Archive for June, 2012

OC Employee Benefits and Commissioners Free HC for Life?

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Note: A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum and I was not able to attend and read this letter to the BoCC.

Tonight the BoCC will address the looming costs of it’s benefits and compensation packages that in comparison to private industry, as well as the current healthcare bill is extremely generous. The current benefit packages offered by Orange County are not self sustainable for future growth and vitality.  Fortunately everyone understands the tenuous position this places us in and tonight the County Manager and the BoCC are attempting to address these increasing liabilities.  There is a change being proposed to mitigate some of the costs by changing the employment criteria from 10 years to 20 years to be eligible for retirement benefits.  I’m pleased the Manger and the Board have sought to curtail costs and ensure responsible spending of our tax dollars, however, please consider there are some interesting highlights of this proposed action and of the existing plan itself.

First, in the new plan the dramatic increase of doubling employment requirement from 10 years to 20 may be conceived by employees as unfair and excessive. This is not a moral booster to new hires. The County is currently benefiting from a down economy when there are fewer options for employment opportunities. Realistically however, many could look for new opportunities as the economy recovers leaving gaps in our county roster that will be costly to fill. In speaking to a board member of the North Carolina Business Group on Health, there are a number of structural changes that could be made to save the county and the tax payers money and at the same time reduce present and future liabilities that will be better received by current and future employees and not partition them as drastically in terms of their benefit package

Another interesting feature of the old and new plan is the provision for health benefits to part time employees who are receiving the same benefits as full time employees. This doubles the cost to the county and exceeds the requirements set forth in Obamacare. (if deemed constitutional at the time of this reading( it was as a Tax)). This is very generous feature that must be paid for by the county and thus the taxpayer.

The last and personally most interesting feature of both the new and old plan is the exclusion of County Commissioners from the same requirements. Currently the Commissioners may work one day to receive benefits for life much like the US Congress and this is not slated to change. This is a rich feature for any company much less a government in any economy.

The Commissioners should really address this issue tonight. The BoCC should at minimum consider adopting the new employment eligibility standard offered to the county employees for themselves and grandfather in only those members no longer on the board.

Serving the citizens in the capacity of a representative should not come with a parachute. To be able to vote on major changes to any county employee’s benefit package and not address the comfortable security in which the voting members of the Board are wrapped in is a considerable conflict of interest as well as unconscionable to both the employees of the County and the taxpayers harnessed to bear this cost.

Note:

The new rule passed with out a mention of the Commissioners Parachute. There was however great emphasis placed on the Generous Plan and how new hires who serve 20 years will enjoy this “significant benefit”, this  “generous benefit”, this …“(one of) the best benefits packages out there…”

But no one touched the benefits package of the Commissioners themselves.

Commissioners Pkg Link (pg11-12)

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:PZ3-u8gC8UEJ:www.co.orange.nc.us/finance/documents/budgetordiance11-12.pdf+orange+county+nc+commissioner+health+insurance&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgzcM22BFFOUNisr1bCtfDW_T-KmCrX5TdMHidMJSSN9NNqmKz3NOAMxmMzaJC6bnaMqJoj5xSMmCzJ4IQacOlh-Iac_cxf5Z8WJPE-kXV8z-noc9g-SPrObh49I9jtQw5-S_bK&sig=AHIEtbQ4acIsx9msn75ZXekwxb31YnaCiQ

Mr Jacobs it is a constant refrain…

Posted in Transit on June 8, 2012 by seaweavermarine

My reply to a statement by Commissioner Barry Jacobs printed in the Carrboro Citizen

“I want to address this whole issue of who get’s what,” Jacobs said. “I won’t say I’m really tired of it; I will say it is a constant refrain.”

http://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2012/06/07/transit-tax-to-appear-on-nov-ballot/comment-page-1/#comment-120542

Mr Jacobs,

It is a constant refrain and forgive me as I skipped a line in my text. ( I prefer to stare my public servant in the Eye than read)

