Saturday, January 5, 2019

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

The most positive thing North Bay Villagers did in 2019 was to soundly reject the shrill inept administration of the past.   After years of the commission being led by resentful and incompetent leaders, supported by people out to make a fast buck, after all the chaotic hirings and firings and purges, after a campaign that sharply contrasted the vision of Brent Latham and Julianna Strout with the negative  and substance free campaign of Laura Cattabriga, the self identified protege of Kreps, the voters said overwhelmingly "Enough."  and kicked the old guard out.  

There is now an ongoing row over how to fix the toxic administration the previous commission put in place, but that's for another post.  

The important thing is the voters said "Enough."  

Laura Cattabriga, who got less that 1/3rd of the vote in last election, has not gracefully accepted the referendum on her style and cronies.  This is surprising because during the mayoral debate, where Laura spent most of her time making false claims of residency fraud against her opponent, Brent Latham, Ms. Cattabriga took time out to compliment herself on her "critical thinking abilities."  

You think she would apply that now to understanding why she lost so severely.   But like her mentor, Connie Kreps, Cattabriga (CattaKreps?) is now skipping around the Village announcing that what she heard during her disastrous campaign was the people only want to hear bright shiny news about North Bay Village and she is taking on the task by creating an all good news blog and Facebook site to disseminate bright shiny information and not the dank, nasty information she sees elsewhere.  

Here's a link to the Facebook group:

Now it's not clear in her first post on the new blog if it is a singular or group effort because she/they write "We decided to start this newsletter to fill a void in North Bay Village life." I can't tell if Laura is using the Royal We, The Kreps Multiple Persona We, or is referring to herself and her backers, but Cattabriga then goes on to extol the virtues of positivity in the Facebook group rules and announces that anyone not meeting this measure of positivity will be banned.   

False positives actually can hurt
As readers of this blog may have discerned, I am not a big fan of "positive thinking."  I find it tyrannical, as the kids say, it's gaslighting

It's bullying practiced by people who are doing harm and then announce the real harm is that you don't look on the bright side of things. When you point out issues, they find themselves "offended" by your negativity.  

The way to create positive news is to do the right thing, something Cattabriga demonstrably did not do during her short tenure nor in her disastrous and expensive campaign.  
But doing the right thing has not really been at the core of the Cattabriga universe.  

Still, I'm a reasonable person and while there is no question that this blog is not a place to come to for Sunshine and pictures of kittens, I regularly look at the Facebook group North Bay Village Residents Speak, which I moderate, with a critical eye.  Is the group doing more harm or good?  What are people saying and how are they saying it?  Should I intervene or let the sometimes combative discussions play themselves out?   

And here's what I find, and I believe an honest look will bear this out.  

The group is mostly discussion, some complaints and criticisms, but overwhelmingly it breaks down broadly into Information like when the  next village meeting is, recommendations like what restaurants have opened or where to find a housecleaner, photos of life in North Bay Village, and a lot more on pets than I ever expected.  This has been true for years.  

Don't believe me?   I just went through the last 40 posts on the site and this is how they broke out:

Humor or Inspiration717.50%

*Pets:  I think this is an anomaly.  There are more posts about pets as you go further back.  

Yet I know that there is an impression that is a small group of malcontents.  It's not.  With 1,839 members it follows the usual social media platform patterns with about 5% of the members posting actively and most reading the posts.  And these conversations are often from different perspectives, except everyone agrees on the manatees and dolphins.
North Bay Village Spirit Animals

The group has for years been the only regular source of information in North Bay Village covering school events, road construction, power outages, bridge and traffic closures, public safety and village events and reaching out to the residents.   

That in a large, and largely unmoderated group, there are people who would rather blame the messenger than read the message is not the fault of the group.   

Ms. Cattabriga will find that out.  People want news they can use, not puffy pieces with a one way slant.  But still, I wish her luck.  

Kevin Vericker
January 5, 2019


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