Meme Watch – June 2012

Here we go:
“line-by-line” — apparently the way to administer and manage a $27 million budget is to review it line by line just like people do with their family budgets.  Because we all know your household budget precisely mirrors municipal budgets: families collect tax revenues, manage hundreds of municipal employees, payout to retirees, pay and service bonds, and on. As a family, I’m sure you have to same experience as my wife and I do: “Honey, I think we need to renegotiate our collective bargaining agreements with the collective bargaining units as they expire this year. And don’t forget to call Moody’s on about our bond rating, I’d hate to see a few basis point rise in our ability to finance long-term capital projects, sweetie.”
“it’s in the report” — the proponents of the C&D landfill always claimed that the justification for the C&D landfill is “in the report”. No worries folks,  just look at the report and all will be answered. Well, if you actually read the report like me or those adjudicating the case, you would actually find that it is not in the report. Here’s what the court had to say: Nevertheless, AIDA’s findings statement utterly fails to meet the requirement that it “weigh and balance relevant environmental impacts with social, economic and other considerations” and “provide a rationale for [its] decision” (6 NYCRR 617.11 [d]). 
This meme relies upon the keen human insight that no one will actually pore over hundreds of pages of PDFs preferring instead to be spoonfed memes over the local airwaves. Simple as that. Trust me, it’s in the report.
“AIDA will [fill in the blank with wonderful achievement]” — see role of AIDA in prior meme
“Crime is out of control in the city” or “Amsterdam is not safe” — a favorite of the airwaves especially with the rarefied gentry who reside in the towns. What is more gentrified than braving the mean streets of the city to wend one’s way to the local Wal-Mart and Dunkin’ Donuts for a “night out”? When one lives in the equivalent of Scarsdale, as some claim their town approximates, is it any wonder our city is an urban hellscape?
Interestingly, the gentry remain mum with noses upturned when confronted with the fact that Mayfield now has a higher murder rate in 2012 of 1 murder per 6500 versus the city’s murder rate of 1 murder per 9000. I daresay that this now makes the city equivalent to Tuxedo Park.
I’m sure folks will hit the airwaves armed with this data point. You betcha’!

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2 Responses

  1. I cringe at the following:
    “Corporation Council works part time for the city.” – Wrong, it is a full-time position.
    “The mayor said not to bother going through the budget line-by-line.” – Wrong. I said we will never squeeze the shortfall out of departmental budgets and that we would need to look at impactful revisions to health insurance, pension costs, utitlity rates and debt service.
    “The mayor didn’t request departmental budgets earlier in the year and did not meet with department heads to go through their budgets line-by-line.” – Wrong. As per the charter, a directive was sent out to all departments at the beginning of the year to submit departmental requests by February first. Unfortunately, the Controller was unable to gather this data together by the March first date for submittal to the Budget Committee. the process was wildly truncated and the committee receive the budget less than a month ago. The Budget Committee members were directed and expected to independently go through the budget line-by-line to note any concerns or make suggestions to correct the 62% shortfall. Larger department budgets were reviewed with the committee. Very few changes were made.
    “Several raises were handed out without the knowledge of the Budget Committee” – Wrong, and most that were had been contractually obligated.
    “The budget process should be halted and the document gone through line-by-line NOW.” The individual that floated this one has had the budget as long as the committee. One would expect he could readily identify where he’d go to make cuts and to what extent that would help us out with the bottom line. I hear nothing in that regard, only that we should throw this meme in the air again and see if it sticks to the ceiling. BTW, we have employees and bills to pay come July 1. I don’t hear how he’d handle that without a budget coming in on time.
    “The water rates should just stay as they are for another year and THEN we should think about changing them.” Why? If we know of inequaties now, that single- and two-family properties are shouldering a majority of the cost of the water distribution system, why the heck would we wait?
    “They’re ramming this budget through so that we don’t know what’s in it, like Obamacare.” – Pu-lease. These budget committee meetings have been open to the public, the document is available to the public, and we’ve openly discussed every suggested action in front of the media and an audience.
    I’m floored that a budget that has successfully come in under the 2% cap wihout slashing staff or services elicits such scorn. At the same time, I’m not surprised; it’s the same ideologues that harp on incessantly no matter what the benefit to our city. Waterfront revitalization – bad. Historic preservation – bad. Beautification – bad. Community and Economic Development – bad. Newcomers – never. We’re worthy of a promising future – impossible. New ideas – say what?!
    Goodness gracious. Knock it off.

    • Bill Sheehan says:

      Just remember that the same ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ that try to undermine progress are the same bunch who can’t tear themseleves away from ‘Wheel’ and ‘Jeopardy’ long enough on a given Tuesday to get personally involved in the game. Their opinions carry little weight….

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