Thursday, July 31, 2008

Springfield City Manager Finalists

What are their respective hometown papers saying about their job prospect in Springfield?

I thought it would be interesting to see what the City Manager finalists' hometown papers were writing about them concerning their finalist positions for Springfield City Manager and thought other people might be interested too.

Of course, since Greg Burris is local, I figured everyone has read the local print already.

Here's a link to Edmond, Oklahoma's "The Edmond Sun" - City manager finalist for Mo. job. An excerpt:

"Wayne Page, Ward 1 Edmond City Council member, said (Larry) Stevens told him about the development Wednesday. Page said he thinks Stevens has been an effective city manager and would be a sought-after candidate however this situation turns out.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” Page said."

Then, regarding Kent A. Myers, an article wasn't found in the "Hot Springs Sentinel-Record," which would be Myers' hometown paper, instead, this comes from the "Arkansas Democrat Gazette," City exec a finalist for job in Missouri. An excerpt:

“ If this works out for me, the city (Hot Springs) would have the opportunity to bring in a new manager with some new ideas and approaches. It would probably be good for both me and the community to move on to something else in the near future.” With a population of about 150, 000, Springfield has “a lot of activity going on there,” Myers said. “There is a lot of redevelopment in their downtown area and Mr. [John Q. ] Hammons is very active there developing hotels and is involved in developing a new arena at the college there. And, there is a minor league ball park downtown, so there is a lot of economic activity.” Hammons built the Embassy Suites Hot Springs adjacent to Summit Arena at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

“It seems to be a pretty stable community, and it’s growing, so it offers some growth opportunities for me and some new challenges,” Myers said."

A City news release, in its entirety, received just a moment ago:

The public is invited to meet the three finalist candidates for the Springfield City Manager position at two events on Monday, Aug. 4, 2008.

The first event is “Coffee with the Candidates” from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Park Central Square Branch Library at the southwest corner of the Square.

The second opportunity is after work at an Ice Cream Social from 5:45 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Phelps Grove Park Pavillion. Phelps Grove Park is located between National and Kimbrough avenues north of Bennett Street, just west of the Springfield Art Museum.

The three finalist candidates for the City Manager position are (in alphabetical order):

• Greg Burris, Vice President at Missouri State University
• Kent Myers, City Manager of Hot Springs, Ark.
• Larry Stevens, City Manager of Edmond, Okla.

The candidates will begin the interview process Sunday afternoon with a welcome reception with City Council, the City Manager Search Committee, Management Team and other community leaders. On Monday, the candidates will go through a series of interviews with City Council and Management Team in addition to the public events and an employee reception late Monday afternoon.

Assuming Council makes a decision to offer the position to one of the candidates next week, the candidate will still go through background checks as part of the standard City hiring process. An announcement will not be made until terms of a contract are set and the background checks have taken place.

Citizens can visit the CityConnect feature on the City Web site for details of the public events throughout the visit: <>

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Candidate for County Commission Lincoln Hough sets the record straight

after being accused of exaggeration today

I read the News-Leader's Our Voice column this morning. They've actually got a couple of them today, but I'm referring to the one endorsing Roseann Bentley over Lincoln Hough for the District 2 County Commissioner position.

To quote ;) a current Commissioner, "I was startled to find," the News-Leader suggesting Hough had "exaggerated" when he stated (according to their summary) "that the county adds about 17 employees every year. He said they aren't road workers or deputies but instead are administrators or policy people."

I thought it was fine that they challenged Hough's statement, but what "startled" me was that they offered no substantiation of their claim that Hough's statement had been exaggerated. It seems to me that if they are going to claim someone has exaggerated something, then they ought to offer some sort of argument as to why they felt a claim was exaggerated. Then, after not offering any proof that Hough had "exaggerated," oh, sweet irony, they took Hough to task for basing an earlier criticism of Bentley on, "a single quote in a newspaper article." Sweet!

A quote's a quote. Bentley said what she said. Apparently, readers of the News-Leader are supposed to, on the one hand, put great stock in their unsubstantiated claim that Hough "exaggerated," while discounting Hough on the other hand because he used the substantiation of a direct quote, straight out of the mouth of Bentley, herself, to base criticism of Bentley upon. Okay? Is there some sort of reasoning in that I'm just not getting??? Hmmm.

Hough, recently endorsed by the Missouri Republican Assembly, worked for the budget chairman in Jefferson City and one could assume by that, he might have some experience at crunching numbers.

Here's what Hough had to say regarding the News-Leader's unsubstantiated claim that he exaggerated his statement concerning the average of new hires by the County. It was transcribed from the Vincent David Jericho Program's podcast from this morning's show (listen at that link <). Jericho had asked whether it was a claim or a fact, that the county adds about 17 employees every year and that they aren't road workers or deputies but instead are administrators or policy people. :

"It's a fact. Over the last four fiscal years Greene County has added an average of 17 employees to the County payroll. This last year, the '08 fiscal year, the majority, more than 50 percent of those jobs, were not out in the service areas, I mean, that's a fact.

You can go to the budget and you can look at it. The budget's online...."

When Jericho asked Hough why he thought the News-Leader used the word "claim" in their "Our Voice," column, Hough replied:

"I think that they're trying, they, the News-Leader, I think they're trying to portray me as a young person who doesn't really have his facts straight...and they couldn't have missed it more."

Personally, I think if the News-Leader is going to endorse candidates for what they cite as "exaggerated" claims made by the candidate they do not endorse, they ought to back up their own claims. I realize it's an editorial, however, they owe it to readers to give some sort of substantiated proof of their claim that Hough's statement was "exaggerated."

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, your call.


The new issue of the Community Free Press is on the stands and the Web site!

The Web site offers an in depth and extensive Voters' Guide (also included in the print edition but the print edition directs the reader to the Web site for more information). I'd recommend it for insight.

Brian Brown completed his third in a three part series entitled, "Justice Delayed."

Bob Mace's column, "The Edge," was not in the print edition!


Don't sweat it, you can get your "Edge" fix online at the Web site, front page, no clickin' necessary.

Mert Seaton reported on the City Manager finalists, page 1.

Another spotlight: CFP Intern Jennifer Hollis has a great article in the business section. "Airport Terminal Up, Passengers Decline," page 21.

If you value your local community paper, provided free to you by the publisher, please, support the advertisers!

If you have a business and need to advertise it, do consider the Community Free Press as a great medium to get your message out.

Update on 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax Issue

I'm a believer in full disclosure (as I learn, so will you).

Yesterday, Mike Brothers, of the City, sent me an email after reading my entry on the 1/8-cent transportation tax (you can read that entry directly below this one).

I chose not to update it until I had a few more facts, but, what Mr. Brothers wanted me to know is that when a 1/8-cent transportation sales tax project is proposed as a cost share it does come before the City Council. I had questions about how it came before Council. I asked where it was placed on the agenda, whether it was listed as a one reading, first reading or consent agenda item, and I asked Brothers if he would mind providing me with an example.

