A few loud trees can really obscure your view of the forest that remains silent.
The key to looking good is the right comparison.
Richelle Goodrich said, “Because gray clouds hang heavy with misery, blue skies seem bluer.”
That is never more true than during governmental budget season. It is fun to watch a governing body compare and contrast and rationalize why they need the proposed budget in front of them.
If your city or school district is lower than others in the area, you will see charts with your budget at the bottom even though it may be increasing a little.
If you are able to lower the tax burden on your constituents, you point out the savings.
If you are already higher than those around you and going up, you point out how small the actual increase is.
“This is only 50 cents a month more,” might be a common refrain. If the increase is bigger, you might have to break that down into a daily increase to make the amount seem small.
“For less than the price of a can of soda each day,” they say.
But I don’t want to give up that can of soda. I like my soda. Half of the fluid in my body is Diet Coke. I don’t need cities, schools and the state taking any more of my Diet Coke away.
I think people in government at every level forget how generally understanding and intelligent most people are that they govern because they spend most of their time speaking with the angry, outspoken few.
In the case of the City of Augusta, a simple justification is easy to reach for a small increase in the mill levy.
They could cut the budget to fund some of these projects, but that isn’t always the best idea. Before the debt service on several large projects kicks in a couple of years from now, they better get some things done.
A small increase now might help them avoid a big increase in a couple of years.
I wish more people who believe their school board members and city councilors were doing a good job would send an email or make a call to let them know.
It is hard to know for sure what people want and when all you hear is the rabble rousers.
Those few loud trees can really obscure your view of the forest that remains silent.
Why is he running?
In other political news, I don’t understand the Anthony Wiener situation in New York City.
The guy resigns from Congress because he was caught sending inappropriate photos to women. His “sexting” cost him his current job and future in politics.
But that didn’t stop him from running for Mayor of New York City. Once again, the Democrat is embroiled in a scandal involving sending inappropriate photos to women.
He knew he had sent the photos after all of the newspaper and magazine articles about him becoming a new man had been printed. He had to know they would come out.
It was bad enough that he resigned from Congress but he never hesitated to throw his hat in the ring for Mayor.
I guess when he saw a guy on the other side of the ticket who had been governor until a prostitution scandal caught up to him, Wiener figured he had a chance in a battle of the scandals.
Surely in a city of more than eight million people, there are a few qualified people who haven’t been caught in illicit behavior to lead the city.
I know you have all heard the complaints about Facebook friends who spend their lives showing you way too much of their lives.
You went for a walk? Was that before or after you ate that incredible dinner? What did the thermostat in your car say the temperature outside was?
People are funny.
But I can deal with all of that. What I find myself wondering is how we terrorized each other before being able to share items on Facebook.
Human trafficking rings, problems with contact lenses, exploding cell phones and light bulbs that are causing fires all fill timelines.
How did people tell me I needed to be very afraid before Facebook? Surely, something happened that all of the people in your address book needed to know. Did people make copies and mail it to everyone they knew?
Maybe we should go back to that. I know most people who do it mean well. But at some point, you need to stop posting stuff on Facebook and let me find out about these nightmarish scenarios on my own.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org