Well, a couple weeks have passed now, so it's probably safe to assume that the few thousand votes that were cast in this year's city and county elections have finally been counted. The humbugs out there love to hate all over the fact that the vote-counting process in these regions is almost criminally slow, but I just look at it as part of Southern Arizona's glorious embrace of the past. People wearing long black coats are still getting shot (for reals) on the streets of Tombstone and, apparently, votes are still being counted the same way they were back in 1881.
There was a brief burst of post-election analysis in the daily paper and on local talk radio, but it quickly faded. That was probably because the results were predictable or, in the case of the radio talkers, because there was no way to tie the results to Barack Obama in a negative manner.
Here's what I learned:
•Y'all are some seriously cheap suckers. Really, who votes against flood control?
I realize that there are people out there for whom the word "tax" is an abomination, like "gun control" or "Negro." That guy wants to live up on the ridge with his cousin/wife with enough ammo to fight off the revenoo'ers if they come sniffin' around. The black helicopters will get him sooner or later.
The rest of us—the vast majority of us—adhere, to one degree or another, to the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. quote that I offered a few weeks ago: Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. They really are. How else are we going to build roads and schools and provide for our defense?
Even a lifelong liberal Democrat such as I will understand that there are those in positions of authority who abuse the power to tax. They view our money as this bottomless pool into which they can dip a bucket at any time to pay for their pet projects. But those people are the exception, not the rule, and they tend to get outed pretty early on.
Not one of us can say that we enjoy paying taxes—not me, not you, not Wesley Snipes. But I don't hate taxes, I don't fear taxes, and I don't want to do away with taxes. I kinda like America.
Looking at the results, you can tell that a whole lot of people voted no on all of the bond issues (as I am sure that a much smaller number voted yes on all of them). Perhaps the county did overreach by putting too many bond proposals on the ballot at one time. But I get the feeling that even if they had just put the roads and flood control on the ballot, the results would have been the same.
There is this pervasive (and incredibly wrong) sentiment that we (as Americans, as Arizonans, as residents of Pima County, as Tucsonans) are wildly overtaxed. There's this guy who lives down the street from me who had a No on the Bonds sign in his yard. I ran into him at the mailbox and we chatted. He said, "Maybe now they'll realize that we're tired of being taxed to death."
I said, "Dude, we're not even taxed to a mild case of the flu."
Voters in the city have no imagination. The vote totals in the City Council races are so similar, it's no surprise that a three-judge panel says that Tucson's screwy election system is unfair. The headline says that it's unfair to Republicans (which is true at the moment), but there have been all-Republican City Councils in the past, as well. The nominate-by-ward/elect-citywide system is just plain dumb.
In a vibrant American community (which I have always hoped Tucson would become), a 4-2 Democratic majority on the City Council is superior to a 6-0 Democratic monopoly. It would make people think better and work harder. It would make Tucson a better (and fairer) place.
•City driver/voters value personal recklessness over the safety of others. If any of you who voted to get rid of the traffic cameras tries to claim that you did so on constitutional grounds, I simply don't believe you. That claim is self-serving and weak. You just want to bust through intersections without getting caught. If one of you told me that my eyes are green, I'd have to go to the mirror to check.
As for John Kromko, he can wait outside the gym where I work out and lick my sweaty underwear when I'm done. I understand that anybody can get a ticket or two. But when you start getting up in the double digits, that's not a technology problem. That's a YOU problem.
I used to think that Kromko was a quirky gadfly who railed against power and injustice. Now, he has revealed himself as just another scofflaw who puts his own pettiness ahead of the greater good and public safety. Shame.
I'll bet anybody any amount of money that the number of crashes at Oracle and River goes up now that the cameras are down. Any takers?
I didn't think so.