Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Budgets according to Allen Dyer

Ordinarily, I like people with contrarian ideas. Often, contrarian ideas are shocking at first but are actually supported by science (like the notion that running shoes are bad for your feet).

However, some people are just contrarian and have ideas that are less than intelligent. Allen Dyer, for example, loves to be different even though his contrarian positions are absurd. He was the lone dissenting vote on the school board budget. His major (and only stated) objection to the budget is that public funds are used to bus kids to private schools (I explain why I think this is dumb, here). Dyer instead wants the $537,000 that it costs to bus private school kids used instead to teach kindergarten kids a foreign language. And, at least according to Dyer, the $537,000 is enough to cover the costs of kindergarten kids learning a foreign language. The problem comes when those kids move onto 1st grade. Now we need to come up with ANOTHER $500,000. But wait, there's more. When those kids move onto 2nd grade, we need to come up with ANOTHER $500,000. And so on for several more years. This is essentially how Allen Dyer himself described the situation.

So Dyer essentially wants to put the school budget another $500,000 in the hole every year for the next nine years or so.

Luckily, the other school board members are able to see how nuts Dyer is:

Ellen Flynn Giles, board chairwoman, and several other board members objected to Dyer's plan. "These are not the types of things that you discuss when you approve the budget," she said. "[His proposal] was not supported with a plan for how those funds would be used."

I hope Dyer enjoys using his school board position as his contrarian soapbox. I have a feeling this term will be his last.


Anonymous said...

I unequivocally disagree with Dyer's view on the buses, but we need him and more like him.

Aren't you tired of hearing the status quo say things like, "now is not the time" (..for decreasing taxes, saving the whale, world peace, whatever)?

I am mighty tired of the status quo in every respect and would work to see more Dyers any day rather than continue what we've been doing which is obviously not working.

It's easier to reason with Dyer than try to change the direction of our massive gluttonous powerful local government.

wordbones said...

Anon 7:25,

"I unequivocally disagree with Dyer's view on the buses, but we need him and more like him."

This may sound like a good idea but in practice it simply doesn't work. Contrarion types don't play well with others and are very poor managers.

The board of directors of The Columbia Association provides a good example. You could easily call Coyle, Heikimian, Swatek and Kirsh as contrarian. Together they theoretically form a voting block but in reality they can't even figure out how to solve towel service in their gyms much less how to be a contributing partner in the Town Center planning process.

What they are good at is attacking what they consider to be elitist institutions like The Columbia Foundation and the Columbia Festival of the Arts. In actuality those two organizations actually work on behalf of the community.


Anonymous said...

It's not at all easy to reason with contrarions. They don't really care what works or the ramifications of the votes they take or when they abdicate responsibility and dont take a vote at all--yet enjoy the spotlight when voted upon proposals win community support.

They often throw bombs, are not persuasive and, in the end, don't represent the people who voted them in because they can't get anything done becuase they have so alienated everyone else.

There is nothing wrong with challenging status quo. It's too predictable and that's often how progress is made. However, if you are ONLY an oppsing force, you are not able to deliver real progress because no one will work with you.

It's like those people who used to be friends of yours until they always tried to sell you that multi-level product. You got tired of it, avoided them AND they almost never made the sale. Now, they USED to be your friends and are not any longer and contrarions are often not effective.

Freemarket said...

There are plenty of smart contrarian positions that Dyer could take. Instead, he wants to complain about busing private school kids (whose parents are saving taxpayers gobs of money) and the copyright authority of the school system. It's pretty clear that he just wants to bitch about bizarre rules rather than actually do something good for taxpayers or students.

His absurd antics only make it less likely that a smart contrarian would ever get elected.

Anonymous said...

Barry Tevelow was a perfect example of a great contrarian who could also work with people to get things done. He questioned the status quo, made a ruckus when he needed to, but also worked with people in power to get things done. We need more people like Barry involved.

Anonymous said...

Definitely, more like Barry.

Anonymous said...

True about Barry. Allen is def no Barry!!