Sue Nash, the Press-Enterprise editorial board and the Town Crier have overlapping but dissimilar views of good government.
A once well-known Massachusetts Democratic Congressman, Tip O’Neill, replied “All politics is local,” when asked about a campaign strategy.
O’Neill, Speaker of the House for 10 years, demonstrated its validity in 1982, when he defended a national jobs bill in the Republican minority leader’s district. He provided the Indiana media with a long list of the projects and jobs that would occur there if the bill passed.
We all want good government. It’s suppose to serve and benefit the people, the citizens, the voters, not the bureaucrats.
This isn’t a lesson on democratic or representative government. But we elect congresswomen, assemblymen, senators (state and federal) and supervisors to represent us.
We cannot rely on federal, state or county functionaries to represent us. They seldom live in or even know what our community needs or wants. (Sometimes even we don’t.)
So I agree with Ms. Nash that a Municipal Advisory Committee or eventually a Community Service District would bring government and many public decisions closer to the residents and taxpayers who must live with those choices.
But I disagree with her reasoning, because it is reflective of the Press-Enterprise, which last week wrote about and opposed “disjointedly spreading money around for political benefit.”
The editorial was referring to the Riverside County Supervisors’ use of County Improvement Funds. The editorial was written after the paper published a story about the use of these funds and how current opponents to Second District Supervisor Bob Buster characterize them as political largesse.
They even alleged the money is used to gain elective support. Is that why you did or will vote to re-elect Jeff Stone?
A year ago, Marshall Smith reported that Stone had given more than $2 million to Idyllwild groups and organizations in the past three years. That number has grown since then. Do you think Idyllwild is the core base and foundation of Stone’s political career? Do our 3,000 votes prop him up in office?
Despite living in California, the Hill’s biggest threat is conflagration, not an earthquake. Fuel breaks are tools which provide protection and time for more fire support.
It’s the apparatchiks, not the elected members, in Washington that reduce or refuse to provide money for fuel break maintenance. Hazardous fuels money for the San Bernardino National Forest (including this district) has been cut 97 percent — almost to nothing.
It was over $35 million a few years ago and is now about $1.4 million. That’s good government? But Rep. Jerry Lewis, who is retiring, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein ensure the funds were directed here. How?
Earmarking the money in appropriation bills is a common and long-approved practice and a way to ensure that representative government is achieved. Not all earmarks are for private business or bridges to nowhere.
While the P-E doesn’t wrap Community Improvement Funds in the cloth of earmarks, the idea is the same — bad politicians are stealing our taxes to protect their careers.
If they can’t help their constituents, how can they help the county, state or nation?
Political machines do exercise bad government, but those abuses can be regulated without eradicating the “local” nature and need of government.
This is where Sue and I agree.