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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
September 7, 1998


O.k. I admit it, I'm just a little confused. Could someone please tell me when it became fashionable for elected officials to become mute. It seems to be the latest trend. I agree with most Americans in my desire not to hear the seedy details of the Bill and Monica tryst, for two reasons. First, it would only enable another eight months of coverage from the tabloid obsessed media. And second, it has absolutely nothing to do with national policy. This, however, is an exception to the rule.

Here in San Diego's North County those holding office are claiming that silence is the best policy. Supervisor Bill Horn is the King of clamming up. Now to be fair Mr. Horn has no problem spouting off to the media or those that share his vision of one county under cement, with gridlock and property rights for all. Monologues seem to be Mr. Horn's preferred form of communication. Avoiding public forums like the plague, he shuns discourse with anyone who's viewpoint might differ from his own.

Also following the say nothing agenda is the Vista City Council. Citing legal restrictions, city attorney Wayne Dernetz has instructed city officials to remain silent on the proposed trash transfer station. This is where it gets good. You see the reason that Wayne gives is that by taking a stand, the council-members would be denying the Regional Solid Waste Association it's rights under the Fifth Amendment of U.S. Constitution. Obviously Mr. Dernetz believes that the phrase "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law" does not apply to the residents of Vista.

Could it be possible that the city attorney doesn't want to see city council members, who support the addition of as many as 2,700 diesel burning vehicles a day along Melrose Drive, voted out of office. Considering that the Air Resource Board of California has stated that diesel exhaust is toxic and can cause cancer, you would think that Vista's city attorney would be concerned about the potential lawsuits involved in the decision to place the children of Washington Middle School at risk. Or maybe Mr. Dernetz forgot that the trucks will be forced to travel past that school as well as within breathing distance Olive Elementary and Guajome Park Academy.

Call me old-fashioned, but shouldn't the voters of Vista know where their elected officials stand on such an important issue? Magnifying the need for public disclosure is the upcoming election. Not satisfied with keeping the incumbents gagged, the city attorney is encouraging all candidates to remain silent in the name of fairness to those wishing to parade a constant of stream of garbage trucks through a once quite neighborhood. Regardless of Mr. Dernetz's unusual consideration for the well being of the RSWA, true democracy is only provided by an informed constituency.

Whether or not the city attorney and the current city council believe it, this environmental issue effects all of the people of Vista and should not be swept under the rug as a gesture of displaced loyalty. It is time those currently calling the shots in Vista remember who it is they represent. If you ask me, the current silence screams of a done deal.

Question. If an incumbent falls and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound?

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