Monday, November 01, 2010

Who Killed Consolidation?

The players had everything lined up. They had money, they had the politicians, and they had the plan.

So, who killed Consolidation?

Well, actually no one. It was more like an “inside deal” gone bad, carrying good and well intentioned citizens into a fixed political game.

From the outset, it was clear that there wasn’t going to be any real or credible investigation to solve the community’s problems, but rather an orchestrated series of false choices, leading to only one conclusion,: Consolidation. It was going to be consolidation or bust. In doing so, those who put this process in motion failed to act in the best interests of the community.

The “listening tours” were the first signs of trouble. For the few that attended these events, it was clear that the “emperor has no clothes.” The “conversation” smelled as a something cooked up from the political elites. A top down initiative with corporate new speak of “charter not consolidation, rebuild and reinvent, efficiencies not savings.”

The push for Consolidation wasn’t authentic; it was produced, almost scripted line by line from someone else’s playbook. The step by step nature of campaigning for a new charter was pronounced through a series of staged events. The blueprint outlined a never ending campaign, prosecuted by paid advocates and fueled by the political insiders.

The entire process reeked with misunderstandings, conflicts of interests, lack of transparency, a game of advocacy vs. education, skirting finance disclosures, front men, push cards, kick-off celebrations, hyped surveys, connected surrogates, and outside consultants. And now, only a federal lawsuit keeps it from being irrelevant.

In the end, the residual effects of all this will be more distrust. Consolidation was built on a ponzi scheme that collapsed from years of mistrust and today’s political gamesmanship. That’s what killed consolidation.


autoegocrat said...

You had me all the way up to "Ponzi scheme." Did I miss something, or are you merely using that term as a catch-all for something that doesn't quite pass the smell test?

A Ponzi scheme is a very specific thing, and I'm not clear on how that term could ever be applied to consolidation.

Otherwise, good analysis.

Tom Guleff said...


Thanks. Ponzi Scheme : an investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks.

When I look at RebuildGovernment's most recent financial disclosures (nothing released from Dec '09 to 9 Aug '10), I almost want to throw-up. Here, we had paid advocates (pretending to be trusted agents of the community) selling risk, while collecting a paycheck (and no telling what other future rewards or trinkets) .

It's the same junk that went on with AIG and the boys on Wall Street, some poor guy is left holding the bag at the end, and he never saw it coming. The game is rigged. And from my vantage point, this was a huge political show of force.

I guess I equated "Ponzi Scheme" with a rigged political game. I probably reached too quickly for the term.

Things have to change. But this was same "stuff", just different day.

Happy Election Day.

Derek, you are a good man.