Showing posts from 2023

Political Column - Success, Failure, and the Future

I've been in office for three years, with one year left to go to complete my term. It's a good time to take inventory of some of the success, some of the failure, and what the future holds for the township and myself. There were three areas that I focused on while running for office: one, to have real choice in elections; two, to increase transparency; three, to make it easier for people to do business and farming. In the 2020 election there was a real choice, a real difference between candidates. That interest and choice has continued. In 2023, because of resignations, there were two trustee positions open. The board needed to appoint replacements to complete the term through 2024. There were eight people that put their names forward for the two positions. It's good to have such interest from people for local public office. Transparency has been heavily increased. People still have a tendency to generate rumors, because the rumor mill is part of human nature, but I've

Political Column - Politics: Internal and External

Politics and problems go together like a hand in a glove. One set of problems are those we all think of, which have to do with laws, regulations, ordinances, government relations, taxes, and resource allocation. How much money do we put toward roads this year? Should the minimum square footage for a house be more or less? These things are often discussed and debated in public meetings. The field of politics is this, a mass negotiation arising from the societal culture to arrive at a livable compromise. This is both the ideal and the reality. Then, there's a whole different set of problems, operating the organization. The office has to be open for people to come in. The roof has to not leak and the boilers have to produce heat. Grass in the parks has to get mowed in the summer, leaves picked up from the cemeteries in the fall, snow at the transfer station plowed in the winter. Trucks have to be ready to run fire and medical calls. Taxes have to be collected, properties assessed, bur

Political Column - A Local Millage Vote

Promoting the idea that votes matter is popular, especially for politicians that are attempting to round up supporters to vote for them. The reality is that sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. Is your one vote going to change who becomes President of the United States? No. But, as you get more local your vote matters more. There are times in local elections when a single vote decides the outcome. For instance, in Holton Township in 2020 there was a tie for a trustee position. Literally, a single person that decided to not vote that day could have determined who was going to hold an elected office for the next four years. Instead, a name was pulled out of a hat to determine the winner. Many people pay more attention to national politics because it provides more entertainment value. In ancient Rome a formula was found for keeping the population in control: comfort and distraction. In Latin the saying is "panem et circenses," which translates to "bread and c

Letter to Future Mercy

My sister has done this letter plan with her three kids. When they turn one you give them a letter to be opened when they are eighteen. It's a good idea. Today Mercy is having her first birthday party. This is my third time doing this type of letter and it's a unique experience each time. - - - - - - - To Mercy, It's odd to write a letter to be opened so far into the future. It's impossible to know what will have happened by then, who you'll be, who I'll be, and what state the world will be in. Right now you're outside walking around on the trampoline on wobbly legs, pressing your face against the mesh, smiling and clapping your hands. By eighteen you've made a lot of decisions. Your life is your own. Maybe you know the direction you're headed, more likely you're searching around. And this is where I'll offer just a few thoughts. One, your natural predisposition is happy and engaged. That's not true for everyone, but it is for you. For in

Poem - On the Shore - Jeff vs Artificial Intelligence

Yesterday, while in an online conference put on by a private equity firm about remote work, I pulled up a notepad on the computer and put down a poem. The basic thought process was: water, waves, emotions. This is what grew out of it. ------- Up and down, waves upon waves, water flows and splashes, like emotions grow, and splash. A wave hits a rock, water splatters and sprays, love hits a betrayal, hate splatters and sprays. Sand castle built on the shore, a wave approaches, water undermines the foundation, approaching resentment, erodes our foundation, the top falls into the bottom. Bare feet stand on the shore, water surrounds and retreats, cyclical experience, solidifies where we stand, difficult to take a step. Gaze along the way, where sand and water meet, each in a different phase, water in, water out, emotion up, emotion down, life flows. ------- I've been keeping track of the recent advances in artificial intelligence. I've played with computer programs that have attemp

Political Column - On Leaving Office

On March 15th of 1783 George Washington gave a speech to his army to stop them from overthrowing Congress, which probably would have ended with him being king. Having won the war and stopped himself from becoming king, Washington retired to live out his life on his farm. During and after the Constitution was being debated he wrote multiple letters saying that he didn't want to be President. Nevertheless, in 1789 he was elected President and borrowed money to travel to New York for his inauguration. In 1792 he had James Madison write a farewell address because he wanted to retire after his first term in office. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, who agreed on very little, both convinced him to stay. In 1796 he had Hamilton write a new farewell address stating that he would not do a third term. Finally, Washington went back to his farm. One of Washington's heroes was Lucious Quinctius Cincinnatus. A legendary historical figure who was made Dictator in 458 BC of the ancient

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