Chris Graham: Our city, not theirs
Recent personal experiences have been pushing me into territory that I, as a lifelong liberal, had never thought possible. Government power, particularly at the local level, is out of control, and seriously needs to be reined in, and now.
For all the talk from the anti-government right about Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi et al, the real issue isn’t D.C. as much as it is City Hall. That’s where the people with the power to mess with your daily lives reside.
Who oversees, for example, your local police department? By and large, it’s not your local newspaper, for whom the economic model that allowed for reporters covering various beats is a thing of the past, and the staff investigative journalist is even more a relic.
Look at the situation here in my hometown, Waynesboro. Almost a month ago, a cop car rammed into a car being driven by a citizen. If it had been the other way around, you can guarantee that said citizen would have been charged with a traffic offense, if not arrested on the spot.
I’ve made several inquiries into the status of the investigation, and to date have not received even an acknowledgement that the inquiries have been received.
Talk about arrogance.
When we finally do get something from the PD, it’s going to be a poorly written press release exonerating the officer and still somehow placing no charges against the civilian driver whose car was plowed into a nearby building.
How convenient, that.
And then how about the several cases of late involving so-called dangerous dogs that their owners and numerous supporters are saying are anything but dangerous?
Meanwhile, you’ve got code-enforcement officers out telling a guy that he can’t give away Christmas trees for suggested donations to help raise money for cancer research. And the City Council is approving millions for scrub brush owned by large campaign contributors in over their heads on a bad investment.
And then we’re told that we don’t have money to meet basic, essential needs in our school systems, and yet we blow gobs of it on school-resource officers whose main job is to sit in offices tucked away in corners of oversized administrative suites filling out reports about what they didn’t do last month and aren’t going to do next month.
We have an economic-development office that produces nice brochures that don’t sell the city. And the tourism office, while it tries really hard, and is successful to a great degree in pulling down state grants, will never be able to overcome that Waynesboro simply isn’t a tourist destination, and that it’s therefore an absolute waste to try to entice people here, for what, our chain restaurants? Our chain stores? Our proximity to lots of nice places where actual interesting things go on regularly?
The only department in City Hall worth a damn is the one that makes sure that our garbage is picked up every week.
Here’s a suggestion for our local government. How about just getting the hell out of our damn way so that those of us who have business acumen can rebuild our local economy and in the process provide the revenues to educate our kids to be able to take our places when the time comes?
I’m starting to appreciate the wisdom of Grover Norquist, the faux libertarian whose mantra is to reduce the size of government so that you could drown it in a bathtub.
Aside from the guys on the trash trucks, I wouldn’t give you a warm pitcher of spit for the lot of the so-called brain trust in our City Hall.
The city police don’t make me feel safe. The local schools are failing. The economic-development director is overpaid and underperforming.
Somehow, some way, several private businesses are finding ways to thrive in spite of the nonsense that we get from our overpriced, ineffective local government.
Waynesboro is still a beautiful city filled with wonderful people who work hard and spend countless hours of their free time to make their little corner of the world a better place.
As for our government, wholesale changes are in order. I’d clean house of the group of them, starting with the city manager and making my way down.
That would send the message. This is our city, not theirs.