The reason I asked, and the reason I felt it was important to know how it came up, is because there isn't as much understanding about how the public can address a "consent agenda" bill as there are first reading bills or even resolutions or emergency bills.

A consent agenda bill must be requested removed from the consent agenda by either a member of the public or the Council and, in my opinion, they often fly under the radar screen and are treated as just simple, "taking care of business" matters which don't warrant much attention or questioning. That's why I was interested.

Brothers provided me with an example and I'll get to that in a minute.

In his original email to me, Mike wrote:

"...anything involving the 1/8 cent goes to Council. Any kind of cost share with MoDOT or private developers or anyone else would go to Council for approval. Smaller projects on down to sidewalks would still have to be bid out to developers and that would require Council approval, too. So there are no staff decisions (if that's what you meant by administrative) as to how to allocate the money."

Facts are facts and as such, yes, it is important to note them, but my further questions as to how they are presented on the Council agenda also has bearing, in my mind, and it should be noted that Council members do not generally write the bills that come before them in Council chambers, and as a new Councilman by the name of Doug Burlison found out at, I believe, his second Council meeting, even the Council members who are listed as sponsors of any particular agenda item have not necessarily played a part in the creation of that bill or even necessarily support it. A Council member's name MUST be listed as sponsoring a bill on the agenda and so Council members' names are often listed as sponsors without their knowledge of a bill. After Burlison found that out, he specifically requested he not be listed as a sponsor of a bill without his approval (a little digression I thought readers might be interested in).

Also, though Council may review and approve the bills related to the transportation tax as they come up, Council, as the representatives of the voters, will generally support what the voters have approved, as they should. So, if and when the voters approve administrative (or staff) recommendations "to advance other high-priority transportation improvements related to economic development and quality of life enhancements," the Council will, likely, feel bound to honor whatever the administration (or staff) recommends will advance those goals. The Council will consider the people to have spoken and that will be that.

How many times have we heard in recent months that because the voters approved projects for the 1/4-cent park sales tax or had approved a CIP project that they feel they must follow through on what the voters wanted. Therefore, when (and if) the voters approve the 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax, the Council will determine that voters understood what they were voting for and will honor the voters wishes.

How this translates, in my view, is that this vote on this tax is crucial. Voters will determine whether they approve of projects, both listed and unlisted, that the City deems will serve "to advance other high-priority transportation improvements related to economic development and quality of life enhancements," and Council will feel bound to follow through on the wishes of the voters.

In my previous CFP Council Notes column, re-posted in the entry below, I pointed out that:

"This year’s ballot language does not specify parking, but includes “other shared funding projects with county, state, federal, and developers to advance high-priority transportation projects,” which are identified in the bill as, “related to economic development and quality of life enhancements.”

If you have not read beyond the ballot language, you should: ORD25392.

Now, as for the example Mike Brothers sent me. As suspected, it was a resolution on the consent agenda. It was listed as a one reading bill, meaning, unless removed from the consent agenda by a member of the public or the Council, it would not be read individually at all and would be voted on at that meeting as a part of the consent agenda.

The Mayor (Gannaway at the time), likely, as you will know if you have attended many City Council meetings, would have offered members of the public and the Council the opportunity to remove it (in the form of "any consent agenda items") from the consent agenda, otherwise, it would have sailed through as a bulk consent agenda item and been voted on, not individually, but as a part of the consent agenda as a whole. Which, it appears, is exactly what happened in the case of the example Brothers sent me. He sent a link to Bill 99-049, Ordinance No. 8620. You may read it yourself, RES8620 .

From the minutes of that meeting, we find:

"The following bills appeared on the agenda under Consent Agenda – One Reading Bills.

Glenstone & Battlefield

Sponsor: Rhodes. Council Bill 99-49. A resolution approving the plans, specifications and the bid of Hartman and Company for adding dual left turn lanes to the Glenstone and Battlefield intersection.

Council Bill 99-49. Resolution No. 8620, was adopted by the following vote: Ayes: Griggs, Vanaman, Wright, Gibson, Carlson, Hacker, Chancellor, Rhodes, Gannaway. Nays: None. Absent: None."

Had it been a first reading bill on the consent agenda it would have appeared on the agenda twice, at the next meeting as a "second reading" consent agenda bill. Since it was a one reading bill it would have appeared on the agenda at the February 1, 1999 meeting and been voted on that night, along with every other item on the consent agenda, as a whole, and never appear again.

So, technically, the Council has an opportunity to vote and approve these projects as they come up, then later to approve the bids, and the public can hold them accountable for their choices and it is all worth noting.

Certainly, the voters can hold the Council accountable if they feel the use of the tax isn't in keeping with what the voters had in mind, but, in my opinion, when voters approve such broad, open-ended language, it is all very subjective as to whether this is a use the voters would have approved without being specifically singled out for separate vote. This measure, as written, approves those broad, open-ended uses before they come up, voters have given their option of approving individual uses away at the outset by voting to support the measure and passing it. It's my opinion, they have, at that point, given away the option of holding the Council accountable because they've already authorized City uses that the City deems will, "advance other high-priority transportation improvements related to economic development and quality of life enhancements."

In the case Brothers provided, it was listed on the one reading consent agenda, not removed from it and then approved as a part of the consent agenda as a whole. There was no discussion in this case. The example Brothers provided happened to have been an item listed in the ballot language for uses of the tax. Short of studying every set of meeting minutes it would be difficult and very time consuming to try to track down particular cases and, as a result, I have gone with using the example he provided.

Further note: I don't intentionally omit information. In this blog format I relay information as it becomes available to me and if something later becomes available to me that has bearing on something I have previously written, I do make an effort to update it with the further information.

While blogging is a different format than writing a column in the newspaper there isn't much difference in some regards. Reporters write about facts as they become available to them. I have added these facts as they became available and supplied some opinion to go along with it. As always, the reader will have to determine what they will choose to do with the information available to them at the time they make a decision about whether they support this tax or not. My primary concern has been that voters have as clear an understanding about what they are voting to support, if they vote in support of this tax, as possible. I hope some of the information I've provided has been helpful.


Whether you vote for or against the transportation sales tax, you owe it to yourself and the other members of your community to cast your vote. Do it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax Renewal

It's the voters' decision

As a service to readers here, I posted the column I wrote for the Community Free Press on the 1/8-cent transportation sales tax after the City Council voted to bring the issue back before the voters on May 5, 2008. The ballot question will appear before voters on the August 5, ballot:

"Shall the City of Springfield, Missouri, continue a sales tax of one-eighth of one percent for transportation purposes to fund high priority transportation improvements which include the following: Upgrading US Route 65 to a six lane facility from Battlefield Road to Chestnut Expressway; interchange improvements at James River Freeway (JRF) and National Avenue, JRF and Campbell Avenue (Phase I) and I-44 and Kansas Expressway; Intermodal Connectivity investments to enhance mobility of alternative modes of transportation (Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Transit); intersection improvement at Kearney Street and National Avenue; Turn Lane Safety and Capacity Projects; Bridge and Pavement Preservation Projects; Intelligent Transportation System Projects; and other shared funding projects with County, State, Federal, and Developers to advance high-priority transportation projects with County, State, Federal, and Developers to advance high-priority transportation projects; and including the repayment of bonds which may be used to pay for the improvements, with the tax to sunset in four years?

