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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Novella's top concerns

S.H.E. Public safety, public health, and public education. They're the most important missions of county government. They're core and they’re sacred. They cannot be sacrificed to fix the budget.

County debt. When both the county’s and the city's finances start flashing red at the same time, you know there are real problems. Patching a bald tire isn't going to be good enough. The truth is that the root causes run deep.

"Smart" growth and revitalization. Absolutely! We haven't been smart, so let's start yesterday. But the truth is this: Shelby County isn't growing. We need to fix that, too.

Economic growth. Ask companies what will encourage them to come here and they’ll say, "Happy employees." Ask the employees, and they’ll say they want the same things as you do: Low crime, superior health care, and a top quality school system.

PILOT reforms. These programs are costing us over $140 million. We have to make up the lost revenue. Let’s have standards, measurements, and accountability to be sure we are getting our money’s worth. What do we want most? Jobs!

Privatization. Let's call it what it really is: outsourcing...on steroids. Applied to a core mission it's a very bad idea. It's also a disturbing admission that our County administrators are unable to do the very jobs we hired them for.

Smart justice. Want to manage our jails more efficiently? One way is to stop filling the jails with the wrong people: the homeless, the sick, and the mentally ill.

Ethics in government. There's a draft County ethics policy circulating around. It's a start, but it has two problems. It's weak, and it's only a policy. Hello, can you spell C-R-I-M-E?

Government realignment. If you were a dairy farmer, would you want a cow with two heads or two udders? Then why do we accept a "duel"-government system? The City's looking at their charter. Let's work with them to realign both charters.

Education. Before the end of my initial term, I want to see the first major result of this realignment: A uniform, county-wide school system, guaranteeing every young resident the best education we can possibly offer.

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