Thursday, August 7, 2008

Managed Competition & You

So once in a great while something that U-T prints catches my attention other than the Fry's ad.

Yesterday, it was Gerry Braun's article on managed competition. In it, Braun explains the complexity of the seemly simple task of dead animal removal. While on the surface, the job seems simple enough. You pick up the dead animal and take it to the dump to be disposed of. But there are so many variables that muddy up that simplistic notion that you begin to ask.

Does any private contractor really want this hassle? If some heartbroken person, frantically looking for their beloved pet calls to see whether their pet was picked up. Will the contractor find out? If there is a licensed pet that is picked up, will contractor try to contact the owner? I mean the list can go and on.

Now imagine if this was wastewater? Or water purification? Will the contractor put the public interest over profit? Will the contractor adhere to the guidelines in place to ensure the city isn't getting skimmed? Will the contractor bid honestly? I don't know about you but sometimes the private sector isn't the best place to run public works because public works inherently are types of projects that must be done in a manner that is done safely and securely for all. After all it's our money and our services and I don't want to worry the some contractor wanted to save some money by hiring people that weren't properly trained in order to pocket a few bucks at the expense of the city because it wanted to squeeze out a little bit more profit.

If Managed Competition is the future; by what mechanism can we be assured that our tax dollars aren't used in a manner that benefits contractors who are looking to maximize profit by endangering the public and shortchanging it too.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"The Change You Deserve."

Warning: slightly salty language at the end so it might be NSFW
but still funny...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Say No to the Governor's Attacks on State Workers

If a state budget is not passed and the Governor's illegal Executive Order remains in place, we need you to support state workers by protesting with us:

WHAT: Informational Pickets

WHERE: State Building
1350 Front St.
Wednesday, August 6
12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

3960 Normal St.
Thursday, August 7
7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Also, call the Governor at (916) 445-2841, and tell him to exercise leadership and get a responsible budget passed!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Schwarzenegger proposes tax increase

From Today's Capitol Alert:

Last Updated 3:38 pm PDT Monday, August 4, 2008
By Jim Sanders and Kevin Yamamura -

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax for the next three years in exchange for long-term fixes he believes would solve the state's perennial budget woes, several sources familiar with the negotiations said Monday.

The governor's proposal comes as he and lawmakers are 35 days into the fiscal year with no approved spending plan.

Schwarzenegger has said he opposes tax increases, but was willing to consider all options to close an estimated $15.2 billion shortfall in the $101 billion general fund.

The state sales tax is 6.25 percent, but most counties have local tax additions, such as those for transportation projects, that drive the actual rate higher. A one-cent increase statewide would raise $4 billion to $5 billion a year, based on $29 billion in sales tax revenue expected in the current year.

Aaron McLear, a Schwarzenegger spokesman, had no immediate comment Monday when asked about the one-cent sales tax proposal.

The governor's sales-tax proposal appears to put him squarely at odds with his own Republican Party, which consistently has argued that the state has a spending problem - not a revenue problem.

Democrats are not certain to embrace the sales tax hike, either. Critics argue that sales taxes are regressive, meaning that the greatest impact falls on low-income Californians.

The long-term budget fixes that Schwarzenegger wanted in return for a sales-tax hike would include a system to save revenue in a rainy day fund during good years to bridge budget gaps in down years.

If we lose the 78th in November, this may be a reason why.

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Democratic State Central Committee of California has paid $450,000 in legal fees for state Senator Don Perata, while a separate group, taxpayers for Perata, has paid $550,000, according to filings with California’s secretary of state.

People give to the CDP to elect Democrats, not cover the asses of elected who spend money and then abandon the cause for which they were spending other people’s money.

More reason to give locally.