Thursday, July 08, 2010

Stray thoughts

It came to me while I am severely under-employed due to a broken right arm, San Angelo needs to create a new position:rainmaker!

Over the past week or so, all I've had to do is start a lawnmower and here comes the rain. Sometimes I only need to look at the mower hard! Obviouly by the Latin phrase "post hoc, ergo propter hoc", (really loose translation, That which happened first must have caused that which followed it regardless of cause and effect). I must be responsible for the rain, every dryland farmer in three counties owes me at least 1% of gross for my rainmaking, it's cheaper than cloudseeding and a dang sight more effective!

OK we're having fun, but it goes to a more real topic. I have seen things where spending public money actually created more wealth than was spent by the taxpayers. I have seen an albino deer in the wild, but I have seen one about as often as the other.

Folks, I've been at this a while. I wish I could tell you there was some spending/taxation mix we could live with and not put a 40% tax burden on our children and grandchildren. I also wish I could win the lottery. By any statistical projection, I will win the lottery first. Twice.

Smoke-Free, forget them until September unless of course they continue to violate Election Code. Meanwhile we have a highly compressed Capital Improvements Process where, as usual, people are asking for about 5 times as much money as the City will actually have in budget.

Let me make that concrete. Four out of five projects, nearly all of which are well-intentioned, will simply die, at least for this year. A hefty portion of the 20% of projects that survive might see the funding moved 3-5 years down the road, partly depending on the economy. Unlike the feds, City cannot create money from nothing. City has one, and really, grants included, only one source of money: OAP, I call it, Our Ass Pocket.

That is why Charter Review made it a lengthy process with several public hearings. We are getting a late start this year, but in defense of staff 1) the process is fairly new, everyone is still learning it; and 2) we had a tough job bringing a $2.3 million deficit real close to even without eliminating basic services. That was NOT an easy job!

BTW, had to take a break just now to talk to a Speak Out San Angelo contributor. Small sum, but it will all help. More importantly, he promised to speak to friends, neighbors and co-workers on the issue. As I have pointed out before, the absolute Gold Standard of politics is one-on-one conversation. Not some fellow with a strange accent on a phone bank, I mean people who know one another talking to one another. That you cannot buy, you cannot fake, it either happens or it doesn't. Therein lies the fate of our November 2 smoking election. Turn out, or lose, and that applies to either side.

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