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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


October 26, 2009

The City Elections and……

Michael Kurtianyk

Were you as surprised as I was at the weight The Gazette placed on the city buyout? I agree with them that it was an important issue – the costs of the buyout are staggering. I anticipated that the annexation issue would be a close second – but not, it seems, to The Gazette. Good for them for taking the long view on what the voters should be focusing in on when they go to the polls.

 

For the mayoral race, The Gazette endorsed Jason Judd. In its editorial, the writer focused on the stronger economic plan put forth by Mr. Judd as being more “forward thinking” that Randy McClement’s vision. Both candidates won their primary races, and both would do well as mayor, so long as he listens to his constituents, and the aldermen.

 

In the aldermanic race, The Gazette pretty much said: “Out with the Incumbents!” It did not endorse Paul Smith, Alan Imhoff, or Donna Kuzemchak. The reason: the buyout. Rather, The Gazette endorsed Carol Krimm, Karen Young, Michael O’Connor, Kelly Russell, and Amanda Haddaway (all Democrats, by the way, save the last mentioned). This is a bold move on the part of this newspaper. Typically, one or two incumbents would provide stability and a smooth transition, but not this year. It should be interesting to see if the city voters agree.

 

On Tax Credit Frauds…

 

Did you hear the one about the four-year-old who was is seeking the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit? No? How about the 580 people under the age of 18 who were seeking the tax credit? Seems like a set up for a punch line, but it’s not, at least according to an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

 

Yes, I have been touting the benefits of the tax credit in this space. Locally, we’ve seen a rise in the number of settlements the last two months as a direct result of buyers taking advantage of the tax credit. However, there is no way that fraudulent claims can be justified.

 

There’s a movement afoot to extend the tax credit to all buyers (not just first-time buyers) through June 30, 2010. The National Association of Realtors released a statement this week saying that 355,000 homes were purchased this year nationally that would not have been purchased, if it weren’t for the tax credit.

 

Additionally, over 187,000 jobs were created as a result of these purchases, mostly in contracting work. I, for one, would like to see this happen, albeit reluctantly, and here’s why. The cost to extend the credit will likely cost the government (that is, we taxpayers), $15.7 billion dollars over the next five years. Can we afford this?

 

The national debt has increased dramatically in the last year, and we’re going to bankrupt our children and children’s children’s futures. Someone smarter than me needs to explain this to me.

 

On Major League Baseball…

 

Unless you’re at the stadium, do you really watch a baseball game in its entirety on television? With an average duration of sometime around three-and-a-half hours, who can do this? Baseball needs to speed up its game.

 

One thing that could be done is to speed up the time between pitches. Why is it that every batter and every pitcher has to step back, adjust, stretch, readjust, stretch some more, adjust again, step back in, and then ask for time? Why? Make it so that a pitcher has 10 seconds between pitches. Let’s move the game along.

 

One other thing that could help the game is to increase the use of instant replay. Use it at often as is necessary. The human element is a nostalgic notion that should stay in the 20th century. We have the technology, so let’s use it.

 

The review of a play can occur as quickly as the Jumbotron or the network can show the replay. It doesn’t take long. Look at what happens in football – the coaches know that they can throw a red flag to request a video review. They don’t argue. They don’t run out and get in the faces of the referees (like baseball managers do to the umpires). These arguments by players and managers further delay the game.

 

In football, the coaches wait stoically while the play is reviewed, and, though they may be disappointed with the outcome, they don’t waste time by yelling at the referees.

 

On the International Day of Climate Action…

 

On October 24, people from 181 countries worked together to celebrate our planet and created events to bring attention to the climate crisis. Specifically through www.350.org, organizers are raising awareness of the continued assault on our environment through carbon dioxide emissions.

 

The significance of the number 350 is as follows: it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Through the burning of fossil fuels, our levels are currently at 390 parts per million, contributing to dying forests, ice melting, etc. This number needs to be reduced, and kudos to the world organizers for their efforts. We need to do what we can locally to address this issue.

 



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