Thursday, August 23, 2007

Local Government

I would typically try to avoid commenting on the local political situation in this blog, as there are far too many people more knowledgeable and experienced at such things in the Toledo area. (I would refer you to sites like Thurber's Thoughts if you are really interested.) There are so many follies going on in the local politics of the Toledo and Lucas County area however, that I can't help but poke a little fun at it. Now in order to put this in perspective, you have to understand that Toledo is a staunchly Democratic city, and has been run by this party for many years. Discontented with a lack of competition from Republicans, they decided to fight amongst themselves, creating what they call an 'A-Team' and a 'B-Team'. These two groups don't like each other much and constantly fight over control of the local politics. Now I grew up in Chicago during the heyday of the 1st Mayor Daley, and I thought that I had seen all over the years. Dead people voting, busloads of elderly citizens delivered to polling places with people to assist them in their Democratic vote, and mayors who ran virtually unopposed because with the incumbent and the unions in bed - what was the point. I would have thought however, that in a city of only about 300,000, this kind of thing wouldn't happen simply because it didn't need to. I was wrong. So now that you understand this much, here is the short list of some of the current festivities going on in local politics:
  • The Toledo mayor is trying to give away chunks of taxpayer dollars and now maybe land through eminent domain to a developer (Larry Dillin) for two separate projects, the Marina District and the Southwyck project.
  • The mayor is also allocating 2.7 million city dollars for street beautification on the Southwyck project, in spite of the fact that it may need to all be torn out if the mayor achieves another of his goals of maintaining a Fed Ex plant in the same area. (all of this being done when the city is anticipating a deficit of 12-16 million dollars for 2008)
  • Meanwhile Lucas County, not to be outdone, tries to play fast and loose with property law by selling a park that Sylvania township was leasing to the park authority, then trying to bully that same park authority into selling it to another developer (Jim Jackson). All of this to avoid putting the property in question up for open bidding. (The funny part about this one is that now that the park authority owns the land, they have announced that they aren't particularly interested in selling it.)
  • City council playing juvenile games of "my ball, my rules" with the position of council president by ousting the Republican holder of the position before the end of his term in order to put in one of their own. Of course the only reason that a Republican held the position in the first place is because the 8 Democratic members of this 12 person council couldn't agree on one of their own earlier on (remember the A-Team, B-Team thing). Partisan infighting within the party has only now come to an end because the state party bosses came up for a scolding of these elected officials. Of course this may also have something to do with a recall petition of the mayor, which if it succeeded, would put the council president in his place.
  • Lucas County has announced a program to offer low interest loans to people in order to allow them to purchase works of art.
  • The Toledo mayor, again not to be outdone, announced that he will be giving away $50,000 development dollars to support an art community that appears to be doing well enough on its own and therefore doesn't need it.
  • The mayor is in additional hot water for parking in a handicap spot without the required sticker when going for "massage therapy" for a bad tendon. What made it worse was that while at this hour long appointment, he left his faithful dog "Scout" locked in the car in 90+ degree hear. Not being content with the uproar that this caused on a Friday, he repeated the 'dog in the car' scenario the following Monday while giving a speech.
As I said, I am attempting to withhold comment on these subjects, so rather than comment on them myself, I will again defer, this time to far wiser souls than myself. If any of these local officials are reading this, I hope that they are paying attention.
  • When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. - PJ O'Rourke
  • Democracy is a device that insures that we shall be governed no better than we deserve. – George Bernard Shaw
  • In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress. - John Adams
  • An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens. - Thomas Jefferson
  • Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then – we elected them. – Lily Tomlin
  • There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. – Johan Wolfgang von Goethe 

No comments: