Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Bigger is not always better

By Brooks Taylor | Aug 14, 2015

Surely, you’ve heard the saying “bigger is better.”

In nearly all cases, the opposite is true.

Remember the “olden days” when you would call a large company and a person would actually answer the person. Try that now, and my money says you will get an automated message system.

Once you are hooked into that system, it is almost impossible to talk to a real person. So much for customer service. I’ll take smaller any day.

Bigger is not better also fits commissions and panels.

Why commissions and panels think they have to have a small army to make decisions I will never know. As a general rule, the more people you have on a council, the more difficult it is to reach a conclusion. Having no more than nine (and that is even stretching it) on a committee is a good rule of thumb to follow.

While on this thread, I couldn’t let it go without talking about the number of 2016 Republican presidential candidates. I have lost count but think the number is 16 or 17. Way too many, but as U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley told me a while back that one of the good things about living in the United States is anyone can run for president.

Last week I caught bits and pieces of the GOP debate in Cleveland while more intently watching the Cubs’ game. One of the better lines came from Ben Carson when after asked a question, he replied, “I didn’t know if I was going to get to talk again.”

That’s what happens when 10 people are on stage. Nothing is equal. I think I read somewhere that Donald Trump (surprise, surprise) talked the most, but none of the candidates had an overabundance of time to speak. So what did we learn about the candidates?

I read the other day that some of GOP candidate Rick Perry’s staff is not being paid. That shouldn’t be a surprise, either.

Money, naturally, fuels the campaigns and I doubt there are enough greenbacks floating around to fuel the campaigns.

Although I am reluctant to admit it, the primary campaign season can’t come quick enough to whittle the Republican candidates down to a manageable number.

If Hillary Clinton weren’t running, the Democrats would have many more candidates, too. As it is, I think there are about five Democrats in the field now, which makes a total of 22 candidates from both parties.

That’s about a dozen too many.

Another area where bigger is not always better is the amount of time spent commuting. Who wants to spend all day in a car/bus/train? And studies show increased time traveling between work and home can cause bigger problems in other aspects of your life.

Did you know that Iowa is the seventh best commuter state in the nation? That’s what The Obrella Insider, a publication from an insurance company, reports. And yes, that’s a good thing

Taking it a step further, Obrella found 15 cities in the Hawkeye State where commute times average a mere 13 minutes. That’s almost half the national average of 25.2 minutes. It also means that over the course of a year, residents of Iowa’s best commuter cities spend four to six days commuting whereas the typical American worker spends nine days on the road.

Mt. Pleasant made the list as one of the 15 best commuter cities in Iowa with an average commute time of 14 minutes daily.

According to the statistics, 81.28 percent of people in Mt. Pleasant commute alone, 8.74 percent carpool, 0.79 use mass transit (I didn’t know that existed here with the exception of SEIBUS) and 1.83 percent work at home.

Orange City ranked first in the state with an average daily commute time of 10.9 minutes.

Several of Mt. Pleasant’s neighbors made the list. Pella was third at 12.7 minutes and Fairfield was eighth at 13 minutes.

To create the best commuter cities list, Obrella analyzed traffic data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau survey and the identified cities with a population of 5,000 residents or more at the time of the 2013 census.

Evidently, longer is not better either, as several leading studies reveal long commutes can be detrimental to lives:

• According to a Gallup Poll, commuters who drive for more than 90 minutes are more likely to experience neck problems and chronic back pain.

• A study, conducted by UCLA and California State University-Long Beach, found the number of miles driven each day had a stronger correlation with obesity than any other factor that was studied.

• Researchers discovered that those who have long commutes are more likely to be tired, anxious and less likely to feel enjoyment.

• Brown University discovered that every additional minute of a commute results in a decrease in time spent on health activities, such a reading, exercising and preparing meals.

• Finally, long commutes are tough on marriages. A study in Sweden revealed that there is a 40-percent greater chance a marriage will end in divorce when one partner commutes 45 minutes or more.

 

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