“He’s A New Yorker!”

6/8/08

(2/27/2009 This post has been updated. Please read the last two paragraphs.)

Usually I don’t like to respond to gossip and innuendo. I was raised to believe that such talk was the work of idle hands and the devil.

Let me back up for a moment. One of the things I learned during my campaign was that many of our senior citizens get up quite early and have breakfast at at least a half dozen restaurants across our fine city. It struck me as no better place to get a feel for the concerns, likes and dislikes, many in Washington have for community. I see them as a canary-in-the-coal-mine, a barometer for me to gauge public sentiment, things that work and things that are concerns – like taxes, quality of life, and cost of living issues.

These folks continue to be my go to people, people I rely on to make good, sound decisions.

Unfortunately, there is a small, vocal and powerful group (emphasis added on last two adjectives) that appears threatened by the emergence of new blood in the city council. I have proven to be something of an enigma to them and they have resorted to actually trying to paint me as a “New Yorker,” “A big city boy, with big city ways.”

Hmmm. I have been called a bunch of things in my life, but a “New Yorker?” Granted, I did live in New York for about 10 years, so if some are comforted believing proximity makes me a “New Yorker,” knock yourselves out.

Again, allow me to back up. I ran my campaign under the Reaganesque principals of: less government, less taxes, less regulation. The city of New York could not have enough regulations, taxes, and government. From occupancy inspections, to buying your personal data from utility companies, to increasing taxes, to red light cameras, or even charter government – these are all big city ways, New York ways and now, Washington ways. Who is the “New Yorker,” here?

I am an unabashed conservative. Conservatism is my compass, my rudder. I grew up in a town in Texas that had a population of about 100. It was a farming and oil community. We were all very blue collar and fiercely independent. We believed in hard work, and the American way. I went on to one of the most conservative schools in America, Texas A&M (where I graduated with a degree in agriculture economics.) Had I not gone into the Marine Corps and became a pilot, I would no doubt be working, today, in either agriculture or the oil business. I am a card-carrying member of the NRA and believe the second amendment is just as important as the first (Mr. Miller).

I believe in tradition, controlled growth, and citizens having a person that will speak for them at the government level. I also know that wealthy people create jobs and give back huge sums to the community. I do not believe in class warfare and singling them out for onerous tax treatment. Conversely, we (tax payers) should not be in the business of subsidizing buildings, developments and airports for our wealthy, because of their power and influence. The path to power should not bi-pass the path of principals.

Update 2/27/2009 When I wrote the above, my information was based on observations that the average citizen would conclude. After having the privilege to work with some of the sharpest and most talented members of the community that sit on the 353 Redevelopment Committee, along with economic development department, my opinion has matured. Cities compete vigorously for businesses to locate in their communities. Washington is a shining example of what happens when a city focuses limited resources in smart and meaningful ways.

Yes, I wish we didn’t have to spend substantial tax dollars on blue chip airports and shovel ready spaces at out industrial park. But those are the rules of the game. We can either adopt to these harsh realities or join the dust bin of other failed communities. We have also spread our bets in a way that makes it impossible for the failure of any one business to have a major impact on our tax base or community. As I write this, many communities are being buffeted by a lack of spending restraint. And while we are feeling financial stress from reduced tax income, we are still light years ahead of most other communities.

Guy W. Midkiff

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