2.17.2016

When School Bonds Fail, Adulthood Begins

If it's wrong to love the smell of failed school bonds in the morning, then I don't want to be right.

I would like to give an exuberant Thank You! to the 42.67% of those who voted no to yet another Sequim School bond, only 3 months after the last one failed; making this the fourth school bond in a row to fail. Yay!

I also want to thank the group of dedicated folks behind the Truth in Taxation 323 website who made a great campaign with huge signs around town displaying the biggest truth of all: $54 million bond = $84 million (at least) billed to the taxpayers after interest, not to mention inflation.

Truth in Taxation also did a beautiful job of laying out the cold facts of the case on their website. I was fascinated to learn, from this PDF showing the last three school bond votes, that it appears the pro-bond people were hoping Round 4 would be the big payoff.

Starting in April of 2014, the bond failed with a strong 55.31% (the yes votes need a supermajority of 60% to pass).

In February of 2015, the bond failed at 42.41%. Closer to the goal of under 40%, but no cigar...or tax dollars, whichever the case may be. 

Then, this last November of 2015, the bond just barely failed at 40.4%. So close to passing you could almost taste the property tax increase.

Based on the numbers, it appears to me as if the voters have been worn down to the point of either not voting or changing their votes to yes. With all the pro-bond speech in the local papers and the sign-wavers (with kids) crowding around intersections, I was beginning to wonder if the no votes would win again; as luck would have it, they bounced back with 42.67%. What a game!
So more people voted no in February of 2016 than in the two elections in 2015? Methinks the plan backfired on the Sequim School District, not to mention the Sequim City Council, and everyone else who pushed for that last .5 % approval, by using taxpayer dollars in the hopes of taking even more money from property owners; as well it should have. 

Am I really supposed to take the Sequim School District superintendent seriously when, in the local paper, he makes it sound as if he couldn't see this coming? What I would like to know is how could he not see this coming? 

I would also like to know why it is now left to the taxpayers to again pay the $41,000 for the cost of placing this failing bond on another ballot, three months after the last $41,000 spent on the same issue proved unsuccessful. I'm being nice here and only looking at 2 of the 4 failed bonds; altogether the 4 bonds lost $164,000 of taxpayer dollars. So much for being nice.

Could that $82,000 (or $164,000) not have been spent on things the school needed? Knowing the way most bureaucracy goes, the answer would be no; because only certain funds can be used for certain things, and yadda, yadda, yadda. Am I right, or am I right? 

That is always the rationalization as to why money can't be used for what it is needed for, but rather that it must be used for what it is designated for by clueless bureaucrats who took the money from other people. And people think I'm crazy for wanting this inept system abolished? But I digress.

Now, since so many school bonds have been failing throughout Washington State, the losers are trying to win the only way they know how, by changing the rules: House Bill 1941 provides for a simple majority of 50% to authorize school bonds rather than the supermajority of 60% that is currently required. 

This bill was first introduced in February of 2015, and based on its activity it has been reintroduced 4 times since it was first read. It is tentatively scheduled for a public hearing (tempting!) in the House Committee on Education, on Friday, February 19th at 1:30pm, should anyone want to watch Olympia lawmaking in action. 
Getting back to the $82,000 (or $164,000) that the Sequim School District has now wasted on failed school bonds; I wonder: What if the public employees in Sequim who get paid from tax dollars and who supported the bonds being placed on the ballots at taxpayer expense (superintendent, school board members, teachers, staff, city council, etc.), had to pay back the money they elected to waste? 

What if before all bonds were placed on ballots, the public employees who wanted them had to contribute money and invest in their proposal with cold hard cash from their paychecks, rather than hot air out of their mouths? Would that maybe, possibly, make them reconsider these bonds if they had to put their money where their mouths are? 

Considering the Sequim City manager makes a salary of $120,000 through the taxpayers, and he just received a raise, maybe he could kick back some of that money to the failed cause, too; as a public employee and all who is typically on the side of public institutions.

After all, that is what people in business must do in the private sector when they want to remodel their office, isn't it? Put up their own money, or if they have to get a loan they must secure it with something of theirs that has value that can be taken if they don't pay the money back. 

Considering that classrooms are really just offices for teachers, that's what I think this school bond issue is really all about; new offices for teachers who will be there for 10, 20, 30 years or more, rather than kids who come and go every few years.

Seriously, when a school isn't even 20 years old yet and has maintenance issues, the questions to be asking are: How come maintenance funds weren't spent on maintenance, where has all the money gone, who mismanaged it, are they still mismanaging it, can anything be done about it, do claims need to be made through lawsuits to insurance or builders, where do we go from here without relying on taxpayers? 


