Baker’s Dozen

Just how many more scandals can Midlands politicians generate? Apparently the number of misdeeds embedded in some Midlands politicians’ DNA is infinite. Where is the shame amongst our politicians? When will we put a stop to this circus?

It is obvious civic history has not been fully digested by all of the Midlands government leaders. Sadly, the Midlands public has been plagued by a seemingly endless parade of self-absorbed and scandalous officials. For far too long, the Midlands public welfare has been undermined by personal profiteering, subversive diversions of specific funding, lax accountability, embezzlement, influence peddling and a pervasive “I am above the law” attitude.

Much of the burden for preventing government corruption and waste falls on all of the citizenry. We are the ones who can mitigate many of the corrupting temptations of government. Here are a few suggestions of how we can leverage our Constitutional rights to help ensure our officials stay within the lines:

1. Stay informed on the issues and all the people.

1-A. Vote

2. Never, ever, ever pass a referendum which is not Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Richland’s recent billion dollar tax increase boondoggle is a prime example of what happens when you do not pass a SMART bill. Non-SMART bills leave too much room for error and temptation. The corrupt love vagueness.

3. Never allow your representatives to pass a bill or ordinance which does not contain the needed details or accountability.

4. Put “law abiding” high on your set of candidate support criteria.

5. Establish an anonymous whistle-blower mechanism. Who would dare oppose this?

6. Insist upon annual anonymous government employee surveys which are conducted and addressed by an independent third party. The corrupt and misguided fear these.

7. Remind our leaders that election day is a great term limiter.

8. Often thank and encourage the leaders who are honest and caring.

9. Good and bad, hold the officials accountable for their actions.

10. Insist on complete transparency always.

11. Remember our duties as good citizens.

12. Share your views publicly (i.e. letters to the editor).

13. Push for the most stringent ethics reform.

It’s up to you and me to put an end to this maddening circus of scandal and waste which holds all us back. Our future is in our hands.

Randy Bright

Ridgeway