Finding # 2: Some Directors did not follow District tradition for the formal swearing in and seating of newly elected directors.
What the requirement and why is this important?
When an election is held it is very important in our society to show a peaceful transition of power whether it be the president, governor or small town politics in the case of the RCSD the transition takes place on the 2nd Tuesday of December after an election where the old Board calls the meeting to order and then those who lost the election rise and step down from the Dias and the newly elected members take their seat up on the Dias and are then sworn in by the Board secretary.
Pertaining to this finding, MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker were sworn in five days early on December 5, 2014 at the Chamber of Commerce by the Chamber President.
In the Grand Jury’s view it is very important to keep this nationwide tradition that every elected body demonstrates a public display of a peaceful transition of power.
MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker responded to the Kern County Grand Jury, “we started a new tradition”. From this writer’s perspective, this simple act of choosing not to follow social norms in indicative of the lack of respect that MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker have for the traditions surrounding the office to which they were elected.
The fact that these three men acted of their own accord without the full board being present, they decided to set a new standard of normalcy for the RCSD and from the very beginning they have been determined to do this according to their agenda.
No discussion concerning political tradition can be considered without actually finding an example from the past.
Here’s an historical example of the importance of the shift of power from incumbents to the newly elected.
Let’s go back to the national election of 1800…the Federalists under John Adams favored a strong central government and a national bank. Additionally, they feared a flat democracy knowing that history demonstrated that form of government never lasted long—they considered it mob rule.
The Anti-Federalists, under Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, were diametrically opposed in almost every way, and favored strong state government, limited central government, property rights, and strong protections for individual rights.
Quite the significant choice for the voter!
No one knew after the election; which seemed to last forever and was the closest ever (until the Presidential election of 2000) what would happen. Would the Federalists, led by John Adams, give up power peacefully or would there be revolution, secession, or civil war.
Thomas Jefferson repealed the Alien and Sedition Acts, brought the Democrat-Republicans to power for a period of years, and indirectly brought about the demise of the Federalist Party.
In almost every election since then, no matter how bitter the race for president, the country and opposing parties have conceded power to the victor and the victor’s party for the next 4 years and worked together for the good of the country as a whole.
That, in a nutshell, is the beauty of the Constitution in particular and of the political traditions of this country in general and in my opinion is the very crux of the argument at hand.
Political traditions are not started on a whim, imagine the public debate and proposed legislation to establish a two-term limit upon the highest office in the land?
Now tell me that the three of the five most powerful men in little old Rosamond, California didn’t meet (in continuation of finding # 1) in private to discuss the very district business they deny discussing… so tell me how did they decide to “start a new tradition” outside the bounds of conducting official business. Where was the public notice? What about the spirited discussion that makes this country great? What is so special about the three elected officials, that they aren’t subject to the very same traditional restraints that have kept this country as a functioning republic?
The triumvirate of MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker, singlehandedly disrespected the very foundations of democracy by turning a selfish and blind eye to the very political traditions that swept them into office. They clearly were so focused on exacting political revenge, that they summarily dismissed the treasured political traditions of the very institution to which they were elected.
The main “take away” of finding # 2:
The actions of MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker demonstrate that from the very beginning they were determined to act as a solid block of three and not work as a board of five. Even their response to the finding indicating that “they wanted to start a new tradition” tells us that even after raising the eyebrows of the Kern County Grand Jury, these three men operate from an arrogance not commonly seen even in the most corrupt of politicians.
====================== Finding # 2 states: “Some Directors did not follow District tradition for the formal swearing in and seating of newly elected directors.”
The RCSD’s official response to Finding # 2: “The Board agrees with this finding. However, the Board notes that the newly elected directors in November 2014 created a new tradition for swearing in and seating which fully adheres to the law.”
To read the next section click here: The Midnight Writings: Finding 3 – “Inaction”