Wally Wonders Why

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National Issue

Top Ten things to do after calling 911

Let’s face it, if you are lucky enough to get off a 911 call when your home is invaded by bad guys, you still have to deal with the awkward 10 minutes or so until the police arrive.  In the old days you might have shot the bad guy several times and then maybe gone back to bed or finished a crossword.  However in these post 2nd amendment enlightened times there is really no way to avoid the awkward time that you and your home invader will be spending together.  So I’ve comprised this short list of things you might consider to fill that time.

Top 10 things to do while waiting for police to arrive

10. Look for your misplaced bucket list
9. Play a chopsticks duet
8. Bake real Tollhouse cookies
7. Facebook
6. Write a new bucket list
5. Clean microwave
4. Exchange childhood memories
3. Plead for your life
2. Learn the lost art of Haiku
1. Pray

 

Common sense and our government both warn us to plan and prepare for unexpected disasters or other emergencies.  We have fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, first aid kits, air bags, maybe a disaster kit and this list of things that we have, but hope we never have to use, goes on and on.   When it comes to emergencies such as earthquakes and hurricanes we are encouraged to be self sufficient for a few days until help can arrive, but when faced with an emergency such as a home invasion our government is strangely silent on how we are to be self sufficient in defending ourselves until help can arrive.

The average response time of a 911 call is over 8 minutes….the response time of a .44 magnum is 1400 feet per second.

Unknown

True, it is very unlikely that your home will be invaded, but it happens everyday to someone somewhere and if their only defense is to call 911, then they will be defenseless for about 10 minutes.   That 10 minutes is approximate, but news from places like New York, where even though crime is on the decline, average response times are getting longer.   And there is Detroit…

Bad guys prey on the defenseless. Bullies don’t pick on the big guy and thieves prefer dimly lit homes without big dogs and without loud alarms. Scammers target the most vulnerable up to and including those who have absolutely no defense, the dead. The point is that if a bad guy thinks you are defenseless then you are a potential target. We are safest, when we can, or appear we can, defend ourselves.

Recent mass shootings of defenseless men, women and children on both the East Coast and West Coast should have been a warning for us to better prepare for those moments when we will be defenseless.   In Connecticut the school shooter killed himself when he heard police arriving to defend those in the school.  In the Clackmas, Oregon shopping mall, the shooter quickly stopped shooting defenseless shoppers and turned the gun on himself when he realized that a shopper drew his personal gun in defense of the defenseless.

Right now there are people in all walks of our government working to limit your ability to defend yourself during those first 10 minutes.   Find your elected officials and tell them you don’t support limits on your ability to defend yourself, your family, or your property.

In my opinion, if anyone denies someone else the ability to defend themselves against bad guys, then they are an accessory to the crime.   They may just as well have tied their hands behind their back and put a bag over their head.

P.S.

 

Mitt Romney rejects the “Balanced Approach”

Remember that section of the presidential debate where President Obama talked about a balanced approach to taxes and spending? And remember how he tried to chastise Mitt Romney for refusing President Obama’s balanced approach?

BelieveinAmericaIn Mitt Romney’s book he explains why he soundly rejected President Obama’s so called balanced approach.

“Our untenable spending habits were at the root of this past summer’s crisis over the debt ceiling. President Obama’s insistence on a “balanced approach”—by which he meant a combination of spending cuts and tax increases—would have put a seal of congressional approval on a baseline level of spending significantly higher than when he took office. That is precisely why the President’s approach had to be soundly rejected. He wanted to move the country in the wrong direction of more taxes and more spending at a time when both are smothering the economy.”
Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth, Kindle Edition.”

Overspending is a national problem and I’m so looking forward to having Mitt Romney in the White House so we can put his mind and talents to work solving, rather than perpetuating this problem.

President Obama Unfit for Office

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, so I won’t second guess what happened leading up to the death of our US Ambassador and 3 other Americans in a Sept 11th attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

I won’t second guess, first guess,or third guess because nobody has to guess at the events leading up to this attack and murder.  All of those events were readily available to anyone reading the news or their daily security briefings.  All it would have taken to avoid this tragedy was for someone in a position of power to show a little foresight and leadership.

