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Monthly Archives: April 2008

When Sports had Heroes

We lament the pathetic behavior in sports today with spoiled children earning millions bouncing a ball while involved in less-than-honorable activity off the field. But 32 years ago we had a real hero in sports. Younger people don’t remember when sports actually had role models, but we remember this event well. If you remember the horrible 70’s, the Carter administration flops and more, this event stands out in an era of stagflation and despair — Rick Monday saving the flag from a pair of idiots trying to burn it at a baseball game.

In 1976, a sense of ennui had gripped the nation. In a year-long bicentennial celebration, many wondered if the economic stagnation that had lasted all decade meant that America’s best years were in the rear-view mirror. The commercialized bicentennial festivities felt forced and false. It seemed that pride in our country had dissipated into cynicism and retreat.

The unprompted, extemporaneous response to Monday’s heroics is the often untold story of that day. Over 40,000 baseball fans saw Monday risk his career by grabbing what could easily have been a fireball to rescue the American flag from a couple of asshats, and suddenly it recalled the real patriotism and passion for America that had been missing in 1976. At first in isolated pockets but soon sweeping around the stands like The Wave would later do, Americans stood up and sang “God Bless America” — not prompted by the stadium organist but fueled by love of country.

Unfortunately, we talk to too many people who don’t remember this event (or don’t care), so it’s worth watching the video. It’s the greatest sports non-sports story around. (The best sports play of all time being Kirk Gibson’s home run — with Vin Scully doing the play by play).

Layoffs Begin in Lane County – Commissioner Faye Stewart Wants More Revenue

It looks like massive layoffs will begin in Lane County — and they’ll carry out their mission to hit public safety the hardest (but how many managers will get pink slips?).

“The impact … should be cause for alarm,” the department said in the budget report. “The sheriff’s office will no longer be able to perform its primary mission: to make Lane County a safer place to live by protecting lives and property.”

If the cuts are carried out, the proposed budget would give the county up to three years of financial stability while the board and the public work on a long-range solution, Spartz said.

Translation: three years to convince citizens to pass a tax increase so they can spend it on non public-safety items like:

October 2007 – A new “Assistant County Commissioner” position.

May 2007 – Giving $20,000/year pay raises to managers — as the Register-Guard notes “… if the county continues to spend more in wages and benefits than it collects in revenue, then it only digs itself deeper into the hole.” Why can’t Lane County Commissioners understand this basic principle? You don’t give raises ($20,000/year) in a budget crisis — and then whine about lack of money, all while laying off sheriff personnel.

And so on. We’ve documented the (lack of) fiscal responsibility for a long time — for complete coverage search for Lane County Budget crisis.

Of course, Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart weighs in with (surprise!) the need-more-money position:

(more…)

Lane County Budget – Layoff 13% of Workers and a Third of Sheriff Personnel

If only Lane County citizens would pass that tax increase…

Eugene (KMTR) – The Lane County budget committee released its backup plan Tuesday if federal timber payments are not renewed, and it doesn’t look good.

The list of proposed budget cuts is long and nearly 13% of the county’s workforce would be let go if the budget is adopted.

The biggest cuts would be in the public safety department with massive layoffs at the Sheriff’s Office. One third of its workers would be let go. That means fewer arrests will be made and the District Attorney will have to pursue fewer criminal cases.

So it’s come to this. Inaction and refusal to implement a hiring freeze by Lane County Commissioners (continuing to hire in non public-safety areas) mandates layoffs in sheriff and other public safety areas (and for some reason the largest cuts). Sleep well, Lane County citizens, at least Lane County continues to hire new management and other non public-safety jobs while slashing sheriff operations.

See for yourself the hiring binge at http://www.co.lane.or.us/jobs/

Are these your priorities over public safety? How much money could be saved by leaving some of these jobs unfilled and using the money for public safety? Why do Lane County Commissioners continue to hire management and other non public-safety positions while slashing public safety? Why do Lane County Commissioners refuse to implement a hiring freeze? Even a fraction of these jobs if left unfilled could save many sheriff jobs without layoffs.

We frequently hear from proponents of higher taxes how complex the situation is, and how County Commissioners can’t really do anything to solve the budget crisis (except whine about more taxes). County Commissioners job is to prioritize County services to citizen’s wants — and public safety is #1. But instead they’ll slash public safety, while continued hiring in other areas (like the hiring last May/June of a “Nuisance Abatement Specialist”, or the approximately $350,000 in management/director/supervisor hires in March 2008 [see below]) makes the budget situation worse.

Coming soon to a ballot near you — another tax increase proposal (after all, they’ve got to pay all these new hires somehow) — it could be another income tax, a “tax surcharge”, or perhaps increases in property taxes, a new sales tax, or some other new tax proposal. We’ll predict you’ll see a new tax idea, if not in November this year, at a special election early in 2009. Of course, the hiring will continue no matter what — if they have to layoff the entire Sheriff’s department to pay for it, they’ll do it.

Here’s what we’ve documented since the “budget crisis” began. Ask yourself how many sheriffs will be off the street to pay for all these new hires.

