Saturday, February 12, 2011

We Interrupt This Program...

...for a news flash: "There are lousy politicians everywhere".

This should surprise no one, but this week brought a trifecta at the state, county and city level.

Under the gold dome we have a senator who has presided over bank failures that have drawn the attention of the FDIC who alleges gross negligence. No problem, right? Even the governor has a "history". Well, it turns out the senator in question chairs the Banking Committee. It gets better. The fellow senator heading the committee which appointed our innovative banker-senator feigns ignorance: "I know nothing about this. I need to get informed before I comment on it". On exactly what criteria did this most knowledgeable senator conclude his colleague was fit in the first place? Or, is there a polaroid somewhere showing someone doing something illegal with a chicken? Like feeding it in your backyard.

We head on over to the county for the next bundle of dysfunctional synapses, where we have DeKalb's Homicide Unit featured on "The First 48", a reality show following investigators during the first 48 hours of homicide investigations. The show's producer selected DeKalb because of the the DPD's superior effectiveness at investigating murders. The plan was approved by the department, supported by the CEO and a contract is in place. Now the County Commission has their collective knickers in a knot. Why? Because some of them think this makes DeKalb look bad. To quote one pointy headed politician: "We're not proud of our murder rate and I'm not sure why we would want any visibility on homicides." Duh? How about so we can address these crimes and get them under control. Given that this commissioner uses the no-see, no-hear, no-say approach to governance he probably hasn't noticed that a significant bit of violence occurs every Sunday at "clubs". Perhaps a bit of attention would reveal a simple solution to at least some crimes. Maybe even something the County Commission could do. Other than pretend there isn't a problem.

Closer to home, we end our second year as a city with the inevitable call for taxes from our unelected mayor, ostensibly for parks. This confirms that our city founders did not and do not have a viable financial plan: we can't afford police that will check out a reported fire; we cannot keep our roads from degenerating into cobbles; and we cannot even care for the parks we have. But we have a plan that includes taking private property, perhaps by force of imminent domain, for citywide trails and linear parks. To do this the city needs money, your money, your tax dollars to pay for it. And keep in mind, this call comes from the same mayor whose wife's sensibilities were offended by a deck built by the neighbor behind them. So. Not in their backyard, but what the hell, if they want to they'll take your backyard.

At the end of the day, it isn't just the hypocrisy. It's the arrogance.