Somebody tattoo this date on their hindquarters: 30 October 2009. The reason? The Jenius found a Fool's plan to be actually...workable.
Yes, I know, I had to sit down for a few seconds Myself. Got Me a case of the vapors, I must say.
OutHouse member Eric Correa--better known for being the foster brother of now-dead drug dealer and recent victim of shots fired at his house (which is why I don't bother with using "alleged" before "drug")--has filed a proposal to consolidate Puerto Rico's 78 Municipalities into 20.
I went after this proposal in Jenial hand-rubbing fashion, what with Eric's family connections and bullets already flying around his head, or actually, his house, so that whatever brickbats I hurled at this Fool would (a) have to be sharp (they always are, but I mean, I'd be competing with bullets, people!) and (b) be tinged with some "No, here's how it's done" smackdown thrown in as the usual lagniappe. (Subtle shout out to The Picky Grammar Lady on that one...)
But lo and behold! Eric "The Foster Brother to a Dead Drug Dealer"'s plan is actually not bad. His conjunction of 78 Municipalities into 20 is not perfect, but it has strong elements that make it feasible. Let Me elaborate:
---By using 20 "new" municipalities, the proposal reduces to almost one-fourth the number of "City Hall" staffs needed, which could translate into reducing the size of this level of government by 1%. Nah, I'm kidding. Maybe 3%. Okay, okay, realistically, the consolidation would force the reduction of at least 25-30% of current employee levels, a significant savings for Us the taxpayers. (No, I don't give a damn who loses their jobs because I'm paying for their parasitism.)
---Although the consolidation creates "cities" with a wide range of populations (from about 92,000 in "New Fajardo" to about 515,000 in "New San Juan"), the average size of each new "city" is about 200,000 residents. With projected reductions in employee numbers, this could bring Us into closer alignment with the U.S. of part of A. level of employees-per-10,000 residents, a better fit for Federal funding and state budget models. (No, the U.S. is not the gold standard for great government, but they give Us gold and thus set the [mediocre] standard.)
---The consolidation also makes perfect sense for establishing a unicameral system with 5 Senatorial Districts of roughly 800,000 residents each (10 senators all told) and 4 representatives per District, with each representative "speaking" for about 200,000 residents. No at-large legislators allowed. New unicameral total: 30 Fools. Current number: Too many.
There are some negatives to the proposal, but they are manageable:
---Some of the geographical groupings are awkward, such as Maricao-into-Yauco (Maricao is closer to Mayagüez) and Cabo Rojo-into-San Germán (Cabo Rojo is larger in population), but these are not insurmountable. If 20 is the magic number, some towns can be re-arranged and that should take care of the problem.
---However, there is some trace of gerrymandering in the proposal, with some traditional Popular Democratic Party towns kept in "small" new cities while major statehood party centers are glommed into "large" new cities. That can be addressed at the planning stage by using population/proximity as the basis for redistribution rather than political expediency. The odds of that happening are 0.000.00.0% (Yes, I'm being mathematically sarcastic.) And yet, it can be done if a number such as 20 is used as a guide to the number of "new cities," as it forces redistribution within reasonable parameters.
---The bigger obstacle is stupid civic pride and political greed, as possibly shown above, but also by "Not My town!" pseudo-thinking. Here's the appropriate response to that: Screw it. If your town is to be folded into another, I don't care: We need to save money and if sticking your little city hall and half-brained mayor into some sort of county structure will cut Our costs, good riddance to your "independence," bozo. I live in Cabo Rojo and if it becomes "part" of San Germán, cool. I was born in Aguadilla and if another plan suggests it become part of Arecibo, cool. If it isn't 20, then 27, or (as in My unpublished post) maybe 16? Cool. Fewer Fools? Mondo cool! (Yes, I said mondo.)
What We cannot have is a "not My town" mentality that keeps Us on a "damn My Island" path. Consolidate? Good. Counties instead of municipalities? Good. Purposeful action that leads to significant change? Good. Waiting for another workable plan to satisfy Fools and the fools that support them. Not good.
The Jenius Has Spoken.