Thursday, May 10, 2007

Keep it Simple, Stupid

Zoning stuff was considered tonight at Town Meeting. And whether or not to screw over Pelham by dumping the rational, simple, per-pupil formula we've been using to figure out what each town pays for the middle and high schools and instead use the irrational, complicated State formula.

Why do governments at all levels seem to purposely make everything more and more complicated?

We have Farm Stand Zoning Bylaws in Amherst. But we don't actually have any Farm Stands big enough to be regulated under those Bylaws. But, just in case we ever do, we have Zoning Bylaws to regulate them! Ooh, except wait, wait, there are State Laws that regulate Farm Stands, so we'd better spend time making sure that our emergency-back-up Regulations conform to what the State says.

Here's an idea: get rid of the local Farm Stand bylaws. Then we won't have to spend time in Town Meeting updating them whenever the State Laws change.

Here's an equally good idea: get rid of the State Farm Stand laws. I gotta think that Boston might have different ideas about appropriate regulations for Farm Stands than Amherst.

We're told our schools need lots of administrators to figure out all the federal and state mandates by which they must abide.

We find out tonight at Town Meeting that the laws about regional school budgets were changed in February, so Amherst won't be forced to go along with the 3% regional school budget increase. Surprise! Does anybody actually understand all the laws and regulations?

Here's an idea: get rid of all the state regulations. Let the Towns do whatever they like with their local schools, and let people vote with their feet if they don't like what their Town is doing.

Diversity is good. Monopolies are bad.


Anonymous said...

"Vote with our feet"? Actually, that would be "vote with our families and all our personal effects". Like the Okies in The Grapes Of Wrath.

I'm not an apologist for all the inanities of the regulatory state, but surely you jest about getting rid of all state regulations.

Gavin Andresen said...

I actually meant "get rid of all State Regulations that apply to our local schools".

But getting rid of all State Regulations is an interesting idea. There are a few in particular that bother me, like the law that makes Blasphemy illegal.