coyotes and bureaucratic logic


Most interesting stuff first.  Recently while riding my
bike near where some mystery canids (wolves or coyotes)
have been seen, I’d just turned a corner when they started
to howl, just a few yards away in the woods. (Didn’t try
to get closer. Just listened. Totally cool sounds.)

And speaking of group yapping–no, no, not the debt
ceiling debate–there has been a most interesting
interpretation of the apparently criminal behavior of
people in the Sarasota County government. There’s been
a big purchasing scandal there. It’s been a major topic of
discussion,  with bureaucrats howling in outrage and
falling all over one another trying to cover their butts.
They’re desperately trying to prevent any serious changes
to how good ole boy bidness is done.  Favoritism in
contracting, accepting expensive gifts from bidders,
splitting purchases to avoid bids, running up credit card
purchases to avoid bids, sharing competitors’ bids with
favored vendors, etc.  Nine people have lost their jobs,
one person either killed himself or was killed. The
Sheriff’s office investigated and closed the investigation
deeming no criminal activity.  Not a violation of Florida’s
corruption law anywhere to be seen.  Move along folks,
that $17 million on the county credit cards is none of your
business.  Nothing to see here, get going before I haul ya
in.

What is truly beautiful about this exercise in
participatory democracy is the logic. So perfect. The
Sheriff concluded that there was no corruption, just “bad
training”.  His reasoning? Because the corruption was so
widespread and there was little or no attempt to hide the
flagrant violations of rules, regulations, policies and laws,
and because the fraud was so thoroughly inclusive, it’s
not considered corruption.  Why? Because, silly humans,
corruption is when you try to hide what you’re doing.  So,
essentially the argument is that, because everyone was
engaging openly in corrupt practices (and according to
federal, state and county guidelines, probably criminal
behavior) it’s not really corruption, it’s how business is
done.  Interesting logic, no? At least one person openly
committed perjury when the police interviewed him but in
Sarasota apparently that’s not crime either.  Perhaps
readers could pass this on to their own local governments
as a hedge against their corruption ever being punished.
(Such a messy, expensive process.) If everyone’s a crook,
then, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s
investigation, no one’s a crook. Like it? Personally, I love
the logic.  It’s so beautifully circular. And what is more
perfect than a circle?

Florida’s gonna be hard put to maintain its reputation as
the most corrupt state in the Union if this sort of thing
keeps up. We can’t very well keep our “Most Criminal”
crown (we’re number 1, we’re number 1!) if everything is
off the books. Those misdeeds count for something,
y’know.  Denying criminality is divesting Florida of
recognition for the one thing it’s still good at. Crime.
Instead of giving our crooks their place in the sun, we’re
gonna pretend they just don’t exist?  Talk about pearls
before swine!

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