The strangest things in life are often reality
Carefree's July council meeting was a case in point. Although the meeting was reasonably well attended, it did show signs of summertime desertions. Some regulars were missing but the presence of Greg Gardner, Lloyd Myer, and Wayne Fulcher bolstered the supporters. Their interest in the meeting seemed to wane (no pun intended) after discussion of the proposed ballot initiative to change the grounds for direct election of the mayor.
One agenda item, for discussion only, was the previously mentioned new ballot Initiative which seeks to change the grounds for direct election of the mayor, a measure which 73% of voters approved in 2009, as written. Interesting that many of those supporting this new initiative consisted mostly of individuals (and council members, past and present) who signed the Ballot statement in opposition to direct election of the mayor.
A reason cited by those dissenters in 2009, was that it would force Carefree to change to a 'Town Manager' form of government [blatantly false by the way]. Well, step by step, the mayor and his council allies are turning over the town to the Town Administrator. At this meeting they granted the Town Administrator the right to negotiate and execute Intergovernmental Agreements and Contracts for Police protection. The Town Administrator was given the additional function of Town Marshall to go along with Town Administrator/Planning Director/Zoning Administrator. Don't we already have enough non-elected Czars in this country?
Another curiosity was the 'traffic study' and its associated recommendations. I'll skip most of the dramatics to focus on a brief financial issue. When the town received 'free' government money to use for road work, a pedestrian crosswalk was included at a cost of approximately $18,000 (work to begin shortly). Our new study recommends three additional crosswalks be installed for a total estimate cost of $1,500; another truly amazing reality.
The financial highlight of the meeting was Councilman Miller's analysis of town's standing along with his prediction that the town will be "in the black" at the end of this fiscal year.
Unfortunately his grasp of numbers omits recognition of the fact that Carefree was forced to make substantial spending cuts. Mr. Neiss cited a 25 percent staff reduction.
They can paint the cuts any color they wish but the truth is that they were grudgingly implemented, and only the recall election forced a more rational expense picture on the town. If spending remained unchecked, as it had been for the first half of this fiscal year, the deficit would have been well over $300K. I'll leave you with the following to ponder ...
"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." – Abraham Lincoln
John Traynor | Carefree
Only crying a few times a day, healing, remembering how wonderful he was ...
Thank you all for your goodwill and consolations. Sonoran News did a story about the hit and run ... seeing the photo of him at Monument Valley brings such good memories to mind, Cowan was a wonderful dog to travel with :-).
Yesterday morning I spoke to Kathy, who unbeknownst to me (!), was a witness to the tragedy. She was attending to her horses in the corral directly across the street and heard Cowan get hit, ran over to the horse fence and watched the car deliberately accelerate away. She was so angry, she was going to jump in her car and pursue it. She could hear Cowan crying and me consoling him, telling Cowan how sorry I was, over and over. She rushed to grab a blanket and was making her way to the road to help. In that minute, with Cowan in my arms (so trusting that I could help him), I flagged down the next car.
Thankfully, they stopped immediately and helped me rush Cowan to the vet. I never realized that someone was coming to help me from just across the road. It consoles me that Cave Creek (as a community) is quite angry at such a deliberate, senseless act of violence.
Every person I speak to is keeping an eye out for the hit and run vehicle (and how many started crying when they heard). Cowan had run Spur Cross for six years with me, meeting everyone along the way, happily and bouncing with joy year after year. He passed away in my arms driving to Animal Health Services in just those seven to ten minutes ... but at peace. I took a few last photos of him laying on the table at the vet and was strangely comforted when I realized the last photo taken before the vet was of Cowan sleeping on a pillow next to my office desk in exactly the same posture, his legs relaxed and peaceful, one arm pulled up in a gentle bend. What suffering Cowan endured in those last minutes I know I did my best to console, talking to and calming him so as he died he knew he was loved. In the week since the tragedy, I am more aware by the day of what a wonderful life Cowan had in his seven years, the closest and most affectionate canine companion I have ever known.
Christian | Cave Creek
My View … Hmmmmmm
John McCain announced and made it clear that he would not vote in favor of confirming Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.
