Sunday, April 12, 2009

T-Party or P-Party?

Reports of a planned 'TEA Party' on tax day -April 15- sound more like a political rally and fund raiser to me.
And, why not?
It's a political year, locally, and it follows a big political year in which Democrats swept the Presidency and both houses of congress, plus a few State governorships to boot.
When would be a better time to try and raise attention for contrarian views?
And, if a little money can be raised in the process, isn't that good for the economy?

But, the question has been raised, is this newsworthy?
Of course it is, at least the reporting of it.
Whether people will pay much attention to what's written and spoken is something else again.
Especially, considering the cast of local characters, who have so consistently failed in their attempts to win elections based upon clear patterns of misinformation foisted upon the public.

Let's consider why these folks think now is a time to complain about excessive taxes.
Of course, it is Federal income tax time, although Washington has no such counterpart -even though that idea would be much fairer than what we have now.
Locally, the County hasn't raised property taxes in -what- 14 years? That's despite a severe reduction in revenues due to sprawl construction being off its peak.
Of course, the County did raise additional flood taxes in order to actually accomplish some critical projects that had been 'approved' years ago, but languished because of inadequate funding.
I'm sure no responsible citizen would complain about something as essential as water quality -would they?

And, because the City decided NOT to raise its property taxes by the maximum allowed -1%- this year, surely that can't be the motivation for a T-Party -could it?
Also, with the severe budget problem brought about by the recession, the City has whacked its staff and services, so that can't be the reason for a T-Party either, could it?

One tip-off about a possible T-Party motivation was a fuzzy and unconvincing 'public initiative' idea floated by a former -unsuccessful- Mayoral candidate and radio personality.
That notion complained about local legislatures tendency to 'bank' annual 1% property tax increases until future needs occur.
Actually, that practice is one of the best ideas that local government has to protect itself from exactly the kind of economic situation we find ourselves in today.
So, what's the beef? Really!

I think I know what the 'beef' is, especially when the City's former Finance Director, Lynn Carpenter, is involved.
Her tactic is simply to mischaracterize things periodically when it suits her purposes.
Or, to simply create situations and their 'explanations' where none really exist, especially when complexity mitigates against clear and easy public understanding.
Fortunately, Ms Carpenter no longer serves in a publicly elected capacity, and no longer lives in the City.
But, in fairness, Carpenter does deserve credit for helping recruit her successor, Therese Holm, who served in real distinction for 8 years through 2007, setting the standard for excellence which the public should demand every year!
So, thanks for that, anyway, Lynn.

The point is, there is no rationale for holding this TEA-Party, or any of the 1800 or so planned nationwide, than to attract attention to register contrary opinion to the results of the last elections.
Of course, raising a few bucks by selling a few catchy phrases printed on partisan merchandise has to be part of the plan, as well as introducing a few 'trial balloon' candidates.
You see, the party who has fallen so badly out of power needs to try and reclaim its image, not to speak of its lost power.
That's the real nature of T-Parties, or as they ought to be called 'P-Parties'.
They are manufactured opportunities, pure and simple, and sometimes they do enjoy modest, if temporary success.

We'll see what our local April 15TEA-Party brings in terms of results or coverage.
One forecast is for rain, but that's not unusual around here, is it?