This post isn’t about any story from my vast and voluminous memory banks (or, as some call them, my endless ramblings) or some solitary controversy in Los Gatos. This will be like a “cleaning house day,” just a few comments about a small variety of dust bunnies bouncing around the locale.
First and foremost, I went to the special Los Gatos Town Council meeting Monday, Feb. 4 about Templar Sports. The Council chambers was filled. The lobby was filled and the crowd spilled up the stairs in front.
This was just as I suspected. And, I suspected, for all of the bubbling and brewing controversy this topic was raised for a very good while, there was going to be some hot and heavy debating, some good ole’ down home boisterousness. Hell, you never know, maybe someone would get hit over the head with a cardboard sign. You just never know.
When I was in high school, every night you would see some protest about the Viet Nam war on the television news. In those early days, I figured that all the adults were right and the protesters were just making trouble or they were “commies,” or communists, for the younger reader.
But, even before I left high school I felt there was something fishy about these news reports. There were too many repeated phrases, too many pat answers and it got where I wasn’t trusting the news anymore. And to support this, slowly there came to be a divergence in the news; ABC, CBS and NBC pretty much gave you the same story, but you would get a different take on things when you listened to foreign news or PBS, there might be an entirely different take on events.
When I got to college, I truly was a skeptic. Whenever a war protest would be scheduled, I’d make sure to be there, but only as an observer. I would watch what actually happened and then I’d scour the various news media to see who got it the most right and the most wrong.
In this way I could be more confident about who I trusted when I needed to be informed about the world. Almost always, I was an observer, not a participant. A few years ago I heard some guy who used to be a big-time protestor being interviewed. I wasn’t paying any attention to the interview, it was just someone’s background noise.
At one point, though, he said something that tuned me right in, like a sulking eagle cocking his head to give his eye a truer view. He said we were the generation who was lied to. Boy, did he get that right, in spades!
So last Monday night I went to the Templar meeting, once again as an observer and what I observed was not what I expected. There was no hair mussed up by a sign attack, no fist pounding, no raised voices or angry shouting. It was very tense in there, the air taut and expectant, the audience intently listening and still, but, damn, everyone kept their cool.
I stayed through the 9 o’clock break, which was prefaced by Los Gatos Mayor Barbara Spector’s observation (I paraphrase, of course), “Thank you for being good 90 percent of the time during this important meeting. It’s 90 percent appreciated.”
The 10 percent she was referring to was a few outbursts of applause, but nothing at all nasty occurred. There were about 100 people left to speak at the podium when I left but I trusted that no one was going to break the tone or the spirit of a good night.
I take my hat off and with a slow, sweeping bow (you know, like the three musketeers. who all had long hair) I congratulate my neighbors and friends as generously as possible for keeping their calm and their senses and their fine decorum in such a divisive and emotionally charged environment. I was so very proud of Los Gatos—this special little town. Damn, it was impressive. I bet our town's people disappointed the TV cameramen.
Secondly, as I’ve appointed myself “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” of my self created Los Gatos Art Bridge, I guess I should keep the guys turned on to what art stuff that is happening around town.
This sounds like a pretty good one. There is an outfit called the Veterans Memorial and Support Foundation that wants to build a veterans memorial here in town. Its call for artists, sculptors and others with ideas for the memorial will be March 11.
Next, I was once the production manager of the old Los Gatos Times-Observer and I know well what it takes to put out a newspaper. So, there was a strong dose of serendipity when I read a letter to the editor in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times from Larry Arzie.
His letter was critical of the way town staff proceed on obviously controversial matters without consulting the Los Gatos Town Council or the public. I’m certainly no sort of a political person, but I have noticed this tendency with the staff myself.
As I read Larry’s letter, my suspicions were confirmed regarding a variety of projects. At the Council meeting, a number of people got up to the podium and made this same observation as they spoke to the Council.
Someone asked if Los Gatos was just a way station for civil bureaucrats, making decisions motivated more on what makes their resumes look good instead of following the wishes of the people who are paying their salaries, the people of Los Gatos.
I felt this observation is becoming thematic, not simply a quirky, one-time awareness. This observation is coming from too many different directions, from too many different people. Not being a political guy, how do you go about fixing this.