Term Limits, Drug Tests and the Class War

I want to make clear upfront that I voted against term limits and salary cuts for Polk County commissioners. I’ve always considered term limits voter welfare; and you have to pay elected officials a salary that allows them to focus on running this complex county full-time if that’s what you want them do. Low salaries for local elected officials empower the retired and independently wealthy. Do they really need more power?

However, I lost that vote back in 2000. Badly. And so did the ruling class. Now Bob English and company want to sue you, the voters, at the behest of “several people” to take back their hard lost right to your money for unlimited terms of office. Hmmm. Wonder who the “several people” might be? You think it’s more likely they live on a lake or in Wabash? My old buddy Sam Killebrew has always been a driving force in the past for protecting the rights of elected officials to get paid. I don’t know if he’s involved this time. But I know where I’d lay my wager.

Final ResultsSo let’s recap: The management/elite class, which in Polk County consists entirely of “fiscal conservative Republicans” (just ask them), wants to use your money to undo your work and your vote to cut their pay and limit how long they can collect that money. And they can’t do it democratically; so they’ll do it court.

Here’s what one-party Republican rule gets you in Republican Polk County: A giant tax increase in 1999, followed by a gargantuan tax increase in 2005. And now these fiscal conservative Republicans are laughing at that time you got mad as hell and all that and impetuously (and kind of dumbly) did term limits and salary cuts.

This is no advertisement for Democrats — even though they are far more “fiscally responsible” and businesslike around here by any objective measure. (Nobody runs better, more quietly efficient shops than Joe Tedder and Lori Edwards. Y’all might consider that at some point.) Rather, it’s an obvious warning against letting people take your vote for granted. You hate some mythical phantasm of “Democrat” so viscerally that you’re willing to just roll over and take what the ruling party dishes out. Long-term one party-rule, whether in New Jersey, California, or Polk County, most always leads to trouble and bad government.

Meantime, you get more fruits of one-party rule from Tally. Gov. Medicare Fraud thinks dirty state workers are automatically suspected of drug use. How much you wanna bet the random screening won’t reach far above that mid management level? Also, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Gov. Luthor has financial interests in a drug testing service.

And, of course, our watchdog press can write a 65-inch profile of J.D.’s legislative history in which the words Heartland, Parkway, SunRail, Hub, CSX, Phoenix, inheritance or baby never appear — all the while praising him for taking on the thankless task of controlling the state’s money. Were I not such optimistic fatalist, I would say we’re doomed, doomed.

Creative Commons License image credit: Micah Baldwin

6 thoughts on “Term Limits, Drug Tests and the Class War

  1. A Many Generation’d Floridian and Native Polk County citizen agrees with you.
    Great writing and research.
    Spot On Analysis.
    Thank you.

  2. Sooooo……why are state employees better than the rest of us?

    Also, have you looked at the locations of the Solantic clinics? Apparently none in TLH. None in Tampa. Non in Miami. Not exactly conveniently located, are they? But I guess hyperbole and conspiracy is more fun.

    Speaking of which, here’s your medicare fraud:


    You’ll recall that Scott was neither questioned, tried or convicted. Meanwhile, the feds just keep shoveling cash out the door.

    • They are generally not better off than me. Careful with your overly broad “us.”

      I do admire your defense of the executive and moral leadership of the man whose company is the Olympic champ of Medicare fraud. Your tribal hatreds have twisted you so completely that you’re now cheering on companies that defraud the government — us — because it serves your need to be right about something. And it leads you to attack someone who appears to be on your side in the issue at question, at least in term limits and salary cuts. Very odd.

  3. “and you have to pay elected officials a salary that allows them to focus on running this complex county full-time if that’s what you want them do.”

    From the Ledger piece:

    “The current salary for commissioners under the salary limits is $41,328.”

    Just how much do you think they should be making, Billy? Hell, I and many other folks could make a living off of that. Do writers make so much money that they can poo-poo $41 grand a year?

    • Polk county is a $2 Billion per year not-for-profit corporation — but the $2 Billion is public not private funds.

      Do you really think you’re likely to get a qualified Board of Directors for a $2 Billion Corporation for $41,000? Only if they’re independently wealthy or retired. Otherwise you’re going to get folks worth $41K or less to oversee you 2 billion. We deserve better.

      Of course the clowns we have up there now aren’t even worth their current salries for the most part.

    • I’m not aware that I was poo-pooing. If you had read closely, you would have noticed that I said full-time. I think, for most people who pay attention to public policy, myself included, $41K a year is not enough to drop everything you’re doing professionally and economically to campaign for a year and then continue to do it for your term and answer the phone calls and needs of 600k constituents, especially if you have kids that you’re trying to support and send to college and a mortgage you acquired during the land boom.

      If it was enough, more credible candidates for whom $41K is adequate to do that would run and win and serve as full-time commissioners. Their absence is self-evident.

      You also may have noticed that I was, in fact, speaking critically of the legal effort to repeal the policy. Does that count for anything?

      Of the many things of which I can be accused — let us enumerate them — I don’t think class snobbery is one. Do you think that, really?

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