Stevens Pointless: A message from your so-called leaders

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This might be the most-circulated of all Gary Larson cartoons on the internet (search Google Images for “larson blah blah” — it’s astounding). But maybe that’s because this so aptly summarizes so many situations, including Monday’s common council meeting.

Participating in the July 20 Stevens Point Common Council meeting as a citizen was like trying to swim from the downstream side of Hoover Dam to the upstream side. Even if you’re strong enough to go against the current down at the base, you’re not going to get past the dam shaft.

I’ve watched many Point council meetings on video, but I’d never attended one until Monday.  What I saw convinced me that, at least for now, many of our so-called local leaders are great at pinching pennies but don’t recognize good sense.

They still couldn’t figure out how to help the residents of Edgewater Manor.  They also rubber-stamped an opportunistic shafting of more than 200 homeowners in the former FEMA flood plain, who are being required to pay for seawall improvement near downtown Stevens Point.

The council’s peformance could be described in many ways. I may have a lot more to say about this, and perhaps other council issues, in the future. For now, I’ll just say that the council and the city of Stevens Point only seem to hear what they want to hear.

This was particularly true on the flood-control assessment issue. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a decision-making body get such a clear and unanimous mandate from its constituents, yet seem to care less about what any citizen said.  The homeowners stuck with the bill made their hardship clear; other citizens strongly affirmed their willingness to share the cost as a city and thought the rest of the city would be willing, too. The consensus was as solid as a concrete seawall. Continue reading

Another sure-fire way to save Wisconsin’s budget

Just pay the taxman, you deadbeat. Who do you think you are -- Popeye? (YouTube link)

Just pay the taxman, you deadbeat. Who do you think you are — Popeye? (YouTube link)

Dear Wisconsin Legislators:

I have been reading about your proposed $25 tax on the purchase of new bicycles in the state, but I have an even better idea: tax people for disagreeing with you.

Sure, a bike tax is a brilliant way to help kill everything from people to nature to clean air by encouraging the dirty, unhealthy and economically critical habit of driving uninsured deathtraps along our deteriorating highways and bridges.  It’s also a cleverly subtle attack on the profitability of the family business of our last Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

But there’s so much more you can do to reach your social and economic goals.

Seriously.  Until you can finish discouraging the populace from thinking, why not make everyone pay for disagreeing with you?  Something along the lines of $2 per reasonable idea ought to be plenty as a start.  Let’s call it the Rational Thought Tax.

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Words count, even on Facebook

It's increasingly difficult to avoid Facebook. Click for an interesting post on "digital diplomacy."

It’s increasingly difficult to avoid Facebook. (From “The Public Diplomat” blog; click for original post)

The just-announced entry by the New York Times and other major media into Facebook should put to rest any doubt about the importance of social media for communication.

I finally got on the Facebook bandwagon a little more than four years ago, when Wisconsin’s political attacks on education and the middle and lower classes began. Since then, I’ve mostly followed Facebook news and groups, rarely posting except to reply to friends as an occasional method for conversing in the virtual world.

There are a number of reasons for stepping up my Facebook and other social media activity.  Among them is my disappointment with more conventional local means of governance — especially after UW-Stevens Point’s baffling decision to disempower its faculty senate.

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