Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Fear not, Secret Plan X is coming

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Right on, Hugh!

In the closing days of the battle for the Alamo – a Catholic mission near San Antonio in what was then Mexican territory and what is now Texas – General Santa Anna, leading a force of Mexican troops vastly outnumbering the contingent holding the mission, sent an emissary to its gates to sue for peace. Even to Santa Anna, who was reputed to be sly, crafty and somewhat bloodthirsty, a reputation significantly enhanced post-Alamo, it seemed pointless to slaughter all the mission’s defenders.

The scene inside the Alamo was grim. What had been a small force to begin with was reduced to just a handful of men facing certain death, some of them notable in the mythology of a young country. Fallen comrades had been propped up along the inside wall of the Alamo, their muskets tied to their dead hands, facing out toward the enemy. The Mexicans thought this was hilarious and reportedly danced around chiding the dead Americans to give it their best shot.

Inside the Alamo, Davy Crockett – he of the coonskin cap – and Jim Bowie, famous knife maker and great-great-great grandfather of glam rocker David Bowie, and John Wayne were pretty much all that was left. When they weren’t propping up dead guys and tying muskets to their hands and wondering why the Mexicans were dancing outside the walls, they were waiting for reinforcements that would never come.

When the Mexican soldier sent by Santa Anna knocked on the mission door and offered to let the remaining men go free if they came out without their weapons, Davy Crockett replied, "Give me liberty or give me death." No, actually it was Patrick Henry who said that. Davy Crockett said "Remember the Alamo" or something like that, but it didn’t matter because the soldier Santa Ana sent didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand what Davy said. Jim Bowie, according to historical records, said "Wham, Bam, Thank-you Ma’am", a line later stolen by his great-great-great grandson and used successfully in Suffragette City. John Wayne didn’t have a speaking part in that movie.

But what they all did agree on was this: "You can’t trust a Mexican." They all died when the Mexican troops stormed the Alamo after they got tired of dancing.

Not too long after that, Santa Anna – America’s original Sadam Hussein – faced defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto, another Texas town known largely for inbreeding and trailer parks. General Sam Houston, memorialized in Texas history as the territory’s first governor, sent an emissary to Santa Anna’s camp under the flag of truce to tell him he was going to kick his ass and if he wanted to give up at dawn, the Texans wouldn’t wreak revenge over what the Mexicans had done to Davy and Jim at the Alamo.

Discussing the offer with his officers, Santa Anna decided, "You can’t trust a Texan," and, just as Sam had predicted, got his ass kicked the next day. Santa Anna himself wasn’t killed. He attempted to escape, dressed as a woman, but either forgot about or was too proud of his rather sizable mustache, which gave him away and stirred unnatural feelings among many of the Texans.

The common lesson of both the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto is clear: Faced with an enemy of superior numbers, you can’t trust anyone.

And that’s why the Big Kahughna is so right on.

If I was Hugh, Mayor of all Whistleratics, I wouldn’t trust me either. And I certainly wouldn’t trust the rest of you. Not when it comes to making good, well-thought out decisions that might affect the future livability of our town. Let’s face it, you’re a bunch of irresponsible, poorly-informed, shallow-thinking, take-the-easy-way-out, slack-ass, pot-smoking, ne’er-do-wells. And proud of it! I wouldn’t trust you to choose which way to go on a one-way street.

Hugh has decided seeking your "input" on Tim Regan’s development proposal for a mish-mash of "trophy" homes – the current euphemism for "monster" homes – in White Gold and Whistler Cay, and employee rental housing up on the bench between Melrose Pond and Spring Creek, is about as good an idea as consulting a witch doctor to cure a golf slice. Hugh doesn’t think you’ll be able to see the "bigger picture." He’s concerned you might not understand there are "other options."

I share Hugh’s concerns. After all, we’re dealing with a population here that almost single-handedly put "pathetic" in apathetic. A population of 9,000 that couldn’t muster more than two dozen people for the all candidates meeting. 50-60 for the admittedly worn-out Town Hall meeting. A citizenry whose only recent spark of passion was brought about by the cancellation of a BICYCLE RACE?! With a track record like that, I can understand Hugh’s reluctance to hold a public information hearing on something as complex as a development proposal.

Of course, there are those who see something darker and more sinister at work here. Something patently undemocratic, maybe even autocratic in the way muni hall’s being run. Something Sharon Jensen, an escapee from muni hall who is now in the private sector, referred to as a "closed loop of ideas." Something others – less diplomatic but equally inside that loop – have referred to as Jim Godfrey’s almost paranoiac distaste of public input.

It is odd though. Before the last election, I interviewed five of the six sitting councillors. One thing they all mentioned – other than the pressing requirement to develop employee housing – was an urgent need to "explore" new ways of tapping the public mood, of inviting the public’s input on a more informal, more frequent basis. In the light of the new siege mentality developing at the hall, I’m beginning to believe they were just having me on.

Not to say Kristi and Nick didn’t support moving on to a public meeting on the issue; they did. But Hugh, and others, were so firmly convinced this was the "wrong project" there was a danger in asking the public to comment on it. And although council is free to completely ignore the comments made at such a meeting, why even go through the motions? After all, there are "other" deals in the works. None the Housing Authority know about. None Councillor Wells knows about. But somewhere, in the secret workings at muni hall, Hugh knows about the other deals coming down the road. When the time comes, I’m certain he’ll share them with us, at least on a "need to know" basis. Maybe.

In the meantime, I think the message is clear. Our housing problems are solved. If not now – as our Director of Planning (sic) seems to think – then as soon as Secret Plan X is made public. The only thing left to do is for Rick Staehli and Tim Wake to resign. Close down the Whistler Housing Authority since they seem unable to see the "big picture" and leave housing issues to those who understand them and who know about the secret deals.

Oh yeah, and remember the Alamo.