Is That A Typo In Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad To See Me?
Cover story in the Oct 23 Bay News by Jack Beardwood, “Legal Bills Killing the CSD,” and at the end it states,”The $50,000 a month they had been spending included about $2,000 for the lawsuit against American Alternative Ins., and about $5,000 a month to defend recipients of cease and desist orders from the Water Board. [added note from me: from a source close to the issue, as they say, the actual amount "averages out to be less than $3600 a month."]The rest was going to Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger of San Francisco for the Taxpayers Watch case.” (That’s the one wherein Taxpayers Watch is suing the five CSD Board members personally.)
Defending against the Taxpayers Watch lawsuit is costing the good citizens of Los Osos $43,000 a month?
Last paragraph of the story, it says, “Taxpayers Watch describes itself as an unincorporated association organized to promote efficient quality local government services. A newsletter said they ‘serve our community through research and advocacy on significant tax and spending issues affecting our quality of life in Los Osos.”
I’ll say. $43,000 worth of quality!
The story also notes that “The district did receive some relief last week when Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbara stayed action in the litigation by Taxpayers Watch until the district’s suit against American Alternative Insurance is adjudicated in federal court. . . .” “Schempf [LOCSD’s general manager] said the insurance company is claming that the district did not purchase the proper policy,” which apparently would have covered legal fees in this case? Which raises the question: Who bought the policy in the first place?
Meanwhile, the case is still in settlement discussion mode, so perhaps something will occur before it goes to trial, a trial which will cost taxpayers more $$$. And before people angered by this lawsuit start champing at the bit thinking that if TPW loses the case they’ll have to cough up all those legal fees, I don’t think so. For all you Legal Beagles out there, here’s a question: In this particular case, who will eat all the costs even if the CSD prevails in court?
Would that qualify as a quality “significant tax and spending issue affecting our quality of life in Los Osos!” I’ll say.
I’m Shocked Shocked! To Find Human Nature Running Amok!
Here’s Alan Greenspan, former Fed chief and top guru of the “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Regulations, The Market Will Take Care Of Its Own, Thank You, before Senator Waxman’s committee testifying about the present financial crisis we’re in:
“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”
Here’s what Alan Greenspan apparently overlooked: An entire culture wherein top CEOs of these firms were paid up front golden parachutes no matter how lousy their performance, CEO’s who had absolutely NO stake therefore in the long term health of the company they were running, indeed we saw repeatedly CEO’s who ran companies into the ground, damaged the stockholders, then jumped ship with their millions and were re-hired the next day at more gazillions to run another company.
And here’s what Alan Greenspan also apparently overlooked: We have shifted as a nation that took the long view of business into an entire culture wherein long term results are of absolutely NO consequence or interest since the ONLY thing that matters is getting the stock prices as high as possible in the next quarter. So if you had to lie, cheat, steal, fudge the books, make horribly risky investments to get that quarterly statement up there, then that’s where the self-interests of the organization lay.
Any first year student of human nature and/or a dog trainer using operant conditioning methods, could have told Alan that, and therefore he could have easily foretold this crash.
Unregulated Markets are irrational and dangerous and easily fall prey to unscrupulous thieves, all of which can leave innocent victims strewn all over the floor. In real life, nobody would ever claim that we shouldn’t have any laws against bank robbery because, after all, the bank robber will make sure he doesn’t harm anyone since it’s in his self-interest to do so. It’s a nice theory: Take the money, nobody gets hurt, no harm, no foul, the robber’s Best Interests are served perfectly.
But in the real world, real people die in real bank robberies all the time. Ditto with market frauds. And when you toss in the huge bonuses the taxpayers will be paying to these top thieves for the privilege of getting robbed, there is absolutely NO self-interest being put at risk. Indeed, no risk at all!
If Obama gets elected with a super majority of Democrats, it’s possible that Waxman and a newly staffed DOJ will work in tandem to ferret out criminal behavior and prosecute some of these bums, but that will all be too little, too late. And even if a few bums are hanged in the public square, in 20 years, Americans will have forgotten all about it. Another Ronald Reagan will come along with another trickle-down siren song that actually results in “sharing the wealth” by moving the wealth up to fewer and fewer hands (get rid of all those nasty taxes that pay for stuff we all need – let The Other Guy pay it!) and this whole thing will repeat like a really bad TV rerun.
A Saturday Poem as I wait to call the plumber again to return to solve the mystery of a root-clogged pipe that should have cleared but didn’t, and listening to strange burping noises coming from the toilet in the wee quiet hours of the morning, while checking the bank balance in the checkbook with growing sorrow . . . Ah, joys of home ownership.
Late Lights in Minnesota
At the end of a freight train rolling away,
a hand swinging a lantern.
The only lights left behind in the town
are a bulb burning cold in the jail,
and high in one house,
a five-battery flashlight
pulling an old woman downstairs to the toilet
among the red eyes of her cats.
Poet Laureate of the United States
from Sure Signs, New and selected Poems,
University of Pittsburg Press, 1980 (paperback)
Buy it at your local bookstore and put more poetry in your life!