A rather stuffy time ago in a distant island, there was a great battle over the long term and formal association of religious orders and the government. There were those radicals and progressives that rallied in favor of disestablishment and those strong conservatives that lead the Anti-Disestablishment fight. Aside from highlighting the stupidity of the British elites on both sides to be in such a mess in the first place, they at least could claim to have invented the then longest word in the English language: Antidisestablishmentarianism.
Nowadays, rather than being arraigned against religious orders, today’s battle is in the morass of special districts and conspicuous committees whose existence has long surpassed the intent of their creation and now exist with a religious fever of defense in their persistence that could rival the back benchers of late 19th century Westminster’s entrenched self avowed elite screaming, “Tradition”!
It is a sad fact of local government that such district and committee members will mostly seek to stay in existence regardless of need or purpose. They are the modern Anti-Dissolutionmententarianist.
Case in point.
The Mount Diablo Health District was established with the fine intention of running the district’s hospital, supported taxes paid by the fair citizens of Central County. Alas, ye olde MDHCD’s inability to combine with the hospital to master all the economic forces at work left the sad situation where they could see no recourse but to yield their one asset, the hospital, to a private enterprise and then rather than going away like any failed establishment, it lingered with a self-serving habit of spending more on themselves and running up liabilities than they did with directing the public’s tax funds to health projects.
What functions MDHCD did have (such as appointing themselves to the charity board of John Muir where the real money is) could have easily been transferred to city councils and local non-profits. Yet, when the Dissolutionist came forth from the roiling sea, the members would cast themselves spasmodically into some public show project with promises of better to come, only to fade away into their own weighty web of introspection and in-fighting once the glare of public inspection wandered elsewhere.
Though three grand juries urged MDHCD dissolution, the moribund body persisted in its anti-dissolutionentarianism by an astounding deft display of duck and cover, deflection and feint.
Oddly the battle lines here are not as clear as in the British squawk about. There are still some that believe government can and should be an instrument to promote the general welfare in an effective and economical manner. These modern progressives are appalled at the corruption of purpose and practice of such special district entities for they demean and detract from the promise and hope for effective government.
These latter day Whigs (Blue) are joined by their more conservative Tory (Red) neighbors who rail against government in any form for the most part and especially anything that could be a waste of taxpayers’ money. Not that the two sides could agree on much in terms of scale or details of what is not a waste of tax payers’ money. But, clearly, this is a situation where at least in calling for dissolutionism they are united in asking for the end to the district as a waste of money, but with totally different agendas and conceptual backgrounds. Such are the alliances of politics.
Firmly I believe, that all Special Districts should have as part of their By-laws and creation, the method, means and rationale for its dissolution and a complete plan for the dissolution when those circumstances are reached. In this manner the very nature of a ‘special district’ can always be clear in the mind of the citizenry and a constant reminder that when the special conditions for the special district no longer exist, its demise is both planned for, and hoped for, as a display of the efficiency we should expect, though rarely get in government.