Vote “yes” for Summit County schools

The “heat is on” Summit County taxpayers. Dip into your wallet for unprecedented requests for tax hikes this year – all in the face of an “energizer bunny” recession.

Let’s  look at a 10/6/10 “Editorial” post in the Summit Daily News and try to ferret out some truth.  It looks pretty good through the 1st 4 paragraphs. But then it gets a little cloudy with the following opinions.

First, “…is managing the crisis wisely…with a host of budget cuts…”.  It would be nice if there was a little more “meat” to this opinion.
Second, “…not an ideal time to ask voters for more money….”.  No s%*@! In fact, I would say it’s the worst time possible in the last 20 years but that isn’t stopping the government/school district from asking you (Summit County taxpayers) to pay MORE for reduced services during nearly unprecendented economic duress.
Third, “…legitimate and reasonable request…”.  Maybe. But is the request more legitimate and reasonable than the alternative opinion? Which is, “It is a legitimate and reasonable expectation that Summit County taxpayers not have to bare the burden of additional tax increases during this recession”.

Fourth, “…nor did the school district create this mess…”.  Perhaps not, but in fact they did contribute to this mess. Because if they had a long-term budget plan in place to deal with loss of revenue scenarios like the one they currently face, then much of these problems wouldn’t exist today. And, I am not talking about 1, 2 or 3 year budgets – I am talking about 5, 10 and 15 year budgets. Budgets that don’t build in “pie-in-the-sky” revenues projections or revenues that have an ever upward trajectory. Budgets that don’t require coming back to the Summit County taxpayers for a renewal of an expiring mill levy/bond EVERY time that mill levy/bond expires. Budgets that don’t give pay raises of 7%!

Last, it is clear that the editorial board doesn’t understand the favorite government game of “taking from one pocket and hiding it in another” when they insist that “an interest free loan program…at no additional costs…”.  In fact, when the Summit Daily News government says something is “free”, hold onto your pocketbooks. This “interest free” program is socialized borrowing. Every taxpayer in the state including Summit County taxpayers pay for this loan since the state must pay for it when they borrow the money to fund the school district loan. And since there’s a loan shark government middle man who gets a cut paid to administer the program, the costs are most likely higher than if all the school districts would create a reserve fund and borrow from that when timing issues related to property tax collections arose. This program is “cost shifting” from the school district to the state, not “free” money. And we wonder why “local control” doesn’t really exist when the school district has to suck on the government teat.

Horses and 101 Pearl Lane

Not trying to pick on Daniel, but his last 2 “articles” in the Summit Daily News have been, shall we say “lacking”. The most recent article tries to equate “special features” (in this case zoning for horses) with having a “large pool of buyers”.  Dan fails to see the other side of his argument that “more options equals more buyers”. And that is, “What if the options are not what buyers want?” If not, then clearly, “more options does not equal more buyers”. Dan would also have you believe that 101 Pearl Lane in Ruby Ranch which has zoning for horses, sits on 2.78 acres, etc. has a “huge pool of buyers” and that “buyers will pay lots more” for this property due to the zoning. My realtor girlfriend says the home has been on/off the market since 5/22/08. To which I must ask, “How big is that pool exactly?”

Vote “Yes” on 3B for schools

Continuing with the “fear mongering” theme, Carrie Brown, Karen Mason and Julie McCluskie note that “no good can come out of trimming $2,000,000 more from the (Summit County) school district budget”. Additionally, they believe that because “salaries have been frozen….benefits restructured….cuts have been made to programs, etc. There’s nothing more to cut without making significant, drastic cuts that will affect students in the classroom”.

Here’s my suggestions: Cut all administrator salaries and eliminate everything related to IB including the admin coordinator, eliminate any district contributions to all benefit programs – health, retirement, etc. The implementation of all of these suggestions will require NO CUTS to classroom programs. Isn’t that what these ladies want?

Self-serving Early Childhood Options luncheon

From the 10/3/10 Summit Daily News, let’s take a rundown of the self-serving presentation by Dr. Richard N. Brandon of the Human Services Policy Center at U of W.

First, “…the importance of having it growing and healthy because of its interactions with the rest of the economy”. Can someone tell me what sector of our economy is unimportant because it does not interact with the rest of the economy?

Second, “…make 31 percent less money…means the candidates for these positions will become less and less qualified unless wages…increase”. Wow! Good thing Mr. B. is not an economist. Does he understand the laws of supply and demand? Is he aware of the alternative’s that are available to parents like Gma/Gpa, friends, or mom/dad staying home with the kiddos? Given the country’s unemployment situation, this is more likely the option chosen by many families. Is he aware that middle class incomes have declined over the past 10+ years and that at some price point (ie wages), the service is too expensive and demand for such services will decline thus lowering wages back to equilibrium?

Third, “offered a combination of solutions including increasing early childhood staff qualifications, pay for performance….raising venture capital…”. Those are bold suggestions. So the “solution” to low pay is to increase qualifications. This must mean he’s in favor of making it more difficult to fill open positions thereby increasing wages for the remaining child care workers. Does “pay for performance” mean that if the child care worker gets paid more if they feed the kids on time or make sure the kids are in a good mood when mommy/daddy comes to get them? I mean really. Finally, I’m sure there are a lot of VC’s just dying to get in on the money to be made funding childhood education centers!

Per Lucinda Burns, executive director of Early Childhood Options in Summit County, “the timing of his presentation could not have been better”. Not really sure what this means but perhaps something bold and realistic would have been more appropriate. Like, “Increasing wages in the early childhood sector is not realistic given the economic climate faced by low/middle class families.”

“Eagle Eye” sees pace of sales still strong in Summit”?

From the 10/2/10 “Home and Properties” section of the Summit Daily news….A realtor reports “sales are stronger than expected.”

Really? Are you kidding me? Stronger than who expected? According to the Summit County Assessor’s office the monthly sales volume in 2006 and 2007 was 269 and 303 properties PER MONTH respectively. 2009 sales volume was 107 properties/month. May, June and July of 2010 had 95, 140 and 75 sales/month, respectively. Eagle Eye needs new vision correction devices.

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