As a further service to readers, I am going to re-post my CFP column, the correction that followed the column in the Community Free Press' next issue (the issue of June 4) and offer some personal commentary following it:

1/8-Cent Transportation Sales Tax

City Council passed Council Bill 2008-116 on May 5. The purpose of the special ordinance was to allow voters to decide whether to continue the 1/8-cent transportation sales tax 4 more years, from 2009-2012.

The current tax is set to elapse in August, 2009. Councilman Gary Deaver was interested in the process of choosing the projects funded by the transportation tax.

“We work in partnership with MoDOT, Greene County, and the city and really look at where we can get the most value for the transportation dollars that we have,” Director of Public Works Marc Thornsberry answered.

Even though some believe there is subjective language in the ballot, voters have approved the transportation tax three times, beginning in 1996.

The language people have questioned includes unidentified “high priority transportation improvements,” and “other shared funding projects.

”Parking improvements for economic development priorities showed up on the 2000 ballot and street and parking were included as high priority transportation investments in 2004.

This year’s ballot language does not specify parking, but includes “other shared funding projects with county, state, federal, and developers to advance high-priority transportation projects,” which are identified in the bill as, “related to economic development and quality of life enhancements.”

Springfield’s Director of Public Information, Louise Whall, offered insight regarding the general language of the bill and ballot.

“We can’t predict with certainty whether any new opportunities or challenges will present themselves over the four-year period, i.e., a developer proposes a major retail center that needs additional infrastructure and asks for public-private cost-share or MoDOT‘s schedule changes and a project develops that could be a cost-share,” she said.

The transportation tax was used, in part, to fund the College Station and Heer’s Car Parks. According to Whall,the combined amount used from the transportation tax to build the parking garages was $2,836,950.

Community Free Press correction:

"The city budget story (it was actually my CouncilNotes column) in the May 21 issue stated that Springfield's 1/8-cent tax would elapse in August. According to Louise Whall, director of public information for Springfield, "If voters renew it, the new 1/8-cent would start on April 1, 2009. If it is not renewed, it would expire on March 31, 2009. And it remains 1/8 cent during that whole period, so there's no double taxation in the overlap. The ballot issues are put on the ballot well before the effective date to allow the time for the state certification of the results."

I had written that the tax would elapse in August, 2009. That was incorrect and so it was corrected.

I also received the further information about the tax that "the City used $645,000 of 1/8-cent money toward design costs as a cost-share with MoDOT, but no 1/8-cent money for construction," on 266, or Airport Blvd., from Public Information Director Louise Whall.

The use of the tax for the parking garages and Airport Blvd., were approved as uses under the broad (and some say, subjective) language of the previous bills for earlier passage of the tax.

Now, for my personal comments, which, it should be noted are my comments and not affiliated in any way with CFP's stance on the issue, which I do not know and have not discussed with anyone there beyond relaying my reasons for feeling it was important to note the broad, and in my opinion (and others), subjective language of the accompanying documents to the bill. That reason was that voters should have a more encompassing understanding of what they would be supporting if they vote in favor of renewing the tax.

Beyond the projects listed on the ballot as "included" on the list of projects the city plans to undertake, if the tax is renewed, voters are also voting to support administrative opinion regarding what are priority projects for Springfield, and, it should be noted the administrative staff would, likely, tell voters they based those previous decisions, in turn, on past, citizen input.

Previous decisions have included the administrative decision to use $2,836,950 to build parking garages and $645,000 toward design costs for Airport Blvd., as a cost share with MoDOT.

I don't have a personal problem with voters approving such uses of the 1/8-cent transportation sales tax revenue, so long as they understand, completely, the possible uses and how those uses are determined as priority projects for the voters.

Voters will have to weigh whether the projects they want to see implemented are being fairly determined, administratively, by city staff and whether the projects included in the ballot are important enough to outweigh any misgivings one might have about giving city staff license to administratively determine priority cost share projects with private developers and other government entities who are also "leveraging" tax payers' dollars to pay the costs of those projects.

Whatever voters decide, it's certain, they'll pay for it.

Life of Jason Interviews City Manager Candidates

Jason at Life Of Jason blog is doing email interviews with the City Manager candidates. He has two of them up so far. Good questions and interesting responses.

Excerpts, spotlighting one of the questions he posed to the candidates, with links to the first two email interviews:

Q & A: City Manager Candidate Greg Burris

LoJ Question:

4. How would you make your office accessible to the public and transparent on decision making?

I believe in the chain of command. While I consider myself accessible to the University community in my current position, I try to direct complaints to the lowest level in the organization able to solve the problem. I can’t solve all of the University’s problems myself . . . and if selected to be the City Manager, I won’t be able to personally solve all of the City’s problems, either.

My operating style tends to be transparent in the delivery of the solution, but the staff needs to be able to collect data, evaluate options, and determine the best points along the way to collect public input. I’m a big proponent of citizen advisory groups. In effect, I believe most citizens want the City to run like an efficient service business, and a careful balance must be achieved between operating efficiently and having to explain everything you’re doing to someone looking over your shoulder.

In the spirit of openness and transparency, I invite anyone to contact members of the University that they know and ask them about me. Ask what type of City Manager I would make. Most members of the University community will have an opinion about me, whether positive or negative.*

Q & A : City Manager Candidate Kent A. Myers

LoJ Question:

4. How would you make your office accessible to the public and transparent on decision making?

First of all, I think that it is important that my office create an environment of full accessibility to the public and I want all citizens to feel welcome and comfortable contacting or visiting my office at any time. I have always tried to set a positive example for the entire city organization with regard to public accessibility. I practice an “open door” policy in dealing with the public. I make it a practice to respond to phone calls, e-mails and letters on a timely basis. In contacting my office, I want to hear citizen concerns and complaints but I also want to hear their ideas and suggestions on how the city can progress and do our jobs better.

I have found that the public often times does not want to stop by City Hall to voice their concerns or offer their input. Therefore, in order to be effective in dealing with the public and get them involved with their city government, I have to get out of my office on a regular basis. If I am hired for the City Manager position in Springfield, you will see me out in the community attending meetings and special events and getting involved in a number of civic and professional organizations. In Hot Springs, for example, I have used community coffees and brown bag lunches as efforts to reach out to the community. I want to stay in touch with the needs and interests of the community in any way that I can.