The question not to be asking is: Why doesn't the community support the children? Gag me with a piece of chalk.
This is why I do not care for the local paper, since all it seems to do is push the school's side of the issue and how it's the community's job to support the children. They even made sure to have a picture of a crying student on the front page the day after the vote failed. Have editors no shame?

Hey, Sequim Gazette, do you take pictures of kids crying when they don't get everything they want for Christmas, too? Stop with the cheap antics in a town full of adults who care more about property taxes staying low (and saving their pensions) than about crying kids. Funny how there was no celebratory picture shown for the folks who were happy with the result. So much for fairness in reporting, I guess.

This is why I was so glad when I visited the Truth in Taxation website after seeing it on one of the signs in town, because it offered another viewpoint that I couldn't find anywhere else (especially in local papers), and a dissenting viewpoint at that. I hoped that I couldn't be the only one, and I was glad to learn that I wasn't. 

While it can sound cruel and unusual that there are people who exist who do not want to fund public schools any more than they personally believe is necessary, what gets missed in all the hurt feelings after a failed bond is that these votes are not blanketly saying the community does not care for the children. As I pointed out three months ago, schools and children are not the same thing.

Rather, it is saying the property-owning taxpayers in the community do not want to pay for the schools, which is what the bonds are for -- schools, not children. Just because children sit in the schools does not mean the money is for the children. See how the language is changed just enough, from schools to children, to make people lose focus of what the issue really is: money, taxes, and the people who pay taxes for schools, which just so happens to not be children. 
Honestly, now. If these kids want the schools, maybe they need to work for it, and not just with good grades. In the real world, which is purportedly what these kids are preparing for (right?), grades don't pay for builders, architects, contractors, laborers and supplies; money does. What's stopping the parents, the kids, the staff, and everyone else who wants to pay for school improvements, from starting their own fund to pay for what the school needs? Is there a law that precludes people from collecting funds for such a cause? 

If the children of Sequim want better schools for a better education and a better future, I propose they ask not what their community can do for them, but what they can do for their community; and that they consider starting where they are at, right in their schools, since it is the part of the community they use the most. 

Maybe fun stuff like away games, band trips and new uniforms will have to be put on hold for a short time, and students will have to do something new in order to get something new; by working to earn and raise money to pay for what they say matters most to them -- their education in their community. 

Considering that so many of the kids' parents are willing to sell out present and future Sequim property owners for the cry of their children's education, I ponder this: Are those parents willing to sign their kids' futures away to living in Sequim the rest of their lives and paying the property taxes to pay off what they, the parents, voted for? 

That is essentially what they are doing anyway, unless those parents have hopes the kids leave and never return, in which case all the more reason for the bonds to fail.

If all those kids who say they want schools are willing to sign contractual paperwork, agreeing that they will become property owners in Sequim and start businesses in Sequim as adults in order to pay off the schools they want, I might take theirs claims for the desire of new schools more seriously.

I mean, am I the only one who had parents who made their child save up their own money, that they worked to make on their own time, to buy something they really wanted that was superfluous in the parents' eyes? 
If kids want an education, they should be the first ones to invest in it. Unfortunately for kids, they don't learn until they leave school how the real world works, and that devoting time to grades and extra curricular activities does not generate money to pay bills or buy new schools. Labor, productivity, risk, and investment is what creates money; thus, that is what is needed to create new schools.

In fact, if kids were allowed to get educated outside of the indoctrination system of public schools, they may learn quicker how the real world works, and it could make them that much more successful at operating within it by being educated through it. 

With online education programs available 24/7 through credible institutions, plus a million other ways to learn via the Internet, not to mention private tutors, instructors, and mentors, opportunities to learn and get ahead are no longer limited to a set number of hours on a set number of days at the same location, and at the same pace as everyone else. That kind of education is so 20th Century.

To conclude my thoughts, the softy in me truly does feel sorry that kids didn't get what they wanted and they feel that the community doesn't care about them. However, the reflective and taxed adult in me has this to say to the kids of Sequim and beyond: 

Welcome to adulthood, where there are no trophies for participation, where you don't always get what you want, where things don't always go your way, where you will do things you never thought you would do, where things aren't always fair, and where no one cares about your feelings; now give the government your money. 
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10 Unorthodox Hypotheses as to Why School Bonds Fail
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2.13.2016

Jeb Bush: Official White House Greeter


My musings, featuring the six candidates and their speculated future positions after the elections; inspired by the February 13th Republican debates on CBS.

