Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thoughts from a rainy day…

Ok, cut me some slack here.  Yesterday was a rainy day, and these thoughts were ‘percolatin’ in what is left of my mind.  I had intended to post them last night, but by the time Boo-Boo got up on my lap as I reclined in the Lazy-Boy, it was manana, manana.

So, I’m a day late and five dollars short (adjusted for inflation.)  Send me a day, and send me five dollars, and all will be forgotten.

Never say never; never, ever say never….

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m beginning to get nostalgic for Jim Ashe.

Even when he was at the peak of his demagogic skills, and public adulation of him was at an all time high, I doubt even he would have had the stones and the arrogance to propose a 12% or $3 million budget increase in the face of a 25% decline in student enrollment in the last 5 years; nor would he have proposed closing the 3rd of four established elementary schools as an emotional lever in the budget wars, or proposed ending bus transport for the high school population.

Think about it: a 25% plus budget increase in five years combined with a 25% loss in student population over the same period.  You’ve got to have some brass cajones to step forward with that proposal, and a pliable and obsequious school board backing you up, or even more likely, saying ‘yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.’

I can hear that wispy, avuncular voice of Jim Ashe’s as I type, melting the hearts and minds of the town council and all within earshot as he spewed the “costs beyond our control” and “for the children” rhetoric of his day.  But I just can’t see him taking it this far.  At least at the moment.

But I can imagine his successor drifting into the “it was like this when I got here” story line, and blaming the current budget woes on “the previous administration.”

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s a very popular approach these days.

A “Capital” idea….

In retrospect, we are inspired by the recent town council agenda item that read as follows:

Curtis Memorial Library

Suggested motion:
Motion to request from the Library a schedule of anticipated needs for the next five years to be incorporated into the CIP.

A day late, ten dollars short applies again, we suppose.

We have no doubt that the Town Manager had a hand in this ‘suggestion,’ with the tacit approval of his elected overseers.  We also note, with appropriate chagrin, that said same Manager failed to contact us here at Side to ask if we have any needs that should be incorporated in the CIP for the next five years.

It just doesn’t seem fair.  Whatever the hell ‘fair’ means.

So here’s one idea for the next council meeting agenda, just for grins:

Public Works

Suggested motion:

Motion to propose expansion of Public Works facilities to provide for free maintenance of senior citizen transportation vehicles, and to provide operating funds to sustain the operation, with no increase in property tax rate.

Alright, it’s not much, but given more time, we could come up with far more “community minded” proposals that fit into the “common good” category.

If town residents are seen as deserving of support from the public treasury to provide free books, and magazines, and newspapers, and CDs/DVDs, and even computers, why shouldn’t the same residents, especially those in their senior years, be deserving of support from the public treasury to maintain their dignity and independence through well cared for personal means of transportation?

Your correspondent is in “the senior years,” and would not dream of placing the burden for his vehicle maintenance upon the general public.  You can trust us on this; we’re not like the others.

At least any more than those who think placing the burden for their reading material on the public is copacetic.

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