“The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can and undoubtedly will, be recalled.”

~ George Washington (1787)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

County Sales Tax change proposed

Martha e-mails that the time frame for written comments on the proposed sales tax increase has been extended to  Friday April 1, 5:00 PM.

Please email your comments to the commissioners at: wwcocommissioners@co.walla-walla.wa.us 

These are difficult times but we need to prioritize where our tax dollars go.  No more tax increases!  Remember, we are Taxed Enough Already!  Let's stop this proposed tax increase dead in its tracks

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Title Only" Bills introduced For Budget in Olympia

From the Associated Press:

As state lawmakers push forward into tough budget negotiations, they are proposing a stack of "title-only" bills relating to a wide range of budget issues.

Sen. Ed Murray, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, introduced 22 such bills, which contain only a brief – and often vague – description of what they would do.
The measures proposed by the Seattle Democrat cover a broad scope of budget provisions, relating to everything from "fiscal matters" and "state government" to "criminal justice" and "higher education."

Lawmakers say title-only bills provide flexibility while helping them to avoid missing deadlines.

Please read the entire article.  Senator Murray does have a good rebuttal, but this is too close to Nancy Pelosi, when she said "We have to pass the health care bill so that you can find out what's in it."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blog Changes, Part 2!

I've added "Reaction" buttons to the bottom of each post.  Since comments are not enabled, I'm experimenting with being able to respond to a post by "Like", "Don't Like", and "So What?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"We The People"

A great video, courtesy of Martha.  Enjoy.

"Failure is Obama’s Strategy"

"The plan goes like this: President Obama does nothing now and allows the existing continuing resolution to expire. The White House and its media allies then portray the resulting government shutdown as the end of Western civilization as we know it (remember the TARP debate!). Americans’ faith in the Republican approach on “cutting programs to reduce the budget deficit and still maintaining needed federal programs” tanks. President Obama then emerges as the centrist peacemaker balancing the spendthrift congressional Democrats with the mean-spirited congressional Republican spending-cutters. President Obama’s base then pretends they’re offended at some very minor cuts, centrist Republicans cut a deal, and the President’s popularity soars like it did after the December tax legislation. Conservatives then go into the deficit ceiling and 2012 budget debates as untrusted losers. That is the White House plan."

Read The Whole Thing.

Hat Tip to Martha!

T-shirt Of The Year

This particular shirt isn't there, but there are equally good ones at ThoseShirts!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

School bond decision delayed

The March meeting included a discussion of a proposed bond for new school construction in the city of Walla Walla.  The main concerns are first, Walla Walla residents already pay a significant property tax towards the school system, around 55% (about 18% goes to the state school fund, and 37% directly to School District #140, general funds and a bond).  Second, the existing school system already has issues with deferred maintenance, as mentioned by several people, and as discussed in a study commissioned by the Walla Walla Public Schools in October 2010 (available for download here, but it is a VERY large file, so I recommend saving it to your drive, and THEN opening it).

The School District is considering putting a bond on a future ballot, as reported by the Union-Bulletin on 26 March 2011 (a subscription is required for the complete article, so I can't post it here, under "fair use"), possibly this November, or next spring.  The bond is to renovate Wa-Hi for several facility needs.  Tentatively, they are considering one of three bonds, for the amounts of $10 million, $25 million, or $45 million.  A smaller bond would likely mean subsequent bonds.

This is later than originally planned, which was as early as this May.  The delay is because "...more time is needed to conduct outreach in the community, and better illustrate the true needs of students at the high school," according to Superintendent Mick Miller. The board wants to "guage" community support for the three bond options, and more time "...to conduct outreach in the community, and better illustrate the true needs of students at the high school."  The bond has to be timed with the renewal of the school maintenance and operations bond in 2012.

The results of a school survey, with the majority supporting facility improvements, are supposed to be available online , but I haven't found them yet, just the linked article.

This post is not intended as a definitive review of the bond, for or against it.  Rather, this is the first of a series of posts presenting information to our group, and other interested parties, on just what this bond really means to the tax payers of Walla Walla.  Higher taxes during tough times is not a good way to help any economic recovery.

Fiscal responsibility requires keeping a close eye on proposed bonds and their supporting taxes.  And, unfortunately, school systems across the country have been as lax as other agencies in keeping up with the maintenance and operations of school facilities.  There's no reason to think that Walla Walla is any different.

