Friday, November 9, 2007

All Elections Are Important: Some More Than Others

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan    

"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go! " - Oliver Cromwell
Previous blogs have introduced the unpleasant subject of 'taxes' to any readers brave enough to read them.

Taxes are a necessary tool that local governments need to do their job of protecting the public health, safety and welfare.
Everyone knows that, or should.

Where the controversy starts is where the government's 'job' begins and ends, and how it is paid for.
Those decisions get made directly and indirectly by the public, and most particularly by those citizens who vote.

Elections are about choosing those officials who will represent us in making decisions about policy and the use of public funds.
Since a large chunk of public funds come from some form of taxes that are paid by citizens, the public has a big stake in what decisions are made by its elected officials.

Some of those decisions do involve taxes, either having them or not having them.
Imposing taxes is a serious matter that should be undertaken very carefully.
But deciding not to impose taxes is also a serious matter, and it should be treated as such
It means either something is not deemed important enough, or that the political will to do something potentially unpopular is lacking.

In the case of one individual this blog focuses on, both elements seem to be always lacking.
That is a problem for me, because such representation is a disservice to voters and demeans the whole idea of a dynamic and engaged democracy.
Such representatives could be replaced with robots at both less expense and expectations.

Adding some real-time perspective to this topic, it is important to get past the demogoguery, entrenched special interests, and the propaganda and scare tactics that are being used to fool voters.

If we can't do that, we're stuck on having to endure representation that is not serving us well.
We can do better than that, and we must!

On Nov 8, a CNN Headline trumpeted: "Twenty-three percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Thursday say that compared to other presidents in American history, President Bush is the worst ever."

No kidding! Only 23%? Seems low to me.

How about this Hamstertalk poll: "100% of it's editors say Sam Crawford is public enemy No.1 on the Whatcom County Council."

Now that voting is over and election results are still in the process of being determined, here's my two cents worth on one race that is critical.

I'm hoping that Ken Mann does take out Sam Crawford, because it is way past time for him to go!
Mann has certainly turned a bright spotlight onto Mr Crawford, but has miraculously refrained from negative attacks with a steady diet of positive messages focused on real issues that people care about.
He has run one of the most effective campaigns I've seen in recent years, and deserves to be elected.

By contrast, Mr Crawford has tried to run under the radar, depending mostly upon some underlying political demographics that favor him, plus his usual financial support from his usual supporters.
His has been a lazy campaign that has relied upon extrapolating past voting into the present.
While Mann's comment that Crawford has not 'humiliated' himself while in office may be true, I must respectfully disagree.

Like the 'death by a thousand pin-pricks' that our farmlands, forests, water resources and sensitive areas have experienced, Crawford's 'humiliation' is the cumulative result of the constant application of his very 'unbalanced' ideology, which basically panders to his benefactors -the BIA, extreme right-wing anti-'guvmint' ideologues, and others fearful of changing a 'status quo' that continues to dumb down decision-making into false choices and inaction.

His steady record of non-support for necessary actions to sustain our future have compounded over the last eight years, until the cumulative result amounts to a huge 'humiliation' in the eyes of many citizens who expected much better of him.

My first and lasting impression of Mr Crawford came during his very first County Council meeting, where he actually nominated himself to be Council Chairperson!
Even his closest colleagues on the Council wouldn't drink that kool aid then, and they still haven't developed a taste for it now.

Crawford was reported to have said, prior to knowing the election results:
“My first priority will be to continue to add balance to a council that in many ways is very lopsided.”

As one of many witnesses to Mr Crawford's habit of deliberately undermining discussions on serious issues, it seems he still thinks of himself as a self-appointed 'chairperson' of tyrannical minority.
So far, that tactic has been remarkably successful - at least for Mr. Crawford and his cronies.

But, Mr Crawford is there to represent everyone, including those yet to be born.
If he doesn't represent them, and their future needs, who will?
Ken Mann will, that's who!

For example, Crawford has 'expressed concern and opposition to a possible tax increase for the flood fund proposed by Councilor Carl Weimer'.
Does everyone understand what that is about?
I doubt it, because if they did, Mr Crawford would never get away with making such a statement!

Previous blogs have discussed the County's use of Flood Taxes for funding the major WRIA-1 effort [Water Resource Inventory Area-#1] which addresses water planning and allocation County-wide.

Whatcom County has already spent over $4 million on WRIA-1, before the program was put on hold.
Since then key staff have left for 'greener pastures' as Pete likes to say.

Talking with some of them reveals how they define 'greener pastures'.
It means working toward an important goal with the idea of achieving it!
They got tired and disillusioned with the non-action agenda of the current County Administration, which prominently featured the County Executive and Mr. Crawford, among others.
I'm sure Mr Crawford is still 'smiling behind his fan' at undermining WRIA-1 and wasting years of effort costing millions.

Here's a little 'secret' I've shared before - the availability of water will limit growth before land supply will!
Got it?
Crawford is one of those in denial that we need to do anything to manage our growth.
If you agree with him, you are getting the government you deserve!

But the rest of us aren't, and that isn't OK.
Fifty percent, plus 1 vote is all it will take to throw this rascal out, and get someone who will represent all of us.
I sincerely hope the numbers are there!

Crawford was also quoted by a Herald reporter as saying
“Another day, another thousand ballots. Is this like a root canal or what?”

Actually, having to endure Crawford sitting on the Council has been a lot like having an 8-year root canal.
The pain is constant, the expense is real, but the problem is not corrected.

Crawford's tenure has made an absolute mockery of what 'non-partisan' government is intended to mean.
That in itself should be considered a 'humiliation'!

If Ken Mann wins, and Bob Kelly wins, we might again have 4 votes we can count upon to get Pete Kremen's attention on some important issues.
Then, with Laurie as a more regular 5th vote on a few important issues, it would have the effect of actually forcing Pete & his Administration to do what he needs be doing.
And, it's a long list, that includes WRIA-1 and its impact on growth management!
But, if we don't start getting those things done now, it just keeps getting more difficult and expensive later.
You know, like the Midas Muffler ad.

I imagine that Lois Garlick and the rest of the concerned public will be so happy with a Mann & Kelly outcome, it would almost amount to a clear victory for her.
Thanks for running, Lois!
You are a dear, and you really do care.

"The purse of the people is the real seat of sensibility. Let it be drawn upon largely, and they will then listen to truths which could not excite them through any other organ." --  Thomas Jefferson

"The era of procrastination, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill