Now as horrifying as most talking heads made the prospect of a government shutdown sound, not everyone was seeing it quite the same way. The Libertarian Party, a political organization that viewed this impending cataclysm (as opposed to all those other cataclysms making the news every day) differently, spoke out on the matter. This from a Ventura County blog called 95 Percent Accurate:
Libertarians: Make Shutdown Permanent - As the federal government shutdown began today, the result of negotiations hung up on nonbudgetary items such as abortions and global warming, the Libertarians issued a statement asking Americans to imagine what a wonderful world a permanent shutdown might produce.
"The world would enjoy peace as we withdrew our forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Our government spends almost as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. Millions of industrious men and women who work for the military and its contractors could be focusing on building up our economy, rather than tearing down others," said Executive Director Wes Benedict. "Crime would plummet as the government's War on Drugs ended, no longer sustaining a giant violent black market and overfilling our prisons."
Now we here at The Tattler enjoy considering all sorts of political opinions, especially those which make us laugh. But that said, and as far as this blog is concerned, we don't speculate too much about national issues. There are literally 10's of thousands of news entities that do, and it is our opinion that the world will somehow survive if we butt out of that. So instead we concentrate on local news, something that not quite so many cover. And if you take out the two or three lifestyle publicity release publishers that pass for news venues in this town, we just might be the only one here in Sierra Madre.
But the idea of a permanent local government shutdown is an intriguing one. Probably not realistic, I suppose. But it must be asked, what would the actual consequences be for the average working taxpayer?
Not to be entirely facetious, but I'm not sure I can think of very many. I guess we'd miss the Police Department. Somebody has to lock and unlock the gates at Bailey Canyon Park. Then there are the Paramedics. Of course, most of the Fire Department is volunteer, so I don't think we'd be missing out on too much there. Is it possible that we could have volunteer Police and Paramedics as well? I'm sure there are people who might enjoy doing such a thing. Certainly would be a great way to give back to the community.
I suppose the Water Department is important. Of course, the way that one has been run into the ground over the years, I'm not too sure if it would matter very much at this point. And it could always be sold to a private operator. One that might assume all that bond debt plus fix a pipe every now and then.
But beyond that, what is there to miss? Besides a lot of fees, permits, development advocacy, debt and other ongoing annoyances? And look at it this way, they can't even bring in a 4th of July parade at cost. How is City Hall going to even survive the economic challenges of the future?
Imagine, a world where you don't have to pay a fee to reserve a picnic table. Free the people, man.
At Least One Part Of Our Economy Is Booming: Traffic Tickets
The Pasadena Star News ran an interesting study earlier this week dealing with the increased amount of traffic tickets being issued lately by the California Highway Patrol and their local Police Department counterparts. Apparently those increases have been vast, leading some observers to speculate on why that might be.
Here is what the PSN had to say:
The California Highway Patrol and local police officers issued 110,000 more traffic citations in Los Angeles County last year then they did at the start of the economic recession, and a Sacramento attorney is questioning the timing. In fiscal year 2006-2007, officers wrote 1,746,852 tickets countywide, according to data from Los Angeles Superior Court. Last fiscal year they wrote 1,857,825.
Statewide, the CHP issued about 200,000 more tickets in 2009 than 2007, CHP officials said. The CHP attributes the increase to more officers on the highway and new cell phone laws.
But Matthew Becker, an attorney who specializes in traffic cases, said cash-strapped state and local lawmakers are looking for ways to generate revenue. "The policymakers are sticking more officers on the street knowing the officers will generate more tickets and more profit," he said. "It's not so much a safety issue, but hey, it's bringing in the bucks."
Now the anecdotal evidence here in Sierra Madre would support Mr. Becker's contentions. We certainly have put more police on the streets. It is also pretty much accepted wisdom here in town that tickets are being handed out in greater numbers than ever before. And with all of this kooky "zero tolerance" talk we're hearing so much about this month, you can certainly sense the possibility that an even more serious effort to realize increased traffic ticket revenues is in process.
Which could lead to speculation that tax revenues are heading south again this year.
Update On John Shear
Got a note from Diane Shear, and the progress John has been making is nothing short of remarkable. Here is what she had to say:
John got a very good report on x-rays that were taken yesterday afternoon. He's healing well. He looks great and he will be home in a few weeks, maybe sooner. Huntington Memorial Hospital took some great photos of him a week ago Friday. They will use them in their monthly publication. They will also be sending them to the Los Angeles Times, either for an article or for one of their full page ads for the hospital. We are encouraged by this, and we are so grateful for the care John has received at Huntington Memorial.
John Shear's many friends at Santa Anita Racetrack filmed a video wishing him their very best, and put it up on YouTube. Written by John's friend Eddie Cunningham and entitled John Shear Hero, you can check it out by clicking here.
Have a great weekend!