LEAVE IT TO PEEVER
– Bumper sticker of the week: Oxymoron #184. Political leadership.
– Quote of the week: To General Musharraf: "You can't be President and the head of the military at the same time." George W. Bush, Nov. 7, 2007. (Which of course is exactly what the U.S. President is.)
– Have you ever misplaced your penis? That's one of the major causes of STD's. Respectable people don't like to talk about this. My guess is itÕs happened to them on occasion.
– Here we go again: Let's fix up the downtown. Actually, they say it needs to reinvent itself. Wow! The city is going to pay a ton of money to a firm in Springfield who are going to do a strategic plan, which the city is not likely to ever follow. It's going to say: You need viable retail stores; put the wires underground on Main Street, from Lakis to Interstate 74; put in some green areas for people to congregate; have some events, like Railroad Days, and Taste of Galesburg, in the downtown area; and make Wal-Mart move their store downtown. We could put meters up to make some money, which could be used to send more people to China. They, in turn, could smuggle goods back for Wal-Mart to sell, who could sell the stuff even cheaper than they do, since they wouldn't have to pay those nasty import duties. Cheaper stuff. More buyers, more meter income. Sure this is a bunch of crap, which is exactly what we're going to get from the people in Springfield. Only mineÕs free.
– Speaking of the Burlington Depot: I hear rumors that the BNSF wants a bigger depot. Since they tore a bigger one down, with significant historic value, they can pay for a new one, if they really want one.
– The oldest profession in the world is said to be prostitution, but businessmen looking for cheap labor has to be a close second. The two could be one and the same, I'm not sure. This is a major flaw in capitalism, although by far not the only one. Capital, by and large, can only be built up by the use of cheap labor, labor being the most costly part of almost any commodity. The less the boss can pay his help, the more he makes. It's an age-old proposition, I think thought up by the Chamber of Commerce. Capitalism, as it has grown up to be, is a poor match for a democracy. Fair trade means cheap labor. Globalization equates to cheap labor. NAFTA is short for cheap labor. With the advent of Republicans, business and government in the U.S. have come together to form one worldwide brand name, called imperialism.
– It didn't take long for GREDA to con the county board: "Oh man, are we ever happy. We got a report from GREDA." Seems a huge percentage of the money they are given by the city and county is used for salaries. Another good chunk is given to the Chamber for miscellaneous services, again probably mostly salaries. Obviously, no one on the county board is able to add up one plus one, or they wouldn't have been near so happy. This has been in the past, is now, and most likely will continue to be in the future, a huge waste of taxpayer dollars which the county board thinks is just great.
– Speaking of politicians and wisdom (another oxymoron): I have been wondering if it is a good idea for Galesburg to remain a home rule municipality? This will automatically come into question if our population falls below 25,000. An affirmative referendum will then be necessary to remain a home rule city. Prior to that point, which is likely coming, does it remain a good idea for Galesburg to maintain home rule status? There are definitely pros and cons. The most important issue for me, at the moment, is the loss of control citizens experience on ordinances that can be passed above our objections, particularly concerning taxes on a person or property. The voting down of the recently proposed tele-communications tax is a prime example. The mayor and three aldermen were upset because the tax was agreed on behind closed doors, before constituents heard about it. Alderwoman Lafferty wonders how four alderman could allow the public to sway their votes? This clearly demonstrates a problem with home rule. And Alderwoman Lafferty in particular. We lose control of tax increases. Makes their job easy, our pockets empty. This, however, can be easily remedied. Prior to a referendum asking to revoke home rule, which is coming, the council could enact a home rule policy stating that prior to implementing any ordinance imposing a home rule tax on a person or property (not including property tax extensions), the council must publish the proposed tax and indicate how it will be used. Seven – ten days later, a public hearing would be held to discuss the proposed tax. The council would not take a vote on the proposed ordinance for 30 days. This would allow time to submit petitions opposing the ordinance (10% of the voters from the last mayoral election). If opposing petitions are submitted, the council must hold a referendum and cannot pass the tax if a majority of those voting oppose the increase. This policy would help us, the taxpayers, feel a little more comfortable about what the council is doing regarding the ever present and wildly misused power of taxation through home rule. Without this type of compromise, I'm afraid we might have to look at a referendum asking to abolish home rule. If I were the mayor or aldermen, I would pay really close attention to this possibility.