Is the fix in?

Is the fix in?

Ah yes! If it weren’t for conspiracy theories, some folks would have absolutely nothing to do. Of course, if we turn that statement around it might sound something like this; if those sad ancillary political players suddenly developed an aversion to fabricated schemes and plots, they might actually accomplish something constructive.
No need to fear that possibility, dear reader, because it’ll never happen.
Case in point, if you’ve been reading Elgin City Councilman John Prigge’s facebook page, he’s sayin’ that, in the face of four separate finalists, Rosamaria Martinez is a foregone Anna Moeller city council replacement conclusion.

John Prigge
John Prigge

You all know I’m pulling for Ms. Martinez because her impressive resume provides Elgin with a wonderful opportunity to add a badly needed Hispanic face to that body. That said, by claiming she’s a shoe-in, Mr. Prigge is doing his compatriots, the other finalists, and the people of Elgin a massive disservice.
In order!
Like Councilman Terry Gavin, Prigge consistently attempts to paint the “liberal council five” as a despicable monochromatic voting block who do their damndest to undermine the will of the people. That’s simply not true. Virtually without exception, municipal panels are fluid endeavors with slowly shifting sentiments, priorities and allegiances.
And Elgin is no different.
As for Messrs. Esterino, Iqbal and Sellers, I’m convinced they’ll be given full consideration during their closed session interviews this evening, because Mayor Kaptain wouldn’t have it any other way.There isn’t a conspiratorial bone in that man’s body.
So when Mr. Prigge insists the fix is in, it completely diminishes the other three fine service minded citizens. Remember, if Elgin plays their cards right, the powers that be should find a role for the runners up on the various boards, committees, and commissions that serve the City.
Lastly, Councilman Prigge’s contention that it’s a done deal is nothing more than a ploy to get his peers to pick anyone else. Conspiracy theorists implicitly understand their often random musings play to a plurality of their constituency. And their often fervent wish is, by claiming the outcome’s assured, it will force the “other side” to prove them wrong.
In Councilman Prigge’s conservative Caucasian mind, Ms. Martinez is the least acceptable candidate and, since he won’t get his vacant council seat way, he’ll settle for scuttling someone else.
In the end, the reason people resort to conspiracy theories is because it’s a means of excusing their own failures. Instead of applying whatever introspective capacity they may have to improve themselves, they blame everyone else for their obvious shortcomings.
When folks shout “run government like a business,” they’re dead wrong. Unlike a corporation, government requires real discussion, careful consideration, and constant compromise. Though I don’t believe it’s completely conscious, people like Councilman Prigge clearly believe they’re above all that and, unwilling to truly engage, they do their best to undermine the process.
Don’t let him.

One thought on “Is the fix in?

  1. During the Great Recession (2008-2009), Elgin went through dramatic changes in revenue which trickled forward through downward property tax assessments. The old way of doing things (a flat property tax rate) was a paradigm that no longer worked. In the old days, Elgin got more and more money with a flat property tax rate because housing values were skyrocketing. Residents paid more and more taxes, but didn’t complain so much because of the “flat rate”. The great recession made this impossible. The City Manager and his team presented 3 choices to the City Council: 1) Raise taxes, 2) Cut Spending, 3) Do a little of both. The Council chose #3. As part of that, the property tax was changed to a levy and has been progressively lowered. Overall tax revenue went back up (with diversification), but not by more than historical standards.
    I say all this because Councilman Prigge’s biggest complaint is the increase in taxes. His solution has been to dissent and attack those who chose that #3 approach. He hopes to garner public support for replacing all of the “Liberals” and put in a council who will force lower taxes.
    There are problems with Prigge’s approach.
    First, his attacks are often crude, venal, and offensive (comparisons to prison rape, stabbings, etc.) so that he creates enemies instead of compromise. This Council replacement process is another example.
    Second, the loud “NO VOTES” are over tiny expenses related to city government. For instance, his howling over the Chilean Sister Cities visit. There are no real budget solutions offered. Instead, he pretends there is a vast and growing surplus and the City is free to cut taxes without any changes. In reality, the budget is balanced over 3 years – no surplus unless you only count the 1st 12 months.
    A real “fiscal conservative” would offer a budget solution. That would mean a balanced budget proposal over 3 years with lower overall taxes. By definition, it would include lower spending over that period which matches the cuts he desires. He hasn’t done that. It is easy to yell at people and call them names. It is hard to be honest and present solutions which affect sacred cows.
    If you look at City government spending, the vast majority goes to labor costs. Labor is mostly in public safety (Firemen, Police). These guys do a great job, are well paid, and are well liked. If Prigge were to succeed in cutting Elgin expenses significantly, then those public service guys would be fewer in number or they would be taking a pay cut. The SEIU would resist.
    If it were me sitting in that chair, I would be looking at de-annexing some of that far west side of town. Look at the map and you’ll see the coverage area that public service has to cover. It is a nightmare of unconnected sprawl.

Leave a Reply