Finally, I commit to working with the Public Information Officer to communicate to the public about any important activity or project involving their city government. I currently utilize such things as monthly radio shows, bi-monthly cable television programs, quarterly citizen newsletter and other ways to get our message out and be as transparent as possible.*

Update: Jason @ Life Of Jason has added Larry Stevens answers to his email interview questions:

Q & A : City Manager Candidate Larry Stevens

LoJ Question:

4. How would you make your office accessible to the public and transparent on decision making?

Transparency and openess is an emphasis of our city government in Edmond. About five years I created a seperate small department to coordinate and enhance our communication with the citizens we exist to serve. Extensive communication in a variety of forms would be a priority.*

Read more.

*"The author (Jason) gives permission for electronic, print or broadcast media to use information from any posting ONLY if a link to this blog site is provided and printed identification of the location of the information provided or the full web address of the site,, is mentioned as the source of the information."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I was just kidding about sexism in the Missouri Governor's race


I've been thinking about a recent comment at this post:

"...I stand by my post, anyway. They're both (Hulshof and Steelman) fiscal twits. How she became treasurer is beyond me, unless it's that pretty face of hers."

I was just joking around when I wrote the above referenced post, Hulshof needs to stop negative attacks against Minority Candidate but in light of that comment and the "Our Voice" column in the News-Leader today, I think perhaps it does need to be addressed more seriously.

The idea that it might be Steelman's "pretty face" that got her the job as treasurer didn't set well with me, even though I'm not someone you'd traditionally use as an example of a feminist.

For the record, I'm not a very big fan of political correctness. I like analysis based on fact a lot better than political correctness and I don't claim to be a highly savvy political analyst. It should also be noted that my attention is not as focused on state and national politics as it is on local government issues, but when a man gets a job for which he is perceived as unqualified, either rightly or wrongly, might it be that he got it because of his "pretty face?"

Or, did he, perhaps, "sleep his way to the top?"

The News-Leader's "Our Voice" column today reads:

"Steelman's problem has its roots in her take-no-prisoners style."

While Hulshof:

"...opposes big government, understands agricultural and crime issues and is willing to take a tough stand for what he thinks is right."

When Steelman fails to have a plan for tackling every issue, the "Our Voice" column insinuates that she's against having a vision at all:

"...our biggest problem comes with her lack of vision.

It's more an anti-vision"

"Our voice," on Hulshof's lack of vision on certain issues? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt because he's more *diplomatic* than Steelman?:

"He has sidestepped -- to some degree -- questions on health care for the uninsured, an overburdened Public Defender's Office and the future of higher education funding in the state.

He said he will be fine-tuning his thoughts on some of those issues -- especially health care -- in coming weeks, if he wins the primary.

We hope he does."

Apparently, there's no such "hope" for Steelman.

I was joking when I asked, "What does he have against a woman Governor?"

Now, I wonder if the issue doesn't deserve a bit more serious handling than that.

I'm not super sensitive in regards to looking for examples of "glass ceilings," as they apply to women, but the commenter on the post I referenced above laid out some statistics regarding my use of the term "minority" in my original, referenced post. I have no reason to question his facts:

"...according to the last census, in 2002, 51 percent of the population of the U.S. are female. Males outnumber females 105 to 100 up until age 29. In age groups from 30 on up females outnumber males."

But, I think a more pertinent question, however, might be, what is the male to female ratio of registered voters in the country?

...and, of course, I don't hold the commenter responsible for the way the editorial board of the News-Leader treated Steelman as opposed to Hulshof in todays "Our Voice," column, but I do wonder when was the last time he suggested that a male political office holder might have got his job because of his "pretty face?"

It's being rumored that the Republican establishment supports Hulshof. I wonder if, like the News-Leader's editorial board, they like Hulshof's approach better than Steelman's.

My interest is less in who the News-Leader's editorial board endorses than who the voters endorse. The News-Leader's editorial board simply seeks to influence the voters.

Is the consensus thought of the people who will be represented by either Hulshof or Steelman that there be more diplomacy when dealing with issues in our state government?

Perhaps Hulshof speaks softly but carries a big stick, I don't pretend to know.

Steelman's voice, which seems to be playing well among voters, might actually be her big stick.

I'm thinking voters might choose that "take-no-prisoner's style" voice, a voice that seems to be promising to speak with and for the voters rather than a voice speaking down to voters after reaching consensus with other politicians.

The primary vote will establish what the people want.

I hope, whichever candidate the voters choose, the Republican establishment will accept the winner diplomatically.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hulshof needs to stop negative attacks against Minority Candidate

I am really tired of all the negative attacks Kenny Hulshof is making against Sarah Steelman for running negative ads against him.

Shouldn't he be talking about his plans for Missouri!?

Negative, negative, negative. He should be ashamed of himself. What does he have against a woman Governor?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Steelman was on KSGF this morning

Hulshof will be on in the morning

Jo Mannies at Political Fix noted that Sarah Steelman will spend Wednesday morning with radio host Glen Beck, so I thought it was worth noting that she was interviewed in Springfield this morning by Vince Jericho on KSGF. Listen to the podcast.

In the morning, 6-9 am, Jericho will interview Kenny Hulshof. If you miss it, you can always catch the podcast later, access it through KSGF's Web site.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Introducing: JackeHammer's "Bullwinkle" Award

Since this is the first "Bullwinkle" Award JackeHammer has issued I want to explain from whence the term Bullwinkle comes. I'm not referring to the moose.

Furniture Factory Outlet in Springfield used to have a couple who did their commercial spots. "Earl" passed away some years ago but my favorite Earl and Edna commercial was the one in which they were behind some kind of hill, presumably in a flower garden and, I think Edna, had some gardening tools in hand. Earl, who always had trouble with names and the English language and got words confused, identified some unseen flowers as "bullwinkles." He might have meant periwinkles, who knows?

Anyway, my first Bullwinkle Award goes to Michael Savage for inadvertantly raising autism awareness. A lot of folks have spent a great deal of time discussing autism due to some controversial remarks Savage recently made on his nationally syndicated radio program, "The Savage Nation." Many of these people might not have had an opportunity to raise the issue in a public forum if not for Savage's insensitive comments.

The News-Leader has their roses and thorns. I want to stay as positive as possible, here at JackeHammer, so I only have my "bullwinkles."

Related: Apparently, much of this debate was spawned due to a research paper from 2006, written by Paul T. Shattuck, PhD of the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin: "The Contribution of Diagnostic Substitution to the Growing Administrative Prevalence of Autism in US Special Education

More: An erratum has been published to the above Shattuck, PhD study, in the interest of disclosure I thought the link should be posted here.

More related: RealClearPolitics - Thomas Sowell - Crusades Versus Caution

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Does Consistency at Council Meetings Matter?

Yes, even more than I thought

Apparently, I stirred up a hornet's nest with my most recent "Council Note's" column in Community Free Press and this blog posting.

Some have questioned whether I took two completely different, unrelated segments of a Council meeting, one in which it is appropriate to honor people with applause and one in which it is inappropriate to honor people with applause and compared them.

