More government is going to do more governing. It’s a law of physics.
They say journalism is the first draft of history. A blogge is the first draft of journalism. Like beaujolais nouveau. Do not swirl, do not sniff, do not savor. Just drink it down and open the next bottle. So these are off-the-top notes on a life-long subject of personal interest: local government.
Over the mayor’s objections, the Madison Common Council early this year created a Task Force on Government Structure. Like Blaska was ever going to be appointed to it! Nonetheless, this committee pledges “a robust public participation process so that residents can offer their perspective on what could make government more effective.”
You are welcome to my opinions.
Madison has too much government. Too goddamn many committees, commissions, and panels. Get the pruning shears! This is the fallout of the Progressive Movement. The Capital Times wants to elect the city attorney! Brenda Konkel for city attorney!
Blaska got elected one year, in part, by promising to fight a proposal to make Orchard Ridge elementary school a magnet school. Blaska was running for county board.
It’s all about accountability. People got to know who to blame or credit. Tommy Thompson took over the DNR as a cabinet level agency because citizens were calling the governor when they had a beef, not the anonymous appointed head of yet independent board (one Trygve Solberg). Democrats beefed until Jim Doyle became governor.
Where stoppeth the buck? We forget that real people have real lives; kids with homework, terrible bosses, and crab grass. Flatten the org chart.
This is government, metastasized
Madison has 96 boards, committees, and commissions. Next week alone the following were scheduled:
- Sister City Collaboration Committee
- City-County Homeless Issues Committee
- Multicultural Affairs Committee
- Urban Design Commission
- Education Committee
- Digital Technology Committee
- Board of Park Commissioners
- Transportation Commission
- Landmarks Commission
- Common Council President’s Work Group to Develop City-Wide Surveillance Equipment and Data Management Policies
- Madison Public Library Board Director Evaluation Policy Subcommittee
- Joint Campus Area Committee
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot!
“There is no country in the world in which everything can be provided for by laws, or in which political institutions can prove a substitute for common sense and public morality.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
To the socialist, everything is a government solution
Now find the problem! Who but a socialist would imagine that “the digital divide” was a problem or that government was the solution? The Dane County Board has a food policy. (All in favor of food, raise your hands.)
The Common Council recently hired a chief of staff with total compensation north of $100,000 a year. Can paid staff for individual alders be far behind?
Desiring to prove that they opposed slavery as much as the soldiers who lost a limb in the actual battle, Madison alders devoted untold hours on a single gravestone paid for with private money by the survivors of the deceased. And it’s still an issue.
Socialists do their work like rust, through accretion, by building more government. More government is going to do more governing. It’s a law of physics. Big government is going to end poverty, cure homelessness, and heal the planet on the homeowner’s property tax dollar except that it never does. (When plastic straws are outlawed, only …)
Government is a utility, like gas & electric. Do the things your local government is supposed to do, do them well, then get out of the way and let the private civic sector take over.
Weed out some and consolidate other advisory bodies. At least two elected alders should sit among the citizen members.
Council meetings are too long. Members should be warned to make their point and sit down. A good chairman can steer the debate.
Citizens should be allowed to speak at the start of the meeting and not have to wait two hours for their issue to come up on the agenda.
Learn Roberts Rules of Order. The Policy Werkes is amazed at how many alders (most of them) are befuddled by parliamentary procedure. Some of these guys have been there for years.
[ THOUGHT OF ANOTHER ONE: Appoint the occasional conservative. Don’t worry, they won’t prevail but shouldn’t policy makers at least be exposed to a different viewpoint? An opinion the majority here in The Emerald City likely has never heard expressed? ]
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Task Force chairman Eileen Harrington, a UW-Madison political science prof, says the Task Force wants to hear from citizens. Visit its website.
The Task Force on Government Structure next meets 6 p.m. Monday, August 27, at the Urban League of Greater Madison. Meetings are televised.