This is a bad joke, in more than one sense.

The folk that founded this country were pretty smart, but by no means all-knowing. I have tremendous respect for the thought that went into the founding of this country. Seems somehow between founding and the present day, something fairly fundamental has gone wrong. Perhaps in a thousand years the study of society and politics might be reduced to a science, and if someone from that future dropped through a time-warp, they might be able to point out in detail what mistakes we have made. Lacking any convenient time-warps, we are stuck with having to figure out things for ourselves.

I spend my work-time working on software, and in software one of the problems we have to deal with is scale. We may have a solution that works very well at first, but runs into trouble when the scope of the problem suddenly grows. In the physical world you are not likely see the scope of your problem suddenly change by a factor of a thousand or a million. In the software world, such changes are not unusual. What worked well for one user may not work well for a hundred, and fail utterly when users number in the millions. A database may grow from a hundred items to a hundred million in a few years. Scale is very much a concern for many software projects. Not everyone who works on software learns this lesson, and fewer still learn this lesson well.

After paying a bit of ongoing attention to politics, I am starting to wonder if where things go wrong has a lot to do with scale.

The population of Orange County, California is currently somewhere in excess 3 million. (The official count was slightly lower, but illegal immigrants tend to go uncounted, and are not exactly rare here.) Contrast this with the population of about 2.5 million for the entire United States in 1776.

The original number of elected Representatives to Congress was meant “not exceed one for every thirty Thousand”. In 2007 the actual number of Representatives is about one for every 690 thousand. When your representation becomes 23 times more remote, perhaps things start to go wrong.

Given the county has a greater population than the entire United States at it’s founding, how does the government compare? The County of Orange has a five elected Supervisors. The first Congress had 65 Representatives, and 26 Senators. Clearly representation is much more remote than at this country’s founding.

Now to descend from fine ideals to local politics…

Our current elected county Sheriff’s prior experience was basically that of a security guard for the county courts. Not an especially impressive base for leading law enforcement for the entire county. He had substantial political and monetary backing, and got elected. He did come and speak at a local venue, before the first election. He spoke very well, but at the end I realized somehow that I simply did not trust the man. He subsequent record seems to reinforce that initial impression. If representation was less remote, if other voters were more likely to hear and meet there potential representatives, would better folk get elected?

Forward to the present, and this announcement…

OC Blog: Anderson Elevated to Assistant Sheriff OC GOP Central Committee member and Sergeant at Arms Jack Anderson was appointed yesterday by Sheriff Carona to be one of four Assistant Sheriff’s. Until recently Jack was the captain overseeing South Operations.

Also, Sheriff Carona elevated Assistant Sheriff Jo Ann Galisky to be Under Sheriff (a newly created position).

Congratulations to Jack and Jo Ann!

So the new Assistant Sheriff’s qualifications are his political connections, and as “Sergeant at Arms”? Impressive, but not in a good way.

As to the female appointed to the newly created position of, er, “Under Sheriff” … I do not know what to say. I hope she serves well in that position.