Laziness and ignorance lead to cult of incompetence
October 18, 2022
BY LEN CABRERA
I have said for years that in order to vote in federal elections, people should have to fill out a tax form by hand. After watching the City of Gainesville and Alachua County become worse in every observable metric over the last six years, I think similar criteria should apply to local elections. In order to vote in a local election, people should have to watch at least one city or county commission meeting so that they’re forced to see the level of incompetence they’ve put in office in the past.
These meetings drone on for hours as if all OSHA and human resources regulations that bind private employers do not apply to the abuse the commissioners inflict on their employees. The seemingly endless prattle wasted on procedure and formality is used to lull people to sleep before slipping in the extremist policies that have been destroying our community.
The idiocy that spews from the commissioners might as well come from a progressive jargon generator. Their statements come across as the type of parody you would see in a Saturday Night Live skit or the Babylon Bee.
The Gainesville City Commission’s decision to put free menstrual products in all city-owned restrooms is just the latest in a long line of ridiculous decisions; if you look at the comments from the commissioners, you’ll quickly see their misconception of the role of local government and just how little they think of our ability to take care of ourselves without their benevolent guidance and micromanaging.
They can barely provide the core services of a local municipality: roads are crumbling, police are woefully understaffed, crime is rising, panhandlers are at every intersection, and fire assessment and utility rates are ever-increasing. Yet these commissioners think they can and should do more, despite a long record of failure. The Gainesville City Commissioners are micro-managing (and plundering) GRU; their devotion to political ideology and lack of business experience is likely to bankrupt the utility. Based on their track record, the dispensers for menstrual products are more likely to be broken or empty than functional.
Recently, County Commissioner Anna Prizzia signaled her intention to spend County funds on a literacy program; maybe that was a tacit admission that the Alachua County School Board is just as incompetent as the rest of local government. Looking at the slides from the presentation used to justify the menstrual products program, it appears we need some mathematical literacy, too, since they calculate that if there are 36 tampons in a box that costs $13, that comes to $2 per tampon.
A brief list of other actions of our local politicians: the biomass plant debacle; soaring housing costs while they push policies for “affordable housing” and eliminate single-family zoning; box-like monstrosities along University Avenue and 13th Street; government-funded (i.e., controlled) broadband internet access; coddling and encouraging homeless drug addicts; diverting police funding to youth programs; a revolving-door policy for repeat violent offenders; repealing the open container law, which has led to late-night roving parties; eliminating plastic straws and utensils; and requiring restaurants to enter into contracts for food waste disposal. The financial affairs of the City are so bad that their audited financial statements are late, and they recently admitted that “material weaknesses” went uncorrected four years in a row. And let’s not forget their “Captain Quarantine” campaign, COVID-19 vaccination mandates for City employees, and dumping mulch in a skate park for “safety.” There’s also the explosion of “public-private” partnerships that really just serve to funnel tax dollars to less transparent, less accountable organizations and shield the politicians with excuses when things don’t improve. (Those might explain how $0.36 tampons turn into $2 tampons.)
They get away with this stuff because voters don’t bother to pay attention to the crazy that comes out of the mouths of these politicians. Some are likely seduced by the nice-sounding words about care and concern for the helpless in our community. If you’re one of these, please realize that voting is done on secret ballot, so no one sees your virtue signaling. If you want people to think you care, just wear a ribbon… or better yet, actually donate your own time or money to help the less fortunate. Don’t just vote for politicians who claim they’ll do it for you.
As economist Walter E. Williams said, “The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable.”
Sadly, the best-case scenario is that our local government is simply incompetent. More likely, it’s an intentional “managed decline” (or destruction). Why else would Mayor Poe push the Gainesville City Commission to get as much done as possible while they have the current commission of like-minded zealots?
Voters need to rise above their laziness and ignorance and avoid the inclination to vote for the familiar candidates, based on advice from the same people who told you to vote for the current commissioners. Get informed about the radical positions of the incumbents and their friends (or former campaign managers) who are running for office. Don’t rely on old maxims about party dominance or even party platforms. That led to ridiculously low independent voter turnout in September. If every voter would take the time to see these politicians in action during a commission meeting, there’s no way any of them would get reelected. That’s when Gainesville and Alachua County will start improving.
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