Sunday, July 12, 2009

Government Health

A friend forwarded this article to me.

Tom Daschle, Democrat leader of the US Senate says "health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them."

We are now going to let government decide who gets healthcare?

If this does not sufficiently raise your ire, just remember that our esteemed Senators and Congressmen have their own healthcare plan that is first dollar or very low co-pay which they are guaranteed the remainder of their lives and are not subject to this new law if it passes.

Remember, we are being asked to provide a two level health care service locally with the new government clinic for the City of Vero Beach. Like in the federal government sometimes we should ask if we “should” do something not just if we “can” do something.

States Attorney’s office

11 at night, Orange Avenue in Ft. Pierce, Police called to a fight in the parking lot of a convenience store. Altercation between a girl and a man. Woman in mans vehicle causes damage by kicking the wheel and breaking the key in the ignition but Girl flees after before police can question her. Man declines to press charges or make a report. Turns out that the man works as a lawyer and prosecutor for the States Attorney’s office. Days later the States Attorney accepts “resignation” of the man.

That’s the truth and nothing but the truth. Nothing more to say, that’s the whole story.

Yea, I’ll buy that.

Oh, did I mention that before going to law school the same guy was a reporter for the Press Journal?

Petition city on utilities?

Rumor has it that there is a petition effort coming forward to address the utility issue in Vero Beach. Suggestion to organizers. Try researching the following three issues and if needed, file a complaint with the state public service commission naming the Florida Municipal Power Authority and the City of Vero Beach.

1. Fuel Adjustment Charges. If fuel adjustment is based on a locked in rate negotiated by FMPA, how could it change?
2. Charging one group more than another based on geography, is it legal?
3. Rate of return. Is there a guaranteed rate of return on utilities and has Vero Beach exceeded that rate when transferring funds from utilities into the general fund.

I don’t know the answers, just curious, but if you want to file a complaint, here is the location.

Job Study

The more I write about unemployment and the need for local jobs the more I realize that we just don’t have enough information. Here is the unemployment history for the last 20 years.

The IRNA thinks that overbuilding caused a collapse, the business community thinks it is overregulation, Staff thinks everything is just fine. Seems like everyone has an idea but one thing I know for sure is that no one knows for sure.

It is complicated. Indian River has had chronically higher unemployment than the rest of Florida for nearly 10 years. Why? Is it certain industries, geographic, demographic, just what are we doing wrong?

Before we go any further, I think it is time we find out. Therefore, I plan to ask the County Commission to approve a research grant to do an in depth study of Indian River County’s unemployment problem.

Is there a problem? Why Indian River? What are we doing wrong? What can we really do about it?

This cannot be done by interested parties. The IRNA, The Chamber of Commerce, Common Cause, the County Staff, none of these groups can be allowed to participate. These groups all have vested interests in protecting themselves and avoiding responsibility. But it is not responsibility that I seek it is a solution. When all is said and done we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know what is causing the problem. Before we can treat the patient, we must first diagnose the disease.

Sidewalks on Royal Palm Point?

The City of Vero Beach is proposing new sidewalks for the 90 year old Royal Palm neighborhood. $250,000 is the price tag. Residents seem to approve but the problem remains the same. Why spend $250,000 on sidewalks when the economy is collapsing all around us. While residents are being tossed from their homes government is crying poor but spending a quarter million dollars in sidewalks.

The City’s answer is that this is a dedicated fund and cannot be spent in any other way. OK fine but I get tired of hearing that from every governmental body. “We have no money in this pot but we have to spend it or lose it in this pot”, they say.
Answer. Change the rules. Who made them up in the first place. Government did.

Budget hearings and layoffs planned

County workshops on the budget start July 23rd. Most talk is about the budget cuts. Remember, however that budgets have increased $45,000,000 since 2005. If you want to look at past budgets here they are.

Same with the school board. They cry about the loss of property value but don’t mention how the property tax nearly doubled in the past ten years. So when Debbie MacKay says we have to raise taxes, and the Indian River Neighborhood Associations tries to raise gas taxes “JUST SAY NO!”

