Written by Joel Klaassen Tuesday, 28 October 2008 14:26
This is the last week before the big Nov. 4 general election. A lot is at stake in both the national, state and local elections.
What is decided on the national level won’t have as much direct affect on us as the county outcome. Nationally, the two-party system that will preserve the status quo. Both parties have run our country in the ditch. Plenty of blame to go around.
Until the special-interest groups are out of the mix we will continue to have earmarks and spending that exceeds what we take in. Too much dishonesty in what the candidates say. It’s sad.
The Marion County jail issue is the biggest election issue for us by far. Based on what we have heard at the meetings held around the county this past week—I went to all three of them—it’s clear to me this issue shouldn’t even be on the ballot, based on the flimsy information we have been given by Law/Kingdon achitectural firm. They build jails and collect a big fee if they get the job.
The numbers we were given by the that firm were impossible to get one’s arms around.
I do know that $8.65 million, which grows to $12 million to $13 million including interest over 14 to 20 years, is way more than our citizens can afford to risk given that every facet of the jail proposal has no guarantees.
Counties around us that have jumped into the jail business are losing money, and it makes no sense to be the last one to get in. Vacancies in five jails we surveyed Oct. 20 were at nearly 40 percent. Add the staffing nightmare a big jail presents and it looks like a formula for disaster.
I don’t have anything personal against any of our commissioners. They have a very difficult job trying to solve a host of issues—the jail, the roads, the escalating costs of fuel and materials, a declining population and doing more with very limited funds.
One of the best comments I heard from a citizen was from Don Kraus at the Marion meeting. He congratulated the commissioners for their willingness to work on this difficult issue. As a former school board member said, he said he understood what a toll these types of issues take. As soon as a course of action is brought to the public, 50 people have a better idea.
Based on the current economic situation across the county, with falling grain prices and marginal profits, he stated he was going to vote no. Then he looked around and said everyone in the room needed to come together again after the proposal is defeated and as a group work together to find a solution.
I thought I was doing a good thing when I got a new prescription for eyeglasses and decided to keep my old frames because I really liked them. Actually they had no frames…just holes through the lenses.
Earlier I wrote about needing to super glue one lens back together until the new lens came. For some reason my lenses crack every time. Maybe my head vibrates from thinking too much.
I was going through withdrawal with “Ice Road Truckers” ending for the season. Then I found “Wrecked” on the Speed Channel. The show documents the lives of folks who clean up the accidents happening on the 20,000 miles of highways in and around Chicago.
The common thread for these types of shows seems to be that they all cuss a lot.