For clarification, all the cases of applause my critic(s) have considered have occurred during the course of a convened Council meeting.

In the instance I wrote about, roll call had been taken and the interim City Manager was giving the City Manager's report, after the meeting had begun, when she asked the Council if they would care to join her in applause for Mayor Pro Tem Deaver. The Council's accommodation set off the applause of the public who were in attendance at that June 30 meeting.

Mayor Carlson has asked the public not to applaud anything recently. Mayor Carlson has even threatened to have people removed from the chamber for doing so.

Here are some further facts that readers, and critics, might find pertinent:

The City's Municipal Code does not distinguish that during certain periods of convened Council meetings applause is either appropriate or inappropriate.

Sec. 2-45. Decorum.

(a) Councilmembers. While the city council is in session, the members shall preserve order and decorum, and no member shall, by conversation or otherwise, delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the council, or disturb any member while speaking, or refuse to obey the orders of the council or its mayor, except as otherwise provided in this article.
(b) Other persons. No person shall make personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or otherwise disturb the order and decorum of any council meeting. The sergeant-at-arms, at the direction of the mayor, shall remove any person violating the provisions of this subsection (b).
(c) Signs and displays. No person shall carry or display a sign inside the city council chambers or any other similar type of written communication which is carried or displayed, except nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from using visual materials when presenting a matter to the city council. The city council hereby determines that signs or displays in the council chambers may obstruct the view of citizens, can cause injury and affect the decorum of city council meetings, and are hereby prohibited for such reasons. The sergeant-at-arms shall inform citizens when signs or displays violate this section and shall remove the signs
or displays from the council chambers or may cause citizens carrying such signs or displays to be removed from the council chambers.
(Code 1981, § 2-15)

What the City's Municipal Code does clearly establish is that the presiding officer of the City Council is the Mayor:

Sec. 2-34. Presiding officer.

The presiding officer of the city council shall be the mayor, or in his absence the mayor pro tempore. The presiding officer shall preserve strict order and decorum at all regular and special meetings of the council.

The presiding officer is Mayor Carlson and the Council's presiding officer is on record, during the course of a convened, public, City Council meeting as having established a rule of decorum that people not applaud anything:

"“Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, we would request that you not applause anything. We require decorum in the Council Chambers.” - Mayor Carlson, December, 2007

I have not asked the readers of CFP to consider this a grave issue, I simply spotlighted it.

It was not my idea to establish a rule that people not applaud anything during the course of a City Council meeting. It was the presiding officer of the City Council who established that during a convened, public meeting of the Council.

Apparently, the issue has mattered more to some of my readers than I ever thought it would, hence: It is my opinion, that the interest this most current column inspired makes it that much more important that the presiding officer make every effort to see that the rules he has set forth as pertaining to decorum and the appropriateness of applause during the course of a convened meeting should be practiced consistently during the course of convened, public Council meetings.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm happy to answer reader's questions

I received the following query today regarding my Council column in the new issue of Community Free Press:

"Mrs. Melton:

I noticed in today's edition of the Community Free Press' "City Council Notes" section you wrote about Interim City Manager Evelyn Honea leading a round of applause for Councilman Gary Deaver for winning the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Springfield Rotary Club. In your piece, you wrote about Mayor Carlson taking issue with outbursts from those in attendance without mentioning at all the times other people from the community have been saluted and applauded such as city staff who have received recognition and at the most recent meeting a Boy Scout who was in attendance.

I was wondering why you didn't feel it was in the interest of your readers to give them all of the facts."

----end email----

First of all, let me just note that I feel it is in the interest of my readers to have all the facts, I hope in the links and supplemental information I offer and CFP offers they will be able to access "all of the facts." I give readers the facts that I feel are pertinent on any given issue. Truth be known, I am given a word count of 550 words for my "Council Notes" column, which appears in every issue of the Community Free Press.

At issue, in my mind, in the column cited by the writer of the email above, was not whether it was Deaver as opposed to a boy scout or another member of City staff who received applause, it was, rather, an issue of whether the rules of decorum are equally observed. It is a fact that:

"On several occasions in the recent past, Mayor Carlson has demanded the public observe strict rules of decorum in Council chambers, even threatening their removal from the chambers if they are not observed."

It is up to the reader to decide whether it should be an issue as to whether the City staff and Council observe the same rules of decorum they demand of the public who attend the Council meetings. It is of no consequence whether it is Mayor Pro Tem Deaver who is receiving the applause or a boy scout, it just so happens that in this instance it was Mayor Pro Tem Deaver who received the applause.

This column was turned in before a boy scout was applauded at the City Council meeting of July 14, again, the applause, in this case, was not challenged by anyone on the Council. It so happens, that at the moment that applause took place Mayor Carlson was not in attendance, as he arrived late to the meeting this past Monday night.

My column could have just as easily cited applause for a boy scout as applause for Mayor Pro Tem Deaver, had it been a boy scout who was applauded at the June 30 Council meeting, which is the meeting this column covered.

As far as including "all the facts," ask any reporter if they are able to include every fact of every issue they cover. I recently mentioned Wes Johnson of the News-Leader not including information about a resolution here, not to disrespect or question Mr. Johnson, who I happen to have a great deal of respect for, but because I thought it was worth noting.

Every Council column I write requires I make choices about what I think the public might find important or interesting because I am only allowed a certain amount of space to cover the previous meeting and there is not room to include every issue and every word that is exchanged during any given meeting in the space I am allowed for my column. This issue's column is no different from any other in that regard. For whatever reason, the Community Free Press trusts my judgment on the making of those choices and I am honored that they do so and have given me the opportunity to write a regular column for their paper, for which I have the utmost respect.

I appreciate, also, the writer of the email for being interested in my choices and decisions and appreciate everyone who reads my column, as, I'm sure, does CFP.

I'm always open for suggestion. My email address can be found under my profile and I would also encourage any one who has a question or comment to write a letter to the editor at the Community Free Press.

New issue of CFP hits the Web and the stands!

The new issue of Community Free Press is on the Web and in the stands!

Top story: "City Seeks Possession of Skatepark; Contention between Adams and Weatherman causes breakdown of mediation and prompts legal action."

The Council column I turned in touches on how renewal of the CIP tax was approved by voters with the Commercial Street streetscape project listed as a new priority project just before Council approved Commercial Street's designation as a TIF district. Tax increment financing could have covered this cost but it isn't needed, voters already approved capital improvement revenue for the project, read more....

Brian Brown completed: JUSTICE DELAYED PART 2 OF 3; ‘Systemic’ Problem Faces County Justice, a very interesting read. Part 1 of 3 can be read in the July 2 issue, "Justice Here is Justice Delayed; A shortage of judges and defenders compounds the county docket overload."

Bob Mace is teetering on "The Edge" again in "Short-Circuited?"

...and there's a whole lot more, including Managing Editor Mert Seaton's announcement of his brand new family member, Lucy Ann, in "Random Thoughts While on Baby Leave."


