Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Personal Responsibility and Accountability...

The following is an email I received recently regarding dissatisfaction with City spending and taxing...as well as personal accountability:

My Response:

Thank you Stephanie.

I know you've been following the Council and have seen/heard my remarks specifically about taxes, prioritization of programs/spending, and incenting local economic/business growth (via reduced taxes & fees).

Some interesting points in Ms. Monk's piece…

One of her more interesting comments relates to the personal responsibility and accountability that each individual needs to be aware of:

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us -- the richest, most
powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest
standard of living any nation had ever achieved -- the baby boomers,
oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered it away.


And in turn…have raised a generation of children, many of whom feel entitled; others (or government) should provide them everything they need. Work hard for a living? No way…

I think much of our current economic situation can be very well boiled down to one noun: greed.

greed
noun
1. excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves
2. reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth (personified as one of the deadly sins) [syn: avarice]


You may have heard the comedian George Carlin? I find his rants particularly entertaining, and quite on-point (edited for language):

"Consumption. This is the new national pastime. (Screw) baseball, it's consumption, the only true, lasting American value that's left . . . buying things . . . People spending money they don't have on things they don't need . . . So they can max out their credit cards and spend the rest of their lives paying 18 percent interest on something that cost $12.50. And they didn't like it when they got it home anyway. Not too bright, folks, not too (friggin') bright."

We eat too much, work too little, spend too much, expect too much and complain too much. Now, we need to be bailed-out…and by who? The government, of course!

Indeed, this is a generalization, but I see much of this sentiment firsthand in both my professional and representative responsibilities.

Anyway, hope you and Bill have a nice Christmas and New Year holiday!

Cheers -
tim

Original Email:

Government gets its citizens into trouble by overstepping their responsibilities and duties on finances and the way the “people’s money” is spent. I believe you all are in the same process and marching down the same road as the Federal Government. Instead of being fiscally responsible, you continue to plunge our city into deeper debt with no apparent fiscal concern for the people who have elected you. Your hands are constantly in our pockets, increasing taxes, raising fees, designing new fees with which to finance your latest ‘pet project’.

As a citizen, I am fed up with those of you who continue to favor your political contributors and treat them with special benefits over the best interests of the city and her citizens, all at our expense. The downtown area and whatever changes or improvements to this core area seems to be your only concern. Massive amounts of money have been spent on frivolous projects. Now I suppose you’re going to tell us that WE NEED to buy the Columbian property and that it will save us money in the long run! That ploy doesn’t pass the smell test! Nor did the Hilton, nor does the new library, the new water front project, the bridge to nowhere, etc.,etc.,etc…………..

There will come a day when you will be required to be accountable for your actions. I sincerely hope that day comes sooner rather than later. Our country has been raped by elected officials at all levels. Look where it has brought us. There is a lesson to be learned. Have you learned it?

Please read the below article. It pretty much describes how government has failed the people.

Merry Christmas,

Stephanie Turlay

PS: We have just refinanced our home mortgage so that we will be able to keep up with your next round of tax and fee increases.


Subject: The Party is Over

A little about author, Linda R. Monk, J. D..
She is a constitutional scholar, journalist, and nationally award-winning author. A graduate of Harvard Law School , she twice received the American Bar Association's
Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for law-related media. Her books
include The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution,
Ordinary Americans: U. S. History Through the Eyes of Everyday People, and
The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide. For more than 20 years, Ms. Monk has
written commentary for newspapers nationwide, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune

THE PARTY'S OVER

By Linda Monk

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our
people's wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one
era and the onset of another.

The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America . The
'Omnipower' and 'Indispensable Nation' we heard about in all the hubris and
braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.

Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of
market economics, a failure of conservatism. This is nonsense. What we are
witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko ('Greed Is Good!') capitalism.

What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores
history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it
great.

A true conservative (Rep or Dem) cherishes prudence and believes in
fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic.

He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred
gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living
within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess -- that we
followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?
'Government must save us!' cries the left, as ever.

Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government -- the Fed with its
easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by
liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?

For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save
nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt,
corporate debt -- all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings
being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid.

Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will
not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that
they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars. We are going to have
to learn to live again within our means.

THE PARTY'S OVER!

Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America
must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain
politically independent.

But this generation decided that was yesterday's bromide and we must
march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one
another.

American companies morphed into 'Global Companies' and moved plants and
factories to Mexico , Asia, China , and India , and we began buying more
cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes,
cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we
began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad.

At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social
spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise. The
dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.
Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come.

Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all
but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the
federal income tax load.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end. The Last Superpower is
unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars, or balance
its budget.

Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded
liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.

What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure
of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a
cloud over the viability and longevity of the system.

Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi
says she had nothing to do with it.

Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be
seen.

Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail
out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under. They decided to nationalize Fannie
and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.
S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages.

They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance
giant sink beneath the waves. Unelected financial elite is now entrusted
with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected
financial elite plunged the nation.

We are just spectators.

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us -- the richest, most
powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest
standard of living any nation had ever achieved -- the baby boomers,
oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered it away.

Added Comments:

How do WE THE PEOPLE put the villains who are responsible under oath and
sit them down at public hearings to determine whose necks should meet the
guillotine?

