January 23, 2010

Mommy Mayor

I live in a village situated in Northeastern Illinois.  I once thought that the place was a little too big to be called a village, but I guess it started out small.  In case this ever comes up in conversation, there are 4 designations for areas where people congregate to live.  They are in order from smallest to largest: Hamlet, Village, Town and City. I think I would have preferred to live in a Hamlet, but a Village is okay too.

Our village elected a new mayor several years back.  I learned about it when I saw her name affixed to the village limit markers.  This was either a very quiet election, or I was unusually unobservant and missed it. Her name is Susan Lahr, and I can remember it only when I think of Bert Lahr, who played the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz.  I don't know if Ms Lahr is related to Bert, but I'd like to think so.

I guess Ms Lahr does an adequate job as mayor.  The snow is removed, the trash is picked up and village trucks and equipment zip around the streets on a regular basis, doing whatever it is they do.

At the beginning of each season, the village sends out a newsletter.  The newsletter contains all sorts of chatty information.  A new patrolman is hired here ... a village secretary there ... the Halloween parade is such-in-such a date and a special garbage pickup is scheduled for the end of the month.  That sort of thing.  Just general information so all of the village residents are kept in the know on important municipal things happening in their little community.

At the beginning of this winter, the village newsletter showed up in our mailbox.  And as usual, Herzzonor the Mayor had a message for her brood on the front page.

And the bulk of her message told us in no certain terms to stop bellyaching about the weather.

She let us know that sure, it was winter, but that was no reason to sit around and complain.  We should feel fortunate to live in an area where there are 4 distinct seasons in the year, and that even if it was cold, we should get off our collective asses, get outside and do something recreational.

My first reaction was to mutter "fuck off".  In fact, that was my second and third reaction too.  Things are sorry enough in this cold climate without the mayor telling us to get on our coats and mittens and go make snowmen. I don't know about the rest of the people here, but I left my mommy a long time ago and like to make up my own mind about how I feel about the seasons.

Anyway, I read the rest of the newsletter, and seeing nothing more informative than a scolding from mom, I threw it away.

Several weeks later, I happened to be looking at the local paper and saw an article that grabbed my attention.  The village announced that it was raising the water and sewer rates 9 percent starting in February of this year.  I'm sure the Mayor knew about this rate hike long before she penned her "winter doldrums" piece for newsletter, but the fact that we were going to be tapped for an extra 9 percent in water/sewer fees slipped her mind.  Perhaps she didn't want her holiday season spoiled by the local citizenry descending on city hall with torches and pitchforks.

Maybe she'll mention something about the rate hike, after the fact, in the spring newsletter.

It'll be right after her op-ed piece on how we should all get off of our asses and go fly a kite.

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