Yes, someone in the White House could have and should have shown leadership and stopped this dangerous situation from turning tragic.   What kind of leader wouldn’t recognize the danger, or if they did recognize the danger, what kind of leader doesn’t act on that danger?   What kind of leader wouldn’t recognize a 9/11 anniversary as a potentially dangerous situation for Americans living in Muslim nations and especially Muslim nations that recently went through a violent revolution.

My answer is the kind of leader we have in President Obama, who refers to this tragic event, with diminished concern, as a “bump in the road.” President Obama is the kind of leader who apparently either doesn’t recognize the true danger, doesn’t want to recognize the true danger, or is simply incapable of leading Americans safely through these dangers.

As you read through this tidbit list of events leading up to the 9/11/12 attack on our Benghazi Embassy, ask yourself at what point would you increase US security beyond the two men assigned to protect two embassy personnel?  When would you decide that this is a dangerous situation warranting additional security?

 

February 2011 – beginning of Libyan revolution against Qaddafi regime.

On February 16, 2011 Libyan protesters clashed with police in an anti-government demonstration inspired by the uprisings that brought down the rulers of Libya’s neighbors, Egypt and Tunisia. Opposition activists, organizing through social media, rallied against the country’s long-time leader, Moammar Gadhafi, in the country’s second-biggest city, Benghazi.

Global Security

Mid-March 2011 – UN resolution supporting Libyan Rebels

Shortly before midnight, the streets of Libya’s de facto rebel capital, Benghazi, were quiet, nearly deserted.

A few minutes after midnight, tracer bullets and celebratory machine-gun fire were racing into the air from every direction and residents piled into their cars for a massive street party.

In between, the United Nations Security Council voted by 10-0 to not only impose a no-fly zone over eastern Libya but to allow for “all necessary measures” short of an occupation to protect the country’s civilians from Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the dictator who’s ruled Libya for nearly 42 years.

Christian Science Monitor

Late March 2011 – President Obama offers special support for Libyan Rebels

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Reuters

October 2011 – End of Qaddafi regime

Five days after he was sodomized, beaten, and shot in the head, former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was finally laid to rest at a “secret location” in the Libyan desert, according to the NTC, the transitional government in Libya. And not a moment too soon. Qaddafi’s body has been on display in a meat cooler in Misrata since Thursday

NY Magazine

November 2011 – Transitional Government established in Libya.

TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya’s transitional leaders swore on a Quran to uphold the ideals of the revolution that toppled Muammar Qaddafi as they took their oaths of office Thursday, another key step in the country’s hoped-for march toward democracy.

CBSNews.com

January 2012 – President Obama appoints Christopher Stevens as US Ambassador to Libya

President Barack Obama on Monday night announced his intent to nominate career Senior Foreign Service member John Christopher Stevens as US ambassador to Libya.

Feb17.info

March 2012 – Attitude check

(CBS News) Armed vandals attacked and smashed the headstones of Allied and Italian service members laid to rest in a World War II cemetery in Benghazi and then posted video of their desecration online.

CBSNews.com

May 2012 – Attack on International Red Cross in Benghazi

BENGHAZI (Reuters) – A rocket-propelled grenade hit the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi overnight, leaving a small hole in the side of the building but causing no casualties, an ICRC spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Benghazi has suffered a series of small attacks since the beginning of the year that have raised concerns over the ruling National Transitional Council’s (NTC) ability to impose its authority and ensure security after last year’s rebellion ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year rule.

Reuters-Africa

June 2012 – US embassy in Benghazi, Libya.  US officials ask Libyan government for increased security.

A bomb went off outside the US embassy offices in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi Tuesday night, causing minor damage to its main gate.

A US embassy official in Tripoli told BBC that no one was injured in the attack, by unknown assailants.

The US official deplored the attack and asked the Libyan government to increase security around US facilities.

BBC-UK

Washington had confirmed a few hours before the attack that a U.S.-operated drone had killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan-born cleric and senior al Qaeda operative, in Pakistan.

The U.S. State Department said it had asked Libyan authorities to increase security around U.S. facilities.

“We deplore the attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing.

