October 1, 2007

The LAAG banned word/phrase list

Well we had to do it. We have just gotten to the point where we cant take the government "BS Speak" any more. There must be classes on how to speak like this. Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Director is a grand master at BS speak. Everything he says sounds good until you get the text and read it. Then you realize that he really said nothing in 10 minutes of speaking. But it sure does sound impressive at first. The key is to sound authoritative and knowledgeable and to convey you have a handle on the situation while at the same time not giving any time tables, deadlines, specifics or any real information that could later come back to bite you. Its CYA language.

The list is alphabetical order. This list is a work in progress.

Bi-partisan. That term ceased to have meaning after Obama was elected in 2008. At the "local" city or county level its not used much as offices are all [supposed to be] "non partisan" thank God. The one thing right with local politics. Of course local politicians still try to throw it is. In the 2014 LASD primary I heard two of the candidates tell the audience their political party. Woops just sorta slipped in... Once you get into "labeling" people Dems or Repubs all the discussion of issues is out the window.

Challenges- Everything is a challenge. Its a good meaningless way of saying "hey we will likely not get anything done as its a challenge"...but we like challenges as they are like excuses.

Cut- We often hear of "job cuts" or "spending cuts" leading to massive layoffs of teachers and firefighters. But remember that in California public employee union and liberal legislator parlance a "cut" really means "less of an increase this year than expected". Its not a "real decrease" from current spending levels. This is further complicated by the fact that no one really knows what the last three years worth of actual outlays was on a particular budget getting "cut" as "they" mix up projected and actual outlays all the time to confuse taxpayers that try to pay attention to such budget double speak.

Empowerment/empowered/empowering etc. Enough said. Usually used to mean we give you less money and you can do more on your own without our help.

Grant Money. Lets just call this what it really is: tax dollars. Usually its tax dollars from a larger government agency given to a smaller one. The the smaller one likes to sell it to local taxpayers as free or "found" money. There is the implication that it comes from some private benefactor when in reality its just tax dollars paid by the same taxpayers to some other entity.

grass roots. Lets just retire this word permanently and replace it with "astro turfing" [the act of creating a small organization and making it appear to represent something popular for the purpose of promoting a particular entity, cause, etc...a play on grassroots in the sense of a popular movement originating among the common people, ultimately from AstroTurf, a brand of artificial grass] There really are no more grass roots movements. Just deviously named 501c political organizations which then go out and get people to "join in" and "voice their opinion" under the organizations falsified banner. Sad.

Hardscape- What ever happened to landscape? This word was dreamed up by high priced consultants and started using the words in their costly reports to cities and since it looked and sounded good (define it as you want) everyone started using it like in a Dilbert cartoon.

I take full responsibility- This means nothing unless your pay gets docked or you loose your job and in civil service land we know that aint gonna happen anytime soon no matter how big the screw up. This term is also related to "holding people accountable" or "accountability"

Moving Forward/Looking forward. This is just feel good gap filler for politicians. Basically we never want to look back at mistakes as then we would have to hold someone accountable. And someone would then have to "take full responsibility"

Not taking anything off the Table. This phrase is often used in negotiations with other governments (National, State or Local) or other branches of government (i.e. The President vs Congress) and basically means we are not ruling anything out. It is a poor negotiation strategy as it is a sure way of never moving ahead. It implies negotiation but without any real compromise or ability to back out. Brilliant.

Opportunities Sort of like challenges. Can be used in the same sentence. A challenge presents an opportunity but opportunities present challenges. See now you're catching on.

Resources If they would just say taxpayers hard earned money perhaps they would start treating it better than lumps of coal which are also a "resource".

Situation on the Ground-As opposed to the situation in the air. This started with the Iraq spin meisters and has now been adopted by silly local government managers as a throw away word to add some sort of additional explanation where its not needed. Again just more "busy words" that sound good in soundbites but once you read them you realize that they have not said anything. Just used up a bunch of words.

Stakeholders. This is getting annoying. No definitions. Just another vague "government speak" word that sounds good but is meaningless or has too many meanings. I think it is a take off on"shareholders" like they have in companies. Only problem is that unlike shareholders, stakeholders have no say in how things work just like taxpayers. Stake holders have a "stake" in the process, which is their tax dollars. I also think it is govt-speak for "customers". People in government HATE using the word taxpayers as it only reminds them that they feed from the public trough, sucking up tax dollars with every overly costly ineffectual step they take. So it just sounds better to use cutesy terms like stakeholders that the taxpayers don't understand.

Tools in the Toolbox-Again this is related to "Resources". It just means that government likes to have lots of costly taxpayer funded "tools" in its arsenal of spending. It needs lots of tools as it can never hope to fix problems so it just buys more tools in a futile attempt to fix them. The Pentagon is a big tool purchaser.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

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