If the Second district was not always playing second fiddle to the first you would not hear it.
If the Second district did not have a AVERAGE 45 minute ambulance response time…you would not hear it. (average means some calls take LONGER than 45 min.)
If the second District had the total control over electing their Representatives …you would not hear it.
THIS was my point Mr, Jacobs. As long as the election scheme in which District Two Representatives may be controlled by District One remains in place, You ARE going to hear it.
( I recommend utilizing state code § 153A‑58 (b) ….rather than (c) )
As long as second district is required to pull the wagon for the whims of the county, you are going to hear it.
You really need to visit the second district OUTSIDE of your normal paths. While you are there…ask “who wags Orange County?’ and then ask ” Who wags…(the first answer)”. What you will discover is the source of the constant refrain”

Seeing as you have served on the BoCC long enough to be qualified for FULL BENEFITS there is an opening for you to no longer “hear it”. Step down or lead a charge to properly allow districts to elect their representative without outside district influence. As fair and equitable public servant attempting to “treat” the second district “to the best of our ability”….stick to the “equitable” characteristic….and drop the “PROGRESSIVE ” attribute. We understand this means advancing liberal control…and as you can hear the Second District is quite done being controlled and asked to pay for First District whims.

We in the second District are NOT opposed to Public transportation. But being harnessed to pay for a Light Rail that absorbs such a great portion of the monies for a idea that appears nothing more than a UNC /DUKE employee/student shuttle is too much to bear.

When the Second District hears the great bemoaning of Southern Orange citizens who cannot get across this 7 mile wide GULF of FREE buses, the maze of sidewalks in the First and hear of the ridiculous $2.50 Fee for a full run on the Light Rail, we feel the strap lines that cut into our shoulders. We check the weight of our wallets and purses threatened by more taxes and tag fees for transit(on top of the existing), and we lament the influence of thousands of Transient Student Voters who will be here long enough to vote for a Chapel Hill Choo Choo and OUR representatives… but then leave us to pay for it. You may consider this…sustainability…but it is NOT SELF-sustaining.

Mr. Jacobs if you are tired of hearing the refrain, give the Second District control of our representatives.
http://wp.me/p2acSb-4D

As a side note: It was the height of silliness to hear Penny Rich compare the needs of 60 thousand citizens in Southern Orange to Phoenix Arizona and their expensive Light Rail for their 1.5 Million people. That is the type of “equitable” comparison making that is headed to the BoCC for the next 4 years.

Chris Weaver

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Comments to the BoCC on Transit June 5th

Posted in Transit, Uncategorized on June 6, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Note: this was my address to the BoCC on June 5th that, unfortunately was edited as I read it.-cw

 

Good Evening,

 

I would like to address what I see as a disparity in the taxation scheme to pay for this transit plan. As anyone can see the Transit plan has great designs for one particular portion of the county.

 

As we look at this plan, we see significant expenditures in the First district. When we look at who pays, we see a great disparity. Yes we all will pay a sales tax…those of us who still shop in Orange, but the vehicle registration fee is disproportional to the expenditures.

 

From the data I received from the NCDOT, as of last February, the combined vehicle registration for Orange County is 100,209. The combined vehicle registration of Chapel Hill and Carrboro is 50,095. Thus District two pays half the fees and receives token increases in “on demand” bus service.

 

I know of and have witnessed the rationalizations of population demands in regards to the proposed expenditures but the question still begs to be asked… is why should the rural area pay the same and receive less?

 

I know… Carrboro Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle said ” county residentsshould NOTreceive transit services in proportion to their investment in the overall plan”….but Mrs. Lavelle nor anyone else has explained why district One is to receive 88% if the total when their investment  is only half.

 

I wonder if  Mrs. Lavelle  and those who do not mind this lopsided expenditure of this proposed legacy tax realize that Chapel Hill and Carrboro are only 7 miles wide at their widest point? And that the average one way trip for District Two residents is 12 miles?

 

At the last Public hearing we listened to transient student voters who were encountering great difficulty getting across this gulf of free busses and sidewalks. Why should District Two be asked pay half of the fees to get these seasonal voters to a study group? Why should District Two pay for looks to be a Duke/ UNC employee shuttle?

 

 

 

 

This legacy Tax plan will predominantly serve the first district

It is that portion of the county that voted every one of you on to the board, it is that portion of the county that every single one of you must cater to if you wish to be re-elected under the voting structure intentionally presented to the citizens in 2006. This voting structure provides the illusion that the second district has some control over their representatives and the At Large representatives but this is not the case.

 

The control district One has over this entire board is symbolic in the fee structure of this plan in which District Two is slated to be harnessed to serve the transit desires of a district only 7 miles wide.

