Fireside chatter (at the front door) …
‘No. No. No. That’s not what I mean,’ she told the politician standing at her front door. ‘I’m not against progress. I support programs that improve the quality of life in Harrison County.’
(The election was just a couple of weeks away, and this fellow, a county councilman running for reelection, was campaigning door-to-door to find out what was on his constituents’ minds.)
‘But you know my job is to hold the line on property taxes and control all that riverboat spending,’ he told her. ‘I can’t be funding this and supporting that. I won’t get reelected.’
‘Let’s just get one thing straight here,’ she said. ‘There are ways to hold the line on property taxes without ignoring the safety of our children, young man. And that’s what you are doing.
‘You are trying your best to save a penny by spending a dollar, actually umpteen dollars, no telling how much.
‘I know about that little boy who was bitten in the face. I know how much it cost to get his cheek fixed. I know about that lawsuit …, ‘ she said.
‘And I know about that woman who was nearly attacked at her door; she was nearly a prisoner in her own home, without anyone to call for help.’
The councilman replied, ‘But those dogs might still have been there, whether we had animal control and a place for strays to be taken or not. Good grief, woman. Don’t you know there’s nothing some city folk like better than a drive in the country to dump off their dogs? And kittens.
‘And, besides: We need to get some guys together and put up a pole barn for a ‘shelter.’ We could do that easily for less than $100,000. We sure don’t need to spend $513,000 or even $400,000.
‘All those commissioners want to do is build a swanky pink poodle palace. And one of those guys even wants to put it behind the Pink Palace we’ve already got out there on Gardner Lane. And remember, the bigger that thing is, the more it will cost to run it!’
‘Now listen here, young feller. Don’t you talk to me about costs! I’ve raised four kids, worked a full-time job and took care of this house. I know how to stretch a dollar, and I know when it’s time to turn loose of some.
‘I heard you turned down a perfectly good plan for investment. Remember that $500,000 those commissioners wanted to put in savings? Why, the money that investment would earn could have been used for many a year. You obviously don’t … uh, you can’t … seems to me, you just don’t want to do something’s not your idea,’ she said, brusquely.
‘Here’s another thing: That building in the Industrial Park was bought to be turned into a ‘shelter,’ so why can’t we use the money from the sale of it to help pay to build a new one?
‘And while we’re at it, we need to build something that will last for a good long time, something big enough, planned well enough to take care of these animals the way it should be done. With the money that’s there, we can afford to do it right. The riverboat money is not property tax money. It’s riverboat money that belongs to us, the people, not you. It’s not like we’re going to have to be out there raising taxes to pay for it. Build what we need now and get on with it!
‘If you’d done this a year ago, people would have forgotten about it or they would have used the animal shelter and been thankful. I don’t think the voters want to see this issue drag on and on and on any longer.’
‘How long have you lived here, ma’am?’ the politician asked.
‘Just long enough to be tired of this issue,’ she answered.
‘Well, then, you must be a transplant. You’re not the voice of the people!’
He turned on his heels and walked next door.
‘Hello,’ he said to the fellow who answered the door. ‘I’m running for reelection to the council. I just wanted to stop by and ask for your vote.’
‘Oh,’ the man answered, stepping out on the porch. ‘Aren’t you all the ones arguing about that dog pound?’