For an interesting editorial take on the City's, apparent, desire to take over the Springfield Skatepark, I'd direct you to Stu Soloman's blog, "Stu's Potluck."

Recommended reading 27: Judicial Selection Systems

From: Show-Me Institute:

Is the 'Missouri Plan' Good for Missouri?

"Recent judicial appointments in Missouri have intensified calls for reform of Missouri’s judicial selection process. While these debates can seem like mere partisan bickering, judicial independence is critical to a well-functioning legal system, which is an important factor in economic growth. Research has found that judicial independence and legal system quality matter for economic growth, and that the outcomes of a state’s legal system depend in part on how its judges are selected. Although the General Assembly decided not to pursue legislation that might alter the “Missouri Plan” during this past legislative session, the quality of the state’s legal system and its potential effect on economic growth is an issue worthy of ongoing attention...."

Find out the results of a study of judicial selection systems, undertaken by Joshua Hall who is an assistant professor of economics at Beloit College and Russell S. Sobel, professor of economics and Distinguished Chair in the Department of Economics at West Virginia, at the link above.

You can also access the full study and a four page policy briefing here.

From the briefing:

"Our analysis finds no other method of selection resulting in average scores or rankings that are statistically higher than Missouri’s current system."

Monday, July 14, 2008

In the interest of including all the facts: Council Bills 2008-208, 209

In, "Council to consider tax breaks for BKD building," The Springfield News-Leader's Wes Johnson wrote:

"The council will consider giving several tax breaks to facilitate a $21.5 million industrial revenue bond for the 109,600-square-foot BKD headquarters building at 910 St. Louis St.

The site currently is a parking lot owned by John Q. Hammons, just south of the Jordan Valley Car Park.

Tonight's discussion is a first reading of the proposal, and the public will have an opportunity to speak about it. A final vote is likely within two weeks."

Johnson was writing about, one must assume, Council Bill 2008-208.

However, the Resolution, Council Bill 2008-209, will be read tonight and, as a Resolution, only requires one reading. Citizens may speak but the Council may, and most likely will vote tonight, either for or against approval of the City acting as necessary to issue its Industrial Development Revenue Bonds in a principal amount not to exceed $21.5 million to finance the costs of Opus' building of the "BKD" office building.

If the Council approves the Resolution, the City will become the owners of the property and will lease it to Opus, with Opus having an option to buy the property and its improvements. You can read the terms for yourself under both bills.

Johnson failed to note that, so I thought I would.

The original agreement Council approved, which was negotiated with Hammons on the former arena site/parking garage, stipulated that Hammons would sell the property, which Hammons owned and is currently a parking lot, to Opus for the purpose of developing an office building which would be leased, in part, to BKD.

Council approved the option of the bond issuance as a part of the authorization they gave the City to negotiate a development agreement with Opus on June 30. Whether they realized the option of a City ownership, finance and City bond issuance was approved because of the City's inclusion of RSMo Chapter 100 being cited or not, I do not know. I haven't taken the time to find out yet.


17. COUNCIL BILL 2008-209. (Carlson)A resolution approving a plan for an Industrial Development Project for 910 Springfield, L.L.C., and determining the official intent of the City of Springfield, Missouri, to issue its Industrial Development Revenue Bonds in a principal amount not to exceed $21,500,000 to finance the costs of such project

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Religious Debate

Don't quarrel about words; it is of no value

A couple of interesting "my voice" columns in the News-Leader this morning:

Politicians may want preachers with safe message, written by Tim Carson, senior minister of University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas.


Bible shows everything occurs as result of God's direction, permission, written by A. Wilson Phillips, senior pastor of Abundant Life Covenant Church in Springfield.

Certainly, the comments are revealing.

I don't think God needs me to defend Him, per se, I think He wants me to choose Him, to love Him, to be obedient to Him and to share Him.

Some of the comments, posted with the above articles, in my opinion, border on cyber-bullying. People who are trying their darnedest, for their own wide-ranging reasons, to make Christians think they're stupid for having faith in God.

Faith is what it is. I have faith in God and I have made my choice, others will make theirs.

The Bible doesn't promise everyone will love Christians who practice their faith and are vocal about it, and in fact, warns us against arguing about words.

I don't think much of the argument that, "because you don't believe the same way I do, you are therefore stupid," coming from anyone.

Closed-mindedness is not synonymous with Christianity and, likewise, open-mindedness is not synonymous with people who don't have faith and practice it in the same way I do.

For those who DO like to argue about it and think it is their place to defend God or their faith, here's a scripture for you to think about:

2 Timothy 1:12

"That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."

From the archives of JackeHammer:

Defending the Faith from Political Attack.

"...I realized... that the Bible is as divisive today as it has always been. The Bible does not tolerate sin. The Bible tells us how God feels about sin. We either accept the Word of God as true, as useful for instruction, as the "anchor and foundation of any true Church," or we do not.

"Of necessity, if one does not believe in an inerrant Bible and consider it the guidebook for the Christian life it separates him from the one who does believe in an inerrant Bible, from the one who does consider it the guidebook for the Christian life. It is not "Conservative" (or evangelical) Christians who are intolerant of sin and it's practice, it is GOD who is intolerant of sin and its practice. The Holy Bible is intolerant of sin and it is still the lightening rod of controversy which it has been since early Christians first shared it with unbelievers.

"When Christians politically attack each other they do not attack each other so much as they attack the precepts and tenets of the Bible. The same Bible which Martin Luther was "conquered" by when he said "my conscience is bound in the Word of God," We would all do well to remember our "anchor and foundation.""

What are you doing here, Jacke? (Revisited)

A Workman Approved by God
(2 Timothy 2)

"Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

"In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don't have anything to dowith foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2

Friday, July 11, 2008

Council Bill 2008-212

Item 36. COUNCIL BILL 2008-212.

(The details given regarding this bill are by no means the complete bill. I recommend you read the full 27 page document, linked above, for a complete understanding. The following facts are summarized in some cases, quoted in others and are only excerpts. The emphasis added is mine)

"(Carlson)A special ordinance amending the rules and regulations of the Small Business Development Loan Program and the Comprehensive Housing Assistance Program to provide for a Pilot Business Incentive Program and to make minor updates to the overall regulation. (Staff recommends approval.)"

Uh huh. Minor updates.

The Urban District Alliance is sponsoring the "Microenterprise Loan Pilot Program." This bill is a first reading consent agenda bill. As one of the minor updates, the bill strikes these ineligible activities, which are currently ineligible as uses of Small Business Loans:

1. Working Capital
2. Inventory
3. Training of Employees
4. Other costs determined ineligible by the Loan Committee

Added eligible activities, under the "Microenterprise Loan Pilot Program," will be:

1. Working Capital;
2. Merchandise inventory;
3. Equipment
4. Furninture and fixtures;
5. Infill improvements;
6. Other start-up costs

Microenterprise, according to the bill, "means a business having five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the business. Microenterprises are for-profit businesses."

