Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Kromko's lost his moxie.

I should probably have 'blogged about this last week, before it began being reported in bits and pieces:

After several successful alliances on local issues, the Pima County Libertarian Party asked John Kromko to run for mayor, on their ticket. This was going to happen, until the day of the deadline, when Kromko gathered his "Water Users' Bill of Rights" supporters who, for bizzare reasons, didn't like the idea. In an act of cowardice, Kromko decided against running as a Libertarian.

Someone from the Green Party supposedly told Kromko that Dave Croteau would withdraw from the race if Kromko decided to run as a Green. (What the difference is between running as a Green and running as a Libertarian, from the perspective of the Enough! crowd, is beyond me.) What a slap in the face to Dave Ewoldt and the rest who are working to put together a respectable campaign for Croteau!

What I didn't know until I picked up the paper today is that Kromko actually filed to run as a Green, and subsequently withdrew due to lack of funds. If he'd had enough moxie to run as a Libertarian, he'd be in the race--the Libertarians have had trouble finding candidates this cycle--and would have bully pulpit from which to promote his initiative. (He was also going to take Clean Elections money, so the official excuse doesn't make any sense.)

Apparently, John Kromko's courage has gone the way of his mojo. Perhaps it's time for him to retire. Perhaps this is retirement.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Your tax dollars at work.

I'm a grad student in a department at the University of Arizona that'll go unnamed for now.

In a building full of high-tech equipment, one thing stood out: the old, 1960s-vintage Western Electric model 2500 phones, in a dingy cross between tan and Pepto-Bismol pink. I took their continued presense as a sign of (much appreciated) fiscal austerity, given the department's seemingly endless budget crises.

There are still old folks out there leasing their phones, and I just found out that the department is one of them. The phones were still being rented, for over $20 per month! Assuming 50 phones in the department, this comes to $1000 per month, or $10000 per year! So much for fiscal austerity!

A young office assistant came around today with replacement phones that cost less than two months' rental on the old ones, and told me this when I asked where the old Western Electric models were going. It was so outrageous, I had to confirm it in the business office.

It would seem that a little slice of Soviet efficiency lurks wherever your tax dollars are at work!