Politi­cians live their lives by only two rules

Record Observer - - Opinion - RICK KOLLINGER

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.

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