Eligible Applicants:

"Due to the early stages of Commercial Street's redevelopment, eligible applicants will not only include retail businesses but any other new and expanding type of business outlined in the Commercial Street "Strategy for Success" accepted by City Council in August of 2005."

Eligible Project Areas:

"Eligible target areas for the Microenterprise program are (1) Boonville Avenue Corridor; (2) Center City; (3) Commercial Street Historic District; and (4) Walnut Street Conservation District; all shown on Exhibit A."

Interest rate for the loans is 5 percent per annum.

Oh, get this:

Maximum Loan Amount:

"shall be $25,000 to eligible businesses. Maximum loan amount may be reviewed, changed or increased in future years."

Personally, I'm wondering if there will be enough Council members to pass this with a majority, considering how many of them may need to abstain?

Update: I should have noted that bill 2008-212 is a first reading consent agenda bill. Usually, Mayor Carlson will ask if anyone on the Council wants anything removed from the consent agenda. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. After he asks the Council, he will ask if anyone in the public would like to have something removed from the consent agenda, if he gets no response, he will ask the City Clerk if she has had any requests that something be removed from the consent agenda. I've never seen anyone from the public ask to have something removed from the consent agenda, but if you would like to address this first reading bill, you could probably let Ms. Cirtin know before the meeting, and perhaps turn in a card that you'd like to speak to it at the same time. Then, that should give you an opening to address the Council....IF you want to. :) -- Jackie

Did you see this coming?

15. COUNCIL BILL 2008-208.

"The City Council approved a Development Agreement ("Development Agreement") between the City and 910 Springfield, L.L.C. ("Opus"), on June 30, 2008. The Development Agreement obligates the City to provide tax abatement* to the land to be purchased, and the office building to be constructed, by Opus pursuant to the Development Agreement. The Developer has requested tax abatement* in the form of issuance of Industrial Development Bonds pursuant to Chapter 100, RSMo("Chapter 100") as authorized* in the Development Agreement.

"Pursuant to Chapter 100, the land and improvements to be constructed by Opus will be owned by the City and leased to Opus. As a result of the City's ownership of the Project, the site will be exempt from payment of real property taxes.* The project is expected to cost $21,500,000* and bonds will be issued in that amount to fund the acquisition and construction of the project. Opus will purchase the bonds. Principal and interest on the bonds will be paid solely with revenue derived from rent payments under the lease agreement between the City and Opus."

My collegue, Stu, over at Stu's Potluck was wondering today why that Hammon's Agreement was made an "emergency bill" at the June 30, Council meeting, I think he might have just got his answer.

*all emphasis, mine

Update: Companion, item 17. COUNCIL BILL 2008-209.

"WHEREAS, 910 Springfield, L.L.C., a Delaware limited liability company (the "Company"), has requested that the City (i) approve a plan for a project for the building for use as office industry located at 910 St. Louis Street in the City of Springfield, Missouri (the "Project"), (ii) issue its industrial develoment revenue bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $21,500,000 to provide funds to pay the costs of the Project, and (iii) lease the Project to the Company with an option to purchase the Project, for the purpose of financing the costs of the Project, all in accordance with and pursuant to the Act; and..."

This bill is a resolution, meaning it only requires one reading for the Council to find and determine:

"...that the Project will promote the economic welfare and the development of the City...,"

among other things. Read it for yourself.

Recommended Reading 26: A "Rocket Graveyard," Suzi Brozman

Yesterday, I read James Regions' letter in the Springfield News-Leader and I found some of the comments to that letter very disturbing.

As a continuance to "Recommended Readings, 20-22 and 23," I wanted to update with Suzi's new installment on the Israel story she is writing, since her recent, first trip to Israel.

I thought it was particularly timely after the publication of Mr. Regions letter.

Excerpts, (use the link to read the entire, riveting article).

COVER: A 'Rocket Graveyard'
Dealing with attacks in southern Israel

Suzi Brozman
Staff Writer

"...Surrounded by enemies, Israel cannot afford to relax its vigilance for an instant. For that reason, every inch of the border with Gaza is under constant scrutiny, both live and on camera. At the base, a command room filled with computer monitors is staffed by young women, members of the IDF. Each monitor scans a particular area of the terrain separating Israelis and Gazans, showing pictures broadcast from a network of cameras stationed along the borders trying to detect every movement, every possible terror attempt....

"The process is not foolproof, but it is effective. We were shown tapes of incidents where terrorists were caught trying to cross the border. We also saw times when they weren't stopped. Botched incidents are studied carefully to learn how to recognize the next attempt.

"A commanding officer briefed us on the situation. Twenty settlements are in the area. The 12 nearest the fence are the least secure. Two weeks before our visit a major truck bomb reached settlements inside Israel. The officer warned us that Hamas has been strengthening its positions and issuing more dangerous, upgraded threats in recent days. Missiles, he said, are the main threat now, and they are harder to deal with than terrorists whose movements are easier to follow, though there are daily attempts to cross the border fence, and there are nightly sniper attacks. Terrorists try to cross on the ground by cutting the fence or underground through tunnels. This is how Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped...."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It seemed a little boring in the blogosphere to me, so I whipped up a little something...

...sorry, I had to use energy by having the power turned on to my computer to do so. Hey! I coulda been out drivin' my evil CAR!?!

It seems that Joshua Wolf and Robert Salo of Royal Children's Hospital, in Melbourne Australia have recently reported that:

"A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne with an eight-month history of depressed mood . . . He also . . . had visions of apocalyptic events."

and that:

"The patient had also developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies."

Read more about it here, though some of the comments are a bit nasty, if you ask me.

April 16, 2007, Darragh Johnson of the Washington Post wrote about a 9 year old boy named Alex Hendel and the effects that discussions about global warming and/or climate change can have on children who have been led to believe, in many cases, that we're headed for epic destruction brought on by people who consume too much gas, drink too much water or own too many farting cows:

""In 20 years," he pronounces, "there's no oxygen." Then, to dramatize the point, he collapses, "dead," to the floor.

"For many children and young adults, global warming is the atomic bomb of today. Fears of an environmental crisis are defining their generation in ways that the Depression, World War II, Vietnam and the Cold War's lingering "War Games" etched souls in the 20th century.

"Parents say they're searching for "productive" outlets for their 8-year-olds' obsessions with dying polar bears. Teachers say enrollment in high school and college environmental studies classes is doubling year after year. And psychologists say they're seeing an increasing number of young patients preoccupied by a climactic Armageddon."

March 19, 2007:

"Half of young children are anxious about the effects of global warming, often losing sleep because of their concern, according to a new report today.

A survey of 1,150 youngsters aged between seven and 11 found that one in four blamed politicians for the problems of climate change."

Hmmm. Maybe it IS politicians who are to blame for all that global warming, hot air. Those 1,150 "youngsters" may have been on to something.

