David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, September 19, 2005
Miscellaneous Thoughts, Local and Larger

  • Isn't New Orleans a wetland now? How can they possibly develop it or change it in any way? Shouldn't the environmental lobby be descending upon New Orleans en masse, demanding that the wetlands be preserved? Or is it only rich white folks' land that is worthy of wetland status?
  • The folks in Washington who think our money is theirs - nearly everyone in both parties, by the look of it - say they're planning to spend about $200 billion to clean up Katrina's mess. I have a counter-proposal. Let's spend half that much, not create a new bureaucracy, and just send everyone (maybe almost a million people) who can prove they actually lived in the devastated region and were actually devastated a one-time check for $80,000 or so, with the understanding that this is it. This is the all the government help they get. They can be responsible adults and use the money to build a new life, or they can waste it at strip clubs and expensive stores. But it's up to them. This is the ultimate pro-choice solution; it leaves them perfectly free to determine their own outcomes. But they only get it once. And, while we're at it, anyone who gets such a check should probably forfeit any claim to welfare benefits for five or ten years, just to be safe. Then let's spend the remaining $15-20 billion helping to rebuild our port facilities in New Orleans and elsewhere. Think about it: It would save us $100 billion dollars, while giving the responsible citizens the help they need and giving the irresponsible ones more than enough rope to hang themselves. (I can hear the voices now, telling me giving people freedom isn't compassionate. I guess I'm supposed to believe that giving them dependency is compassionate.) For a more politically plausible view, see Michael Barone at RealClearPolitics.com.
  • Am I the only one who is immediately turned off when a political candidate's flyer or web site has a large picture of a large family front and center? I have a wife and four children of whom I'm very fond, and each of them is more photogenic than I am. But I don't see how the fact that I have a family is any indicator of potential value as an elected official.
  • If I were a candidate for local political office, especially one who claims to support serious nuisance abatement in American Fork, here's something I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do. I wouldn't put my campaign signs on my own or a relative's vacant lot until I'd made the lot look good. Weeds sticking up in the sidewalk and a sloppy mowing job that leaves lots of tall grass, combined with that sign, won't attract many votes, especially in one of the city's more upscale neighborhoods. Weeds and brush that are so high that the sign needs an extra-tall stake to be seen, and so high and thick that neighbors fear for their children who walk to school past the lot, will actually cost votes. Apparently, at least two current candidates don't see it this way, but I'll bet plenty of voters do. That said, however, candidates' and incumbents' private property is not the first item on the list of things that ought to be cleaned up before the City requires residents generally to clean up. It's the second. The City's own property is first. I'm not holding my breath - but I don't intend to hold my tongue, either.
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