A proposal to make the terms of Ulster County Legislators run for four years instead of two is not a good idea. Oh, the bother of having to run every two years…why you just get your feet wet and its time to face the voters again. You barely have time to accomplish anything…so goes the arguments.
But the U.S. House of Representatives runs every two years, and if you think raising some money for a county legislature run is a pain in the butt, couple of thousand, maybe — even less if you’re one of the perennial unopposed in a body where being an incumbent is 90 percent of the battle — well then think of those poor U.S. reps who, these days have to come up with millions.
This is a county with an unsettled legislature. It’s got a chairman who’s a democrat that’s opposed by 10 out of 13 democrats in the caucus but supported by the entire minority republican caucus. By charter, it’s supposed to be responsible for making policy decisions, yet it is dominated by a strong county executive, from whose office policy is made. The last time the Ulster County Legislature was in charge of running things around here, the county built a jail that ran better than $20 million, some 30 percent, over budget and found itself having to increase taxes by 39 percent one year.
So let’s make sure that the people of this county are given the opportunity to see if we can straighten this situation out at every possible turn. Allow us to express our pleasure or displeasure with the job that’s being done. Come before us every two years and explain yourselves.
And this does not mean that if you do earn your keep in a better fashion, we might consider such a term lengthening. We can see a certain logic to longer terms for jobs like highway superintendent or town clerk, where policy is not written and funding decisions are not supposed to be made. Where jobs of work are clearly defined. Don’t like it much, but we do understand it.
But legislators vote on budgets that tax people, and are charged with making policy. Answerable to the people. Every two years. Keep it that way.
Ah, baseball season. Finally, the endless meaningless games in Florida and Arizona are over and we can again add to the long winding legacy that this game provides. Oh, it’s slow…but meditative, tension building to explosions of action that totally change the complexion of a game as it settles back to its subtle provocation and inexorable movement toward the next peak.
Advanced stats? Don’t pay any attention to ‘em. They’re for businessmen to parse long after the game. Betting? For suckers. Fantasy leagues? Hey, they’re about you, not baseball, not about the game.
Give me a sunny day in a park, or a good knowledgeable voice on the radio during a long drive, and let me sit back and see a world away from the world unfold.