STANTON — The United States is fighting terrorism — one snow cone at a time. Montcalm County recently received a $900 Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine.
The West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC) is a federal- and state-designated agency responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties. The WMSRDC recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700. The machines were funded by a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program. The request for a snow cone machine came from another county, but all 13 counties received them.
Ok here’s a dirty little secret: the federal government is totally out of control with our tax money. Yep. There it is, I said it. I see stories like this all the time. Agencies all throughout the federal government have virtual carte-blanche to spend tax payers money almost at will on unneeded equipment and stupid programs, often euphemistically called “Community Outreach”. They are little more than opportunities to spend money on crap of no value to the mission at all with little over site and no evaluation of results. Let me tell you right now those machines will never be used for making “ice packs”. We have chemical cold packs for that. This is just insane and an obscene waste of tax dollars.
Politicians love it because they get to photo-op and back slap people to get more votes. But for most of the rank and file who have to comply with this nonsense, it just makes our blood boil. I’ll give you a perfect example. Today in work I got a call from Fire Prevention. They were coming by the station to drop off some new equipment for the “latest” smoke detector program. When they arrived (we already had the memo) we were still stunned. They brought in TWO brand new, 6 foot A-frame ladders and TWO brand new cordless drills. The purpose? A new mandate that goes with a grant the department received along with 20,000 smoke detectors (to be given out for free). We now have to SCREW each and every smoke detector into the ceiling using the six-foot ladder and the new cordless drill. Swell.
It seems that some people have complained that the FREE smoke detector we gave them didn’t stay attached using the double-sided tape we have been using for my entire 20 years on the job. So now due to a new “mandate” they are buying approximately 80 new ladders and 80 cordless drills not to mention 20,000 smoke detectors. It still blows my mind that there are some people who don’t have smoke detectors (even though it’s a law like not talking on your cell phone while driving) snark. The detectors we put in are typically 10 year detectors. I can’t fathom that there are still 20,000 house without them. I’ll bet there aren’t 20,000 houses in this city without cable or satellite TV! So we are hitting the same irresponsible houses over and over and it’s all on the taxpayer’s dime. But when budget cuts come it’s not wasteful bullshit like unneeded drills and ladders that gets cut. It’s training and equipment to do the job that is first whacked. It’s grotesque and needs to stop.