May 4th, 2008

Headpiano

Do Not Bug the Voter Who Needs to Get Home and Throw Up

I think I remember why I haven't eaten at a fast-food place in more than two years (or is it verging on 3?), and why I haven't eaten at a McDonald's in something like 4 years.

Their food makes me yak. I don't mean figuratively. I mean literally. I barely made it home for a horrible technicolor yawn.

I think I saw what I ate for breakfast yesterday.

*blerg*

I somehow managed to keep it together during grocery shopping. Because I felt like crap-o-la, I decided to hit up my local Hannaford's instead of going to the farm stand. Big mistake. My grocery bill made my eyes pop out of my head and may have contributed to the feeling of nausea.

Sadly, you can see the effects that the increased food prices are having. The 25-pound bags of rice have doubled in price in the last month, for example. Then there's the mysterious case of the shrinking food...i.e., bagels are the same price, but instead of getting 6 you get 4.

I don't even want to talk about the price of meat. It'll make me cry. Or throw up. Actually, given the way my stomach feels right now, I suspect option two is more likely.

Something strangely interesting to note, however: at least half the people shopping today brought their own re-usable shopping bags (including yours truly). I don't think I've seen a ratio that high in, oh, ever. What makes it doubly weird is that almost all of these reusable bags were from Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck), Trader Joe's (aka Half Your Paycheck, But For Brands You've Never Heard Of), and Costco (aka Enough Canned Goods To Last You One Year). My bagger was quite taken with my hot/cold bag from Sam's Club (a gift from the parents), because of it's size and handle locking mechanism. Seriously, it looked like we were all advertising that people should grocery shop somewhere else while paying for our Hannaford groceries.

Anyway, as I'm walking out of the store (complete with the feeling that I needed to yak getting ever-stronger), I was waylaid by two teens who wanted me to sign a petition to get their dad on the ballot for city government.

Let me admit here and now that I acted like a classic bitch. However, I tend to get that way when you hand me platitudes, no answers, and a brainless drumbeat of cutting taxes with no plan.

Dramatis Personnae:

    Bitchy Moi (BM)
    Campaigning Teen (CT)

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Aside from the desperate need to get home so I could toss my cookies in private, a lot of my frustration with these local "small government, no taxes, no spending" nitwits is because they're starting from a bevy of false assumptions and they always end up backtracking from their "small government, no taxes, no spending" promises.

And why is this?

The answer is simple: Not one of these people have actually sat down and glanced at a municipal budget, let alone read it from cover to cover, before they decide to run for public office.

That's right. Not. One. In 10 years of being a reporter, and *mumble mumble* years of being a regular ol' joanne who pays attention even when it's not election season, anytime someone runs for municipal office and their platform consists of "small government, no taxes, no spending," I can almost guarantee they've never seen a municipal budget in their lives. (Please note: There are always exceptions to this rule, but I can count the exceptions on one hand and have fingers left over. You can always tell the exceptions because they tend to have an actual plan as opposed to an empty-headed promise).

Look, a municipal budget isn't that big. We're not talking the federal budget here with its gazillion pages and arcane rules that allow for earmarks and additional spending after the budget has theoretically been approved. I'm not saying a municipal budget is small, but you can certainly read it in a couple of days.

So I would think that if you're running for city government on a platform of "small government, no taxes, no spending," you'd actually, I dunno, get a copy of the city budget and read it over so when a bitch like me comes along you'll be able to answer my questions. It's not like this is hard to get. City budgets are public records. By law, city hall has to give it to you if you ask for it.

Hell, when I was a reporter, I had to read municipal budgets all the time. I kept a copy of the damn thing (and sometimes there was more than one "damn thing") on my desk. So I don't think I'm asking for too much here.

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Look, I'm not saying that there's no fat in a municipal budget, because I'm sure there is (looking at you "business expenses" for city councilors). I'm just saying that anyone running for municipal public office should, I dunno, actually know how a city budget works. I'd think that'd be the minimum requirement, but that's just me.
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