Sunday, November 30, 2008

Peoria Park District and the RiverPlex Continuing Saga's - Part 5

This concludes my "saga's" that brings together much of the controversy that swirled around the PPD and the construction of the $20 million dollar indoor recreation and fitness center. From 1998 to the present era. The RiverPlex badly missed the experts projections. By 2005, JS, 6/16/1999, the Benfield Marketing Group of St. Louis, the marketing firm hired by the park, projected that with only 5000 members, the RP would turn a $515,494 profit. The RP now claims to have over 8000 members and 500,000 visitors per year but still can't pay the principal and interest on it's bonds. Nor has the OSF/PPD Family Fitness Center ever made a profit. The Benfield group also said, "Our study supports that 17,028 households in the study area, have a meaningful interest in the RP, all of whom are likely to join the center."

This community has been more than "twice burned". It is perhaps useless, to warn of possible pending projects.

Consultants to the public sector usually will ask the people that pay them, what results of our study do you want? They then figure out a way to legitimize projections that most often do not pan out. Why does this happen so often in the public sector? Because that sector alone can make up any deficits' with increased taxes, the sale of bonds, more donations through fund drives and increased fees.

Park Superintendent, Noble, said in 1998 when the PPD controversy started to swirl, that "the family that plays together, stays together". Yet the PPD requested the City Council to grant the RiverPlex a liquor license. A license was granted on 10/24/01 by an 8-2 vote.

All private organizations plus public organizations like the YM and Eastside lost revenues due to the heavy advertising of the PPD. In one year the PPD spent over $800,000, much of this money spent on RP billboards and TV advertising. The RP cut membership prices and introduced liberal policies. For example, as a profit center, the Clubs at RiverCity has a 30 day membership termination. The RP cancellation document reads "No cancellation fee. Membership may be cancelled at any tine". The RP also permits (3) 30 day membership freeze programs, no dues. Private clubs who like LandMark and RiverCity, who combined, paid over $200,000 in property taxes last year while the entire PPD complex, paid none, have a hard time expanding or just surviving competing against the liberal policies of tax funded competition.

Level playing field? I think not.

President Cassidy wrote to the JSEB and printed on 3/17/03, right before the election so no rebuttal could be made, that the PPD could fund any project through bonding that they wished to do through the common practice of selling bonds. That is true as legislation permits them to do so without a referendum. This allows entities such as the PPD to build whatever they believe is in the best interests of the community. Mr. Cassidy and Treasurer Allen pointed out that otherwise no golf courses, tennis courts or parks like Glen Oak could ever be built.

That logic does not "hold water". The community argument was how far can a public entity use their unfair advantage to compete against the existing private sector? Under the reasoning of Cassidy, Noble and Allen, the PPD could enter into any type of business they wish, say, the massage business, opps, they're in it, perhaps a hairdressing salon, nails and manicures, barber shops, fashion boutiques, free legal advise, the dining and restaurant business, the trophy business, sports equipment sales of all kinds, movie theatres, fortune telling, bicycle sales and service, fast food and pizza places, locksmith businesses.... Stop - on 2/13/03, as reported in the JS, "Gym (and locker) patrons report rash of thefts" at the RP. PPD officials responded to say they had stopped these "incidents".

The following day they had another. Thereafter, the JS no longer reported "incidents" at the RP.

Our president-elect' with his "spread the wealth" policy will permit, and many voters believe that, will allow private sector workers to quit their jobs, spend a little money with the "free" PPD and live off the tax free gratis of the surviving businesses. "What a great country this is! (So said Weatherman Bill Ayers, bomber and "respected" colleague of 3000 University of Illinois left leaning liberal professors), when a jury found him not guilty of acts of violence against the United States of America..

That the RP is a complex admired by many, and the PPD is winner of many awards, is true. (Advertising Manager Cindy McKone is very talented) But few communities our size has a park district that collects over $14 million in property taxes alone. And with grants, fees,donations, etc., collects over $41 million dollars, this figure on target to rise sharply after the $25 million zoo opens in mid 2009. At least one board member and many citizens wonder what happened to what many enjoyed as free parks, free recreation and with modest budgets and largely supported by modest taxes and philanthropists. Like Laura Bradley.

PPD boasts of having approximately 9000 acres under their control. All donated or bought with taxpayer dollars or state and federal grants. And just a few dollars in their massive budget for erosion control.

Taxpayers beware. The PPD future planning is to spend a total of $125 million to expand Glen Oak Park. The zoo is the first phase of $125 million.

In the meantime, the locker rooms at Owens Center are in a sorry state according to a couple fathers whose sons pay to use the facility. The ball parks were never built and Glen Oak Park looks a little run down. And no Porta-Potties or drinking water at Becker Park. And the hyped skate board park? Find it if you can. It's there in the worst possible place with a poverty class expenditure for a "world class" park district.

And, yes, what did happen to all of Noble's and Cassidy's hype about world class softball complexes? And what is the real story behing the "oral" land swap deal with Bradley where the PPD gave Meinen Field back to Bradley. The board member who said the Meinen Field swap was an "oral" agreement, said the park also received money? Cassidy said "we can't take money for land given to us". Hmmmmm.

Bradley gave Meinen Field to the PPD years ago with a "no liquor covenant". Yet while baseball legend and Peoria's most lovable con man, was on the board, that Laura Bradley covenant was removed.

Considering all the projects being proposed or underway the taxpayers in Peoria and Peoria County "haven't seen anything yet". (Roughly 40% of the "members" of the RP do not live in Peoria Park District property tax collecting jurisdiction).

More and more taxpayers are taking this attitude: "Those who want all these non-priority enhancements should pay for them out their own pockets. The rest of us will be glad to pay the entrance fees".

If we want to attend and many of us will. Most everybody I know, likes parks, museums, libraries, greenery, open space and ball fields. But, more important, we want well paid jobs with money to enjoy and retire secure in the belief that our savings will not be taken from us by those who think they know our "wants" better than we do.

More government and more expensive tax collecting "circuses" are not what the majority of the working middle class wants. Perhaps I'm wrong.

Peoria Park District and the RiverPlex Continuing Saga's - Part 4

On 4/24.1998, JS reporter Michael Smothers wrote, "Health Clubs Slam Rec/Plex Funding", 'Planned riverfront facility called unfair competition'. Privately owned RiverCity asked "Why can't the city give me some tax money to fix our parking lot? If you want to get into the same business as us, fine. Just make it a level playing field and pay your taxes like we do. Otherwise, OSF and the PPD with the city's help, will be "horning" into the local health club business with significant advantage of millions in tax dollars in start-up money and no property tax overhead to meet." "That's unfair competition for large facilities and fatal for small health and fitness centers", said the manager of the Landmark Recreation Center.

Also, protesting were officials from the Downtown YMCA. A couple of years later the YMCA moved out of downtown much to the chagrin of their members. "YMCA closing angers members", wrote Elaine Hopkins of the JS. YMCA officials blamed the closing on competition with the RiverPlex. "The buzz in the locker room is that the RiverPlex is not all it's cracked up to be. It's overpriced", said Therry Adcock, a member for 30 years. So the RP lowered their prices to undercut the private health clubs.

On 10/09/2003, JS Sarah reporter wrote, "RiverPlex will lower rates", and the health and fitness center was being overhauled because of falling membership. On 10/8/03, the JS reported that the RP manager has been "moved to another position". Membership had dropped from 5462 members in 2002 to 3521 by October, 2003..

On 11/21/03, JS reporter Okeson wrote, "Patron: New RiverPlex rules aren't working out". 'Sliding memberships leading to scholarship cuts'." Present day manager Brent Wheeler complained that "no other facility does anything even close to this as far as scholarships", evidently forgetting the original agreement for the State's permission to even build the structure, an agreement that called for one third of memberships be poverty level and below. Even though the PPD and OSF signed a contract with the State of Illinois to secure permission to build the facilities, this contract later on declared "null and void" by attorney and PPD President Cassidy.

On 7/25/02, scholarship user time is reduced to these hours: 5 - 9 A.M., Monday - Friday and 7:00 - 10 P.M. with no restrictions on weekends. Later, hours were changed to Monday - Friday, 5:00 - 8:30 A.M. and 7:00 -9:30 P.M. Saturday and Sunday hours are 7:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M. It was found that the scholarship "people" interfered with the "paying" clientele who raised a protest. These restrictions were not the intent of the agreement with the state.

On 12/10/03, JS reporter, Jennifer Davis wrote that after PPD president Cassidy was the lone vote against $3.1 million in new bonds, Cassidy explained his "new" positions as follows, "I do not like operational support in the bond issue". Davis then said, "Merle Widmer, who lost a bid for PPD president, had questioned why millions of dollars in general obligations bonds sold yearly, includes money to OPERATE AND REPAIR facilities instead of just money to buy equipment and pay for construction costs". On 3/17/03, Cassidy had said in a letter to the JSEB the following: "My opponent complains that the park is fiscally irresponsible because it sells bonds to finance park facilities and infrastructure". This was a total lie and the newspaper printed it as gospel and Cassidy waited until after the election to admit they were selling "slush" bonds.

They are still doing it today. On 1/15/04, the JS reported "the PPD approved $3.1 in general obligation bonds to be used partly for repairs throughout the district. So much for Cassidy's "noble" stand.

When I called Mike Bailey of the JSEB and asked that I be allowed to correct Mr. Cassidy, who also asked for the public vote because of my OPPOSITION to bonds, there would be no parks", I was told by Mike Bailey of the JSEB, that I'd had my say, even if what Mr. Cassidy said was not true. What I maintained and was supported by a local well known accountant that the park was NOT just using these bonds for "park facilities and infrastructure" as Cassidy claimed, "without these bonds there would be no golf courses, botanical gardens, zoo's, but was using them, as my accountant said, as a "slush fund" to dip into any time they needed some money for any type of expense. Treasurer Allen, who was present as we went over the books commented "well, we don't call it that".

On 3/25/03, JS reporter Okeson wrote, "Cassidy, at a new conference called by park officials, insisted the PDD is not selling bonds to subsidize RiverPlex operations." A falsehood. PPD officials (Treasurer Allen) would not allow me or my supporters to ask questions at this PPD news conference. I had previously held a new conference at which I allowed anyone to ask questions and speak. PPD president Cassidy spoke and said, Widmer was "distorting things and telling half-truths".

On 3/26/03, JS reporter Okeson wrote, "Widmer also attended the news conference, but Allen barred him from asking any questions.

Okeson's article also said that the PPD admitted to losses of $970,000 in 2002, yet in order to get more customers away from the tax paying private sector, they had to lower user costs to $33 a month for seniors and $80 a month for families. Today's rates are $100 initiation fee for any kind of memberships, $49.00 individual, $75.00joint and $80.00 for a family of 3 with an additional $5 per child up to $90.00.

Even though the JS had it in print, that I was "not opposed to selling bonds for facility structures and capital expenses" but I was opposed to selling new bonds every year; the money raised to be used as "slush" funds to make up any deficit in operations for the entire PPD, Bailey would not accept my "Letter to the editor" to refute Cassidy.

Especially, selling these bonds to operate the RiverPlex and charge these costs to other PPD funds. The PPD knew that by charging the RiverPlex including the 20 year principal and interest payments, would show that the RiverPlex badly missed their pre-construction projections.

Ever since the tax supported RiverPlex opened, private tax-paying health and fitness clubs are helping fund their competition, while TAKING millions of dollars from the private tax paying health and fitness sector. Money that could be used to update and improve their own facilities, while PAYING taxes on materials and equipment.

The PPD uses large numbers of part-time people avoiding paying union wages. Some worked at the Peoria County Court House grounds this summer.

Move on to Part 5.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Peoria Park District and the RiverPlex Continuing Saga's - Part 3

For OSF to become involved with the PPD to build a Fitness Center in conjunction with the RecPlex, both entities needed approval from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Hereinafter called the IHFPB. The contract signed by OSF and the PPD, Project #89-111 contained the following stipulations:

First, OSF and the PPD will amend the Management and Operation Agreement by adding a subsection to Section 9.2 which allows OSF to terminate the Agreement WITH OR WITHOUT cause upon giving the PPD 180 days advance notice.

Second, OSF and the PPD commit that scholarships, based on need, will be made available to individuals below the federal poverty level. These scholarships will comprise one-third of the members of the Family Fitness and Wellness Center.

In a letter dated 7/14/99, to the Executive Secretary of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, the OSF Administrator and the PPD president signed off on the agreement.

On August 5, 1999, the IHFPB asked the coalition to revise the reading of the agreement for scholarships to cover the entire RecPlex and OSF and the PPD agreed.

A permit was issued shortly thereafter and at that time the IHFPB appeared to have "washed their hands" of the project.

On 7/25/02 JS reporter Sarah Okeson wrote "RiverPlex wants to limit scholarship members hours", 'Board wants more PAID memberships in already full facility'. Board member Jim Cummings questioned if it was legal to restrict what hours poverty people can use the RP. Board president Tim Cassidy said, "Once the 'certificate of need' is issued, the IHFPB loses jurisdiction over the facility. It's perfectly legal. It's legal for us to do anything we want." (Mr. Cassidy is an attorney). Shortly thereafter, the term "either party could terminate without mutual agreement was changed that either party could opt out of the contract only by MUTUAL agreement. Hmmmmmmm.

The PPD almost immediately took action to reduce the number of poverty level participants. Membership, originally intended to mean one family membership was interpreted to be each PERSON within a family. So a family of, say, 5 became 5 memberships.

On 5,24,2001, JS reporter wrote, "RiverPlex GM Resigns Position". "Days afte signing up a number of ;ow-income developmentally disabled adults, a RP General manager says she was forced to resign. GM Debra Lay says she was told her actions were going to cost the district a lot of money. Park Superintendent Bonnie Noble called Lay's comments "way out". "She's resigned and that is all I can say say."

President Cassidy, commenting on the one third scholarships in the contract said "if the demand is out there, we will do what we can to have it met."


On 2/4/03, JS Reporter Sarah Okeson wrote, "Depending on how you crunch it, RiverPlex in Debt." 'One thing is for sure, it's not meeting it's 70% retention goal. "The RiverPlex plans to switch from one year contracts to monthly memberships, (ah,ha) to eliminate the hassle of renewing memberships. We have a lot of problems with people not wanting to come to the facility just to renew. They think it's an imposition, said Tina Fraembs business coordinator for the facility". Lori Slusser, the RiverPlex General Manager and soon to be transferred to another position, said the RP "is reducing its retention goals".

Park executive director, Bonnie Noble, who took as gospel or something when 1999 paid surveys showed more than 17,800 families would join the RiverPlex now says , "There's nothing out there that could have predicted this". Hmmmmmm.

Also, did the members not have mailing addresses so statements could be mailed?

On 5/15/03 an article by JS reporter Sarah Okeson, read "RiverPlex to bump members", 'falling numbers of paying users means fewer scholarships'. "The PPD capped the number of available scholarships at 33% of its MEMBERS saying the PPD had only 3967 paying members. Last July, the PPD restricted the hours that new scholarship and did not allow "poverty people" to use the RiverPlex during prime time. In order to further reduce Riverplex costs, administration expense of $79,454 were reallocated to the the PPD overall budget."

On 5/23/003, JS reporter Sarah Okeson wrote "RiverPlex about $480,000 in the red". "It's not a pretty picture, but we are in this for the long run, said PPD Board Treasurer, Roger Allen. Yet on 6/3/03, Mr. Allen wrote "The Peoria Journal Star Misunderstands RiverPlex Finances", claiming that the Fitness Center actually made $34,000. Interesting. With Mr. Allen as Treasurer, the PPD has used "creative financing". Mr. Allen is still Treasurer.

On 2/18/02 the PPD released a document showing that the Fitness Center had an actual loss of $777,274 in 2001, this loss split between the partners. The same document showed a revised loss of $775,000 for 2002 and a 2003 budget of $780,000 loss, with an overall RiverPlex budgeted loss of $783,526 plus $860,175 for, here is is again, "annual principal and interest on the $10 million in borrowing shown in pro forma". On 6/1/03, PPD Treasurer wrote a letter to the PJEB stating "for the four months, on a conservative basis, the Fitness Center made $34,000. Hmmmmm.

On 6/2/03, Peter W. Wallison, General Counsel to the Treasury under President Reagen wrote in the WSJ, "Give us Disclosure, Not Audits", 'Financial Statements are prepared by the organizations management, not it's auditors. Auditors are not capable of making the judgments management must make during the auditing process. The most they can do is question management's estimates, and then only if they seem unreasonable'.

When I asked the private auditor handling the year end financial reports, this auditor told me their firm could only work with the figures the PPD gave them. I stand by my claims that the PPD uses creative bookkeeping, did and still does.

Sarah Okeson, who replaced Reporter Jennifer Davis's, stopped reporting for the JS shortly thereafter. Jennifer Davis (Stevens) was reassigned by the JS a while later.

Recently, an article appeared in the JS stating that OSF could terminate their agreement with the PPD by MUTUAL agreement. Evidently the contract has been rewritten and the IHFPB had no interest after they approved the original contract. My letter to then Director Pam Taylor went unanswered.

On to Part 4 of the RP Saga.

PPD - RiverPlex Saga, Part 2

In August of 1999, the PPD pledged $10 million toward the estimated $19.5 million construction cost. This pledge along with $5 million pledged from the Bielfeldt foundation, brought the figure to $15 million or a shortage of $4.5 million. A major hospital had committed $4 million to be used for lease space paid out over 10-20 years for a Fitness Center with profits or losses to be split between the park and the hospital. When contributions didn't arrive as planned, the PPD asked that this $4million pre-paid rent, be committed to the construction costs; it was, 12/15/99, JS by reporter Anthony Smith to which the hospital agreed bringing the funding pledged for construction to $19 million and with other funds raised or pledged, allowed construction to begin.

The contract between the hospital and the PPD called for a clause allowing and out for OSF by issuing notice of 180 days. Profits and losses were to be split evenly. I heard but cannot confirm that there was a misunderstanding of what constituted "costs", however, the Fitness Center thru 2007 had not shown any profits to be split. Only substantial losses as shown on yearly PPD Financial Statements.

On 12/31/2002, a PPD document shows that the OSF/PPD Fitness Center contract was for twenty years and could only be terminated by mutual agreement. The contract also called for payments by OSF to the PPD of $25,500 per year for 20 years. The contract also called for the City of Peoria to operate and maintain the parking lot for $48,600 per year. Records indicate that this cost along with the principal and interest on the $10 million bond is not being charged against the RP balance sheet.

The PPD $10 million pledge towards the RP was in the form of a 20 year bond with principal and interest costs of approximately $850-875,000.00 a year. PPD officials said repeatedly that the principal and interest was to be paid by RiverPlex revenues and the tax base, TAXPAYER dollars. However, in year 2000 in an article in the JS, Park Board Treasurer Roger Allen, when pressed by Gary Sandberg, would not say "unequivocally" that the RexPlex will generate enough through user fees to pay for both operating costs and debt payments. This contradicted what President Cassidy said in 1998 and 1999 and reported in the JS and on this site.

Once the RiverPlex was built, President Cassidy said that it was "always the intention and "policy" for the PPD funds, not the RiverPlex, to pay the principal and interest from other funds". Interesting.

JS reporter Jennifer Davis, (now Stevens) wrote on 6/16/99, that "Projections put the RecPlex in the red", but with profits of $515,494, in the 5th year (with 5000 memberships) (2005), of $515,494.00.

According to a park official, 2005 and 2006 operational profits allowed the PPD to contribute $240,000 and $318,000, toward the RiverPlex debt of principal and interest payments of $875,000 - $875,000. These were the first years any part of the principal and interest payments were generated by RP operations. No comment was made about 2007 results. The total of the payments are $558,000 leaving a shortage in just these two years of $1.2 million and not a $515,494 profit or more as projected. Quite some misses and these figures are just principal and interest missed projections and do not cover joint OSF/PPD Fitness Center losses or expenses accrued by the RP and picked up headquarters.