 

We need transit solutions in Orange County, Self-Sustaining solutions. While buses do not fit the definition of Self Sustainability very well, but in comparison to prolong, protracted expenses Light Rail, buses appear profitable. No matter what light rail system in the country this plan is compared to, none of them compare to our population, projected growth and not a single one of them has come online on budget. When has any government expenditure not gone over budget?

 

I would ask the board to reconsider the great amount of funding to be produced by district Two and the disproportional dispersal of these funds.

While not connected to this Transit plan…I applaud the effort to finally address the 45 minute average ambulance response time for district Two, however this expenditure is late, still inadequate and derived from other sources and in light of the revenue to be produced by the Second District, provides another glaring example how District Two is harnessed to suit our southern neighbors latest fancy in Light Rail.

Compulsion is the first instinct of the clueless

Posted in Second Amendment, Uncategorized on June 6, 2012 by seaweavermarine

This past Tuesday night BoCC meeting ( June 5) finally addressed the Weapons Ordinance that was initially brought to the public in January of this year. The ordinance revision was brought about by Republican lead State General Assembly who created the Castle Laws and greatly expanded the areas in which Lawfully Permitted Citizens were allowed to carry their weapons in this state. The General Assembly did leave it up to local governments to ban the carry of weapons in select areas of parks and this is what the Board of Orange County Commissioner wished to do. The ordnance they issued last night was essentially the same one they presented in January but the limitation on pocket knives was removed and the law appears to be the maximum the state will allow a County to limit the carry of weapons. However, this law  passed by the BoCC last night showed a complete failure of the Board to display to the public that they fully grasped the subject matter.

The Law passed  imposes restrictions on lawful citizens ability to open and conceal carry their weapons and the Bocc failed to show how it would affect criminals. By creating and expanding  “Gun Free Zones”, the BoCC has simply expanded  target rich environments where criminals can feel safe from the threat of any citizen’s ability to  self defense  and as we saw with the cold blooded murder on the steps of a Chapel Hill School last week, gun free zones are no deterrent to criminals intent.

The Board had many failures in the crafting of this law. They failed to involve the citizens in crafting the ordinance as they indicated they would. They failed to accept the offer of free training and permitting to better inform their decision. They failed to understand the basic parameters of the exclusion zones as allowed by the state. And they failed to address the sum of their fear in declaring who was to be protected from whom by the passage of this law.

Perhaps it is this last component that is most irritating to me. They consistently attributed the actions of criminals to lawful citizens with out any reasoning as to why. This is a sensitive area for progressives as they loath to be judgmental publicly but have no issue dancing around it. When this judgmental behavior must be reconciled in  public forum, it exposes flaws in their rationalizations that are reflective of impulsive insecurities they harbor, thus the issue, or the sum of their fear is never directly addressed. Again, that would be…who are trying to protect and from whom by passage of this law.

I note these harbored feelings as impulsive as that can only be the true rational behind limiting the ability of citizens to provide for their own self defense. As Commissioner Jacobs (a declared CHP citizen) said ‘ I would not want a permitted citizen to be able to walk through a playground’, thus implying the commissioner does not even trust himself from an impulse that would suddenly compel him from a lawful citizen… to a criminal.  I have to wonder, what is it that keeps Commissioner Jacobs from suddenly crossing the center line on a two lane highway? What is it that keeps him from jerking the wheel into on coming traffic? What is the rationalization in his mind that allows him to drive… knowing that the oncoming traffic is subject to this same irrational impulse? This is the internal fight of the progressive and perhaps the source of the control nature they exhibit in so many of their policy decisions.

Freedom in the minds of many is a terrifying thought. If free people are prone to the same irrational impulsive  actions progressives harbor, freedom must be controlled, limited, confined and constrained.

Compulsion is the first instinct of the clueless. The BoCC in their noticeable failure to grasp the basic parameters of the State Law is a dead giveaway they are prone to compulsion. It is this same compulsion they have utilized to silently legitimize their action to constrain the freedom of lawfully fingerprinted,trained, and background checked citizens as if they were the criminals.

When the predator looks down upon the sheep, it will not choose the sheep wearing a dog.  Some sheep choose to blend in with prey and that is their choice but, the BoCC has just declared many public areas “dog free” and our tax dollars will be spent to post signs around these areas to notify the predators their security has been enhanced.

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