from January 2016, Government
We are gearing up for another election year in Klamath County. One of the new phrases you may hear by those running for public office (whether it be city council or county commissioner) is “Economic Development”. Economic Development is such a positive sounding term. When someone running for office says it most think, “This is a wonderful person who wants to help our economy.” However, if you think a little more, you have to ask yourself, “What do they really mean?”
To be frank, Economic Development is another leftist term — or at least one that has been cooped by the central planners. When someone running for office (or in office) refers to “Economic Development” what they mean is that they want to use tax payer dollars to lure a particular industry or business to Klamath. More often than not that industry or business will personally or politically benefit the public official in some fashion (a form of crony capitalism). The other problem with this approach is that there is no way a few government officials can possibly know of all the options and all the opportunities in the county in which to make the best decision. So by definition, the best they can do is make a decision that is less than the best. Often times government directed Economic Development is simply a waste of tax payer dollars, because there is no penalty for risks taken — it is not their money and they’ll get another stash of tax dollars next year — and without risk, decision making becomes very skewed or warped.
The answer to this dilema is to bring in “economic experts”. In Klamath’s case these experts wear the name KCEDA (Klamath County Economic Development Association). This private organization raises money by extracting tax dollars directly from the city, the county and through grants offered by state and federal agencies. For instance in 2016 Klamath County will give KCEDA around $200,000. For what purpose? Economic Development. And what is that? Anything KCEDA needs it to be. Since KCEDA are not elected officials they can spend the money virtually anyway they want. What’s more KCEDA is not directly held accountable by tax payers for their results (or more often the lack of results). In essence, our tax dollars pay people to run around trying to recruit new business to our area. When one does come (whether through the efforts of KCEDA or not) KCEDA will run in front of the cameras to take as much credit as possible.
Why do most people think that when a conservative like Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump yesterday, that made Donald Trump more conservative? Why don’t people think when Sarah Palin endorsed populist Donald Trump yesterday, it revealed to us that Sarah Palin is really a populist?
It is a very important question to ponder. I believe most of us have incorrectly pegged Sarah Palin as a philosophical conservative — one whose ideas bubbled up from the same ground springs in which the Founding Fathers drank. However, yesterday’s announcement made it abundantly clear that our understanding of Sarah Palin has been incorrect. She too is a populist. For another set of exhibits to prove my argument: when have you heard Sarah Palin ever talk down any of Senator John McCain’s populist, big-government ideas? Answer, never. She is loyal to the establishment while wearing red, white and blue.
Unfortunately, most of us were fooled, for Sarah is one who latched onto popular conservative ideas and railed against the left. However, when it came time to stick her neck out, instead of endorsing the true conservative, Ted Cruz, she goes with the popular choice, Mr. Apprentice. She calls that picking a winner. I call that hedging your bets and accepting the under-the-table offer by Trump.
In May 2016, we will have the opportunity to vote for two of the three Klamath County Commissioners. Position #1, currently held by Tom Mallams, and Position #3, currently held by Jim Bellet, will both be on the ballot. For position #1 there seems to be a long line of people interested in taking on Mallams, while on the other hand Bellet has only one challenger so far.
2014 was the first time the County Commissioners race was non-partisan. What this means is that Republicans and Democrats do not use the May primary to pick their favorite candidate to run in the general election held in November. Instead everyone is on the ballot, no matter of party affiliation, and the two candidates with the most votes in May face-off in November. The only exception is if someone receives over 50% of the votes in May, then that person automatically wins the seat. This is what happened with Kelly Minty-Morris in 2014, as she secured over 50% in May primary and did not have to run again in November.
What Should Conservatives Look For In A Good Candidate?
First and foremost, we need County Commissioners that are unequivocally committed to limited government. This means lower taxes, lower regulation and less government, not more of it. While County Commissioners are really an extension of State decisions, County Commissioners do have power to keep local tax measures from easily making their way onto our ballots. They also have the ability to wisely manage the budget and to not over-spend. Moreover they can avoid supporting programs that benefit a few, but are paid for by everyone else.