Saturday, August 28, 2010

Big Brother Comes Dressed in a Blue Recycle Bin

This warning from an April 27, 2010 article in the Journal Times, “two electronic sensors mounted near the truck’s compactor door can determine each residence’s participation in the city’s recycling program…”

There should be concern of the future consequences of such technology when combined with a big government such as we have here in Racine.

But there is more.    Much more.

The organization that operates the recycling program, the Department of Public Works, and the man who heads up that organization, Richard Jones, are the exact same people that head up the UNIT inspection team that violates the individual constitutional rights to due process of law and appeal of the residents of this very city more than 5,000 times a year.

There is no love lost between this city bureaucracy and the rights of man.

It doesn‘t end there.    When Richard Jones marches his imposing body to the lectern at the side of the City Council, it is not to find out what the Alderman of this city want him to do. The aldermen are searching for his advice and consent of what he wants them to do.

As we climb to the top of this pyramid of power expecting to find somebody, a Mayor perhaps, who can hold this onslaught of our rights in check, we find instead another bureaucrat.

Rounding out this Perfect Storm of Big Government Intrusion into our Lives we have a City Administrator, Tom Friedel.    A bureaucrat, minding the bureaucracy!

Where is the Mayor?    Scouring the countryside looking for more funds and grants with which to feed this growth of bureaucratic activity that engulfs our lives with (failed) promises of a utopian existence for us all.

Every sitting alderman on the City Council of Racine—and the Mayor—have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States.    But during the entire growth of UNIT and the Recycling Program, which has been going on for years, I have not heard one word on that City Council floor in the defense of constitutional rights.

Except for the two new aldermen (Marcus and Wiser), all aldermen have occupied those seats long enough to have had the opportunity to speak out in this regard, but have failed utterly and should be removed.

The real purpose of this chip is being revealed across this country and in Europe.    It is not to return lost carts to their intended destination as promoted here in Racine.    The purpose of the chip is to monitor participation, as is finally being confessed by several governments.

The next step, as is being done in some jurisdictions, is to combine the chip with a measuring device that weighs each container as it is loaded onto the truck and people who don’t participate—or even under-participate—are fined accordingly.

We the people of Racine need to get rid of this chip and the people propagating it or suffer the consequences of our acquiescence.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chickens and Freedom (Part I)

There is an old principle of data analysis that goes something like this: A datum can only be evaluated by a datum of comparable magnitude.

One cannot compare an idea or piece of information in a vacuum. It means nothing.

Keeping chickens in Racine is one such example. It has been evaluated all by itself with the usual unreliable result.

There is no perfect animal. Oh, you will hear such terms as “the perfect pet.” But I can assure you, despite all claims to the contrary, there exists no such entity.

And unfortunately for my friend the chicken, it has been compared to that imagined apparition of perfection — resulting in that great, time honored activity, which all men at some time feel the need to participate: the Witch Hunt.

But instead of pinning the chicken to a wall to take shots at it, if we compare it some another animal — which I intend to do here —we get a different perspective of this fine productive Creature of God.

For my subject of comparison I shall choose the prince of pets, that paragon of virtue and bravery, touted by many as “man’s best friend:” the dog.

The dog, a fine animal, does bring with it a tiny tote of baggage, a miniscule set of imperfections that I shall peruse now.

Dogs have been known to carry the disease called rabies. This disease can cause a dog to become aggressive and vicious, lose its sensibilities, revert to the source of its lineage (the wolf), and actually attack men. Being endowed with a fine set of teeth, a dog’s bite can then quickly pierce a man’s skin, leaving him a recipient of that disease and in threat of his life.

But worse, dogs have been known to maul children, even killing them in a seeming loss of domestic sensibilities.

Dogs have been known to depart the domain of its master and run loose in packs through residential neighborhoods committing such atrocities as attacking benign, caged chickens.

Dogs can contact lice and fleas, bringing them home to infest the domiciles of their human masters, rendering the habitat uncomfortable if not unlivable to its keeper.

Dogs defecate in huge piles that would leave a chicken marveling at the productive capacity of such a bowel system.

When in pursuit of its necessary exercise, a male dog will leave virtually no vertical structure un-anointed of its holy urine.

Most owners find their pet dog too unpredictable to take it for a walk in any area moderately occupied by humans without it being attached to a leash.

High pitched noises, barely audible by humans, can send a dog howling in a manner often painfully miserable to people in its surroundings.

Dogs have been known to bark in such duration and volume as to leave nearby humans virtually insensible.

But these imperfections in the dog are minor concerns of the general population. Why? Because we are familiar with dogs. Dogs and their liabilities have been part of the culture of Racine since before its inception.

We all know that with a little effort these “dangerous beasts” can be reasonably controlled and tolerated.

When compared to the dog in such traits as domestication, adaptation, defecation, urination, infestation, regression, and terrorization, the chicken actually fares pretty well.

I feel confident in asserting that during that last century had we in Racine kept chickens in the numbers and diversity with which we have dogs, we would find the chicken as acceptable, even more acceptable, than the dog.

The chicken, after all, at least pays its own way.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

City Planning Department Plays Shell Game with Stimulus Money

As August 15th nears, the City must have its bids in order to get about $3.5 million in federal “stimulus funds” for its real estate investment program.

It was a lot of work to get this project completed. City Development wanted to divide up the $3.5 million into as many projects as it could. Each project required finding a developer to work the project with a budget as to how the money will be spent on that project. If the City chooses to not use a developer, the City may become the “general contractor,” but in this case the City must have all subcontractor contracts in place by the August 15th deadline.

In one of the contracts, the razing of the former Spanish Center and building two new houses on the lot, the deadline approached without either of the requirements of the Federal Neighborhood Stabilization Project being fulfilled. So the Racine Loan Board of Review, the overseer of this program, acting on the recommendation of the Director of City Development, Brian O’Connel, pulled a rabbit out of a hat: Racine Housing & Neighborhood Partnership.

RHNP has no paid staff, has not paid taxes in more than four years, and has largely been inactive for more than two years. The point being RHNP is but a shell organization, a conduit for the City to by-pass NSP requirements to receive funding for this project.

According to Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney, RHNP is not a qualified contactor to do such a project. It has no staff. So the City (my guess: Brian O’Connel in City Development) will find the subcontractors. But in that case the City must have those contractors by August 15th.

And we have come full circle in the scam.

According to Alderman Eric Marcus, HUD has reviewed this matter and given him the opinion that this maneuver is not in compliance with HUD regulations.

The federal government is huge and has a penchant for bungling. The City may never get caught. But is this the way we want our City Government to do business?