A few weeks ago, I marked my calendar with a public lecture at Virginia Tech that I wanted to attend. Astrophysicist Evalyn Gates, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, will give a talk titled titled, “Einstein’s Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy” at 7:30 p.m. in the Graduate Life Center. (Full details here.)
For those who don’t know, I’m a bit of a science geek. I was particularly keen to attend Gates’ talk because I spent many winter Saturdays at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in my youth, touring the facility, climbing on the dinosaurs outside and taking classes.
Alas, my plans might be in ruins. The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will hold its public hearings on the budget and advertised 12 cents per $100 of assessed value tax increase on Thursday evening at 6:30.
The odds of that session going short are slim. Past meetings have seen vocal constituencies on both sides of the issue turn out to air their concerns. I’ll be there because I’m writing my column this week about the increase.
In the interest of self interest, I have a modest proposal. Supervisors already know that there are a bunch of people, a lot from the Blacksburg strand, who want the tax increase and probably more. They also already know that there are a bunch of people, a lot of them Tea Partiers, who don’t want a tax increase that large, maybe none at all. So let’s spare everyone the parade of speakers and just gauge how many turned out.
Open the public hearing and ask, “Would everyone who opposes a 12-cent increase please stand up and boo.” And they can all do that. Then, “Would everyone who supports a 12-cent increase please stand up and cheer.” And they can all do that.
We could be done in like 10 minutes and all head to the dark matter talk where we could forget our differences about a tax increase that, in the grand scheme of the cosmos, is quite a small thing either way it goes.