Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Humboldt's Good Old Boys

This piece from the Times Standard was one of the better ones I've read in some time. It explores the notion that there's an obscure bunch of people in the county, the Good Ol' Boys, who run the county by working behind the scenes to benefit each other. As the article suggests, yes, there is something similar to that happening, but it's the natural course of human behavior [my interpretation].

I've actually been a little concerned about this sort of thing, which is one of the reasons I'm leery of local redevelopment agencies and such. My concerns are certainly justified. But how else how will things happen around here? People involved in community projects, whether it be redevelopment or some other civic improvement effort are going to be the type of people that like to make things happen. They'll be working towards those goals, often, with people of like mind. They'll likely become friends to the people they work with on projects of similar interest. This happens at all levels, from a redevelopment agency to the Board of Supervisors and heads of county offices.

I've never really been comfortable with the Good Old Boy networks, but I realize they're a natural condition of human relations.

The most memorable quote in the whole article comes from our recently acquired gadfly, Richard Salzman. Salzman, being a hard core lefty was asked if those on the Left would be capable of monopolizing power and controlling the community since he suggests the local networks are run by right wingers. Salzman's response, "As a whole, people on the left act for the good of the community as a whole. Therefore, they’re less likely to abuse the system for self-interest...".

Unbelievable- Only the Left are righteous? Kinda like a comment I received via the Redwood Peace and Justice e-mail list when I made a comment, the specifics which escape me now. I'd made an observation regarding something where both the Right and Left had been accusing each other of the same thing, or some such. Someone e-mails back and says, to paraphrase, "That's because, unlike us, [the Left] the right wingers always lie to make their point...".

I see little hope for those that see things so strongly in black and white.


At 4:40 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks for posting the article link.

"These people would have a network and be powerful within that domain, but there’s likely not one governing elite that tweaks the puppet strings on local government..." JeDon Emenhiser, a political science professor at Humboldt State University

That's my favorite quote, but then as you've probably realized, I have a fondness for acadamia.

There are those, most likely mostly white men, that have more influence than the rest, but the influence only goes so far. Rob Arkley probably has a lot of influence, but he can't pull all the strings.

That's because, flawed as it is, government actually works.

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead, Salzman is king of the "little boy network."


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