When I said that I was open for people to ask me questions, I was ready for anything, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect my post about upgrading my phone to prompt one about city policy, but I think it’s a question deserves an answer, and that it also shouldn’t be buried in the comments on the blog. Chuck asked:
I’m wondering if you can explain a little about why you felt it was personally necessary for you to upgrade from a phone that was perfectly serviceable to the latest model? What do you think that decision says about you as a mayoral candidate? I’m not offering this as a criticism. I am genuinely interested in knowing your feelings on companies like apple that promote a “new” product that basically has many of the same features of the old product. How does this behavior promote a sustainable global economic model? Curious about your thoughts on this.
To get the phone bit out of the way, it was because I’d not only investigated the cost to repair an existing phone, but also what the value of the phone subsidy that I’d be giving up if I didn’t upgrade. After all, that’s built into your plan. I’d built the cost of upgrading my phone every two years into my personal budget, so when the new model came out, I had the money to buy it. I would certainly like to see companies operate with a mindset of allowing consumers to repair rather than replace, but unfortunately that’s the world we live in and we need to adapt to our current reality.
What does this say about me as a candidate? I think it says that I have a mindset toward long term budgeting and planning. Certainly a personal budget and a city budget aren’t the same thing, but like a personal budget, there will always be things that come up, and there are many costs that are known over time. Infrastructure and vehicles are the first two that come to mind. Roads are going to deteriorate and must be repaired. We can project what that will cost over time and it needs to be thought of and factored in. Every year. You can’t neglect things like that to make up for budget shortfalls or you’ll end up in a situation like so many municipalities with crumbling bridges and buildings badly in need of repair.
As an example of this kind of long term thinking, the Bethlehem Police Department is already budgeting to replace its vehicles a few at a time every year. It’s a fact, police cars are used hard and wear out. By planning to replace a few every year, to have that expense built in, means we will continue to have a safe fleet, but that we can also anticipate that expense instead of it sneaking up on us.
I hope that answers your question, Chuck. If anyone else has questions, don’t hesitate to ask.