OPINION AND EDITORIAL
NOTES FROM AFAR
Former Monroe man weighs in on controversial mayor & city council
March 28, 2012
To the reader: Dennis Gallagher, now a resident of New Zealand, lived and worked in Monroe and the Monroe area for twenty years. For five of those years he was a member of Monroe’s planning commission.
Former Monroe resident, business owner and Monroe Planning Commission member Dennis Gallagher. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Mr. Gallagher also operates a blog. In this piece he responds to a Monroe man who wrote to him about “Monroe’s gov’t…increasingly finding itself on the wrong side of people who care about the city.”
By Dennis Gallagher
I am following Monroe’s politics every week or two by having a look at the Sky Valley Chronicle.
I think the city is particularly crippled because most of its electorate see Monroe as a bedroom community and their attentions are centered on Seattle or the East Side.
They watch CNN or the BBC and don’t give a twig about local politics so long as their kids have a school to go to and they have a supermarket to shop in.
That leaves a vacuum where local interest and ideological groups can leverage a lot for little effort. Hence, the Christian right have, after several years of focus, captured the City Council and the Planning Commission.
The liberal side, as always, think that the common sense of their arguments should be sufficient to keep local government liberal.
But, as history has shown, and as Joe Bageant has written in Deer Hunting with Jesus, that just isn’t so.
In the contest for hearts and minds, complacency and good intentions are not the strategy of contenders.
But, there’s an inevitability to it all. The Christian Right and the Business Community (I’m thinking of the sign ordinance here) have a natural glue that binds them and their causes together with each other and among themselves.
And that gives them numbers and thus a fairly effortless leverage in the voting booths. Whereas the liberal/left side, values its inclusive diversity and depends on each person acting when they feel so motivated.
On the liberal/left side, there are no calls to action by church fathers or chambers of commerce - such as the right has.
Eventually, the conservative/right will go too far and their doings will begin to impinge on the comforts of the sleeping liberal/left and a new cycle will begin just as it did some years ago when the citizenry got disgusted at the ‘good-ole boys’ deciding city business in Jeno’s back room and a new group of people like Mark Mechling were voted in.
That was just about when I got involved.
Marketing is all about motivating the unmotivated. And, of the two groups; liberal/left and conservative/right, the former is the harder to motivate.
The shared concerns and beliefs of the conservative/right allow them to bind together and be focused more easily.
But, for the liberal/left side to advance will always require more effort to get them focused.
It is not an insoluble problem because liberal/left tends to want to ‘do good’. But, it is a problem that needs to be considered and factored in. Otherwise, they will not act until seriously provoked.
The conservative/right know this clearly.
They read The Art of War by Sun Tzu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War) and they know their enemy and they are moving slowly but inexorably so as not to wake the enemy until, for example, the church and the shopping center east of town is all built and the Minnick clan have an unquenchable source of income.
Dennis Gallagher, a systems analyst and computer programmer by trade lived in the Monroe area for 20 years, running for ten years with his former wife the Woods Creek Wholesale Nursery. During that time he spent five years on the Monroe Planning Commission. Mr. Gallagher moved to New Zealand in 2009 and now resides in Christchurch.
Gallagher is also somewhat famous around America, at least with cat lovers, due to a story the Chronicle published in 2009 on his building skills.
He constructed a rather amazing cat house on the nursery property in Monroe that has drawn rave reviews from cat lovers around the nation.
The story, with pictures and video of the cat house can be found here
Mr. Gallagher’s blog is www.samadhisoft.com