Sunday, September 09, 2012

Bonanza Column 249 - Enough

In a rational world, Aaron Katz would go away, if not slink away with his tail between his legs.

After being soundly defeated in the election primary and Washoe County District Court Judge Patrick Flanagan striking down 10 of his 12 causes of action against IVGID (and the PUC denying an 11th), you would think he would have had enough, but if his comments quoted in the Bonanza last Thursday are any indication, we have not heard the last of Mr. Katz.

In a confabulation worthy of Paul Ryan, Mr. Katz is quoted as saying that Flanagan’s rulings because “It basically says that no citizen has any right to challenge what IVGID does.” Now I’m not a lawyer, but I’m a fair hand at reading English. I read the Judge’s rulings, and can’t find anywhere it says that. It seems to me that the fact that Mr. Katz got his day(s) in court and the attention of a District Court Judge shows that a citizen can, indeed challenge what IVGID does. As my late Rabbi used to say, “all prayers are answered, and sometimes the answer is ‘no.’”

Living in a country founded on the importance of free speech is not without its problems. If you’re serious about free speech, you’re pretty much stuck with Voltaire’s maxim “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.” That can leave you in the uncomfortable position of having to defend people’s right to say some things you find repugnant, but that’s the price of free speech. So I will assert that Mr. Katz has the right to say anything he wants, and to file any suit the courts will accept. At the same time, Mr. Katz and his Village People cohorts don’t seem to hew to that standard – they have tried to impinge on others’ right to disagree with them, whether in the form of t-shirts or letters to the editor.

Still, I don’t think it is inconsistent of me to wish Mssrs. Katz, Wright, et al. would give it up and get the message. While I’m sure there are people who agree with them, they seem to be few and far between, and the court clearly took a dim view of their efforts. It seems to me that there comes a point when one says enough – I’ve fought the good fight, I lost, it’s over. Somehow I don’t see that happening, so I’d like to remind the so-called Village People that sometimes the public good overrides the righteousness of your cause. I don’t think your cause is right, but you are definitely being righteous about it. Even if I impute to you the best of intentions, you have to see that your continued campaign has done no good and arguably has done harm. You have accused many good people of wrongdoing but the “evidence” of this wrongdoing has been non-existent or unconvincing and no one, up to the court, is persuaded. Notwithstanding this, people have been hurt, the District has lost good staff, and your efforts have been tiresome and divisive, though not as divisive as you might have liked.

You seem to want us to judge your efforts by your intentions – OK, fair enough – but you don’t seem to extend that same consideration to those who disagree with you or to those whom you are attacking on the IVGID Board and staff. You impute to them dark, if unspecified, intent, and judge them by your questionable interpretation of their behavior. That’s just not fair, just, or right.

We have a surfeit of legitimate issues in this community on which we have far from clear agreement – education, recreation, taxes, the character of the community, and more. I assert we don’t need to add flimsy accusations of wrongdoing by elected public servants who serve as volunteers and by dedicated District staff. Please, Mr. Katz, let it go. Enough, already.

No comments: