Elected officials fail us on roads

I’m planning to keep a list of names in my car of all 38 state senators and all 110 state representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Each time I hit a pothole, instead of swearing, which is my usual reaction, I will hiss the next name on my list the way Seinfeld used to do with his arch-enemy Newman. I’ll begin with House and Senate leaders and work my way down.

Thunk! “Richardville!”

Thunk! “Bolger!”

Thunk! “Stamas!”

There are 148 total representatives and senators in all, so on an average trip to the grocery store I should get all the way through the list, at which point I’ll start over again. Within a week I should have the list memorized so I know who not to vote for ever again, even for dog catcher.

Yeah, you can say I’m a little cheesed at them for going on summer vacation without doing anything about the roads. As one news account put it, “Thursday’s failure means there will be no new money during the summer and fall construction seasons to fix crater-marked roads and bridges ravaged by a particularly tough winter and spring thaw.”

This, my friends, is both unbelievable and unconscionable. The entire state is practically begging lawmakers to do something. Business groups want the roads fixed. Labor groups want the roads fixed. Taxpayers want the roads fixed. And for once, everyone is pretty much willing to pay for it to happen, which is unreal. You never see across the board agreement like this. You could have a bill officially declaring puppies cute and cuddly and it wouldn’t get as much support from the public at large as a road funding bill. This is a one-inch putt, a sure thing, a slam dunk.

And yet could lawmakers pull the trigger? Nope. Instead our highly-paid invertebrates went home for the summer. That’s galling. These people work for us, remember. They’re our employees. They’re supposed to represent and act on our desires. Can you imagine a work crew you hired to fix your roof dropping their nail guns mid-job and saying, “Well, time for summer vacation. See you in three months.”

Three months? What is this, Europe?

“Wait a second,” you’d say, “what about the roof?”

“No worries. It’ll still be here when we get back. By the way, don’t forget to tell your friends about us.”

You wouldn’t do that, of course. You’d fire those knuckleheads on the spot and find someone else to do the job, right? So why should Michigan voters be any different?

The answer is we shouldn’t. Unfortunately, reality being what it is, we can’t immediately fire all 148 of these craven jellyfish.

But we can still hold them accountable. This is an election year, after all, meaning many of them will be campaigning this summer. They won’t want to talk about roads, of course, but we shouldn’t let them off the hook so easily. When they come to your door, this is what I recommend:

Them: “Hi, I’m Bob Stumblefoot. Let me tell you why you should re-elect me. “

You: “Sure. Right after you tell me why you didn’t fix the roads.”

Them: “That was everyone else’s fault. Now about pension reform “

You: “What about the roads?”

Them: ” and I really have an innovative approach to urban planning.”

You: “What about the roads?”

Them: “But I “

You: “Roads.”

Having that exchange a few dozen times won’t do much for their summers, but it’ll do wonders for ours.