I pull a number and scan the crowded room for two adjacent chairs, one for my 84-year-old mother who needs a photo I.D. I hear the number 137 called out over the intercom and I check my ticket to get a fix on our wait time; my number is 198. We are at the Department of Motor Vehicles, overcrowded with people trying to take care of various state required tasks.
We find some open seats, settle ourselves in and as we wait, I remember an article I read in my local paper a couple of years ago describing why several DMV offices were going to close throughout the state; it was a “budget crisis” decision. One of those Motor Vehicle offices happened to be close to my home; it served approximately 9,600 people per month and had been open to the public for nearly 30 years. Two years ago, it was an inconvenience made easier to forgive because there really seemed to be a “budget crisis.”
Twelve years ago, a majority of Arizona citizens, just like those of us sitting in the DMV waiting area, voted in favor of an Independent Redistricting Committee. I voted for an Independent Redistricting Committee to remove the legislature’s incentive to gerrymander voting districts in favor of entrenched candidates. Recently I read that the Arizona House of Representatives voted to give themselves an open-ended budget to sue the citizens of Arizona. Our legislature wants to take “we the people” to court to litigate the constitutionality of an Independent Redistricting Committee.
Two years ago we supposedly had a budget crisis that required most of us to sacrifice either our time, as in waiting at the DMV, or through a myriad of other budget cuts that eliminated citizen services. Today, it appears the state has enough tax revenue for the legislature to afford an open bank account to sue us because the lines drawn on a map don’t suit the entrenched lawmakers. Meanwhile we, the taxpayers, continue to wait in turn for an hour or more at an overcrowded Motor Vehicle Department.
I think we need some new legislators.