PROPS & DISSES: 12.11.13

By on December 10, 2013
Carol Taylor

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Taxpayer waste: Self-inflicted wound gets triage PROP
It’s high time to lower our expectations and get off the dried up teat of taxpayer handouts. Voters like to blame government for overspending extravagance with virtually no thought for the future. But it’s government to the rescue in Teton County, where Town and County officials are pumping the brakes on the SPET gravy train.

Local government has done an exceptional job (over)selling the penny tax to the public, stressing that ballot items were not mutually exclusive and voters could simply approve everything, all the time. The funding source also was downplayed to the extent that it wasn’t entirely clear residents were being asked to tax themselves far into the future when bloated SPET tickets included more than $60 million.

The extra penny tax generates around $10 million, annually, depending on how loud valley cash registers are singing. Numerous projects, approved years ago, remain unfinished or have not yet begun. It won’t be until summer of 2016 before all previously approved projects are completely funded.

Local electeds, led by SPET committee member and Teton County Board of Commissioners Chair Paul Vogelheim (rumored to be Jackson’s next mayor), have decided to choke down the spigot a bit, allowing $10 million max in total projects and those would be “critical needs” proposals decided by a committee of Town and County reps.

If taxpayers can’t rein themselves in, it’s up to government to do it for them. Whoa, did I just write that?

Carol Taylor

Carol Taylor

Old and in the way PROP
What Carol Taylor does is some real Florence Nightingale shit. Most of her adult life has been dedicated to social services and care of the elderly. National Association of Social Workers, Wyoming Chapter, honored Taylor with its Social Worker of the Year for 2013 award… and it’s about time.

For more than 30 years, Taylor has worked in hospitals, home health and hospice agencies, mental health clinics, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In addition to her work as a social work practitioner, Taylor has served as a consultant, facilitator, trainer, and even co-authored an end-of-life graduate course for Boston University.

We have become a society that disrespects its elderly. A little snow on the roof once meant we could learn a thing or two from someone who has seen it all. Now, the aged are just a nagging reminder of where we are all headed: a return to dust.

Caregivers, especially those involved in end-of-life/hospice care, are saints. They deserve our undying gratitude. Too many of us shut grandma away in a home and hardly visit, leaving her companionship to paid strangers. It’s a downright shame.

Thanks to people like Carol Taylor, we can sleep at night. At least until the bell tolls for thee.

Bless Me unbanned PROP
Teton County (Idaho) School 401 superintendent Monte Woolstenhume has an interesting leadership style. The hard-charging school administrator steams headlong into controversy and withdraws just as fast.

Woolstenhulme put the kibosh on Rudolfo Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima,” suspending the book for a possible ban from school use. Blowback came immediately. One group, Parents Lobbying for Educational Advancement (PLEA), circulated an online petition that garnered some 122 signatures and likely forced Woolstenhulme’s eventual retreat.

The award-winning work has not been without controversy since it was published in 1972. The book’s violent themes and sexual content have caused it to be banned in several schools across the country and propelled it to the list of most commonly challenged books in the United States in 2008. Still, it is the best-selling Chicano novel of all time, according to The New York Times.

“We applaud Superintendent Woolstenhulme for humbly reversing his decision and reinstating ‘Bless Me, Ultima’ last night,” read a statement from a representative of PLEA after Woolstenhulme backed down at a heavily attended meeting Monday night.

Woolstenhulme also proposed ditching the school’s mascot, The Redskins, citing its cultural offensiveness. He reversed his decision on that, too, when opposition called the movement hasty and political correctness gone wild.

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