Toner said a local guard reported that an attack was underway against one of the Benghazi compound’s perimeter walls and warned diplomatic staff to take cover.

The bombing will revive concerns about the lack of security in Libya, where last year Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in an uprising supported by NATO air power.

Chicago Tribune

July 2012 – Libyan elections

Despite violence that left at least several dead, numerous gun battles, allegations of voter fraud, dozens of polling places unable to operate, mass protests, militias running wild, and whole regions still in chaos, Western governments and the United Nations — largely responsible for the recent “regime change” that killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi and thousands of innocent civilians — celebrated political elections in Libya on Saturday, July 7 as a success. Meanwhile, multiple armed factions are still threatening to unleash full-blown civil war amid ongoing battles all across the chaos-stricken nation.

The New American

August 27th – State Dept. issues Travel Warning citing potential for political assignations among the reasons.

Travel Warning U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Libya

August 27, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Libya. The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem. In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli.

Travel.State.Gov

September 4th – Libyan news notes increased security fears over increase in Islamist groups.

Small-scale crimes, such as carjacking, robberies, and petty theft, and more serious acts of violence such as car bombings and political assassinations, are posing an increasing challenge to the Libyan authorities.  There are also increased security fears over apparent increase in Islamists groups and Qadhafi regime loyalists has increased security concerns across Libya, particularly in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Libya-Business News

September 5th – President Obama receives final daily briefing before 9/11 anniversary

According to the White House schedule President Obama receives last daily briefing Wednesday September 5th with no more daily briefings in the five more days leading up to 9/11 anniversary.

September 10th Early – Inadequate security at US Embassy

Benghazi, awash in guns, has recently witnessed a string of assassinations as well as attacks on international missions, including a bomb said to be planted by another Islamist group that exploded near the United States mission there as recently as June. But a Libyan politician who had breakfast with Mr. Stevens at the mission the morning before he was killed described security, mainly four video cameras and as few as four Libyan guards, as sorely inadequate for an American ambassador in such a tumultuous environment.

NY Times

September 10th Late – Video posted calling for attacks on Americans

In a video posted late Monday on militant websites, al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri described his late lieutenant Abu Yahya al-Libi as a “lion of jihad and knowledge.”

The killing of al-Libi, who was Libyan by birth, was the biggest setback to al-Qaida since the death of Osama bin Laden.

Al-Zawahri also urged Libyans — al-Libi was born in the north African country — to attack Americans to avenge the late militant’s death, saying his “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders.”

Associated Press

September 11th – US Embassy in Benghazi still operating in “an interim facility” with a reduced level of security compared to formal embassies in permanent facilities.

A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.

The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies. The intelligence source contrasted it with the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt – “a permanent facility, which is a lot easier to defend.” The Cairo embassy also was attacked Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81134.html#ixzz27sFnS41w

September 11th – US Embassy in Benghazi attacked killing four Americans

The US ambassador to Libya and three other American staffers died on Tuesday night in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, US officials have said.

An armed mob attacked and set fire to the consulate building during a protest against an amateur film deemed offensive to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, after similar protests in Egypt’s capital.

The two incidents came on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks in the US.

The US government confirmed that Ambassador Chris Stevens and information technology officer Sean Smith, in addition to two unnamed personnel, died in the attack. Libyan security source told Al Jazeera that Stevens died from smoke inhalation.

Aljazeera

September 12th – News of the rape and murder of Ambassador Stevens surfaces

Sources said that “the U.S. ambassador to Libya was raped sexually before killing by gunmen who stormed the embassy building in Benghazi last night to protest against the film is offensive to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” The sources said that “Ambassador was killed and representation of his body in a manner similar to what happened with Gaddafi ahead kill him. ” has reported: kill the U.S. ambassador in Libya Christopher Stevens and three Americans in an attack on Tuesday evening 09/11/2012 the U.S. consulate in Benghazi

Google Translation of www.tayyar.org

September 13th – President Obama sends in the Marines…to Tripoli…because there are no Americans alive in Benghazi.

