Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Democratsy En Axcion

We're halfway through the Charter changes and now into the real meat of the issue. If you have any opinions on this whole thing it's likely in regards to questions 3 & 4.

You've probably seen the signs around town that say something to the effect of, "save our right to vote" and then say vote no on 3 & 4. In my professional opinion, that is an oversimplification of the situation... also called politics.

Question three deals with reducing the size of county government from 19 to 11 members, keeping current Knox County employees from also holding concurrent positions on County Commission, a prohibition on nepotism, and a requirement to disclose conflicts of interest.

Yep, it's pretty in depth, but no worries- we will examine all of it here, and I'll keep it as short as possible.

First if any of you caught it, there was a debate on Newstalk 100 last night about the changes, it was rather educational.

Now to quickly run through the points of this change:

1. Reducing the size of the County Commission from 19 to 11. I see both sides of this. I am a strong believer in ample representation, but also believe that too many cooks spoil the broth- right now there are too many cooks. The long and the short of it is that we need to move to a more streamlined, smaller, and unified government and if we can begin by shrinking the County Commission, then so be it.

2. Keeping Knox County employees from double dipping. No holding a seat on Commission while also running the county's parks department, makes complete sense. The big argument against is because of the teacher thing, where this would prohibit teachers from serving, but we need those elected to be as independent as possible. You can't be independent if your financial well being depends on the government you are supposed to represent for others.

3. Prohibition against nepotism. Write in Spellings, Write out Nepotism, anyone remember that mantra? Well I do, this is a no brainer here. No more putting family into positions of power. Our government will be held accountable, and will look more like a family tree with lots of branches and less like a family fork.

4. A requirement to disclose conflicts of interest. Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. I want to know what my commissioner stands to gain from the use of my tax money. No more brother-in-law deals, no more selling that old useless piece of swampland to the county for the new middle school at 10 times market value, and no more using your position on county commission to help you (the commissioner) improve your business on the tax payers dime.

And that's it.

Question three is a bit omnibus, but that can't be helped I guess. You'll continue to hear more about this in the coming days from local media and such, so keep an eye out and try to make an informed decision.

For my part, I'm in favor of question three and I will recommend that you consider also supporting it.

Todays Verdict:


stan said...

why does the opposition say "save our right to vote?"

Beta169 said...

I relation to questions three it *might* be referring to to fact that the amendment would reduce the number of commissioners and therefore the number of commission seats voted on. That's a mighty big stretch though.

I think its closer to the truth that the slogan is put on the signs to scare and influence voters who can't or won't taken the two minutes to read or otherwise learn about the amendment.

ck said...

i'm not sure i get your family vs. family fork analogy, but good analysis, pol. the charter amendment group did research on other cities our size, and NO ONE has 19 commissioners. our government is unwieldy, not to mention that that's 8 big salaries taxpayers won't have to foot anymore.

The Modern Gal said...

Great analysis again. Thanks so much for doing this ... it definitely makes me feel more comfortable voting on these things.

I do find it strange that there are so many issues on one question, but I guess they're pretty strongly related.

Anonymous said...

The dead horse. Stop beating it. This democracy in action crap that's being posted every other day is causing me to frequent this site less and less.

stan said...

he must be one of those "save our right to vote" guys. always trying to ruin our fun.

Beta169 said...

Yeah, how DARE you post about issues effecting Knoxville on a blog about Knoxville. FORSHAME!!!


max said...

i'll post a pretty picture soon to water down the tension on here. seriously.