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The Sound And The Fury May 4, 2012

Posted by roothogreport in Fairbanks Government, Local Government.
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Attended the Borough Assembly meeting last night. I should say I caught about three-fifths of it, as I spent the middle two fifths across town watching my girlfriend accompany a local children’s choir. I wish the meeting had been more like the choir concert – earnest, courteous, and fairly well in harmony. It was none of those things.

I think I’m probably a little over-invested emotionally in the content of borough assembly meetings because I grew up here and it’s a very important place to me. That said, the increased partisanship on display both from the assembly and those coming to testify is depressing in the extreme. Everything with a fiscal impact has at least two “no” votes guaranteed (and usually two “yeas” as well). Everything relating to taxes or regulation has three of each. To crib from Chinua Achebe, it’s not that the center cannot hold – it’s that the center took its ball and went home a couple years ago. It’s even more distressing to see that on a local level than it is on a national one, somehow.

Because the people who are calling the other side “communists” and saying they’re “putting a gun to our head” aren’t from some other state where they’re all crazy. They’re our friends and neighbors, and the people we count on to make this a community worth living in. But lately it doesn’t seem like many of them want a community at all – judging from testimony last night, it seems like what a lot of people want is for their property to be the Republic of Them, where they can do whatever the hell they want on the land without being taxed for it, and if you want a library or an animal shelter you can bugger off because they don’t use those services, so you shouldn’t get them either.

It’s hard to be called the enemy by your neighbor.

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