Sometimes your political opponents make your case for you. That's certainly true of former Livingston County Republican Party chairman Mike Murphy's comments about the state of public safety.
In an article in the Livingston Press and Argus on Tuesday (Nov. 1, 2011), Murphy complained that the county does not have enough deputies on the road to answer many emergencies. It won't get better "until people decide they want to pay to have more deputies out there."
And as his boss, fellow Republican and county Sheriff Bob Bezotte said about the lack of officers and its impact on public safety, "It's important to me, but it doesn't seem to be important to the bean counters up town because they've cut us so much."
The "bean counters" would be the all-Republican Livingston County Commissioners, whose budgets have resulted in the loss of 18 officers from the sheriff's department in recent years. And who, with Murphy's help, have bragged about having the lowest property tax rate in the state.
But Murphy doesn't seem too happy with the services that his very own "lowest property tax rate" politics produce. Perhaps if his leadership, and that of the county commission, had been different, the county might not be facing a situation in which suspected drunk drivers are not pursued because no deputies are available. Voters don't just "decide they want to pay more" taxes. Sometimes leaders need to explain to them why it is necessary, but local Republicans will never do that.
Nevertheless, Murphy's comments are useful because they help make the case for President Obama's American Jobs Act. The measure, which Republicans reject, would provide $5 billion nationally so that financially-strapped communities could keep firefighters and police on the job.
If local Republicans can't come up with the money to keep us safe, maybe they could ask Rep. Mike Rogers to vote for the American Jobs Act so that drunk drivers don't roam free any longer in Livingston County. Mike Murphy probably would like to have some of that money to hire more deputies.