It isn’t easy being green.

Back in mid-December, during the coronation ceremonies for the newly, if not duly elected Mayor, Hizzonor Schweitzer excitedly announced the launch of his Mayor’s theme, “Making A Difference” and the new website he had designed “Green Brea 2012” (Link abandoned).

The home page boasted, “Welcome to the site for my Mayor’s theme this year. In Brea each new Mayor chooses a theme to highlight throughout his term.” The heart warming and oh so motivating text that followed has remained the only content on the site for seven months.

We were going to have events?

On the page labeled “Events” we saw only three listed, one of which wasn’t even really an event but some sort of carbon footprint calculator. Don’t waste your time clicking on it. The results are an endless loop of the same info and graphics, rehashed and no more informative than where you started.

The Links page provides a similarly unrewarding experience… a promise that we could check out the output from our new sole sourced solar arrays — via a live feed updated every 5 minutes. Sadly, we never even got an initial report, let alone a live feed. Hopefully, the panels will not become obsolete as quickly as the website did.

Comments? No. Contact? Also no.

Unlike most blogs, which invite two way dialog between the blogger and their followers, “Brea2012” failed to provide an opportunity for open conversation, the Contact page remains totally useless, the create a login function doesn’t function and the Search box must be purely a tease, it doesn’t function either.

I suppose that doesn’t matter since there is no real content on the entire site. How Beaumanesque.

The closing comments made are, “The site is totally funded by me. No city money or staff time will be involved. Richard Nixon once said, ‘What a strange creature man is that he fouls his own nest.’ Let’s do our part this year to stop fouling our own nest! Thank you for visiting.”

So there you have it, graphic proof of how one earns a reputation for being a strong starter and a non-finisher. Might have been a good idea to follow his own advice. I wonder how long before he calls his webmaster, assuming he still has one, to yank the embarrassment out of cyberspace?

Thankfully, this überfailure was not accomplished at city expense since the Mayor promised he was paying for it out of his own pocket. I guess, thanks to that pay cut and having to return the flex benefit bonus, he ran out of green.

It worked on mugs and t-shirts.

The Mayor’s theme wasn’t a complete bust, It probably looks really cool on the mugs and t-shirts that mayors pass out at community events. (I’ll bet the city did pay for those.)

While I can’t promise you, I’ll bet if you email the Mayor (dons@cityofbrea.net) and let him know how much having one of his mugs would mean to you, he would drop one in the mail.

Besides,  they’re a great way to commemorate his final term in office and the end of the Schweitzer dynasty.

kool-aid_640POSTSCRIPT: 09/20/12 – In recent weeks there have been a flurry of faux-green announcements and proclamations feigning success at the greening of Brea.

The Climate Registry (a loose partnership between Edison and the Energy Coalition) tossed Brea a bone with their “Cool Planet” award and inadvertently disclosed that our massive solar expense is only returning a $320,000 a year savings… far from what was projected to retire the millions spent. At that rate it will take 50 years to pay it off. Any bets on how long the technology remains state-of-the-art?

And then there’s the Mayor’s “One Ton Challenge” encouraging residents to sign up and save 167 pounds of carbon emissions a month. Many of the suggestions as to how to accomplish this are laughable. This, and the “Green Life Green Brea” (make that blue skies) proposal from the City Manager are all part of this faux-green image that Brea is trying to project.

C’mon… you can do better than this!  I hope the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and the City Manager find time to brainstorm this while on their taxpayer subsidized vacation to Korea and Japan.

19 thoughts on “It isn’t easy being green.

  1. This sounds like a lot of government sites, I know you must have felt disappointed.

    Something good did come from this, this is a grand lesson on how a website reflects the owner and how when someone sees a word on a website, such as the menu title “events” they expect information.

    Everyone should run the Rick Clark evaluation on their own websites, I know I will be 🙂

    • Karla… More than disappointed, believe me. A lot of things add up to creating one’s “political capital.” It’s amazing to think how much of it is squandered when one stumbles so badly online. Even if the site is pulled, the cached versions will continue to lurk in cyberspace and potentially haunt him forever.

      Now I need to go evaluate my own sites… 🙂

    • Debra… in terms of social media in general, you’re absolutely right. In this case, however, whatever good intentions may have existed at the start (there, I’m giving him a little credit) the end product and it’s total abandonment tell a much larger story.

  2. Sorry to hear that, maybe/hopefully the next mayor will do better with progress! good luck!

    • David… I’m hoping the the reigning Mayor Pro Tem gets passed over, he certainly deserves it. There has been a good bit of discussion about how he slipped in the line to the throne in the first place.

      The voters have one of the greatest opportunities this November to reverse the current misplacement of power, putting it back into the hands of those who understand who they really work for.

      Seeing their way of life jeopardized, those currently in control have been shepherding their handpicked candidate around town but, thankfully, her campaign isn’t getting much traction due to her serious lack of experience politically and professionally.

    • Greta… when one is able to see past the smoke and mirrors, one is obligated to do something about it.

      “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48 (NIV)

    • Shannon… ever the optimist! 🙂 Blocking a client’s access is usually due to creative differences, nonpayment or some combination.

      I’m sure we’ll never get the true story. It is an opportunity wasted.

  3. There are always lessons to be learned from our mistakes as well as others. Thanks for sharing this one with us 🙂

  4. Proud of you for actually testing the features of the website and reporting on them. Most people would never notice that it just didn’t work!

    • Sally… oddly enough, it was through a legitimate search for content that I stumbled across the total inability of the site to fulfill the expectations it created. Then I was struck by how similar that was to it’s creator.

      This also reminded me that, your brand isn’t what you think of yourself… it’s what others think of you. When you deliver something this slipshod, what logical conclusions will people make of how you’re doing your job?

      If you’re going to play poker, you better plan on going all in.

  5. It’s rather amazing that the public, to this day, still listens to all the empty campaign promises and votes accordingly. The best government is the one that governs least. New people, not old ideas, are what’s needed. Why would anyone think the government is there to protect them from the evils of capitalism when the government certainly has their own “get-big” agenda. I suppose we need more fire stations !!!

    • Les… We’re on the same page. We don’t have the funds needed to continue the “get big” agenda. Unless the City Manager and Finance Director figure out a way to print Brea Bucks, it seems that the party is over. Now we need to put into office those who know how to live within their means and are willing to be held accountable by we the people.

      I live by the mantra my grandmother taught me sixty years ago, “Eat it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without.”

      Thanks for adding your two cents, hope to see you here again soon!

  6. Hi Rick… Thank you for today’s update. I attended the council meeting on Tuesday and it was a good thing I didn’t eat before the meeting.

    I don’t want anyone telling me how to reduce my carbon footprint. According to Brea’s Sustainability Input Worksheet, Brea is helping with water saving programs. Really! Brea just added trees along Birch Street that need to be watered and maintained. Is this Brea’s attempt at reducing it’s carbon footprint? Do the council members carpool to meetings?

    I would like a list a their personal contributions to reduce carbon footprints.

    • Connie… Someone referred to watching the Council meeting on channel 3 as tuning in to As The Stomach Turns!

      When this carbon footprint program ends, I wonder if they will be honest enough to publish the results. I hope the stats are more accurate than the trash figures they cited as they started handing out parking tickets. (Maybe that’s how they plan to pay for the water they’ll be wasting on Birch Street.)

      Two years and Brett hasn’t overturned the Street Sweeping Ordinance like he promised.

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