Tuesday, March 26, 2013

More Bitchin' About Government

I was amazed at our local BOS demonstrating a total lack of historical reference regarding the potential bribe by the state to support a tax increase. Signing on a support letter for taxes may mean the rotary will be fixed. Note the term may. Do any members of the BOS remember John Volpe and a “temporary” 3% sales tax? Sure - guys - believe the boys and girls on The Hill. Steve McKinnon has the fiscal sense of knowing you can’t continue to feed the beast in return for promises that are broken. The state is the proverbial “I’ll respect you in the morning.”
And on The Hill a Boston Herald reporter was tossed from a legislative only meeting on (drum roll please) transparency!
Another proposal for further taxes is use of a transponder to “tax” each and all for highway use. Keep on feeding the beast. Daily stories appear - like below - about corruption, political appointees of questionable ethics and qualifications, pension bloated by “playing the system” and mismanagement throughout government yet the cure-all is always the same - more revenue!
Sherri Killins becomes another poster child for ineptness in the flawed Patrick Administration. This one - no surprise - was outed by The Boston Herald for her out of state residency and being enrolled in a n education program while still on the books for 200K a year. Her flacks and those of the administration circled the wagons with tepid responses or no responses from inquiring minds that wanted to know. She finally came to her senses - or was pressured to do so - and resigned. Another chapter in what happens when a one party monolith runs the state. Sorta makes me miss Dukakis.
Jim Braga and his family recently became victims of an unnecessary death. I didn’t know Jim that well except for basketball years ago. When I first met him he was bear like in appearance and my first reaction was purely based on the visual. The guy was a pussy cat and as clean and gentleman a player as I ever met. I had two kids who had him as a teacher and they both spoke highly of him - fair guy, good sense of humor and you actually were engaged in the classroom.
In Boston the School Committee and Mayor are attempting to develop a school choice plan. Forty years after busing destroyed the system they figured it out.
The Massachusetts House rejected a bill that would have allowed law makers at least six hours to read and review a bill before it is brought to a vote. Does this make any sense? Naturally it was the Republicans who voted in favor.
Boston Phoenix is no more. Anyone who went to school or worked in the Boston vicinity would grab a copy of the free paper. Declining ad revenues so it is goodbye.
Patriots are a mystery to me. Why let a proven commodity go to get one for more money that has not come close to the product let go? Goodbye, Welker!
Slowly or is that fastly the new or is it renovated police station will be located on the current site. The Winthrop Atkins area has been rejected for reasons that from what I can determine have no cost analysis to show if it is a real savings. Sometimes one gets the impression that a done deal was in the works from day one. Just get the impression that those involved and thinking of ways of saying no to other options rather than yes.
With an old building especially one that old any historical renovations will have a questionable price tag. IMO it will far exceed any projected costs. Also IMO the FinCom was on the right track of at least bringing up a less expensive alternative.
Chief Bruce Gates got dope slapped in an Enterprise editorial about his inconsistency regarding release of information. Maybe he can work out pent up ire when his new magnificent station has a gym installed.
The casino issue continues to surface and considering the ethnic background of some tribal members maybe the LIT should be in the Azores?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Police Station/Landfill/Rotary/Obama

A new police station for half the price. Seems reasonable. The renovation figures for the current hulking wreck come in at 13M and I am sure that does not include wooden windows. Now they have also discovered a potential environmental hazard on the current property that could drive up that 13M considerably higher but that does not seem to have much of an impact on our chief who appears now to want no other site considered. So much for budget constraints.
Our local Historical Commission also would love to see the building restored since they see two things: (1) It is old and (2) on the Historic Register. What they do not see is the cost even without a police station. No doubt this will eventually siphon away as much CPA dollars as possible. Is there anyone that can tell these people no? Maybe at Town Meeting? Naw….they’ll load the hall with supporters for this disaster in the making. This will be the Fung Wah of Middleboro when the final bill is in.
The committee that is in charge (supposedly) of the new police station project should do everything possible to look at significant cost saving alternatives and that may actually mean paying more than lip service to the potential at Starr Mill. A debt exclusion of 6M is certainly more palatable than a debt exclusion of 13M.
I’m from the state so trust me. That is it in a nut shell of the arm twisting to get Middleboro to sign off on support of increase taxes and in return that magnificent rotary will once again be put on the high priority list. Quid pro quo.
The town decides to change election schedule with a primary factor being cost savings but it seems cost savings only applies to certain areas yet when cost savings is in the potential millions it is bypassed?
On a recent visit to the dump (AKA - Landfill) I was informed that tree parts exceeding six inches in diameter were not allowed. Amazing! But there is an exception - the Town of Middleboro. Yep….they can do as they please but the rest of us? Once again I must mentioned Ray Flynn the former Mayor of Boston who realized you could lose millions and the voters will yawn but if the garbage is not picked up or the streets not plowed the tar and feathers come out.
Certain surrounding towns have decided to set aside days that will have the wood chipper pay a visit. Pile up your storm remains and they will chop it up. Naturally Middleboro is not one of them.
Deval Patrick wants money for a 2B+ rail line to the South Coast. The rail to Middleboro is now $10 each way to Boston and is starting to price folks out of the public transportation market.
"The Big Inch" is a pipeline that was created out of military necessity of having a minor scuffle designated as WW II. Keystone should be considered also in security terms just like "The Big Inch" or the national highway system. Much has already been completed and if and when it is finished it will represent only a tiny fraction of pipelines in this country that carry oil and that pipeline total is 200,000 miles.
Canada has product. They are willing to sell it to us. Energy independence is an important diplomatic tool so that we will have some degree of security from overseas nonsense. The United States is also developing extraction methods that will eventually make us the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world and that is not even discussing the off shore potential of the eastern seaboard.
We need green energy. That is a given. Tidal, solar, wind and other options that may surface. Right now they are expensive and the technology needs to catch up to make it fiscally responsible and it most certainly will. But until that happens this country needs to improve our deliver systems and to construct new processing facilities. Not to do so is myopic nonsense.
What a dismal example of leadership was displayed as Obama took to the bully pulpit just before noon on sequester doomsday. This sounded like campaign talking points and was an embarrassing void in leadership that seems to exemplify what happens in crises situations both domestic and foreign with Obama. When I compare Obama even to his predecessor or to Clinton or Reagan he comes up far short. I'll say it again - my biggest problem with Obama is his lack of leadership - it is a void.
Obama has managed to or attempted to put the budget issue framed in such a way he can say “I told you so” no matter what. Unemployment goes down just think about what it would have been with that 85B tossed into the fiscal kitty. Ditto the stock market. If the reverse happens it will be “I told you so.” What a disingenuous hack.
Marissa Mayer is the new CEO of fast fading web portal Yahoo. Ms. Mayer has a contract that pays over 100M and is proof that some can bust through the famed glass ceiling. Ms. Mayer has also clearly demonstrated she is like many male counter parts and that is being clueless regarding employees by banning telecommuting. My assumption is that Mayer assumes this will result in some massive turn around for Yahoo.