Donald Trump: President. Because the corporation that is America needs a CEO who has not spent his entire life in the public sector as a pencil-pushing, tax-sucking bureaucrat. Would a female supporter of Trump be called a 'Trumpette'? 

Ted Cruz: Vice President. Taxes are pure evil, and I give it to Cruz that he is interested in simplifying taxes and abolishing the IRS. I don't trust him further than I can throw him, but at least he knows what some people want to hear.

Marco Rubio: Chief of Staff. I don't know a lot about Rubio, but he seems to want to be taken seriously and it's cute to see him try.

Ben Carson: Press Secretary. Because, as a neurosurgeon, he has been trained to deliver bad news without sound like a dick; his soft, smooth voice would be nice to hear when answering questions about how the 'evil government' is screwing up again.

John Kasich: White House Tour Guide. I don't know a lot about Kasich; based on tonight's debate he seems to want to bring people together to a common ground. The rest of the time he seems as if he could go in any direction people lead him. I wasn't sure where he would fit in, so White House Tour Guide seemed like a safe assignment. 

Jeb Bush: White House Greeter. I nominate Jeb Bush to be the first official White House Greeter. Because, he's Jeb Bush. Does there need to be another reason? 

How would you assign the candidates?

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2.05.2016

Roosh: The Patient Wolf

I have to give it up to Roosh for cancelling the official Return of Kings meetups that are now unofficially taking place February 6th, for those who still plan to meet. 

The dissenter in me likes to think positively that people will be getting together, however they choose, to have a good laugh about all the free publicity the meetups received from malicious rumor-mongering caused by Feminists For Censorship, Students Just Whining, and Wives Without Lives, as I like to call them.

Let me see if I have this right: People don't protest when congress gets together, or city council, or any other bureaucracy that only works to objectify everyone by taking money through obscene taxation and disrupting work with absurd regulations; nobody's crying about that, but people are crying about private citizens assembling, which is their American right? Why?? 

Is this because they aren't getting together to play with their balls, or, better yet, watch millionaires play with their balls? Heck, even if it were a sports-ball meetup, I question if people still would have stopped it because it's Roosh; which would tell me it's an attack on a person and not a topic, and I do not know which is scarier in the supposed Land of the Free. 

While cancelling the official meetups may look like a win for the whiners, I do not see it that way at all. The whiners have never looked like bigger losers, nor bigger witch hunters, and they should all take great shame in their ignorance for disgracefully trampling upon the rights of American citizens to assemble.

I actually find it incredibly good that Roosh did something that not even Pastor Fred Phelps ever did, which is to yield to the mob. Therefore, I do not see this as a loss for Roosh or Return of Kings, but just the opposite; I see it as a gentlemanly win by yielding to the clamor of an ignorant mob. Not that their demands are in the right, but to yield nonetheless is to take the higher ground, which is not always easy and why so few do it. Good for you, Roosh.

Let us not forget the scene in Gone With the Wind where Rhett excuses himself once he realizes his opinion is in the minority amongst Southerners in favor of war: 
He swung about, facing the crowd, clicked his heels together and bowed like a dancing master, a bow that was graceful for so powerful a man, and as full of impertinence as a slap in the face. Then he walked across the lawn with John Wilkes, his black head in the air, and the sound of his discomforting laughter floated back to the group about the tables.
The cancellation also indicates that Roosh cares enough about the people who follow his message to not put them in harm's way unnecessarily, when participants can still meet in private without the hassle of ignorant busybodies causing problems that could escalate to worse problems. 

As a line attributed to George Carlin goes: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. The fact that there are people who still plan to protest the meetups even after the cancellation is empirical evidence to me of just how stupid some of those people are (and that they have no lives) and that they can't quit even when they have gotten their way; the word zealot comes to mind. They obviously know not what they do.


I do not expect feminists to see the light in any of this though, since it is their lot in life to be offended by anything gentlemanly. In fact, I expect them not to understand simply because they are feminists, which means they blindly follow someone else's dogma, thereby making it impossible to think for themselves. I pray to Gozer they never make it through any jury selection process.

Now, if someone says the meetups were stopped because of the participants being rapists, I will only listen to such claims when a police report is given to me to research by way of a file number to look up online, since it would be public record. Hearsay is not admissible in the Court of Eve without proper evidence to back it up.

And, if someone makes the argument that anti-feminists must be stopped, I will ask you to define 'anti-feminist'. Is it just me, but wouldn't being against feminism mean to be in favor of femininity and womanly traits? Maybe I need to stop paying attention because I'm confused again.


