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About this blog: John Barry is the creator of trAction Painting, a process/performance genre in which he applies paint to large surfaces with bicycles, roller skates, and other wheeled conveyances. With Bill Carmel and other associates, he has bro...  (More)

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The Art of Newspeak

Uploaded: Feb 6, 2020
By John A. Barry

Eric Blair (better known as George Orwell) was a prescient literary artist. Orwell famously predicted that “Big Brother is watching you.” And indeed he is. But increasingly, Big Tech is supplanting Big Government as the supersized surveilling sibling. So Orwell had it right for the period in which he wrote until entities such as Facebook were spawned.

This British writer made this prescient prognostication in his famous 1984, in which the aforementioned bad bro decreed to the downtrodden slaves of Oceania “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Newspeak is what Orwell labeled it in his novel and restated in his essay Politics and the English Language: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Newspeak charitably as “ambiguous euphemistic language used chiefly in political propaganda.” From the Vietnam era, for example: “collateral damage” (noncombatants killed in bombing, etc.) and “pacification” (killing people to keep them from fighting). Plenty of others floating around today, what with meme propagation and other sources of disinformation.

Think Local

But you needn’t look to Washington or Silicon Valley for examples of Newspeak. They’re currently right in front of your eyes—in the form of the hundreds of “Yes on Open Space” placards littering the local landscape. Pure Newspeak. Magee Ranch, which Davidon Homes hopes to ravage, is currently open space not covered by development. The concept of Davidon—funder of the forests of Newspeak that have sprouted like weeds everywhere—is to bulldoze this currently uncovered space and build 69 closely clustered houses in part of the formerly open area. One definition of open is “exposed to the air or view; not covered.” As in not covered by a housing development.

This Orwellian sham—facilitated by the Danville Town Council, which slithered around existing zoning laws in order to greenlight the project—will be on the March ballot in the form of Measure Y. Y for “yes,” get it? A yes vote means that Orwellianism prevails. A no means that the land actually remains uncovered with terrain-altering buildings.

You have a choice: the art of the BS spiel or the art of the public weal? As a concerned Danville resident, I urge you to vote No on Y.

Yes on “No.”

No on “Yes.”


PS: Speaking of Newspeak:

From the town’s public information officer:

We've received notification from residents that they received a call or text inviting them to an online “town hall” this evening to discuss the upcoming Measure Y. Measure Y will be on the ballot on March 3, 2020 in regard to a development application by Davidon Homes for a project called, "Magee Preserve." We would like to explain that the event being discussed is not Town sponsored or co-sponsored. It is entirely being put on by the Yes on Y campaign, and does not use town funding, equipment, or locations. It is an entirely separate entity. The messaging mentions that Mayor Karen Stepper take part in the online meeting this evening. Mayor Stepper has chosen to participate in this discussion solely as a private citizen, and does not represent either the Town Council or the Town of Danville.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Stacy, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 6, 2020 at 10:39 am

Great Blog! Finally exposing the deceitful propaganda littering our town by Davidon! Very disappointed with our Town Council. We have been voicing our concerns for years regarding this proposed development on dangerous Diablo Road corridor. Please Vote No! Don't fall for Davidon's fraudulent marketing!

Posted by Jan Hersh, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 6, 2020 at 10:49 am

Thanks for posting this. I needed to read it in order to understand what is really going on. I will vote against the measure.

Posted by Anne, a resident of Los Cerros Middle School,
on Feb 6, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Mr. Barry,

I realize that you're a 'blogger' and not a 'journalist,' but the for the sake of your own reputation and that of Embarcadero Media that allows you this platform, I strongly encourage you to do your homework. You blame the Town and the developer in 'newspeak,' but all you've done is spin false propaganda of the NIMBYs. Did you even bother to research the proposal before you wrote your blog? Maybe take the time to read an article in the Express about the proposal.

The property is 410-acres. They are NOT proposing to bulldoze (as you say) the entire property to make way for 69-homes. That's a ridiculous claim that is NOT backed by any facts. The developer is proposing to build on 29-acres of the lowest, flattest parts of the property. The Town Council, Manager, Planning Staff, etc would never have approved a project that would bulldoze the entire property, like San Ramon did for the Faria Preserve. Now there is a project you should have voiced opposition to and decried the raping of the land.

The project proposes to permanantly preserve the remaining 381-acres, expanding trail access and providing public access to what is currently now PRIVATE PROPERTY. You, like the NIMBYs, continue to throw around 'open space' like it means one specific thing - it does not.

And, with regards to your chastising the developer for spending money to defend the Town of Danville approved project, they are only spending this money because the NIMBYs forced them into this situation. Remember: the NIMBYs scents thousands of dollars to pay out-of-town petitioners to collect signatures to force this to the ballot. The NIMBYs cost Danville taxpayers thousands of dollars to defend the EIR report. The NIMBYs are spending thousands of dollars on yard signs, paid Facebook ads, a political consultant, etc. This is an orchestrated, well-funded attack against the developer. What were they supposed to do, just sit back and let lies like the newspeak you so aptly filled your blog post with?

Your blog, your opinion, but you're as guilty of newspeak as anyone.

