You probably did not know this (and that’s why we work hard at KlamathNews.net, to report the truth), but your dedicated Klamath County Commissioners received a 1% raise on July 1, 2015. This is only fitting. You see Klamath County Commissioners have not received raises since way back in 2010, and the time had come to correct this problem. We can’t have these public servants starving or falling behind. $68,000 a year is just not enough in 2015.
But wait, the two oldest tenured commissioners started serving in 2013. Both Commissioner Bellet and Mallams have only gone through two budgets without a raise (in other words they haven’t even finished their first term). Kelly Minty Morris has barely got her new curtains up in her office and she also got a raise.
The justification for the Commissioner salary increases can be seen in this presentation (PDF). The bottom line is that other Oregon counties of similar size are giving their commissioners raises, therefore Klamath should as well. That type of thinking is like your teenager demanding that you to buy them a car because their friend’s parents bought them a car. Government employees should only receive a raise if that person is doing a superior job compared to the previous year. Using that logic, Minty-Morris should not get one, because she has barely warmed her chair. Bellet and Mallams also should not get one either because they continue to support (or remain silent on) tax levy after tax levy each election.
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?)
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.
Klamath County — at or near 10% unemployment for over six years straight. Many are homeless. Many are on State or Federal subside programs while at the same time almost everyone employed by a government agency has not felt one drop of the economic tragedy since the housing collapse of 2008.
So the leftists go to work. They are going to bring economic prosperity through more programs, better public school buildings (not education), more parks and improved public safety. But that is not how the real world works. Improving those items are nice, and may earn one accolades by fellow citizens because it all sounds so wonderful and noble. However, that is not how to build a local economy.
... and Emotional People Will Vote Yes
It has been interesting to watch the latest round of “we need more money for the children” telethon. Of course I’m talking about the advocates for Bond Measure 18-99. If passed, the Klamath Falls School District (KFSD) will get a loan of $36,000,000 that the tax-payers in the district will be on the hook for the next 20 years. The economic impact is that over $2 million each year will be transferred from the citizens of Klamath Falls to the special interest consortium of banking, construction and real estate.
The Yes crowd’s claim is that this bond measure will benefit the children. It is a pure emotional plea. There is no real thinking behind it. In the final analysis it is some personal feeling that drives the Yes vote. In reality this bond measure does nothing for the children except to make their parents poorer while doing nothing to fix the real problem in Klamath County — education.
Public teachers often get a pass. They get to claim their main reason for being a public school teacher is that they care about the kids and that they love teaching. While they may complain about the work at times, how difficult students can be, if we dare challenge this core motive — caring for children — we are instantly made out to be demons with horns and pitch fork.
However, it is my belief that for most public school teachers this is a smoke screen, that caring for students and their education is not their core motive. So how do I prove to you my hypothesis, that most public school teachers really care more about something else than their students and their education? It can be done with two simple questions.
During the past week, A.Smith wrote several articles about how to make Klamath County a better community. He has told me he has many, many more ideas, “My ways to improve this county are nearly endless. I can always think of some new and helpful way government can make life better and easier for Klamath County residents.” A.Smith claims he has ideas to create a special levy for:
- Park Beautification for only $0.05/$1,000 — residents always enjoy beautiful parks
- Public Safety for only $0.25/$1,000 — to ensure jails are always open keeping criminals locked up
- County Trapper for only $0.05/$1,000 — to ensure wolves and coyotes don’t negatively effect livestock. Maybe even two or three trappers instead of just one for only $0.10/$,1000
- County Lunch Service for only $0.07/$1,000— Free Lunches on Wednesday provided by the county for those who can’t afford a decent meal and are starving
- County Detox Center for only $0.15/$1,000 — so we don’t use jail space to sober up people drunk or high
- County School Improvement for only $1.50/$1,000 — to rebuild/rennovate all county school buildings over 50 years old
- Senior Center Expansion for only $0.12/$1,000 — to expand the senior center program to have satillite locations throughout the county, not just in Klamath Falls.
- Economic Development Upgrade for only $0.58/$1,000 — to better fund and expand KCEDA, the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce, and SCCOED.
Like he said, his list is nearly endless (and yes, he has many, many more ideas). If you think all of these ideas, including the four he wrote about previous (County Coffee Shops, County Library, County Museum, County Daycare Centers, County Airport), are wonderful then you also think adding $4.44/$1,000 to existing taxes is also a fine idea. Of course no one would ever propose a $4.44 levy in Klamath. That would never pass. So the trick is to offer one, maybe two at a time and over time the public is gullible enough to pass them, especially if it makes the community better or helps the poor and the children.
Klamath County was dealt a serious economic blow on June 5th, as SkyWest stopped service to the newly renamed Crater Lake - Klamath Regional Airport (aka Klamath Falls Airport). Now the only way to fly into Klamath County is via a private charter or through the Rogue Valley Airport and then catch a shuttle/rent-a-car to Klamath. Without direct commercial air service to Klamath County, it makes doing business in and with Klamath businesses much more difficult. Another way to state this is to say many companies won't do business with Klamath County enterprises because there is no longer any direct commercial air service.
The Crater Lake - Klamath Regional Airport is owned and operated by the City of Klamath Falls. However, the county government derives benefits such as the tourism tax on hotel stays, as well as other taxes gleaned through increased commerce in the county. That said, the county does not current contribute any operational funding or services to the airport.
Since commerce and connectivity to the outside world is vital to Klamath County’s economy and livability, we think that should change. A special tax levy of just $0.08/$1,000 could help raise funds to lure another commercial airline to service Klamath Falls (and the surrounding county). With this new funding in place we can be assured that a new airline won't just come or go based on how the economy is doing. Instead direct air service to Klamath County would be stable, predictable and consistent, once and for all.
America has changed over the past 60 years. For the most part, gone are the days of the traditional two-parent family, where one parent stayed at home to manage household affairs and the other earned a living. Today’s modern world allows for the freedom of single-parent families without shame.
But with this modern family arises a new dilemma — what do to with the children while the parent goes to work? Fortunately the government has provided a solution — but only half a solution. Currently the county government provides family financial assistance for food through WIC (Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program) and through other welfare programs. But what about those parents who wish to work?
This is where our county government could step up to the plate and do some real good in our community by providing County Daycare Centers. Since our county is so larger, there should be a County Daycare Center in every municipality so all parents have easy access. In addition, these County Daycare Centers should be housed in new county buildings, because we can’t afford for our children to stay in older, possibly mold- or asbestos-infected buildings. Plus the new construction of each of these daycare centers would mean more jobs to our local economy. Each County Daycare Center would be fully staffed with state-certified professionals, so our children would only receive the best care and learning experience possible.