Monday, November 16, 2009

Random thoughts of deference, dogs, destruction and deficits

It's raining where I am and there's a lot going on - so some random thoughts on various issues.

* My uncle is Chinese. He's a U.S. citizen and has been for decades. But being Chinese gives him unique perspective on the Asian cultures and the practice of bowing. President Barack Obama again made news with his 'bow' before the Japanese Emperor. He bowed at a 90-degree angle.

Now, it is appropriate to greet such individuals with a bow, participating in the customary greeting of the nation. But, according to my uncle, a 20- to 30-degree angle is acceptable and recommended. Additionally, the Emperor should greet our President with a handshake, which is our custom.

But to do as Obama did and lower himself half-way is not proper for the President of the United States. Either he is intentionally trying to send a message of submission to foreign monarchs, or he's being served very, very poorly by his protocol office.

* When I was a commissioner, I had a phone call from a woman who wanted the dog warden to do more in getting dogs at the pound adopted out. She insisted that there were many groups just waiting for dogs and they'd be glad to take them instead of having them euthanized at the pound.

Since she obviously knew so much more than me about such groups, I suggested that she contact the various groups, work out how many and what type of dogs they'd be willing to take each week and then draw up a plan for how it could work.

Despite the fact that I'm allergic to dogs (and just about all pets and furry creatures), I love the creatures and don't want to see them killed by anyone. However, I'm also a realist and know that the dog warden and pound are supposed to be self-sufficient, paying for itself out of the licenses/fines/fees for services. When dogs are kept for longer periods of time, they cost money - and someone has to pay for those bills.

I also know that the state law and Ohio Revised Code place mandates on what a dog warden must, and can, do. Those tasks must come first, as they are statutory requirements.

So, I thought that this woman would be in a perfect position to devise a plan with all these dog rescue groups and, since she was certainly passionate about the issue, that she would embrace the challenge.

However, from her reaction to my suggestion, I didn't expect I'd ever get any sort of plan and I never heard from her again.

You see, she didn't want to do what I suggested. She wanted the dog warden to do it. She was willing to call up and tell me how the dog warden could do what she thought was a better job, but she wasn't willing to put any effort into it herself.

That's part of the problem with too many people these days. They're so willing to tell others what to do, but so unwilling to apply the same directions to themselves. And it's even worse when the entity they're targeting for action is the government. Too many think government should do all things so they don't have to.

This is not to say that improvements are not needed at the dog pound - that would be ridiculous. There are always places for government to improve. But too many of the voices shouting for the dog warden to 'do something' are not willing to 'do something' themselves. Some are - but most aren't. They just want to join the chorus of condemnation without assuming any of the responsibilities for the actions they want to achieve - like the woman who called me.

But if all the people currently complaining about the dog warden instead spent that energy working with various rescue groups to come up with ways to save the dogs at the pound, wouldn't that be a more productive use of energy and benefit the dogs and our community more than one person being fired?

I hope the task force looking at the operations of the pound will take a serious look at the financial aspects of what they recommend and include funding recommendations as well. Their current recommendation for a moratorium on 'killing puppies' (sensational impact intended) has a cost that needs to be addressed. Emotion without reason and logic on the issue will get us no where.

* I saw 2012 over the weekend and very much enjoyed it. It wasn't the greatest movie I've ever seen, but the special effects did not disappoint and they needed to be seen on the big screen of a movie theater with the surround sound as well. I wasn't expecting much in terms of a plot line - it's a disaster movie with a well-known premise - so I wasn't disappointed by that. In fact, some of the melodramatic moments gave me time between tsunamis, earthquakes and general destruction to actually catch my breath.

There are some who are complaining that Christian sites were destroyed in the movie, but no Muslim ones were. While it may be true that the makers of the film are anti-Christian (I have no idea and don't really care), equating the selection of destroying the statue of Jesus in Brazil and the Vatican to some sort of Christian-bashing would be the same as saying the makers of the film were anti-American because they also showed the destruction of the Washington Monument and the White House. And those who are complaining failed to account for the destruction of the monastery on the mountain in China...

Sometimes, a movie is just a movie. And since my expectations on the plot were not very high to begin with, I was glad I saw the massive global destruction scenes inherent in the 2012 hysteria on the big screen. So if you go see the movie, enjoy it for what it is: a work of fiction best seen on a big screen.

Besides - it stars John Cusak, and he's one of my favorites!

* Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is releasing his 2010 budget today. I received the email notice from Megan last night and asked how long it would be before the document was placed on line. I've not yet gotten a response, but Megan is usually pretty good about getting back to us on press-release questions. So stay tuned. I'll link to it when it's out and we all see what kind of deficits we're facing next year.


Mad Jack said...

Ah, the dog warden. Tom 'Baby Doc' Skeldon and his Tonton Macoute. I was wondering if you'd get around to this.

Read my opening salvo again and you'll have a kinder, gentler interpretation of my overall feelings about the Skeldon tribe - Baby Doc in particular.

Putting that aside as much as I'm able, consider that Skeldon is appointed, not elected. His salary is paid by the general public, who have every right to call upon their elected official and demand that changes be made. Responding to those demands is part of the territory. Failure to respond to a tax paying, registered voter in Lucas county is dereliction of duty, even if your response doesn't favor the demands of the constituent.

Realistically Skeldon is uncooperative at the very best of times. Skeldon refused to scan animals for ID chips, claiming that it was too much trouble, then refusing to spend money for a scanner. Skeldon has failed to break up dog fighting in Lucas county, which I believe to be as common as prostitution. Skeldon, much like Tina Skeldon, is arrogant. Since he isn't elected and ostensibly can't be fired, what choice do the mere civilians have? All the work with animal shelters will be in vain if Skeldon won't cooperate, and he's made it very clear that he won't. You don't have to take my word for this. Go and talk to HistoryMike and a few of his associates, and they'll tell you all about Skeldon. Only they'll be kinder and gentler than I'd be.

Unknown said...

Maggie, we are in complete agreement on the Dog Warden, and I hope the budget is online too, soon.

I also agree with you on 2012 - Miguel and I saw it as a matinée on Saturday.


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