Let’s play a little game today. Let’s assume for this post that the State of Texas has mandated that all government business must henceforth be done via email. For example, if you need to ask a question about your property taxes, or to pay them you must do so via email. That goes for all other government-to-citizen business activities like checking out books at the library or even getting building permits for your home remodel or for your new home.
If you think that is too farfetched consider the number of entry-level jobs that now require that you submit your employment application and your résumé via email. More and more activities now require that use an email address to complete them.
Now, consider that I own the domain name elp.net. I do by the way. It is easy to remember and it is short. Any email address, like email@example.com is short, easy to remember and it is associated with El Paso. As many of you know, only one person, me, can control the domain name elp.net so if anyone wants to use it then they have to negotiate with me.
Because I am active in the political process I hoodwink enough elected officials in El Paso to support the notion that the City of El Paso mandate that for security purposes all citizens in El Paso must possess a valid and verifiable email address in order to comply with the law.
Since, I am well-liked in El Paso – yea, I know extremely far-fetched, but let’s play the game a little longer – the politicos agree that elp.net is the perfect domain name for all El Paso-mandated email addresses.
After much haggling and going back-and-forth about the pobrecitos and low-income wages and the need for access to government; the city council, by the narrowest of votes, approves that the official email address will henceforth be elp.net, and they issue me a single-source contract. I am feeling generous so I agree on a $1.00 per year per email address contract with the city.
Let’s see, there are 289,443 housing units (US Census, 2015) in El Paso. Assuming one individual per household, I stand to make at least $289,000 annually for allowing the use of my domain name.
Now I know many of you would strenuously, if not violently, object to me making that kind of money just because some law requires that everyone have a standard email address for government business.
If you think this is unlikely to ever happen then consider the real-world scenario where you, the taxpayer, is being made to pay $218,000 annually on public notices in the El Paso Times.
On August 18, 2016, in an article by Marty Schladen, (Newspaper notice requirement defended) the El Paso Times editor, Bob Moore, is quoted as stating the “city spends $218,000 on public notices from its general fund, out of a total of $375 million” as he defended his paper’s taking public money for notices that very few, if any voters, actually read.
Today, city council is expected to attempt to override Oscar Leeser’s veto of the budget because most members of city council cannot agree to find a budget that does not necessitate a tax increase. Maybe some of you reading this today should consider going to the city council meeting and letting them know that there are $218,000 they can immediately save.
As for my fantasy of making a dollar off of each of you, oh well, it was good while it lasted. Too bad, I’m not as well connected as Bob Moore is to make this a reality.