Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Neglected Few: Board of Estimate and Taxation


With a little help from the good folks at BoB I have become intimately aware of what the Board of Estimate and Taxation is, does, and doesn't do.

The BO EAT, which sounds much like a Hillbilly's dinner call, is responsible for setting the maximum property tax, and then using that money to control about 95% of the budget for the whole city. By setting it up this way, Minneapolis has pushed the envelope of representative democracy: instead of initiating referendums for every city budget, Minneapolitans elect a bunch of people to oversee the budget and trust them to make good decisions. Really, it's Extreme(in the Mountain Dew sense) Governance

The problem is, according to candidate Carol Becker, that Minneapolis property's taxable value has more than doubled in the last five years. This means, of course, that you ought to sell your house if you live in Minneapolis, since the pressure that high in the stratosphere is quite low, and even the most elastic of balloons will explode if it grows too large. Metaphorically, of course.

The candidates for the board are Carol Becker, Dave Berger, Gordon Nelson, Jill Schwimmer. Sadly, we can only elect two of these illustrious candidates. Luckily, you all have the PeP to provide you with the best in election coverage.

Gordon Nelson is the incumbent, his aged body decaying daily into a tortured, Cryptkeeper-like corpse. At 69, he is both the oldest candidate and the most experienced. He holds approximately 150 degrees from 2000 different institutions ranging from Luther Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago. He can strike fear into evildoers with his menacing stare, however he really mailed in his Strib profile essay. C'mon Gordy, two sentences is hardly an essay.

Dave Berger is the Green candidate, though Carol Becker's website's emerald theme is much more representative of the true greenliness of the green party. Dave Berger's website has had 613 hits since he put it up. I have visited it at least five times in order to write this post. Sad, sad Dave. He decided to use the "center" button in Word in order to write his biography. In doing so, he evokes the visual nature of the poems of George Herbert, specifically "The Swan" and "The Guy Who, as an infant, Was a Union Member so that He could Eventually Write a biography where He refers To himself as A Lifelong Union Member." Dave Berger leaps small anthills in a single bound. He carries old ladies across busy intersections for exercise. He, like I, cannot spell the word epistemilogicial.

Carol Becker is a Geek, apparently. Proudly, she proclaims her geekitude. I am not sure that this is something one ought to be proud of. The long history of geeks began Anglia, with the wicked Anglo-Saxons biting the heads off of Roman chickens during the reign of Hadrian. Do we really need to call attention to our bitter English rivals, Carol? She has also failed to update her website since early September. This is an election year, Ms. Becker. We need daily updates.

Jill Schwimmer is not related to David Schwimmer, as far as I can tell.


After all this, who will the PeP endorse?

Gordy, on account of his heat vision, mysterious past, and the fact that he has seniority over every elected Minneapolis official, and he can hold it over their heads. Feel the power of the Cryptkeeper.
Carol Becker, on account of her ability to devour renegade bands of chickens, her friendly relationship with members of ABBA, and because she's 42 and still working on her PhD.


Tomorrow: Library Board. How exiting. Yes, exiting.

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