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Good afternoon everyone. I hope everyone is safe.

This is going to go on for a few days and so I offered, and Voice accepted, that with Brian Bonfiglio’s cancelation, I’m going to blog for the day.

Some random thoughts on politics, efficient government and democracy:

People ask me, why are politicians always making deals? Why can’t we get the politics out of city government?

My response is the same — you do NOT want politics out of city government. You want city government to do what you think it should do. Right is on your side. How are you going to get them to do what you want unless they are susceptible to political pressure — your political pressure!! You do not want antiseptic government or government by the numbers. You want government that you can influence n and that means the other side must also have the ability to influence government. That’s politics.

The problem is, there is no consensus — on anything!

Think of the biggest landslide victory: the candidate wins with 60 percent of the vote. That means four out of every 10 people voted against him/her. Most elections are more like 52-48 which means an almost even split. What that means is there is no agreement on what the “right” course is. When someone says “Do what the people want,” my question is — “who are the people?” Which side is “the people?”

Somebody has to find the middle ground.

When I was growing up — 60 years ago or so — politics was an honorable profession. It was “the art of compromise.” It meant bringing people together and finding common ground. Now compromise has become “selling out.” But if it’s your way or the highway, then how does anything get done unless you drive the other side into the ground?

The overwhelming majority of issues are not moral issues. It is not a moral issue if that shopping center goes in. Or that stop light goes in. Or that apartment building is built. Or that bridge. These are all issues when the politician — read elected official — has to work out a compromise or else it is fight to the death.

Jess Unruh once said “If I killed all my enemies yesterday I would not have any friends today.” He was right.

You also do not want “fast acting” government. You want effective government: good water, police and fire services, etc. But you do not want government that acts fast n the so called “efficient” government. Why? Because government has the guns and the taxing power. What if they are wrong? You want government that takes its time, government that has lots and lots of debate and public hearings and is slow slow slow.

It’s called democracy and it is messy and inefficient. Yea Democracy!

— JOHN KERN

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