The Way I See It
By cj pollick
Super Bowl XLIII – What a game – one of the most exciting Super Bowl games EVER! The game was viewed by more people around the world than any other Super Bowl game! (More than 98-million watched the game). Good game, good half-time show, great weather. Who could ask for more?
They Met And They Talked - In many cities across the area city officials hold meetings called "worksessions." Those special meetings, they say, are needed in order to discuss city business without the interference of public input. Public input, they say, should be limited to "regular" city council meetings where any citizen in standing could speak for up to three minutes (unless approved longer.) The point? Keep city hall worksessions exclusive of public input in order to keep those meetings to an acceptable time period. Typically, those city hall work sessions are held on a Monday at about 1 p.m. -- a time when most folks are working (or wish they were working.) Regular city hall meetings are held on Thursdays at 6 p.m. when most people could attend.
Nevertheless, at the last City of Clearwater council worksession, there was, as usual, some discussion about not picking on any city board simply because that board had voted in one way or another over the past few years. The message? Let the city boards do their thing even if an elected official has a different opinion. As more than one city official proclaimed, "I once served on that board and those people have a lot of paper to review before voting on a city matter. They have more paper to read for meetings than we do." After a time consuming exchange of personal opinions, some important Clearwater business was discussed.
For example, when the topic of a beach parking garage was mentioned, one council member said, "I'd like one (parking garage) now." However, when an update of the status of the Britt’s beach parking garage option was reviewed by another councilmember, it was clear that there is not a firm plan to move forward with a beach parking garage project. In fact, the so-called "back-up" parking garage option may not last much longer. Things were said such as, "We are looking at a back-up plan to our back-up plans. The good news? The city council might know more Thursday evening when Britt’s is expected to offer more information about their parking garage plan (and funding.)
When the topic of downtown boat slips and the city marina slips was reviewed, there was support for lowering boat slip rental fees from the current rental rates. "We need to lower our boat slip fees. We can't rent boat slips due to the economy and our fees. How many $500 deposits have been made? Ten. That is not good. We need to lower the rates and rent the slips," stated Councilmember Gibson. The mayor agreed that there was a need to rent the boat slips. The question for city staff management was “what should the rental rate be?” City staff expressed concerns about the manner in which city boat slip rental deficits might impact other city financial positions and the manner in which funding such lower rental expectations should be handled.
The project will, however, move forward, since, as the mayor stated, the city could lose a $1.2 million grant for the downtown boat slip project if it was terminated. "Not a good thing to lose," stated Mayor Frank Hibbard. Another councilmember summarized the downtown boat slip situation as follows: “We're building it, now how do we fill it." City staff will report to the city council regarding the current situation and possible funding options as it relates to the city budget.
Obama's Financial Stimulus Package - President Obama is supporting a financial stimulus package of about a trillion dollars. Democrats are widely supporting this stimulus (although about a dozen Democrats have opposed the idea.) Not one Republican in the House, however, supports Obama's idea because, in their opinion, the so-called stimulus package is fraught with problems. In a near party line vote of 244-188, the Obama stimulus plan was moved to the US Senate for approval.
Where would the federal tax money go?
Student loan programs, clean water programs, housing assistance programs, increased unemployment healthcare, $335 million to treat sexually transmitted diseases, $50 million for the "arts," $70 million for development of a super computer at NOAA, $75 million to promote non-smoking, $125 billion for public education needs, $5 billion for public housing, $27 billion for unemployment insurance benefits, $3 billion for mass transit, $650 million to convert television sets to digital, $21 million to re-sod the National Mall, $2.25 billion for National Parks, $20 billion over five years for expanded food stamps, etc. Yes, there is even funds for ACORN, the liberal group being investigated in about 14 states for alleged voter fraud. Interestingly, more than one online voting poll reflected more Americans saying this Obama stimulus bill was "a complete waste of money."
Many Americans are also asking how banks have handled the billions of bail-out funds. Bank of America received about $138 billion of taxpayer funds and the bank is still in need of federal money. Even though Citigroup said it would not buy the planned $50 million jet it "needed," the bank is still in financial trouble and its stock value is sinking. Many other US banks are in deep financial trouble and President Obama recently said, "More banks will fail due to mismanagement." Some big banks will likely be nationalized and others will be forced to merge. Banking in the US will not be the same in 2009-2010.
Stock market show host and money guru Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" recently stated that Obama's stimulus plan is "lousy." It simply is not a stimulus plan.
How bad is our nation's financial system?
Financial expert Jim Jubak stated that unemployment is already climbing to record levels and no one is buying US Treasury Notes; thus, he continued, "so our federal reserve will be forced to buy them ... and that is bad."
Obama stated he would create 4 million jobs with his stimulus bill. One economist said, "How will that happen, with big entitlement spending (in the bill.)"
The good news?
Joe Biden proclaimed there is no pork in the stimulus bill.
Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Longer Winter - Since 1887 Punxsutawney Phil has predicted the weather from Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This annual event in this small Pennsylvania town has turned into a national news event. Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter for 2009; of course, all of this recent attention causes some of us to remember the movie about this event (Ground Hog Day) starring Bill Murray.
Nashville, Tennessee – When the citizens were asked to vote on whether English should be the official language of the government in Nashville, the mayor and other city officials strongly opposed the idea by stating there would be potential expensive lawsuits.
Voters rejected the idea. The mayor put fear into voter’s minds that the city could also lose federal funds … and those funds were important to Nashville. Imagine, if you will, losing American government funds cause you endorse English over other languages!
The Pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. - John Maxwell
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