Here's the big question. If McCain is truly as big a conservative as he would like us to believe then why in the world did he not LEAD the FILIBUSTER against the nomination of this radical who stands for everything real conservatives abhor?
* * *
Michael Bloomberg is so out of touch with America that it's astounding that he isn't serving in the Obama Administration as yet another Muslim keister kisser instead of spending his money buying the position of Mayor of New York. There is not an iota of difference between Obama, first Marxist/anti-American "president" and Bloomberg other than the size of their wallets.
The phony stance of being politically correct is going to result in violent confrontations between Muslims and those of us who love this country and it will be happening sooner rather than later. Their lack of outrage at the bloodletting, stabbings, bombings, beheadings and outright threats against all who disagree with them along with the words from the Koran itself, provides you with all the information and insight you need.
Muslims are not America’s friends.
It's the truth, it's continually in the news, it's always on TV, it's as certain as Obama raising taxes and it's around the corner. After all do they not have a friend in the White House who refuses to protect us and confront them?
Tom Carbone | Phoenix
Parker TEA Party endorsement
I am not sure if this is relevant. As a political novice it seems to me to be just plain wrong.
Vernon Parker went on national television, FOX News, and proclaimed he had the endorsement of Arizona's largest TEA Party. This statement is false. Mr. Parker received the endorsement of the AZ2010 Project. The AZ 2010 Project is listed on the TEA Parties website as a "TEA Party Associate" – they are not an actual TEA Party. And, the AZ2010 Project is a relatively small organization, probably less than 50 members. Some of the larger TEA Party groups have in excess of 200 members.
What Mr. Parker should have said is "I have the endorsement of a small TEA Party Associate."
Just trying to keep them honest. We have enough corruption in DC as it is.
Marcus Huey | E-mail
I'd like to compliment Dave Blake for his "Opinion" piece in the Scottsdale Republic on July 15 regarding the Scottsdale Airport. He is saying what many of us have said for years.
Most of us have stopped using the Scottsdale Airport Noise Complaint System ... simply because nothing is done as a result of those complaints. I don't consider myself a "whiner" but simply a homeowner trying to protect the investment in our North Scottsdale home we purchased in 1997 having done the research on the airport and its operations. Originally it was a 60,000 pound weight limit, then moved to 75,000 pounds and now 100,000 pounds supposedly to attract "transcontinental" visitors to use this high-priced single runway airport.
We have been vigilant of the Airports quest to "expand" its services beyond what makes logical sense to most homeowners and residents it affects. This is a "land-locked" single-runway airport that is constantly trying to compete with Sky Harbor and Deer Valley airports, just to name a few, which is ridiculous.
Remember, the airport and the Scottsdale Airpark are two separate entities and should not be lumped together as the Arizona Republic and other supporters of this constant expansion try to do. If the airport went away tomorrow (not suggesting that) the Airpark and many businesses would continue to thrive because probably 90-95 percent of those businesses get no benefit from the actual airport! That area just happens to be one of the commercial zones designated by Scottsdale many years ago.
We only ask, constantly, that the Airport start acting as a good neighbor and be more concerned about how its consideration of "expansion" to attract bigger, noisier, and more frequent low-flying aircraft into this already crowded and noisy environment affects us taxpayers that must endure the results.
Believe it or not, those large jets do affect the quality of life for those on the ground. Once the hot weather breaks and people are outside it is much more apparent. Sitting outside on a patio and not being able to carry on a conversation due to the constant, low-flying noisy jets is not a pleasant thing. Remember ... we did the research prior to the purchase. As we are all asked to do, Scottsdale Airport should strive to live within its means and stop trying to be something it is not.
Bob Popow | Scottsdale homeowner and resident
"Do as I say, not as I do!"
Last week, First Comrade Michelle admonished Panama City, Florida children to consume healthful diets. Following the "carrot sticks and celery sermonette," the Empress waddled her watermelon thighs to The Pink Pelican, a Panama City ice cream emporium and consumed a large dish of "Chocolate Hurricane" ice cream.
Why am I not surprised? After all, that other queen, Marie Antoinette, said of starving French subjects, "Let them eat cake!"
