What About This?

By Wayne William Cipriano

They say the Covid-19 “Protect the World and Everyone in It” or whatever they are calling that 1.9 TRILLION DOLLAR spending bill has 350 BILLION DOLLARS in it for state, local, and tribal entities.

Wow! What a fabulous opportunity for corruption not just de luxe, but perhaps as large an opportunity to steal that might make even those in D.C. sit up and take notice. I’ll bet they’d like to find a place where such ripoffs do not happen, like Douglas County. 

Here in Douglas County, we spend a huge portion of our taxes on our schools. I think there is something like 130 BILLION DOLLARS tucked away in that bill for schools. We might get some of that. But even more in need of financial help here in Douglas County is our infrastructure – our county roads and such – which are in pathetic condition right now.

When people run for offices that bear the responsibility of our county byways, those folks should look at the needs, look at the resources, look at the personnel, and decide if they can do the job.

Anyone, even me, who don’t know jack about roads, can run for such an office, maybe win an election, collect the salary, do the hiring, distribute the budget, and then announce the needs are too large, the resources too small, the personnel unable, and thus the job cannot be done well.

But if I run for office and win, then the job needs to be done. Well. Or I need to resign and clear the way for someone else to do the job well. “Can’t be done with what I have.” or “I’m doing the best I can.” are not acceptable excuses. Who cares if I can’t make the budget ends meet? Who cares if I am doing the best I can? Who cares if the people I hired are not performing? If the budget won’t work, or my best is not enough, or the guys I hired aren’t doing well, it is my fault. Period. Why? Because the people who elected me expected me to understand the challenges I was taking on and had a plan to get the job done.

If not, what? Was I the best-looking candidate? The only Italian on the ballot? The guy who needs the salary the most? Getting the job done is what the voters who elected me expected, not a litany of excuses explaining why it is impossible.

Some would say we have to have someone to fill the office, and anyone is better than nobody. That seems to be an excellent way to continue having the job remain poorly done or undone forever.

Perhaps if no one ran for the office because the needs are too great for the available resources, more resources would be allocated. Sounds like a plan to me. 

Which brings me to my point. Do you think we could snag some of that 350 BILLION DOLLARS for our county to use for upgrading or at least maintaining our infrastructure?

There would have to be someone in our county government tasked to deal with those long, involved, repetitious, mind-numbing forms and applications to bring some of those Federal bucks here. And when the complicated process to corral some of that money gets even more complicated in a losing effort to prevent theft, our person would have to rewrite the applications, prepare the new forms, re-submit our requests all over again. That county official would just have to outlast the winnowing process designed to filter out those mendicants who don’t really need the loot.

So, let’s get those applications, those requests, those forms started. Let’s become a pain in someone’s neck, always asking how our requests are going, how close are we to the money. Let’s be first in line and last one standing in a concentrated effort to get our county some fiscal help. For our roads and such, do we need more graders, more operators, more backhoes, more steel, more concrete, more culverts? Whatever we need to get these county roads in good shape soon and keep them like that from now on.

Hey, maybe we could even get some asphalt on a road or two that doesn’t lead to a golf course.

Sure, there are lots of things our county would like to have, even needs to have. And better county roads have to be near the top of that wish list. Let’s get moving on a program to grab some of that 350 BILLION DOLLARS for our county.

And let’s get rolling soon.

What do you say?