Saturday, January 23, 2010

Financial Irresponsibility

First, they voted themselves a gold-plated health insurance perk. Not a raise, mind you, but a "benefit". Then there were the "Bonuses Paid before Roads Paved". And we won't even go near the smell of a 40% increase in the City Attorney's budget (to over three hundred and fifty thousand dollars) without putting those services up for competitive bid.

And now, for the second time, the City Council is hell bent on a getting a paid vacation--a "retreat"--using our money to pay the tab. This time they're not staying in the city, nor the county, nor even the state. This junket is headed to Franklin, Tennessee. The name alone conjures up wisdoms like "a penny saved is a penny earned"---a concept foreign to our council members who are unburdened by fiscal prudence. What irony.

And our city mouthpiece, Warren "5K" Hutmacher, tells the AJC "interesting parallels will inform the retreat with benefits that could not be obtained by staying within the city". Given that the entire sentence is borderline incoherent, it is difficult to understand what ole 5K is really saying but it sounds like we have an incompetent City Council that cannot look around the city we live in, identify our problems and fix them. At least not without having someone else show them how--hence the obviousness of the incompetence. If they would spend some of the effort and resources dedicated to themselves on making Dunwoody better for us all, they just might find they like it here.

So the question remains: is it just a paid vacation or is there something else? Do they expect to see how effective Franklin is at Toll-Trolling I-65 to glean ideas on how Dunwoody can improve its own trolls? Do they want a real town center to copy (after all, how original is "williamsburg")? If so they need not go as far as Nashville. (Somehow the fact that Franklin is only 20 miles from the Grand Ole Opry didn't make it into the press release.)  Since Franklin does allow chickens in the city limits, maybe our decision makers will finally visit a backyard poultry operation. Or perhaps Franklin council members have a platinum retirement program and our council is looking for some "how to" guidance. And if they were serious about paving a road, fixing a drain or pouring a sidewalk, they could pack a lunch and take a day trip to Decatur where the county can show them how it is done.

But if they would really like to learn something important, they should visit a small town in Massachusetts. There they can see what a voter uprising looks like. Or perhaps if we, the taxpayers, spend just a little bit more on this junket we can make sure the council and mayor have a one way trip.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patrol OUR Streets

It comes as no surprise that Georgia has local LEO's patrolling interstates under the guise of public safety when in fact it is a nothing but a shameless act of taking. Nor that in addtion to taking money from non-voting, non-resident travellers, they divert resources away from the citizens they are sworn to serve, leaving them under-protected and over-taxed.

Some say "there oughta be a law". Soon there may be -- Senate Bill 295 which is:
To amend Article 1 of Chapter 14 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding the use of speed detection devices and traffic-control signal monitoring devices, so as to prohibit municipalities from using speed detection devices on federal aid systems; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
This is a reaction to cities that are using federally funded highways running through or around their city as an open purse, establishing themselves as modern day "highway robbers." Now keep in mind, if your municipality really believes their patrols are for public safety and they want to continue patrolling to stop or apprehend reckless or aggressive drivers they can still fulfill that noble role. They just cannot set up a speed trap as these obviously serve no purpose but to tap into an easy stream of "other people's money".

This law would also put enforcement in the hands of appropriate law enforcement agencies at the county and state level (in Dunwoody we are prohibited from referring to layers of government). These agencies can more efficiently coordinate related enforcement activities, like drug trafficking, that are often associated with interstate highways.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Dunwoody, for surely Dunwoody is above such shameful, greedy tactics.  

As it turns out, our founding fathers worked to ensure that Dunwoody City limits included I-285 and an open records request for traffic citations comparing speeding tickets on 285 and a school zone where a child was struck just last year might be revealing. One would suppose, if community safety were a top priority, there would be increased enforcement in the school zone and almost no activity on a highway that has little to do with the safety of Dunwoody's citizens. One would suppose erroneously.

If supporters need a poster child for abuse of jurisdiction and the neglect of taxpayers that this bill addresses, they need look no further than Dunwoody.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Correcting Rights

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
In this year's session under the Gold Dome, legislators will consider two bills addressing in what way and to what extent our rights will continue to be infringed. In the Senate we have  Senate Bill 291 and in the House Georgia House Bill 615, both of which simplify the process of obtaining a valid GFL, and clarify some of the (some say intentional) confusion around where concealed (or open) carry applies.

Of the two, the House bill is superior as it:
  • requires licensing by the Secretary of State, not probate courts
  • permits open carry without a license
  • protects requisite private information
  • provides for permanent licensing
  • provides greater clarity on where carry applies
  • provides for temporary surrender at prohibited locations
Those opposed to second amendment rights decry the fact that this expands concealed carry. This "expansion" would include locations, like public sidewalks, where protests might be legally held--remember the Scientology protests on Shallowford just a few months ago? It would also cover access to businesses prohibited from arbitrarily denying service to customers based on almost any other "consideration". This "expansion" would almost put second amendment rights on par with these first amendment  and civil rights (indirectly based interpretations of the Constitution's Commerce Clause).


It still requires fees that would be considered a "poll tax" were this about voting rights. It also requires background searches, fingerprinting and data retention, by the government, of private information that would have civil libertarians screaming were it applied to something even as clearly a privilege as driving a car. But "almost" is better than what we have now.

While this bill will not put Georgia in the company of Constitution-respecting states like New Hampshire it is a step towards restoring our second amendment rights and deserves the support of all Georgians who believe in our country and support its constitution.

Let your legislators know where you stand.

Friday, January 1, 2010

No Comment

A neighbor recently asked why this blog doesn't allow reader comments and received the neighborly answer of "not sure anybody reads it and not interested in soliciting comments".

After some reflection it was obvious this question deserved a more public and thorough lambasting.

First, this is not your wailing wall, it's mine. You want one, then create your own.

Then, for the most part, reader comments are little more than self-aggrandizing, pithy quips or worse yet, useless, counter-productive whining. If all the more you have to offer is whining, and anonymous whining at that, then try here, here, or even here. Whine to your heart's content.

As has been mentioned before, it is pretty well documented that if you are staring at a brain-sucking screen, reading a blog, and especially if you have read this post this far, you are probably an idiot. And frankly my dear, no one gives a damn about your idiot comments.

And how is it so certain that you're an idiot? Well, by now you've been twice labeled an idiot with numerous opportunities to link away and yet you persist in the hope you might be able post a comment offering up that last little piece of your mind.

So here's a bit of unsolicited advice: you just might want to become more self-aware of your general reading habits.

Ask yourself: do you read more blog postings than magazine articles? No, not People Magazine---a real magazine, like Economist, Scientific American, or even Garden and Gun. You know, something to make the synapses fire, perhaps put a few facts in your head, or offer a reasoned opinion. And did you know there are these really cool things called books? They're a lot like magazines except they are generally smaller, though thicker and with way more pages. Some have pictures. And, there are these really cool places called libraries. And you can go to a library and borrow a book to read without even paying! That's right---it's FREE! So instead of squinting a this screen, proving you are an idiot, you could be curled up in a comfortable chair, with a favorite beverage, reading a really good novel or an excellent historical work.

At the end of the day, if you would quit reading blogs, quit with your whiny comments, and start reading books and some real magazines you might get yourself informed, and you might wake up one day and find you are no longer an idiot. You might even have something to say that is worth hearing. Just not on this blog.