Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For our final entry in the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas government-poem contest, an entry from Colorado:
'Twas the night before a non-specific winter holiday and on the third floor
Commissioners' employees were happy once more.
The election was over, the ballots were counted,
Issue 1A had passed and our spirits mounted.
On the West Wing we partied, we drank and we fed,
While visions of bonuses danced in our heads.
No money for the East Wing, it was enough that our labor
Resulted in the end of that wicked law, TABOR.
From the vault to the front desk, from printer to fax,
Employees were merry and discipline was lax.
Even Security joined in the fun,
Taking turns on each other with the new taser gun.
As we awaited that jolly St. Nick
We couldn't know Fate was planning a trick
No jolly old elf, with beard white as snow.
No droll little mouth drawn up like a bow.
And that's when it happened. There was no time to hide.
The elevator stopped. The door opened wide.
And who to our wondering eyes should appear
But he who made the Budget Office tremble with fear.
That slumlord from Denver, Doug Bruce was his name,
Creator of TABOR and all-around pain.
Strong like an oak and smart like a table,
He looked like a thing from a Brothers' Grimm fable.
His eyes they were wild, his breath it was smelly,
He laughed and it jiggled his Budweiser belly.
His mouth was as big as his brain was but little,
When he roared, those closest were covered in spittle.
"There's no way you're keeping the taxpayers' bounty!
I'm forcing a recount! Take that, Boulder County!"
In the following silence you could hear a pin drop.
Then some started crying. Some said, "Call a cop."
But the odious fiend stood there fouling the rug
As he leered and he sneered, "Beware of the Doug."
From his pocket he took the election returns.
He breathed once upon them and laughed as they burned.
Our dreams seemed to vanish and go up with the smoke.
This couldn't be happening. Was it all a sick joke?
The holiday bonus was already spent.
Who would come save us? Who'd make him relent?
And then, in a twinkling, we heard on the stairs
The thunder of footsteps! My guess was three pairs.
On Pearlman, on Mayer, and don't forget Toor!
The County Commissioners! They'd save us for sure.
Doug Bruce saw them charging and turned deathly pale.
He knew he was beaten, that good would prevail.
He jumped in the elevator. We all felt a draft.
The car was not there. Doug Bruce got the shaft.
The three wise Commissioners they drew us all near
And told us, "Be calm, there is nothing to fear."
So we shook off our feelings of dread and debasement
And returned to fulfilling our office mission statement.
The Commissioners sprang to their zero-emission sleighs
And promised to come back within a few days.
But we heard them exclaim, 'ere they drove out of sight,
"Happy non-specific winter holiday to all, and to all a good night!"
I know you may think that's the end of the tale
But if we don't learn something, we're destined to fail.
The moral is this, and please write it down:
When one man makes the law, he's probably a clown.
Read the other entries for a bit of government-related holiday cheer.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.