A Broken System?


I’ll discuss my D.C. trip quite a bit this Thursday on Flag mornings (93.5FM 7:30-8:30) but here are some thoughts while I fly home. While I am hopeful that Flagstaff will see some fruits from traveling to DC it seems to me that DC and the Federal Government is a very broken system. I met many fine people and a lot of people that I believe are truly trying to make a difference, but the system has become so large and so mired in bureaucracy that serious reform, an overall shrinking of the Federal Government and so much more is needed. We visited over a dozen different departments, people in various agencies and elected Representatives. Most were helpful, though it appears the system has become a maze of layers and bureaucracy for even them to work through.

You see the headlines, Congress and the White House can’t even pass a budget. As a city we are required to have a balanced budget every year. Not the federal government though, they keep plodding along with no budget and a retractable roof for a debt ceiling. What you may have not seen is the massive building boom in DC as a result of all the money flowing into the Capitol, money that should be spent on productive means instead of lawyers and lobbyists. What you may not have seen is the Federal Departments with legions of security, protocols and procedures and islands of cubicles designed to create laws for people and lands far off.

So how does this affect Flagstaff? In short, we have got to become more self reliant. We must lower our expectations of how much funding we receive from the Federal Government. If we get it, great, but don’t count on it. Since I was elected I have voted to turn down grants in an effort to stop the spending, to send a message to the Federal Government to stop wasting our tax dollars on less than priority projects, and to send a message that we as a City want no part in perpetuating the $17,000,000,000,000 disaster that has been created by inept politicians and constituents that turn a blind eye. The problem of debt and spending continues to spiral out of control and will surely bankrupt our Country. I am often in the minority on these issues but that’s ok, sometimes it takes a spark.

We must continue to work as a City to find ways to do things on our own. The thinning of forests around Flagstaff is one example. It’s unfortunate we have to spend money to thin National Forest land but these are the kinds of projects we’ll have to continue to take on in light of the mess that DC has become. We have got to find ways to pave our streets, fund our infrastructure and make Flagstaff a place that can survive and even thrive in an environment of sequestration, austerity and Federal lunacy.

I liken the Federal Government to an engine that takes 5 quarts of oil. It only has a 1/2 quart of oil left and is seizing up. The parts are violently shaking and pieces of the engine are falling off but the people running the engine don’t seem to notice, or worse, don’t care. Even if we could fill the engine back up, it’s so damaged now it’ll need rebuilding.

Once again, I met lots of fine folks but they are working in a broken system. We have plenty of opportunity in Flagstaff and I am optimistic that we can take the proper action to take care of ourselves. Whatever we do, don’t count on the Federal Government for help.


7 thoughts on “A Broken System?

  1. Good to hear you are not accepting that which is deemed endemic by most elected officials. As you said, it takes a spark. We know you are putting up with much derision but you are giving many the courage to finally speak up.

  2. It takes one spark to ignite a huge wildfire that can sweep through Washington and our state capitols cleaning back the dense underbrush and opening the forest to sunlight and rain once again so the forest can thrive. Ironic isn’t it? What has happened to our forests is pretty much what has happened to our lands and forests; strangled with the best of intentions.

  3. So maybe the questions are, “How much oil does our city’s engine have left?” and ” Do we have people watching our engine that notice the parts that already fell off or even care?” Oh I forgot, they only care when things land in their backyard!

    Your observation of the broken system comes from being on the outside of the big DC Bubble. Those on the inside of the bubble can’t see the problems. We are so blinded by our own bubble of life to see that all bubbles are made of millions of small bubbles joined together. The broken system starts with us as individuals and can be only addressed by our acceptance to do something to make a difference. We have to start at the ground level and work up slowly. We have to start at home!

    I know it has been frustrating for you to tackle local issues on a somewhat lonely road, but you must continue the fight. I wished I could agree with your statement, “We have plenty of opportunity in Flagstaff and I am optimistic that we can take the proper action to take care of ourselves.” I’m just not that optimistic.

  4. I hope you continue to be the spark to ignite some of that fire here in our City, even if you are alone. I only hope you don’t become too discouraged by those who don’t seem to care how they spend other folks money. It’s truly sad that most of the City Council and City Staff don’t get it or even care. It seems like they have caught the same fever as you’ve seen in Washington. Perhaps when things get so bad and out of control and as Washington will become unable to send them grants and more money they will realize something has to be done. Perhaps too late. Whatever happened to balancing a budget and only spending what we have and only on the things absolutely necessary to provide safety and infrastructure for us citizens of Flagstaff.
    I hate to think that’s how they handle their own finances.

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