Monday, November 12, 2007

Water Has This Republican's Head Spinning

A day after arguing for limited government on stormwater run-off, Tennessee's Republican Mouthpiece, Bill Hobbs argued that Governor Phil Bredesen should expand government to help small communities with their water systems.

If Mr. Hobbs had bothered to attend the same Metro Water meeting that I did perhaps he would have learned that stormwater run-off is the first step in the water treatment process in many Tennessee communities. He also might have seen that how it gets controlled affects both the collection and the cleanliness of a community's water supply. Therefore, calling for upgrades to many Tennessee water systems includes controlling run-off.

But controlling stormwater does not neatly fit his party's storyline against Gov. Bredesen like upgrading some water systems does. Or perhaps this Republican only advocates government expansion that puts his party in the best tactical position to attack Democrats in office.

The real problem with the Governor's response is its condescending tone:

I’ve got to ask people in these communities, you kind of got to step up and do what you’re suppose to do in the Tennessee system of government here, and not just wait until everything falls apart and come saying you’ve got to fix it for me.
It seems to me that--in a situation that calls for responses akin to, "We're all Tennesseans, and we're all in this together"--the Governor talks about the communities that he is governing as if they are aliens or outlanders.

UPDATE: There is one more reply that Bill Hobbs made to my post on stormwater run-off that I will not let slide by. He commented to VV:
As far as I can recall, the masses were not demanding that stormwater be controlled.
He must not be able to recall very far:
The marked disparity in public services and infrastructure was a continual complaint in the barrios of San Antonio. Colonia residents suffered due to inadequate storm drains, flooded streets, and, in the worst cases, the loss of property. Residents became landlocked during major storms, unable to travel to work and school or to access emergency services. [Industrial Areas Foundation] ... worked in community whose indigenous leadership increasingly demanded that city government address the crisis of inadequate infrastructure .... IAF activities coalesced on the key issue of annual flooding and the lack of a stormwater drainage system. The convergence of IAF organizing efforts and a nonexistent storm system led to the creation of a new social movement, Community Organized for Political Service (COPS).
I bet that San Antonio is not the only place where the masses identify stormwater run-off issues and perhaps not the only place where masses mobilize their anger about it into social movements.

1 comment:

  1. perhaps we are talking about two different things. You are talking about controlling storm runoff as relates to flood control.

    When I wrote "As far as I can recall, the masses were not demanding that stormwater be controlled." I was referring to local projects mandated by the federal government to control pollution in stormwater runoff.

    Flood control - yes, that's an infrastructure issue for the government. Of course it is.

    But I don't recall "the people" demanding government also tax them and use the money to clean up some dirty rainwater.

    All I was saying is, sometimes government officials complain about the cost of things that they optionally chose to do in the first place but which the people didn't actually ask them to do.

    As for Gov. Bredesen and the water systems infrastructure, I just find it odd that the leader of a party that claims to be for "the litttle guy" doesn't care about the little guy when it comes to spending tax dollars on water infrastructure, but he sure does love to spend it for water infrastructure for business.

    And, like you, I found his tone to be very condescending.