President Obama condemned the killings, promised to bring the assailants to justice and ordered tighter security at all American diplomatic installations. The administration also sent 50 Marines to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to help with security at the American Embassy there, ordered all nonemergency personnel to leave Libya and warned Americans not to travel there.

Obama administration officials and regional officials scrambled to sort out conflicting reports about the attack and the motivation of the attackers. A senior Obama administration officials told reporters during a conference call that “it was clearly a complex attack,” but offered no details.

NY Times

September 15th – US Embassy attack is attributed to al Qaeda

Benghazi, Libya – The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans and ten Libyans was the work of “experienced masterminds” that had been planned well in advance, the Libyan president says.

“I think this was al-Qaeda,” President Mohamed al-Magarief told Al Jazeera on Friday, in his first interview with foreign media since the violence three days earlier.

“If you take into account the weapons used like RPGs and other heavy weapons, it proves that it was pre-planned,” he said. “It’s a dirty act of revenge that has nothing to do with religion.”

His comments to Al Jazeera marked the first time his government has openly attributed acts of violence to religious extremists.

Aljazeera

So at what point did you decide to increase US security?  Was it when we first located US Citizens in the Embassy?  Was it after the spring bombing at the embassy?  Was it in the weeks leading up to the 9/11 anniversary?  Was it Sept 10th after the release of a video calling for death to Americans?  Or did you wait to send in the Marines, like President Obama, until after our ambassador was raped and then killed with the the other three Americans?

When I heard about the attacks on our embassy in Libya I was dumfounded to hear that all four Americans at the embassy had died.  I was not dumfounded that they had died in the attack, I was dumfounded that the casualty list was just four Americans dead, rather than something like 20 Marines wounded and 4 Americans dead.  I wondered, especially on 9/11, why there was no US security for the four Americans?

It was heartbreaking to hear that they were dead, it was angering to hear the way they were killed and I was ashamed that our leaders didn’t see fit to protect them from such a clear an present danger.  How could President Obama apologize to the world for the amateur movie that didn’t cause this violence, yet not apologize to Ambassador Steven’s family for failing to protect a person he appointed to his dangerous position,  I don’t think President Obama is at fault causing the violence, but he is at fault for not providing the leadership necessary to protect these Americans.  One more reason President Obama is not fit for the office he holds.

Socialism III – Nailing Success to a Cross

Capture microwave

See below for update to post originally dated July, 20, 2012

Yes, President Obama may have actually done this in a recent campaign speech which I think will go down in history as one of the most anti-American campaign speeches ever written.  Unlike Christ, though, if we let Success die on a cross it won’t return on the third day.  In is address President Obama makes the following points:

  • America can’t cut anymore spending so we must raise taxes
  • The wealthy should pay those tax increases because they didn’t really earn their money.
  • No one is successful on their own initiative, drive and intelligence
  • Individual people don’t create the environment for success, government does.
  • Anyone and everyone who is successful, owes a debt to our government collective.
  • Our government will collect wealth from those who are successful and then redistribute it to those who they deem as needy and deserving.

The idea of the government centered nation that President Obama talks about isn’t a new idea by any means, it is exactly the same message that famous communist organizer Karl Marx promoted back in the 1800’s.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

It is however, a new idea for a sitting  US president to openly and vigorously promote government controlled collectivism as if it were the American Way.  Government controlled collectivism isn’t the American Way, never has been the American Way, and it is a pretty horrific thought to think that our President thinks that it is the American Way.

The American Way of Life is individualistic, dynamic, pragmatic. It affirms the supreme value and dignity of the individual; it stresses incessant activity on his part, for he is never to rest but is always to be striving to “get ahead”; it defines an ethic of self-reliance, merit, and character, and judges by achievement: “deeds, not creeds” are what count. The American Way of Life is humanitarian, “forward looking,” optimistic.

Will Herberg, Protestant-Catholic-Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology (1960)

Our government has never been the center of the American Way, nor the American Dream.  The very idea of America, is the idea of individual liberty, that is individuals pursuing life, liberty and happiness.  People have flocked tot the land of opportunity so that they may have the opportunity to flourish on their own merit, not for the opportunity to have government tell them what they can and can’t do.  People flock from socialist nations, not to them.  When was the last time you heard of refugees fleeing to the Peoples Republic of China or to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea?  People come to our land of opportunity because they have the opportunity to become successful, but if our government leaders eliminate the opportunity to become successful or simply demonize those who have succeeded, then America is just another hunk of dirt to live on.