The report above was used to try to shame people into realizing that global warming wasn't just effecting the children of the future but was also effecting the welfare of the children of today:

"The most feared consequences of global warming included poor health, the possible submergence of entire countries and the welfare of animals."

Haven't had enough yet? June 10, 2007, Green Living Tips Weblog posted this:

"A report released by the Australian Childhood Foundation today brings to light some very disturbing fears held by many of the 600 children aged between 10-14 years surveyed.

Other key findings:

• Over half are scared that there will be a lack of water in the future
• 44% of children are worried about climate change
• 43% of children are worried about air and water pollution

What is disturbing to me is that the Green Living Tips Web blog uses the fear indoctrinated into children as a reason for adults to react:

"25% of children recently surveyed believe the world will end before they reach adulthood. If that's not a wake up call for the wider community about our environment, I don't know what is."

Children did not get so obsessed and psychotic about climate change that they can't sleep at night and believe the world will end before they reach adulthood on their own. Someone taught them to live with this level of fear, someone with another motive. I think it's sick, myself.

I believe in good stewardship of the planet and in saving money by conserving energy.

It just makes good hillbilly common sense.

I just think it's unconscionable to use children as a tool by instilling such fear in them in an effort to cause parents and other adults to do what extremist environmentalists want them to do, "for the children."

Friday, July 04, 2008

Some thoughts on Independence Day

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” - Thomas Jefferson

About 3 1/2 - 4 years ago, I loaned a book to my former Sunday School teacher. That book was Watchman Nee's, Love Not The World. I never got the book back.

Today, as I was looking at some quotes that might be suitable to post on this Independence Day, the Jefferson quote, above, reminded me of that book and a particular passage of the book that particularly struck me.

Nee explained that, while many institutions are founded on lofty standards and have their roots in good and doing good, that left to their own devices and, without a righteous leader as their head, will fall into decline. The righteous root will decay without the proper visionary.

That idea, or truth, is why the leaders we choose to represent us is so important and always will be important.

Nee: Chapter 2:

"Most of the historic university colleges of the West were founded by Christian men with a desire to provide their fellows with a good education under Christian influence. During their founders' lifetimes the tone of those foundations was high, because these men put real spiritual content into them. When, however, the men themselves passed away, the spiritual control passed away too, and education followed its inevitable course toward the world of materialism and away from God. In some cases it may have taken a long time, for religious tradition dies hard; but the tendency has always been obvious, and in most cases the destination has by now been reached. When material things are under spiritual control they fulfill their proper subordinate role. Released from that restraint they manifest very quickly the power that lies behind them. The law of their nature asserts itself, and their worldly character is proved by the course they take."

Nee: Chapter 5:

"Christian civilization proves that it can mix with the world, and may even be found taking the world's side in a crisis. There is one thing, however, that is eternally apart from the world and can never mix with it, and that is the life of Christ. Their natures are mutually antagonistic and cannot be reconciled....

(Believers) "...Created distinct from the world, we accept with joy the fact that God has placed us in it. That distinctiveness, our gift from God in Christ, is all the safeguard we need."

Today, I celebrate America and it's independence but I am mindful of the independence a Christian believer possesses. Independence from sin through the blood of Christ Jesus, independence from "the world" by God's calling us out of it.

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Recommended Reading 23: Revisiting Brozman, on Israel

If you read the articles linked at JackeHammer under Recommended Readings 20-22, Topic: Brozman reports on Israel, the other day, but didn't read about Kubbutz, it is because it was omitted when it was first published at Atlanta JT Online. If you will click on The Rockets' Red Glare, again, Suzi wrote to tell me it has been corrected and you can now read the last of the article regarding Kibbutz. She also hinted she's working on part 2. More to come, then!

"Kibbutz Life

"After a full day of interviewing students from 5 through college age and teachers and professionals, we headed to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where we were to spend the night with kibbutzniks right on the border with Gaza....."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

JackeHammer Welcomes a New Local Blogger

Stu Solomon has joined the local Springfield blogosphere with his new blog: Stu's Potluck

Check it out for yourself and you can find him in the blog list on my sidebar anytime.

Hives, Iced tea, my Step-Sister Brenda, Anniversaries, the Pools, Gas Surcharges, Rising Costs of Everything, Humor, a Friend, Scooter and Spike

Okay, I need a diversion for a little while before my head explodes.

At least tonight the hives are at bay. I've been getting hives a lot. Some people tell me they are caused by stress, I'm not entirely convinced that they are.

Some of the Web sites and herbal books I've looked at claim tea is a cause so I stopped drinking tea, just at the time of year I was really enjoying it. I still get hives anyway.

My step-sister got us one of those Mr. Coffee iced tea pots for a wedding present and I normally use it in the summer and store it in the winter. It celebrated it's 12th anniversary recently, stowed away under the counter.

Anyway, here's an issue that's been sort of bothering me, at least since I got my last trash service bill. There was a fuel charge of almost $12 added to it. I was thinking maybe I know how some of the restaurant owners in town feel about the gas surcharges they are paying, the rising cost of raw foods and now added fees for Health Department inspections that, as Tom Martz recently pointed out, are mandated by the government in the first place. Sure, my trash hauler is only charging $12 more, spread out over 3 months of service, but that's not the point. It's the principle of the matter.

My family has to pay more for groceries at the store, too. My family has to pay more for utility service (except last month was a nice break at under $90) and my family has to pay more for gasoline to get around town to take care of important business, too.

If someone else figures out how I can make someone else pay a gas surcharge to offset my cost of living increases, let me know.

In the meantime, tomorrow is Wednesday. The pools will be open all across town and poor, sweaty kids can cool off while their moms or grandmoms or baby sitters drink a glass of iced tea.

I'm thinking now would be a good time to have a sense of humor, not take everything so seriously and move over a bit for the other guy, another task that isn't always so easy.

I'm thinking I need a vacation. It's not like I have a lot to lose or anything.

Oh, one (two or three) more thing(s). My husband and I adopted a 4 year old Boston Terrier from a friend of ours. We just got him last Friday. His name is Scooter.


He's fitting in pretty well. Calming down a lot. He's a beautiful dog. Bostons can look so regal and he's a really nice looking Boston. He has his own blanket. He takes it with him to bed and covers up with it. A real cutey, that Scooter. He loves to play ball and he's nice to have around but we're still sort of adjusting to each other.

Scooter was a nickname I had for Spike, strangely enough. I called him scooter sometimes because he had this habit, silly thing, of scooting around on the floor. He'd even go in circles. I used to sing, "Will he go round in circles? Will he fly high like a bird up in the sky?" to him as he scooted around on the livingroom floor. He was a real ham. I also used to call him Boss Hogg a lot. He truly was the boss of this house and there was no question about him being a hog. :)

I was ready for another dog. I was really missing coming home to that greeting that only a dog can give and Scooter is a great greeter. I already love him.