Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Not sure if I should be happy or sad.

A while back our state representative sent us, and the rest of her constituency I presume, a note asking for comments regarding our state budget, which was under review. I'm sure she expected, and received, a great many brief notes from people who had a problem with this or that line item, and wanted it increased or decreased accordingly.

But you know me - I couldn't help myself. I wrote up a several pages long analysis of current and future economic trends, included many of my favorite charts and graphs, related them to various industries and policies of our state and how our budget priorities need to be changed to deal with changing economic conditions. My husband added in a few observations of his own, as someone with several decades of experience in the city's long range planning division. And so we sent it off, being fairly certain some aide would glance at it and then its final resting place would be "file 13." (If you're not familiar with that term, you're way younger than I am, LOL.) A short while later, we received a customary "thank you for your input" reply, as I recall. Oh, well. We did our civic duty - even if nobody listened.

Or did they?

Imagine my surprise when I returned home after a long and crazy day (including a very lively job interview), and found this note on my desk with the mail pile:

Wow. She actually read it - herself! And agreed with it, no less. Woo-hoo! Yea! My paper was well received and proved accurate!

But alas, it was to no avail, apparently. Darn (or insert expletive of your choice here), it didn't make a bit of difference.

Should I be happy? Sad? Or simply resigned to the inevitable? I'm not sure.

Back in February of 2007 I made a similar type of presentation (but with somewhat different content and focus) to our local city-county planning commission, which does our local area development plan revision every 5 years (as is required by our state law). I prepared a mere 10 minute speech and gave copies of it to all the commission members. I was one of several presenters. I decided not to mince words, but to explain very clearly and directly what the problems were going to be over the projected 20 year range of the plan and what actions needed to take place to address those problems. After all, a few minutes is not a lot of time. So it's not like they didn't understand the problems or their future severity, because I made sure I wasn't beating around the bush at all. My sources were from the US Govt and international agencies, top economists and highly regarded analysts - not crackpot fringe elements.

But not a single one of those recommendations was adopted into the development plan, nor any acknowledgement of the actual problems and issues I presented to them, even if they didn't like my solutions and preferred to come up with their own.

Not one.

Oh, well. I did my civic duty, even if nobody listened.

And I will continue to do it, however a long shot it may be. As I recently replied to a comment from a good friend on my facebook page, "if we just keep hitting the flint, surely some spark will eventually catch."

And if nothing else, I have passed my love of the community on to my son, who has just been accepted to the University this fall with a major in political science.

I was surprised at his choice of major, since he has taken so many architectural and engineering courses and done well with them as part of his high school studies. I said, jokingly, "Didn't I disabuse you of all that silly youthful idealism?"

He replied, "Apparently not."

Hope springs eternal. For that, we should be happy. The quest for a fair and economically sound future will go forward, however slowly - and that is a good thing.

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