A couple of months ago, I actually received a prank call from somebody with a Massachusetts number joshing me over the fact that my personal Web page hadn’t been updated for over five years. Such things happen to low-priority projects. Family, work, and general life maintenance take time, never mind community involvement and writing. String enough of those things together, and the wave keeping you from updating an unused Web page can last for years.
But the call nagged at me, mostly because I know there are other Justin Katzes out there in the world with whom I’ve sometimes battled for various social media accounts and such. If one of them owned justinkatz.com and left it doing nothing at a time when I would have had a good use for it, I’d have been annoyed. So, feeling guilty, I’ve been putting a little time into redesigning the site and adding content.
As I’ve gone back through the archives of this site to remind myself what the past year has been like, I came across my post the day after the House held its record-short budget debate. In light of various issues in the months since — notably incidents of hiring in the governor’s office (and the just-about-explicit involvement of legislative leaders in that deal making), but also things like the toll debate and the new role of the Brookings Institution in RI government — my conclusion at the end of that post was a bit more on-point than I’d have liked:
And now, our elected representatives have decided to stop pretending that anything meaningful happens outside of the back rooms, where insiders make deals. …
Pretending at least requires a surface agreement about how the system ought to work. When that consensus dissipates, it represents a fundamental change in the kind of government we have. We know from history that the system we had (past tense, now) has proven to be the only one that can expand (or even sustain) freedom, prosperity, opportunity, and equality for any length of time.
We’re in a new era. Fear the next one.
With the mildly anticipated Brookings Institution report on how the government can reshape our state to fit a central plan due for release next week, we’re about to enter the next phase of that new era’s settling in. Time to get busy; people need to know what’s happening and to understand that there is an alternative.