Saturday, December 7, 2013
Think of the last time that you wanted to go out with a group of friends to do something as simple as dinner and a movie. How long did it take you to decide?
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks with reporters Tuesday in Washington. Thanks to modern technology, each House member could represent many more people “at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers,” a reader says.
The Associated Press
You all like each other and enjoy one another’s company, but one of you wants Chinese food and another one of you had Chinese food last night; one of you wants lobster and another one is allergic to shellfish. It can take a long time to come to a compromise, and we haven’t even discussed movie options.
So how do we expect 435 people with strong opinions, who regularly attack their counterparts from the opposing political party and who won’t budge on their ideologies, to get anything done?
It would be nice if they could get along. It would be nice to have more political parties to help break up the deadlock. But I believe the solution is to reduce their ranks.
There have been 435 members of the House of Representatives since 1912, when each person represented about 210,000 people. Now each represents an average of 650,000 people.
But since 1912 we’ve introduced radio, TV, the Internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, websites, blogs and smartphones – a cornucopia of technologies that make the dissemination of information and the ability to communicate, including getting feedback or input from constituents, instantaneous.
With a good support staff, each member of the House could represent a lot more people at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers.
Waterfront measure would send property taxes soaring
I have no stake in the South Portland waterfront from a business standpoint, but I do have a stake in our fine city. I pay property taxes.
I just read the Waterfront Protection Ordinance. I read Section 4 several times just so I would understand it. It can be interpreted several ways, but what it boils down to is: “There shall be no enlargement or expansion of existing petroleum ... facilities ... in the Shipyard District ... .” The quote is from section 4(a).
If this ordinance passes, consider the following probable scenario:
Soon the Montreal refinery will no longer need imported oil, as it has enough from Canadian sources. Our pipeline operation is forced to shut down because it cannot export Canadian oil. Our property taxes would then go up, way up, and as a result people lose their jobs.
Or perhaps some other oil-related business in the zone needs to upgrade and expand to meet local demand. It cannot under the terms of the ordinance, so the demand shifts to other modes of transportation, which results in an increase in the price of oil products. Perhaps this company is also forced to shut down because it cannot modernize, creating a loss of tax revenue and forcing the city to raise our taxes yet again.
This scenario repeats itself again and again. Property taxes go up and up, city staff are laid off and the increased taxes on property cause property values to drop. It becomes increasingly more difficult to sell a home in South Portland.
This scenario is not what we have heard from some members in our community, but if you look closely, it is a more probable long-term outcome.
I, for one, will vote against the ordinance because I do not want folks to lose their jobs or for my property taxes to go through the roof.
Our hair-trigger society on tragic display in D.C.
Having recently returned from Canada, I’ve come to the conclusion that we in the United States of America are a hair-trigger society on a collision course with morality.
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