Press Talk: What a mess we're all in



Why is government such a mess?

I mean, really. It’s just crazy.

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time on the tomfoolery of the M&M boys (Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke.) Their back-door hiring of the unqualified state Sen. Don Benton as some sort of county environmental expert was just silly. (Read our story about Benton on Sunday.)

Silly would sort of be OK if they weren’t throwing $100,000 a year in salary at Benton. But hey, what’s another $100,000 of taxpayers’ money, right?

In the end, the M&M boys and Benton are just a symptom of a much larger problem. Most politicians simply do not care about where taxpayers’ money goes.

Battle Ground

Take the Battle Ground school district. Please! Truth is, some of those folks out there should be cleaning out their desks. I really don’t see how anyone recovers from the mess the school board created.

What, you haven’t heard? The school board cut loose the superintendent and threw several hundred thousand dollars — taxpayer dollars — at her to go away.

Hey, what’s another couple of hundred thousand dollars when it comes to taxpayers’ money? There’s more where that came from.

If that wasn’t bad enough, they did it secretly. Oh yeah, and as they were working this deal, they were also in the middle of trying for a second time to get more taxpayers’ money for a school levy. No need, I guess, to let the public know about this dirty laundry while they were trying to dig deeper into taxpayers’ pockets. So it remained a secret until long after the levy vote.


Government pensions

Then we find out that several states — including Washington — are handing out government pensions to people who don’t even work for the government.

Look, I won’t get into the inequality of government workers' getting pensions when most private workers — who have to help pay for those government pensions — don’t have pensions themselves.

But the idea that politicians would be handing out these pensions to nongovernment workers (lobbyists, no less) shows a complete disregard for taxpayers.

Any solution?

You’d think the easy solution would be to simply elect people who would serve the public in a fair and reasonable way.

You’d think.

But Madore is a perfect example of how this doesn’t work. Voters had high hopes that Madore would get in there, use some common sense, and clean up the mess created by decades of other politicians.

Not so much.

Instead, he’s turned out like so many others.

So voters are left bewildered. And rightfully so. If they vote in somebody new, they turn out just as bad or worse than the old political hacks.

And if they elect the old political hacks, they’re guaranteed to get more of the same.

Hey, look, I’m not saying there aren’t some good politicians out there. I just can’t find two of them to rub together to create some traction.

I guess the only surefire solution is, if you can’t beat them, join them. Get a government job. Maybe you can get in cozy with the M&M boys? I’m sure they could find — or even create — a job for you.

My goodness.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, or