Also, in 2002, the PPD subsidizing the now RiverPlex by at least $301,899, (the name being changed by the PPD because of "bad publicity"). In year 2004, the PPD subsidized the RiverPlex $200,000 for Operational Support and equipment.
Smaller amounts are subsidized such as roof repair, equipment replacement almost each year and just recently, as reported in the Times-Observer and the JS, new XR Games not yet available for use. At the last PPD Board Meeting, $56,000 was "loaned" to the RiverPlex for this potentially worth while project. If the RP is making a profit why the "loan"?

Wasn't the downtown privately owned now bankrupt IN-PLAY in many ways, similar?

Now, back to "Some taxpayer money?" Quite a bit. Plus the PPD receives considerable grant money such as the commitment of the IDNR in 2006 to pay for half of the additions to Peoria Stadium IF and when the project (bids were due September 4,2008) is ever developed....

Some people seem to forget that almost all grant money is funded by people paying taxes. Why, like a credit card charge, these to be "must be repaid someday" expenses are "sort of" buried deep in one's mind as maybe not real or a "pass go" bonus will arrive in the mail?

Move now to Part 3.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Peoria Park District and the RiverPlex Continuing Saga's

So many statements, some outright falsehoods and other half-truths, have appeared over the years in some form or another, two very recently, has prompted me publish and re-publish many of the facts that surrounded the original controversy over the siting and building of the RP. Facts are gleaned from all records I've accumulated. Many events occurred before I started blogging in 2004. I did join with many in the community to protest taxpayer funding of direct competition to the established private sector. And to protest the site proposed for the indoor Recreation and Fitness Center. For the first time in history, I ran against the sitting park board president but was overwhelmed by the media, outright lies and half-truths from the park board president and the treasurer. I was out spent by a margin of $5 to $1.

Most of the projections made by the PPD did not pan out. The major one was that the RiverPlex would be self supporting and later very profitable. It has operated at substantial losses since opening day. These are facts, generally denied by PPD officials. However, the saying goes, "To ignore or deny facts, does not change the facts".

One news media recently said that "some" public money was spent on this project. Actually, more than one-half of the original costs were supported by taxpayers dollars. $5 million was pledged by the Bielfeldt Foundation, (this foundation has withdrawn it's pledge to the proposed museum), and OSF committed $4 million to be used for leased space for their Fitness Center. PPD documents dated 12/31/2001 and 12/31/02 recorded these advancdes as "deferred revenue, as the JS had reported that the lease payments of $4 million would be paid "upfront" to help make up the building shortfall of $4.5 million. ($10 million in tax bonds and $5 million pledged from the Bielfeldt Foundation, $4 million from OSF to make up the projected $19.5 million construction costs). With change orders and furnishings, the entire project totalled just short of $21 million.

In early 1999, JS reporter Jennifer Davis wrote, "While the city owns the RecPlex (original name) land, it already agreed to lease it to the park District and spend $4.7 million on nearby parking and street improvements". TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

Later, the lease was turned into a land swap. On 3/13/99, I quote Jennifer Davis, "RecPlex land swap has its opponents", 'Some sort of fair land trade is required since the proposed RecPlex site is currently protected property, paid for with a $424,000 federal grant, TAXPAYER DOLLARS, on the condition it remain open space'. Deceased Bill Rutherford, master conservationist spoke up against the development of building on this valuable piece of riverfront property. "It's beyond imagination that land beneath a bridge with no access to the river (a seawall exists along this strip of land) to be equivalent to the land where the RiverPlex now stands", said one opponent out of many thousands.

So the City Council started over again.

On 8/18/99, JS reporter Mike Ramsey wrote, "City Council Approves Land Swap. By this time the land swap switched from the "under the bridge" property to some land near John Gywnn Park. "Tom Tincher, City executive director of riverfront development, (Tincher is the gentleman named in my recent blog) said an "informal" appraisal put the land value of the RiverPlex site at $5 a square foot; $430,000; this appraisal made in a letter to Tincher dated 8/25,1999, from James W. Klopfenstein, State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser. On 8/27/1999, Tom Tincher wrote a letter to Mick Rosendahl, Senior Grant Administrator, IDNR, in Springfield as follows: "The proposed land swap site (by Gwynn Park) is a natural extension of an important recreation facility serving families and children who reside within neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Peoria. Expanding this park by adding open space at this location (a major problem never presented was that a THROUGH street separates the park parcels) will provide for the development of family picnic areas and will improve public access to the park and provide a much needed open space buffer ($5 a square foot!!) between the more active recreation facilities and the adjoining office uses.

A local appraiser has completed his field work in appraising the replacement open space site. He has determined that the property should be valued at $5 dollars per sq. ft. We would certainly appreciate your help in expediting the processing....."
Tincher and Klofpenstein said this despite attention being called that land adjacent to this $5 a sq. ft. land had recently sold for $2 a square foot. Tincher never mentioned that FACT in his letter to the IDNR.


THE FACTS; The land the city approved in a land swap with the park district is basically worthless. It sits barren in back of the outfield of John Gwynn Softball Field, a softball field with lights, unused for quite a number of years. The land the PPD swapped for the extremely valuable riverfront RiverPlex property has never been used a picnic area, a most unlikely spot for a picnic. The land has not been used for anything including a "buffer". A buffer from what?

Go drive by this $5 a sq. ft. "parkland with its 'picnic benches' and NO restrooms, water or any other utilities" off Richard Pryor Pk.. It's the land directly behind the unused ball park, no picnic benches, scraggley trees and piles of dirt in the front. Accessed by a bicycle path. Worthless unused city property.

To the credit of the JSEB, they wrote in 1999, "City commitment to riverside park unfulfilled" and wrote "Based on comments made at Tuesday's council meeting, many Peorians do not view a two-acre neighborhood?? tract in the center of town, in the same light (and value) as parkland on the river. They have a point".

Do tell! Only Jim Ardis, Gary Sandberg and Patrick Nichting voted to oppose the land swap.

Tom Tincher's credibility?? James W. Klopfenstein's credibility?? IDNR indifference??

Many have wondered why the RP was built in downtown when the PPD had called the Lakeview Musuem complex owned by the PPD, the "center of the city". The susposed reason was as Carlotta Bielfeldt of the Foundation told me "because I want it there".

This is part one of a series exposing the "real story" behind the manipulations of the PPD, the succumbing to pressure of the city council and the incredible naivety or incompetence of the IDNR, the large expenditures of public money continuing year in and year out to support a recreation and fitness center, never supported by anywhere near a majority of PPD property taxpayers.

Peoria County Board Updates

Peoria County Board Chairman William (Bill) Prather called me Monday to inform me that for health reasons, he will not run for reelection at our Full Board Meeting Monday December 1, at 6:00. I had previously announced I would not run for a third term as Vice-Chairman. These two Chairmanship office positions will be determined next Monday evening. I understand Bob Baietto, a Republican and Tom O'Neill, a Democrat are interested in the Chairman's position. While the VC is often considered merely a title, I did conduct four full board county meetings and four Executive Meetings. The VC is automatically a member of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Prather continued all of our county board goals, the major one being a "Financially Solvent County Government". We estimate ending 2008 with a fund balance of $53 million plus and we estimate the ending fund balance in 2009 to be $69million plus.

When I was first elected to the board in 2000, we had a negative fund balance.

Why so much in our fund balance? These funds, all in balance this year, are sometimes known as "rainy day" funds. An amount is mandated by the state to be held in reserve. Our surplus is well over the mandated figure.

It is a general board opinion that Mr. Prather was a very good board chair and if health permitted, would have been reelected for another term. He will remain on the board for at least the next two years of his term.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pelosi's Private Jet

Word out there is that Pelosi's private oversized (200 capacity)jet will cost the taxpayers over 5 3/4 million per year just to fly back and forth, 3 days a week, between California to D. C.

Couldn't she fly commercial? And in a snaller jet?

Missed Projections and Random Facts

Tired of all the stress surrounding you? Check out any of the books written by Fannie Flagg but especially "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe". A very realistically fiction writer with a good sense of soft humour.

Tired of hearing that the Rec/plex, oops, I mean Riverplex that opened in 2001 after much debate, is a profit Center? Evidently some PPD official is saying that is a good profit center. Not hardly when the PPD Financial statement of 12/31/07 says that the RiverPlex has NEVER been able to pay it's principal and interest on it's original bond. PPD President Cassiddy says it was never supposed to. Ha.

I beg to differ short of calling Mr. Cassidy a liar. When Cassidy was doing a hard sell on the RiverPlex and the Fitness Center, here again is what Mr. Cassidy told the JS. I quote, "If the growth of our community continues at only a fraction of what is has in the last five years, most, if not all of the bonded indebtedness will be paid through RecPlex operations". Since the new named RiverPlex opened in 2001, it has NEVER been able to meet it's bonded indebtedness of over $800,000.00 per year and it still has 13 years of payments in the $800 thousand dollar range due each year. (JS, 9/21/99)

Also, Mr. Cassidy said "Contrary to media reports, there will be no required membership fee". (JS, 9/21/99) Ha. Then why did they they sell memberships even before the RiverPlex opened?

How's the touted Fitness Center doing? Profits were to be split with a major hospital and the PPD. What profits? Last year, the Fitness Center lost $500,000.00+, about the same as every year since it opened. Look it up in PPD's Financial Statements.

Now the PPD is "stuck" in the zoo red ink. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2008, it is now scheduled to open in the summer of 2009. And the highly hyped $32 zoo will now be a $25 million zoo. Not even the major donor to the zoo was aware that the present zoo loses approximately $400,000.00 a year.

Will the new zoo be greeted with "ah and oh's? You bet. Same as if anyone built and displayed anything new and expensive.

Even with the PD taking in record property taxes and a budget of almost $42 million, the PPD has not even started on the sports complex they swapped for Meinen field. This complex was to be open in 2006. Nor have they broken ground on the $1.2 upgrades they promised for Peoria Stadium.

