My main interest in the Apalachicola election is seeing that our city can avoid errors that plague our modern world generally. Due to unpaid loans, the neoliberal finance capitalists in Europe forced destructive austerity on Greece. The bankers compelled the Greeks to reduce social services and sell off their public domain. This action was taken because the Greeks were unable or unwilling to raise the necessary revenue to satisfy the German bankers.
As a result of imposed austerity, the economic consequences for the Greeks were so dire that Greece’s ability to raise revenue was severely reduced as Greece became more and more impoverished. The only recourse the Greeks had was to sell off their seaports, airports, and anything else they could liquidate. To this day, the Greek people are suffering as a result, except for the very wealthy, of course.
This is the meaning of austerity: reduce social services and sell the public domain rather than increase revenue. The consequences for ordinary people are severe, while the wealthy people get a pass. That is how austerity becomes a class issue. If Apalachicola defaults on its loan, I understand that the state of Florida could in effect do to Apalachicola what the European Central Bank did to Greece.
Still, there is no reason to impose austerity on ourselves by reducing social services and selling off city property, i.e. the public domain. Some can scream about waste and corruption, but the simple matter is that Apalachicola built a water and sewer system that it did not pay for. For years, residents have enjoyed these services without realizing they were getting a “free ride.” We all shared in the benefits, although neither the sewer nor water systems are really adequate. Nevertheless, the bill is now overdue and obviously more work on the systems needs to be done. Unless we can increase city revenue sustainably, we will go down a dark road.
The city commission, no matter who is mayor, will not solve this problem without serious community input. I can think of a dozen ways to raise more city revenue without selling even a city flowerpot, and I am sure I am not alone. I propose after the election, we convoke a community commission to work with city government to find solutions to our financial problems without resorting to austerity, i.e. we “crowdsource” the problem, relying on experts and citizens alike.