C.O. Jones | Phoenix
Balance the budget or come home
Terrorism is not the only existential threat to American’s future. We’re also imperiled by the ever-expanding federal budget, which is rapidly devouring the financial resources we desperately need to rebuild our economy, secure our border and strengthen America’s position as the leader of the free world.
With an explosion of federal spending on costly corporate bailouts, wasteful pork barrel projects and a misguided government takeover of our health care system, Congress created this problem. Congress must solve it.
We simply cannot afford to continue electing representation who do little more than pay lip service to this grave crisis. That’s why I am running for Congress on the following pledge. If the federal budget isn’t balanced within six years, I will come home. Period.
With the right leadership and fiscally responsible policies, we can eliminate this problem. But if left unchecked, the deficit will destroy our way of life and our ability to lead – the very outcome our sworn enemies hope to achieve through terrorism.
Balance the budget in six years or come home. It’s a promise that’s specific and measurable, one that every Arizona Congressional candidate should make and every voter should demand – and remember, the future of our county and our children deserve no less.
Steve Moak | Republican Candidate for Congress CD3
Great letter to the editor on Oregonlive.com
"Why is it all right for states to make up their own immigration policies when it benefits illegal aliens, but wrong for states to pass laws that support federal immigration laws that crack down on illegal immigration?"
In another editorial in favor of illegal immigration, "U.S. lawsuit against Arizona demands presidential follow-up" (July 8), you write in support of the Obama administration's lawsuit against the new Arizona immigration law, SB 1070.
You write, "States don't have the right to make up their own immigration policies ...," but the city of Portland passed a statute that funded and supported a day-labor site for illegal immigrants. Even you should acknowledge that a city law supporting the hiring of illegal immigrants is against federal law. If Arizona can't pass an immigration policy, why is it all right for Portland to do so?
A number of cities (San Francisco, Seattle, Boston) have enacted immigration policies that protect the identity of illegal immigrants. Some states have even enacted laws that allow illegal-immigrant college students to be able to receive in-state tuition rates. You have in the past supported such a law in Oregon.
Why is it all right for states to make up their own immigration policies when it benefits illegal aliens, but wrong for states to pass laws that support federal immigration laws that crack down on illegal immigration?
A new Rasmussen poll shows 61 percent of all respondents favor an Arizona-type law in their own state, only 28 percent oppose.
Jim Ludwick | McMinnville, Oregon
The Republic’s Republicans!
The Arizona Republic – not exactly the source to which most Republicans turn for advice! – endorsed two Legislative District 7 candidates. One of these is Mr. Coskun, a young man, eager above all for his own advancement, who lacks not only principles but the modicum of intelligence needed to adopt them; his candidacy is the brainchild of the increasingly interesting Ms. Barto, who also is endorsed by the Republic. Not long ago Mr. Coskun told me when he is in Mexico on business he makes a point of not telling people there he is from Arizona but from Utah! (Ms. Barto also took part in this conversation.) And this is the man we want in the legislature?
The Republic also endorsed Ms. Carter, a lackey of the teachers’ union, who lacks the integrity to address the dismal failures of our educational system and who, like The Republic and like the teachers’ union (and Ms. Barto), thinks illegal immigration is nothing to get too excited about. Ms. Carter is a Trojan Horse in the Republican party. She is neither a conservative nor a real Republican, but the kind of Republican The Arizona Republic, the unions and Democrats would like to see elected.
The obvious choice for LD 7 is of course Kristen Burroughs. She is a friend, to be sure, but I commend her to the voters of this district for her integrity and character, for the remarkable power of her intelligence, and for her ability to understand the significance of complicated data. She is, without question, extraordinarily capable and will surely be one of the stars of the Arizona legislature if, as we all expect, she is elected in November. In the House she will persuade others to support her initiatives aimed at bringing about tax reform that will invigorate the Arizona economy; and she will press for real educational reform, which in her book means putting an end to the harmful reign of our state's educrats, that bloated and harmful educational bureaucracy – hardly if at all distinguishable from the teachers' union – which in the past decade has increased the state's educational expenses by nearly 40 percent while lowering our kids' educational standards by 2 percent.
