General William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame is the correct answer, BTW.
I sort of feel like that.
As promised, I attended the local County Commissioner meeting on Monday. Our roads are helplessly f/u’ed. I’m pissed and so are neighbors.
Someone has to do something about it and the County Commissioners have managed to do bupkis about it, so far. Into the breach…
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As expected, there was no sign of a new plan to end the large gravel operation which has destroyed several roads in this part of Anderson County, Texas. No penalty, no forfeited bond…nadda.
After considering Elaine’s comments about this being the time of life when we should be traveling, exploring, and visiting a few casinos, and after much soul – searching, I made the strategic decision to file and run as an independent candidate.
Before doing so, however, I did speak briefly with the gentleman I will be running against. I told him that I did not want all of the grief that goes with being a County Commissioner. I told him that I respect the difficulty of the position. Hell, I will vote for him in the Primary.
However, with a county road that is little more than a muddy goat trail due to heavy trucks tearing it up, I was at my wits end. One reason for this is that about a dozen residents took time off work a few months ago to complain about the lack of maintenance and control over heavy loads on our somewhat delicate rural oil – sand paved roads.
The County Judge went into mumble-speak at this, and to a local resident he wanted a “petition” before anything would go on the docket. Which a buddy who is a commissioner in a Texas county with 70-times more people says indicated there is a firestorm on this issue. The “right answer” would have been to simply put the issue on the calendar, hold a hearing, work out an arrangement of some kind, and end of the problem.
But since that didn’t happen, back to behavioral economics: Now why would they behave that way? Behavioral economics operates at every level of life….
Firestorm of public opinion, or not, the County hasn’t forced the rock crusher to leave, and is acting disinclined to do so. And when that kind of thing happens, I begin looking for the “motivator” behind the scene because in behavioral economics, there is always leverage around if you go looking for it.
This is why America is on the brink of disaster, too: People show up, express their feelings and government ignores ’em, f*cks ’em, and usually both.
Subs, Doms, and Bondage
Numerous other counties have set up systems which involve bonding, and repair of any damage, at the end of gravel pit operations.
Come to find out, our County residents are not the only ones with a gravel pit operation and road destruction problem.
Sources tell me that in Limestone County, similar problems have arisen. Gravel pits are an equal opportunity nuisance.
The situation is made more complicated to address because local government is not consolidated. How to streamline an organization chart seems to be off the table.
There is little reason, especially in a big County, to have multiple road planning fiefdoms. I don’t have any problem with individual districts having their own governmental representatives, but in many counties, there is a single County Engineer.
County Engineers, tend to do a very good job of applying even standards of highway and roadway maintenance throughout their service areas. They have to keep the Commissioners happy – which would leave more time for day trading and gambling trips.
One (CE) in particular, who I knew in King County, Washington (Seattle) 40 years ago, took extreme pride in making sure that all of the roads in the suburban areas surrounding Seattle were about equally maintained. This was done by allocating budget for road maintenance based on traffic counts.
You may remember I am a huge fan of the scientific school of management: What gets measured, gets done.
In all of the time I have lived in this part of Texas, I don’t think I have seen but one or two traffic counters. If memory serves, one was in the Frankston Texas area in advance of completing a conversion of a 2 Lane State Hwy. into a four-lane state highway. I’m not sure where the other one was.
My point is, that in order to ensure that government provides equal dollars for residents of an area, there should be some basis in fact, such as traffic counting data. On rural feeder roads, too.
What I would like to see would be a simple class system. Perhaps Class I roads would be those which have the highest traffic counts. Class II roads would be the main arterials. Class III roads would be those that have fairly small traffic counts. And then there would be terminal roads which would be class for. In rural areas, where there are so many dead ends, class IV roads would be very common. However, because they get very little use, they could be maintained. Once everyone’s world was brought up to standard.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Philistine Herald newspaper when the farm – to – market Road, up the hill from us was paved with terribly large aggregate. I don’t know if you realize this, but aggregate size has everything to do with how quiet our roadway is to drive.
In the case of farm to FM 315, some of the gravel was almost as big as your fist. To be sure it is marvelously safe when there are very light amounts of snow on the road, because the precipitation tends to get down in the cracks until an inch, or so of snow has been deposited. which, oh BTW never happens. This is Texas, for cryin out loud. And not up around Armadillo…
Unfortunately, the boulder-paved road is noisier than hell. Since we have our little home recording studio, we keep our professional audio level meter handy. On freshly paved, small aggregate Road, at 60 mph we get about 65-74 dB of road noise. When we turn onto the other road – this monster with the fist -sized rocks – the noise level jumps up to 80 – 85 dB.
NO one from our county seems understands this stuff, but it’s how aggregate/acoustics work.
Here is the truth of the matter: in the primary election, I will probably vote for the fellow I am running against. The reason is simple: there is nobody else on the ballot.
