Friday, November 09, 2007

Election Results - parks and recreation

Another result from the USA's November 6th elections was the approval of a ballot referendum authorizing my local city council (Apple Valley, Minnesota) to spend $14.4 million on current and future parks and recreation facilities. This ballot issue was supported by 59% of voters because essentially if you voted against it -- like I did -- then you just hated children although I have two children myself plus I live a much more active lifestyle than the average citizens in our community.

But as with the advocacy campaigns for "Pre-K" education if parks are "for the kids" then the herd mentality tends to take over as was the case with this vote. Now I love parks and recreation programs but instead of simply voting in higher tax levels I offered two suggestions when I talked with my fellow citizens about this ballot vote. I proposed that instead of taxing ourselves more we should consider:

  • Forcing our city council to sell/privatize our municipally-owned liquor stores then use the proceeds to improve our parks and recreation department. Question -- what type of employees should a city government have if it must employ people at all -- liquor store workers or park rangers/sports managers? I say -- SELL THE BOOZE AND BUY SOME SOCCER BALLS!!
  • Forcing our city council to sell our municipally-owned golf course to the highest bidder but since this sacred cow is protected by the city bureaucracy and local "pride" I guess then my back up option/suggestion to the city leaders was to combine the senior center upgrades with the proposed golf club house upgrades so we end up with a joint use facility. Now doesn't that make sense given that many retirees spend their time playing golf so they would be on site anyway or I am just reinforcing a stereotype?

Raising taxes is NOT the only solution assuming we have any desire to think creatively but given our political leadership today such critical and creative thinking is an unknown exercise.

See you at the park,


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