As was hinted when the 2009 budget was released, increased taxes may be needed for 2010 and beyond.

Before the year is over I fear we will hear about more missed projections all blamed on the economy and lack of grant money. Wasn't it IBM who had the slogan "Plan Ahea

I have a dislike for people who make promises to the public to stay in office or to keep their jobs and then hope that their promises "fade" away. Don't count on the Journal Star to reveal these missed projections. They don't want to kill the next big tax-collecting project that may be seen on a referendum early in 2009.

Make sure you know all the facts like seeing an operating statement. If it says "operating costs are projected at $4.2 million overall per year ,year after year", and overall attendance 360,000 per year, year after year. Be wary. Bet if the museum was operating in 2007, they would have missed projections over the last two years.
Then I suggest you read all my blogs titled "Missed Projections". But should you have a lot of extra money, no problem, unless Obama gets serious about "spreading the wealth". And he will as he said so again today. It's those who make a lot of money he is talking about. But I'm sure you are aware of that. That's why the "movers and shakers" are asking for more of "your" money every year after every year, till they need another expensive non-taxable enhancement project.

With all their pompousness, the PPD is actually cash strapped and should property taxes fall in this depressed economy and grant money from the State dry up, expect to see the PPD struggling to maintain the approximately 9000 acres they control, not in the least of which is erosion control and the further amount of topsoil being added to our river every day.

Dream big the "movers ans shakers" tell everybody? Evidently too many people did as encouraged. Look at the mess this country is in. And the "recession" hasn't even hit Peoria. Yet. And remember, all these things are good for you. Takes you off your couch and on your feet. I agree. Where I differ is how we are going to keep paying after the glow has worn off. And pay for all the priorities on the drawing boards like improving our infrastructure, like $100-300 million dollars in sewer line replacements. And $27 million for libraries? And $120 million for new schools. Just to mention a few priorities.

The moral of all this? Never dream beyond your ability to afford to pay for what you commit and count on severe dips in the (your) economy or maybe just read more factual stuff and just, occasionally, authors like Fannie Flagg or Carl Hiaassen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jim Stowell and his "Day Late and a Dollar Short Comments"

I don't know why I take my time and energy to comment on Peoria School Board #150 board member "new idea" to trade with the PPD properties adjacent to the PPD; houses and land foolishly purchased by the school board to build a "state of the art" school. Stowell was an ardent supporter. The PPD had 4 members with enough common sense, and a lot of public pressure, to kill the deal. A deal that the PPD and #150 may have secretly agreed to, the "outsiders' commonly known as taxpayers, may never know as the Executive tapes were "accidentally" erased. Now Stowell wants to revive the library location AFTER the Library Board paid a million+ plus for land for the new libaray. Land that few in their right mind would have ever considered for any type of library, unless, by chance, a "dead archival library", and Stowell wants dialogue to perhaps NOW build the new north library at Expo in a PPD/Library/Expo swap. Where was he with this idea was originally broached by Councilman Bill Spears, requested by our mayor for the library board to at least consider Expo as a multi-purpose site, (JS, 5/31/08), thoroughly covered by myself in my blog of 6/11/07, titled "Library Debate" and turned down stone cold by Library President McKenzie "no new library was ever considered at Expo by the library board", also in the JS on 5/31/08?

Where was Mr. Stowell then??

Bill Spears original idea had some merit. I would have added relocate the Lakeview Library to Expo and turn the then empty Lakeview back to the PPD who owns the land and building. One large branch library on the north side would have fit the bill. To my knowledge, and I talked to quite a few people,no one ever approached the Expo Board with any idea except now Tom Tincher, Water Resources Council. More on that later in another blog.

Sources tell me that PPD President Cassidy was cold to Stowell's idea insofar as no one had contacted the PPD Board or the Expo Board.

Interesting that Expo as a more multi-purpose site keeps coming up and no one other than Tom Tincher appears to be talking to Expo board members?????

To say that Peoria Public School Board is in way over there heads is to put it mildly. too bad, as most are well meaning, no pay and in a thankless job under any circumstance. Not a single business person on a approximately $150 million dollar "budget", I think, (read my blog on the recently "discovered" need for more property taxes).

Enough, but it was good to know that stocdkbroker Stowell voted against the library referendum and did not favor the stupid location either. But then, there is no business person on the gullible library board either.

Oh, yes, one wonders why the Dunlap Library fits in any equation. Simple, the underutilized new Dunlap Library is only 5 miles from Expo, so 2 1/2 miles is the furthest anyone with an Alliance Library card would have to drive to access either library. Some people drive 20 miles to work each day.

Sure, the idea has a lot of merit. EXCEPT, where is the cash strapped PPD going to cme up with the money to buy all that property along Prospect and what about the other forgotten homeowners on the "east of Prospect" side streets? PPD buy them out too? Some of them would like to see the PPD try to enforce "imminent domain". Some more unneeded publicity? Hmmm.

And who would run this multi-purpose recreational center at Expo? The PPD? Good grief. And who would ante up the money to buy some part of Expo. Expo is not just going to sell out and walk away. No way.

all this makes for "copy" and how else am I going to make aliving now that we are in a "deep recession". Recession, sure. Wait, suffer and see and depression may seem a more appropriate term.

U.S. Department of Energy

Established during the Carter administration. Does anyone know what they have really contributed to the GDP with the hundreds of billions they have spent? Other than to HELP, ALONG WITH ARROGANT MANAGEMENT, AN INEPT CONGRESS, and DOMINATING UNIONS, kill the economy, the Big 3 and the value of most of the countries in the world. Don't be surprised if Obama appoints someone "married" or at least joined at the hip with the radicals in the Sierra Club and their ilk. But then, the ineffective Republicans didn't abolish the department either. But then, the Democrats really have been in charge the last 2 years.

I thought the last 4 years of my life were the worst I've ever seen. Brother, (a figure of speech)I (we) haven't seen anything yet. Wish I were 40 or so and was as wise as I am now. I would be raising some hell for those who have brought this mess on those of us with "common sense".

As I get older, there appear to be less and less.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chrysler's Nardelli

He of the massive salary, bonus and golden parachute like $200 million dollars when he was pushed out of Home Depot, pleaded his case along with GM's Wagoner and Ford to Congress today. What a bunch of crap from the wealthy arrogant elite (and a goodly share of their "gophers", for whom (or who) I have a particular dislike. I didn't hear the union testimony.

Everything I read, heard and watched says let them go bankrupt just like everyone else who is inefficient, unrealistic, greedy, arrogant, etc......

Probably cost me money but I'm very, very tired of what is going on in this now socialistic country.

U.S. Representative Aaron Schock - OUCH

Today's JS quoted Aaron as saying regarding the auto industry bailout, "Fundamentally, I don't like the federal government getting involved in the private sector." That's noble, Aaron but I believe you strongly supported the massive agriculture subsidies, the unequal distribution of a trillion dollars, (McCain didn't and said so) during your campaign. Agriculture certainly is a "private" sector.

Also in today's JSEB columnist George Will is quoted, "Spreading the Wealth? What do you call this. He asks about rent-control in New York, sugar subsidies to which billions are granted to a few thousand sugar producers, Medicare and its intrusion into the private sector, the banks bailout, (I could go on and find at least another thousand),and the $25 million already granted to GM.

I will admit that your successor seldom saw a taxpayer dollar he didn't like to spend including his support of others like the library referendum and the public school at Glen Oak Park, his connection, perhaps, that his son, Darin, is married to Queen Bonnie Noble's daughter, Administrator of the aforementioned park district.

I know Aaron doesn't have time to read my blogs, but maybe someone will refer him to my site and perhaps he can explain what he meant and his position on "government interference" in the private sector. And maybe Ray LaHood can explain, how, over all his years in office, he didn't get up on a table and pound it into the Democrats that Fannie and Freddie, Frank, Dodd, Rangel, Reed, plus Bush appointee Cox, and all their ilk, did not demand that federal regulations then and still in place were not ENFORCED in all the years prior to the meltdown.

Good question???

Peoria School Dist. #150 - Needs More Property Tax Dollars?

On 9/16/08, the JS reported "District #150 OK's balanced budget", with the $143.4 million plan to keep programs the same, pay for building projects. Even have a $215,000 surplus. Today, Distinct #150, is asking for "about $3.4 million more" by increasing the tax levy by 5.6%"

Reason: An increase in tort liability insurance (can't wait for the Obama administration, ha) which were underfunded and "masked" as expenses and co-mingled with education and building funds". "This sort of 'trues' up the revenue to actual expenses," Treasurer Guy Cahill said.

Enough, stop right there. I have consistently said that the top person on this school board should have experience in the private sector as a business manager and a financial manager.

This is what you have gotten all these years from having an "educator" who know little about business and finances as the top administrator.

Now more taxes on my home and more to come when the zoo turns out to be the user and taxpayer money pit long projected, the $100-200 million sewer project gets underway, the new bond payments for the new schools start coming through, the new museum......and on.

Hey, all the professionals, like the doctor who emailed me today asking my support of the museum, and those with guaranteed salaried jobs with full benefits when they retire, employed business executives and managers, can probably afford it. I and a lot of other can't.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quotes of the Week

Quotes from two of my favorite "pretty left wing Democrats": Pelosi - "Over the weekend the House would aid the failing Big 3,(starting with GM, my comments) though she didn't put a price on her plan. The House is ready to do it". Frank said "There's no downside to trying".

Trying what? Give them a bunch of billions to fund their ridiculous pension plans? More money to fund managements bonuses and obscene salaries? More money to buy vehicles that buyers aren't buying? More money for what? How about Pelosi agreeing to free trade pacts she is holding up with Columbia, Peru and South Korea? Not nearly enough. Get a promise from Obama that he will stuff the EFCA and the Free Speech act or should I say the "Stifle Conservative Speech?

And what will the dominating unions of the Big 3 give in return for taxpayer bailout money?

Why not change the Federal governments restrictions on the makers so that they can sell the same car that foreigners are buying in foreign countries? Like the Ford my grandson drove in the Mideast only to find he can't buy it in the U.S.?

