Column: We are ALL making sacrifices

It's 11:30 on Thursday night, and I'm at home trying to string some words together for this column. It's really the only time of the day when I can think, uninterrupted.

The fact is, I'm dead tired. My hours at work have increased because there are three open positions in my newsroom, and two other people on my staff have had their hours reduced. And if one of my three reporters goes over 37.5 hours, I hear it loudly from above. If I could find the money, I'd buy my photographer, JC Amberlyn, an invisible plane and a slim bikini so she could look the part of Wonder Woman while she performs her amazing feats. But I'm not complaining, because I have a job, and I know a lot of others don't.

The words just aren't coming tonight, and I need to get some sleep, so I can put in another 10 hours tomorrow. If I get sick, there's no one to take my place. The only other editor in the building, Rich, is as tired as I am. We work together on Thursdays and Fridays, alone all the other days. But like I said, I've got nothing to complain about. When I saw 10,000 people show up for 100-200 jobs in Phoenix recently, I truly counted my blessings.

Most of us with jobs have seen our workload increase as the Dow Jones goes down. Less people means more work for those still employed. You simply continue to tread water, hoping the economy will turn around. You make sacrifices. You learn to get along with less.

I'm not one to make excuses, that's for losers, but I did fill my column quota this week by challenging Sen. McCain to take leadership of his party and return it to the party of the working man, to re-install the ideals set forth by Abraham Lincoln. I decided to run that column on Thursday before he came by to see us at the Miner, just to mix it up a bit, I guess. I don't think he read it, though, because he wasn't cranky with me.

So, in the interest of time (and sleep), I'm going to ask readers to fill in for me this week. Several have commented at kdminer.com on the article about our supervisors voting to give themselves new $40,000 vehicles during this economic crises. It seems that some of our elected officials feel that it's not necessary to sacrifice at this time.

I've cleaned up the grammar a bit on these comments, but the sentiments remain. Thanks, folks, for giving me a hand this week.

• Are you kidding, a new vehicle? I drive my vehicle on unpaved roads everyday and I DO NOT purchase a new vehicle every four years. I guess when it is not your hard-earned money, it is easier to spend. But, hey, our supervisors will look good in their new vehicles while our teachers are being laid off. Really, does this make any kind of sense?

• Three supervisors and one county manager. Let's see, this adds up to four people times $40,000 equals $160,000. In their defense, the supervisors and the county manager CAN spend up to $40,000. Poor Supervisor Gary Watson is uncomfortable in the Ford Explorer because of his height. To the good people of Kingman, remember to take into account weight and height when we cast our votes!

• "The current supervisor and county manager vehicles will be rotated back into the county vehicle fleet..." So, by this, I assume the vehicles are still drivable. The county workers who will drive these "used up" 4x4s will be driving them on the same road conditions that County Manager Ron Walker states requires them to have new rigs, but they're safe enough for the county workers? Talk about a load of crap.

• You mean to tell me that with the auto industry in the condition it is in right now that they can't get new vehicles for half that amount!?

• This makes me want to choke. With their salaries, they could buy their own vehicles like the rest of us and help out the economy and our county budget.

• What's next? Maybe a Big Spring Party with all the beer and girls down at Davis Camp!

• All I can say is remember this in four years when you vote these guys in again. We should have voted for Ray Cullison, and someone decent should have ran against supervisors Tom Sockwell and Buster Johnson. Sockwell cried to the judge about his opponent and got her ousted. Come on, people! It takes change! Stop complaining and fill some shoes! The people who get these positions do not have any better ideas than you do! I know there's more talent and ability out there than what we've seen in the past.

• How much time does a county supervisor actually spend in their vehicle? It is not like they are truck drivers or police officers who spend a great deal of time on the road and need a sturdy vehicle. Why buy a new vehicle just because you can? If they were driving a hatchback beater with duct tape on the front headlights, it might be OK to purchase a new vehicle, but to spend up to $40,000 because they "might" need a diesel vehicle ...

• I can't believe that we have no law enforcement to cover Mohave County areas like Golden Valley, Butler, Dolan Springs, etc., because there is no money to hire more officers. It's nauseating. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I have to say that I am sorry that I voted some of you in. I was under the impression that you would help the people, not yourselves.

• You guys have got to be kidding! Are you nuts? You all need to be stopped and slapped around a little. Fix the cars you have just like the rest of us do. Boy, I'd like a new car every four years, but I have to live on a budget, not like you guys.

