Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Lowdown On Port Orchard's Code City Fiasco

There has been quite a bit of news coverage recently about the proposed change in the form of Port Orchard's City government from a Second Class City to a Code City, which the City Council had approved in May. Out of the 281 Cities in the state, only 11 second class cities remain.

There is no difference in the way we would do business with our citizens, or in the transparency of our City government. The main difference is in how we do business with the state. Being a Code City allows us to choose our own destiny, and not be under the state’s thumb as second class cities are. That’s all there really is to it.

However, a small group of citizens supporting my election opponent began a petition to call for a vote on this issue. Neither myself, nor the council had any problem with that. In fact, I would have signed the petition myself if someone had just asked me.

The problem comes in the fact the originators of the petition didn’t submit the required number of signatures to the City in time for them to be validated by the county Auditor, so the question could be placed on the November ballot. If they had, it would have cost about $5000 — normal for a ballot measure during a general election — and something we budget for.

Since they didn’t, it would have been placed on the February election ballot — at a cost possibly as high as $45,000. To avoid this, the City Council rescinded the resolution to change to a Code City.

However, what is most disturbing to me is that once originators of the petition missed the deadline, they then publicly accused the city of intentionally withholding critical information from them about when the signatures were due.

That is patently false.

And because of that accusation, I feel compelled to respond to the misstatements and half-truths set forth by the originators of the petition in a blog posting in the Port Orchard Independent on August 17.

They publicly blamed “new administrative procedures” set forth by the City for their failure to submit the petition in time for the November ballot.

That too is a lie.

There were no “new” procedures of any kind, nor have they identified any such “procedures.” The petition process is governed by state law and those requirements have been unchanged for years. The truth is, the originators of the petition never even talked to the City Clerk about deadlines — or anything at all to do with the petition — until after August 16.

The petition originators wrote, “...we still have no documentable information” concerning the August 1 deadline — which is when the signatures were actually due. This is a red herring. The night before they posted this comment in the Independent, the City Attorney explained to the petition originators at great length how the August 1 deadline was determined.

The bottom line is, for the referendum question to have made the November ballot, state law required the Council to adopt a resolution no later then August 16. The Council’s regular meeting was August 9. The next meeting was August 23 — after the deadline. Signatures needed to be submitted to the City Clerk a week before the meeting date so they could be sent to the County Auditor for verification.

This is not a new procedure. As a long-time planning commission member, one of the petition originators should have been well aware of this requirement — some form of which is shared by every city in the state.

The petitioners claim, “Twice the City was asked, prior to the passage of the resolution, to place this matter on the ballot.” This is only partially true.

A total of four people testified at the two public hearings we held. The same petition originator asked this at both hearings — although no one else did. Is it any wonder that the Council concluded the public saw this issue as a matter to be left for Council action?

Finally, what should be the very first question anyone undertaking such a petition effort would normally ask? Wouldn’t it be, “When are the signatures due, and to who?” This makes me wonder if all the accusations aren’t little more than a smokescreen to hide the fact that on August 1, the petition originators had only 93 unverified signatures. They needed approximately 250 verified signatures by August 9, to place this question on the November ballot.

It is not the City’s fault that the organizers of the petition did not perform the proper due diligence. Frankly, I believe they need to take responsibility for their failure to do their homework about the due date. I also believe they owe the City Clerk a public apology for falsely accusing her of hiding information, in what appears to me to be a blatant attempt to cover up their mistakes.

I’m certain the Council will reconsider the change to a Code City at a later date, as they feel very strongly that the change is needed. However, when that will be, is still in question.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Geography Of The Recession

The old adage is that a picture is worth a thousand words.

This map shows how the unemployment rate has changed since January of 2007 when it was 4.6 percent, to what it is today. Viewing it only takes a few seconds. Right click to pause. The darker the color, the higher the rate of unemployment.

When you get to the map, click the arrow in the middle and watch how things have changed. Take note of the areas of the country hit hardest and in what order that occurred. It’s incredible to see what “The Great Recession” has done to our Republic.

President Obama took office in 2008. The change, beginning in 2009 was brutal, and has continued during his administration. And for those who want to blame it all on Bush, while he did increase spending in a manner I personally view as irresponsible, it doesn't hold a candle to what has happened since. And remember, beginning in January of 2006, for the entire last two years of the Bush administration, the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Bush and the Republicans were basically powerless to oppose them and the policies they put in place.

When you've finished, stop for a minute and ask yourself what is it going to take for the American people to get their heads out of their ass to start becoming aware of the trouble we are in? When are we going to say collectively “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” If this doesn’t bother you, then you need to stop drinking the kool-aid.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Food For Thought...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Here's a guy who articulates a lot of what I think America thinks...

Just saying...

Government Employees... Who Knew?

Just a short video you really should watch as it’s a real eye opener...

If you are like me, and seldom watch a forwarded video, I urge you to watch this one. I didn't realize that the numbers were this large, and quite frankly, it was very shocking to find this out. It’s short — only a couple of minutes — so doesn’t take long to watch, but you'll find it well worth your time...

If this doesn’t open you eyes nothing will...

The Problem With Public Housing

The problem with public housing is that the residents are not the owners. The people that live in the house did not earn the house, but were loaned the property from the true owners, the taxpayers.

