Happy Old Year
I again made the mistake of listening to local radio and caught a Q&A with Alderman Isabel.
Let me challenge a few talking points from what I heard:
1) Taxes are too high — while this is hardly revelatory if you live in our fair city, it is revelatory in the sense of how you deal with the issue. I often find myself apoplectic upon hearing this phrase as it’s used as a political meme to advocate ‘tough on spending’ of relatively minor expenses as a percentage of the budget versus changing the underlying supply and demand economics within the city to get to meaningful tax reductions. I’ll take the gambit: taxes are too high so tell me what they should be and tell me how we’re going to get there. Here’s my target tax reduction: 25% reduction in taxes. Tell me what you are going to cut out of the budget and services to get there.I agree with the problem now show me the solution.
2) School District Performance does not matter — I’m paraphrasing but if you don’t think the performance of the school district matters as far as your beloved tax rates or as far as marketing the city and you compound that with the fatalistic view that nothing can be done because of the higher percentage of special needs students and it’s the board of education’s responsibility only, then you don’t get it.In fact, you’re advocating a policy that will assuredly raise my taxes just like the advocates of this policy bear responsibility for where the tax rates are today. I don’t buy in any way that this is the best we can do with academic achievement.
3) Web site and marketing the city — while I understand the process of marketing strategy and web development as time intensive, I’m afraid the marketing effort will get derailed by Alderman Isabel and others if we cannot get to a ‘show me’ presentation. I’d advise the Mayor to weigh the hastened delivery of an imperfect phase 1 with a slower delivery of a more perfect phase 1 against the wielding of the ‘where’s the web site’ meme which I’m afraid is gaining traction as a political talking point against efforts to advocate demand side policies.
4) Chalmers — I’m rethinking my support for Chalmers in light of what I heard today. I’m hoping it does fail so we can have an empty lot upon which we can build retail and commercial just as up to 25% of retailers may be shuttering their doors due to the recession. Why would I want a viable livable housing project when we know the last thing we need in the city is a more youthful, affluent demographic. Yep, we should take no chance on Chalmers so we can have the sure thing of a parking lot.
2009 feels a lot like 2008 which felt like 2007 which reminds me of 2006 which looked a lot like 2005…