What kind of bargain did Congress make with the Big 3? What kind of a bargain is Congress foisting on the rest of the U.S. citizens?

Naked Women and STD's

"Word on the Street" quoted Al Zuccarini, owner of one of downtown Peoria's bsst tourist draw. "It amazes me a lot of the time...I didn't know I was the cause of gonorrhea and chlamydia" in reference to "Hachett" Sandra Fritz, an active member of Citizens for Community Values,Inc., when 62% of Peorians endorsed an advisory referendum banning full nudity in adult cabaret and strip clubs.

I suspect that 60% of the voters were not aware of that the Supreme Court decision in Erie vs. Pap's provided nude dancing constitutional protection under the First Amendment in 2000. (Peoria Observor, "Peoria passed poor ordinance", dated 10/23/03). The editorial reads "Trampling on the First Amendment is much more dangerous than a non-stop line of strip clubs and adult bookstores,etc",. The Peoria Council tried, failed, and cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

The Peoria County Board, myself included in the majority vote, voted to accept Fantasyland strip club with some restrictions they agreed to such as signage and windows. The majority of us wanted to avoid a massive lawsuit we would have lost.

Ask the County Sheriff how many problems the County has had at that location. Next to none last time I asked the sheriff.

At the time a Charlie Griffin of Morton wrote a LTTE saying Mrs. Fritz had lived in 11 other cities before landing in Peoria. Mr. Griffin said he was from San Diego and had now lived in Peoria three times as long as Mrs. Fritz and had seen a lot of problems in Peoria more important than worrying about the adult entertainment business. He invited Mrs. Fritz if she didn't like it here to leave it.


I suggest Mrs. Fritz in her "sexual crusade about STD's" spreading in strip clubs to look where the real source is. Why right here in our local middle and high schools! Who would have "thunk" that, Mrs. Fritz?

On 11/02/07 I blogged, "Adult Kids?" quoting an Associated Press article dated 2/27/04 in the WSJ stating that "teenagers and young adults account for more than half of the newly diagnosed cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. despite the fact that they constitute only A QUARTER OF THE SEXUALLY ACTIVE POPULATION.

On 10/19/07, the JS reported that a police officer gave alcohol to a teen ageer who was later pulled over for a DUI.

Mrs.Fritz is fighting a losing battle in the wrong places for the wrong causes. Maybe she can find out why the Community Builders in this community have been pretty much an ABJECT failure except to line some individuals pockets. Maybe she can tell me why the Boys and Girls Club Administration and Board continues to advertise that the Grinnel Stree location is still open when it has been closed since May 1 of 2007? Hmmm.

I suggest Mrs. Fritz can visit a strip club someday and I'll ask her to show me where the stippers are having "communicable sexual activity" with their customers.
Bet trade would pick up rapidly. For a short while.

Maybe try tackling internet porn that kids, their friends,girl friends and boy friends, and sometimes their dads are watching. That MAY help prevent the spreading of STD's, not attacking strip clubs where sexual intercourse is banned.

If Mrs. Fritz visits these strip clubs and caberets (certainly Big Al's) and finds sexual intercourse going on she can bring in the law.

That's legal.

P.S. Lucas D. Herr, of Mackinaw, also wrote a LTTE titled "Moralists Shun Democracy", and suggested, "It is in fact a fascist point of view and should be kept in their churches that moralists should keep trying to tell individuals how, where and when to be moral".


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Auto Industry Bailouts?

Only with about 10 criteria wrapped up in one statement: A drastic change in top management and restructuring of all salaries, bonuses, and personal and family "goodies". Start with top management.

The bailout plan would be "pay as you go" plan. Make fast, drastic changes and pay-out bailout money as the changes are made.

This new management would be required to break the stranglehold the unions have on the economy and once again have union leaders working hand in hand with new top management for the general good of the company and the public.

A lot of "blood" on the streets from management, employees and unions, dependents retirees and stockholders. Better than a depression worse than the 30's. Why worse than the 30's? Because back then people knew how to "really" work and the unions didn't control the public sector and all "old traditional school" industries like GM.

Some forward progress would be the no longer need for casino's, billion dollar sports complexes, Hollywood "characters" brought back to earth from "lolly-lolly land", Hispanic illegals and other illegals would return to their homelands to rebuild their own countries, Hollywood mansions would be turned into drug rehabilitation and retraining centers and low danger prisoners would be used to rebuild our bridges and ailing infrastructures.

Allow visas only on the need of special skilled people. It is time for other countries to take in most of the oppressed. Don't they feel guilt for the messes they too, have contributed to in the world, especially in parts of Africa?

Let the radical environmentalist rant and rave. Listen to the real environmentalists for a change. Forget affirmative action, multiculturalism, color, gender and race in most decisions. Over-emphasis of these distractions are hindrances in the natural involvement of the human race. Reward the culture of a person giving high preference to responsibility and attitude.

Tear down our obstructionist tariff barriers. Enter into trade agreements with countries like Columbia who do like us and need us. We would have less need of imports, especially toys and tainted food from China. We have nearly enough innovation and natural resources to be self sufficient. (think nuclear energy, clean coal, oil shale and off shore drilling)

Over say 10 years, the country will be better off. If some country thinks we are weak enough to be invaded, we could put Wall Street icons, financial, brokerages and Freddie Mac "talent", Congressional members, overpaid professional athletes, all could be used to fight on the back and front lines and prove their leadership or jump to the other side (many please do if it happens).

A lot of people suffering? Not as many as in parts of Iraq, Afghanistan and much of Africa. Sorry for many of us but not the ones who are capable of putting in full days of "real" work. And especially no sorrow for the ones that got us in this mess.

Management Failures Fadeaway? Not Ever!

3 Men who brought down Wall Street....................

Be sure to read the "where they are now"!!

Here is a quick look into 3 former Fannie Mae executives who have brought down Wall Street.

1. Franklin Raines: was a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Fannie Mae. Raines was forced to retire from his position with Fannie Mae when auditing discovered severe irregulaties in Fannie Mae's accounting activities. At the time of his departure The Wall Street Journal noted, " Raines, who long defended the company's accounting despite mounting evidence that it wasn't proper, issued a statement late Tuesday conceding that "mistakes were made" and saying he would assume responsibility as he had earlier promised. News reports indicate the company was under growing pressure from regulators to shake up its management in the wake of findings that the company's books ran afoul of generally accepted accounting principles for four years." Fannie Mae had to reduce its surplus by $9 billion.

Raines left with a "golden parachute valued at $240 Million in benefits. The Government filed suit against Raines when the depth of the accounting scandal became clear. . The Government noted, "The 101 charges reveal how the individuals improperly manipulated earnings to maximize their bonuses, while knowingly neglecting accounting systems and internal controls, misapplying over twenty accounting principles and misleading the regulator and the public. The Notice explains how they submitted six years of misleading and inaccurate accounting statements and inaccurate capital reports that enabled them to grow Fannie Mae in an unsafe and unsound manner." These charges were made in 2006. The Court ordered Raines to return $50 Million Dollars he received in bonuses based on the miss-stated Fannie Mae profits.

2. Tim Howard: Was the Chief Financial Officer of Fannie Mae. Howard "was a strong internal proponent of using accounting strategies that would ensure a "stable pattern of earnings" at Fannie. In everyday English - he was cooking the books. The Government Investigation determined that, "Chief Financial Officer, Tim Howard, failed to provide adequate oversight to key control and reporting functions within Fannie Mae,"

On June 16, 2006, Rep. Richard Baker, R-La ., asked the Justice Department to investigate his allegations that two former Fannie Mae executives lied to Congress in October 2004 when they denied manipulating the mortgage-finance giant's income statement to achieve management pay bonuses. Investigations by federal regulators and the company's board of directors since concluded that management did manipulate 1998 earnings to trigger bonuses. Raines and Howard resigned under pressure in late 2004.

Howard's Golden Parachute was estimated at $20 Million!

3. Jim Johnson: A former executive at Lehman Brothers and who was later forced from his position as Fannie Mae CEO. A look at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's May 2006 report on mismanagement and corruption inside Fannie Mae, and you'll see some interesting things about Johnson. Investigators found that Fannie Mae had hidden a substantial amount of Johnson's 1998 compensation from the public, reporting that it was between $6 million and $7 million when it fact it was $21 million." Johnson is currently under investigation for taking illegal loans from Countrywide while serving as CEO of Fannie Mae.

Johnson's Golden Parachute was estimated at $28 Million.


1. FRANKLIN RAINES? Raines works for the Obama Campaign as Chief Economic Advisor

2. TIM HOWARD? Howard is also a Chief Economic Advisor to Obama

3. JIM JOHNSON? Johnson hired as a Senior Obama Finance Advisor and was selected to run Obama's Vice Presidential Search Committee<><>

IF OBAMA PLANS ON CLEANING UP THE MESS - HIS ADVISORS HAVE THE EXPERTISE - THEY MADE THE MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Would you trust the men who tore Wall Street down to build the New Wall Street ?

Protectionist Democrats - How They Damage Caterpillar

Nancy Peolsi wants to bailout GM. Before President Bush signs off on any bailouts for the auto industry, he should insist that the Democrats and the unions that support their elections and reelections should unblock the presidents, and the business community, strong desire to sign free trade agreements (FTA's) with Columbia. Peolsi was able to shelve all FTA's succumbing to strong pressure from the unions who felt that especially Columbia's President Uribe wasn't doing enough to protect his unions.

