Today the Herald and News reported that the Klamath Community College Bond measure failed 55% - 44%. This is good news for all Klamath County businesses. However the fight is not over. There are other bond measures looming in the not too distant future: City Parks, Airport and Public Safety to name a few.
It is not that I am against any of these things. What I am against is the fact year after year public employees get raises, irregardless to the economic circumstances around them. For the most part they have total job security and health and retirement benefits that an entrepreneur can only dream about. This model is unsustainable. When the government continually asks for more money, it is because their budgets are gobbled up more and more by payroll and benefits rather than on the programs they promise to deliver.
If you think I am wrong, tell me why in 2001 (during a recession) the county could afford to keep county jail pods A, B and C open but today they scrap by to keep just two open? If you look at the salary and benefits costs between 2001 and 2013 you would be amazed at how much more we citizens are paying for less service. And it isn't just the jail — it is every part of government.
Don't forget to vote. Tomorrow is your last day to turn in your ballot for the Klamath Community College Bond measure (18-92). We urge a No vote and here is why. At this point, any vote for a NEW tax, no matter what is for — public safety, public parks, the airport, schools, college improvements — is a statement that you agree that government doesn't have enough money and it needs more. Yes, it is that simple. It also affirms the belief that government officials do not need to make tough choices about their current budgets, they just need to raise more money by taxing us higher and higher.
What Dr. Gutierrez wants to do with new programs at the community college is probably a good idea. However, instead of asking the tax payer to give the college more money, he should make the same choices that the rest of us have to make — re-prioritize how KCC funds their programs to get what he wants. It is not that the Community College doesn't have any money. And it would be foolish to think that any form of government is using all the dollars they do have most efficiently, If you don't think so, you should learn how much Dr. Gutierrez and his staff take home each year. It is nearly 3x the average salary in the Basin. If you overspend on yourselves, then you don't get to cry that you don't have money to expand the college to what you want to do. This government got-to-have-it-all mentality is why the Basin's economy is in the tank. The more you take from the private sector, the less wealth there is to create new wealth (the private sector, not the public, is the one that takes real risks with capital and makes more wealth to the benefit of the community).
SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Dani Nichols
KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. - Today, Constitution Day, at the Klamath County Commissioner’s Weekly Public Meeting, Dennis Linthicum announced his intention to explore pursuing the U.S. Representative position in Oregon’s Second District.
“After talking to the people of Klamath County and surrounding areas, I’m convinced that those in the 2nd District of Oregon are looking for leadership and strong, Constitutionally conservative values,” Commissioner Dennis Linthicum said before the meeting. “Our economy is struggling and, at the county level, I see every day how individuals, families and businesses are impacted by bad policies and tone-deaf regulation. My goal with this exploratory effort is not to turn away from Klamath County’s issues, but to be able to represent them, and other counties in the 2nd District, in a more substantial way at the Federal level.”
Someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore...
2001. We all remember it well. Klamath irrigators were cut off in the heart of the growing season. Potato farmers lost their crops, some grain farmers made it, others didn't and pastures for livestock went dry. Green quickly tuned to brown as the water was shut off.
The KBRA was written in reaction to this calamity. The KBRA is supposed to "bring people together" and solve the problem at the local community level. Well that is the propaganda drivel proponents often spew. I have no problem with the local community fixing its own problems. But that's not what is happening. According to the KBRA, in order for the local community to fix those problems, the Federal Government must fund the buy back of Tribal lands, must fund dam removal on the Klamath and set aside a fund to help farmers survive when Klamath enters a low water year. If you ask me, there is nothing local about that at all. It is mostly Federal. The only "local" part is who receives funding.
That said, the KBRA is really built on a false premise — and that premise is that in 2001 Upper Klamath Lake did not have enough water to meet the needs of biological opinions for fish in the lake, fish in the river and irrigators in the basin. So a judge cut the irrigators off — based on faulty science. That's right, later it was found the data used by the judge was incorrect. Had the judge been given accurate data the water to irrigators would have flowed as it has every year since the projects began.
If you have read this blog for any time, you have quickly come to realize that none of us here are fans of the KBRA. We have philosophical differences that quickly lead to practical differences in how to solve the problem. And what is the problem? There (apparently) is not enough water in the Basin to support fish, farmers and native American traditions.
