Washington needs to take cue from Grantville

These elected officials are known for squabbling among themselves. To observers, they often seem unnecessarily at cross purposes, and the chief executive officer often gets lectured by others about the rules and procedures as much as the substance of plans.

Those words could refer to the political climate in Washington, D.C. - or in Grantville. With one big proviso - in Grantville, nothing has been shut down and no one has been furloughed. In fact, on Tuesday, with the deal to reopen the federal government still in question, Grantville officials voted to temporarily bear the costs of taking care of meals for the town's older folks.

The vote was taken even though no one was certain where the city would find the funds for meals - at the Grantville Senior Center and through Meals on Wheels - in an already tight budget. City Manager Johnny Williams put it simply: 'I feel confident we could find this. This is a vital program. We must find it.'

Grantville's city officials are a politicking bunch. Mayor Jim Sells has been known to leave a meeting for a few minutes to keep certain actions from taking place, and council members have voted in someone's absence for something they knew would be overturned as soon as the full council was together again. There are divisions on all sorts of issues - including whether the Better Hometown organization or the Downtown Development Authority does a better job of planning events for the town's citizens.

They can be as fractious and oppositional as Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner have ever dreamed of being. In the current election season, eight people - including the incumbents - are running for the two open council seats.

Still, despite its contention and turf wars, Grantville has functioned. All the departments have been operational all year. The town has even moved forward with not one, but two parks to provide recreational activities for Grantville's citizens. At Monday's council meeting there was discussion of creating a new citywide development authority in hopes of jump-starting development on Highway 29.

There is something very sad about the federal government in the greatest, wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth repeatedly closing down parts of the government and setting the financial sector's teeth on edge by coming perilously close to default. This is particularly sad because there is no real reason why these problems could not be solved - with the evidence being the government is now back open, the debt ceiling raised.

Congress and the president are welcome to argue and disagree, to negotiate and stand firm as they see fit. Putting the country's credit on the line and furloughing workers, delaying money for programs like senior citizen meals that have already been promised - that's just not the way to do it. Washington, fuss and squabble if you must, but take a look at how it plays out in Grantville.



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