The expression “rot at the top” refers to the malevolence of powerful elites, principally government officials, wealthy aristocrats and corporate titans. While the expression is ancient in origin, its most recent usage is linked to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and political economist. In his usage, it represents one of four parables that reflect modern American malaise. However, pointing out the culpability of powerful elites in what ails America is neither novel nor the exclusive province of Mr. Reich. In the recent book Fate of the West, author Bill Emmott, former Editor-in-Chief for the Economist, places the failure of powerful elites on the short list of causes of decline and what imperils the West.
America’s Founding Fathers were acutely sensitive to the possibility of the abuse of power and much of the structure of American government reflects efforts to constrain this potential for abuse, including building checks and balances and the requirement of the consent of the governed.
My involvement is various local good government initiatives for the past 25 years has provided ample evidence of both the potential and the reality of the abuse of power. This involvement and as a spectator to the arc of California for past 40 years demonstrates that active abuse is not the sole culprit of this rot. An equally pernicious aspect of the failure of political elites is simply the failure to lead; to not do the job they begged the voters to give them. I quick catalog of issues facing California will reflect that many urban problems that exist or have been made worse are the result of political leaders failing to do their job.
The other primary source of this rot is the vested and monied special interests that corrupt, hi-jack or otherwise compromise the political process for their sole benefit and usually to the detriment of the public.
As a resident and activist in Orange County, the rot in the OC is of particular interest. The reigning king of rotten in OC is District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. The embattled DA has been the focus of much attention for his multiple of ethical lapses, bungled prosecutions and ineffective leadership.
This site is dedicated primarily to pointing out, commenting on or excoriating the rot in California.
However, I reserve the right to wander where I choose and as the urge arises. Your thoughtful input is welcome.