President Uribe, a friend of the U.S., (we don't have that many, we started losing them more rapidly under Democrat President Johnson, read robert Shaplen, "The Road From War - Vietnam 1965-70) has been battling the terrorist and narcotic dealing FARC supported by Chavez ever since his election in 2002. Pelosi, playing politics as usual in kow-towing to the unions before the November election, blocked all FTA's including South Korea and Panama. Uribe's government has had considerable success in protecting the union and it's organizers but not enough to satisfy the Pelosi gang. Now that that the Democrats and Obama has won, Obama should move to sign these "Pelosi shelved" FTA's. If the Pelosi, Obama and the union gang, (hereafter I'm referring to them as the POUG's.) want to stick the taxpayers with an auto industry bailout, the bailout of union greed and weak GM management, should only happen if President Bush insists on a vote of the outstanding FTA's with Columbia, South Korea, and Panama.

more than ever in this economy, U.S. exporters need every new market they can find. Caterpillar, a major producer and exporter of off-highway trucks, motor graders, bulldozers and wheel loaders is organized by the UAW. To export an off-highway truck to Columbia adds a 15% tariff or $200,000.00 each. More Cat D-11 bulldozers operate in Columbia than in any country in the world, yet Cat has to pay a 5% tariff on bulldozers imported to Columbia. Overlooked by the POUG's is that our countries manufacturers and exporters are facing increasing competition from other exporters of heavy equipment like Canada and the European Union, both who are doing their own FTA's with Columbia.

What part of "cutting off your nose to spite your face" doesn't the POUG get?

I suggest that now is the time for the POUG to set politics aside for awhile and think practicably about what will actually work to move the economy forward at the same time signaling to the world the willingness to work with all peoples.

Wasn't that was a trademark of the recent Obama campaign promises? Or will all the promises he made, and they are legion, kill capitalism and further promote protectionism, unionism, populism and socialism?

Monday, November 10, 2008

PPD - Truth in Taxation Notice in Today's JS

PPD will collect $14,492,000.00 in property taxes from Peoria taxpayers for 2008, up from $13,671,337.00 for 2007. Debt service and PBC leases for 2008 are $3,925,000.

Bids for the new softball complex were due on September 4. As of this date, no news of any contract being issued has appeared in print and no ground work has started for the complex off Lake Avenue near Peoria Stadium. Even if work started now, the playing fields would probably not be usable for the 2009 season.

Also, the JS reported that the newly expanded zoo slated to open in 2008, will now open in June 2009.

Question? Is the PPD so "strapped" for money that the softball fields slated to open in 2006 at the corner of Rt. 91 and Fox Road on land "supposedly" traded with Bradley for Meinen Field (now Shea Stadium) that neither location will become a reality in the reasonable future?

If you recall my previous blogs, Bradley took out a mortgage for $2.1 million on 162 acres of farmland as part of their end of the deal giving Bradley title to Meinen Field. The PPD planed to open a "big sports and recreation complex" on this site to host National Softball Tournaments. What happened?

Terry Bibo wrote a detailed article this summer saying how financially strong the PPD was and how they "owned" almost 9,000 acres of park land. Hmmm.

The PPD Headquarters in the Pavilion was to be transferred to the "being renovated or is renovated" old IDOT Building on Knoxville and Northmoor Rd. to make the Pavilion available for the Children Playhouse which was to open in 2006.

You may have noticed the expanded zoo was a $32,000,000.00 project but the JS just reported it will now be a $25,000,000.00 expansion, a shrinkage of $7,000,000.00.

I believe leadership in this community has overstretched. But what is new. I said that a few years back. With Caterpillar stock trading at $37 down from the last insider sale of $74 and with some growing grumbling from Caterpillar employees about their shrinking 401K's and shrinking value of their stock, it's time to pull the plug on the never "really wanted by the community as a whole" downtown museum. Unless, of course, some philanthropist steps forward with dozens of millions to donate.

With Bradley on a big fund raising drive, the zoo struggling to get off the ground, the RiverPlex still bleeding money and the museum short a lot of hoped for taxpayer millions to get underway, the economy in a tailspin, effect now being felt in Peoria, is it possible some of the leadership in this community have over-extended?

Then we have #150 draining money with questionable results, I don't believe we seen anything yet in some type of additional taxation to cover the $120-30 million in planned and new schools underway.

Opps, to borrow a term, I forgot the $100-200 million or more needed for new sewers in Peoria. And a half a dozen other projects out asking for funding.

Stay tuned.

Perkins Capital Management Letter

Best informative financial letter I have ever received. Also, these guys have a great sense of humor. They listed 8 "Idiots of the year" and #1 was from a medical student doing rotation in toxicology at the poison control center. A woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. The medical student quickly assured her that ants are not harmful and she didn't need to take her to the hospital. The mother calmed down and at the end of the conversation mentioned that she gave her daughter some ant poison to kill the ants.

Probably voted for Obama, too.

#2 idiot were the Boeing employees who decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. Shortly after getting it out of the plant and at home, they took it out for a float on the river. Soon, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming toward them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that had activated when the raft was inflated.

They are no longer employed at Boeing. Too bad they will miss out on the "held hostage" union contract Boeing management just signed. Boeing stock price since the contract was signed? In a nosedive.

JSEB - Our View - Stevens of Alaska

I'm no fan of Senator Stevens of Alaska (see my blog of 10/27/08) but I know the reason the Republicans reelected Stevens was to maintain at least 60 seats so they can filibuster what many of predict will be some disastrous special interest legislation submitted by the Democrat majority.

The Democrats will find themselves between a "rock and a hardspot". If they expel Stevens from the the Senate, which ethically they should do, the Republicans will fill the seat with another Republican, possibly Governor Sarah Palin, who would then get the "seasoning" MSNBC and many Republicans said she is lacking to be presidential material.(Good grief, think Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi!).


And yes, Blago, if he ran again would be reelected by the Democrats. (Here, again, think Jehan Gordon).

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Message to President-Elect Barak Obama

I didn't originate these words but many of us could have written these words of advise to the president-elect:

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the sage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your own income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money ( I add, do not borrow more than you can afford to pay back. All businesses need to borrow money to grow.)
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men (and women) permanently by doing for them what they could do for themselves.

These quotes are attributed to William J. H. Boetcker in 1916 or probably a couple thousand of others who have spoken or written the same words.

Keystone Steel and Wire Company

The company reported profits of approximately $23 million for the last quarter. Read the article in the JS today carefully and you will note the Keystone spokesperson would not say how the economy has affected the company since September 30 nor would he predict earning possibilities in the future.

Caterpillar did report truthfully and their stock dropped significantly.

As to Keystone not commenting, I find interesting. Keystone has a significant loan of taxpayer money being paid on an installment plan to Peoria County. The county has a strong interest in being paid back while helping Keystone retain its local work staff.

Local Heroes - And Others

Dr. Rida Boulas, Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the U. Of I. College of Medicine, a tennis player friend of mine wrote a "Letter to the Editors of the JS" today, titled "Canadian Health Care Has its Drawbacks".

Dr. Boulos has been a champion of patients rights. He informs the general public what is right and what is wrong with our own health care systems in Illinois. He made us aware of tort attorneys using the tort attorneys favorite Madison County as a liberal county to win excessive award cases against medical practitioners, especially those in the Obstetrics and Gynecology field. His article is worth reading twice because a Canadian style health plan may be considered by the new administration headed up by Hillary Clinton and supported by Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff, for the president elect. Emanuel was a strong supporter of "Hillary" care, a socialistic health plan back 10-12 years ago during the Clinton days.

Dr. Boulos is a champion of health care rights of doctors and patients.

"Others" is Scott Hultgren of Peoria wrote an easy to forget letter titled " Change doesn't require taking action at the ballot box". Hultgren says "our goal is to encourage community members to create their own changes, not vote for someone who promises change". He says, "by voting, you are supporting a system that gives you a voice every two years. By engaging in direct action, people retain their voice to use for any cause they see fit at any time they wish"????

Interesting. Especially that people NOW use their voices any time they wish and STILL vote.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Just a few families stepped forward. I think we're losing the sense of being a nation. Losing the sense of being a nation should concern us all. We have fought the war in Iraq as a nation divided. If we are still this divided in the next war, there is a good chance we will be defeated", quoting Jim and Maria Simpson who lost their son Abe, as well as his best friend and cousin Jonathan. Both died fighting in the Habbaniyah-Fallujah corridor.

To the Simpson's it may be little consolation to know that the vast majority did and do support the efforts of those who served honorably in the Mideast. It is little consolation to know that all wars are strewn with blunders and mistakes, but that is no good reason to abandon the mission. Yet, as the American military has adapted continually to overcome its mistakes and the mistakes of its government, American society has become more divided. As Rome and Athens demonstrated two millennia ago, every military, no matter how strong its internal code, eventually mirrors its society.

It was easy to criticize and condemn the Bush Administration for its faults; it is harder to decide how our society can retain sufficient unity to be the world's strongest tribe.

Our recent election was a mirror to our society and the image in the mirror need to change. Obama says he can do that but most of us who voted for McCain did not believe in the "changes" the president-elect advocated nor did we believe that he could "heal this divided country" and that he could lead and also lead his party to work together with Republicans as non-partisan political parties. I do not believe many of the Democrats now in power have the interest for the "common good" at heart and believe many of them will be posturing for re-election when the new administration takes control on January, 9, 2009. And I condemn many Republicans for their abuse of power over the past 8 years and that they work with the party in power, rather than plotting how to get their party back in power in 2010-12.

I do now want to become an Independent and ask that my party not to drive me out. As I've blogged before, unless some major changes are made in the Republican party heiarchy, I will make a personal decision I do not want to make.

Obama has possibly the best opportunity in history to lay partisan politics aside, list the problems by priority and listen to the input of those who have the interest of the entire citizenry. He said race was not involved in the election. That's fine as long as he tells many of his new voters that to have "a chicken in every pot" they are going to have to educate themselves and go to work, accept responsibility, get over the "I'm a victim" mentality and have some attitude adjustments.

Obama has made many promises, many I hope do not come to pass and may not come to pass if he surrounds himself with people who know how to sort out the special interest demands that are saying "me, me, me and I want it now".

I have as I said I would in earlier blogs, give him the opportunity to lead this country. I now wish him well.

As a closing thought in expressing my heartfelt sympathy for the Simpson's and all others who have suffered through the Mideast blunders and successes that "the desire to live in peace does not in itself, provide the means to achieve peace".

