I happen to enjoy live theater, but it can get expensive. When I can, I take advantage of free performances, so now that I’m retired and don’t have to go watch the Board of Supervisors, I may go once in a while, anyway, just for the entertainment value.
I used to hate going to the Board. That was because every hour (and it was always hours, not minutes) that I was there was another hour that I wasn’t getting to the paper stacked on my desk, wasn’t getting through all the hundreds of e-mails – although I did get through some because I had a Blackberry – and wasn’t talking to my staff about what was going on with them. Now, none of that will be true. I can check out the agenda on-line the Friday before, show up in jeans and a sweatshirt and sit at back if I want.
It’s not hard to cast the six elected supervisors as characters—excuse me, I mean Characters—in some dramatic soap opera. There is the Veteran, stepping down after mumble-mumble years in public service at the state, national and local level, anxious to leave her district in good hands. There is the blond, polished New Girl, taking the Veteran’s seat in January. She has city council experience and a lot of environmental money behind her, but will she be seen as a carpet-bagger by the people in Sonoma Valley, who she is supposed to represent when she doesn’t live there? (Yes, I called her a girl. These are stereotypes. Get over it.)
There is the Zany Young Guy. He used to be the New Kid, but he isn’t anymore (see: New Girl, above). What’s his agenda? Is it so secret even he doesn’t know? It seems possible.
There is The Star; outspoken and charismatic, with a tragic past and an edgy current liaison. She always says what she thinks. Will she step over the line? Will there be consequences? Will she and the New Girl form an alliance? On paper, they share views, but will the New Girl be seen as a threat?
Thoughtful Businessman is up for re-election in 2014. Thoughtful Businessman is in the unpalatable position of being attacked by the progressives (he’s not an environmental guy by any means) and the Tea Party right. He made big, sweeping statements about pension reform and they are getting quoted back to him, unflatteringly. Is he vulnerable? As a Character, the best thing about him is that he hates tiger salamanders, a protected species that nests and spawns in his district. I mean, he hates them. It’s personal. It’d make an awesome sub-plot – Thoughtful Businessman, planning vengeance on the tiger salamanders for something they did to him in the past.
The Up-and-Comer is politically astute, hard-working and often takes the role of peacemaker or procedure guy on the Board. He is politically ambitious and does not intend County Supervisor to be the highest elected office he ever holds. He is attractive and charming. He also has a recent scandal that happened on a holiday weekend out of town. As a real-world person, I don’t think it’s hurt him much. As a Character, I love the idea that he has a dark side, something he has to wrestle with. Will it overcome him? Will he stumble with an even bigger scandal? He is seen as pro-business… will New Girl’s enviro-minions go after him? Or will New Girl have to step back from the big environmental stands she took while campaigning, once she learns the reality of issues with the county? If she does that (spoiler alert, I was sitting in front of her in the audience at the Board last Tuesday, and she already is doing that), how will her supporters respond? Is she secretly working for the tiger salamanders?
Oooh, so much speculation. So much potential for drama (and comedy) and all of it free. That’s assuming, of course, that I want to get up early enough to score a parking place.