President Obama’s perception of America is completely bassackwards.  Here’s some of his own words from that ridiculous campaign speech of his.

-look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

ABC News – Did Obama Say, ‘If You’ve Got a Business, You Didn’t Build That’?

Most media, both mainstream and independent, seems to have focused on a single phrase,  “If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”   Even though it is ripped out of context, I can’t manage to blame them because it really is a pretty catchy phrase.  I know that I can’t read it without having the MC Hammer song “Can’t Touch This” run through my head. DaDaDaDa..DaDa..DaDa…didn’t build that.   But it really isn’t that phrase alone that bothers me, because anyone who succeeds knows that others were involved and that they have others to thank.

What bothers me the most is his backwards thinking that has individual success as the product of government instead of good government as the product of successful individuals.  Whether through taxes or charity, when people are successful at whatever level, they can and do give back to our nation.  From that individual success roads are made, schools are built and public servants are paid, but government cannot make us successful.   Government can burden us to the point where success is unlikely, but government can’t make someone successful.   If you grew up in America like I did then we all drove the same roads, paid the same taxes, followed the same rules and went to the same schools, yet we didn’t all succeed to the same level.

Success is the realm of the individual ingenuity, drive and perseverance.  When we teach our children that they must look to government for success rather than inside themselves, we have devalued the human spirit and set our nation on a road to ruin.   When someone succeeds in our nation I want us to look at them as a role model not a demon.  I want to look at entrepreneurs, inventors, industrious people, and leaders as heroes.  I want them to receive recognition, wealth and accolades.   And unlike our President, when I see successful people at whatever level of success,  I want to know what sets them apart, what makes them special, extraordinary and what makes them tick. I want to know that given equal opportunity, what makes them successful where others have failed.

We  owe much to those who have figured out how to succeed.  Ingenious, industrious, driven people figure out every day how to become successful.  Some do it with government help, some in spite of government help, and even more others who pull it off without any government help at all.  Some do it for money.  Some do it for fame.  Some succeed because it fills some need inside them to be the best they can be.  Perhaps it is the remnant of a prehistoric survival instinct?   I don’t know, but I do know that it is a trait that should be fostered, not bred out of our society.

And being bred out of our society is exactly what will happen if we all take President Obama’s advice to heart.   Imagine one of the President’s children coming home and showing Dad a great test score.  Then imagine how much enthusiasm they will feel towards future success after Dad tells them they aren’t that smart, that they couldn’t have done that on their own, that without help they would certainly fail and then has them sit down to write out thank you notes to the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker.  And I’m not saying that all the other don’t deserve recognition, but if you don’t recognize and reward the individual effort it took to get the great test score then don’t hold you breath waiting for more good test scores.

When we make success a crime and nail it to a cross for all to jeer at and poke with sharp sticks, who among us will want to succeed?  And when nobody succeeds, we fail.

Also check out these related posts:

Updated 9/16/12

I had to add in this YouTube that I think was created a month or so after President Obama’s original you didn’t build it quote because the video is essentially acting out what I described in the second to last paragraph of this post.

Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 2: How small towns like Ferndale contribute to the decline of our nation.

Original Post Feb 20, 2012

“I have long been concerned by the ability of our nation’s runaway spending and debt to weaken our national security, and now we are starting to see the real consequences.  The President’s failure to tackle our debt is killing our economy, weakening our national security and threatening the very essence of America’s exceptionalism.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

And it is happening at the grassroots level here in Our Town, USA.   In Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 1 , I explained why I was against a new road tax because the City had spent the current tax money on other projects and was looking toward the public to once again bail them out.   But the problem with their spending and other towns like them across the nation runs much deeper than a few tenths of a percent tax.  It’s their chronic overspending that is helping small towns like Ferndale contribute to the decline of our nation.

