"I reject get-it-done, make-it-happen thinking," former California Gov. Jerry Brown once remarked. "I want to slow things down so I understand them better."
That's a reasonable sentiment, but only in moderation. Serious problems often require aggressive measures, meaning it's sometimes necessary to tackle the clichéd "low-hanging fruit" quickly while formulating a solution for the more complex issues.
Sometimes the initial measures even have the benefit of diminishing the remaining bigger problems. The Boston Red Sox had to go to the bullpen one batter into a 1917 baseball game because Bath Ruth, then more of a pitcher than a hitter, got himself ejected after he issued a walk. Next thing you know, Ernie Shore is recording 27 consecutive outs and winning the game, 4-0.
More often, however, issues are resolved incrementally and painfully. Quick, easy fixes just do not exist.
That's where the state of New York stands today. The economic downturn has shredded the economy, and elected officials in Albany face a deficit in excess of $15 billion in next year's budget. Among the casualties is the education budget, with proposed state aid being pared back considerably from what local school districts were anticipating when they started the annual planning process in the fall.
And that has everything to do with why the executive committee of the state Public High School Athletic Association will vote on more than a dozen cost-cutting proposals at its quarterly meeting at the end of the week.
The NYSPHSAA officials are trying to be proactive in dealing with financial issues. They rightly recognize that cuts are coming in virtually all aspects of the education budget and want to take the initiative in setting priorities and finding solutions lest someone not as well informed try doing it for them.
That's their right, and I would even say it's their responsibility.
But I'm just hoping there's at least one Gov. Jerry Brown disciple in the room. I don't think the process needs to be brought to a screeching halt, but it does need to be slowed down long enough for people to take the proverbial deep breath and reacquaint themselves with the phrase primum non nocere: First, do no harm.