Thursday, August 29, 2013

blah -blahs

There were no true dog days this August. Today may be one though. Dark skies; although my Brookstone Weather indicator says partially cloudy  it sure looks like rain.

We have not yet bombed Syria, although the rest of the world should condemn that government and act to bring it to international justice; the Russians are threatening to take action against anyone who acts against the Syrians. And the Chinese will sit on the sidelines not wishing to jeopardizing their oil from Iran.

Once again the League of Nations has proven to be a wimp.

Since I do have seasonal Blahs this will be all that it is today. I am having 3.5 in situ this weekend starting tonight, so there most likely be no blogging until Tuesday.

Enjoy the holiday and drive safe.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

AUGUST 28 1963



"I have a dream" 

We all should have a dream; a dream of equality for all people, a dream of equality for all sexual persuasions, a dream of commonality for all ethnic and religious beliefs.

50 years ago today a great human being proclaimed his dream to the world. 

We have come a long way but have not reached any of the above goals. Yet who would have thought 50 years ago that the President would be an African-American?
 
Martin Luther King’s dream has not been completely fulfilled, yet all Americans are the better for it

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

JUST A COMMENT



In a comment to today’s blog “A POOR REPORT” which I hope you have already read; Anon 7:16AM wrote;” I believe council president rivers said that a council member wanted to change her vote on 8/19 so the resolution was placed on the special meeting agenda”

Rather than replying directly to the posted comment I believe there is an issue here that is important enough to merit greater exposure. The issue is of course one of the fundamental failures of Plainfield Councils; the lack of understanding how to act as a governing body.

I cannot remember if on 8/19/13 after the voting was concluded and before the meeting ended any Councilor expressed a desire to change their vote on the Garcia resolution. I sincerely doubt that either Storch or Williams would have changed their vote to Yea which would have passed that resolution.

There are similar Parliamentary Procedures in both leading bibles; “Robert’s” and “Sturgis”. After a motion (resolution in this case) has been voted on at any time before adjournment any member of the group can move for reconsideration of that motion irrespective of the results of the original vote.

After seconding this motion is treated like any other motion and it takes just a simple majority as determined by the organizations rules to bring the original motion up for discussion and revote.

Once the meeting has ended the results stand and cannot be altered.

Rivers was not present at that meeting and the acting presiding officer, Greaves, seemed confused about procedures and the powers of the office.

This was evident not in the Garcia vote but in the discussion after Corporation Counsel Minchello had pointed out that the defeat of the layoff plan had placed the City in an embarrassing illegal situation since they had already adopted the budget.  

There was much talk then about not understanding what the results of the budget resolution meant, but there was no motion to reconsider that resolution instead a vote was taken to reconsider the layoff resolution which failed.

If this is confusing that is because many times actions at an OZ Council meeting are bewildering.
As to the Garcia Resolution on the Special Meeting Agenda; the Council President Rivers has the right to place any business she wishes on a meeting agenda before it is posted. She needs no explanation.

I believe that as written the Resolution which I did not see only the explanation on the agenda sheet had to have a resolve negating the 8/19 action. If it does not perhaps it is illegal.
 
The bottom line is that all Councilors should read and understand what they are voting upon and especially those in leadership roles should know how to conduct a meeting

A POOR REPORT



If you thought that I was going to write a story about the Special Council meeting for today’s blog; so did I. But as the saying goes;”the best laid plans of mice etc”.

I was in the City Hall Library when the meeting was opened. Legally there were 6 Councilors present; Councilman Reid was absent. Councilman Mapp had a work engagement so he was present by Speakerphone.

There were only two citizens that spoke at the public comment session, both against the Resolution granting Garcia the 3 day use of lots 8&8A for a so called ‘Celebration of Central America’s Independence from Spain which occurred on Sept.15,1821.

What is now Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua formed the short lived “The Federal Republic of Central America.". Mexico had already achieved independence and Panama was part of Columbia until US diplomacy recognized the need to build a canal.

The first Resolution that had to voted on was passage of a layoff plan which because it involves civil service has to be sent to Trenton for approval before it can be implemented.
The issue involved two employees of the Plainfield Enterprise Zone whose jobs had become unfunded when the budget was adopted. Corporation Counsel Minchello explained again why the positions could not be paid for and therefore by law there had to be a layoff, otherwise the City was in violation of the law.

Councilor Greaves after commenting that when she voted to accept the budget; she did not understand what would happen to a position that has always been funded by SID money; she then again voted against the resolution. The other 5 Councilors voted to pass the Layoff Plan.
Unfortunately, I dev eloped a tickle in my throat and a cough at that point and since the fountain does not work I had to leave the meeting; so I cannot comment on the Resolution or the Individual Councilors reactions.

I do know that despite the objection of the Directors of Plainfield’s SID; the Council had voted to permit the 3 day event. That was almost a forgone conclusion. Since last week it had received only 3 votes out of the needed 4 with the 2 missing Councilors now present despite  Reid's absence the 4th &5th vote had to be there.

The questions no one is going to ask or answer is how and why did this Resolution appear on the Special Meeting Agenda. The meeting was called to correct an action of the Council that had placed the City in an illegal position. There should have already been a question last week if the Garcia request was not in violation of time requirements. This event is scheduled for the weekend after this coming Labor Day weekend!