Currently the City of Ferndale is smack in the middle of improving Main Street between 3rd and Church Rd.  The project has no geographical challenges such as river crossings or challenges such as rail tracks.   The project isn’t adding more traffic capacity, no new intersections and the road as it is driven today would hardly be described by any Ferndale residents as a pressing transportation need.   Yet, the City of Ferndale is spending about $8.4 million dollars on the remodeling of just over 1 mile of roadway.

main 3rd to church

For perspective Everson is reconstructing just about 1/2 mile of Mission Road at the same time this spring that Ferndale is completing the second 1/2 mile stretch of our Main Street project, but while Everson will spend $575,000 for a widened road bed, shoulders and a sidewalk, Ferndale will spend about $4.4 million on a road that includes  two normal traffic lanes, a turn lane, two bike lanes, two side walks and a planter strip.

Why is Ferndale spending so much more money on their roads than other towns like Everson and more importantly, where are they getting the money?

Why Ferndale is spending so much is a tough question for a simple blogger, but I lean towards shopping addiction rather than the big truck little *&^_#  reason which may come to mind for some.

New research reveals while some super-shoppers spend to boost self-esteem and band-aid other perceived internal deficits, others’ carts are driven by plain-old materialism. Whatever the motivation, however, researchers mostly agree that buying behaviors can range from frivolous fun to serious addiction.

LiveScience: The Truth About Shopaholics

With a mayor and seven council members there probably are more reasons they overspend, but there is only one place they get the money for road projects; we the taxpayers.   We pay with local  taxes and fees on gas, property, sales, trash, water, sewer etc, but the problem with shopaholics is not that they spend money it is that they spend money on things they want rather than things they need and they often overspend on credit rather than living within their means.

That is the same problem I see with Ferndale and other small towns across our nation.  They are spending on things like landscape strips, bike lanes and roundabouts while other roads go without repair and maintenance.   And if other small towns are like Ferndale they are also racking up city debt as well as relying on State and Federal funds to feed their shopping addiction just like Ferndale.   In a recent Herald article, Mayor Jensen, when referring to several recently completed road projects, said,

State and federal funding have helped to make these projects successful.

Success is often a relative measure though. In this case Mayor Jensen seems to equate project completion with success.   Let me explain why I disagree by using a current example from Ferndale’s 6-Year Financial plan 2012.  Here’s a clip of financing for some of the current Main St. – 3rd to Church Road Project.

 

acct 308

As you read through all of the various loans and grants it takes to fund this project, remember that no matter what it is called or where it comes from, ultimately all of the funding comes from we the taxpayer.    So, in the case of Federal grant funds the project successfully added more debt onto an already unprecedented national debt.  In the case of State grants funds the project was successful at putting our landscape strips and bike lanes into budget competition with necessary things like schools, parks, law enforcement etc.  How dumb is that?  Then there is the way that cities like Ferndale play with finances so they can pry even more state and federal money away from us.

Reconstruction projects are costly, but funding from a TBD may allow the city to use some of that funding to further leverage additional state and federal grant revenue.

Transportation Benefit District Sales Tax Election

Wait a minute.  So some of that local tax that was touted as for road repair will actually be used to lever even more state and federal money out of our pockets?   Does that count as a success?  I guess that would depend on who has the lever and who has the pocket.

I like landscape strips and bike lanes as much as the next person, but more local debt, more state budget problems and an increased national deficit sounds like a nation in decline, not success.

 

_______________________________________

6/26/12 Update: A couple of articles hit the Bellingham Herald over the last week or so which just reaffirms that at least the City of Ferndale doesn’t get it when it comes to overspending.

FERNDALE – A once-rural road now inside the city limits will be upgraded to city standards, complete with sidewalks and bicycle lanes, even if it means taking strips of property from unwilling property owners.

…the city is counting on future grants to fund part of the $5 million project. But the amenities seemed extravagant to some of the residents who spoke at Monday’s council meeting.

“While this project is necessary and long overdue, it should not be a lavish undertaking,” said Janella McKay, a Church Road resident. “Making it an affordable street should be a top priority.”

