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How the Right’s War Against Investment Hurts Communities

El Paso County [Colorado] will no longer inspect daycare centers or test for diseases such as West Nile Virus because of a sweeping round of layoffs announced Thursday.  I hope that the partisan politics the Cons from Colorado Springs have inflicted on their community does them proud.  This is what happens when investment in the commons is fought.  This is exactly what the Cons want.  Does a citizen want a daycare center inspected?  The Cons want to force that citizen to pay for it themselves.  Does anyone have oversight into the inspector’s business?  The Cons want citizens to pay for that by themselves too.  The amount you pay will determine the quality of the inspection and the quality of the oversight.  Only a few people will actually do well under such a system, which is exactly what the Cons want.  That’s their nirvana.

Testing for diseases?  Sure, I can see how that should be everybody’s personal responsibility.  Here’s how it will work: the uber-responsible Con will certainly make sure the area around his house is tested.  Absolutely, he will.  What about the non-responsible Con or the responsible non-Con who can’t afford to test for West Nile or other diseases?  All it takes is one or two vectors to be established before West Nile infests an entire region.  Another point: does that uber-responsible Con understand how much it costs to test for West Nile or other contagions?  Person by person, we can’t do it.  As a community, we can and should do it.

This is what happens when communities don’t invest in themselves.  On Election Day, El Paso County voters voted against a sales tax measure designed to offset lost revenue for several county departments.

Programs and services to be eliminated include:

• Childcare inspections for the county’s 400 licensed facilities. In addition, the department will no longer respond to complaints against daycare centers, except in cases of high-risk diseases or outbreaks, and it won’t educate centers about food preparation, diapering, containing diseases, or other issues that came with its routine inspections.

•Testing and monitoring of animal-to-human diseases such as West Nile Virus, plague and rabies. Limited investigations into hantavirus and human exposure to rabies will continue.

•Air-quality monitoring, including environmental reviews for planned developments.

•Swimming pool inspections and unincorporated groundwater inspections.

•Fielding health complaints about garbage.

•Monitoring of sexually transmitted diseases or their spread.

Before the latest round of cuts, the health department had eliminated meth lab inspections and a school safety program, and it scaled back disease investigations. It is also performing fewer than half its state-required food-service inspections.

Here’s the quote of the article from one of those uber-responsible anti-investment nuts:

But Daniel Cole, campaign manager for Citizens for Cost Effective Government, the group that pushed for 1A’s defeat, blamed the health department itself, saying it should have done more to earn voters’ trust.

When more El Paso County residents contract E. coli from uninspected pools; when a meth lab or two blows up and kills innocent neighbors; when innocent children suffer at daycare centers that aren’t being inspected, remember what Daniel said: it’s all the health department’s fault.  Will residents think about how cost effective their government is when their communities’ quality of life suffers?

[Update]: I meant to include this earlier, but got sidetracked as I wrote the post.  This is a perfect example of what the Cons are really all about: “You’re on your own.”  That’s the kind of community and country they want to live in.