On Tuesday, May 19th, Klamath County voters defeated ballot measure 18-100 (Klamath Jail Levy) and approved 18-101 (OSU Extension Center Levy). The Klamath Jail Levy (also known as the Public Safety Levy) asked tax payers to trust County Commissioners with a potential $1.14/$1,000 addition to their property taxes. Proponents claimed this would ensure secure jail funding for the next 5 years. Opponents claimed that the County had other ways of funding the jail without further burdening tax payers — and that is exactly what the county had been doing for the past four years. Opponents won this battle 59% to 41%.
Levy 18-10 (aka OSU Extension Center Levy or KBREC) was a different story with claims that farmers would go out of business and 4-H would cease to exist if the levy was not passed. Opponents claimed that if farmers needed such services they could pay for them without tax payer subsidies and that 4-H would be better off without government involvement. Voters approved the levy by a closer vote of 53% to 46%.
But while some celebrate the defeat of the Jail levy, the fact that our taxes now increase another $0.15/$1,000 on top of the increases of over $1.00/$1,000 for either county or city school building projects is, in the end, a loss. Klamath County moved more towards socialism, just on a slower path than some would like, but certainly in that direction. The KBREC levy offers the same set of services that were available before, but now at an increased cost to all. What's worse is that only a small subset of the community benefit from KBREC which is paid for by all. That's great if you are the few on the receiving end, not so great if you are stuck with the bill.
Earlier this week, Freedom took it on the chin as the U.S. House passed HR 2048, named the USA Freedom Act. U.S. Congressman Greg Walden voted for the bill. You probably did not hear him say anything about it, because Mr. Walden hopes you never learn how he voted — or that such a vote took place. If he were proud of his vote, rest assured, we would all know about it.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the bulk telephone metadata program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is thus unlawful. The ruling is a big win for privacy and civil liberties advocates who have long argued that Section 215 clearly does not contemplate the type of mass collection we now know is occurring.
However that did not deter Congress and so they quickly wrote H.R 2048 which will undo much of the progress resulting from the Second Circuit’s opinion. The bill's sponsors, and unfortunately some outside advocacy groups, wrongly claim that H.R. 2048 ends “bulk” collection. It is true that the bill ends the phone dragnet as we currently know it—by having the phone companies themselves hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government, which is worse in many ways given the broader set of data the companies hold—but H.R. 2048 actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.
In the 1980's an anti-drug campaign led by First Lady Nancy Reagan urged young adults to “Just say no” to drugs. The liberals mocked the campaign, and Mrs. Reagan, as being too simple. You see the drug culture was much more complex, much more nuanced. For her to expect youth to Just Say No when offered or encouraged to take drugs would never work.
Funny though. If you Just Say No and don't do drugs guess what — you don't do drugs. Will power IS enough, you just have to have the courage (this of course does not include those already addicted, where more is required).
This is exactly the same is the message we need to send to the county clerk's office this month when we turn in our May ballots. Just Say No to bigger government. Just say no to additional taxes. Just say no to public unions ever increasing salaries and benefits. The dirty little secret why county government is shedding services left and right is not because we don't send them enough money, rather it is because they have signed an unholy alliance with public unions which ever increase their costs — no matter what the surrounding economy is doing.
Of course you’re going to support the farmers, ranchers and children by voting Yes on 18-101: the KBREC OSU Extension Center levy. Who would be against such a thing?
This is the perpetual lie of the Left. They claim that if we continue to acquiesce and send more of our disposable income to government that County and State officials know best how to bring about utopia. 18-101 is no different.
Previously the OSU Extension Center and 4-H were funded by our general property taxes. This meant the County Commissioners looked at their budgets and allocated a certain amount for these services. Since 2007, when the housing bubble burst and economic collapse ensued, the Commissioners have steadily been setting aside less and less for this program. It isn’t that they think the OSU Extension Center is a bad program or that 4-H is not worth funding, but the County Commissioners had to make a decision with their limited resources and decided that the county had higher priorities that needed to be funded. (Why can’t we also claim the same thing with our limited budgets without being labeled “selfish”, “cheap” or “uncaring” by those with a differing opinion?)
The one thing the Left is very good at is bending language to favor their point of view.
One such example is the Public Safety Levy. Just think about that for a moment. Why didn’t they call it the “Fund The Jail Levy”? Because no one wants to pay more taxes for a jail, but many will pay more to stay or be safe. But that begs the question, how safe? How safe is safe enough? Do we need to pay for police officers on every corner? That would be safer, but really expensive.
