Sour Grapes Miss Point

Candidate misses point as she lashes out at small contingent of her detractors.

The recent Town Council election in Moraga demonstrated a basic democratic principle.  The electorate will not tolerate being misled.

This principle is nearly impossible to engage on a State or National level as corporate influence via lobbyists have, to a frightening degree, diluted our 'representative' form of governance.

But on the local front, failure to adhere to campaign promises can cost you an election.  In an astonishing display of undignified 'Sour Grapes', Karen Mendonca, a recent incumbent loser in the Moraga Town Council race was reported to have said:

"I believe that this negative smear campaign had a powerful impact on the outcome of this election," Mendonca wrote in an e-mail. "I had hoped that citizens would not be influenced by these visual and written assaults, but I was wrong. Research confirms that these negative and targeted campaigns can be very effective in destroying the candidacy of an honorable and proven public servant as I have sadly experienced in this election."

I assume she is referring to the legal "Defeat Mendonca" signage that proliferated in the area.  While I agreed with the sentiment, I disagreed with the tactic, but only because of the adage, "There is no such thing as bad publicity".  Historically, these efforts are met by a backlash that nullifies their effectiveness or even may aid the targeted candidate.  

As for the 'written' assaults, well, this is politics and if your skin is that thin perhaps you are in the wrong game.  Town Council decisions directly affect quality of life issues and protect honored traditional practices and behavior contrary to constituent beliefs will elicit direct pointed reaction.  We are not sheep.

She mistakenly had honed her campaign in on against a small, pristine park's off-lead dog policy and completely ignored the fact that her base of support had fled in significant numbers based on her reversal of position on the 'open space/ridgeline protection' issue. 

I felt she had to be removed, but it had nothing to do with dogs.  It had to do with her politics.  She behaved badly in the park debate, as well, treating the park supporters with a rare level of public disdain.  But this only added to the Town's growing disfavor with her.  And she was, and is apparently, oblivious to that fact.  The issuance of such a statement stands as testimony of her utter lack of self-awareness.  And it is undignified to make disparaging, inaccurate remarks when things do not go as planned.

Ms. Mendonca has had a long career in the public sector and that experience can skew one's perception of "real world" reality.  The private sector, with its 'dog eat dog' (no pun intended) reality is markedly different from the comfort afforded by public sector empolyment.  This may have been a contributing factor as she is likely an otherwise fine, upstanding citizen.  It would be a shame to end a long career of public service on that note.

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Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Last word on the subject as Mike suggests, it should R.I.P. Karen was a goner in my eyes and many others as well the moment she flipped on the "Open Space" issue. The signage "smear" (sic) influence in this race was of little significance. And if you'd been paying attention, the dog crowd holds me at arm's length over my critical treatment of their (some, not all) lazy relationship with the rules. Realize, even organized Objectivism is replete with Machiavelli! So kettle, meet pot.
Nice and Rough November 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Fritz - Is this your first blog post? Hopefully we will see more from you.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 10, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Mike, lashing out at political adversaries (ineffective as they were) is impolitic and in the poorest of taste. I only hope that this red herring of an issue has one lasting side effect. Moragans were engaged as (perhaps) never before in the local political process. Good, Bad or Indifferent, it was heartening to see so many people attending/participating at the TC meetings and beyond. We now will hopefully point the microscope at the issues that effect us ALL (I'll spare you listing them again). Prudent fiscal planning and prioritization needs participant oversight by your constituents and engaging them in "Town Hall-esque" discussion and debate might lead to heretofore undiscovered parts of the solutions we seek.
Andrew November 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM
The reality cruelty is excluding the voting public from participating in the public policy process. This has been evidenced by the MTC implementing their political will rather than welcoming public discourse on many issues confronting our community (traffic easing, transit centers, real estate purchases to name a few) . Let's add the fiscal mess at the MOFD for further evidence of the exclusionary attitude. Last and certainly not least, the MSD and the ghosts of public policy decisions favoring certain segments of our community. THIS is the real cruelty we should be talking about and not about some bruised ego of a former public representative.
Andrew November 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM
One only need look at the cross contamination endorsements of various past and current elected representatives in our community. Take a look at current MTC, MOFD, and MTC representatives web pages. It reads like a who's who of the "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" mentality. I like to call it "The Group". The manifestation of the "The Group" decisions run amok is the abuse problem painfully being confronted at the Moraga School District. Ms. Mendonca was a card carrying member of the "The Group" until she cast that fateful tie-breaking vote on Rancho Laguna 2. With that decision her fate was sealed. The dog leash and park issue was an entertaining diversion from the real issue and that was Menconca's excommunication from "The Group". Do a little research on our elected representatives websites (should they still be available) and you'll find the common denominators and members of the "The Group".


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