Welcome to beautiful and smoky Klamath County. What?!? Smoky? Yes, smoky. With several forest fires in full swing, the Klamath Basin looks like San Francisco with a bank of fog that will never leave.
But fear not. The EPA has one air quality monitor in Klamath Falls that will record the poor air quality and issue fines for Klamath County not meeting the EPA’s air quality standards. What’s that? The EPA does not measure air quality during the summer months? What?!? The EPA only measures air quality during winter months when people heat their homes with affordable firewood? Hmmmm. Seems like another government policy that sounds good, “prevent poor air quality” but really has a hidden agenda — eliminate the use of fire places and un-sanctioned wood stoves.
We can cry and bellyache all we want about Democrats. But we at least should know what to expect: socialism. However, when Republicans, especially Republican Leadership in the House and Senate, also act like Democrats, we have a serious problem. Watch the following video to see how Senator Ted Cruz is unafraid of those who try to bully him into submission. He stands up for us. He stands for truth. He does not let “leadership” — even Republican leadership — get away with telling a lie.
Want to do something? Donate to the Klamath Patriots Conservative PAC today! Share this web page with others. Let’s wake up and take back this great nation called America before it is too late.
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.
To start at the beginning of this article, be sure to read Road Funds or Public Safety Funds? - Part I
How best to spend the “Road Funds” (on roads and bridges or public safety) is a distraction; moreover, it is symptom to the larger and real problem: Klamath County Government is living beyond its means. In other words, County Government is spending more money than it receives each year in tax receipts. How to best spend the Road Funds is a silly question and feigns the idea that County Commissioners are truly looking for the wisest ways to spend your tax dollars. Wisdom says:
Immigration Reform, Healthcare Reform, Timber/Forest Management Reform,...
It seems these days any level of government that is “working hard for the people” is busy reforming itself. While the word reform used to mean making a substantive change for the better, when government officials use this term, it means just the opposite. Those in government who use the word reform want you to think they are doing things to benefit you, but what is really going on is “pretend reform”. The result is inevitably more government control. Very little real substantive change ever happens when government reforms itself. Government reform is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic — while a lot of activity takes place and things may look different, the activity translates into very little substantive change.
Why? Because much what the government is doing and involved with is not good. It is bad. So if you reform a bad behavior on the outside, but make no real changes on the inside, the result is only the appearance of good behavior, but nothing really changes. Much of what our government does is contrary to the Constitution and its founding principles of a free and virtuous people who consent to be government by a limited government. So if something is not good, reforming it without really changing the fundamentals yields a mere illusion of change without any real reform. For example, if you heard an alcoholic say they were are going to reform their behavior, what would you expect? The alcoholic would stop drinking. But in government-speak, reform would mean the alcoholic would not start drinking until after 11:00 A.M. Did change happen? Yes. Did true reform take place? No. The new “reform rules” for the alcoholic only give an appearance of change without changing the final outcome. If the alcoholic makes his announcement with a sincere and concerned voice, as if his reform will mean anything substantive, then politics is likely in his future. (A little sarcasm there — just a little).
If you’ve been following along lately, the $30 million Public Safety levy failed this May by a wide margin. Then, what is not so well known, was Senate Bill (SB 26) passed and was signed into law. What did SB 26 do? It removed the sunset clause which allows Klamath County to use its Road Funds (~$80 million) for Public Safety. What is quite fascinating is the sequence of events. First citizens say “no” to more money being pulled from their pockets for government expenses. Then only after this form of citizen extortion failed, the State granted Klamath County permission to use money sitting in their bank account for public safety. Why was SB 26 hidden and obscure until after the Public Safety Levy failed? Because they, the government socialists, always prefer to spend more of your money rather than what they already have.
We should be outraged that our elected county commissioners who, by themselves put the public safety levy on the ballot without a citizen referendum, knew about SB 26 but remained silent.
If you’ve been paying attention, it has been in the news. President Obama’s desire to fast-track a trade deal for the Pacific Rim. However, the bedfellows in this deal are odd and should give us all pause. Many Republicans and most Democrats are against this fast track process, so much so they defeated the first attempt of the Obama administration. Also one must ask, why is that Republican leadership is siding with President Obama? People like Speaker Boehner, Congressman Walden in the House and Majority Leader McConnell in the Senate? Just on the face of it, something is seriously amiss.
Then there is the secrecy. Much of the TPP (more about that later) is not viewable by just anyone. You must sign in to access the room with the bill. Then you are not allowed to take notes or any recording devices with you in order to see hundreds of pages of the proposed bill. This runs completely counter to our nation’s founding. As Dennis Linthicum has said, “Transparency in Government preserves liberty; secrecy promotes tyranny.” Therefore just on the face of this secrecy process, we must stand against both the TPA and TPP.
If you don’t know much about either of these, here are two easy to read articles in order to understand the basics of TPA and TPP:
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.