Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Politician eliminates his own position

Would that more politicians did what Matt Adamczyk plans to do: eliminate the position he just won. Here's the pledge he made when running for Wisconsin State Treasurer:


I am running for state treasurer on the pledge to eliminate the position. The antiquated office no longer is needed and has become a prime example of wasteful government spending. Governor Walker and the Republican legislature have removed almost all duties that once were the responsibility of the state treasurer and transferred those duties to other agencies. I fully support this effort by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican legislature to save tax dollars with these efficiencies.

My campaign consists of five pledges I’m making to the residents of Wisconsin if elected:
1. Pledge to work tirelessly to eliminate the Office of State Treasurer
2. Pledge to use the position to find government waste and eliminate it
3. Pledge to never waste taxpayer money
4. Pledge to return 25% of salary to taxpayers
5. Pledge to only serve one term

The only constitutional duty of the Wisconsin State Treasurer is to serve on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL). Serving on this board literally consists of two 15-minute phone calls per month. I feel it is wasteful to spend tax dollars on a four person staffed office for just one responsibility. That is why I fully support the Republican amendment, AJR 48, which would replace the state treasurer with the lieutenant governor on the BCPL.

The position is no longer needed since most of its duties have been transferred to other state agencies. But the position and the bloated staff remained until Matt took over. So far he has eliminated positions and wasted technology like cell phones that are being paid for but not used.

Maybe we can get someone in New Jersey to remove some wasted school boards for towns that don't have schools.

A novel use for used rail tracks.

Here's a man in the Bronx who looks at abandoned rail yards as a park rather than a place to leave graffiti. With $3,500, Justin Fornal and his father bought a used rail car and are planning on driving it around old rail tracks, encouraging investment and public use and converting these areas into parks. There is a lot of green and Justin envisages a version of the Highline but with passengers riding on trains.

 Justin is taking this plan seriously and invited William Goetz, a vice president of CSX Transportation, one of the nation’s largest freight railroad companies, along for the inaugural ride. 
Justin is asking CSX for assistance in riding his car on the rails across the country mostly on unused tracks to raise awareness for his plan. Goetz is skeptical but has not ruled out the plan. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kent Haruf on National Leadership

Below is a quote from one of my favorite authors. The book is on my wish list and I'll get to it eventually. But what a great idea is represented by this quote? And what happens next?

“And so we know the satisfaction of hate. We know the sweet joy of revenge. How it feels good to get even. Oh, that was a nice idea Jesus had. That was a pretty notion, but you can't love people who do evil. It's neither sensible or practical. It's not wise to the world to love people who do such terrible wrong. There is no way on earth we can love our enemies. They'll only do wickedness and hatefulness again. And worse, they'll think they can get away with this wickedness and evil, because they'll think we're weak and afraid. What would the world come to?

But I want to say to you here on this hot July morning in Holt, what if Jesus wasn't kidding? What if he wasn't talking about some never-never land? What if he really did mean what he said two thousand years ago? What if he was thoroughly wise to the world and knew firsthand cruelty and wickedness and evil and hate? Knew it all so well from personal firsthand experience? And what if in spite of all that he knew, he still said love your enemies? Turn your cheek. Pray for those who misuse you. What if he meant every word of what he said? What then would the world come to?

And what if we tried it? What if we said to our enemies: We are the most powerful nation on earth. We can destroy you. We can kill your children. We can make ruins of your cities and villages and when we're finished you won't even know how to look for the places where they used to be. We have the power to take away your water and to scorch your earth, to rob you of the very fundamentals of life. We can change the actual day into actual night. We can do these things to you. And more.

But what if we say, Listen: Instead of any of these, we are going to give willingly and generously to you. We are going to spend the great American national treasure and the will and the human lives that we would have spent on destruction, and instead we are going to turn them all toward creation. We'll mend your roads and highways, expand your schools, modernize your wells and water supplies, save your ancient artifacts and art and culture, preserve your temples and mosques. In fact, we are going to love you. And again we say, no matter what has gone before, no matter what you've done: We are going to love you. We have set our hearts to it. We will treat you like brothers and sisters. We are going to turn our collective national cheek and present it to be stricken a second time, if need be, and offer it to you. Listen, we--

But then he was abruptly halted.”
Kent Haruf, Benediction