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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

No merger, no parasites

Blogger’s Note: This is most of an e-mail Zingula sent out in response to the Gazette’s Sunday editorial floating the idea of merging city and county government. If you want to contribute to this blog, please send me an e-mail at adam.belz@gazcomm.com

By Curt Zingula

Whether you are talking about Indianapolis/Marion County, Nashville/Davidson County, Louisville/Jefferson County or Jacksonville/Duval County, these examples of city/county consolidation are apples and oranges to Cedar Rapids/Linn County. All of those cities have, by geographic area, consumed their respective counties. Such is not the case with little Cedar Rapids which takes up only about 1/4 of Linn County. And we have 900 miles of shoddy rural county roads to prove it!

In my archives of information about the Louisville/Jefferson County merger is an article written by the Des Moines Register shortly after the merger officially took place. It states that the consolidation began with utter chaos and contains a quote from a merger supporter who whines that they never promised things would start our better. The guy admitted, after the damage had begun, that he expected it would take 7 years for the merger to become better than what they had before. As Louisville is finishing their 6th year of this merger, we find that someone now considers it safe to use them as an example.

As far as the population increase is concerned, anyone schooled in city/county consolidation knows that a big benefit to doing so is that the parasitic city gets to count the rest of the county as part of their own population. This is the rope-a-dope strategy that allowed Louisville to succeed with their consolidation as they used this point to convince people that a higher population would attract professional sports.

Personally, I don’t know how a consolidated government could be any worse than what we already have with our county government. We sit on the verge of re-electing a supervisor who bankrupted the History Center, gerrymandered her own district and hires consultants left and right while trying to lay claim to one of the highest supervisor salaries in the nation. That reminds me, a corrupt government is exactly the reason Jacksonville/Duval County merged. That’s how they wiped the slate clean and started over!!!!

I can understand someone reading what I have just written and saying, “what does this guy know about government.” My comments echo what at least two university studies concluded. They reported that there is no conclusive evidence that the pluses will outweigh the minuses with city/county consolidated government. One study even concluded that the only people to gain are the ones who are already benefiting from their connections with government.

Zingula is a farmer northeast of Marion and president of the Linn County Farm Bureau.

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