Of course, I don’t live in Jefferson County anymore. I’m having a deuce of a time selling my house, but my taxes have gone up… again.
Good luck everyone.
Here’s a thought… one of the problems with the Libertarian Party is getting our name out there to the general public and getting them to understand our positions and how we are more about the people than anyone else.
I propose that the Libertarians start a major three season reality series (probably on TLC, but maybe CNN would pick it up). The series, “Who Wants to be the Next President”, basically lets the people of the US decide who the next Libertarian candidate will be (both Pres and VP).
The first two seasons of the show (2009-2010 and 2010-2011) will pick 4 finalists each from a field of 16 or so, with one ‘player’ being eliminated per episode. These final eight will compete again in the 2011-2012 season with the winner being the presidential nominee and second place being the VP nominee.
Some ideas for the competitions:
- Diplomacy in action – the contestants are all put into a room and represent major countries. Each is given a card with their information and their diplomatic goals. They talk, trade resources, etc. The winner is the one that most accomplishes his or her diplomatic goal.
- Educate the Country – the contestants are assigned a group of five kids from all over the country. They must teach them a trade or skill. The winner has the most success in teaching the kids and the best review from the kids.
- Foreign Policy – we get diplomats from 5 foreign countries as guest judges. Each candidate will have 5 minutes with the judge and then must develop a complete foreign policy statement. It will be delivered to the diplomats and the press with after speech questions by the press. The winner is the one that the press and the diplomats think gave the most complete and functional foreign policy.
- Budget – The contestants are given 10 billion dollars and must spend 5 minutes with visitors from all the government departments and 20 lobbiest groups. The winner is the one that best creates a comprehensive policy that match Libertarian goals and the needs of the current government.
- Defend the Platform – the candidates must defend the Libertarian Platform statements from people who are vehemently against each of the statements. The winner is anyone who convinces someone to change their mind.
Reality shows like this are all the rage, with large profit margins for the studios and channels (no cast or writers to hire, etc). This will put the Libertarian platform and the winner’s name in the ear of 30-45% of the population of the US. The ‘Survivor’ series gets huge press every morning on the Today Show (or whichever one it is), why not us?
I just have one request. Can I be a contestant… or the host?
Am I wrong or was Liden quoted Monday as telling the press that “you’ve got the wrong man” when asked if he would be Obama’s VP nomination?
If that’s true, he lied to the press. Why do they accept that and move on?
First, I don’t like them. However, everyone advising me is telling me that it will take money to get my name out there to any degree of having a chance of getting elected.
To that end, I have named Alexis McCarthy my campaign treasurer and set up a campaign account at Gulf Employees Credit Union. Alexis has over 5 years experience in dealing with non-profit finances and accounting. She’s also had several classes in accounting.
Campaign signs, mailouts, etc cost money. Just mailing a letter to the registered voters in Port Arthur would cost about $7500.
Understand that I’m not going to being doing ‘favors’ in exchange for money. If something is good for SE Texas, then I will vote for it regardless of contributions. Likewise, if something is bad for SE Texas, then I will vote against it, regardless of what contributers may ‘suggest’.
Contributors to my campaign are not buying me. They are helping to give Port Arthur and all of Southeast Texas a commissioner who will listen, who will stand up and ask hard question, and who will do what he can to help. If you feel that is a worthwhile goal, then I will gladly accept your contribution.
If you can’t contribute, and I know what finances are for most everyone these days, then tell all your friends about me… even the ones that live in other Precincts. Tell them to read about me and to tell their friends.
Just in talking, I’ve got hundreds of people willing to vote for me.
All we need is 7,000 people to say, “I’ve had enough of constantly increasing taxes and a lack of representation in our government.”
I think we can pull this off.
What’s going to happen if I’m elected to the commissioner’s court. First, and for a while, not a whole lot. I will be sitting down with my staff and determining who does what and how they do it. I don’t know anyone in the office and they won’t know me, so we will need some time to get a good working relationship going. There’s no way I would change anything, at least with out some serious time and discussion.
