Warning: Soap Box Rant

I live in a fairly small town and my reporting duties cover fairly local issues. As the larger economy has oh, let’s call them “issues,” it has an inevitable trickle-down down effect (the opposite one Reagan touted) on local economies.

Our local city budget is expecting to be short about $4 million for the fiscal year.

Okay, here is my rant in two parts:

A) What gets cut are always the things that make a city a community. Libraries, park maintenance, city events and the like are always first on the chopping block. I’m not saying we should cut police or fire officers, it just bums me out that the first items to go are always those things that I think make it great to live in a community.

B) People complain about these kinds of cuts but don’t do anything about it. Local council members tend to make most of these kinds of decisions in a small town and they are veryveryreachable people for the most part. I mean, it’s not like you’re trying to reach Governor Arnold on the phone or anything. I often find myself in conversation with people who have a defeatist attitude “well, there’s nothing I can do about it — those politicians are in charge.” Maybe in D.C., (and some would argue that) but in a small town you do have a say, and more often than not, they will listen to you.

Whew, okay. Sorry about that. I’m writing stories on local crime rates, a local library being cut and one on a federal mandate that will make all manufacturers of children’s items be tested for lead and other contaminants possibly putting smaller manufacturers (mom & pops) out of business.

I’ve got to start working on some more of those magazine article queries so my newspaper writing doesn’t get the better of me…