Overspending and arrogance on the part of the City administrators doesn’t reflect well on the people who elected them.  I don’t think the average person in Ferndale is of the borrow from Peter to pay Paul variety, yet that is what the City is doing to support their spending.  I think it’s a bit scary to find such a close similarity between this description of  the new transportation tax in Ferndale and a description of a common internet scam.

Ferndale transportation tax:

Based on recent sales tax collections, the city expects to raise $300,000 a year for road improvements. That amount will be used each year as seed money to attract larger amounts in state or federal grants.
Source: Bellingham Herald

Internet scam:

Most of these scams involve you supplying seed money, or disclosing confidential data used to deplete your savings account. While these cons are usually recognizable and safely ignored, enough suckers are fooled to make the effort profitable for the criminals who have no fear of legal retribution.

_______________________________________

9/16/12 Update: Just a bit of follow up as the Church Road project approaches..

The City has also applied for grant funding on that project, Radder noted.Councilmember Goodrich wondered if there are any specific strings attached like a specific timeframe to spend the funding or matching funds.

Radder said that there will be required matching funds, and the City intends to use Transportation Benefit District funding as that match.

Ferndale City Council meeting September 4, 2012

As they said  new tax revenue from the newly formed Transportation Benefit District will be used as seed/matching funds, not to just repair Church road, but rather give it an extreme makeover and put the taxpayers in extreme debt.   And again, not saying that anyone in the City of Ferndale is doing anything illegal, just wrong and a little bit on the underhanded side.   I sincerely mean that and here is just another example.  This is the first sentence you read at the City’s Transportation Benefit District page

The Ferndale Transportation Benefit District is designed to preserve and maintain the City’s transportation infrastructure.

I challenge anyone to look at what is going on on Main and Church Streets and call that “preservation and maintenance.  Voters hear “preserve and maintain” while the City hears the sound of seed money.

 

 

 

 

2010 Election: History making or not?

Nope, not a misprint, rather a reprint.  I was listening to the Morning Show on KGMI with Patti Brooks this morning and heard one of the Whatcom Democrats officers call in and aside from a little partisan bashing I was hearing him bring up the same tired old points about how we aren’t taxing enough or taxing the right people and how the Iraq war spending is to blame, yada yada yada.  It made me think of this post I wrote almost two years ago about the then upcoming 2010 election.  Upon rereading it, I have found that nothing has changed in the last two years and my advice for the 2010 election will suffice for the 2012 election.

2010 Election: History making or not?

We are fast approaching our next election and like so many other elections before, I am hearing how this one is special, critically important and history making. Ok, I can buy into this election being special and even critically important, but as for history making??   I think history making will be determined by which direction we vote, but we need history making.

Our nation is so deep in financial trouble that we may not be able to recover.  As Americans we are living and breathing this fact day in and day out.   Some say that we are in our financial mess because big corporations and the “rich” aren’t paying their share.  Some say that Reagan and Bush tax cuts created revenue shortfalls.  And then there are those myriad of other excuses about how our tax system is regressive, archaic and or ineffective.  Well guess what?  Lack of revenue, tax or otherwise, did not create our mess.

We spent our way into this mess.  Since roughly 1960 everyone we elected to office seems to have made it their personal goal to out spend everyone before them and not just out spend them a little, but out spend them in a big way.  Check the chart.  Revenues are not the problem and they haven’t been.  Spending is the problem.  And contrary to what we hear from some, defense spending is not what is breaking our nation.  In fact, even the ramped up war spending since 9/11 pales in comparison to the increases in spending as a whole.  I’m at the point now where I just laugh when I read debate points about how best to tax our nation.  Get this, it don’t make no difference to me if a tax is progressive, regressive, digressive, whether the rich, the poor, the income or the sales are taxed.  We don’t have a tax problem!  We have a spend twice as much as we bring in problem!

What will make this election historical is if the people we elect quit spending so damn much and start changing the direction that we have been going for the whole of my lifetime.

Here’s part of my voting process:

  • cut or eliminate a program – Vote YES
  • new or restructured program – Vote NO
  • Candidate with a history of spending – Vote NO
  • If the candidate won’t commit to cut spending – Vote NO

I hope everyone will do their part in making this an historical election.

Data for chart is from http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/ and http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/
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