Then I’ll be travelling around the precinct checking out the roads and other county duties, seeing how the work crews do their jobs. I’ll also meet with the City Council and the Mayor, including represntatives from Sabine Pass, Hampshire, Port Acres, and whoever else wants to come. Again, this would be a get aquainted time.
Long about May, I’m going to start taking classes at LIT. They have a homeland security / emergancy management program there. I’ll take some of those. I feel that one area the county government should shine is emergancy mangement.
I’ll start talking to various people about thigns we can do at Ford Park to improve the advertising, sports, and general operations there.
Spring will see me throwing some block parties. I’ll get out with a bar-B-que pit and set-up in a neighborhood to just meet and greet everyone. Answer and ask questions.
By June or so, I would like to have met with the Texas Department of Transportation on getting the highway 87 project started.
We’ll also have to start work on Keith Lake Park. That doesn’t seem to be going anywhere right now.
During all this, I’m going to have a long sit down with the county budget and see where exactly all this money is going and what we can do to A) improve service for that budget or B) reduce the budget and keep services at the same level.
Those of you who are regular reads (I hope there are a few), the campaign is beginning. Anyone who is interested in helping out, should contact me. I need volunteers for everything from putting up doorhangers (once it gets cooler) to just finding a home for a yard sign.
I’d also like some people to host small get togethers in their homes. Them, their family and friends, interested parties, and me… just to discuss issues, suggestions, and whatever else is on your mind.
Remember, I can’t beat Singeal without support and not just voting. If that’s all you can manage I’ll accept it with gladness in my heart. If you can help out more, that would be great.
Walkabouts and promotional campaign material will start going up in September and early October depending on my finances. Meet and greets, I’m available almost anytime. I will take a few days vaction in mid-August, but that’s about it.
I’ve been busy. Apologies for the delay in posting.
First up, a comment on this KJAC news article (http://setxhomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=8028). I guess there’s nothing ethically wrong with working for the guy you would like to replace. I mean, Alma Cantu ran for his seat. Personally, I wouldn’t want to work there prior to being elected. I have nothing against Mr. Hallmark or his staff. I think that being an executive assistant to Mr. Hallmark before he leaves, would cause one to begin to think like him. That may not be a bad thing, but I think it’s time for a different attitude about county affairs.
There is some question in my mind about how he got the job in the first place. Did he apply and was he the best candidate for the job or was it ‘given’ to him because of his campaign and political affiliation?
Next up, my comments about the Veolia project (from this http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/veolia_wants_to_import_banned_chemical_06-30-2008_13_31_17.html). I just want to reiterate that I think importing these chemicals to be destroyed in our local facility is a good thing. It keeps people here working. It keeps truck drivers working. It keeps everyone they spend money on working. The Southeast Texas economy is in better shape than most of the rest of the country. Let’s keep it that way.
For the environmentalists who don’t want the chemicals here. First let me remind you that I have a Bachelor of Science degree in actual science. I’ve taught Chemistry and Biology. I’m even qualified to teach Advanced Placement Environmental Science, so I know a little bit about how this works.
First PCBs are very dangerous, that’s true. So it makes sense to me to allow the closest company to Mexico that is EPA certified to deal with PCBs the job of destroying them. Transportation of toxic chemicals should be something we’re all used to. Jefferson County is about to have the largest refinery in the US. Let’s face it, we’re a chemical and hydrocarbon refinery area. That’s what Port Arthur and Beaumont are built around.
Finally, I’m beginning to print materials for campaigning. If anyone would like a yard sign or is willing to help me by distributing information in your neighborhood, please let me know. That way I’ll have a good idea of how many to order. If anyone is willing to give me a hand designing these things, that would be great too.
I was asked by a candidate to be their representative at the Port Arthur vote tally. I believe this was the first time Port Arthur did it’s own election with electronic voting machines. I have several things that I want to cover… not in any particular order
1. Technical Aspects of Machines
2. Possibility of cheating on the machines
3. The after poll closing process
First, let’s talk about the equipment themselves. Other than the ladies from the company that Port Arthur rented the equipment from, I was probably the most technically adept person there. The machines are pretty impressive technically. Each one has three different memory devices for storing the vote, plus an internal thermal printer for a printed vote record. The primary device for the votes is a PCMCIA card. This is the device that is used to transport the votes from the polling location to the central counting location.
