Friday, September 25, 2009

Think Globally; Rant Locally -OR- Where are these people found?

"All too often people turn to local government to solve problems,"

All Too Often? How dare they!

This was a quote from my town's mayor.
Yowzah! What an amazing concept.

I can understand his confusion. He's spent 15 years in local government CREATING problems. Tripling spending in the process. Turning a campaign declaration of a $3.2 million reserve fund into a $1.8 million deficit between the election in April 2007 and the end of the fiscal year in May 2007. Mission Accomplished.

Fuckin' Brilliant MATC!

His most brilliant move in the last race was getting the village to buy an apartment building for $300,000 announcing that it could be a police sub-station for the south side of town. This taxpayer funded purchase paved the way for his close re-election for a third term; by 100 votes. Two years later the building has just been razed and will be replaced by a small park because nobody could come up with a better idea. (what with the bad economy and all...)

Granted the apartment building had issues, but those too were exacerbated by the brilliance of our mayor. Upon ascending to the throne, he declared war on renters. By clever zoning changes that rendered a full 75% of the town's housing as non-conforming, he made it difficult and expensive for some property owners to make needed repairs, upgrades and improvements. The process became complex, frustrating and all but assured non-compliance. The changes were not implemented uniformly or fairly, variances were granted for some while other identical requests were denied.

The only identifiable difference between approval and rejection seemed to be whether the petitioner was a supporter of the mayor.

This is what happens when small town thinkers mimic their big city counterparts. When long-term stability is exchanged for short-term gains and the lines between ethical and legal get really fuzzy. While that's been great for USAG Patrick Fitzgerald, racking up headlines and convictions, he can't keep up let alone move ahead of these operations.

Our next mayoral election is in 2011. One of the consequences of his leadership has been the marginalization and demonization of any and all opposition. Generational pillars in the community have pulled up stakes and moved to less contentious locales. Those who remain are more than a little gun-shy. It's difficult to see where a new challenger/champion may emerge. There simply are not enough avenues for leadership that are not under the direct control of the village government.

There have been several grass-roots efforts to organize. These have felt the full arsenal of powers at the Mayor's disposal to reinforce the "you can't fight village hall" adage. I spend a great deal of time as administrator of a local internet forum.
Ten years ago, the mayor was a regular participant. Seven years ago the website's owner made the mistake of giving the mayor administrative access. Overnight, most of the mayor's postings were deleted. That's Hardball; MATC style.

Despite the years of abuse and neglect, the town remains worth fighting for. There are fewer and fewer people who remember when things were not this way. I guess that makes me an old-timer. A local crank who does nothing but complain. I plead guilty, with the qualification that I'm given so much about which to complain. Most notably the consistent claim that I'm just a disgruntled failure. I'm still here. Still pissing in his overpriced Cheerios. Still advocating for fairness and still laughing at the illusion of power MATC has gathered around himself. Soon, things will get very hot and sticky as campaign 2011 heats up. I'll still be here.


Comrade PhysioProf said...

Your mayor is a fucking douchebag.

Rehctaw said...

More of a colostomy bag. Eclipsing Douchebaggery by an order of magnitude.

Unbeknown to him we DO have back-ups of the forum dating back before his purge. It's our nuclear option.