Sunday, April 1, 2012

Random mumblings, imagination, investing, etc.


Signs like the one in the picture above have appeared around town as part of the predicted blitzkrieg.  The group Brunswick Community United is obviously behind the signs, or in front of them, or however else you wish to position them.  Congratulations to the Media and Political Action Committee of the School Board for inspiring such activism.

We feel compelled to provide this passage from relevant town sign codes:

604.7 Political Campaign Signs. Political Campaign Signs are temporary signs bearing messages relating to an election, primary or referendum. Political Campaign Signs are permitted on private property no sooner than 60 days before an election, primary or referendum and must be removed no later than 5 days after the same election, primary or referendum. Size shall be limited to 8 s.f. (Amended 12/1/97 R, 9/4/01 E)

These signs are clearly related to the June ballot issue regarding approval of the proposed school budget.  Which we’re pretty sure is more than 60 days away from when the signs began appearing.

But as we all know, when ‘it’s for the children,’ the heavy authoritarian hand of government is easily dismissed by those who care more.  Along with anything else that gets in the way.

We’re led to imagine how much more effective these signs would be if they read:

“Imagine our future”

“Invest in our schools”

“This family cares enough to

pay X dollars more in property taxes

to invest in our schools.”

“X” should be four figures minimum, we would think.  It’s the PYMWYMI (put your money where your mouth is) concept we mentioned the other day.  We suggested the Brunswick Community United group update their petition page to include how much each signer is willing to pay in increased property taxes, so that a running total of support could be posted.

Apparently they’re having trouble getting commitments from the devoted individuals who signed up.  Mouth is one thing, money is another.

In a related development, Rich Ellis, the number-centric school board member, became the first such official to comment on one of our posts.  We thank him for his remarks.  You can read his comment  here.  If things work as we hope, you’ll be able to read our reply on the same page.

It crossed our mind to ask Rich just how much he is willing to pay in increased property taxes in the coming fiscal year to provide the investment in our schools he deems appropriate, and to show true leadership.  He’s welcome to do so in a comment on this post.  But it doesn’t seem fair to expect him to go out on a limb by himself.

So we trust he can convince the entire school board, and while he’s at it, School Department employees who live in town, to publicly declare how much more they’re willing to pay in the coming year.  And wouldn’t it be fun to hear numbers from supportive town councilors as well.

Real numbers, personally stated, should provide just the sort of inspiration run of the mill taxpayers need, and the hard data the school establishment needs.  Failure to make such a public declaration, on the other hand, could raise suspicions that signs and web sites are just so much theater intended to have emotion sway voters minds, regardless of reality. 

And that coercive tax increases are the only viable alternative.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

(As a public service to our readers, we will publish weekly totals of individual commitments for increased property tax payments as they are reported to us.  If we make no such reports, you can think what you will.)

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