We in Merced City are far from the steely-eyed, realty-backed political leadership of our boom-time mayor, Ellie Wooten, a woman with a keen wit and a keen eye for her next buck. Now, we got Mayor Billy, Babbitt Incarnate, an individual who has never ventured beyond the never-never-land of Republican ideology of denunciation of "tax-and-spend liberals" except when Babbittry controls the public purse.
But, to be fair to Mayor Billy, the entire political class, our august leaders, the ones we actually elect for some reason, believe it is their burden and duty to put a happy face on our economic collapse. They take refuge in a Future of Prosperity if only the taxpayers sacrifice today.
Sound familiar? From back in the day when Development was supposed to pay for Growth and we were building houses for that mythical population of people who didn't even know they would ever come to live in Merced and, instead, built houses for bottom-feeding flippers.
Where is that damn Land of Milk and HOney anyway? Consider the poll that convinced all good people in the county that Measure C was the best thing since sliced bread. If you ask a few hundred people if they would like to "save farmland," the chances are most will say, yes. If you run a signature drive outside supermarkets asking people if they'd like to "save farmland," chances are you will get enough signatures for your initiative -- as long as you don't make the actual text of the measure available for folks to read before they sign. The problem with Measure C was that eventually people had to try to read the thing, whereupon they realized it was a legal goulash containing spices unfamiliar to the Merced palate. So they voted it down.
Bad polls make bad politics. The "scientific and professional" hustlers in the pollster world are no better than the subprime marketeers this town has seen. Merced, "dumbest town in the US" by government test, is a MARK. Perhaps our local gullability was best described by former Sun-Star reporter Gary L. Jones in his imperishable lead on a Castle scam story: "Ding, ding, ding goes the bell. Bounce, bounce, bounce goes the check..."
Badlands Journal editorial board
Opinion - Letters to the Edito
Conrad Fournier: Tax survey
Editor: Will the citizens of Merced support a tax increase?
That was the $25,000 question asked by our City Council recently when they commissioned an out-of-town firm to make 400 phone calls (at $62.50 apiece).
One needs not look any further than the survey itself to understand why a tax increase is wanted by our leaders. Obviously, to fund more waste. The payment for this survey was another example of blatant wastefulness of our tax money.
I doubt that the survey was really needed. I know what my answer would be. If, however, it needed to be done, why not bring back a couple of furloughed city workers to make the calls.
We could have saved a bundle, kept the money here and made Christmas a bit happier for a couple of our local families.