Who would have ever thought four little words would make people so angry? That very well may be what happens on Tuesday, February 9th at the Government Center around 10:00am.
[ Correction: The Meeting Starts at 9:00am. ]
Even though the Commissioners voted in favor 2-1 (Minty-Morris opposed) of posting an “In God We Trust” sign in the Government Center, Minty-Morris wants more public comments, which will happen this Tuesday. Her hope is to have enough people against the plaque show up or for enough people to cause a controversy that Commissioner Bellet will change his mind. It is an election year after all, and the last thing politicians like is a controversy that might cost them votes.
In a vote of 2-1, the Klamath County Commissioners yesterday approved placing a sign “In God We Trust” in the public meeting room at the Government Center. The sign will be developed from private donations and defended, should someone bring a lawsuit, by the Pacific Justice Institute of Sacramento. In other words the sign will not cost the tax payers a dime to develop or defend. Carol Warren led the effort with the help of Commissioner Tom Mallams to get the item on the commissioner’s agenda.
Of course, when a positive thing, a conservative thing, happens in this county the Herald and News is quick to find dissenting opinions. Klamath Falls City Councilwoman Trish Seiler is one who is opposed to the sign. Per the paper Seiler said that county government “needs to stay out of religion, and religion stay out of government.”
We are gearing up for another election year in Klamath County. One of the new phrases you may hear by those running for public office (whether it be city council or county commissioner) is “Economic Development”. Economic Development is such a positive sounding term. When someone running for office says it most think, “This is a wonderful person who wants to help our economy.” However, if you think a little more, you have to ask yourself, “What do they really mean?”
To be frank, Economic Development is another leftist term — or at least one that has been cooped by the central planners. When someone running for office (or in office) refers to “Economic Development” what they mean is that they want to use tax payer dollars to lure a particular industry or business to Klamath. More often than not that industry or business will personally or politically benefit the public official in some fashion (a form of crony capitalism). The other problem with this approach is that there is no way a few government officials can possibly know of all the options and all the opportunities in the county in which to make the best decision. So by definition, the best they can do is make a decision that is less than the best. Often times government directed Economic Development is simply a waste of tax payer dollars, because there is no penalty for risks taken — it is not their money and they’ll get another stash of tax dollars next year — and without risk, decision making becomes very skewed or warped.
The answer to this dilema is to bring in “economic experts”. In Klamath’s case these experts wear the name KCEDA (Klamath County Economic Development Association). This private organization raises money by extracting tax dollars directly from the city, the county and through grants offered by state and federal agencies. For instance in 2016 Klamath County will give KCEDA around $200,000. For what purpose? Economic Development. And what is that? Anything KCEDA needs it to be. Since KCEDA are not elected officials they can spend the money virtually anyway they want. What’s more KCEDA is not directly held accountable by tax payers for their results (or more often the lack of results). In essence, our tax dollars pay people to run around trying to recruit new business to our area. When one does come (whether through the efforts of KCEDA or not) KCEDA will run in front of the cameras to take as much credit as possible.
Why do most people think that when a conservative like Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump yesterday, that made Donald Trump more conservative? Why don’t people think when Sarah Palin endorsed populist Donald Trump yesterday, it revealed to us that Sarah Palin is really a populist?
It is a very important question to ponder. I believe most of us have incorrectly pegged Sarah Palin as a philosophical conservative — one whose ideas bubbled up from the same ground springs in which the Founding Fathers drank. However, yesterday’s announcement made it abundantly clear that our understanding of Sarah Palin has been incorrect. She too is a populist. For another set of exhibits to prove my argument: when have you heard Sarah Palin ever talk down any of Senator John McCain’s populist, big-government ideas? Answer, never. She is loyal to the establishment while wearing red, white and blue.
Unfortunately, most of us were fooled, for Sarah is one who latched onto popular conservative ideas and railed against the left. However, when it came time to stick her neck out, instead of endorsing the true conservative, Ted Cruz, she goes with the popular choice, Mr. Apprentice. She calls that picking a winner. I call that hedging your bets and accepting the under-the-table offer by Trump.
In May 2016, we will have the opportunity to vote for two of the three Klamath County Commissioners. Position #1, currently held by Tom Mallams, and Position #3, currently held by Jim Bellet, will both be on the ballot. For position #1 there seems to be a long line of people interested in taking on Mallams, while on the other hand Bellet has only one challenger so far.
2014 was the first time the County Commissioners race was non-partisan. What this means is that Republicans and Democrats do not use the May primary to pick their favorite candidate to run in the general election held in November. Instead everyone is on the ballot, no matter of party affiliation, and the two candidates with the most votes in May face-off in November. The only exception is if someone receives over 50% of the votes in May, then that person automatically wins the seat. This is what happened with Kelly Minty-Morris in 2014, as she secured over 50% in May primary and did not have to run again in November.
What Should Conservatives Look For In A Good Candidate?
First and foremost, we need County Commissioners that are unequivocally committed to limited government. This means lower taxes, lower regulation and less government, not more of it. While County Commissioners are really an extension of State decisions, County Commissioners do have power to keep local tax measures from easily making their way onto our ballots. They also have the ability to wisely manage the budget and to not over-spend. Moreover they can avoid supporting programs that benefit a few, but are paid for by everyone else.
