Happy Thanksgiving - Funny thing about Thanksgiving, most school children think it is about turkeys, pumpkin pies, a day off from school and Pilgrims surrounded by Indians.
Not much can be taught in schools these days about religion and Thanksgiving. Separation of church and state, say the lawyers.
Of course, anyone who has read the history of the founding of our great nation understands why many of the early settlers chanced sailing across a vast ocean. Fear of religious persecution in England, Germany, Spain and other places caused these early pioneers to leave. Freedom of religion was worth dying for in a primitive land occupied by a people mistakingly called Indians. (Columbus thought he had found the land of spaces hosted by east Indians.)
Nevertheless, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in memory of all our many blessings. Truly, we are a most fortunate country. Freedom. Perhaps this word encapsulates more about how most Americans feel about Thanksgiving then any other word.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Clearwater City Budget - The current city council of Clearwater is comprised of one council member with a law degree, one CPA/lawyer, one accountant, an MBA and one vacant seat due to a council member that moved to another state.
That sounds like enough city council talent to work through a city budget with much city budget information provided by internal city staff members with accounting degrees. Of course, not many elected folks wish to put their name on a city budget where tax increases might be required to balance city spending. Thus, it makes good sense to have an appointed "citizens budget committee" make recommendations that could be used later by the elected folks. After all, one could say that the budget recommendations were from . . . ordinary Clearwater taxpayers (which is not true).
It will be interesting to see Clearwater budget recommendations from the appointed citizens committee.
With tough economic times affecting most small businesses and related small business employees, the proposed city budget should make for good reading for people that do not run a business on city tax dollars. (That is, if anyone really follows this city budget stuff.)
How big is the city budget and where does all of the tax revenue and other city revenue go? (The Gazette will try to follow this budget process for 2007.)
The way I see it, comparable city spending habits could include local area places like Largo, St. Petersburg and perhaps Lakeland. Tampa would be too large of a city for Clearwater budget and payroll comparisons. In other words, cities that have about 100,000 citizens could be used to determine comparable cities for budget purposes.
Balancing a city budget can be a difficult process. Not many politicians would be bold enough to say they stood for more taxes and more government spending. Not good. However, elected officials must deal with difficult issues like city unions, city department heads that ask for more funds each year, top official salary and benefits, health insurance benefits, pension benefits, and a host of charitable groups that need city funds to exist. If taxes are held, then spending must be cut. If elected folks begin to cut city spending (payroll, etc.), they might incur the wrath of city unions and charitable groups at election time. Not good.
That is why the people that plan to stay in office over time try their best to make everyone happy. And as time has shown, such a political stance rarely works. Typically, local elected officials try not to offend the largest group of voters. You would think that a voter group would be defined as ordinary Clearwater citizens. Then again, there is the issue of rising campaign money . . . .
Downtown Clearwater Movie Theatres - What was once a city contribution of $9 million to help bring movie theatres to downtown Clearwater has recently turned into a $27 million request by the private developer.
Can Clearwater taxpayers afford such a move theatre in downtown Clearwater?
Value Of Docks And Parking Spaces - If you travel to Sarasota and are interested in owning a boat slip, say at the Moorings on Longboat Key, you should prepare to pay about $400,000 just for a boat slip (plus taxes, etc.)
Makes you wonder about the price of Clearwater's proposed boat slips at the Rec Center boat basin on North Clearwater Beach. Then again, what is the price of a parking space at north Clearwater Beach? $200 a year, $300 a year or more? Clearwater officials are aware of all these comparable prices and most assuredly will consider all of these prices when they finalize a boat slip/parking space deal with a private developer, right?
Draft? - Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) would like to institute the military draft, much like the days during the Vietnam War. "Draft eligible 18-year-olds" says the New York congressman.
Interesting concept, wouldn't you agree?
Meet Harry Reid, New Head Of The U.S. Senate - Nevada Democrat, friend of Nancy Pelosi, and now head of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid has again criticized President Bush and the GOP faithful who support military troops in Iraq.
According to the senator from Nevada, where he frequently accepts free tickets to major boxing matches in Las Vegas, Reid believes that the U.S. Congress needs to leave Iraq, increase taxes and create more government health benefits. Don't we call that socialism?
On the other hand, what has surprised many retired citizens is the lack of discussion by Sen. Reid about increasing social security benefits, addressing illegal immigration and addressing the homeowner insurance crisis in several coastal states. Yes, it is time for the Democrats to rule, said a jubilant Sen. Harry Reid, the people have spoken in the recent election and support a change in the way things have been done in Congress by the Republicans. Thus, and according to the new senate leader from Nevada, it is time for the liberal agenda. Reid, however, did mention that the President has veto power over congressional votes and that some senate bills might not be passed without a fellow Democrat as President.
Should be an interesting next two years as San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi and Nevada's Harry Reid prepare to lead our great nation to socialism.
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