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Random Thoughts...

It’s interesting watching all the finger pointing from both parties over the financial mess the country is in. Considering how huge institutions at the core of the crisis — like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for example — contributed campaign money to the very people bellyaching the loudest and trying to blame Bush for the mess — folks like Charles Rangel, Barney Frank, and Chuck Schumer, — it appears to me at least that there is more than enough blame to go around.

With that in mind, perhaps members of Congress from both parties should be compelled to wear uniforms and numbers like NASCAR drivers. That way, we could easily identify their corporate sponsors.

While it’s undeniable that Bainbridge Island is in dire financial straits, the move to change the form of government from the strong Mayor type to a city manager/administrator form is — at least in my view — doomed to failure even if it passes. This is a case of simply trading one set of problems for another — and doing so at a much higher cost to the taxpayers.

While there’s lots of frustration in some quarters about Mayor Darlene Kordonowy and her method of doing things, it’s my observation that the Council is at least part of the problem. Historically, the Council votes 4-3. Which set of ideologues is in the majority — environmentalists or property rights advocates — determines which way the votes go. And since the majority tends to change every two years because Bainbridge is that closely divided ideologically, the Mayor — no matter who it is — is caught in a perpetual, no-win tug-of-war. The Council’s past tendency to try and overrule the Mayor and direct City staff, hasn’t helped either.

The change to a city manager/administrator isn’t going to change these simple facts, and could make things even worse — if that’s possible.

If the change passes, the city manager/administrator will be hired by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Council. A top-quality administrator will also need to be paid substantially more than the current Mayor’s salary — at least twice as much.

If the prevailing ideology follows the established pattern of changing every two years, the job will become little more than a revolving door because each new council won’t trust an admnistrator hired by its political adversaries. Eventually, no professional municipal administrator in their right mind will want the job. Simply looking at the consistent turnover in existing key City positions confirms this hypothesis. It’s not rocket science to figure out it will eventually diminish the quality of candidates applying for the administrator job as well.

It’s obvious things aren’t working on Bainbridge, but changing the form of government isn’t the answer. The vocal minorities on the Island need to stop their petty public squabbling, decide what’s truly important, come to a common sense compromise consensus based on respect of instead of distain for, opposing viewpoints. Then the citizens need to elect public officials that reflect that consensus. Easier said than done for sure — but they will not only be money ahead, but might actually make some progress in making Bainbridge Island the kind of place they all envision.

Organized labor’s recent attempt to ram a “worker privacy” bill through the legislature was little more than a special interest group attempting to strongarm lawmakers into passing legislation with a lot more at stake than they want to publicly admit.

The unions insist the issue is workers rights, but neglect to explain how every other state gets along without a law allowing workers to refuse to attend company-organized meetings if they have “reasonable belief” topics like politics or religion will be discussed. Is it just me, or is “reasonable belief” one of those subjective terms open to a wide variety of interpretations?

Labor went so far as to issue the threat of, “not another dime from labor” to Democratic legislators if they didn’t vote for the bill. That is simply unconscionable. Emails released under a public information request revealed a large number of House Democrats were not thrilled at having to openly vote for the bill on floor, but would do so if confronted with the choice of voting for good public policy, or having the cojones to stand up to organized labor.

The Obama Administration’s Cap & Trade legislation being pushed by the Governor looks like it’s dead in Olympia. That’s very good news. The last thing we need is more unproven regulatations that will have a huge negative economic impact on our state, and our ability to keep existing businesses from fleeing much less attract news business here.

This should be a tough sell in any year, but in the middle of a major recession it’s pure stupidity.

While you won’t see Democrats with a clear understanding of the situation — locally, or at the national level — publicly stating that Cap & Trade is an impractical and expensive, bad idea, they just want it to go away — with as little uproar from the highly vocal environmental community as possible.

Lary Coppola's picture
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Member Since: 3-31-2009
Post Count: 442