Lately, I have been reading Chris Hayes’ new book Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy which details how all too much policy is established by power elites with little regard for the impacts upon the average citizen. The relentless marketing and perpetuation by the same entrenched power brokers and a complicit media of policies that continue to fail the working class, making the rich richer and the poor poorer, has caused public confidence in corporations, institutions, media and the government to plummet.
We all want heroes we can look up to and wise and prescient leaders to guide us to sustainable prosperity but when the same names keep popping up with the same unfulfilled promises over and over again, distrust may be a really healthy thing. Coos County is an amazing microcosm for studying what is happening at the national stage. In its capacity as an economic development agency, the Port of Coos Bay has for decaded leaches tens of millions of public commerce dollars annually all in the name of job creation. The port, along with its less potent cousin SCDC (South Coast Development Council), continue to make fantastical promises promoting industries with horrific environmental records and no history of providing economic prosperity to other regions. The port pitches a new yet old scheme, the local paper blindly trumpets the caper as a “jobs”, public monies are siphoned out of the treasury, routed through Coos County just long enough to be transferred to a private foreign contractor or consultant. None of the money sticks to the ribs of the local working class.
Election results would seem to indicate that Coos County voters have wearied of the game. Despite a record amount of money spent by the same, long in the tooth, old guard that’s been depleting coffers and trading favors without producing results for so long, the voters said “no”. While it will take a recount to decide the outcome of position one, the CCAP board and The World editorial board failed miserably to deliver a coup to the PAC contributors. The electorate distrust the pandering editors at The World and the puppet masters pulling their strings. One candidate, Bob Main, will not even bother to return calls to the paper. “Why waste time,” he asks, “telling them the truth”?
Healthy skepticism is a good thing… you cannot correct a problem with the same thinking that brought it about, to paraphrase Albert Einstein. Too many of the names documented in Wim de Vriend’s book, The JOB Messiahs are still being cited in the local paper as credible sources with valued opinions. In truth, these people should be hanging their heads in shame and pleading for forgiveness, or better yet, working toward restitution. The amateurish management of more than $75,000 in campaign contributions to the PAC and Fred Messerle’s campaign wasted 90% of cash on failed candidates and measures.
Maybe this election has heralded in the twilight of the Coos County elites.