Leadership, could we ever use some. by Harold Vangilder
Consistency is always creative; there is always a way to get to your goal. The inconsistent person is never creative and will desert your standards and values.
am a political person. Politics is concurrently high comedy and low drama, and is never dull. I have been in Republican Grass roots politics for over 30 years; have served on numerous campaign committees as volunteer and paid worker. I have been active in Republican clubs in Cochise and Pinal County and was a founding member of the Western Pinal Republican Club. We formed this club in 2001 with the aim of changing politics in Pinal, and we succeeded. This edition is devoted to leadership, and my op-ed will be about political leadership. I will describe what I think that is, and what it is not—and where you, the citizen, fits in. There are two things that every citizen needs to know about politics. First, all actions of government are political in nature and only coincidentally rational. Second, government is a self-licking ice cream cone and the citizen needs to watch how much milk gets into the ice cream machine. This knowledge needs to be at the front of your mind all the time. These two maxims allow you to evaluate those who would desire to be your elected leader at every level of government. Good leaders are consistent. That does not mean that they should never change positions; things can change and consistency is different from rigidity. Consistency gives you the stability from your elected leader that you deserve. Every act from your elected leader MUST prove that they are true to bedrock values. When I got here in 2001, we had a 19 point deficit with Democrats in registration. Republicans started beating the drum that if we ran things that government would become smaller and be less costly. In 2010, we became the majority party in Pinal County and in the 2012 elections we took every political office with the exception of Supervisor Rio’s seat and the County Treasurer. So, how are we doing? Let’s go to 2013. The new Republican controlled Board of Supervisors
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notified the other elected office holders that Pinal County would have $7 M less revenue in 2013 than in 2012. They asked that everyone sharpen their pencils. Astoundingly, the elected officials (all Republicans save one) submitted requests for new spending totaling $20M. In fact, only the County Treasurer (the lone Democrat) and the County Superintendent of Public Instruction (a Republican) did not ask for any new funds. Remember our assertion, put us in and things will cost less. Raise your hand if you think county government is smaller. Succumbing to fiscal reality, the Board of Supervisors declined most of these requests. After three years of Republican control, county government is not smaller and it costs you more. However; it is not completely the elected officials fault. You see, you—the voting public—is mostly silent about their failure to deliver. It is your fault that more milk gets into the ice cream machine. Government will only get smaller and less costly when you get serious and start demanding actual performance from those elected. Until that time, government at every level will come to you periodically and tell you that their interests are superior to yours. For example,
the structure of government needed the money, raised your taxes to get it, and you gave no indication that this made you mad. In fact, Supervisor Rios stated that if the levy was not implemented, then the Sheriff’s department response time could go up, and that people in Pinal County could die. Go to the county website and see for yourself. Imagine that, life and limb hang on a tax increase. Revenue has made the county budget lower; your cost has actually gone up. So, what can you do? Well, ask this question of every candidate; “what will you do to make your department 10 percent smaller and 10 percent less costly in your first term?” If they can’t tell you how they will do that, don’t vote for them. If they come up with a plan, and don’t honor it, kick them out. If you won’t do that then you deserve your role as a source of milk. Consistency is demonstrated by fidelity to standards and values. Consistency is always creative; there is always a way to get to your goal. The inconsistent person is never creative and will desert your standards and values. I will now watch with great interest to see how much more milk you will be required to put into the ice cream machine.
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