Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dynamic Legislative Process: Part Two

Additionally, part of the success of any legislation and especially an "economic stimulus" is to see how the general pubic will react and the level of understanding of the legislative impact.

If public confident then x outcome ...
If public somewhat confident then y outcome ...
If public skeptical then z outcome ...

Stony Brook University has a program called the Lydia Project which can do this quite well.

More in Part Three.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dynamic Legislative Process: Part One

OK, so with all the commotion about the new stimulus package, I got to thinking.

How can we take some of the "One Long Island" concepts and apply them to a "dynamic" legislative process?

Not only for the federal government, but for state and local entities as well.

The above diagram is just a quick first draft.

More in Part Two.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

When do we become embarrassed?

"Reid, Pelosi: Bad jobs on transparency
There's still no comprehensive list of components of the $789 billion stimulus that actually adds up to $789 billion. Which is not a great job by Pelosi and Reid. Here is something that was leaked, but even on this one we can't make it add up to $789 billion."

This just happened to be the story of the day, but it really is emblematic of the greater problem. It certainly is not the exclusive domain of Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid.

At what point do we the public and our elected representatives, become embarrassed at not knowing relevant information? At not understanding the consequences of our actions?

When do we become embarrassed enough to do something about breaking the cycle of stagnation we are in?

Do we enjoy being ignorant?

Of course not.

Can we make better more informed decisions?

Of course.

This is one of the main premises of the One Long Island Program (which could be the One (you-fill-in- the blank) Program).

We want to be better. We want to be more informed. We want to work collaboratively and directly, not through surrogates.

We just need the tools to do so.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good start to an idea ...

Here is an idea by the New York State Attorney General's office that is gaining some notoriety lately.

It approaches the idea of lowering taxes by eliminating some government and giving the taxpayers an easier route to the referendum process (or it seems to give the county executive the power to call for a mandatory referendum, because allowing the county executive to unilaterally consolidate would run contrary to the idea of the referendum process. Additionally allowing "the entire county" to vote on the fate of particular villages, towns or districts or to have a sort of "general vote" on the idea of consolidation would also not allow enough specificity as to the structural requirements of consolidation and all of its consequences but would instead lend itself to demagoguery and political grandstanding).

First, the idea has merit, if only as a starting place for a real, comprehensive discussion.

If we eliminate some forms government, the work still must get done (unless we are willing to reduce services), so what will be the cost of the new entity doing the same work and what will be the short term and long term savings if any?

What are the best practices of existing forms of government (in New York or elsewhere) and how do we implement them state-wide?

What forms of government are involved? Counties, towns, school districts or just special districts and villages? How do we reform the larger entities where presumably the new duties will be going and where most of the tax dollars go presently?

Why not have regularly scheduled referenda (see Referendum Cycles on this site)? Every 3 to 5 years. Why make taxpayers have to gather signatures at all?

How does the Attorney General's idea mesh with past or current studies on the same, similar or interrelated subjects?

To us the idea of 10,000 governmental entities sounds like a big number, and perhaps it is. But in reality it is not a big technical job to catalog and analyze this "group." In fact that should be our first step prior to any legislation.

As we've said previously, a big problem in New York and elsewhere is the lack of a "common language." I won't bore you with the details as I've bored some of you in excruciating detail on this very subject over the 300 or so posts.

How can we make intelligent choices without trusted, verified and dynamic information?

Maybe the Attorney General already has it 100% correct.

The sad part is that we'll never know.

We should know.

We should demand to know.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cycle of Stagnation Redux

Part of the current problem, as I see it anyway, with the current fiscal "crisis" on both the national (international) scene and the local scene is that the "public" does not have the "tools" it needs to help prevent crisis situations and therefore feels powerless, confused, frustrated and angry when then presented with a take it or else solution.

It may even be said that those who we elect to govern us do not have the proper tools at their disposal either. Blaming others is easy. Fixing problems is hard work.

We will assume for the moment that "those in power" actually want the tools to see what reality looks like.

Now a cynic may say that this is all part of the grand design. After all what fun would there be legislating if the general public had access to the same information and analytical tools as those who were elected. What fun would there be in the media losing its place and power as the "fourth estate" if the public could inform itself.

To be even more cynical, there are those who would suggest that the public doesn't really want the ability to govern itself, because it is too much work and we like to have people to blame when things go wrong.

I don't subscribe to that way of thinking.

So the current "fiscal" crisis in just the latest manifestation of the "cycle of stagnation" we've spoken about earlier on this site.

Is there too much government or is the government we have just ineffective? Isn't having a lot of well run local government (home rule) accountable to the public and working in a collaborative manner better than less government, but larger more ineffectual government? Can you even have large effective government?

Here on Long Island, as elsewhere, we a experiencing the pain of "change" and here, like elsewhere, we have not, for the most part, prepared properly for what needs to be done.

The greatest tragedy of the current dilemma is not that we have to go through it and make, perhaps, bad decisions based on the lack of a clear understanding of the "meta-dimensional" aspects of our very existence.

No, the greatest tragedy would be repeat this "cycle of stagnation" and not take comprehensive steps to change the way we govern ourselves and thus condemn future generations to this "old and outdated thinking."

One Long Island is an attempt at this "re-ordering."

"The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it."