I walked into the office only minutes after having my first healthy lunch in about 20 years when I spotted the UPS box on my chair. The box contained every known kind of Girl Scout cookie, plus a letter explaining the lessons Scouts learn while selling them. (Lesson No. 1: Grandma will buy lots of cookies.)
I opened the box, surveyed the choices, and put away a whole container of lemon creme-flavored cookies before the end of the workday. A healthy lunch should always be followed by hundreds of calories of dessert.
In short, the cookies were "talking" to me in a way I could clearly understand.
Bill Nugent has been "talking" to me in a similar fashion. I read story after story from candidate forums and identify most closely with what he is saying. City Hall salaries are out of hand, particularly for a community our size. The impact fee is punishing contractors and the people who would like to employ them, and it's death on mom and pops, who are operating successful businesses and would like to increase their equity by working out of a building they own.
You're kidding yourself if you don't think an additional $30,000 tacked on to the price of a building doesn't make any difference. And the city's need for that money is amply illustrated by the fact that not one cent of it has been spent since the fees have been collected.
Here's my take on impact fees. If you're a developer and you pave the streets and put in the utility lines, you have paid for the impact. The people who buy the homes pay to get the utilities, specifically those provided by the city, and if the city can't make money collecting garbage, providing water and handling wastewater, then there's a problem with the fee structure, not with any imagined "impact."
One might suspect that the city's sluggish approach to minding its own budget - with money that comes from us - is part of the problem. It was news a few weeks ago when the city announced it was cutting staff in a department. But that news didn't happen until a reporter from the Miner called and asked about the number of employees in that department and how much work they had this year as compared to two or three years ago.
By the process of elimination, I'd ruled out Monica Gates for mayor before I knew who the other candidates were. The impact fee is Monica's baby, and the high salaries across the board started under her watch.
John Salem strikes me as a perfectly nice guy, and one who will take his time determining how he would act to solve a problem. But I'm not convinced he thinks there are any problems based on what he's said at forums. When it comes to not saying anything in a nice way, he's Kingman's Barohn Obalem.
Think about it.
So that left me firmly in Bill Nugent's corner, and my mind didn't change when he showed up at the office recently acting like a bully - when he wasn't complaining loudly about how he was being abused by the Miner. In fact, I'd risk serious jail time trying to rig the election in his favor if his campaign included this ultimatum for Kingman Area Rapid Transit: Operate as a self-sufficient entity or die. Apparently I'm the only person bothered by the fact that KART can continue to lose more and more money and still hire more people to drive more empty buses.
I'm voting for Bill Nugent. And the next time he comes to the Miner all grumpy and complaining, I'm going to give him a Girl Scout cookie.