The source of much of the material in this blog is credited to "National Review", September 15, 2008 edition.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Sharp Lurch to the Left

The night before the election Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly News, wrote the following: "For the first time since the 1960's, (the years of dreams and nightmares) liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate. (They didn't quite make it, my comments) If Obama wins today they'll have an ideological ally in the White House.

A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. (The inevitable has happened, my comments). The centrist limits in an earlier era of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats MAY be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those bill as "job creation", may have to be delayed.

But much of their agenda--(the Kremlin style, my comment) "card-check" proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, (Kremlin style, my comment) liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran (sure, reason with people who want to kill 50% of Americans, we know the ones Iran would spare, my comments)-these don't require spending".

Don't expect much lag time. The liberal left wing Democrats want to move quickly.

Tort Lawyers Score Big-Time

This information was written seven weeks ago. Now that we have a Democrat left leaning government dominating all of Washington, D.C., the tort bar was kicking back and and "tossing off" shots of $125 shots of King Louie in celebration.
By early September, the tort bar had already donated $108 million to the Democrat candidates in key elections. Here are some examples why:

Welcomed by many plaintiff's was the news that tort lawyers are making a big comeback.
Michigan's lawmakers propose repealing safeguards for prescription drug providers.
Maryland wants to revoke medical liability reforms.
Florida entertained the nullification of its joint and several liability reforms.
Colorado's Democrat governor signed a law increasing previous limits on noneconomic damages.
Alabama, last year saw legislation that would allow a tort claim to continue even after the claimant had died.
California proposed authorizing lawsuits for ANY violation of privacy.
New Mexico and New Jersey passed laws authorizing citizens to file "false claims" suits on behalf of the state-in effect turning private individuals into state bounty hunters.
Illinois, Colorado, Washington and Texas considered proposals to increase the size of the awards plaintiffs could claim, and with it attorney's contingency fees.
The tort bar across the country pushed bills to expand "consumer protection" damages and at least three states to allow plaintiffs to claim damages for "emotional harm" when their pets are injured.
In Maryland and Oregon, lawyers successfully shepherded new laws to extend the time in which plaintiffs could file lawsuits.

Expect a lot more lawsuits filed by "people" finding mice tails in their noodle soup, Starbuck coffee burns on their private parts acquired while driving, text messaging, and arguing with their spouse. And lawsuits claiming whiplash suffered from running over a bicyclist or rear-ending a motorcyclist..

I know now I should have never been just a pencil and paper salesman.

We are going to get change, allright. Count on it.

Socialist Government - Stock Market Down Almost 5%

The stock market welcomed "Obama change" in a big way. Down 9% in last two days. I believe we face the next four years as the most disastrous in the history of our country.

If people had paid attention to something more than a words from a polished demagogue orator, they should have seen it coming. Realize that the Democrats have been in control in Congress since 2006. And now they have complete control with the exception of the Republicans being able to mount a filibuster.

And Jehan Gordon being fondly welcomed by George and Dave (today's JS)to an already disastrous situation in Springfield. Shades of Braun-Mosley or Mosley Braun.

Peoria - A Look Back in History

I could start with a list of all the unionized companies that left Peoria, companies that paid a living wage, but the list would be too long. There were many reasons but the major reason was the militant attitude of the unions.

Our new president has made the unions many promises and will make every attempt to push through legislation that will further deplete the federal budget. The most overlooked fear is legislation that increases union power and what it will do to the selling price of the product produced. I do not believe the average union worker understands, that union workers will pay more the items they purchase. Companies such as Walmart, still non-unionized where many union workers and union supporters do their buying.

Also, what it will do to companies that can move production overseas. There has been enough outsourcing for manufacturers to now know who are the relatively stable countries for outsourcing.

Boeing, in order to cut costs, outsourced some products to the wrong countries and factories. They have paid a price through delays and quality. In their new contract with the union they will do less outsourcing which will mean higher costs of their completed product. But as the union gains more power in the work place, companies will be forced to outsource more, or move all manufacturing out of the United States and cut back on hiring and expansion.

What happened in Peoria was that almost all the manufacturing of product left town with one major survivor, Caterpillar. Even Caterpillar who had a workforce of over 35,000 not too many decades ago is now down to less than half that size. Thankfully, Caterpillar does much outsourcing locally which benefits the overall communities.

What should worry Caterpillar and other unionized companies is that we now have an administration in D.C pledged to spread the wealth and bring up the earnings of the middle class by granting greater power to the unions. The more it costs a company to make profits for the stockholders, the more these companies will need to raise the price of their products.

I don't think the average worker fully understands the system. I believe the average worker feels that instead of raising the price of the product, the company should reduce the salaries and bonuses of administration. Most agree that the era of excess salaries, golden parachutes and excessive bonuses are over for those companies that seek governmental bailout money. But, while these dollars that will be saved are sizable, they will not offset the the drain on revenues for rising workplace salaries, health plans and pensions. Thus the costs of goods can only go up for all buyers; union or not.

Fortunately, the demand for health care, services and facilities have been a major asset in offsetting the loss of industry in Peoria. We are expanding rapidly to become the major health provider within 150 mile radius.

After President Obama picks his cabinet he will need to turn quickly to all the special interests on his dance card. It will be interesting to see he (they) set as most desirable to dance with first and I predict it will be the unions, especially the UAW and the teacher unions; first, the tort attorneys, second, the radical environmentalists third, the welfare people fourth, alternate energy and then the middle class and the stacking of the courts with left leaning liberal Democrats.

These are just a few that will get their requests honored on the special interest scene while he attempts to unravel the mess that was smoldering for years and erupted into a Pompeii on September 14.

We should all be concerned that what happened to businesses that produced a product in Peoria doesn't happen to the whole country and we become a country with a static number of big businesses and service providers and our major growth will be in importing.

Obama's Campaign Promises

I like this definition of a defeated politician: The candidate who never has to explain why he (she)is unable to keep his (her)campaign promises".

In didn't take the unions long to call in their "chips" for the massive support they gave Obama. "Labor Wants Obama to Take on Big Fight", by Kris Maher in the WSJ today. Labor wants fast action on the Employee Free Choice Act which is anything but free, to pass this before businesses have more time to organize to fight this disastrous proposed new law.

Quoting Mr. Maher and Kara Scannell, who also contributed t this column, "Both sides say the legislation would lead to increased unionization. Unions say that would lift wages and help the middle class, while businesses say it could increase costs and eventually lead to widespread layoffs.

The bill would give unions--rather than companies under the current law--the choice of having workers vote for a union by signing cards instead of through a secret-ballot election. Cardsigning is preferred by unions because it can be done without an employer's knowledge. With secret-ballot elections, companies typically have months to mount an opposition.

The bill also authorizes an arbitrator to impose a first contract if a union fails to reach agreement with a company by 120 days following the union's formation. Under current law, which the union dislikes immensely, if the two sides don't reach a contract withing a year, the union typically loses it's right to be the exclusive bargaining agent for the workers,"

Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard and co-host of the "Beltway Boys" on Fox News Channel. (No Fox will not fade out of political power, watch and see)"An even more telling reflection of labor's new power in Washington is lockstep Democrat support for card check which is overwhelmingly unpopular with the American public. But as a lavish funder of the Democrat Party and the biggest source of manpower in Democrat campaigns, labor expects union leaders to vote for it anyway. And the unions care a lot more about the issue than the public does.

But Obama and Pelosi pledged to be more bi-partisan.

No one in Washington believed her and no one should.

Some say its the economy that is diminishing workers and retirees nest eggs but let's not kid ourselves, like the little girl who told a friend's little girl that "now that we have a black president her family would no longer need to work".

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama - Not My President

This us the title of a blog I wrote on May 8, 2008. I had 80% more visits to my site over the last 2 days. Many of them were looking up my May 8 blog.

Some of you may wish to read it by accessing my sidebar archives.

Peoria Riverfront Museum Mailer

This is the email I sent to Superintendent Hinton today. I have great concern that if the Museum funding project appears on a referendum this spring, the community will not have all the financial facts on yearly operating costs and revenues. Nor will the voter know what will happen if the operating costs are not covered by revenues. The year old operating budget I have states that $30 some thousand would be set aside yearly for fund raising.

If 10% of students were charged only, say $2, and 35 thousand students visited yearly, revenues for these 10 percent would only yield $70,000 toward a year old projection of $4.1 yearly operating costs.

Ken, You once told me that if the newly expanded zoo charged more than $2 per kid for a District #150 school visit that the district would not be able to afford busing your students in due to financials considerations.. I read your testimonial in the Peoria Riverfront Museum mailer today. My question is again, that if the museum is built, how much would you be willing to pay per student per visit?

How many District #150 kids attended Lakeview last academic year and what was the charge per student? If, as you state, 35,000 students in Peoria County are potential visitors; that would make up almost 10% of the total visitors (360,000) per year projected), so it is imperative that I as a county board member get a fair appraisal of the museum's projected operating budget.

I will appreciate your reply.


Rahm Emanuel - A New Deal for the New Economy

Commenting on Obama's first cabinet job offer to Emanuel please refer my blog of 3/20/08 or the WSJ 3/19/08 edition p. A19. Emanuel was once the lead architect for Hillary Clinton's ill conceived Hillary-Care. Emanuel should send the believers of less government is good government into a panic. This man from Chicago believes in his world there is no inconvenience in life that more and larger government can't ameliorate.

Quoting Lawrence Donaldson from Comfort Texas, "The problem with Democrat Emanuel proposals is that they substitute government wisdom for individual choosing. Yes, sometimes individuals make decisions that turn out badly. Surely he doesn't think government is immune, does he? Impudent individuals turn out to relatively limited to the damage they do to the national well-being. Impudent ideas of the federal government possess the potential to do enormous harm". (Think the sub-prime mess fueled by the Democrats aiding and abetting the downfall of Freddie and Fannie and the mess in the financial markets that are dragging this country into an abyss.

Please don't tell me more government regulation would have prevented the mess we are in. We have enough regulations of the financial industry to fill 10 drawers of storage. But what good were these regulations when the Democrats and some Republicans wouldn't enforce them?