Rarely do public officials use hard data UNLESS it favors their position. Instead they prefer to create a nebulous world with language, talking endlessly about keeping you "safe" or "safer". But those of us in the real world who have limited resources must have a better metric to determine if the level of safety today is adequate not — and that data is often difficult to come by, or people are too lazy to look it up. So the Left wins their argument by claiming to be the champions of safety and all opponents are people who are obviously cheap, uncaring and selfish. (Learn more about the Jail levy — including great and easy to understand data).
If you are Republican of any flavor it is not hard to see what a mess the party is in. The only saving grace is that the other side is in as bad of, or worse, shape. However that is not enough to win elections or to bring real change to this country in order to live once again as a free and prosperous people.
The Republican party is in trouble because it has left its founding principles. Many in the Republican party, at the national, state and local levels, claim to be for fiscal responsibility and limited government. These same Republicans become upset when our tax dollars are used to help illegal aliens receive benefits meant for tax payers or for citizens in distress. However, when you dig a little deeper you often find a hypocrisy among these Republicans that they are unaware of — and what’s more, when you point out this hypocrisy to them, they get very upset.
For the most part I consider these Republicans well meaning but lost. What has happened is that they have moved from a principled view of government, where they claim to believe in the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility, and moved to a preference view of government.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Klamath County Republican Central Committee meeting. A gentleman spoke on reasons why we should vote no on both the Public Safety levy and the KBREC levy. It was an entertaining and informative talk.
What surprised me were two men who disagreed with the speaker’s point of view. During the question and answer session there was some discussion about how the county jail has been funded with Road Fund dollars and whether that was a good or bad idea going forward. One of the two gentlemen blurted out “We can’t continue to steal from the Road Funds.” Note, he is in favor of passing the Public Safety levy.
That comment stuck in my craw the wrong way until I realized why. This pro-Public Safety levy man was claiming it was wrong for the government to take money from one government account (set aside for a specific purpose, in this case roads) and use it for another government need (the jail). However at the same time he was perfectly fine taking money from my (personal) account to use on another government need (the jail). That’s when I had that “ah-ha” moment. What had bothered me was his hypocrisy, because if one action was stealing, then both actions were stealing. It just so happens that one scenario “steals” from a government account he wants to protect, but when “stealing” from my wallet — he could care less. “Hand it over”, in other words.
A new website, KlamathJailLevy.com sprung up this week to defend tax payers, explaining why Public Safety Levy 18-100 is a bad deal for Klamath County residents. We endorse this effort and hope you will take five minutes to learn the whole truth about the Public Safety levy before voting. What's more, please share this website to friends and family through email and Facebook.
The data on this website is not well known. Don’t expect the Herald and News or the proponents for this levy (Commissioners and Sheriff) to help you learn about it either because the information on this website is detrimental to their cause. That is exactly why you need to first learn the truth by visiting the website, and then spread the word to like minded conservatives.
It seems like every government agency and its dog is looking for “secure funding”. Whether it is the jail, OSU Extension Service, the public schools, the museum, the public library,... the list is almost endless. Every government agency now wants their own taxing district so they can ensure funding from year to year without worry whether the Commissioners might cut their budgets because of poor cost management and/or declining tax receipts.
What if JELD-WEN wanted the same thing, secure funding? As one of the largest employers in Klamath County, what if JELD-WEN asked tax payers for just $1.00/$1,000 in order to ensure they could keep jobs here in the Klamath Basin instead of shipping them to North Carolina? What if the local bakery wanted the same thing to help local bakeries be better prepared to survive a future economic down turn? And how about all the lawyers and accountants? We certainly need their services in our little community, so why shouldn't the rest of us sacrifice just a little bit more to ensure secure funding for these businesses too?
Hopefully you can quickly see how this idea is endless and unworkable. So this begs the question, why does government need “secure funding” when the rest of us (who pay the taxes) don’t get such assurances in our personal or professional lives? I suppose the response would be, “Well Mr. Smith, that's because we need certain government services, and we can't afford to not have them.” I agree with this statement to a point — if we can properly define what the word “need” means. There are indeed a few services a county government needs to and should provide. But those services belong to a very limited set. Most of the things county government provides are really wants by special interest groups cleverly disguised as community needs.
Just days after successfully helping President Obama secure funding for his illegal, Executive Amnesty program, Representative Greg Walden quickly went to his computer to make sure his constituents know he is fighting against Obama? What??? Here is his email to the district:
So is this what “conservative” representation now looks like? Our “conservative” representative voting to get Obama’s Cromnibus budget thorough Congress, and two months later joining more Democrats than Republicans to help Obama get his illegal amnesty program fully funded? Of course it isn't. This is a Republican whose first name is RINO. Don't be suckered by the charm and ah-shucks presentation of this inside-the-beltway, DC schmoozer.