I know I’ve been a slacking again…I’ve had other things on my mind these last couple of weeks. I purchased my first new vehicle in 10 years yesterday – a new (to me) mini van! So, if any of you need a 2001 Ford Taurus for $3500, you just let me know.

  • Tennessee’s Legislative session ended yesterday – without pay for legislators as it was day 91 of session (state law only allows pay for 90 days of session – if they go over, they work for free). It’s rare that I actually praise government, but hold on to your hat, I actually have a few good things to say today. How wonderful that state law dictates that our legislators only get paid for 90 days of work. This, at least to an extent, prevents time-wasting, the likes of which we see in Washington, simply because our legislators know that they’ve only got so long to get their work done. That’s not to say our legislators don’t do their fair share of lollygagging, but I’m sure there would be much more of it if they knew they would still get paid for it.
  • Both the House and the Senate voted to approve the State’s budget yesterday, with the House finally finishing up around 10:30 last night. The budget includes $468 million in cuts, due to a decrease in revenue. Saints be praised! These guys actually have some idea how to run a budget. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: when my husband and I face a “decrease in revenue,” we institute a “budget cut.” Unlike the Washington County Commission and the Federal Government, who continue to spend regardless of how much money is coming in, our State legislators actually reduced spending due to reduced income. It’s a difficult concept, I know, but our legislators seem to have figured out that if the money’s not there, you can’t spend it (and raising taxes after the money’s spent probably isn’t going to work, either – Washington County). Maybe we need some sort of summer work-study in which our state legislators can teach certain county governments and even the US Congress what it means to “live within our means.”
  • Finally, Clarksville was ranked the “Worst City in the Nation to Raise a Family.” I must say, when I saw the article’s title, I was intrigued. Why is Clarksville so bad? To put it simply: it’s not. Best Life magazine used several factors in determining what cities were better for families, very few of which most of us would find useful. One of the major factors was “money spent per student” in a city’s school system. There are plenty of school districts that throw money at their local schools like it’s going out of style, yet their schools are far below average. I must agree with the communications director for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools, who pointed out that test scores, graduation rates, and achievement might be a better measure of the quality of their school system. You all know that I am no fan of any public school system, but to presume that a system is less-than-average simply because of the amount of money spent on each student is absurd. I’m sure I could spend a heck of a lot of money on a kid on not give him an education that’s worth a hill of beans – school systems across the country do it all the time. Some of the other criteria for the “Worst City” title are number of parks and museums, crime rates, pediatrician to child ratios, and length of commute to work. Parks and museums may be nice, but certainly not a deciding factor as to where I would like to raise my family, and I am more concerned with the quality of pediatricians rather than the quantity. Crime rates are certainly valid, but “length of commute to work?” It seems that Best Life was trying to come up with the “most convenient” city rather than the best city in which to raise a family. Despite a 45 minute drive to work for my husband, I’ll take living in the sticks over being close to his office any day – and I bet our crime rate is lower. So, buck up, Clarksville…I don’t think you’re all that bad!