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The Mis-education of the Elected


In the ‘Mystery of Iniquity’, Lauren Hill penned

Enter the false witness slandering the accused/ Planting the seed openly showing he’s being used/
To discredit, edit, headed for the alleged/ Smearing the individual fearing the unsuspected/ Expert witness to the paid authority/ Made a priority to deceive the majority/ Of disinterested peers, Dodging duty for years/ Hating the process, waiting to return to their careers/ Do we expect the system made for the elect/ To possibly judge correct? Properly serve and protect?/ Materially corrupt, Spiritually amuck/ Oblivious to the cause, Prosperously bankrupt/ Blind leading the blind, Guilty never defined/ Filthy as swine, A generation pure its own mind/ Legal extortion, Blown out of proportion/ In vein deceit, The truth is obsolete/ Only two positions: Victimizer or Victim/ Both end up in destruction trusting this crooked system/ Mafia with diplomas, keeping us in a coma/ trying to own a piece of the “American Corona”/ The Revolving Door, Insanity every floor/ Skyscraping, paper chasing, What are we working for?/ Empty traditions, Reaching social positions/ Teaching ambition, to support the family superstition?/When the Son of Perdition is Commander in Chief/ The standard is Thief, Brethren can we candidly speak?

The past week has highlighted two prominent African-American Democratic Mayors of major cities, Vincent Gray of Washington D.C. and Patrick Cannon of Charlotte, NC., for the most typical of egregiously wrong reasons!

On Tuesday night, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray lost his re-election campaign to Muriel Bowser in DC’s Democratic primary. His most recent ‘electability’ issue has been shrouded in scandal due to federal indictments of five of his top campaign aides regarding corruption in his 2010 Mayoral Campaign fundraising and use of an illicit $668,000 ‘slush fund’ that funded his ‘Get-Out-the-Vote’ venture.

Of similar financial transaction incredulousness is Patrick Cannon. Soon to be ex-Mayor Cannon was arrested last week at the culmination of a four-year FBI undercover investigation into his illegal ‘pay-to-play’ endeavors. Cannon was alleged to have taken $48,000 in cash and gifts from developers in exchange for his helping those developers gain city business.  

However, perhaps it’s the millennial in me, but I’m unmoved by both these Mayor’s respective fall from grace. Maybe it’s the pragmatist in me, but I simply think we’re paying attention to the wrong questions here, with regard to elected city officials.

In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote and published Common Sense. He says in the chapter titled “On the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution”; “And I put it as a question to those who make a study of mankind, whether representation and election is not too great a power for one and the same body of men to possess? When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”

What’s a mayor’s ‘skin in the game’ when it comes to economic development for their city? Power without money is anemic. Decision-making authority without an equity stake is disingenuous.

A more authentic examination of these men’s bad fortunes (pun intended) should reveal a larger issue. Which way should the financial incentive structure be built-in from? I’m of the opinion that Mayors, and city officials who are responsible for economic development, should get commissions and bonuses from the city for increasing its economic development. After all, it’s the city’s holistic prosperity that is the “rising tide that lifts all boats”. Like any other business, if the executives boost the company’s profits, then they actually get to ‘share’ in those profits (hopefully with a long-term perspective). In this manner, all parties have the same incentives. If city executives can boost employment, student achievement, skilled workers, the standard of living, and increase wages earned throughout the entire city then why shouldn’t city executives get bonuses like business executives? 

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