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What we get when they can't be fired

My first fantasy is that the Tampa Bay area should have its own elected water czar, or, for short, the WC.

The WC would be in charge of exactly one thing, making sure we had enough water.

When things were running all right, the WC could hold up his or her head proudly. But when things were bad, things would be bad for the WC, too.

It would be hard to get a cup of coffee in public without somebody asking something like: "Hey, WC! How come you built a crummy desalination plant that doesn't work?"

Or: "Hey, WC! What gives with your decision to drain that reservoir halfway down before the dry season started, when those cracks didn't make a difference? You weren't more interested in your lawsuit against the builder and covering your butt than in the water supply, were you?"

And if things got bad enough, then at the next election, somebody could run against the WC — and the voters could fire her. Or him.

There is no water czar, of course. There is only a board made up of people from the various governments that belong to Tampa Bay Water. They all are responsible, meaning, none of them is.

Here is my second fantasy: that if the people of Pinellas County are to be taxed on their property to help little kids, that it might be done by an elected juvenile czar, instead of an anonymous board not chosen by voters.

Our hypothetical JC would face the same circumstances as the WC. As long as everything worked all right, the JC would enjoy peace. But when things flared up, the JC would catch grief big-time.

For example, our coffee-seeking czar might be accosted by an angry citizen saying: "Hey, JC! What gives with this sneaky private outfit that you created to handle your business?

"I mean, isn't your only job in the entire world to hand out money for little kids? And instead, you have to create some weird private company to do it for you? And your private little outfit then claims that it's entitled to operate in secret? For this, I'm paying you a millage rate of 0.7915?"

And, of course, if folks didn't like the way that the JC was taxing them, they could always elect somebody else.

I know, I know. Indeed, the Juvenile Welfare Board does contain a stray elected county commissioner, or judge, or public defender here and there. But so far, I have not seen the Juvenile Welfare Board become an issue at their election time.

My third fantasy is that instead of having the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which again practices taxation without elected representation, we had an "elected czar to give away Florida Forever land to developers in Pasco County."

Once again, picture our ECGAFFLDPC trying to get that cup of coffee in public, only to be accosted by a citizen saying:

"What are you, crazy? Don't you care about taking land from the Florida black bear?

"Do you think the name 'Florida Forever' actually means, 'Florida Until a Developer Wants It'?"

And, once again, there would always be election time.

But maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe it's a good thing that we don't elect the Tampa Bay Water board, or the Juvenile Welfare Board, or the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

These outfits work so much better when, you know, you take the politics out of them.

What we get when they can't be fired 04/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 6, 2009 7:17pm]
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