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Steve Lunetta: Silence is golden

Right About Now

Posted: March 21, 2010 10:09 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Steve Lunetta is on vacation this week. Leaving no alternative, this letter was shoved under the front door of The Signal office. Since Steve is not around to say otherwise, Silence Dugood will take his column space.

Trustworthy readers, I bring you this epistle not that I deem myself more intelligent or wise than anyone else. For, quite simply, I am not. Being a middle-aged widow of simple means, I have no extraordinary advantage other than I have the time to ponder and write.

Most of you are extremely busy. Life in Santa Clarita can be a tremendous blur. If one is not careful, life can bypass without acknowledgment or acclimation. Often, we must slow down and contemplate the path we are on to validate our direction and purpose.

My late husband Edmund, bless his soul, did his best to teach me this important lesson. “Silence,” he would say, “never become so busy that you can’t discern folly from sense.” He was a wise man and I loved him dearly. His words comfort me still today.

I have used this wisdom in most of my daily endeavours whether raising my three teenaged children or working in my garden, the ability to apply common sense to situations has served me well. It is simply a shame that many government officials cannot do the same.

I heard recently that the very handsome mayor of Los Angeles is seeking to raise the rates charged by the Department of Water and Power to fund more jobs and solar power initiatives. In a time when this same mayor is seeking to reduce budgets and fire city workers, it appears inconsistent to take this action.

Also, will charging more for services truly create more revenue? Or, like many other government attempts to raise revenue, will people simply discover ways to reduce power consumption to offset the increase? That sweet mayor may have been sleeping in economics class the day they taught this lesson.

My dear Edmund paid close attention to economics as it was the driving force behind much of what our nation is today.

Unfortunately, if he had been paying better attention to the chicken truck that turned the corner, he may still be with us today.

Edmund also taught me to beware of public officials who abuse their positions and dole out public funds without regard to the toil that caused their creation. Stealing from the public coffers is a despicable act which must be discussed and brought into the open.

John Perez, the new Speaker of the Assembly, gave a raise of $65,000 to one of his aides. Mind you, this is in addition to the generous six-digit salary this individual was already collecting. The final pay for this staffer is $190,000.

Once again, in a time when the state is crippled for funds and unable to fully fund its many ubiquitous obligations, it seems inconsistent that the new Democratic Speaker would show his generosity in such a way. He must be a very nice man.

In the same way, it seems that the former Democratic Speaker, Karen Bass, is also quite generous. The Sacramento Bee reported that Bass promoted 20 members of her caucus with a 10 percent pay increase on her final day in office. She must be a very kind person, too.

While I appreciate acts of kindness and largess during bleak and dreary economic times, I believe it highly inappropriate for elected officials who are blessed with a sacred duty and trust to abuse it in such a fashion.

I am concerned for the state of our nation when elected officials can perform acts of vested self-interest without concern for repercussion. The attitude is one of impunity with the belief that they are safe in their incumbency.

This is unfortunate for our republic. Public officials must be held accountable and know that acts of this sort will not be tolerated.

But, who am I to say? I am but one voice raised in a veritable din of electronic hubris. But I do know one thing — the marvelous gift that is our nation cannot survive such greed and inequity. Democracy topples when individuals learn that they can grant themselves benefits from the public coffers.

My dear reader, I trust that my words have not offended. But if you find yourself so inspired, please contact the offices of these public officials and express your displeasure.

Faithfully yours, Silence Dugood.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Right About Now” appears Mondays. He can be reached at


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