I never thought I would be so happy to see an article in the Globe, but:
I feel a little vindicated to hear of the rumblings that David Miller is putting together a group (at God know what expense, but we’ll get to that later) with the goal of selling the people of the city on his tax plan and his overall approach to the city’s finances.
I’ve been arguing with friends since the taxes were deferred that the fault of this lay solely with the Mayor, who spent too much time thinking he had a political problem and never figured out (until now it would seem) that this has always been a PR problem.
People HATE taxes…they always have and any time you want to levy another one, people are not going to like it…the importance of the taxes are completely irrelevant!! I know that’s tough to swallow, but no one wants to part with their money and NO ONE wants to part with their money involuntarily. That’s the PR problem…if the general public will never love a tax, how can you convince them?? That is likely the exact question that the Mayor was asking himself before the tax vote. The answer, so clearly presented now in retrospect, is that you have to sell the public on the sheer terror of the alternative.
Sure, you’re going to be accused of fear-mongering. But if you wait until afterwards, as the Mayor did, you get accused of fear-mongering AND petulance. This budget plan has clearly existed for quite a while and the alternatives, should the taxes be defeated have probably existed for as long. (Does anyone really believe they just made all this up in the last couple of weeks?) Regardless of what the people on this site know (If you’re here, you probably have your ear to the ground, eh?) the general public did not know, and still doesn’t know, the plight we are facing.
So, the Mayor f’d up and you can’t change that now. I’m glad he’s trying to get his camp together to go to the people and try to educate them about how bad things are now and could be very soon. I hope that this doesn’t cost and arm and a leg, because it would be really stupid for the Mayor to get caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Sure you have to spend money to make money, but when there isn’t any money sometimes you have to settle for photocopied flyers instead of bus shelter posters…I’m thinking of the “1 Cent Now” campaign.
I know there isn’t an election for a while, but if we think that getting the public’s support is only important at election time then we don’t have as strong a democracy as we should.