I’m a little bit angry. It’s almost 1:00am, and I’m just now getting around to looking at the Asheville City Council agenda. Council members will spend 10 hours this weekend plus drive time at their retreat in Swannanoa. There are only 45 pages of attachments for that. But for the meeting Tuesday, there are 366 pages of staff reports.

My mother watched a conspiracy theory TV show while I was home for Christmas, from which she learned a phrase she found quaint and kept repeating: useless eaters. Well, I feel like one, as I am supposing the average citizen has already done due diligence to the material – comparing best management practices from a representative number of similar cities and referring discrepancies to qualified experts – and has the material written in his heart like a true patriotic citizen. I haven’t even read one version of the healthcare bill. Then again, I was probably the only student ever not to design a nuclear reactor in the first grade.

My point is, those politicians I just made fun of for taking a junket to Hawaii are probably all reading tens of thousands of pages a minute of super-sensitive security briefings – in addition to doing due diligence (studying, chairing meetings, delivering keynote addresses, drafting documents, and serving as ambassadors) for the twenty or so other boards and commissions on which they serve – in addition to holding down demanding jobs and being stellar role models of family togetherness. Sigh!