they do.

The same sort of nonsense by the Claremont 400 has in the past resulted in a succession of sycophants and incompetent, petty tyrants on both the City Council and the local school board. Watch the ads and mailers coming out for the current Claremont Unified School District election, and you'll see the same people urging you to vote for this or that person because Judy Wright or Diann Ring or Helaine Goldwater or Ellen Taylor says this person is qualified. It's been thus in Claremont for a generation, and all signs point to more of the same in the future.

That's why, as we pointed out a couple days ago, an underqualified substitute elementary school teacher like Hilary LaConte, can be touted as an expert in anything. The only things LaConte has done to merit consideration are such good works as serving as Claremont Councilperson Linda Elderkin's campaign co-chair, along with Helaine Goldwater.

Of course, LaConte's lack of competence doesn't sink to the depths of an Xavier Alvarez (few do) but is she really deserving of the position she seeks? We think not. Yet, the machine grinds on, telling us you must vote for her. Her qualifications matter not a whit.

As a result, real issues, such as they may be in a upper middle-class community like as Claremont, never get an airing in the election process or during school board meetings. The level of debate, or non-debate, is dumbed ever downward.

Well, as they say, you gotta throw the hay low enough for the goats to eat.