AC: Bush43 Dailiy Week Two

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Thu Jun 15 06:15:20 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

If you'll forgive me, I'm going to hype something non-fic related real
quick.  Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good
( is a GREAT blog for songs by a lot
of artists you've probably never heard from.  I've gotten a lot of good
leads from them over the last few months and I thought I'd share.  Go
get it!

Now for Bush!


BUSH43 #29
By Jason S. Kenney


"I've gotten him to agree to giving the police some of their
investigative powers back," I said, grabbing my water.  "He needs to
understand that, if he's going to run this city, he's going to have to
run based on the people's wants, as well as their needs."

"You don't sound like a man who's been doing a job he never wanted for
only four weeks now."

"Like I said, I was raised by a diplomat," I said, taking a swig of my
water.  "And, I pay attention.  The biggest issue the people of the
city have with City Hall is they feel like it isn't listening.  They
want elections, they want a city council, they want a police force that
can actually police something, they want all the things that they
should get and aren't, and no one's listening.  That's no way to run a

"Can I quote you on that?"

The voice was entirely unfamiliar, but Cassandra seemed to recognize
the man it came from, her eyes narrowing for a moment before returning
to normal with a smile.

"Jeffery," said Cassandra, as I tried to turn to see who had spoken,
but he'd already stepped beside me. "Meet Peter Turner from the Bristol

"Ah," I said, standing to shake his hand. "The gossip columnist."

"POLITICAL gossip columnist," he somewhat corrected with a wide, fake
smile.  "And, I must say it's a pleasure to finally get something about
you, Jeffery."  He looked to Cassandra.  "Two things, at that."

"And, what exactly do you or the Star or the city gain from publishing
anything about my lunch?" I asked, as I sat back down.

"The people gain information," Turner said.  "People want to know where
you're eating, what you're eating, whom you're eating with, what you're
saying over lunch."

"Why don't you give people information they can use?" I asked.  "Just
because the people want something doesn't mean you're obliged to give

"I'm obliged to provide the people what they want," said Turner. "Just
like you."

"No," I said, turning to him. "You're obliged to inform the people on
what's important, not sell newspapers, which is all you're trying to do
by dishing gossip and 'who's who' statistics.  I am obligated to ensure
that the people of this city know it is running to the best of its
ability and that they are safe and able to rely upon its services.
Sometimes, that isn't what they want, Petey."

"They want honesty, Mister Carter," said Turner, as he produced a small
notebook and jotted something down.  "What you are giving them is

"What the Mayor is providing this city is protection and a better way
of life.  Unfortunately, that requires change, and change is always a
hard sell."

"Sounds to me like you're saying two different things.  You were just
saying that the Mayor needs to listen to the people..."

"And, the people need to listen to the Mayor.  The gap between working
completely at the will of the people and working in the people's best
interest needs to be bridged.  That's my job, telling the Mayor what
the people want and telling the people what the Mayor is doing.

"I'm certainly not one to tell you how to do your job, Pete, but, if
what you give the people interferes with the ability of City Hall to
effectively provide for them, who are you truly helping?  If you want
to take what I said earlier out of context, that's your prerogative,
and I'm sure it'll sell a few extra issues and get you a nice bonus
come Christmas.  But, if you truly want to do what you're supposed to
do, give the people something they can use."

"This coming from a kid with no credentials and put in charge of being
the face of a terrorist administration?"

"I prefer to think of it as an interim administration, but I'm not the
one writing the article."

"If you think you're being charming, Mister Carter, you're sadly
mistaken.  Don't expect to go over as well with the rest of the public
as you have with the Globe's red light special," Turner said, nodding
his chin toward Cassandra for effect.

"Have a good lunch," he said with a toothy grin, and he turned and
walked away.

I smirked and let out a short snicker with a shake of my head, as
Cassandra just gaped.

"That son of a..."

"I believe I hit a sore spot," I said, as I picked up my knife and fork
and started to work on my slightly cooler chicken.

"You know he's not going to print anything you said," Cassandra said
with a huff as she went at her food.  "Except the first part."

"I don't expect him to," I said.  "But, the competition may, and they
might include the exchange."

She shot me a look, as I chewed on a piece of chicken that was probably
costing me a hell of a lot more than it was worth.

I reached for my water and let her unspoken question hang, as she
started to look around.  Then, it dawned on her.

"You bastard," she said with a smile.

"And not just her," I said with a short nod to Linda Rice, the gossip
columnist for the weekly news rag that wasn't very fond of the Star, at
a table diagonally behind me.  "You've got your lady about town a
couple tables back, and her eyes have been shooting daggers at you
since we sat down."

"Oh, God," she said, rolling her eyes.  "I'll never hear the end of

"Just put in a good word for me."

"So, you played him?"

