Sleep Deprivation, Municipal Elections, and Integrity

It’s a not-so-hot fact that Mr. Hot Stuff Snores.

achmed_large It’s also a fact that if I take Excedrin after 2:30 p.m. I don’t sleep well. Actually, I don’t sleep. I just lay there in a dozy I-wish-I-could-sleep state and every whuffle, rumble, or whistle – no matter how quiet – that Mr. Hot Stuff makes pulls me up from almost asleep to pillow-pounding. Then I lie there and think about things. Tonight I thought about local politics. I know, right? My wish for sleep became just a dream. I hope some of the candidates are having a hard time sleeping at night also, because they are sure making it hard on the voters around here.

See, in the way-back, the city council decided our town should “invest” in some projects that turned out to be not such a good idea after all when the economy collapsed. (Remember that? How’s that recovery working for you, anyway?) It’s been a slow road back for the city to get it’s legs under it again, but there are signs of improvement. Except for the small matter of having to continue to pay a bill that we (the city) signed on to B.C. (before collapse). Interest rates on debt being what they are, even during a recession, it still means your bill gets bigger over time, although you get to spread your payments out. When you see the amount you are paying beyond the original cost, it’s easy to get mad and want to curse the money lenders who put you in this position. Except that they didn’t put you there, you did, or the people who represent you did. Then you want to see someone get in trouble for doing such a stupid thing. So now we are in a climate in my town where people are saying:

“Heads will roll and we will NOT pay for your dumb decisions. Got that, Government?”

In an effort avoid future dumb decisions, new people are running for mayor and city council. They are saying, “We should not have to pay for the dumb decisions of those other people. We should just quit paying right now.” The problem I see here is, who is it that we would not be paying? The contractors who agreed to do the work we asked them to? I’m pretty sure they all have families who like to eat and wear clothes, and live under a roof with four walls holding it up just as much as the city council candidates do. If we elect these very angry people who don’t think the city should pay its bill, what will other companies and cities think when we try to make agreements with them in the future?

Some of the candidates are saying, “Government is too big! We need to shrink it immediately! We must act NOW and cut it back to size right away!” For just a minute,  I’d like to ask you to indulge me.

Imagine that you have a really fat aunt.

She’s like the jolly jelly giant, rolling and shaking with every step she takes, and you see her and think, “Oh my goodness. All that fat is going to kill her. We must help her lose weight right away!” So your family forces her onto a strict diet. It’s a diet with a very simple concept: Quit feeding her. Don’t let her eat until she’s back down to a healthy weight. Will she lose weight? Sure she will. Will she love you for the favor you are doing her? My thought is you’d better hope she can’t get her hands on anything that can be weaponized, because you are going to be slaughtered much faster than the person who sold her all those diet sodas and cupcakes. Now consider what will happen if you are a city council who decides that the private sector knows how to run a library, a recreation center, a soccer league, or park pavilion rentals, or many other “optional” services better than the public sector and votes to end the city’s financial support for those things, “because the government is too big and needs to go on a diet.” Will the city lose weight? You betcha it will. Businesses will flee, and people who can will move. Other people with less flexibility in their financial and work situations will consider themselves stuck here and be extremely angry and view those who created this new situation as their captors.

So what am I to do as a voter?

Vote The way the current choices are being presented to me, I can vote for the status quo and get more of the same enlightened decision making, or I can vote for their polar opposites who want to put the city on an immediate starvation diet. Where are the candidates who speak up and say, “We must exercise integrity and meet our obligations and commitments. We must exercise integrity and not encroach into new areas that will hurt competition in the private sector. We must look at the problems and find ways to gradually improve so we don’t cause more damage with our cure than we have with the problems we created in the first place.” Where are those candidates? Please tell me, because the municipal primary is in two days.

not-such-a-winner, veggie-dinner :-/

P.S. This post is a product of a two a.m. sleep-deprived woman. Any over-use of hyphens, or misuse of quotation marks, or poorly placed paragraph breaks should all be chalked up to the fact that my internal editor is actually comatose right now, though the rest of me is still amped up on the caffeine in those two little pills I took yesterday afternoon.

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