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Thursday, October 15, 2009
Board making costly mistakes
By Andy Caldwell
I have never seen the county in such dire financial straits as it is now, nor have I seen members of the Board of Supervisors more seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are on the verge of de facto bankruptcy.
 
Let me give you a couple of examples of the board spending time, energy and money on issues that are neither pressing nor compelling.
 
Last week, the board approved the Santa Ynez Community Plan. This plan was 10 years in the making and cost over $2 million to produce. What does it accomplish? Absolutely nothing.
 
The plan basically freeze-frames existing development, in spite of state mandates that require every community throughout the state to accommodate its fair share of growth.
 
In view of the fact that the county gets most of its discretionary revenue from property taxes, the board's action to freeze-frame development in the Valley indicates they just cut themselves off from future revenue enhancements. Why not just re-adopt the previous plan, and save $2 million?
 
Soon, the Board of Supervisors is going to consider the adoption of a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for dogs and cats. Unless the cities in the county specifically adopt the same policy, this policy will only apply in the unincorporated areas.
 
The county appointed a task force and sent nearly a dozen staff members to a series of meetings over the past year and a half to come up with this plan that will require pet owners to get permission from a vet to keep their pets intact.
 
People who can't afford to pay for spay/neuter services, or who can't convince a vet to let them keep their animal intact, will simply not register their animals. People who want intact animals will simply obtain them from jurisdictions that don't adopt this same rule.
 
Additionally, most of the problems with stray dogs and cats occur in cities, so this program will accomplish nothing. I can, thus, assure you this program will be an utter failure.
 
Speaking of the expense of doing nothing, supervisors caved to the California Coastal Commission. We will now sit idly by while Goleta Beach washes into the ocean.
 
In the old days, we would have used a low-tech, relatively cheap solution to build a seawall, or we would have dumped a gazillion tons of sand and rocks into the ocean to save the beach and a lot of very important county infrastructure, such as the main roadway into UCSB.
 
But, our politically correct Board of Supervisors tried to come up with a high-tech solution that would have cost some $15 million. Instead of either of these solutions, the Coastal Commission opted for what it calls managed retreat.
 
What does that mean? Let the beach wash away.
 
Judging from past experience, this will be the policy until we reach a crisis stage, and then we will spend triple or quadruple the money to do what we should have done in the first place.
 
So, now the county is going to spend a small fortune and waste a lot more time studying managed retreat, instead of either appealing the Coastal Commission's decision to the Legislature, or taking the Coastal Commission to court.
 
In addition to these improvident programs, the board is also spending a couple of million trying to prevent growth on the Gaviota Coast, and trying to guess what the state mandates are going to be with respect to anti-global warming efforts.
 
By the way, a study came out indicating that regulations cost the California economy some $500 billion per year. Maybe the board should study that study.
 
Andy Caldwell is executive director of COLAB and a 41-year resident of the Central Coast. For contact information, visit the COLAB Web site at www.colabsbc.org.
Posted at 10:48 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Thursday, October 15, 2009
Here He Comes: Mr. Universe
By J. Matt Barber
 
OK, this is just too easy. You have to ask: Did the Norwegian Nobel Committee devise a secret plot to completely marginalize President Obama in the international community (I mean, beyond that which he’s already managed on his own)? Seriously, by awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday – based solely on his first twelve days in office – they’ve teed-up the ball for every Obama critic, late-night comedian and 6th grade class clown across the fruited plain. It’s been a rhetorical homerun derby. Even the majority of his supporters – apart from his worshipful media sycophants and Daily Kos-types – are left scratching their heads. 
 
Around America’s collective water cooler this week the conversation has begun: “Hear the one about Obama winning a Nobel Peace Prize?” It’s actually refreshing to be embarrassed for the man rather than disgusted with him.
 
First, it was the humiliating slap-down he received from the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen (it’s a shame that his presumptuous and decidedly un-presidential hubris likely cost Chicago a stab at 2016); and then, in an apparent effort to give him cover while he licked his wounds, his Marxist pals in Oslo overcorrected with this silliness. It’s a political millstone Obama probably didn’t want and surely doesn’t need. 
     
Still, it’s a shame that by overtly politicizing the prize in such a way, the Nobel Committee has so diminished its significance (of course, with recipients like Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Yassar Arafat, it was already losing credibility). Who can ever hear “Nobel Peace Prize” again and not roll their eyes?   
 
Hells-bells, since the only criterion for winning is an apparent ability to blather-on philosophical about “world peace,” I nominate Miss New Jersey for the next go around. At least she can sing. Or, since it’s all about symbolism over substance anyway, how about Gerald Holtom: underappreciated inventor of the hippy peace symbol?  
 
For that matter, why stop with the Peace Prize? I say President Obama deserves an Emmy. After all, he goes on TV almost daily and reads his lines with a stirring southern preacher-esque delivery. He has the executive experience of Ben Affleck and the moonbat radicalism of Sean Penn. I can think of no one more qualified. Why not a Grammy? Obama is certainly singing a different tune on taxes, Afghanistan and executive “transparency” now that the election’s over.
 
In fairness though, it’s not Obama’s fault that he’s been incongruously strapped with the lofty title of “Nobel laureate.” It is, however, his fault that he’s having such a difficult time with his on-the-job training.
 
Whereas an American president should be respected abroad, Obama is almost universally perceived as weak. Whereas he should be feared by his enemies, he is mocked. And, whereas he should be appreciated by his friends, he continues to deeply frustrate his hard-left comrades as the “do-nothing president” (as uproariously captured by Saturday Night Live). 
 
Even liberal journalists are beginning to acknowledge Obama’s manifold deficiencies. For instance, while writing for the Washington Post, Richard Cohen noted that the president “inspires a lot of affection but not a lot of awe. It is the latter, though, that matters most in international affairs where the greatest and most gut-wrenching tests await Obama.” 
Gideon Rachman with The Financial Times notes: “The right argues that Mr. Obama is a man who has been wildly applauded and promoted for not doing terribly much. Now the Nobel committee seems to be making their point for them.”
Rachman goes on to layout a series of conservative grumblings: “Obama, the false Messiah; Obama, the president who apologizes for America; Obama, the man who is more loved abroad than at home; Obama, the man who never gets anything done; Obama the hesitant; Obama the weak.
“The danger for Mr. Obama,” Rachman concludes, “is that you are beginning to hear echoes of these charges from people who should be the president’s natural supporters.”
Still, Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is every bit as offensive as it is absurd. He is one of the most divisive president’s in U.S. history. Take his radical promotion of abortion on demand – up to and including the grizzly and, according to the AMA, never necessary practice of partial birth abortion. (That’s where an unborn child – up to the ninth month – is almost completely delivered, scissors or another sharp object are rammed into her skull and her brains are sucked out. Not very “peaceful.”)
 
No, Obama’s Peace Prize has little to do with “peace” and everything to do with policy. It’s no secret that leftists around the world, including the Nobel Committee, hate America. Obama may not hate America, but he loathes the idea of American exceptionalism. Whether it is his intention or not, he is busily working from within to relocate the shining city on a hill to a much lower altitude alongside those European nations after which he strives to “remake” America. It’s called international egalitarianism and it emanates from the man’s soul.  
 
In little over nine months he’s has managed to nearly destroy our economy, “stimulate” the quadrupling of the deficit over the next ten years, decimate the dollar, weaken our national security and has set the table for passage of the most leftist social policies in American history.
 
And liberals say he’s the “do-nothing president”? C’mon, guys, you should be tickled pink. We know your socialist, anti-American buddies over in Oslo are.
Posted at 10:21 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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