the road to hell….part 1

Is paved with good intentions. That’s the saying. I am more inclined to say that the road to hell is paved by the facilitation of the “culture of yes”.


In this city, our agencies have admitted, with pride, that they work under an organizational “culture of yes”, where they do everything they can to bend rules without breaking them.

There is a lot to unpack here. I am trying to gather my thoughts to show how devastatingly destructive this “culture of yes” is to the democratic process.

It has become so much a part of standard operating procedure in all forms of government. Agencies and industries, applauding how clever they are, allowing for the rules around environmental protection and due process to be cast aside in pursuit of purely capitalistic goals. Damn the water, damn the air, damn the land….damn everything that can’t be extracted for the benefit of a shareholder’s portfolio.

At it’s core, a “culture of yes” favors industry and discriminates against the average citizen. Adopting a “culture of yes” destroys the intentions behind environmental laws and regulations. Why follow laws and regulations to protect land, air and water when you can bend them just to the point of compliance and allow industry to pollute at will?

A “culture of yes” leads to organizational groupthink. A devastating culture that eliminates creative resolutions to wicked problems. Groupthink leads to horrible events like the murder of Crystal Brame by her husband, Chief of Police for the City of Tacoma. Brame was a man who “brooked no dissent”. And the culture in local agency allowed his rise to power.

A “culture of yes” leads to the same kind of groupthink that contributed to the Amtrak derailment that we recently experienced. Everyone agreed, it was appropriate to delay implementation of safety infrastructure because it was too expensive.

This “culture of yes” where agency representatives give presentations to industry  about how to get controversial projects through the permitting process, blatantly offering up loopholes to industry. The “fast-track” to industry for usurping Democratic rule. Remember, agency does not give those kinds of presentations to the public.

At the end of the day – a “culture of yes” is the ultimate violation of the public’s trust.

There is so  much to say here. I intend for there to be a part 2. Because the “culture of yes” is how Tacoma is currently finding it’s future threatened under the shadow of an 8 million gallon bomb. This city doesn’t ever learn from it’s past.

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