Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Konop admits that I am right

For a number of years - too many, in fact - I've been saying that it isn't our form of government that needs to change in this area in order to stop the decline - it's the people we elect to office. And not just the people, but the philosophy of the people we elect.

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop has now admitted that I am right.

Oh - he's not actually saying, "Maggie Thurber is correct." That would be a sort of blasphemy, I'm sure.

But in today's paper where he admits his effort to change the county form of government is going to fail (just like so many of his other 'bold, fresh ideas'), he acknowledges that the problem isn't the form of government - but the people in office.

Here's what I first said about The Blade's push to change Lucas County to a county council form of government:

It's important to remember that a change in government does NOT equate to a change in behavior. In fact, as we can see from Toledo's change from a city manager to a strong mayor form of government, we've gotten pretty much the same types of decisions we'd previously gotten and Toledo is STILL heading downhill in terms of population, job growth, etc... while heading up in terms of government costs, spending, taxation and fees.

So we have clear evidence that a change in government structure does NOT mean we'll get a change in the philosophy of those being elected to govern.
...
The major problem with county government is not the form or the structure - it's the people we elect and the policies they promote. I cannot emphasize enough: those two things are not going to change if we change the structure.

And I've said this numerous times on my blog, on the radio when I was hosting WSPD's Eye On Toledo, and as an elected official.

Here's what the news article today attributes to Konop:

Mr. Konop said there is no guarantee that a county executive/county council form of government would improve Lucas County's economy. He said, rather, such a government would make it more possible for good elected leaders to make necessary changes.

"It allows the community to have a chance to change these things, if we elect the right people," Mr. Konop said.
(emphasis added)

Now, I certainly don't expect Konop to publicly admit that I've been correct all along - that would be 'hoping' for too much 'change' in behavior. But I am glad that he has seen the wisdom of my position, though it's disappointing that it happened with only six months left in his term.

14 comments:

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Maggie,

""It allows the community to have a chance to change these things, if we elect the right people," Mr. Konop said."

Yes, but does "Young Ben" realize that this points the bony finger of reality/irony directly at him?

I'm betting that he doesn't...

The Frizzy Hooker said...

As always. Extremely informative. Thank you for your blog

Mad Jack said...

But I am glad that he has seen the wisdom of my position...

It's doubtful he does see the wisdom of your position. I think it's much more likely Ben sees that his current position isn't producing the effect he wanted (King Konop the First?) and so he's back off to try something else.

Maggie Thurber said...

MadJack - you are, doubtless, correct. But I can dream, can't I?

LOL

James said...

"If we elect the right people" are the operative words here. Problem is, we haven't done that in a long time in Toledo and Lucas County, and Konop is one of those pols that don't fall into the category of "right people."

Kurt said...

I think the oligarchal nature of the electorate is the problem in Toledo and Lucas County. I don't think anybody with any intelligence, left or right, thinks it's a good idea to elect people based on their last names, corporate connections or union connections. I think Ben's idea of a less oligarchal type of government is a good idea, but only if the municipalities of the county combine into one centralized government, which would create efficiencies, cut down on costs and create a larger business development group. And that's the only reason why his idea is a bad one... the suburbs will never go along with it, though they would if they were smart, but they're not.

Regardless, and I'm going to defend Ben here, he gave a big middle finger to the Lucas County Democratic Party. And I love it. He gave the LCDP the middle finger as soon as he took office. Are some of his ideas trivial, yes, but he went against his own party, and it was awesome. Sure, on this blog, his ideas won't be supported because the ideology is different, but from a liberal perspective, he is great. His ideas are great, for the most part, but the LCDP held him back (I'm not looking into getting into a conservative v. liberal debate).

I know you and Ben don't see eye to eye, but I'm often asked which party I affiliate with. I tell them that I don't like either. Quite frankly, I really love his big FU to the LCDP.

Kurt said...

Does anybody else appreciate that Ben is telling the Lucas County Democratic Party to go screw itself (for lack of a better term.)? I think we all agree (left or right) that the oligarchal nature of Toledo and Lucas County politics is ultimately the problem. Apparently, you and Ben agree on that.

Maggie Thurber said...

Kurt - I can certainly understand your perspective on the internal issues of the Democratic Party and I'm sure others will agree with you on that point.

As for the county government, you describe Ben's proposal as less oligarchal, but despite the numbers of elected officials increasing, you would still end up with a clearly Democrat-dominated county council and would still have the same issues he claims his proposal would address. The Dems have been in control for, well, my entire life. They and their bad decisions are responsible for the problems Ben identifies. And while some of Ben's ideas have been 'different' than the other Dems, they are still based on a flawed belief of government needing to act, take control, provide, etc... rather than be smaller and allowing people to keep more of their hard-earned money which, when spent as the people choose, actually will lead to growth in the community.

Moving to a larger government structure has proven, historically, to be a worse form of government, not a better one.

Trying to accomplish a 'uni-gov' does exactly that - puts the power in the control of a few and creates a bigger and more costly government - also moving decisions now done at the most local level (township government) over to the county as a whole.