Because of this, the residents do not have the “pride of ownership” that comes with the hard work necessary. In fact, the opposite happens and the residents resent their benefactors because the very house is a constant reminder that they themselves did not earn the right to live in the house. They do not appreciate the value of the property and see no need to maintain or respect it in any way.

The result is the same whether you are talking about a studio apartment or a magnificent mansion full of priceless antiques. If the people who live there do not feel they earned the privilege, they will make this known through their actions.

The pictures below illustrate the point:

The Resolute Desk was built from the timbers of the HMS Resolute and was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is considered a national treasure and icon of the presidency.

Mr. Obama, you are not in a hut in Kenya, or public housing in Chicago. With all due respect, get your damn feet off our desk!

The World's Largest Army

Here’s an interesting bit of information someone passed on to me. I can't vouch for its validity, but it does raise an interesting point and provide some food for thought about how well-armed Americans are compared to other countries.

Supposedly, after the Japanese decimated our fleet in Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941, they could have sent their troop ships and carriers directly to California to finish what they started. The prediction from our Chief of Staff was we would not be able to stop a massive invasion until they reached the Mississippi River. Remember, we had a 2 million-man army and war ships — all fighting the Germans. So, why did they not invade?

After the war, the remaining Japanese generals and admirals were asked that question. Their answer — they knew that almost every home had guns and the Americans knew how to use them.

The world’s largest army — America’s hunters! Think about this...

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion:

• There were over 600,000 hunters this past season in the state of Wisconsin alone. Allow me to restate that number...

• Over the last several months, Wisconsin’s hunters became the eighth largest army in the world.

• More armed men than in Iran..

• More than in France and Germany combined.

• These men deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms — and no one was killed.

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan’s 700,000 hunters. Toss in a 250,000 hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

The point?

America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower. Hunting — it’s not just a way to fill the freezer. It’s a matter of national security. That’s why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.

Food for thought when next we consider gun control.

The above numbers are just the hunters that purchased deer hunting licenses. I guarantee you there are at least 4 times as many guys that have guns, know how to use them, and don’t have a deer hunting license.

We absolutely will always have the World’s largest army — as long as we do not let the government take our guns away.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Debt Ceiling Deal A Bad One — Real Bad

The deal to raise the country’s debt ceiling that President Barack Obama has signed into law will lead to massive job loss in the short term and threatens economic growth in the long run, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute/The Century Foundation.

According to the analysis, the spending cuts in the agreement, along with the failure to extend the payroll tax holiday and emergency unemployment insurance, will cost the economy 1.8 million jobs through 2012. The deal disproportionately cuts the non-security discretionary part of the federal budget to the lowest level in more than 50 years, potentially halving investments in education, transportation infrastructure, housing, health and infant nutrition over the next decade.

The report, by policy analysts Andrew Fieldhouse and Ethan Pollack finds that the spending cuts in the deal will reduce GDP by $43 billion in 2012, lowering employment by about 323,000 jobs. The failure to extend the payroll tax cut will reduce GDP by $128 billion, resulting in about 972,000 fewer jobs, and the failure to continue emergency unemployment benefits will reduce GDP by $70 billion, resulting in roughly 528,000 fewer jobs.

In other words, the debt ceiling deal will result in more jobs lost in 2012, relative to current budget policy, than have been created since employment troughed in early 2010.

Over half of the deal’s spending cuts will come from the NSD portion of the budget, which represents only 15 percent of the total federal budget. The deal’s initial spending cuts reduce NSD from 3.5 percent to 2 percent of GDP in 2021, the lowest level in more than 50 years.

If the committee tasked with producing additional cuts cannot agree to a plan, or if Congress does not pass it, the sequestration mechanism would reduce NSD further, to 1.7 percent of GDP. At the 1.7 percent level, NSD spending would be about half of what it is now.

Monday, August 01, 2011

A Total Insult To Washington State Businesses

Can someone explain to me in terms that make sense why the WASHINGTON Tourism Alliance is doing business with an OREGON company for the publication of the WASHINGTON State Visitor’s Guide? Have these people lost their mind, or do they just not care that there are more than a few WASHINGTON publishing companies that have the capabilities to publish this, and keep and/or create, JOBS right here in WASHINGTON?

The organizations that make up the Washington Tourism Alliance expect City and County governments — as well as the private sector — to support their efforts, yet they obviously have absolutely NO regard for the fact that businesses here in our own state — those in our own Cities and Counties who all give them money — could do this work. All they ask is the opportunity to bid on it. If they can’t compete, that’s one thing, but as the owner of a publishing firm myself for the past 32 years that has the capabilities to produce this, I am highly incensed that in-state companies were not even notified about such an opportunity.

And just for the record, if they have the common sense to rethink such a bone-headedly stupid move, our company will not bid on it so no one can accuse me of protesting for self-serving reasons.

As the Mayor of Port Orchard, it is my intention to attend the upcoming regional meetings of the Association of Washington Cities, and ask every City in this state to withhold all tourism funding no matter who it goes to — until this group rescinds this agreement and allows in-state companies the opportunity to bid on this project. I am also asking a number of County Commissioners around the state I know to encourage Washington State Association of Counties members to do the same.

What the Washington Tourism Alliance has done is more than just an insult to in-state publishers — it’s flat out wrong. They should be ashamed of themselves.