Solving problems by common sense and courtesy.
“An old recipe for a rabbit dish starts out, ‘First, catch the rabbit.’
“That puts first things first,” writes Charles Swindol in his book “Man to Man.”
“No rabbit, no dish.”
That certainly simplifies things. Or at least you’d think it would.
Complicated however, is concocting a rabbit stew when there are too many chefs and not enough cooks or, in the case of a massive logjam on the Deschutes River in Thurston County a dozen years ago: too many contemplative commissioners and not enough tax payers paying attention.
At least initially.
Winter floods, according to the story carried in the Tacoma News Tribune, August 27, 2002, “deposited a hellacious tangle of logs, roots and branches – a 1,200-foot-long logjam – diverting the river’s waters onto 22 adjacent lots.”
After spending more than $100,000 “studying the problem,” a hired consultant reported that “clearing the river could cost up to $1.6 million.”
Understandably gagging on both project and price served up by those who’d slaved away seeking a solution, impacted property owners took on the task themselves, not only finishing the job in less than three weeks but for a total of $8,000 – the result of renting equipment from a local logger who offered his services at no charge, volunteer labor, and nixing the idea of a $1 million bypass channel.
Meanwhile members of a nearby church split the logs and donated them to the needy.
How government can turn a floppy eared rabbit into a full-course Crème brûlée of foie gras to be followed by Lapin a La Cocotte (French Rabbit Stew) amounting to a “monumental and prohibitively expensive affair,” is a recipe concocted on a fairly regular basis by those with your money to spend while you, the taxpayer picking up the tab, are out to lunch.
Just recent examples include, but most certainly are not limited to, laying out “$3,600 for lip balm, $12,000 for personalized vest jackets, $700 for ‘personalized mahogany gift boxes containing sparkling cider for state officials’ – all perks purchased by the taxpayer-funded Puget Sound Partnership as reported by Conner Edwards for the Freedom Foundation this past July 8th.
Meanwhile, the very next day across the country in the other Washington, there was the proposed two-lane White House bowling alley upgrade that had been posted A.M. but by P.M. the same day ended up in the gutter given the hue-and-cry registered by several newspapers, one of them an exposéby Dave Boyer in “The Washington Times.”
Gastro-intestinally discomforted yet?
How much would you be willing to pay for a dozen ballpoint pens? If you’re the government: $33.88. But as reported by Christian Davenport in the Washington Post this past June 25, someone in the Government Accountability Office who was paying attention called attention to the amount of red ink – and blue and black ink for that matter – for twelve lousy ballpoint pens should not be the equivalent of an arm and a leg. So the pack – some might say of thieves – got their heads together and found that a pack of pens – twelve in all – could indeed be purchased for as little as $5.35. And hammers for less than $10 instead of five times that much.
Perhaps you received a letter from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCA) two-and-a-half months after one of their photographers surreptitiously captured on film some smoke emanating from your chimney or outdoor marshmallow roast, etc. during the burn ban last December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. And then that notice was followed – in another two months- with a fine of $1,000.
Given during that interval there were three more burn bans – and thus the potential for three more violations, and consequently three more opportunities to send airborne particles that can cause premature death according to PSCA – wouldn’t a simple friendly call have ended the matter, not to mention saved lives?
When problems can be solved immediately by simple ingenuity, common sense and courtesy, do we need the heavy-handed hammer and deep pockets (yours) of government?
Not if as taxpayers we’re paying attention.