Politicians live their lives by only two rules
Politics comes from the Latin word poli, meaning many and tic, meaning blood sucking creatures.
It’s amazing how easily politicians can make the problems they’ve created your problems, at which time they then propose solutions. For all their talk of the “public good” and “making for a better tomorrow today,” they really have only two rules.
No. 1. Look out for their self-interest and No. 2. Get re-elected (refer to Rule No. 1).
Many years ago when I was living in Ocean City I observed this rule in action. Two politicians ran against one another every four years. One owned a carry-out market at 44th Street and the other owned a motel at 45th Street. When the motel owner would win an election, the traffic light on Coastal Highway would be moved to 45th Street. When the carry-out owner would win, the light would be moved to 44th Street. It apparently was advantageous to have a traffic light at your bidness. The idea of the public’s being better served by the light at either location never entered the discussion.
There also came a time when a town councilman who owned a hotel downtown was going to have to replace the sidewalks around his hotel which had been reduced to rubble. This was going to be an expensive proposition since the hotel took up an entire city block and the hotel owner would have to pick up half the tab for the new sidewalk. The city would pay for the other half. The determination on when a sidewalk needed to be replaced was when it reached a minimum height above the roadway.
The city lowered the street. In both these cases the politicians reverted to Rule No. 1.
Keep these two rules in mind when considering the question Queen Anne’s County voters will decide on their next election ballot. The question is whether four of the commissioners should be elected only from their districts and not county-wide as is currently the case. One commissioner would remain at-large and represent the entire county.
The argument County Commissioner Jim Moran and Church Hill Commissioner Charlie Rhodes make is that by-district representation would be more fair and balanced (cheaper for the candidates, Rule No. 1) and “would reduce the turnover in county
commissioners” (Rule No. 2). The thinking here is that if you have the entire Capone Gang on the commission you’d only be able to get rid of them piecemeal instead of all at once. This would be a good thing for the gang members, if not for the population.
Having commissioners that are district-sensitive could lead to the following scenario.
Joe Dean (District 3): “Earl Bob (District 1), I need a little help. My niece Jolene can’t find a job nowheres an’ she’s got four little children to feed. It’s been tough on her since she dropped out of the eighth grade. What kin I do fer you to hep me get her a job with the Department of Hindsight?”
Earl Bob: “Well now, that’s unfortunate about Jolene but maybe I kin hep. Earlene, my missus has got just a house full of Beanie Babies that’s stacked up to the walls and fillin’ up the garage. She says she cain’t git nothin’ like what she paid for ‘em anywheres an’ she’s looked on eBay an’ everything. Here’s whut we kin do. If you’ll agree to spend $30 million on a Beanie Baby Museum up here featuring Earlene’s collection, I’ll vote for Jolene’s gifting a job with the Department of Hindsight.”
Joe Dean: “That sounds good to me, but where we gonna git the third vote at?”
Earl Bob: “Well, I think Sally Kay’s got her some land she’s trying to unload. I think if we offer her around $2 million for her 10 acres she’d be votin’ with us. We kin say it’s for a county marina.”
Joe Dean: “Ain’t that propity 30 miles from the nearest water?”
Earl Bob: “Mebbe we kin git the state to use Open Space money. It ain’t like we’re spending our own money.”
Rule No. 1.