Matt Smith's column in the current SF Weekly (http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-02-11/news/s-f-park-rangers-want-more-power-guns/) is a terrific case study on how government grows and gets out of control, thanks to empire-builders like the head of SF's park rangers who cleverly work to enhance their power, expand their bureaucratic turf and fatten their pockets while disempowering us. I posted the following note (slightly revised here) in the reader comments:
"Terrific column, Matt! Rarely do we learn this kind of detail on the less high profile bureaucrats whose machinations and empire-building contribute to out-of-control government spending and more rules and regulations that disempower ordinary people and restrict the amount of freedom and choice we have in our lives. Thank you for turning over this rock and shining a light where some illumination is badly needed. How San Francisco's government -- reportedly with a larger budget than that of 20 U.S. states -- could jack up spending by over a billion dollars in less than five years and create a $750 million deficit, all while presiding over a record rate of homicides, letting the streets fall into disrepair, and keeping as many homeless people as ever cycling through the poverty pimping programs while living on those streets, is a major under-reported local story. Thanks for speaking out about it. I can only hope there will be enough blowback to send this ranger scheme directly to the circular file. Another commenter had it right -- there's no reason why the SFPD can't police the city's parks, instead of creating a separate law enforcement agency with all the waste and duplication that entails. In a city as geographically compact as San Francisco, it's especially ridiculous."
A new group of gun-toting cops throwing their weight around harassing people in the parks for various non-offenses is the last thing San Francisco needs. Besides commenting on the SF Weekly website, please write or call the Recreation and Park Department and the mayor (copied on this email) and let them know this is a really bad idea that the city can't afford. In fact, why don't we save some money by reining in Santiago's salary ($144,000 this past year thanks to overtime, according to Smith) and returning the park rangers' budget to the $500,000 it was in 2004.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))