The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
I went to the State Fair last Friday. As usual, I saw plenty of food booths and lots of entertainment opportunities. Among the various vendors, hucksters and hawkers, a plethora of state employees from a wide range of agencies passed out information and knick-knacks of all sorts. If one were to collect each piece of literature distributed by these public servants, one could dislocate a shoulder from the weight of all that paper.
Now, some of this paper contains good information on important programs. Some of it contains good information on programs that the state should keep its nose out of. And some of it is just plain waste. I’ll focus on the latter.
I regret to say that our own CMSU was one of the worst offenders. Representatives of various CMSU activities passed out bags containing, among other things, copies of the Kansas City Star. These bags added considerably to the contents of various trash receptacles around the grounds. Certainly, recruiting students is important, but I fail to see how passing out “free” issues of the area’s metropolitan newspaper relates to that goal; especially when the same paper is available at vending machines on the fairgrounds and at local restaurants and convenience stores.
The Missouri Department of Transportation ran a close second. Among the gee-gaws they passed out were a yo-yo promoting the Adopt a Highway program and a notepad printed with “we deserve one too.” I think that’s supposed to remind us of the “give them a break” program for highway construction workers, but it certainly reminds me that this kind of spending by the highway folks isn’t fixing roads. The taxpayers are the ones who need a break.
The Secretary of State’s office asks us to vote on whether we prefer the Royals or the Cards; the ballot also asks us to write in our favorite Missouri vacation spot. The ballots will have to be hand-counted, I imagine. At least they weren’t punch cards.
Three political parties were represented. The Republicans told me that they intend to win all the state-wide offices next year, the Democrats told me the Republicans are trying to destroy the schools by budget cuts, and the Libertarians told me that neither of the other parties is really interested in cutting government spending.
Go have fun at the Fair this weekend!
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