Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Budgeting for Little Outcomes

The little things in life really are important, probably because those little things -- a child's smile or embrace, a joke told in passing by a friend that lifts your spirits on a shitty day -- eventually end up playing a big role in the quality of your life.

The same holds true for the little things that bring not joy but irritation, and eventually, high blood pressure if you're not careful.  Take light bulbs and dollar-store paint, for example. 

At 4:36PM yesterday during school zone hours, the school zone lights in front of KIPP Believe on S. Carrollton were not flashing, but I saw the speed camera flash on at least 5 different drivers who couldn't have been driving more than the regular posted speed limit of 30mph due to the volume of traffic at the time.  As was the case THREE MONTHS AGO when I reported this issue to my Councilwoman whose office then notified 311 and Dept. of Public Works Traffic Engineer Allen Yrle of the issue, the school zone lights were flashing on the opposite (lakebound) side of S. Carrollton, but not on the riverbound side.   New school year, same problem.  

Another little thing that bothers me in New Orleans are parking tickets, especially the ones for parking within however many feet ordained by city law from an intersection or crosswalk.  Now maybe it's just me hating on the meter maids for their amazing ability to eyeball distances with such pinpoint accuracy, but folks like me who were not blessed with that talent would appreciate a visible demarcation of the forbidden parking zones.  Every other city I've lived in has accomplished this through the modern miracle of painting white, sometimes yellow, lines on the pavement.  Yes, we are New Orleanians, and we pride ourselves on marching to the beat of a different drum; but maybe doing this one thing the way other modernized Western civilizations do it isn't so bad.  Just this once.  I SWEAR, just this ONE THING, and that's it.  And only temporarily, just until we come up with parking stripes more representative of our unique culture that have something to do with Mardi Gras Indians, or second lines, or the Saints or something.

It just so happens that we are once again upon that most wonderful time of year <*cue Johnny Mathis*> when the mayor requests citizen input regarding the next year's budget.   "Budgeting for outcomes," I believe he likes to call it.  Well, here's my advice, Mayor Landrieu: How about we start with budgeting for easily achievable, even cheap, outcomes like replacement bulbs for school zone signs and heavily discounted gallons of paint?  Nothing says RE-ELECT ME like a list of accomplishments!  Yes, even if it's just a list full of the little accomplishments. 

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