Cal Beverly's blog

Priorities of local government — Part III

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I shifted one word in the column title, from “essentials” to “priorities.”

That’s the shift that some local governments need to make as well: Determine what local government services are absolutely essential and then prioritize from that point.

In my first column, I put “Public Safety” at the head of the list of absolute essentials. “If government does nothing else, it must keep our persons and our property safe from attack, confiscation and destruction,” I said in Part I. Read More»

Part 2: What does ‘essential’ mean locally?

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We began a conversation last week about defining the essential functions of local government. I placed as my number one priority public safety.

I have since been challenged online about what “essential” really means. The assertion was that I define “essential” based on my biases. So let’s see if we can come to a common agreement on our terms.

Let me be more precise: I define “essential” as closer to an absolute rather than a relative term.

For example, judge between these two choices: Read More»

Local government: What is essential?

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I pose the big question in the headline above so that we can begin a discussion about what we can reasonably expect from our local governments. This is part one.

Before that, let’s focus on one single word that forms the basis for all the laws of economics: Scarcity.

Economist Thomas Sowell (the wisest man in the Western Hemisphere, in my opinion) puts it this way: “What does ‘scarce’ mean? It means that what everybody wants adds up to more than there is. ... There has never been enough to satisfy everybody completely.” Read More»

What to make of our Fayette governments

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First of all, the two local governments that seem to be working most efficiently and with the most careful stewardship of the taxpayers’ money are Fayetteville and Tyrone. Read More»

Local officials and the party that always wins

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What relation do stated political party affiliations have with positions taken by many — maybe most — local elected officials?

Answer: No relationship whatsoever to the votes and non-votes that matter the most.

For example, forget that all five Fayette County commissioners run on the Republican ballot. At least four of the five are really joint members of the real but unnamed party that controls Fayette County: The Government Party. Read More»

How bad is it? Well, just let me tell you . . .

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Just for fun, here is a gleaning of opinions that go under the general headings of “How bad is ...?” and “What now?”

How bad is our national jobless situation? This from Mort Zuckerman of U.S. News and World Report:

“Altogether, the 9 percent headline figure is an illusory portrait of the situation across the country, representing 13,863,000 men and women out of work. What happens if you add to that the 8.4 million ‘involuntary’ part-time employed, whose hours have been cut back? Then you get a household unemployment rate slightly under 17 percent. ... Read More»

2 years ago vs. today

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Two years ago this week — November 2008 — I wrote the following words in this space:

“Important election at a time of crisis:

“I can remember one other election since 1964 that has as much import as this year’s: 1980 and the seismic shift to a man of hope, Ronald Reagan.

“The nation was changed dramatically — many would say for the better. Read More»

Tea Party AWOL on local nanny governments

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Query: If all politics is local — as many say — have local Tea Partiers gone blind to over-reaching government in their own backyards?

Or are Tea Partiers effectively co-opted by local pols’ self-serving participation in the local Tea Party groups and thus prevented from seeing any evil in governments smaller than state level?

If so, smaller-government activists are missing prime targets for their blunt weapons.

Exhibit in point: Peachtree City’s government by survey. Read More»

The coming showdown with public employees

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Few in the media have drawn the lines between the increasing dots in our national financial meltdown. The raw numbers are being reported; the obvious conclusions have not been drawn. I take no pleasure in what I am concluding; nevertheless, here are the data. Judge whether my conclusions are warranted.

California leads the nation in budget toxicity. The state’s generous public employee pension system is the biggest of the black holes in that state’s descent into bankruptcy. Read More»

A column of ‘what ifs’

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Something different this week, something that may prove uncomfortable for many of you.

I expect some of my readers who profess different faiths — or no faith at all — to disagree, discount or otherwise disregard this particular installment. To you who disagree, I mean good will toward you, and I hope you will re-join me at a future date.

This will be a column of “what ifs.”

But first, some background — ancient background. Read More»

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