What many fail to realize is that the various municipalities already work rather closely together on things that it makes sense to work together on. When I was a commissioner we listed all the 'joint' or 'coordinated' activities that create efficiencies and cut down on costs. The list was three pages long!

We don't need to change our form of government to work together better. And changing our form of government, as Ben admits, won't give us better elected officials (which is what I've said all along).

* Nice to 'hear' from you....

Maggie Thurber said...
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Maggie Thurber said...
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Maggie Thurber said...

sorry - got a weird blogger error message and then my comment posted three times....so I deleted two of them. I know y'all like to read what I write or you wouldn't visit my blog, but I figured three times of the same comment was a bit much. LOL

Kurt said...

“[Y]ou would still end up with a clearly Democrat-dominated county council and would still have the same issues he claims his proposal would address.”

I’m not disputing that.

“[Ben’s beliefs/ are still based on a flawed belief of government needing to act, take control, provide, etc...

Again, I didn’t want to get into this debate. But corporations, which are a creation of the government, need to be regulated. The government has the capability of taking away corporate charters at any moment, since they created them. While legally, corporations are considered people, know your corporate history!


“Moving to a larger government structure has proven, historically, to be a worse form of government, not a better one.”

Absolutely false. Look at Indianapolis, IN and Lexington, KY.

“When I was a commissioner we listed all the 'joint' or 'coordinated' activities that create efficiencies and cut down on costs.”

Very well, but it wasn’t good enough. And you couldn’t get it done even if you wanted to. Seriously, Indianapolis is booming. Look into uni-gov. It creates efficiencies.

Sorry it’s been so long. It’s nice to hear from you too! I like dealing with who know what they are talking about.

Maggie Thurber said...

Kurt - I believe you've confused some issues...

We're not talking about corporations here, nor are we talking about a complete lack of government. I'm a conservative, not an anarchist. :)

“Moving to a larger government structure has proven, historically, to be a worse form of government, not a better one.”

Absolutely false. Look at Indianapolis, IN and Lexington, KY.


Those 'governments' are not very long in terms of their longevity to truly judge, imho. Also, those two cities are quite different from Lucas County and the cities we have. They are more like Columbus where it might make sense to have a 'uni-gov' type of governmental structure. Additionally, their state governments are much different from Ohio's in many factors (not structure) that impact their success.

“When I was a commissioner we listed all the 'joint' or 'coordinated' activities that create efficiencies and cut down on costs.”

Very well, but it wasn’t good enough. And you couldn’t get it done even if you wanted to. Seriously, Indianapolis is booming. Look into uni-gov. It creates efficiencies.


Maybe I wasn't clear. The list was of ways were were ALREADY coordinating, not ways in which we COULD. Most people don't realize the interconnectivity and the inter-agency, inter-governmental cooperation that already exists between the Lucas County jurisdictions. They already work together on such things from criminal justice/law enforcement/EMA to joint purchasing in order to get better rates.

As for the fact that Indianapolis is booming, you cannot look just at the structure of their government and 'conclude' that that particular facet is the reason. (you know better than that...LOL)

So many factors go into the success or failure of an area and many of the factors that have contributed to Indie's success COULD be implemented here without changing the form of government.

Sadly, I believe that key factors (like tax structures of the jurisdiction and state, laws and regulations, etc...) that can lead to economic growth are ignored in this area in favor of 'feel-good' efforts and policies that actually drive businesses away.

I'd really like to see Lucas County try some of the policies that have led to success in other areas before the politicians fool around with the form of government.

Kurt said...

“Those 'governments' [Indy and Lexington] are not very long in terms of their longevity to truly judge, imho. Also, those two cities are quite different from Lucas County and the cities we have. They are more like Columbus where it might make sense to have a 'uni-gov' type of governmental structure. Additionally, their state governments are much different from Ohio's in many factors (not structure) that impact their success.”

What are the differences? Why does it make more sense for Columbus to be U-gov than us? Because they had the forethought to annex most of Frankilin County before the rich and upper middle class could move out of the city? I think your answer to the original question fails to explain the reasoning behind your answer. Your answer left something to be desired.

“Maybe I wasn't clear. The list was of ways were were ALREADY coordinating, not ways in which we COULD. Most people don't realize the interconnectivity and the inter-agency, inter-governmental cooperation that already exists between the Lucas County jurisdictions. They already work together on such things from criminal justice/law enforcement/EMA to joint purchasing in order to get better rates.”

Well, that’s just good work on your part. Which is one of the many reasons I respect you.

“As for the fact that Indianapolis is booming, you cannot look just at the structure of their government and 'conclude' that that particular facet is the reason. (you know better than that...LOL)”

Yes, I understand that there are other factors involved. But I think it’s ridiculous to dismiss the fact that a larger government tax base is more attractive to economic growth.

With regard to the rest of your argument that policies should be favored over facts, political form is equally a policy change. Do I think Ben’s right? I don’t know. But I also thought Ben got a bad shake. And I also thought Ben gave you a bad shake, for lack of better term. I try to be fair and just in my opinions, but at least, at the end of the day, we both know what we are talking about. God bless.

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