"Pete?  Of course, I played him; I have to play him.  If I can't throw
down with a rumor-monger, how am I going to roll with the rest of the

She smirked and shook her head again, deciding to eat instead of

And, I still was horribly uncomfortable in the place.


Nancy Meyers was sitting at the desk in front of my office when I got
back to City Hall, a small stack of pink slips in her hand, as I walked

"Calls while you were away," she said blandly.  I took the notes, and
she returned to typing something on her computer.  "The Commissioner's
report is on your desk, and the Mayor is here to see you."

"Thank you," I said, as I went into my office.

"How was lunch?" asked Anna Romanova, as she lounged in my chair behind
the desk, a stream of smoke escaping from her lips to join the cloud
that hung over her head.

"You do know that City Council passed a ban on smoking in local
government buildings many years ago, don't you?" I said, as I tossed
the folder Cassandra had given me on my desk, sat in a chair that
should have been for guests instead of me, and started looking through
my messages.  Media types coming out of the woodwork thanks to the info
in that damn folder.

"How was your lunch?"

"Lovely," I said, looking from my messages to Romanova.  "The people
want elections and a city council that does something.  So sayeth the

"And. what sayeth the Jeffery?"

"The Jeffery says forget the elections for now," I said, standing up
and setting the stack of messages on my desk, walking around to look
out the window, to take in the view of the street below.  "The city's
not ready for them, especially since the current front runner is
Frederick Johnson.  But, make elections an eventuality.  They have to
be, we live in a democracy, and, if we don't have an election, we're
going to have riots on our hands."

"When would you propose we have these elections?"

"A year?  Maybe more?  I don't know," I said, as I turned to face
Romanova and leaned against the window.   "Give you time to do your
thing, give you time to show the people what you're doing, so you can
potentially run and win and keep doing it.

"As for the City Council, well, I say we don't give them anymore power,
unless there are things you just don't want to deal with.  Instead,
make them more vocal about what they are doing.  Sanitation's great,
folks are getting water and sewer as they should, the city looks clean
and pretty, give them an award, or make them put out some sort of press
releases.  Highlight that the City Council is doing something, and the
people will hopefully have fewer complaints."

"And if the people see through that?"

"Ninety percent of the population would fail a basic civics test, were
it given to them today.  They won't see through shit.  Especially if
you start doing this next week, early next week. Start pushing the City
Council to be more vocal right away, and it'll look like you're
reacting to the polls, and the people might start to like you more,
which--" I held up a hand to silence Romanova before she spoke up.
"--while you care so little about it, is very important if you're going
to get anything done."

"And ,what if City Council speaks up, saying that they aren't getting
enough power?  Perhaps giving the people of this city a basic civics

"Then, you give one back and remind them that in Pacific City the buck
ultimately stops at City Hall, and, if they have a problem with how
they're doing their jobs, they need to take it up with you directly.
We might also be able to point out that they've been awfully quiet for
months now, so why the sudden noise?  Play the politics of it.  If they
snap at you, snap back.  This could really work to your favor,
especially if they do.  You can put them in their place very publicly
and keep them there without any more complaints from the people."

Anna Romanova sat there with a silent smirk, staring at me, as smoke
drifted slowly off the tip of her cigarette.  She broke into a full
smile, as she brought the cigarette to her mouth and took a drag.

"And, where is this coming from, Jeffery?"


"This manipulating to turn the people's needs to our advantage."

"This is me giving something back.  You gave me a police investigation;
I'm giving you what the people want in a way that benefits you and
still fits the people's wants and needs.  The people want an empowered
City Council; fine, empower the City Council but only superficially.
As long as the people's needs are still met, what does it matter who
meets them, you or City Council?  They think they're getting their way
and start to think more favorably of you, allowing you to push through
your ideas with a little more ease."

"I'm impressed."

"Be impressed if we pull it off.  I'm not giving the people a whole lot
of credit here."

"I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit, Jeffery," said
Romanova, as she got to her feet.  "I'll see what I can do with City

"Don't do anything until Monday, though.  The polls aren't out until
tonight and tomorrow; if you act today, it'll look like you're trying
to preempt the numbers, instead of reacting to them."

"All this from the man who says he's not cut out for this job."

I just shook my head and looked at my feet and concentrated on my
shoes, thinking.

"Anna, no matter what, the people are going to want results.  Whether
it's the police actually being allowed to do their jobs or greater
civilian say in the working of government, they're going to want to see
you doing something to respond to their significant wants.  You have to
deliver on something."

"I will worry about that, Jeffery," said Romanova, getting my attention
as she turned away and headed for the door. "You just worry about
convincing the people that it's what they want and that they're getting

"No pressure," I said.

Romanova shot me a glance and a smirk over her shoulder before she
opened my office door and left.

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