Since there is not enough water, a political solution was dreamed up by the KBRA geniuses. Here are some highlights:
- 92,000 acres are given to the Klamath Tribes (also known as the Mazama Tree Farm) funded by taxpayer money.
- Hydroelectric Dams are removed along the Klamath River (paid for in great part by the tax payer).
- Subsidies are issued to Klamath farmers in low water years when they won't be given water (think Welfare for Farmers)
Again this is a political solution. It doesn't recognize that when dams are removed along the Klamath river it will take more water to maintain river levels minimums required by biological opinions — in other words, less water in the lake and less water available for Klamath farmers. That seems backwards, doesn't it? But that is what political solutions do: they remove reality from the equation and use taxpayer money to pacify people who might otherwise object.
Every cave could really use a top of the line GPS. Just think how many of the now idle would be put to work if it became law that every cave in the USA be outfitted with a Global Positioning System. Merely replacing the units damaged by moisture, falling rocks and critters would plunk billions upon billions of equipment and salary bucks into the economy.
Can you imagine the number of extremely well compensated, benefited and richly early retired employees it would take to negotiate the permitting and environmental impact obstacles alone? The creation of even more stringent regulation barriers could potentially produce another 3, 000,000 or so insanely important positions. That in turn would result in a huge increase in medical and mental health career opportunities as the demands upon our medical and mental treatment facilities attempting to treat all of the stress related regulation issues would be horrendous. Just think how many more straight jackets we would need!
We could then repurpose all of that oddly considered unnecessary hunting, commercial, industrial, farm and range land into domestic GPS assembly sites (parts made in China and assembled here). It could all be green powered too. Instead of fossil fuels we could move progressively forward by using bike pedals, sails, drum thumping, hard labor, ruby red slipper tapping friction fiction and related over optimistic silly thoughts.
If you read the Herald and News today it has two Letters to the Editor by Michael J. Fitzgerald and Dan Keppen. While both are well written, both miss the point of those opposed to the Klamath Schools Bond measure. Whether ignorance or arrogance, they are missing the point.
The main point they are missing, and it is a very important one, is that Klamath Schools receive approximately $100 million (that's $100,000,000.00) each year. That's a lot of money, especially in our sparsely populated county. Both Fitzgerald and Keppen ignore this fact. It's as if they believe every penny of this money is wisely spent or that we shouldn't count this money when it comes to buildings and maintenance. Why not? Good question.
Suppose you were a generous parent and you gave your son a weekly allowanceof $100. At the end of the end of the week your son comes to you in a panic and says, "Hey, look, I'm out of money and I'm out of gas. I can't drive anywhere! Can you give me an extra $30 this week? I'll pay you back... I just need to put some gas in the tank." What would your first response be?
Note: This article has been updated. Thanks to a reader (Ed) who pointed our chart original chart was incorrect.
The wise book states that you can tell where a person’s heart is by seeing where their treasure is also. Below is a chart to help you understand who exactly is supporting the Citizens for Klamath Schools PAC.
In May 2013 Klamath County residents will face a ballot measure asking whether the Klamath County School District should be allowed to borrow $31 million to build a school and do capital improvements on current structures. The proponents of this measure will claim the virtues of supporting our schools. They will claim how it is wrong to send children to "shacks" instead of nice buildings to attend class. Furthermore, they claim the community will be better off with a new building, and how this will foster a sense of pride. This pride will translate into those outside the county reconsidering Klamath County. And once it is discovered how modern the school buildings in Klamath County are, people will begin moving their families into the area. Indeed, what a wonderful world this will be!
Unfortunately, this fantasy world quickly falls apart when facts are introduced, and we consider the real reasons why people and families move. While education may be a factor in deciding to move a family from one location to another, there are more important factors families consider before moving. There is the larger family to consider — will they be farther away from Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents if they move to Klamath? There is the weather to consider — some people don't do well in snow or colder climates. But mostly there are economic issues to consider — by moving will the family be in the same, a worse or a better economic situation? While every family will weight these questions differently, the majority of people put economics first. If moving means a loss to a standard of living, it is a good bet the move will not take place.