Professor Lee H. Igel, PHD New York University said to "Watch Out, Emanuel wants to take care of you. When it comes to conserving and strengthening what we call the middle class, no reasonable person would argue against "a new social; contract for America's worker that includes quality education and health care, the development of more efficient and effective technologies, and favorable savings and retirement plans. But if there is to be such a contract, it had better be the one that is an ALTERNATE to the idea that 'We the people can have it only by negotiating with our government'".

Emanuel a free market man? No way. A union shill and protectionist? Pull up his history as a Chicago political hack. If this is Obama's idea of how he he going to be an "across the aisle president", buckle up for a more rapid ride to a "Big Brother" who will take care of all middle class needs.

Quote of the week - Barney Frank

In 2003, Frank said, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation toward subsidized housing."

Expect this new Congress to do plenty of "rolling of\the dice" with your money.

No Confidence in Congrees

Harry Golub, former chairman and CEO of American Express writes in the WSJ today. He says, "He's worried and pessimistic about the prospects for our financial markets and our economy, members both Democrats and Republicans of Congress, will continue to meddle in matters beyond their knowledge.

He says the bubble burst was inevitable. Housing prices rise and fall and this time when they fell they caught people buying homes on speculation, never having ever lived in them; many bought them without them having any verification of their capacity to repay; some did so fraudulently; and other had "no skin" in the game (known as a down payment)or with negatively amortized mortgages. Imagine if I sold you $10,000 worth of stock with no money down, a low interest rate for the next five years, and you could walk away at any time with my only recourse being to take back the the stock. Of course I wouldn't worry because I securitized the loan and sold it to Fannie or some other financial organization. That's exactly, in substance, what people did.

Why did institutions make these bad loans? They were poor at judging risks and encouraged by Congress and regulators to make these loans, at the same time Congress was encouraging Fannie and Freddie to to buy these loans".

The unfortunate people who saved up and made a downpayment on houses that were overpriced because of the stupidity, many uneducated, greedy financial institutions,
speculators and Congress, mainly Democrats like Dodd, Frank, Schumer and Rangel, were now stuck with these homes whose value was becoming less than the mortgage.

Barnes asks "How can we tell if Congress begins to understand its role in causing the problem and what it must do to help solve it? Here are some signs:

If Congress passes a stimulus package that simply give people money--like this year's $168 million stimulus, which was mostly rebates--they don't get it. Rebates will not stimulate the economy and will not solve the underlying problem.

If Congress tries to "help" the people who cannot afford the house they are in, be assured that we are wasting money and delaying the recovery. (Banks can decide better whether to foreclose or make a deal far better than government entity).

If Congress forces the Treasury to provide cheap equity to companies that are solvent, or automobile companies because of debt owed unions in a politically motivated spending, all of us will suffer a long and deep recession.

If Congress raises marginal tax rates and erects trade barriers, and makes it easier for unions to organize without secret ballots through "card check" legislation, then the recession will be longer and deeper.

It is my belief that comparisons between the current crisis and the Great Depression are generally overblown. However, if Congress does indeed do these things and meddles where it shouldn't we could find ourselves back in the 30's."

We'll see.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Staying Home Tonight

Thanks, Darin, Joan and Aaron, for inviting me to your victory celebrations tonight. I believe you will win your important posts tonight. But I'm going to stay home and watch the results coming in and listening to the political pundits. I'll stay up late if your races are still open and knock out a blog or two. I'll be praying that I am wrong in predicting a win for Obama.

Good luck and if you are elected, pay attention to recent Republican history. There is a lot to learn but most of it is simple; stay in touch with the common people and don't spend more than you take in.

Judge Ellen Huvelle also said, "So much of what happened in Washington,(and Springfield, I'll add) stretches the envelope, skirts the spirit of the law and lives in loopholes". To Aaron, I'll add, Aaron, before you scratch someone elses back to get them to scratch your back, make sure of what you are supporting. Support earmarks that are considered "community priorities that benefit all the people, not just what your financial supporters think is good for all the rest of us".

Market Boost

Caterpillar, Deere and Archer-Daniels all rose more than $3 a share as the overall market jumped over 300 points. It was many an analyst prediction that the rapid descent of the marker in the past few weeks was based on an Obama win. I wouldn't predict what the market will do after Obama's win tonight. It could continue upward, buyers hoping that Obama will be persuaded by his handlers that tax increases would not be a good idea right now. Also, his position of spending more federal dollars on infrastructure and alternate fuels, the market may continue to gain back more of it's ridiculous panic based losses.

Much will depend on what Obama says the day or two AFTER his victory speech.

I am prepared for an all Democrat administration. The thought of some of the people who will be gloating tonight or tomorrow, is repulsive to me, Pelosi, Dodd, Reed, Rangel, Waters; politicians who helped put us in the sub-prime mess, Ayers; let's just say "all the radical left". Then there is Rashid Khalidi, Chavez, the Castro brothers, what's his name from Iran, the Saudi monarchy, ACORN leadership, the Tort Bar, Farrakand, and one of the absolute worst, George Soros.

And the radical environmentals will shift into overdrive to protect the "tree frogs".
I can't overlook the liberal left media who crowned the "Messiah" early and ridiculed McCain for his age and Palin as just a cheerleing housewife.

And 85% of Hollywood, all the jealous feminists, the hierarchy of all the teachers' union, Al Gore and John Kerry, most all the professors at the University of Chicago and Harvard, all the terrorists and that terrorist caveman; Usama Bin Laden.

The Republicans can look back at why they fell so far out of favor. And my advice to my Republican friends? Be realistic in your assessments.

Something good has always come out of a change of a political regime. But as federal Judge Ellen Huvelle said as she sentenced Jack Abramoff with an additional 48 months, more than prosecutors had recommended, that was the good, now the bad, "The true victims are members of the public who lost their trust in government".

Not that anybody cares, but I bought 10M more shares in an alternate energy company today. Up $.40. We will see.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Presidents Freedom of Action

A WSJ writer said yesterday that "whoever is elected to office, his freedom will be limited. Mr. Obama is out of money and McCain is out of army, so what might be assumed to be the worst impulses of each--big spender, big scrapper--will be circumscribed by reality. In Obama's case, energy will likely be diverted to other issues. Obama will raise taxes, of course, but he may also feel forced to bow to a clamours base with the non-spending items they favor: the rewriting of union law to force greater unionization of smaller shops, for instance, and a return to a "fairness doctrine" that would limit free speech on the air.

Forget about more freedom for school choice. In a recent speech to the AFT, Obama said is is "tired of hearing about vouchers and school choice". He does want to reform teacher compensation and tenure to recognize expertise. He didn't elaborate how he would compensate but one time he mentioned "pay for performance" in a speech before the AFT Union but the AFT said "forget that".

McCain supports choice and merit pay.

Recently one of my readers wrote in and said Bill Cosby supports Obama. It he does, and I haven't heard he has, he would be denying what is wrong with the way we approach poverty in America. Cosby said we can best help them is by helping them to help themselves. Many in poverty take advantage of what they are offered and move up the social and economic ladder. Other help themselves to our generosity, our pocketbooks and our personal belongings. That why at any given time, 9,000,000,000 people in the U.S. are either incarcerated or in some type of procedure that will end up with them serving time whether in local, state or federal accommodations.

Obama plans to spread the wealth whether deserving or not. Being poor and a victim of the white man qualifies the poor and middle class to a bigger chunk of money. To give more than most already do by their donations, volunteer work, free health care, free schools, libraries, etc., and not least, their compassion.

What else can "spread the wealth" mean?

Bill Cosby said Martin Luther King would be ashamed of many of his people from their attitudes, their lack of respect, their dress and mostly their failing to take advantage of the same free things offered (like public education, public libraries and parks, river, lakes and trails) to everyone in this country.

Obama excels in rhetoric. He cannot run on that fuel. Our history is littered with human experiments in political economy that have delivered far more suffering and murder than human betterment to the citizens of this country.

Dr. Vernon Smith, Nobel prize winner in 2002, commenting on Alan Reynold's "How's Obama going to raise $4.3 trillion", Oct 24, WSJ, says that "Obama's higher capital gains and income taxes will reduce savings and investment at the expense of greater future productivity. (Some freedom) A dozen countries already have ZERO taxes on capital gains (Obama will raise ours to perhaps the highest in the free world) and 8 of them score high on the Economic Freedom Index and high in gross domestic product per capita. Dr. Smith favors making all individuals savings and direct investments deductible from income for tax purposes. Then there would be no need to make any distinction between ordinary income and capital gains. By adding a negative feature to such a net consumption tax, the poor would not only receive redistribution benefit, but have an incentive to save and accumulate capital. Some poor will see this as an opportunity too help themselves."

Dr. Smith assumes that most poor people have a job and would save money. He may be to far up the academic ladder to realize most poor are not qualified to hold a job. Many can't read or refuse to work. No income other than welfare leaves no money to save and invest.

Supposedly Cicero in 55 BC wrote "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

These words seem familiar and you should recognize them if you read my blogs. I believe I learned them from reading "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire". If elected, I hope Obama gets around to reading more history other than that preached by Rev. White, Louis Farrakand and Bill Ayers and his ex-Weatherman wife, both highly respected by the more radical left wingers of the Democrat party.

Oh, I know the same people reading this will silently criticize me for not recognizing that if you come from poverty, no legitimate father and a crack mother, how could you succeed?

Good question but we are still on the freedom question. Many won't succeed but even under the worst circumstances, our free things like a non-politicized education, free busing, free counseling, freedom of speech and religions freedom, free assembly rights, free health care, free food and clothing; even the poorest can rise above one's circumstances. Circumstances into which one is borne are still not a legitimate excuse for not even trying. If they try and fail, there is still help from many sources in this compassionate community.

Unless they are mentally hindered. There we admittedly need free reform and financial assistance for poverty level and below people but politicians like Dick Durbin are all talk and little action.

Let's hope that Obama doesn't fall in a quagmire of free social levity and forget that he got elected on a weak economy, and out of control spending Congress and the extreme dislike of the present administration. Plus a liberal Left wing leaning media supporting his liberal left wing candidacy.