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By Roz Rogoff

Us vs. Them

Uploaded: Apr 23, 2012

It seems a lot of people are angry these days and need someone to blame. Everything seems to be "us vs. them," whoever the "them" is. "Them" could be liberals or conservatives or immigrants or billionaires or any group that's easy to stereotype and demonize.

The great American pastime is to read blogs or listen to radio and TV shows that bash the "them" of your choice. Lately "them" are politicians and municipal workers. You know those people other people vote for, who take our money, or spend our money, or waste our money because they are greedy, stupid, crooked, or fill-in-the-blank.

The latest attacks are against the Directors of the Dublin San Ramon Services District because three of "them" voted to use surplus income to pay bonuses to selected employees as part of a long-established Pay for Performance program.

I always opposed these bonuses and objected to them when the item came on the agenda last year. I even argued with Director Rich Halket over them, but even though we disagreed we never resorted to personal attacks.

The Around Dublin blog encouraged readers to send emails to DSRSD opposing the bonuses, and this resulted in discontinuing the Pay for Performance program earlier this year. Maybe it takes incendiary rhetoric to get people to pay attention to Special Districts, but that's a sad commentary on the attention level of American citizens these days.

Directors Dan Scannell and Dawn Benson voted against the bonuses and were declared heroes in the Around Dublin Blog. The other three were "them" and subject to attacks and ridicule even when the authors of the blog, and their mostly "Anonymous" posters, misinterpreted or oversimplified whatever they didn't want to understand.

I, on the other hand, try to be insightful rather than inciting; so I write these instructional tomes here posing as blogs. I also started a Blogtalkradio show for in-depth, in-person interviews to find out more about how and why these decisions are made.

I asked Rich Halket, who is serving in the rotated position as President of DSRSD Board of Directors this year, to be my guest this Wednesday morning on my Blogtalkradio show. Rich will have his chance to answer questions on Pay for Performance, restructuring DSRSD's debt, Zone 7's separation from Alameda County and possible utility consolidation, the impact of Proposition 218 on water agencies, and the DSRSD election in November.

So tune in, call in, ask a question, but no personal attacks.