Apr 28, 2009

Perhaps local politics are a mess everywhere these days, but here in Hooterville, we have taken dysfunction to a new level. Our city operates on a strong city manager, weak mayor and council system. Our mayors have tended to be nice grandfatherly types and our council members well-meaning dunces. That reminds me of a joke. In the future, commercial jets will be able to take off, fly to their destination and land without a human flight crew. However, since studies have shown that people won't fly on a plane without a human pilot, these futuristic jets will have a crew consisting of a pilot and a dog. The pilot will offer reassurance to the passengers and the dog will bite the pilot if he touches the controls. That's how it works in Hooterville. We want to see a grandfatherly guy as mayor, we just don't want him to touch anything. Our city council members are elected to serve specific wards in the city, but they are elected, not by the voters in their wards, but citywide. This results in a council of knuckleheads, all representing the same group of voters. That is a nice way of saying that they are all squishy feel-good types. We are long on good intentions and short on actual plans. Which brings me to today. A couple of weeks ago, the council voted to fire the city manager because they didn't like his ideas for dealing with the giant hole in the city finances. They elevated his assistant to the top job, and promptly declared him the smartest, bestest city manager ever. The new old guy came up with a surefire budget balancing scheme involving raising taxes without the sheeple knowing that their taxes are being raised. They decided to raise the city tax on utilities and in a burst of pure genius, decided to make a new 2% tax on landlords who own rentals. If you rent out an apartment for $500 per month, you owe the city $10 each month. It is important to the story to note that something like 45% of Hootervillians rent. Apparently, they don't understand that if you demand a tax on rents, the landlord will pass it on to the renter. Landlords and renters already know this. So, this evening, they had a public hearing on the matter before the mayor and council. In typical Hooterville fashion the city planning folks set up for 500 attendees. Within our city limits there is something like 200,000 folks living in rental housing, so they we betting that only 1 in 400 renters would show up to complain. I think when the first chartered bus of pissed off constituents showed up, they realized that they were in trouble. Each speaker before the council was limited to three minutes and it went on so long that the paper went to press while they were still speaking. No actual vote was taken by the council on any of the tax hikes, they reserved that for June when they hope that no one is paying attention. I'm predicting that they will tell the city manager that the rent tax is totally outrageous and then will congratulate themselves for taking a principled stand for the people. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

8 comments:

R.L. Bourges said...

Merle: are they such knuckleheads they won't understand that 'taking a principled stand for the people' allows them to put a $5 and 40 cents tax on the rentals instead of a $10 one? Most political knuckleheads I've known were at least smart enough to take advantage of an opportunity, once somebody else had been burned at the stake for suggesting it.

Steve said...

What's the point of having council members representing districts if they're elected at large? That's absurd.

Kurt said...

Nobody likes landlords.

Barbara said...

Of the people, by the people, but for the people? Raising anything right now is going to set a lot of people off. At some point everyone (including renters and landlords and homeowners and everyone else) is going to have to make some sacrifices if we are going to dig our way out of this gigantic fiscal pothole we seem to have created. Just be glad you're not one of those in charge of making the inevitable nasty decisions.

Maybe they can just give the illegal aliens temporary legal status and start taxing them. They would probably pay gladly...

dennis said...

Dennis is hoping to get a job as a co-pilot.

Nan Patience said...

gotta love busloads of sheeple

Catskill Snap said...

Peek Week Has Begun!

Megan said...

How can renters afford to charter a bus?