Hypocritically, those who had oversight responsibility such as Senator
Chris Dodd [Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee] and Barney Frank
[Chairmen, House Financial Services Committee] who helped get us into this
mess are on every TV channel voicing their righteous indignation and
pompously sitting on their elevated platform glaring down at those they are
chastising and grilling, trying to pass the blame to others.

WE THE PEOPLE should be on the elevated platform in judgment and
execution of the likes of Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the rest of the band
of thieves and conspirators who are responsible for the financial collapse
of the USA .

To name just a few of the culprits:

Henry Paulson Jr, Secretary of the Treasury
Alan Greenspan & Ben Bernanke -- Chairman Federal Reserve
Christopher Cox, SEC Chairman.

But not to worry -- YOUR PUBLIC SERVANTS who fear being voted out of
office will take their self-awarded Golden Parachute Congressional
Retirement, give WE THE PEOPLE the finger one last time and head for their
safe havens as the World Citizens they are.

However, before they waddle off into the sunset, they will go on record
one last time denouncing corporate greed, lavish salaries, and bonuses for
their key felons at Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers & AIG

Meanwhile, WE THE PEOPLE fiddle while Rome burns and were too lazy and
indifferent to vote them out of office.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does one not know that Mrs. Turlay has a very vindictive, conspiratorial and outrageous loud troupe and theater around her?

She may have half of this article from Ms. Monk right that "We The People" in the city of Vancouver, State of Washington and the US federal government are the backbone of why this country is falling apart.

The one thing I think that the article fails in the smell test in and of itself, is that "We the People" fail miserably to monitor our government and stand up telling them that enough is enough?

For how long has the ignorance pill in Clark County and the City of Vancouver been swallowed each and every day, while things have spiral out and out again without any check and balances in the system? How long has the voter apathy gone and the people under the helm have not paid attention?

Honestly, I think may be it is high time that each and every citizen in Vancouver and Clark County finally stand up and become a part of their government? With the less amount of employment, may be there might be a few more souls that may be able to take back their city? And find out what is going on?

No, I do not always agree with Mrs. Turlay's comments, actions or ideology or path she chooses but the lack of accountability and apathy is even worse than her long sordid tails of her personal woe.

Anonymous said...

Tim, Can you do a post on how you feel about the Columbia River Crossing and the transit impacts?

You are the head of C-tran (at the current moment?) and attend a few of the other transit-transportation boards. How do you feel about bringing light rail into the City of Vancouver?

Anonymous said...

Also will you be attending the Light Rail Walk on January 10th at Hudson's Bay High School that from 9am til 3pm?

(The walk will only be the first three hours from 9am til Noon, there will be a general follow up after?)

Bob Koski said...

First Tim, who do you think funds "The Feds"??

Tim, I find your comments about voters holding elected officials accountable stunningly hypocritical, especially since you seem to think that the people of Vancouver gave you or anyone else on City Council a mandate about Light Rail.

City Council and C-Tran have been wriggling around for years trying to find a way to avoid asking the voters in Vancouver whether they support Light Rail or not. You seem to think you have found some seamless and airtight alibi around that lie, but I assure you, I didn't support either you or Larry Smith in the last election to pull a stunt like I see you pulling right now, and I think a fair number of other residents here in town likely share that view.

The Governors of Oregon and Washington formed the so-called "Sponsor's Council" to make the decisions that the Columbia Crossing Project Office has decided to divert to the "Vancouver Working Group", hencefoth, VWG.

Vancouver City Council has not formally recognized that group with an Ordinance or Resolution like the City's Charter requires; but has instead allowed the City Manager to set a new precedent by adopting the VWG to advise Council on the Columbia Crossing project.

City Council has taken Citizen input on the Columbia Crossing Project subject to three minute limitations. Council has deferred any Public comment on the Project pending further information for months, and as soon as questions arose on the blogs about the VWG, Vancouver City Council pulled the entire issue into Executive Session, effectively stifling any further comment on the subject.

Now we find out that the "Further Information" turns out to be the Charter of the VWG, which includes an oath not to oppose light rail under any circumstances, as a condition for Membership.

Here is a direct link to an Adobe Acrobat copy of that package, and the Charter is included in the first part of the document package.

http://www.clarkblog.org/docs/010609_VWG_MeetingMaterials.pdf?t=163?s=&showtopic=4351&view=findpost&p=28980

The Charter also includes a list of "suggestions" like how to limit time for people to voice opposition, how to relegate any complaints to "Minority" status, as well as setting a very narrow look at this project that does not include any financial aspects what so ever.

I think that in light of the Charter of the VWG, the very existence of the group is in violation of Washington State's Open Public Meetings Act both in Spirit as well as in letter of that law.

In addition, City Council has allowed the City Manager's Office to regularly operate in violation of the City's Charter by unilaterally appointing people to advisory panels, without any guidance from City Council in the form of an Ordinance or Resolution. City Council is supposed to be in control of this process, but it is clear that they have ceded their authority to un-elected public employees and special interests who have a financial stake in bringing in Light Rail

And that's before they even meet for the first time tomorrow!

It's wrong Tim, you know it's wrong, but you seem to think that you have an air-tight alibi that will shield you from any bad press about this whole thing.

It is clear that nobody is representing the taxpayers in all of this, including most of Vancouver City Council. I can't do much more than raise hell right now, but at least I have a data point I can go back to later to prove that I tried.