1 dollar rent

There is nothing wrong with asking for or getting rent adjustments in these tough economic times. There have been more than 30 restaurants employing more than 500 people who have gone out of business since October 1st. Many restaurants have asked for and received rent adjustments or concessions.

Unfortunately, the Vero Beach Press Journal editors have decided to use their power of the press to try to attack Wesley Davis intimating some sort of insider trading or wrong doing. Never mind that the other four commissioners who are not distantly related also supported the measure.

This is a case of reporting selected facts to further your own agenda and Ken Ward should be ashamed of himself…again.

The famous sign going into Sebastian says “welcome to Sebastian. Home of 17,000 nice people and six old grouches”. I don’t know but Ken Ward has got to be one of them.


No new clubhouse for the Sebastian Golf Course. Council wisely postponed the improvement. May be needed someday and is not funded by property tax but it does send the wrong message.

Saturn closes

Another one bites the dust. Saturn closing means more jobs lost. Some employees may decide to make the commute to Stuart.

In a related story, Jeep and Dodge Join Chrysler. Consolidation brings the number of dealerships to 8 down three from last year.

Some may not remember but two years ago local dealerships asked the County Commission for help to stop dealers from coming out of County to hold sales. “We pay taxes here, we pay millions in wages and benefits. Together we have as many employees as Piper” representatives told Commissioners.

Strangely enough the chief opponent of the measure to help buy local was Commissioner Joe Flescher. Flescher now has an item on Tuesday’s agenda to give local businesses a 5% bidding advantage. Maybe Commissioner Flescher would like to reconsider his original vote and ban out of town auto sales which give an undue advantage to larger better funded metropolitan dealerships and leave the burden of maintenance to local guys. Even now 50% of cars and trucks purchased by Indian River residents are purchased from out of town dealers.

Either way, I support the Buy Local effort and thank Commissioner Flescher for bringing it forward.


At least the Ft. Pierce Chief of Police is honest. When officials from Vero Beach pushed through the bogus “it’s for public safety” red light camera idea, they denied that revenue, money, was the real reason. Here is what the Ft. Pierce top cop told council members as reported by the Ft. Pierce Tribune.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Sean Baldwin told commissioners the city could generate an additional $500,000 annually by implementing a camera system to catch red light runners at problem intersections. City officials first brought up the idea during a budget workshop last July but have been slow to move on it because of issues with the legality of installing the cameras on state-owned right-of-way.

About 80 jurisdictions around the state, including Vero Beach and West Palm Beach, are using or installing the cameras, Baldwin said.

Oh, proving that bad ideas travel fast and how very much we all want to be like Ft. Pierce, does this sound familiar?

Other ideas discussed to trim the budget included partnering with the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority to establish a health care clinic for employees, retirees and their dependents; collecting non-felony traffic citations at City Hall to save on court costs; and more aggressively collecting outstanding liens.

Someone told me recently that Jesus could not be born in Ft. Pierce because they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin?
Budget Suggestion…return to 2005, contract the Redevelopment Agency and fire the director.

2 million dollar parking

I guess this is the “I’m fed up with government” report. But here’s another issue that came up this week.

The County Public Transportation system is something we should all be proud to have in our community. Karen Deigle who directs the program is talented, beautiful, and runs a much needed service with fiscal discipline and skill. Ms. Deigle with the help of a county employee just received a $2.3 million dollar grant from federal stimulus money to build a new parking lot for county buses.

I applaud the effort and congratulate both for their extra effort and success but I can’t help but wonder why we are spending millions on a parking lot, even a needed parking lot. How many people will this employ? How much will this “pump up our economy?”

Made available to small business as a hiring incentive this same amount of money could employ 150 people for a year.


Pedophile postage? The great Reverend Al Sharpton has suggested that among other honors we should issue a commemorative stamp for Michael Jackson? Unbelievable! Right beside the great American heroes or inventors we can have “Great Pedophiles” of our time. How about “Americans that got away with murder” or the “serial killers” collection.

OK, I liked Thriller also and MJ did invent the music video industry but please, can’t we leave politics out of stamp collecting?

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