That’s the question for today. The simplistic answer is yes; however, the correct answer is no. If we think we are just a nation of laws we are no different than the Nazi government of the 1930’s & 40’s or Communism or for that matter many Islamic regimes today which are guided by laws called Sharia. All of these anti-American forms of government can clan make the same exact claim, that they are a “nation of laws”. So what is different about American from these other forms of government? Or is there any difference?
The founders knew that if they set forth a new government, where laws were the foundation, America would quickly become a totalitarian state. Instead they believed in a higher power. The opening paragraph to the Declaration of Independence gives us a great insight into what the founders thought should be the foundation for our laws:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The Republican party stands for a set of general principles that make it distinct from the Democrat party. Those general principles are fiscal responsibility, limited government, to provide for a strong defense and civil liberties. If you believe in those things, bravo — it is most likely why you are a Republican and not a Democrat or Independent. Unfortunately, Republicans we elected to represent us in Washington think differently. While they claim to be for all of these ideals, wrapping themselves in the American flag whenever in the district, the truth of the matter is that the GOP has turned on those ideas — and on us.
This past week, the Republican controlled U.S. House, and then U.S. Senate, voted to approve a $1.1 Trillion Omnibus bill. This will fund the Federal Government for the next year (through September 30, 2016). There are several particulars wrong with this law (and I will address those shortly), but the what we should first object to is the entire Omnibus process. In 2010, the Omnibus process is exactly what Republicans objected to when Democrats ran the House, and is part of the reason they won in grand fashion the 2010 mid-term elections. Rather than the Federal Budget being broken into separate appropriations bills, the Omnibus process bundles them all into one, large, monster bill. While this makes it easier for congress, it makes it more difficult for us, the voters, to understand what is going on. If we do not understand, there is no way to keep our members accountable. Moreover, it is hard to object to a massive bill that may have many good things in it even if it contains some bad things.
And that is exactly why congress does this — to dodge any sort of accountability. If they went through the normal appropriations process congressional members would have to take stands on all sorts of issues that may not make them popular with the Washington elite. So again our first objection should be to the Omnibus process, especially since both houses of congress are controlled by Republicans. We certainly did not give them control of either house to act like the Democrats they replaced.
It is said that principled people rarely have to deliberate about what to do, because their principles inform them of the correct decision. However, those who follow the way of pragmatism struggle mightily at ever turn.
Congressman Greg Walden is a pragmatist. His PR team would disagree with that statement. They would claim Walden is a conservative who works hard just like the average person in Oregon’s 2nd District, which he represents. They would continue that every day Walden is fighting the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama. They would say Greg Walden is pro-business and wants to stop the insanity of regulation by the Federal Government.
Unfortunately that is only true when it also benefits Greg Walden.
Does it? Does government have enough money and resources to do what it needs to do? That question is the fundamental issue behind each new tax levy and each new ballot measure where government asks the citizens for more money.
First it is important to think about need verses want. What is it we citizens need government to do, as opposed to, what do some want government to do? Much too much of what Federal, State and Local government does is not for the real needs of its citizens, but rather for the wants of special interests. These special interests have cleverly disguised their interest as a public concern and then tricked tax payers into funding their venture. Did we need to rebuild Henley elementary or KU? No, the buildings were just fine. They are old, but they certainly functioned. No one was dying in them. No one was getting sick, and no one injured. But the real-estate/construction/public-union/government sector drool over such public building projects because they funnel money from your pocket to theirs at inflated, government mandated, wages. Is it nicer to drive by a new school building rather than an old one. Sure. But does it educate our children any better? No. And there is a prime example between need and want. The real need is to educate our children. The want is to do it in the best and most expensive buildings in the county. Do children win? No. Do the special interests win? Yes. And special interests win all while fooling the public that we now have “better schools”.
Second, why should government continue to get more and more of our tax dollars? When your income increases, did you know that the amount of money you send to government also increases? So when wages in Klamath County go up, government already gets more money — at the same rate of the citizenry it serves. Likewise, when income goes down, money to the government decreases accordingly. Why then when incomes decrease should government continue spending at the same levels or higher? Why should government be given more money when the rest of us are doing with less?
What if one day $10,000,000.00 fell from the sky and appeared on Main Street between the Court House and Government Building? Immediately the police are called in, surrounding the large bundle of cash,... waiting for the County Commissioners and City Council to decide how best to utilize this gift from heaven for the local community.
One choice would be to allocate the money to City and County Government. Some of the money could go towards budget-starved agencies to help with any revenue shortfalls. Some of the money could be used for economic development (promoting tourism, attracting businesses to move to the area) and community efforts such as better parks, better streets, a few more police officers and emergency personnel. Also the money could be used to solarize certain government buildings, helping our city and county move towards a sustainable green zone.
The other choice would be to divide the money up among the citizens of Klamath County and let them determine how best it should be used.
Which way is best? Which way would help us grow our local economic pie? Which way would be better for economic growth and stability of our community? Which way will deliver money in the most efficient manner to the goods and services that the citizens of Klamath County value most?