Modest Proposals

Our city ethics commission, created the wake of multiple gobsmacking scandals provided by our state legislature, has lost Eye on Sacramento as a member. In the meantime two Council members have been accused of making unwanted sexual overtures. The objects of their ardor have complained, the accused have denied or gone silent. The City has found one of the accusations to lack merit, the other remains under investigation. The public also waits, and the less the public knows, the more excited become its imaginings. While this is not a civic emergency, it is certainly an interesting state of affairs, pun intended, and provides diversion, tsking and clucking from many. But we don’t need an ethics commission to police people’s sex lives. We need it for far more gripping concerns. So here are a few new ethical proposals to help the city in its journey toward righteousness.

Proposal P — This is the Punishment proposition. It applies to all elected city and state officials and provides for corporal and public atonement when these office-holders are found guilty of bribery, gun running, favoritism, nepotism, stealing, cheating, pandering, patronage, pillage and graft. Proposal P brings back the stocks. The guilty office holders will be placed in mobile stocks during Kings games’ intermissions and also at public events of civic consequence. Their offences will scroll by on small electronic billboards above their heads. Why the public humiliation? Because they have offended the public they were sworn to serve. The stocks can be wheeled around so offenders can apologize to citizens. This should dampen their enthusiasm for public office and when their sentence is complete they will likely leave California for good. Those who stay will have to live in McKinley Village.

Proposal B–This is the ‘B or Better’ Education Measure. All officials, elected and appointed, who opine piously about education standards (especially linking class scores to teacher salaries) will be compelled to take and pass (with a B or better) a high school sophomore civics exam, algebra test and foreign language mastery quiz. If they flunk, and many will, they will be forbidden to make public utterances of any kind and sent to special tutorial classes to fill their learning gaps and raise their grades and performance. Hopefully, this will improve and humble them. They will be re-tested twice a year, each test including a new subject. In addition, all members of both state houses and all elected city officials will be required to take and pass a class in Critical Thinking and will not be permitted to cast any vote on any issue until they have acquired the B or better.

Proposal MP–Muckraking Pension. Citizens who unearth depravity and muck will receive a special pension that allows them to quit their day jobs and devote themselves entirely to muckraking. What exactly is muck, some younger, urban readers may inquire. Originally and memorably, Webster says it is “soft, moist farmyard manure” and “decaying vegetable matter.” Obviously, this soft, moist dung became a popular metaphor for business and government misconduct. Those who exposed misdeeds were called Muckrakers. In essence, they raked through the muck and stirred up a stink. Muckraking is a high and honorable calling. Proposal MP proponents believe numerous, adequate muckraking pensions are preferable to the gigantic buy-outs and fat pensions paid to, say, the previous school superintendent, and others who create the muck that needs the raking.

Proposal Z–In case of a highly contagious mutant Zombie influenza, the uninfected will have to take shelter while zombies stagger around chewing open the necks of citizens. This will be ghastly. Thousands of Sacramentans will perish. The rest will cower in their homes. Measure Z provides for an emergency crew of trained city officeholders to administer vital services during the crisis. They will keep our water pumping and electricity on. They will be housed in the new arena in a special, protected luxury area equipped with steel doors originally designed to keep ordinary citizens in the cheap seats. Will the entire City Council be there? Well, as the zombies say, remains to be seen.

Proposal V -–Vaccine for the Zombie Apocalypse flu will be in short supply and all will scramble to receive it. Proposal V ensures that nurses, doctors and police get it first so we can keep them on the job for as long as possible. The only way to kill a Zombie is to shoot or stab it in its brain, which often entails plunging a sharpened broomstick or some other such household object through its forehead. This makes a gushy and gruesome noise, made worse by the incessant Zombie moan which sounds like something is wrong with your dryer. So you see why we need the police. The rest of the vaccine will be dispensed by lottery. But who will pass it out? I recommend members of Eye on Sacramento; this oversight organization won’t play favorites. But to be even safer a new group should form to keep an eye on Eye On. The Eye On Eye On Commission will make sure that people don’t try to use their personal connections or job titles to inoculate themselves and their yes persons.

During the horrific emergency we will, from the safety of or barricaded homes, be able to watch our city function. But what about the homeless campers, you ask, because, despite what has happened to the Parkway, you remain compassionate and responsible. Well, don’t worry.

Proposal H will look out for the homeless. They will be given lodging in the arena, behind the same steel doors that protect the city administrators. These close quarters will not remain luxurious for long, but a beautiful, mutually beneficial bonding will occur, and when the crisis abates the two groups will have forged a solution. The homeless will have cozy housing units, and, and our parkway will be returned to its original wildlife. Chipmunks, birds, and deer are unlikely to leave litter and syringes on the ground.

Yes, good can rise from peril.

Pat Lynch










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