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Pet peeves: We all have them

By Walter Geiger I sat through two public hearings about a proposed increase in property taxes the other day and they went about the same as the many others I have endured over the years. Some people arrive well informed and ask good, articulate questions. Some are not so well informed. Of those, some listen to explanations and some do not. Those who do not listen leave such events just as uninformed as they were when they got there but feel good about having spoken their minds and I guess that is a good thing. At those hearings, various pet peeves arose. A program that is one person’s ‘waste of tax dollars’ may be an absolute necessity to another. One program that came up was the little white public transportation buses that few people use and even fewer people understand. ‘Why are we paying for a bus to take someone to work,’ someone asked. I agree. Those buses have always been a pet peeve of mine. Another pet peeve that arose was the public defender’s office through which taxpayers provide attorneys for ‘˜indigent’ or ‘˜under-privileged’ criminal defendants. ’Why are programs always aimed at the under-privileged. Why can’t there be someone looking out for those of us who are productive,’ a man asked me when the hearing was over. I had no answer for him. He had an excellent point. Another man chimed in on free and reduced price breakfasts and lunches at schools, claiming, essentially, that they teach entitlement. ‘Once they get that free lunch, they will always have their hand out,’ he alleged. Again, I had no good answer. This man, too, had an excellent point. Another pet peeve that arose at the meeting was extended early voting periods paid for at taxpayer expense. This complaint I agree with wholeheartedly. We have gone from having an election day to having an election month. Before campaign season ends for candidates, voting season begins for voters. These early voting periods have grown from a week to a month and, in some cases, even longer. That is ridiculous. Certainly there are those that cannot get to the polls on election day. The absentee ballot system was designed for them and for those out of the country, including those in the military. Providing extended early voting opportunities is ridiculous. One week should suffice. That is plenty of time for those who want to vote. Longer periods are designed for those who have to be prodded to do so – and for those doing the prodding.

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