Friday, April 9, 2010

Riffing on Value/Worth -OR- Whaddaya Know?

Via a neighboring town's local paper, I learned that sales tax revenue in my little town has fallen 8.86%. On a local message forum I asked what that means. For me, 8.86% is a "Spinal Tap" number; without the humor.

Since there has been no official local news of impending financial doom, the most cogent response I received was that the shortfall was simply "absorbed". No sweat. Still, there is a rippling unease among the semi-aware that the sky may actually be falling in large chunky sections without much notice by those upon whom it is not landing.

Because the village coffers are supplied from a variety of taps, an 8.86% drop in one might be offset by a rise in one of the other tentacles. Internal bookkeeping adjustments, inter-fund loans, reserves and contingency funds can be juggled creatively, but I have to assume that an 8.86% drop represents a fairly significant dollar amount. As a semi-aware, I'd sort of like to know where I stand.

I was then told that I should call and ask directly. Otherwise, I should keep my concerns to myself. Except that I know that all of our officials visit this particular message forum daily. So does the local paper. Both are regularly dismissive of the content on the forum and only delurk to USE the medium as either a campaign tool or pulpit, never to engage in debate or discussion or (shudder) ANSWER A FUCKING QUESTION.

The officials are also dismissive of MOST information related in the local press.
They imply that you cannot rely on the "news", but then expect THEIR news to be disseminated by those same pages. What is a semi-aware to do? This particular contest of ring-around-the-rosie has been ongoing for a decade, but the game has been in progress since the first tribal councils. I can go back in the library archives of the local paper and find bits and items about various revenue streams with actual numbers cited. Typically in one or more articles each year, some actual numbers were gathered and summarized to give the readership a sense of financial condition. "The state of the Shire is sound!"

Granted that the balkanization and re-aggregation of an inner-ring Crook County suburb makes information plentiful. Whether it's relevant to the serfs or not is at issue. 99.9% of the excuses that pass as explanations are crap that would result in an ass-whooping of epic proportions if perpetrated by anyone of unofficial rank, yet are celebrated and cheered when foisted by bush leaguers who happen to be OUR bush leaguers.

Whachoo gonna do? Ya can't fight city hall. Ignore them and maybe they'll go away?
That's part and parcel of how we got into this mess in the first place. What is the answer? Beats the fuck outta me. The only thing I know for sure is that I can't fix it. First off, they won't let me and secondly, I ain't exactly popular for my POV.

I've been openly belittled, threatened, punished, chastised, dismissed, marginalized, insulted, slandered, pissed on, shat at and shunned. I've also, when truth manages to break clear of the bubble, been consistently proven right, but that don't help much. Can't beat `em. Won't join `em. I'm phooked. Not as alone as I've been in the past in that category and pretty damn sure that there are several bandwagons of folks who'd relish an opportunity for well-measured payback and a modicum of competence. The problem with that are the busloads of impractical wannabes who expect to lead the parade by virtue of their anger and bad-assedness. Yeah, like that's preferable...

Wait a minute! The sun just came out. Time for a walk...

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