Each of the three storage devices are encrypted. That means, you can’t just pop them into any PC and look at the votes. If you don’t have the right code, it will take you years to figure out the information on the card. Even if you break the code on the card, it won’t match the data on the hard drive, the memory or the paper printout. The paper printout is done when the machine is closed after all voting is over. So, to answer the second bit, cheating with this equipment is pretty much impossible.
The process was pretty impressive too. The machines were ‘closed’ and the PCMCIA cards and printouts were transported to the counting location (The Bob Bower Civic Center) and then the PCMCIA cards were read. Once the cards left the voting location, no one except the employees of the company touched them. They are the ones that read the cards and tabulated the voting results.
Finally, each machine that was used in our election will remain as it was at 7PM today (Saturday, May 10) for 60 days before the machine is formatted and ready to be used again.
I really enjoyed the experience, the election officials were friendly, yet very particular about the process. They were also well organized. The staff from the company were excellent, fast, efficient and intelligent. I hope that will answer any concerns about the potential for vote fixing during this election. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them.
Republican Ted Poe has done something that I’ve never seen before, but I have been planning to do all along.
I got an email from his office asking me to give my opinion about something. Apparently, the house is considering dropping Federal Taxes on gasoline for the summer months. It would mean a $0.328 instant drop in gas prices. On the other hand, $0.184 of that money (per gallon of gas) goes directly into the Federal Highway System. You know, all that construction on I-10.
Regardless of your opinion of Poe or his politics, this sets a fantastic precedent for Congressman Poe and other leaders. In simple terms: Get the opinion of your constituents.
I plan on doing much the same thing as Jefferson County Commissioner.
Seems a lot of people are ‘concerned’ about their property valuations this year. I know I am. I’ve basically done nothing to my property (OK, I finally replaced my deck and a wooden fence from Rita damage), but still.
According to the County Assessor, the property valuations are based on the local market. Someone explain to me why, if our property is worth more because of the market, then how come I can see two ‘for sale’ signs out my front window? They’ve been up for weeks. A brief drive around the neighborhood shows me several for sale signs that have been up for months.
So here are some really basic figures that I’ve done. Please keep in mind that these are estimates.
2007 County Budget: $135,000,000 (135 million dollars)
Tax Rate (per $100): $0.39
Approximate Total Property Valuation for Jefferson County: $34,000,000,000 (34 billion)
Approximate Total Property Valuation for Jefferson County (average increase about 15%): $40,000,000,000 (40 billion) NOTE: per KFDM story
2008 County Budget (same as last year): $135,000,000
Tax Rate needed to achieve budget goal: $0.33 (per $100)
Alternative County Budget (my preferred estimate): $110,000,000
Tax Rate needed to achieve budget goal: $0.27 (per $100)
These are rough rounded figures.
First, How much do you want to bet that they will lower the tax rate to 37 cents per $100 and tell everyone how they are lowering taxes? Yet the actual paid taxes increased for everyone and it netted the county the most income ever. I explained the issue in a fairly long e-mail that I sent to all the media. Only Tom Wright of KFDM even replied to me and it took some time before he believed me.
I’m not on the commissioners court yet, so I’m not privy to the detail budget and accounting figures. I really want to know how much of that $25,000,000 ‘Emergency Fund’ is left. There have been no events that, in my mind, would qualify for using the fund, so there had better be twenty five million left in it. I’m concerned that the current court is using the fund for things that are not really emergencies (like Ford Park).
So assuming that the slush fund is intact, then that money can be removed from the budget; dropping it from $135,000,000 to $110,000,000.
That’s assuming that no county departments get a budget cut or increase. I don’t really see the need for an increase. Every business in the world is tightening their belts and doing more with less. Only the government is steadily increasing their budgets. The very least that they could do is maintain the current budget level. I really suspect that some departments could survive with small cuts.
That would be my proposal. A Jefferson County budget of $110 million dollars (or slightly less) and a tax rate of 27 cents per $100. That would actually be a tax cut for citizens of Jefferson County, not a fake cut where you still end up paying more.