‘The Sting’ and ‘Gabby-fication’ of Council rule


There is something I am working on about the movie “The Sting” and a possible outcome of the Palo Alto City Council race. And how the scenario compares to Olympic gymnastics, something I am terming “gabby-fication”.

So far I’ve written 15 posts and about 6,000 words on the election, or my thought process about running, or deciding to run — I pulled papers on July 16 and started this blog but did not begin collecting signatures until yesterday. The deadline to turn in the petition, to “file” as opposed to merely “pull”, is Friday August 10, according to City Clerk Donna Grider. The newspapers are reporting that Donna will extend the deadline to Aug. 15 if incumbents Sid Espinosa and Yiaway Yeh do not run again. They say they are not running again.

But just to be certain, I may file by Friday. I am envisioning: what if Sid and Yiaway suddenly change their minds, pull papers in the next 48 hours, get 25 signatures, and quickly file Friday. That would shut out the rest of the seven or so seat-seekers (maybe including the other two incumbents, Pat Burt and Greg Schmid, unless they are in on the “sting”): Tim Gray, Marc Berman, Victor Frost, Liz Kniss.

I’ve heard weirder gamesmanships in politcs: something about Texas legislators all rushing off to Oklahoma en masse to prevent a quorum, blah blah blah.

The reality is that Yiaway says he is moving to Nashville where his wife CeMo (Cecilia Moe) will teach at Vanderbilt, and Sid is focusing on his other fifty thousand important projects. But it is also a little disappointing (and I am speaking as someone who feels honored to have gotten to know and work with on various projects and ideas both men) if the Palo Alto self-governance has somehow developed a “training ground” feel where bright young people put in a few years, quickly rise to the top and then move on. That’s why it reminds me a little — and I admit this is an esoteric take — of Olympic gymnastics. Gymnastics strikes me as rather odd it that it seems to be something for girls truly (as opposed to women, adults), between ages 10 and 16 or so, something that people start perhaps because their parents want them to do it and then eventually outgrow or burn out.

I rooted for Gabby Douglas but she struck me as slightly contrived.  I worry about how many hours little girls put in to chase such dreams and how that might warp the soul. What about play for the sake of play, in the Bruno Bettelheim sense? Ok, I don’t have kids so may be limited in my understanding of this, although I was a sports writer, for Gunn High, Peninsula Times Tribune (with Leonard Koppett, Ray Ratto et al), and my college daily and Patch AOL (unpaid).

One thing that struck me – and this is pretty far from Sid and YY — is my first impression of Gabby Douglas during the trials, a reporter asked her to do her “dougie” — a popular dance move – and she complied but looked pretty perfunctory. But, and maybe this is thin ice, scrutinizing someone’s daugther, a minor, I worried about her being someone who could take direction and master unbelievable feats of prowess, but had, as they say about jazz, or look for, no “feel”.

Clearly, my “dougie” is much worse, I admit. But probably better than that of Burt, I bet. Here’s a good link at how it is actually done.

Anyhow my point is that Palo Alto will miss Sid and YY but if they actually run again, you heard it hear first.

I have a bit, a little wordpress gambit, that I call a crude mashup in which I invite viewers to play two youtube embeds simultaneously, if their machines permit (like the famous weird synch of Pink Floyd and Wizard of Oz — I will tinker with this if somehow the embeds are merely links).

And I am not implying an endorsement from Gabby Douglas:



edit to add, moments later: I found a link, and elsewhere a discussion, of Gabby’s dougie. This also links back to Yiaway Yeh dancing and singing backup to some young musicians from Break The Static, doing Hendrix. I will work on my “Dougie”; also, playing ping pong with Gail Price, who is no Le Levy but decent, formidable.

edita: the actual six candidates are: Pat Burt and Greg Schmid, incumbents; Mark Weiss, Tim Gray, Marc Berman and Liz Kniss. If I can think of a movie that better describes how we as a community came up with this contest, I will let you know. I did screen apropos of this topic: “The Campaign” (with Will Farrell) and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (with Jimmy Stewart).  In the movie “The Sting” the scene I am alluding to my have a different name, like “the shut-out”.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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