• It makes me sick that the county would spend up to $160,000 on new vehicles. Fix what you have, sell what is not needed and pave roads in the county that need it. Our money could be put to much better use than cars. The fact that we have to wait for stimulus money (that might not come) is ridiculous when we are wasting money on cars. NO NEW CARS FOR COUNTY SUPERVISORS!

• I drive on 54 miles of unpaved road almost daily. Ten months ago, I ripped up two tires on a cattle guard due to the county's grader ripping the cattle guard. I am still waiting on the county for my claim. I cannot get anyone on the phone, no returned messages, nothing, period! So I guess the county will be needing those new cars to run around in since they are never in their offices to even talk to us!

• This is ridiculous. Spend the money to rehabilitate older vehicles, don't buy new ones. Spend the money more wisely. It isn't your money anyway, Mr. Watson. It belongs to the taxpayers and should not be spent at your leisure. It should be spent on what the taxpayers need, and I don't think a new truck is one of those needs.

• So, I guess that means if I were a supervisor, I could pick out a vehicle for $39,999.99. Hey, it's under $40,000. What a joke! If somebody told me at my job that I could pick out a four-wheel-drive vehicle of my choice for under $40,000, wouldn't you? Well, if you really did give a care about your position and the welfare of your citizens and county, you would have voted "NO" and said, "Let's look into different alternatives." But hey, that's me. I don't have an open cookie jar I can dip into whenever I want. This is a fine example of why this country is in the shape it's in.

• Of all the arrogant, audacious actions! This one takes the cake. So Watson is uncomfortable. Show me the citizen who is not uncomfortable these days, and I'll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge! Most of us out here are scrambling to keep the heat on, food on the table and gas in our vehicles to get to our minimum wage jobs, and they have the nerve to vote yes on this kind of proposition. Something has to be done about this, folks. An immediate recall of all three is imperative to protect this community from further abuse. I'm sick of it! How about you?

• ron.walker@co.mohave.az.us; gary.watson@co.mohave.az.us; tom.sockwell@co.mohave.az.us; buster.johnson@co.mohave.az.us - Thank you for providing the e-mail addresses. I just sent the following to our "leaders" as follows. I hope the rest of you will do the same! I, along with many other Mohave County citizens, am appalled by the story in the Miner regarding the purchasing of new county vehicles for all of you. In light of what all of us are clearly (and painfully) aware of in regards to our financial situations, the future of our schools, etc., this cannot and will not be supported. I don't feel it's necessary to list the many reasons why I oppose this; I am sure that others will be e-mailing you, and I am sure you are quite aware of the reasons but have obviously chosen to ignore them. I feel the Board needs to immediately reconsider and reverse the decision regarding this. To even have considered it, let alone approve it, is reprehensible, irresponsible and a complete slap in the face to the community you serve.

• I just don't know what to say. I am stunned to read that we are going to spend up to $160,000 for new vehicles, while we are in the midst of a nationwide depression. This news piled on the recent news that the county supervisors approved the $170,000 annual salary of the county manager. Do any of you reading this make $170,000 a year? How many of us will be buying new vehicles costing $40,000 this year? I make less than $20,000 a year, and pay, pay, pay taxes - property tax, income tax, sales tax. My tax dollars support this insane spending at a time like this!? Well, you may have stolen my tax dollars, but you will never again have my vote!

• There are clearly better and more economical ways to deal with the county supervisors' transportation needs. As one person suggested, let them ride along with county employees or maintain their current vehicles. Everyone I know is doing all they can to keep their old car going. I sure am. I am sick of being taxed to death to buy perks for people who make many times more than what I make.

• My God, all of this is unbelievable. In these trying times - cities/counties/states are broke, school districts paying teachers nearly minimum wage and administrators huge amounts, a county manager at $170,000 a year, that friggin' president and his Democratic Congress spending money like it grows on trees, and you jerks just figure you will join the crowd and get yourselves a new car!

• Last year, I bought a '96 Ford Thunderbird that had a blown motor for $200. The rest of the car was in great shape. So another $800 later, I was able to get this back on the road, and it runs and looks as good as a new car. So I didn't have to spend the big money for something new. I think the county could do the same.

• OK people, just what are we going to do? I am ready! Do we do a recall? Let's get started. I wish I could take back my vote. Why can't they have the meetings in the evening so we working taxpayers can attend?

• Glad to see my fellow county residents are in synch on this one. Anybody want to put together some signs to protest this and plan a time to meet at the county offices?

Well, I'm off to bed. I've got a busy one tomorrow, what with the sacrificing and all.

Hopefully, Suzanne can get at least a couple of our supervisors to weigh in on this issue.

I'm certain they want to do their part during these tough times.