Posted by Ginny from Danville, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 6, 2020 at 4:52 pm

Hi Anne,

Thank you so much for expressing the truth about Measure Y! I am so sick of hearing the "no" side trash the Town officials and staff. Exhaustive time and efforts went into the decision to back Magee Preserve. Our Town Council unanimously backs the project. A small group of naysayers have been trashing the "YES" signs around Danville and spilling red paint on them downtown. This is not how we act in Danville. It is so unbecoming of our Town to have this kind of behavior!

The fact that the "NO" side doesn't want to tell you is this --

Current zoning does allow for the development of 78 homes across on the entire property and no protection of the hillsides we love. A "yes" vote on rezoning means 69 homes and hillsides protected until the end of our lifetimes - and longer.

That is why the project has the backing of so many reputable people in town, the entire Town Council, every major bicycle group, Save Mount Diablo, and most recently, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.

But here's the best part. You don't have to take my word for it -- or the words of these "bloggers". You can see the facts yourself on the Town website, which overwhelmingly show why the Council made the decision it did.

That link is here: Web Link

Happy reading!

Posted by Clelen Tanner, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 6, 2020 at 9:45 pm

I urge Danville voters to vote 'NO' on measure Y. I just received a notice from SAFECO, my homeowner's insurance company, a notice of "Non-renewal".
"A number of characteristics including proximity to flammable brush, wind patterns relative to fuels during a typical wildfire season and accessibility of roads to firefighting/emergency response equipment are used to determine properties that are located in high-risk wildfire area."
I live right of Blackhawk Road on Cameron Ct. Karen Stepper's claim of good emergency fire response is not accurate. Adding 840+ car trips a day to Diablo Rd. makes matters worse, and adding 69+ homes is not responsible to what insurance carriers have determined is a, "high-risk wildfire area".

Posted by 30 Year Danville Resident, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:20 pm

This is such an eloquent story about something very ugly in Danville - the connection between the Town Council and their special interests. All in the name of money and greed. It's about time the truth rises to the surface. Mayor Karen Stepper (Mayor Davidon?) represented herself on a very misleading "Danville Town Hall" as if she were a paid employee of Davidon Homes. She used her position as Mayor to mislead our residents and in so doing, she converted even more yes votes to NO on Y. This was certainly not her intended outcome. In fact, on Nextdoor, hundreds of comments flooded the online community, literally begging for Mayor Stepper to "step" down from her role as Mayor. The residents resoundingly felt that whether her use of her official title as part of the marketing ploy was illegal or not, at a minimum her behavior was unequivocally unethical. Once she loses her seat on the Council, at least she'll have her job at Davidon Homes. But by then, they'll have made their millions and furthered the fire risk and congested streets that already plague Danville residents, and they'll be on to the destruction of the next city.

I highly encourage Danville registered voters to sign the Danville Term Limits petition, which ends limitless terms and implements two, four-year terms. This limits the amount of corruption that is clearly happening (Stepper has reigned nearly 20 years; Arnerich is at 31 years and still going). The RESIDENTS should be represented by the Town Council. Instead, the Town Council is representing a developer who has already spent $739,850 in campaign propaganda to spin the truth that this is good for our community. It's not good.

Vote NO on Y, it's Wrong for Danville. Web Link

Please sign the Term Limits petition to get these corrupt politicians out of the "business" of Danville and bring in people who support the "people" of Danville.

Web Link

Posted by John Barry, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 4:57 pm

It seems that 30-year resident may be quite right about "Mayor Davidon." I just received a "personal note" from MD in the mail, on behalf of Davidon and Yes on Y. I doubt very much if Stepper personally paid for this latest round of propaganda, which rehashes the Yes on Y sales pitch and presumably went to every resident. Deep-pocketed Davidson can afford to exponentially outspend those trying to halt the scam. Stepper and her revolving cronies on the Town Council started this charade by going around existing agriculture zoning laws to get this project greenlit. They also wanted to ravage the hills above currently dead-ended Borica Drive. But that scheme seems to be dormant, at least for the time being. Her familiars at Davidon have pumped hundreds of thousands into the Orwellian Yes campaign, trying to bamboozle voters. Davidon is now too financially invested to fail, thus the blizzard of propaganda. Stepper's note is deceitful--at best. Again, I urge voters to defeat the sham. Vote no on Y.

Posted by Anne, a resident of Los Cerros Middle School,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Ah, yes, now Mary Ann now is calling for term limits for the Danville Town Council, a group for whom she cannot vote for or against. I'd say run yourself Mary Ann but you don't have a desire to improve the area, just keep things as they are.

Mr. Barry, please go back to painting and leave the NIMBY newspeak out of your blog.

By the way, Mary Ann, didn't you all pay for a robocall that went out town-wide? Yes, yes you did!! Was that free, Mary Ann? In fact, you did this before Mayor Stepper did that telephone Town Hall. They hypocrisy never stops with you (and now Mr. Barry, of whom facts are not important).

Posted by Cher Pascual, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 11:55 pm

I've posted this comment many times before. Please read up and become an informed voter. There is definitely money being spent on both sides, so be wary and follow up. Make sure you are reading the most up to date versions of things. And leverage the text search features to find everything under the sun on the topic you want to know more about. You'll start to see patterns of who is telling the truth and why they are fighting for it.

btw - I studied journalism...not this FOX news, Entertainment Weekly, blogging sensationalism style but ol' school find the facts journalism.

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