I've written little diaries about the political goings on in my little community of Paradise. I do so from time to time because I find it so funny and strange...and at times inept.
Our town council has been taken over by, well they call themselves the Paradise Tea Party, but they are really John Birchers to be honest. Well they've done something I find to be classic bull turd. Our little town has cut staff to the bone. We no longer have a fire department because we can't afford one anymore. For fire protection we are now under the auspices of the California Department of Forestry. There have been two police officers let go due to cutting the budget (in a town of only 25,000 people, that's actually a big loss).
Even with all they've done to cut costs, they tell us we'll be underwater at least $500,000 this year and that deficit will get larger each year after this year. So, the town council decided to let us vote for a tax increase of 1/2 penny per dollar. This will bring in $850,000 more revenue per year thus keeping Paradise, CA solvent. They decided to make it a "general tax" because that only takes a majority vote. Had they decided to make it a "special tax," that would require 67% of the vote to pass.
Here's the funny part. It passed by a vote of 4-1. Those that will be up for election have all stated they will then run against the tax increase because, you know, they are all Tea Party folks. Ain't that the shits? So they put a thing on the ballot for next November that is sorely needed by our town to make it financially, but they aren't doing it to be responsible in their governing. They are doing it to have an issue to run against.
Talk about creating a straw man. Brilliant! The town is broke and going broker every year. There really are no issues the town council debates. All they actually do is cut, cut and cut some more. The one guy that voted against it said he did so because, "Taxes are like a drug...you get used to that income and to get off it is very difficult."
I can see the mailers now. "Liberals want to tax and spend. I will fight for your right to liberty and freedom by stopping this tax increase. You should decide what you want to do with your money, not some greedy politician who's out of touch. I am your conservative candidate for Paradise."
I hope the majority of citizens here will be willing to cost themselves an extra penny in tax for every $2 they spend in order to keep Paradise going. We've already had everything cut to the bone. We'll just have to wait and see.
Then there is the Paradise Irrigation District (PID) which is a quasi public-private deal providing Paradise with water. It's not part of the town's structure. It charges us for 100% of everything it needs to do, including paying what around here is a very high income for the board members. They were going to have mandatory water cuts until we got some decent rains in March. Paradise Lake is 85% full as of now, so they've decided to have a "voluntary 20% decrease" in effect. They've also made a ruling that there can be no watering between 10 AM and 8:30 PM and that you can't water any area for more than 15 minutes. Wow! That is smart and strict at the same time. How they intend on policing that is...well. They've also required people only use "rotary sprinklers."
Here's the inept part. PID has known for years now that they have until July 2015 to comply by the EPA's water standards. How they've been able to skate by all these years releasing water from their treatment plant that is full of bad crap at levels technically against the law is beyond me. Well, they are looking at two options. And they've been looking at those two options for some time now. These options get more expensive to do as time goes on both because constructions costs are going up over time and interest rates for money they'll need to borrow is starting to go up.
But they keep kicking the can down the road. Now they want more studies to determine how much each of these options would cost to maintain and how long each option would last before it's infrustructure needs shoring up. One board member wanted that study done in one month. The others wanted it to take 6 months so as to "get a more complete answer." They acknowledge they've run out of time and that waiting for yet more studies will mean they can't possibly get the job done in time.
I find this just plain stupid.. They've had plenty of time to do what's needed but just can't ever seem to make a decision. They also know it will ultimately cost "we" the payers potentially big money in fines PID will be charged by the Feds for not complying by July 2015. I can only think they aren't needing these studies in earnest but rather are expecting to somehow get the EPA to let them continue polluting like they are already past the date they've been given to knock it off. Either that or they must be hoping Republicans gain control of the Senate in 2014 and then the presidency in 2016. That way the EPA will be gutted, if not gotten rid of completely, and they'll be off the hook. That's the only thing that makes sense to me. If it isn't some strategy on their part, then they are plainly inept! If they spent one half the time doing their job vs. squabbling among themselves (their most common activity), we'd have the solution to the pollution problem decided upon and ready to go.
Well that's my silly town's recent leaders' doings. What's up with you?
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