The merry-go-round of the political process

st. george city carousel

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”

So says Ralph Waldo Emerson and those words are ones to be lived by, especially with the upcoming elections September 13.

There are three seats on our City Council up for election and I wholeheartedly encourage you all not only to vote, but to do proper diligence in knowing the candidates and the issues at hand in our quaint little town.

But remember to keep things in perspective and to be mindful of the larger picture. While we are citizens of this community, we are first and foremost citizens of this nation; and as such, we should hold our elected officials to the rigid standards set by our constitution, as well as our state and local laws.

It would be a safe wager that what is foremost on the minds of people in our town, as well as our country, is the state of our economy and what our elected officials are doing or not doing to improve this situation.

It is said that a problem cannot be solved by operating from the same mindset we were in when we created it. Nothing could be more painfully true than the state of our economy and how we got here. A lethal mixture of irresponsible consumers who were pacified by new gadgets and houses, while corporate conglomerates and banks used the unprecedented buying power our purchases gave them to shape legislation in their favor and allow them to get away with the biggest scam on the American people in our short history as a nation.

Now, as the dust settles, and we are able to see clearly where we are, we are engaged in vigorous debates as to who is to blame while those in charge press forward in trying to restore things to “the way they were;” to create the illusion of a promised security.

The problem with this is the maddening prospect of insisting on trying to make this already flawed system work. That is, doing the same foolish and irresponsible things as before and thinking it will get better.

Borrowing money to pay off borrowed money prolongs and exacerbates the problem – period. Frivolous and reckless spending to cheer ourselves up is not the answer.

This is where the words versus actions paradigm comes in handy for voters nationally and here in St. George.

Last month, the St. George City Council held a meeting and convened as the Redevelopment Agency to amend the RDA budget allowing for the expenditure of $300,000 for the carousel now in town square. That was June 16. Between that day and July 4, the project was purchased and built in expert and expedient fashion in the likes of a project that had been planned for quite some time.

On June 30, the City Council ratified that amendment unanimously and laid out a well-written business plan showing how the purchase was not only prudent, but it would pay for itself in as short as seven to 10 years.

Understand, all of this was done on at least the semblance of the up and up. RDA funds are appropriated for the purpose they were used for and the city council would have you know that emphatically.

To recap, on June 16, a $300,000 project was pre-approved and in less than two weeks, was purchased and constructed, then approved on June 30, and held its grand opening on July 4. Call it cynical if you will but does this not seem a little expedient for a project of this nature and expense?

Furthermore, and this is the question: Was it a good decision? Some time line questions notwithstanding, was it a rushed decision?

Lets say I borrow $20 from a friend. He is struggling himself but helps me nonetheless, and while he waits patiently for me to repay him, he sees me at Starbucks downing a $5 drink. He’s got every right to wonder where my head is. I know he is hurting, but I have money to spend on things that are hardly necessary.

It is this kind of behavior that has become so commonplace in our government it goes virtually unchecked.

This is definitely something to keep in mind as a tangible example of the mindset of your elected officials here in St. George. But before you go off feeling self righteous about it think on this: The City Council held a public hearing on this. Protests after the fact are just that, people, they mean nothing unless you participate in the process.

While it is possible that this was anything but a good decision, it is also possible that our officials were acting on what they believed in earnest to be in the best interest and will of their constituency.

Raising the bar in this situation is going to require a much more informed presence on the behalf of voters; given how easily this thing passed, virtually uncontested, it might be an uphill fight.

I have questions. So should you.

See you out there.

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Posted in Opinion / Columns / ShowsTagged ,

16 Comments

  • Ron August 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Is it possible that the public hearing was also “expedited” for the sole purpose of getting this “project” passed and done with? And as the article states, the RDA budget was “ammended” to allow the purchase and installation of the carousel. Why did it need to be “ammended”? Possibly just so the council could say that is was an allowable expenditure? Wouldn’t those $300,000. gone a long way towards fixing/repairing some streets? And if it was Redevelopment funds, are there not other more important needs that this City has? It just seems that our local officials are only concerned with what they feel is in the best interest of the community. Have they forgotten that it is we the people who they are represnting? Do they really want the community to believe that they KNOW what is best for us? Yet they continue to pander for the votes to continue to do “things” their way. As the author states. ask the questions and do your research and then decide. Do we what to go along the same ole path of how its always been?

  • Mike H August 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I have huge problems with this whole undertaking. The money they spent is ridiculous and from this website’s own reporting, they had started installation on the merry-go-round before they had even officially approved it. This just doesn’t sound like the way business should be run. When you’re talking about a turn around time of 15 days from pre-approval to grand opening, something else was going on. And when was the opportunity to question this expenditure? With a simple Google search I located 4 other carousels that were (at least at first glance from the ad) in a similar condition and size but were all less than half the price of the one we have sitting in our park. One of them was double the size and another was only 70k. Was this really a sound financial decision? Or is someone lining someone else’s pockets?
    It is also such a huge liability as can be attested by the woman who was injured less than a week after it had opened by a falling panel. How lucrative will it prove to be if a child is injured from falling off or by some other panel dropping? We live in a litigious society for good or ill. I think it’s just a matter of time. But I have my fingers crossed that I am wrong.

