Music is life.
Basketball explains it.
That’s my philosophy, right there on my Facebook page. It may seem opaque, but I get it, and that’s what counts. I dig understanding the vast and eternal universe in six words.
I had one of my best music days ever Saturday but I’m not going to regale you, right now, with those delights, because in the day to day, some things can become more important than even music.
Politics? Eww, a dirty word? Few seek it out as a career path, but we exalt, and demonize, those who do. But politics has always been, since Caligula, Ashoka the Great, Atilla the Hun and Karl Rove the Smug — a dirty business.
Yet, we expect our rising leaders to come from the best stock, full of ideals and promise. Then who do we elect? Those with the biggest piles of someone else’s money. If some upright folks accidentally make it, they sooner or later succumb to… the Kool-Aid. But wait? What’s in the air?
A disheveled older Jewish democratic-socialist gentleman from tiny Vermont, lacking charisma and funding, came out of nowhere and turned the political establishment on its ear. He very nearly won the Democratic nomination for President, over party royalty. Evidence, not conspiracy theories, showed the party leadership did stack the deck against him. Too bad. A rare, perhaps unique opportunity, lost.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Bernie Sanders fought for the same principles of a fair government and economy for all Americans, all his life. Rock steady for 35 years in elected office. His message was always the same, every speech, and yet hyuuuge crowds flocked to hear him repeat it.
In the end, he was bullied and backroom maneuvered into defeat. Not only was Hillary the heir apparent for many top political power brokers, they just plain didn’t like Bernie. His personality wasn’t endearing. He didn’t play by their rules. And mostly, he couldn’t be bought. Can’t have that. Of course, he set an amazing precedent by raising more money than anyone, 27 bucks at a time, from millions of voters, many new to the process.
Is Phil Brock Bernie? No. But there are many parallels. We need Brock to be our local Bernie, now, this election, as a write in for City Council. But, the Bernie who wins.
I’ll bet those two would have a lot to talk about. Bully stories. Public service. Campaign funding quandaries. Sticking to your principles, when doing so turns the power structure against you, with a passion to make sure you don’t get elected, that turns to personal, mean attacks.
Did this really happen here? You bet it did. Beaten down from running for City Council, enticed to take a “sure run” for School Board only to see his promised support back out at literally the last minute, settling for an Arts Commission appointment and still getting heat for that, even Brock’s weight was considered fair game by the opposition, on social media. Yeah, I think you could call that, and much more that came his way, personal and vitriolic.
I talk with a lot of people here and I saw the buzz on Brock change dramatically over
the last year and a half. Why? He appears to be the same guy, standing and working for the same things he has all his life in Santa Monica. My theory is that it started when he demonstrated in the last election that he could win. He lost to Pam O’Connor by only a few hundred votes. Phil Brock the annoyance became Phil Brock the dangerous, to the status quo.
Then when he came out in support of the LUVE initiative, even though he honestly admitted he had some disagreement with the details, all hell broke loose. Brock will always have some detractors, for political reasons and because he does have an outsized personality and ego, but this was different. He has always argued for reasonable development and a common sense approach to government, and the folks who, for various reasons, want to build Santa Monica into Miami Beach, traffic be damned, suddenly found a visible enemy.
I must disclose that I consider Brock a friend. But I have relationships with many diverse types here. Why, just last Sunday I chatted with Gleam Davis and Patricia Hoffman. I consider activist Jerry Rubin to be a good friend, but would never support him for Council because we differ 360 degrees on development.
With four incumbents running from a City Council that hasn’t yet seen a big development they didn’t like, and no one save Armen Melkonians (with any chance to win) pushing for reasonable development, we need Phil Brock. We’re about to be deluged with overdevelopment, with what has already been put in the pipeline. In two more years of the same, many of you won’t like it here anymore.
It’s ridiculous. Who’s been more supportive of the arts here than Brock? Who has a lifelong history of teaching, coaching, working with our schools and parents than
Brock? For Council, who knows more about how the entire city works, every nook and nuance, than Phil Brock?
Yes, he caved. Politics is tough. I give credit to every one of our elected officials for going through what it takes to become a public servant. As I wrote recently, I seriously thought myself of running for Council, then like Jesus in Gethsemane I asked that the cup be removed. It does take conviction, and much more.
I know Phil Brock has that. He’s shown it all his life, that devotion to Santa Monica and its citizens. I know he does not feel good about taking the easier path, but I have no idea if he would take on a write-in run for Council. I would not think any less of him if he didn’t. Though I’d probably have to find out indirectly because he may never speak to me again, since this is all my idea.
If Brock says yes he will need lots and lots of money and help and money.
Just say yes, Phil. Armor is cheaper than regret.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “A public office is not a job, it is an opportunity to do something for the public.” — Franklin Knight Lane
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org