Who’s gonna pay?

Hoo Boy, I love’s me a City Council Candidate Forum! Them’s candidates just say the dumbest dandiest of things.

Take Kathy Greathouse, candidate to replace Marilyn Marler in Ward 6, who was explaining her dislike of SID’s and other maintenance districts. Last night, Kathy said, “It’s just a tax to cover what the city budget doesn’t cover anymore.”

OK, I’ll admit that I don’t like the nickel and diming approach to paying for our city’s infrastructure. Every time we vote, either directly through the ballot for a mill increase or indirectly through the passage of SIDs by City Council, we are raising our taxes. It’s just that each little piece seems important enough. After all, how else are we going to pay for our fire stations, storm water systems, schools, museums, sidewalks, weed control, street sweeping and such?

Listening to the other ‘conservative’ candidates might help us answer that. According to the Missoulian, John Quandt, a candidate for Ward 3 where Bob Jaffe is the incumbent, isn’t in favor of maintenance districts unless there’s an offset for property owners. I guess that means that non-property owners will pay more!

Furthermore, Quandt suggests another way: community members who care about their neighborhood can volunteer. I know how well that’s going to work out. With our busy, busy lives we’ll now all be out there plowing the streets, teaching our neighbors children, forming a posses to round up the criminals, and giving immunizations at the city health clinics!

Then we throw in Ryan Morton, candidate for Ward 1 against Dave Strohmaier, who says there must be a decrease in general taxes as part of the package. Ward 5 Councilman Dick Haines agrees, saying he would lop $2 million off the city’s budget.

Do you get the pattern? Their vision for the city is no SID’s, an offset of taxes for property owners, and a lowering of general taxes. I don’t think the conservative candidates addressed impact fees (i.e. those who cause the impact should pay), but if they tow the building industry line they’ll be against them. Neither do they talk about local sales tax options, but the Republicans in the last State legislature were against them.

So, boil it all down and no-one should pay! Everyone will like that, right?

Down with government. Bad Government. And these are the people who are asking to run the local government? eek.

Game over, pal

After nearly eight months, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has finally acceded to the will of the Minnesota public. He certified the results of the election that will seat Al Franken as the junior senior.

Why the delay? All round grumpy person, Norm Coleman had filed a legal complaint. Turns out he didn’t have a strong legal case, after all. He, and his fellow Republicans, filed thousands of pages of legal documents, cost everyone millions of dollars, and had left many ordinary Minnesotans weary.

The only winners were the Republican legal team, certainly not the Republican party in Minnesota (and elsewhere). It has left them not only with egg on their face, but facing claims of obstructionism and of failing to recognize they lost.

Both claims are increasingly being leveled at Republicans at the national level. They’ve become the party of ‘No’. This is not an effective political strategy, nor is it good governance. An effective minority party needs to not only point out the faults of the administration but also to present a viable alternative. That is, don’t just say things are wrong but explain why they are the wrong way to proceed and what a better approach might look like. Otherwise, it just feels like you’re a sore loser, having taken your bat and ball and gone home.