Michael I. Selzer, Ph.D. | Carefree
The City of Sacramento, California recently added itself to the list of municipalities whose city councils have voted to boycott Arizona and Arizona firms in response to the passage of SB-1070. The legislation, sponsored by B.A.N. honorary co-chairman Sen. Russell Pearce, empowers Arizona police officers to verify the immigration status of criminals apprehended during the commission of another crime.
“What we are seeing is that these cities are hurting themselves, not Arizona,” said Sean McCaffrey, president/CEO of Ban Amnesty Now “In many cases, Arizona firms with contracts in other cities open offices in California and elsewhere. They hire local employees to staff those offices. If cities in California decide to cut those contracts, those jobs in California, filled by Californians, will get cut.”
McCaffrey continued, “The municipal and state tax revenue these jobs and projects would have generated in California will disappear, and the municipal and state budget deficits running rampant throughout California will continue to worsen – just like California’s illegal immigration woes.”
Cody Pearson, senior vice president of Sundt Construction, an Arizona company which has maintained a Sacramento office for 30-years and employs more than 65 area employees, was quoted in the Sacramento Bee: “We really don't think a state or city should boycott another state. The people out of this office will not have work, they won't pay taxes and it really hurts California. It does nothing to Arizona.”
“The reality is that California city councilmen and councilwomen boycotting Arizona are playing politics with California jobs,” said McCaffrey. “These same people who led California into the fiscal mess it is in today are now making matters worse just so they can grab a few headlines.
“Rather than oppose strong immigration laws, we invite Californians to join B.A.N. to unite for secured borders and against Amnesty,” said McCaffrey.
Ban Amnesty Now
FYI, I am reproducing below a copy of an e-mail I sent recently to Betty Beard and an Arizona Republic editor (James Venita) of an article regarding Internet sales taxation. The newspaper reproduced information generated by Univ. of Tennessee and supplied through NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures). Maybe you read the article: http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2010/07/18/20100718biz-internet-sales-tax-eyed-for-Arizona0718.html
The e-mail went to:
I am not holding my breath for the newspaper to write anything about what I e-mailed them. E-mail follows:
Greetings: Below are data for Arizona retail sales from April '09 through Aug. '09:
Arizona Apr-09 May-09 Jun-09 Jul-09 Aug-09
Retail 3,620,761 3,820,932 3,601,211 3,370,920 3,535,316
On the basis of the above data, annual retail sales in Arizona run at about an annual rate of $43 billion. Those numbers include retail automobile sales.
As you wrote last year, August 2009 retail auto sales were $0.5 billion, representing about 14 percent of the state total that month. So let's say non-auto retail sales run at about an annual rate of 86 percent x $43 billion, or $37.0 billion. (I assume sales of such autos are almost never made via the Internet). I am sure there are other categories which would rarely be made on the Internet, but let's just cut out autos for the sake of this discussion.
Now I wrote [to them] earlier that:
"I checked the site and found the map shows that Arizona would lose $708.6 million in FY 2012 from "failing to collect sales tax from online and catalog purchases." Allow me to do some basic calculations with data rounded for ease of computation. With a loss of $708.6 million and (the currently raised) 6.6 percent state tax rate, for the state to lose $708.6 million in taxes, it would take lost revenue of $10.7 billion x 6.6 percent = $706 million. Now the population of the state of Arizona is about 7 million. So, on average, each man, woman and child in the state would have to spend $10.7 billion divided by 7 million, or $1528 each. Assuming 2.5 persons per household, that would be about $3,800 per family."
My point is that in order to generate $708.6 million in sales tax revenue, revenue on which the tax is computed would have to be $10.7 billion, or around $3,800 per family. Further 10.7 divided by (not more than) 37.0 = 29 percent. That is, Internet sales would have to run at a rate of 29 percent of regular retail sales. My conclusion that the data provided by NCSL is absurd is based on looking at the data from two perspectives and getting the same result: Expenditures by families would need to be absurdly high and the percentage spent on the Internet relative to known state data is also absurdly high.
I believe you should run a correction before the public starts to believe academically-generated nonsense about Internet taxation put out by NCSL is the solution to Arizona state budget woes.
Jim Pierce | Carefree