Perhaps the one person who by Code and by all recognized rules of Parliamentary Procedure is not only RESPONSIBLE for what is on (or not on) the agenda. That person should have complete control of the Agenda. 

I shall read Bernice’s Blog and Dan’s "Plainfield Today" to find out how the vote was split. I am only sure of one nay vote.

Friday, August 23, 2013

PURE POTPOURRI



Where has the summer gone? Next weekend is Labor Day weekend. I will have 40% of great-grandchildren here for three nights then a week of recuperation before the Council Agenda session.

Today, it is just inconsequential Potpourri Time. Did you know that global warming has made the so called Arctic Route (not to be confused with the North-West Passage) almost ice free. The Yong Sheng, A Chinese container ship, is on its way from Dalian China to Rotterdam Netherlands (Holland to me). The voyage will take about 35 days which cuts off about two weeks from the traditional short southern route    through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic.

There will be similar savings in time and distance to the east coast of the USA. Perhaps our smartphones and tablets will cost much less with the lower transportation costs.

The day of the Dick Tracy wristwatch phone is almost here. There are already some on the market, but they are not 100% functional. You can get a “Pebble” at Best Buy; and the Martian is now becoming available via the internet. They work through your phone or Android smart phone by a Bluetooth connection. The Martian which costs about a $150.00 than the Pebble  has a microphone so you can give your cell phone verbal commands.   The Pebble can only receive messages text, email, and music, notify you of phone call and increasing other tasks.

Amazon has one for $99.00 but it is Chinese and there is very little info what it does or how reliable. Apple and Google as well as Sampson Samsung are working on their own version. Some may be available by X-mas. (That auto-spell checker has a mind of its own)

Did you know that there is a next generation landing system in operation at the Seattle-Tacoma airport which not only permits a tighter and smoother landing approach but makes the landing automatic? There is no need for the pilot to contact the controllers for each change in direction and altitude.   

The Government has admitted that Area 51 does exist in the Nevada Desert. They have not confirmed the Roswell extraterrestrials or even any FUOs. However it is now known that this is the site where the U-2 spy plane was tested in the 50s.

AWAY FROM OZ



The world continues to turn no matter what takes place in OZ. Rather than needing a mind transplant this writer for years has not had the stamina to cover that self proclaimed paragon of transparency; that opaque silent major money mover known as the BOE.

Instead of dwelling on why both the BOE and the OZ city administration need a complete examination of their fiscal transactions over the past few years by a higher authority I am going to return to the real world.

That sage and raconteur Will Rogers remarked that “All I know is what I read in the newspapers” I have TV as well as radio and the Internet to supplement that source of intelligence. No I do not rely or use Facebook or Twitter as a media.

Two papers are enough because they represent opposite ends of the political fulcrum.

Much of what I write about today’s problems in Health Care comes not only from a lifetime of active involvement but from reading the media.

We have had two economic and social revolutions in Americas Health system in the last   50 years. The first was the emergence of the managed care concept and the HMOs giving the Insurance companies the role as dispenser of care. The second is the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act fondly known as Obama Care.

Once again advocates of Socialism have led well intentioned popular public entitlements become the law without fully understanding the fiscal or delivery methodology’s impact

Who would think that universal health care or access would result in increase cost of the produce reaching your table? An article in Wednesday’s Times “Tacking Health Care Costs Onto California Farm Produce”  points out that the migrant farm workers that bring in the crops are not individually hired by the farmers but are contract from  labor aggregators who because of the numbers they employ are subject to providing health insurance. Part of the article states:
 “I’ve been to at least a dozen seminars on the Affordable Care Act since February,” said Chuck Herrin, owner of Sunrise Farm Labor, a contractor based here. “If you don’t take the right approach, you’re wiped out.”

The effects of the law could be profound. Insurance brokers and health providers familiar with California’s $43.5 billion agricultural industry estimate that meeting the law’s minimum health plan requirement will cost about $1 per hour per employee worked in the field.”
As you may know that Obama’s administration by Presidential action not congressional law has not only postponed the implementation of this part of the law for one year to Jan. 1, 2015.  This use  of Administration action along with the recent fiat absolving members of congress and their staffs from being subject to the Cadillac tax for high premium insurance has not been see n since Nixon’s days and the legality is questionable. Congress legislates, administration carries out the law does not change it, and Justice if asked determines.

There also appeared on Monday in the Wall Street Journal an article about the impact of the law on small business who if they have 50 or more full time and/or qualified part timer employees are mandated to provide insurance. Many will limit their growth. Those with over 20 up to 49 employees can provide insurance through the pools but it will likely be at a higher premium that of large companies. Why? Because the pool is smaller the risk factors increase.

There are other unanticipated fallouts as a a result of the law. Employers are b egin9ing to not offer spouse coverage where the spouse is also working and their employer has to offer a mandated insurance plan.

UPS has just announced t hat 1500 employees will be affected by this move which will help its bottom line. The University of Virginia has also adopted a similar position.

Even weirder, like other large employers;  Penn State University has instituted a new “Wellness Program’’ that requires employees to provide detail health information or pay penalties that may total up to $1200.00 a year. ($100.00 a month). A University spokesman is quoted as saying the University was “addressing costs concerns on multiple fronts and the change is to empower employees  to be more informed about their health status and  health risks”. 

The University goes on to state that this will help employees identify ways to improve their health. If you buy that perhaps I can sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

By the way; no one can guarantee the safety of the data; any computer system can be hacked.