written for the Roosevelt Borough Bulletin, November 1991

Paradise Begins at Home

The Campaign for Borough Council this year is bizarre. I couldn't figure out why until I woke up one morning and realized: "Hey! There is only one slate of candidates running for Borough Council! No leaflets in the door! No snazzy signs on people's lawns! No Candidates' Night'" (an aside-the missing Candidates' Night didn't bother me too much; it's a thing of the past anyhow. You see, some people don't express themselves well in public, or the proper protocol for setting up an appropriate forum for public discussion is too . convoluted to follow, or something like that. Besides, private conversations are much better for making unchallenged assertions and debating public decisions. Just ask Anita Hill or Clarence Thomas.)

Once this Startling Realization hit me, I began to ponder why we are enjoying such a pleasant campaign season. It must be that the current Borough Council has done such an incredible job during the past nine months that they have created a virtual paradise here in Roosevelt.

Come to think of it, I believe I'm actually beginning to enjoy paying my $140 water bill. It's also nice to realize that the loan we are paying off with this money will last almost twice as long as was originally planned. You see, this was done in order to get more money to spend on our municipal problems. So far, we've managed to spend at least 50% more on sewer repairs than the original contract specified. And it seems that this has bought us an almost unmeasureably small reduction in inflow infiltration. Wow! Our Rooseveltian paradise has a Cost Effective Council!

It is also very nice that the Council makes all our decisions for us. Just recently, they decided that we absolutely had to spend money to extend Lake Drive through to Route 571. Surprise! Did the Council ask the affected residents of Lake Drive if they wanted this extension? No, because this is a Council which knows best. As of this writing, the only recourse open to the Lake Drive folks is to lie down in front of the bulldozers. Our thoughtful Council tried to save us from the horrors of massive property tax relief by petitioning the State to halve the give-back to property owners. This is so we will only have a moderately large property tax increase rather than a very large increase several years from now when the municipal coffers require replenishment. Naturally, the Council can do a much better job of investing our money than we mere mortals can. The evil State, however, denied the request. Darn, each and every on of us will get the full relief amount. Be sure to use your money wisely!

Speaking of the evil State, I'm very glad that the Council hasn't attempted to lobby higher levels of government for relief or tried to challenge any of the mandates coming down to local government. It would be a terrible thing if some legislators realized that what is being forced upon our town is way out of line with reality. We don't want any State or Federal nincompoops messing up our paradise!

But as I thought about the election, it seemed that perhaps the amazing job done by the current Council isn't the real reason that there are no challengers for the Council seats. Maybe the political situation in Roosevelt is so bad that you would have to be totally stupid or crazy to run against the incumbents. Perhaps no one wishes to enter a climate of character assassination and innuendo. Look what happens -- even those who simply want to question the wisdom of the Hard-Working council's actions are magically transformed into vile verbal creatures who desire only to play horrible attack-oriented word games, living in a radically interpretive land where all facts become "just opinions". The questions, of course, go unanswered. Or perhaps those who might run have become so cynical about the prospect of getting people to realize that thousands of their dollars are being flushed away, that... Naaah, these couldn't be the reasons for our unopposed Council candidates. Roosevelt of 1991 is too much like paradise!

Brad Garton,
Professor of Doom