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Archive for October 1st, 2009

Hopis to environmentalists: Take a hike

The Hopi tribe in Arizona has told environmentalists to stay off their reservation. Their reason? The environuts are going to foul up efforts to bring economic prosperity to the Hopis via coal revenues:

Environmentalists have waged a campaign against coal as an energy source, in favor of renewable energy such as wind and solar. But the Navajo and Hopi long have depended on coal revenues to fund their governments and pay the salaries of tribal employees on reservations where half the work force is unemployed.

On the Hopi reservation, revenues from coal mined by Peabody Energy in northern Arizona’s Black Mesa area make up 70 percent of the tribe’s $15 million budget. On the Navajo Nation, those revenues make up nearly 10 percent of the tribe’s budget.

What the Hopis are beginning to understand is that environmentalist don’t care about people.

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TIFs gone wild

The Chicago political machine sees Tax Increment Financing as a bottomless purse to use to fund Olympic facilities for an Olympics that it has not, as of this writing, won:

While Chicago won’t know until October if it beat out its competition to win the 2016 Summer Games, the city has agreed to create a tax-increment-financing (TIF) district surrounding Michael Reese to generate the $100 million subsidy.

TIFs re-direct taxes away from schools, parks and other local government agencies bankrolled by property taxes. Property taxes within a TIF district are frozen at existing levels for 23 years.

The decision to draw a $100 million subsidy from the tax-increment-financing (TIF) — or create a TIF within a TIF to generate even more money — comes at the worst possible time for Chicago taxpayers.

Maybe Chicago’s city fathers should read the list of TIF reforms that the JLF’s Joe Coletti and Daren Bakst produced last year.

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More hope and change: No Christ on the national Christmas tree

Elementary, middle and high school students in Arizona have been chosen to provide 4,000 hand-made Christmas ornaments for the national Christmas tree this year. However, any reference or allusion to religion is strictly verboten:

Guidelines for the ornaments include specifications for their size, weight, composition, and the directive that “Ornaments cannot reflect a religious or political theme… Instead share your interpretation of our theme ‘Arizona’s Gift, from the Grand Canyon State.'”

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Patrick McHenry gets a scoop

In questioning SEIU political director Anna Burger at a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee yesterday, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, got the surprising admission that SEIU has cut all ties with the discredited community organizing group ACORN. Take that with a grain of salt, but still, as the BigGovernment.com blog said:

Of course, don’t believe SEIU has actually ‘cut ties’ with ACORN. Their operations are simply too interwoven for that to be true. Still, you know ACORN’s in trouble when SEIU has to publically dissociate itself from them. Kind of like your big brother or sister saying, “Yeah, I grew up with him and he was a pretty good kid at times. But, I don’t talk to him now.”

Anyway you parse it…Ouch!

Video below:

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The Plastic Bottle Police are Lurking, and I’ve Been Warned

The State of North Carolina has declared that today is the day plastic bottles become big, bad planet killers. And now, I can say I’ve officially been warned about the consequences of my failure to comply with the State.

Earlier this month, the private company that picks up my trash sent a letter emblazened with “North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources” at the top — Division of Waste Management, Dexter R. Matthews, Director. Governor Perdue’s name is also big and bold in the upper left corner, as is Secretary Dee Freeman’s in the upper right corner.

Here’s part of the letter:

Please be aware that the Solid Waste Section takes the bans seriously and compliance personnel have been instructed to closely monitor disposal practices. We recommend that each owner/operator of a landfill or transfer station and transporters of waste notify their customers of these requirements in North Carolina.

It continues:

Violations of the Solid Waste Law can result in administrative penalties and we encourage you to work with us to ensure that North Carolina Solid Waste Laws are observed.

What that really means, I have no idea. But, if I see someone peeking into my trash container, I’ll know the State is officially on the job. Is all of this necessary? JLF’s Roy Cordato weighs in.

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“I want this damn money back.”

Me, too. At least one Durham councilman is mad about the Durham overtime scam that benefitted one Durham cop to the tune of $62,000 or more. But not mad enough as far as I’m concerned. One commander is being allowed to retire and Chief Jose Lopez is still on the job, despite the fact that the audit shows he knew — and defended — the outrageous overtime payments in June. Page 12 of the audit details what the chief knew and when he knew it.

From the Herald-Sun:

Brown and Woodard also said they were pleased that Bonfield is talking about trying to recover some of the money, likely to the tune of something in the $40,000 range, given that auditors believe Robinson-Taylor did in fact work some of the hours she claimed.

“The question is restitution,” Brown said. “I want this damn money back.”

Sitting council members shied away Wednesday from criticizing Lopez or other senior Police Department leaders. Lopez said in answer to a reporter’s question that he hadn’t been asked to resign.

Former Durham police captain Andy Miller has it right about the city’s decision to allow the commander involved to simply retire. More from the Herald-Sun: (emphasis is mine)

The leader of the N.C. Sheriff Police Alliance, former Durham Police Department Capt. Andy Miller, said Bonfield had delivered an investigation that was as promised “complete, thorough and transparent.”

Miller did, however, question the decision to allow Deputy Chief Council to retire.

Retirement is not punishment,” he said. “You get a paycheck for the rest of your life. We’ll see if Officer Robinson[-Taylor] gets off as lightly.”

And we’ll see how Durham taxpayers react to all of this. Recall that while overtime cash was being heaped upon an officer for work not supported by documentation, City Manager Tom Bonfield and other city bureaucrats were considering layoffs. From the Herald-Sun:

He also acknowledged that the payments came while administrations and the City Council were preparing to eliminate positions and lay off employees to deal with a budget crunch.

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