  • tyler August 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Excellent story! This carousel is a perfect example of how the council works and always has worked, however, it is only the tip of the iceberg. What mayor tries to push his values and beliefs on a community our size-or any size? Who does he think he is, just ’cause he was born and raised here with red dirt in his brain (the root of the problem, ((too local)) he thinks this is HIS city and things will go HIS way regardless of what the citizens want. A minority in this town is absolutely non-existent to him and young adults are ‘hoodlums’. He wants this fantasy vision of his town to be 55 and older whom’s only interest is golf, or large families and tons of children with picture perfect houses and yards with picket fences. Reality, and how this place really is today must be so alien to him and his sheep council! OMG do we NEED change!!!

  • Ralph August 30, 2011 at 11:26 am

    First off,

    (1) St. George is not a “quanit little town” and we need to get past calling it that. This area has violent crime, as well as drug problems and many other city type problems that need to be addressed.

    (2) Clearly the Council had thought about the carousel for some time prior to the flurry of actions. It looks like they decided on how to finance it and then quickly got the financing done. There is no way city workers, yes government workers, were able to research, locate, receive, approve, and install a carousel in a matter of a few weeks. They had been scoping this out for a long time then they pulled the trigger and made it happen.

    Disappointing that there was no opposition at council.

  • jeff simmons August 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    There are some major issues facing this city and every election it seems the voters look the other way. Until the voters start voting these people out of the office things will never change. The city is ran by a few for the benefit of a few, plain and simple. They keep the kool-aid flowing and the sheep keep drinking it!

  • Not a Mormon August 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I love you and I love this article.
    I hate this carousel. Whenever I go by it no one is ever using it. It’s already fallen apart and hurt at least one person to some extent. So far, all of these comments are also spot on – especially Ralph’s. I wish more people would be willing to stick it to the good old boys and end this head-in-the-sand, nepotism-induced oligarchic theocracy.
    Keep these articles coming!

  • Big Bob August 31, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Hope the quote to referring St George as a “quaint little town” was sarcasm, cuz even Washington and Hurricane are no longer quaint little towns!

  • Mary Jane aka MJ August 31, 2011 at 12:08 am

    There’s NOTHING quaint about this town and the only thing really little are the brains at city hall!!!!

  • OpEnMiNdEd-livingoutsidethebox August 31, 2011 at 12:13 am

    where do you register to vote and where’s the voting polls

  • LaMarcus August 31, 2011 at 7:02 am

    These are all great comments, but maybe they need to be directed at the people responsible and in person.

    Today, Aug 31st at 5 PM in the City Council chambers, open comments from the public will be heard.

    For more info check sgcity.org for council meetings and agendas.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic August 31, 2011 at 10:43 am

      City of St. George Residents, what LaMarcus is referring to is your opportunity to voice your input to the Mayor and the City Council at the “Comments from the Public” Quarterly forum Wednesday night, August 31. Asst. to the City Manager, Mark Mortensen, suggests you arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a slip identifying yourself, your residential address and your topic (be it one derived from this column or any other subject). You must be a St. George resident to address the Council. The meeting will be held at the City Council Chambers, 175 East 200 North, St. George, and again it begins at 5 p.m.

  • Brock August 31, 2011 at 9:55 am

    While I don’t agree with many of the decisions made by some of our nutty councilmembers, I am happy that they are building more parks, splash pads, and especially this carousel. I love having a place to take my family where my daughter can play and have fun at low to no cost. I may be the minority, but I think the carousel is awesome!

  • justmee August 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    How incredibly convenient that the quarterly meeting is on a Wednesday night, at 5pm when most people get off work. Oh and don’t forget to show up early! You know that was definitely not poor planning on city council’s part. I would LOVE to go to this meeting however, I’ll be stuck at work until at LEAST 6-630 (yes I’m slacking at the moment, but I deserve a break to peruse the news;)). Way to go city council!!

  • OpEnMiNdEd-livingoutsidethebox August 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Exactly, justme! They scheduled that meeting at 5 on a weekday on PURPOSE cuz the little soft-spoken sheep couldn’t hang for 2 seconds if things got outta hand from too many residents fed up and voicing their opinions etc. Just by looking at these posts on here, I’d be intimidated if i were a council member there tonight!

  • tyler August 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Brock, you need to look at the logics of the carousel, buddy!

  • Not a Mormon September 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I don’t recall seeing the “Editor’s Note” at the beginning of the article when it first came out.
    .
    Looks like the St George “News” is attempting to distance itself from its only writer of substance.
    .
    Keep your heads in the sand.
    .
    “EDITOR’S NOTE: Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.”
    .
    Those SHOULD be the opinions of the STGNEWS.

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