Wednesday, May 20, 2009


As you know, I often take great pains to point out in this blog that words do in fact mean things, especially some words. I have been thinking about such a word a good bit recently ... Projection. 

I have been thinking about it because like many words, it has more than one meaning. The first one that comes to mind is: An estimate of future possibilities based on a current trend. My desire for a true understanding of this meaning is a simple one, because so few in our local government seem to understand it. 

The $27 million budget crisis that Toledo faced in 2009 didn't happen over night. It was the product of years of unrealistic revenue forecasts, profligate spending, and the willingness to completely ignore reality. It was likewise the practice of creating an environment in this "livable city" equally hostile to both businesses and individuals through insufferable regulatory practices, onerous taxation, and outright belligerence on the part of the Mayor of Toledo. The combination of these inabilities, in combination with the current economic crisis, has proved to be a perfect storm for Toledo. 

It has taken what in normal circumstances would have been a troubling, but not life threatening situation into a disaster of Biblical proportions. Even with all of the cuts that the Mayor and City Council have made thus far to stem the incoming tide of red ink, it appears to have had little or no effect on the overall outcome of this flood of bad city finances. Unfortunately, it is another form of projection that seems to have taken hold. That definition of projection reads: The externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety.  

Unfortunately this appears to be the only form of projection that our city leaders seem capable of. The Mayor blames the City Council for their failure to do exactly as he says, in spite of the fact that he has never done even an adequate job of properly budgeting for the city. The Council blames the Mayor for failing to produce a balanced budget, in spite of the fact that it is Council that is supposed to control the purse strings of the city. While the Mayor presents a budget, it is Council which has the right and obligation to approve city spending (or deny it). 

Neither bothered to honestly attempt to understand the realities of the 2009 revenue or to spend responsibly in years past so as to have funds to fall back on when tough times invariably came. The horrible truth is that both parties are equally responsible for failing in their responsibility to the voters who placed them in office. 

Even now, in spite the fact that both parties have made some attempts in recent days to address the current situation, the city remains some $15 million in the red for the current budget, with worse news ahead of us going forward into 2010. There is another definition of this word that I would like to bring to the Mayor and Council's attention: A transforming change. Let us hope that there is yet the courage, the intelligence, and the political will to move past prior failures with the first two definitions that Projection gives and some hope of this transforming change.



Hooda Thunkit said...


"A transforming change."Reminds me of yet another often misunderstood word..., Inertia


The tendency for a body at rest to remain at rest (or to resist moving).



The tendency for a body (or mass) in motion to remain in motion.

Both of which explain a lot, when talking about government...

Winky Twinky said...

When the term projection is used by those in any level of government, it always sends up my red flag. No matter what topic they're on, it's certain they're planning to spend much more than they have...

Roland Hansen said...

I truly enjoy the way you have made use word of the word projection.

Incidentally, I have a really old projection screen that may be of some worth as a collectible. I wonder if it could be of use in this financial mess.

Tim Higgins said...


There is yet another expression to be aware of about shit rolling downhill. While perhaps true it is of little solace to those of us in Toledo unless we are turning it into a fertilizer factory.

Tim Higgins said...


I quoted from the dictionary. You quoted from the book of truth.

Tim Higgins said...


Such a compliment coming from a master wordsmith is compliment indeed.

Hang onto that screen. I may take you up on it if I can get hold of the old family slides at my Mom's house.

Winky Twinky said...

Something my previous boss used to say: When the shit hits the fan, everybody ends up with at least a little on them...

Tim Higgins said...


The shit never hits the fan. The natural fertilizer does hit the oscillating rotator from time to time.