Tribute to John Vihstadt

These comments were delivered by Jim Hurysz on my behalf at a tribute to outgoing County Board member John Vihstadt on Saturday, December 15, 2018.

While I’m not enthralled that John Vihstadt voted with the majority of the Board as often as he did, I admired his penchant for fiscal restraint. Unfortunately John’s view on budgetary matters is not shared by the majority of the Board.

In fact at a Board meeting held the day after I lost my run for County Board to Vihstadt’s ally Libby Garvey in 2016, 5 out of 6 motions John made to defer spending of closeout funds to the FY18 budget were defeated. Three of John’s motions couldn’t even get a second, and the other two were voted down 4-1.

It wasn’t until this year when the County Manager himself recommended the reallocation of most FY18 closeout funds to next year’s budget that the Board finally saw the wisdom of fiscal restraint. Instead of being rewarded for his excellent judgment in fiscal matters, John has been run out of office—the victim of de facto straight ticket voting.

Most Democrats are celebrating the success of the Blue Wave in this year’s elections as a referendum against Trump. Yet the phenomenon of voters all over the nation stampeding to the polls to register their approval or lack thereof for someone who was not even on the ballot was both irrational and anti-democratic. Lost in the hubris and vitriol was any consideration of the merits of other candidates let alone the issues.

While some would argue that this is democracy in action, I argue that the Blue Wave and the Trump populism are both manifestations of majoritarianism not democracy. For either side all that matters is the merits of the man in the White House. All else is ignored.

That majoritarianism is not beneficial to the nation is evident from the $21 trillion deficit $1 trillion debt. That it is not beneficial to the County will become apparent when next year’s tax hike goes into effect.

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