Keller City Limits

Discussion of Keller, TX politics

Great photo by David Kozlowski

Tonight, the City Council denied Waste Managements proposed rate increase.  With Oil Prices the lowest they have been in 3 1/2 years, it was poor timing on their part.  If they had brought this proposal last summer, when Diesel prices were $5 a gallon, I think it would have passed.

While I was gone on vacation I got the notice that I was reappointed to P&Z for two more years.  The interview had a lot to do with this blog, and if I saw a conflict in me posting here and me serving on P&Z.  I encouraged the City Council to read the blog before passing judgement.

I have stated that I won’t post my opinion on anything that is coming before the commission before I actually vote on it, and in the past year, I have lived to that bargain.  I will continue to follow that guideline going into this term on P&Z. 

I also want to thank both the Mayor for speaking out in favor of me serving on the board, and to P&Z Chair Jay Brown for expressing his support for my reappointment. 

From USA Today:

Battered by record foreclosures and falling tax revenue, cities are laying off workers, raising fees and closing libraries and recreation centers.

“Almost every city in the country is feeling the impact,” says Chris Hoene, director of policy and research at the National League of Cities.

A survey in September found that city finance officers expect revenue from property, sales and income taxes to decrease 4.3% this year, Hoene says.

The problem will be worse next year, he says, because there is a lag between current economic conditions and when they affect city revenue.

“Local officials know that if things are tight now,” he says, “tougher choices are coming.”

The survey found that 79% of cities expect their finances to worsen in 2009.

With Keller’s large reserve fund and the City Manager’s knowledge of the possible upcoming problems, I’m hoping we are in a good position for next year.  I don’t have near the confidence in the School District.

Update: I posted this from work where I’m catching up and forgot to post the most important part:

Sally Reed of Friends of Libraries USA says cities are making the wrong cuts, closing libraries just as more people use their free services.

“It’s really backwards thinking,” she says. “They’ve become increasingly important, and yet libraries are the first ones cut.”

I stated basically the same thing during the Library controversy.  In 2002 when the economy fell off here, the first thing we cut was Library Service, but a couple of years later we were to believe that we could afford to build a $10 million Library without a tax increase.

Sorry for not posting for the past week, but took the family north to visit with my family.  First time in eight years that all four of my brothers and I have been together.  We were even able to talk politics and not have a fist fight…..I think we have finally grown up a little.  Didn’t get to take the Obamalac for a ride, but my little brother has a sweet 1957 Cadillac Eldorado.  The toils of being a highly paid computer executive.  He bought it sight unseen off of Ebay.

  • Miles travelled:  2249
  • Cheapest Diesel seen:  $2.26  (Outside of St. Louis)
  • Cheapest Gas seen:  $1.43  (Tulsa)
  • Lowest temperature while driving:  16 degrees
  • Speeding Tickets:  0

My big 3/4 Ton Chevy Four Door Four Wheel Drive Diesel averaged over 18MPG on the trip, and that is with having the four wheel drive engaged for about 150 miles during a snowstorm in Des Moines Iowa. I was pleased.

On another note, I have lived in Texas almost twice as long as I have in Illinois, and I still can’t think of a reason why anybody would live in a place that considers 40 degrees a warm day in November.

I’ve enjoyed studying the Pilgrims’ journey to America and subsequent settlement for over two decades. As I gathered information about the Pilgrims it was instructive to note that their early experiment with communal property (socialism) resulted in lack of food and strife. As soon as they switched to a free enterprise approach there was plenty of food for everybody. This is a good case study illustrating the intrinsic value of private property and the importance to a society’s future of rejecting socialism.

How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims

EXCERPT:

Bradford’s comments make it clear that common ownership demoralized the community far more than the tax. It was not Pilgrims laboring for investors that caused so much distress but Pilgrims laboring for other Pilgrims. Common property gave rise to internecine conflicts that were much more serious than the transatlantic ones. The industrious (in Plymouth) were forced to subsidize the slackers (in Plymouth). The strong “had no more in division of victuals and clothes” than the weak. The older men felt it disrespectful to be “equalized in labours” with the younger men..

This suggests that a form of communism was practiced at Plymouth in 1621 and 1622. No doubt this equalization of tasks was thought (at first) the only fair way to solve the problem of who should do what work in a community where there was to be no individual property: If everyone were to end up with an equal share of the property at the end of seven years, everyone should presumably do the same work throughout those seven years. The problem that inevitably arose was the formidable one of policing this division of labor: How to deal with those who did not pull their weight?

The Pilgrims had encountered the free-rider problem. Under the arrangement of communal property one might reasonably suspect that any additional effort might merely substitute for the lack of industry of others. And these “others” might well be able-bodied, too, but content to take advantage of the communal ownership by contributing less than their fair share. As we shall see, it is difficult to solve this problem without dividing property into individual or family-sized units. And this was the course of action that William Bradford wisely took.

The Soviet Union and other Communist governments repeated the mistakes of the Pilgrims on an intensified level in the 20th Century. Millions lost their lives from these horrific experiments. America is treading the path (‘spread the wealth around’) rejected by the Pilgrims and by those who wrote our Constitution. Will we learn from history and change, or repeat the same mistakes?

Related: The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson 

Help Wanted

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From the FWST:

Old Town Keller Merchants Association seeks volunteers to work on the Keller train, which will be cleaned and refurbished so that tours can again be conducted. The group also seeks to start a Train Club and open a Train Museum. For information, call 817-821-9518.

I have been watching CNBC tonight and on the scroll at the top of the screen, I just saw where December Gasoline Futures are trading at 99 cents a gallon.  I guess the evil cabal that controls Oil Prices and forced the surge to $145 a barrel last summer must be on Christmas Break.

Went to the TC Visioning Meeting last night, and it seemed to be more productive than the first meeting.  Everybody stated that the message of no more apartments has been received and there seemed to be more of a feeling of what direction that we can go in the future for the remaining land in Town Center.

The next step is for the City Council to receive the report sometime after the first of the year.

Like pigs lining up at the trough, the City of Dallas is formulating a plan to ask for money in the next stimulus bill. 

My question to you, will Keller get in line or take a pass?

 

My brother was interviewed by NPR on the topic.  You can listen to or read a transcript of the interview here.

Last night, I located an old friend, Tom, on Facebook. I have known him since Jr high school days when I met him at a summer camp (it will come as a shock to some of you that know me that the camp was for the “academically talented” — please no corny replies). The last time I contacted this person was in the mid 1980s. He has had a successful career in television and radio heading up a rather large public tv and radio network. Back to the story …. in Tom’s communication with me he mentioned something he sent to the Washington Post regarding his early association with Ben Bernanke (current Fed Reserve Chair that replaced Greenspan). I responded to Tom, “was Bernanke at the camp?” Tom proceeded to remind me of a short fellow we all called “Little Ben” who won the award as the most creative prankster at the camp. I then recalled the “Little Ben” reference and the camper that was always in trouble for practical jokes. Ben was actually younger than the ages of most campers because he had advanced a grade or two. No wonder he went on to attend Harvard and MIT. Maybe all this economic crisis is just another prank?? I wish….