Deadline: My next 75-days as a candidate are all fully scheduled. I have multiple trips planned (casinos and flying the airplane around), not to mention catching up on my sleep.
If my road is not fixed by the County by April Fools’ Day (seems like a proper decision-making date to me) then I will get deadly serious about getting the 300 signatures or whatever is required under Texas state law to ensure I will appear on the ballot in November. Max is 500. Work, but doable.
Since it’s not worth loading up a VoiceLink to do automated calling to such a small group of people, there are lots of software programs around my office which could be used for this purpose. For example, many people don’t know this, but in ACT (sales management database system I have used in many past assignments). It is fairly trivial to add fields in order to keep track of what telephone conversations are revealing about issues, as well as tabulated reports.
I can strap on a headset, and plan on completing about 10 -15 calls per hour. Because the likely calling list will be in the vicinity of 2000 names, this translates to 200 hours of work. My wife Elaine, being a really good sport, would no doubt participate as well. At 10 calls per hour, I would be accounting for total calls completed.
I don’t know how deeply you have gotten into the science of telemarketing. But since we started making telephone calls with predictive dialing systems back then, we came to realize that the prime time for making phone calls was (redacted). If you call (redacted), many people are not home from work yet. If you call people after (redacted) most of them get pissed or irritated because you are starting to intrude into family and/or television time.
(I don’t want to dredge up details like this from memories long buried…just fix the road. But YES I am the prick who got you out of the shower in 1986 because you didn’t pay your Consolidated Detroit Edison bill. sorry. Shit happens. Pay your bills.)
If I have a three-minute canned speech and a call completion rate of 20 to 23%, talking to everybody who is a likely voter becomes highly probable.
Or, instead of telemarketing, I just hire a direct-mail outfit and have them send out a snazzy letter, a lapper (the thing that falls in your lap as a second sales pitch) and a PPBRPO (postage paid business reply envelope) along with a mail-in
That would be the least work (design mailer – 4 hours) but the largest check ($3-5-thousand) but it still leaves time for casino trips, flying, writing and actual work.
One new strategic problem for telemarketing machines is that so many people have gone to cell phones. In this particular backwater, (a domestic third-world enclave) cell coverage of homes is perhaps 50% in the target. Not only will my campaign signs have to give people access to our website but also a reason to vote for me. Since the main issue is maintenance of roads, a question like “I’ll fix your roads” is almost a no-brainer.
I helped build/built an online direct marketing (mail) firm as a consulting project once…may have to look ’em up. More freaking work, though.
Speaking of manipulation of voting persuasion blocks, Faux Snooze the other day had on a story about how officials were not able to monitor Facebook for hate speech. That is not quite true. If you have ever seen our outputs at our www.nostracodeus.com website, you will hopefully appreciate that to our predictive software system, it makes no difference whether we are monitoring the entire contents of multiple large newspaper websites, or an assortment of several hundred Facebook websites. Each of these is simply another “mission” that we can load into our systems and happily scanned the Internet.
Candidate’s Day One
So much for my first day in politics. I am officially an independent candidate, who is only running because of one issue. And believe me, I am willing to withdraw as soon as good roads are reestablished in my immediate vicinity.
Sounds kind of stupid, I suppose: running for office because my brother-in-law is buying too many front end realignments. But maybe that’s why the American system works: people get pissed, people then get active. They run for office. They kick out the dead wood. If an issue resonates, they win. If the issue doesn’t resonate, they don’t win. It’s pretty straightforward.
I sure don’t want to run for office… All the mean, spiteful, terrible things I have said about politicians come roaring back into memory. (Never mind they were all true…)
But may not be all bad! I’ve already told Elaine to expect to fish me out of a municipal fountain one of these days and don’t my the hookers. I’ve bought her a blue dress, and here shortly, I will begin posting body part pictures on social media. m II have a frigging great sense of Humah, as it were….
This may set a new low point for American political decorum. But you know what?
This could really be fun.
We Need a Fresh Party
I don’t have the name for my independent party, but the word lick spittle is sufficiently different from most every day speech that it would have a high recall factor.
And what would the Lickspittle Party stand for? Honestly, not much since a lick spittle is by definition a what? (Hand me the UrbanDictionary, pleeze…_) See here.
Lick-spittle. A slimy grovelling and devious person who will do anything to get ahead in their life and career including accepting an order from the boss to lick a big green greasy lump of spit in the hope of promotion or a pat on the head.
Every politician in American would join if they were in touch with who they really are…
An alternative political party name would be the Porcupine Party.
Get a slogan like “Get the other pricks out of government” would have mass appeal.
That’s not a done deal, either. If you would like the high honor of naming a new political party, please send it along. The ones se have now aren’t cutting it.
Write when you break-even… we’re off to study statistics in Louisiana this morning. Panama’s on patrol here at Uretopia in our absence.