Thursday, December 13, 2007

A DANG Few Thoughts On The Audit

This was posted on May 20, 2007.

I've lived in Springfield since the summer of 1964. I've seen a lot of changes since then and it seems like I've been against dam near everyone of them. Red light cameras, iceskating parks, founders park, jordan valley park, crime lab, hillbilly silicone valley, where is the city getting the money to spend on all this stuff?

At the top left of this blog there is a box that says "search blog" type in "crime lab".

The saddest thing about this whole affair is that I consider myself just a little bit more interested in politics than the guy next door who is on the opposite end of the spectrum. I don't see black helicopters everywhere, yet, but I did question what was going on as all those crime lab posts reflect.

And all I ever knew was what I read in the paper.

Look at the 68 names who volunteered to be on the search committee for the new city manager. How many of those names did you recognize? Dang near all of them, I'd bet. Want to guess who makes the cut?

A while back a companion and I were having coffee and I said that
city/county/school/utility/chamber/anythingtodowithgovernmentinSpringfield,the same names are everywhere, it is almost incestuous. He liked to spit out his coffee.

Two things happened this past week that seem to reflect our elected officials opinion of the citizens of Springfield. The first one was the audit and how everyone involved is now doing the CYA song and dance. Don't believe me? Just read the SN-L. The second one was the school board voting to build the new SW school in spite of declining enrollment....why didn't they just shift boundaries? Oh yeah, I remember, the consultant said not to do that until after the 2009 bond election.

What they do is they form a committee to get where they want to go and get them what they want (Vision 20/20, SP5). Or they will hire a consultant to tell them what they want to hear. And if you disagree or call them out, well you turn into an 'aginner' and eventually they all just end up acting like my old dog: he acted like he was listening to you, but after you said your piece he went and did what he dang well pleased.

There will NEVER be systemic change in Springfield's city government or school governance until it becomes easier for anyone to get involved in government. I am talking about more than volunteering for boards or commissions (see the above paragraph).

Who do we talk to about revisiting that requirement that it takes 500 signatures to get on the ballot for city council positions and school board positions. Heck,I know for a fact all it takes to get on the ballot for state representative is $35.00.

A former school board member told me the 500 signature requirement shows that a candidate is serious about running. I believed him at the time. Now, I believe it just keeps the riff-raff out---do the names Shikany and Slavens sound familiar?

Next election cycle, will we see the same old faces and the same old results? At one time I really thought I could make a difference but I couldn't trump curing queers. I continue tilting at windmills.

Giddyup, Rocinante, let's go!


Anonymous said...

Springfield has a terrible problem with the good ole boy network, and the provincial mentality here keeps most from realizing there's a world outside of Greene County. (Look no further than what Brason did with the Landing compared to our fine John Q Expo Center. And really, do we need to keep trotting out the withered up ghost of Roseanne Bentley to tackle the issues of the 21st century?)

You're wrong on the school's plans for the new elementary though, and you've made the fatal mistake that gets bloggers discredited by expressing your opinion without considering a holistic view of the situation. The fact is that Springfield's population will grow again. You can guarantee it, and if it doesn't we've got much bigger problems than empty elementary schools. When the population does grow again (unless the good ole boys totally fuck up this city. lunch anyone?) the school district won't have to scramble and ask tax payers to pay for a massive round of upgrade to an infrastructure they let lapse because they didn't work with taxpayers to keep up with needs over the years. This is exactly what happened here before, and why the schools have had to do so much building in the last 7-10 years.

Furthermore, as a taxpayer, I'm glad the schools have developed a plan like SP5, which you should have recalled wasn't compiled by a committee of same olds. If Springfield intends to be a viable alternative to surrounding communities like Ozark and Nixa, forward looking plans are exactly what we need.

Vision 20/20, good ole boys or not, was a good thing, no matter how silly an ice park in the semi-rural South looks now. Like any long-range plan, 20/20 and SP5 will need to be modified over as time goes by; that's where public accountability will be key.

And while we're talking about public input, I don't think the school district can be accused of completely eschewing it. My understanding with SP5 was that it is completely based in public polling research, a much more efficient way to collect public opinion than throwing open the doors and listening to Rev. Moody, Steven Hoots, and the other carbon blobs who don't represent the majority of public opinion at some public forum. Come on, this is the same school district that for years spent millions of dollars to keep open decrepit schools not even three blocks away from each other with less than 150 students because a guy dressed like Abe Lincoln and a few of his friends insisted upon it. Oh, and let's not forget the decision they made a few years ago to keep fifth grade orchestra, a bourgeois conceit if there ever was one, while making cut backs to the school nurse and parents as teachers program. (Too bad those same folks who turned out to keep schools open didn't bother to show up in defense of those programs, huh?)

Busplunge said...

Dear Sir or Madame:
You may be right.
Jim Lee

Anonymous said...

My Dad told me when your wife is arguing with you about something silly, even though you're right, it's best to say "You may be right honey"...