April 22 2008

  • 208-062 EMPLOYMENT SPECIALIST 1 Salary: $32,365 – $44,824
  • 208-067 FAMILY MEDIATOR Salary: $17.61 – $24.40 / hour
  • 208-058 INFORMATION SERVICES ANALYST Salary: $42,474 – $58,802/annually
  • 208-059 SENIOR PLANNER Salary: $44,616 – $61,797 annually
  • 208-064 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Salary: $15.95 – $22.10/hourly
  • 208-053 ASSOCIATE SURVEYOR Salary: $42,266 – $58,594 annually

Mar 27 2008

  • 207-142 PSYCHIATRIST – .5 FTE (20 hours) $52,644.80-$73,008.00
  • 208-054 ENGINEERING ASSOCIATE (Working Title: Utility Coordinator ) $40,227 – 55,765
  • 907-021 Extra Help – On-Call Juvenile Cook $10.22/hour
  • 208-047 Kennel Attendant $10.22 – $14.16/hour
  • 208-048 PLANNER $37,544 – $52,042
  • 207-136 SENIOR SYSTEM NETWORK ANALYST $49,254-$68,203
  • 208-023 Sr. Programmer & Systems Analyst $49,254 – $68,203
  • 208-045 YOUTH SERVICES EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SUPERVISOR (Official Title: PROGRAM SUPERVISOR) $53,144 – $79,726

Mar 13 2008

  • 207-121 MENTAL HEALTH MEDICAL OFFICER (Official Title: MANAGER) Salary: $122,117-$169,312/annually
  • 208-033 PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR (Official Title: DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR) Salary: $78,978 – $118,477 annually
  • 208-009 Sr. System Network Analyst (Working Title: PROJECT MANAGER) Salary: $49,254-$68,203/annually
  • 208-045 YOUTH SERVICES EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SUPERVISOR (Official Title: PROGRAM SUPERVISOR) Salary: $53,144 – $79,726 annually

Feb 6 2008

  • 208-014 DESIGN ENGINEER OR DESIGN ENGINEERING SUPERVISOR $56,680 – $85,030 annually
  • 207-121 MENTAL HEALTH MEDICAL OFFICER (Official Title: MANAGER) $122,117-$169,312/annually
  • 208-007 Program Manager $62,005-$92,997/annually
  • 208-009 Sr. System Network Analyst (Working Title: PROJECT MANAGER) $49,254-$68,203/annually

July 11 2007

  • 207-025 LAND MANAGEMENT MANAGER $67,304 – $100,956
  • 207-068 MANAGER (Working Title:Project Management Office Manager) $64,353 – $96,530
  • 207-039 SENIOR PLANS EXAMINER $19.92 – $27.59/hour
  • 207-055 ADMINISTRATIVE ANALYST
  • 207-053 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
  • 207-057 EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR OF YOUTH SERVICES
  • 907-007 EXTRA HELP – Clerical
  • 207-029 NUISANCE ABATEMENT SPECIALIST

June 12 2007

  • 207-021 BUILDING PROGRAM MANAGER. Filled May 25, 2007.
  • 207-016 Performance Development & Diversity Coordinator. Filled May 30, 2007.
  • 207-025 LAND MANAGEMENT MANAGER. Currently conducting interviews.
  • 207-029 NUISANCE ABATEMENT SPECIALIST. Filled May 25, 2007.
  • 207-024 PROPERTY APPRAISER 3. Conducting interviews.

May 31, 2007

  • 207-044 CLINICAL SERVICES SUPERVISOR ($25-$33/hour)
  • 207-037 MHO CARE COORDINATION SPECIALIST ($19-$27/hour)
  • 207-040 PHYSICIAN ($90,000 – $125,000 /year)
  • 3 Network Programmers/analysts ($50,000 – $68,000 / year)
  • 206-146 ASSISTANT COUNTY COUNSEL (not just one, but two!)
  • And our personal favorite: 207-029 NUISANCE ABATEMENT SPECIALIST

Mike Huckabee Launches PAC

Mike Huckabee is back in the news again with the launch of HuckPac. Not surprisingly, he launched on April 15th — tax day — as one of Huckabee’s favorite issues is the fair tax to replace the current system. The PAC’s mission is detailed on the site:

Huck PAC will support Republican candidates who are passionate advocates for tax reform, a strong national defense, real border security, life, the family, less government and individual liberty.

Huck PAC will identify candidates who hold firm to these principles, promote their campaigns and financially support their efforts.

That’s a broad statement — we’ll see if they stick to it or not, but it’s about time groups push Republicans back to their conservative roots, as Republicans have strayed from their roots — Conservatism (or liberalism if you prefer) boils down to three areas:

  • Social issues.
  • Economic issues.
  • Defense.

Too many Republicans don’t qualify as conservatives. Of course, we’ve detailed our conservative positions before (you can even get a PDF), but it’s about time (former) presidential candidates take up the cause.

We welcome Huckabee’s new PAC, as well as Romney’s new attention to championing conservative causes. Now if only the RNC would take notice that people are tired of Republicans not acting like the conservatives they claim to be.