Monday, August 10, 2009

THE PRIORITY OF PRIORITIES

The political selling season is now upon us. Within the next few weeks and months, the citizens can expect to hear all kinds of little statements, some factual, and some totally lacking in actualities. These statements, will be used to frame a campaign and hopefully sell a candidate to the public.

One must ask a very simple question of the incumbents. “If you have not successfully completed some of your priorities in the last four years, what assurance will the voters have, that you can do any better in the coming four years?”

In one town, the Mayor and part of the council ran on a platform full of ideas and priorities. One such priority was the controlling of growth , and if any growth took place, making sure it would have some meaning and value for those already living in the town.
The citizens accepted a list of priorities that included the growth issue, with the expectation, that a word on the issue by their home town politicians was as good as a signed contract. It shortly became obvious, the priority of growth with purpose, as promised, was not really part of their leadership plan. The opposite took place with most of the politicians cheering and cart wheeling on the side lines over growth, when they were not representing developers. Now these same people are running again, and as in the previous start, a list of priorities is being presented to the people, and yes, you guessed it, on the short list is “growth with a purpose”. Of course, this exact wording may not be found on the list, since each one of the incumbents, must now sell themselves once again to the public, so this issue is framed in feel good words and phases.. But everyone should remember, if purposeful growth was not accomplished in the last four years, it is quite likely, no such thing will be happening in the up coming four years, if the same group gets back in..

In another town, the list of priorities is also coming out. And like the previous town, they sound wonderful and are geared to make citizens feel warm and fuzzy. But they seem, from previous experience, to be just talking points. Hope may spring eternal for many, but citizens must fully understand, another four years, by all accounts, will not produce any more success on the important issues. If the current leaders did not produce on what was promised, there is something wrong. They had 1460 days to make good on the promises they were so quick to make while seeking your vote.

In this other city, one of the priorities seems to center on traffic and traffic control. But citizens need to remember, this issue was on the list from the last four years, and since that election cycle, traffic control plans have been non-existent. When traffic concerns were brought up by the people, and experts on traffic, with a myriad of studies, the whole issue was brushed off, and the those making their concerns known, were dismissed as “chicken littlies“. Comments by the elected ones and those they appointed, went on to say, that sounding the alarm on this issue was unnecessary, since there was no need to worry until 2030. Well, 2030 is not here yet, and traffic is out of control, and once again, it is election time, and yes, once again, the people are hearing as part of the priorities of the incumbents, “we need to control traffic and make a plan.
No one should forget, that for many years, there was a plan, but in the last few years, the plan was kicked around, laughed at and modified with careless strokes, to the point, that it seems to have little value if any at all.

The season of “the priority of priorities” is upon us. We will hear lots of promises. Many incumbents and maybe some others as well, may need to stretch the truth, to make the point of how serious their particular priority is.

Value in a pudding is always in the taste, and right now, this pudding of growth and traffic, is very bitter. The big question for all voters in every city, and town is this: If they did not live up to the promises of the last four years, is it believable they will change in the next four years if re-elected? This is an issue of accountability. Every incumbent, needs to be scrutinized and held accountable for their failures and praised for their successes. But by no means, should a simple success on one issue, remove them from being held accountable on promises made, but not kept, on another.

For one town, the priority is growth, for another, it is traffic. But in reality, whether you live in one town or another, in this season of selling, one should remember, the current group had their hands on the controls, but still could not get the car in gear on these issues. For the next four years on the issues of traffic and growth, the people need those who can smoke the tires and get up to speed. Does it sound like we need new drivers?

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