Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hey Kids! The Mayor Wants to Add More to Your Future Burden!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of our silly little Mayor. For a so-called conservative Republican, he sure likes to spend money. Unfortunately, it’s OUR money. Well, some of it is our money, but a lot of it will ultimately come out of the pockets of our children and grandchildren.
Yet it’s not just Munson who is to blame. Our City Commission certainly has no problem saying yes to almost every little plan he and his cronies think up. Every time he comes up with an extravagant idea, you can count on De Knudson to be two paces behind him clapping and smiling, along with Vernon Brown spouting out old KELO clich├ęs about the “spirit of caring” and “creating opportunities for all people”. Yeah, right.
This past weekend, reports in the daily paper indicated that Munson and his pals had another laundry list of wants to be funded through another bond issue. Not a big list, really. Just $46 million or so for sports fields, windows, “fishin’ holes”, and zoo upgrades. Yes, that’s sarcasm.
Oh yeah, and a new bridge on 41st Street that “might” be reimbursed by the federal government. Do you really see that happening? Generally, aren’t federal funds requests sorted out before a project? I’ve never seen the government supplying money for a project that’s already been paid. I’m sure it’s happened somewhere, but it just seems to be quite a long shot.
All of this wouldn’t be so worrisome if the bills weren’t starting to add up. According to Council member Kermit Staggers, our current “outstanding or authorized debt exceeds $280 million”. This number would be much higher if voters hadn’t rejected the controversial swimming complex a couple of years ago. There’s also the upcoming debate on a new Arena that could potentially drive that figure even higher.
The source to repay this debt is the so-called “second penny” tax that we voted in a few years ago that was originally supposed to be used ONLY for street maintenance. Of course, it didn’t take long for that money to be absorbed into the general budget. If that money had been used as intended, we probably wouldn’t need to borrow to replace that 41st Street bridge.
The timing of this plan is not the best, either. Just two weeks ago, the council approved steep water and sewage hikes, and my friend De complained that the fees were not raised enough for her liking. At a time when it’s becoming clearer every day that we are probably headed towards an economic downturn that will probably have a larger affect on our citizens than similar situations have in the past, it’s probably not best to add to our city’s debt. Then again, this administration is not known for looking at anything other than seeing their names on statues and plaques congratulating themselves for conning the citizens once again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Little Elvis Fights the "Man"

Yesterday was one of those rare days when I knew exactly my topic when I sat down to compose this morning’s rant. I had it all written in my head, and it was going to take no time at all to prepare my text.
The plan was to watch PTI and the evening news before rushing to get my thoughts down before Game 3 of the NBA Finals. (Beat L.A.!) Like a typical day, the news portion of the broadcast was winding down at three minutes past the hour. It was time to switch to Cops reruns when one final story caught my eye:



So this jackass in Lincoln County doesn’t believe in the constitutionality of a driver’s permit. Elvis “Jake” Hanes says that one is only needed if “you’re going to engage in commercialized activity according to the motor vehicle act”. Um, ok.
It gets better, as every one of Hanes’ quotes is a goldmine. "I wasn't engaged in an activity that was deemed ‘regulateable’, I didn't consent to the officer pulling me over and I don't like accepting services at the barrel of a gun," said Hanes.
Although he was in court yesterday to plead not guilty, he told KELO that he wasn’t going to hire a lawyer. Well, he inferred that even if he wanted to, no lawyer would take his case. "I think there isn't an attorney in his right mind that would represent me, because it goes so much against the status quo, the BAR association is nothing more than a brotherhood of lawyers and you don't go against your frat brothers," said Hanes. (Didn’t I tell you this guy’s a goldmine?)
It wasn’t just the statements alone that conjured up laughter and disbelief; it was the belligerent cockiness in his tone. Surely, this guy didn’t just come out of nowhere, and how did KELO know to come cover a simple traffic ticket in Lincoln County?
Google is an amazing tool, and within seconds I found quite a bit of info about little Elvis (including his address, phone number, and email address). Sure enough, this guy was one of the main players in 2006’s Amendment E fiasco. In fact, to interview Jail4Judges leader Bill Stegmeier, one was instructed to email Elvis to set it up.
Although Amendment E failed miserably (90% - 10%, in case you don’t recall), little Elvis is still involved in politics. As you may expect from somebody who doesn’t believe in the constitutionality of driver’s licenses, he’s one of those wacky Ron Paul supporters. Trust me, I have yet to meet a Ron Paul fan who is not at least a little nutty. He’s also one of the South Dakota representatives of a lawsuit that was filed last year in New York District Court that alleges that machines cannot be used at any point of the voting process. We’re not just talking about the controversial paper-less electronic voting machines that I believe should never be used; this lawsuit wants to outlaw any machines used in the voting process. Ballots are to be stored in public view; are to be hand-counted. Any use of machines is in their eyes a sham election. Welcome to 1808!
Come on, Elvis. It’s clear you’re a smart guy. It’s also clear to me that you’re the one who contacted KELO to give your one-man fight against “plastic cards” a little publicity. Just pay the fine and take a driver’s test.