None of this is to say I agree with every single thing Roosh has ever written or said, because I don't know every thing he has ever written or said; but agreement is not required for me to take the side of private citizens exercising their rights of speech and assembling peacefully...as much as groups of loud-mouth, beer-drinking, riot-causing, sports-ball-loving zealots have the right to assemble...and as much as groups of vociferous man-hating zealots have the right to spread their ignorant speech to the (m)asses. 

In conclusion, should people be wondering why any of this matters I ask you to consider this: Once one group has been stopped from exercising their rights, who will be stopped next and where will it end?


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2.03.2016

I Fought the Law and I Won


It's not that I set out to fight terrible laws, but a girl can only take so much before she won't take any more. Long story short: I didn't take it and I won. If you want the long story, keep reading.

How it began was at work in early January. It was a day like any other, until my supervisor informed me of some new strict mandates from OSHA that, if caught being violated by an investigator (or as I like to call them, a narc) on an unannounced visit, it could result in an excessive fine. Great, no pressure there for a part-time job.

The new safety mandates, we were told, required that my work supplies not be out of my sight, and that if they were out of my sight then they had to be behind a locked door. 

Now, I understand bureaucrats have no good sense nor a clue about jobs in the private sector because they have never had real jobs, but this was beyond anything I could imagine and I knew it could not be correct. My steno sense was all atingle. 

When it came down to it, the new mandates made it so that, should the need to use a bathroom arise while in the course of doing my work, I would have to put my needs on hold for the sake of OSHA. To invoke Louis Salinger: I'm not gonna do that.

However, since no one else in my department spoke up about the problems the new mandates created, I started to believe I was in the wrong for wanting to exercise my rights to redress government. Take my word for it, that is not a good feeling, especially when you know you are in the right.

My theory for why no one else spoke up is this: I am the only person in my department born in America and well versed in American rights, along with having experience in the legal field. So, I can understand the mindset of not wanting to fight government in a country one is not from, especially if one does not know their rights; however, I am a local and I not only know my rights, I exercise them daily. It is interesting though, being a minority amongst minorities, but I digress.

What's even worse is how the OSHA mandates made me feel: incompetent, untrustworthy, and objectified. Incompetent for not being trusted with my work products, and objectified for having to place the needs of my bladder second to the demands of OSHA. It's not men who objectify women, it's government who objectifies everyone.

So, there I was, feeling all of that on top of thinking that it wouldn't be worth my energy to speak up for my rights because I would only be rocking the boat that OSHA was attacking. No wonder I turned in a two-week notice. Luckily, a long talk with my supervisor made things better, especially since it was on the day before a safety meeting where the OSHA issues would be further addressed. 


I pointed out not only the logistical problems regarding being unable to use a restroom without feeling as if the government is discriminating against me in my work capacity; but also that I was now unclear as to what was safe and what wasn't safe due to the unclear mandates (which we hadn't even been shown the text of yet, and of course I objected to that, too).

After all, if my work products were unsafe when unattended, then how come more dangerous work products were okay when left unattended? Was I going crazy? Unfortunately, this is what bad laws do to me: confuse the snot out of me to the point where I don't know if up is down or right is left or if 'is' means is. And I do not like that feeling, not at all.

This is why I will not tolerate bad laws disrupting my life when, on those rare occasions, I unequivocally know I am able to do something to stop the madness.

I was pleased to learn during my airing of OSHA grievances to my supervisor that he supported, and understood, my right to redress government, and didn't make me feel bad for it either. As if speaking up for one's rights isn't hard enough when one is alone against the compliant majority and a girl, but these days one can easily be regarded as a kook for doing such a thing. Gag me with a tea bag.

Considering that OSHA does not impact me outside of work, my argument is that if the laws in my workplace need redressing, then the workplace must respect my right to redress those laws via channels made available through work; which is precisely what happened and it worked out not just in my favor, but in favor of everyone in my department. Pardon the dissension, but those who can't should not stand in the way of those who do.

Shortly before leaving work today, my supervisor approached me with the good news from the safety meeting: we don't have to continue with the mandates. Instead of keeping our work products unrealistically in our sights all the time, we will be getting containers with lids for the work products OSHA has concerns about. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Sure, OSHA's not entirely out of the workplace, but that's not what it was about. My fight was against a bad mandate that needed clarification, and possibly refining, since it was doing more harm than good. I appreciate safety in the workplace, not absurdity.

As much as I loathe bureaucrats, I like to (and try to) believe deep down that they don't want to stop production; but they know not what they do because they have never done the jobs that they make mandates for; thus, they are guilty of ignorance more than anything else. And while ignorance may not be a reasonable excuse, it is the reality of the world; all the more reason to speak up and fight its rising tide.

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