Further, the school board apparently planned to rush this bond through, but then decided to take more time to "conduct outreach in the community".  If they mean "selling the bond to taxpayers", that means there is some doubt that the community actually supports the bond.  Which means we should watch this very closely.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Meeting notes

Tonight's meeting was well attended, with the following topics discussed, after opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance:

  • Sheriff Turner, following up on his campaign promises, briefed the group operational and policy changes in the Sheriff Department, as it applies to all residents of the County.  Sheriff Turner specifically did not attend to endorse the Tea Party, but to speak with County residents on matters that affect everyone.  For example, the Department now patrols the county 24 hours a day, a change from earlier policies.  And the Department has been reorganized into squads who stand their shifts as a team, improving efficiency and cohesiveness.  He then left for other engagements. 
  • Martha discussed her trip to Phoenix to attend the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in February.  With a little luck, I'll get Martha to put her thoughts down on for us, but she was very enthusiastic about the event.  The link includes videos and commentary from the event.
  • April 15th is Patriots Day, at the County Courthouse, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  The event will include speakers, music, flag display, and the chance to show your support about being "Tax Enough Already".
  • A report from the local government affairs committee, given by Lucy, brought up the "Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee" for the City of Walla Walla.  This group, which is currently not funded in any way by tax dollars, produced a report on establishing a permanent Sustainability Committee, presumably funded by tax payers.  The main concern is that the report is vague in its objectives beyond establishing a permanent committee.  This will be a topic for future posts, but please read the report in the meantime, and let me know if you have any thoughts (w2teapartyblog -at- yahoo.com).
  • Another report discussed a new school bond that will be proposed soon in Walla Walla, and will require close consideration by all concerned tax payers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"With profound apologies to Rudyard Kipling, circa 1917, I offer a Tea Party poem"

—The Choice—


TO the Judge of Right and Wrong
with Whom fulfillment lies
Our purpose and our power belong,
Our faith and sacrifice.

Let Freedom`s land rejoice!
Our bonds will be riven;
Once more to us the eternal choice
Of good or ill is given.

Not at a little cost,
Hardly by prayers or tears,
Shall we recover the road we lost
In the spending and doubting years.

But after the fires and the wrath,
But after searching and pain,
Tea Party opens us a path
To live with ourselves again.

In We the People rejoice!
We see and hold the good–
Bear witness, nation, we have made our choice
For Tea Party`s brotherhood.

Then praise the American Spirit
Whose Strength hath saved us whole,
Which bade us choose that we might suffer
But not the living Soul!

Kudos and thanks to "Knowledge Is Power".

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Longhorns 17, Badgers 1"

The satirical blogger Iowahak presents a serious rebuttal to Paul Krugman's assertion that states with collective bargaining for teachers have better student performance than states without.  As in, Wisconsin outperforms Texas.

In spite of an alert about the language content (Iowahawk pulls no punches), please Read The Whole Thing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Press Release: Grandmothers Roundtable in Walla Walla

On Monday, 7 March, the Grandmothers Roundtable presents a forum entitled:

“Three Views of Government: Democrat, Republican, and the Tea Party Movement.”
The forum will begin at 7:00 pm and will be held at the
Walla Walla Community College Conference Center, Room 185.
As budget debates rage in Washington and Olympia over cuts and expenditures in our government, the Grandmothers pondered the question: What do citizens really want from our government and how are we going to pay for it? In order to answer that dilemma the Grandmothers invited representatives from three local political parties to enlighten us on their views of government from their parties’ perspective. Questions raised included: What government services are essential? How should government be paid for? Is there a role for government regulation? Is there common ground between the three political groups?  How can we, as local citizens, make our concerns heard about the state and national budget?

Martha Clinehens, one of the founders of the grassroots Tea Party movement here in Walla Walla, will outline their core values and key principles. Jim Johnson, Chair of the Walla Walla County Republican Central Committee will discuss the role of government from the Republican point of view.  Don Schwerin, County Representative to the Democratic State Committee, will discuss the Democrats’ perspective on government.  

Susan Palmer, Sociology Instructor at Walla Walla Community College, will moderate the forum and will direct written questions from the audience to panel members after their presentations. The evening promises to be informative.

The Grandmothers Roundtable is a non-partisan organization focusing on issues of interest in the Walla Walla Valley and on educating the public about how to better participate. Grandmothers Roundtable forums welcome all ages, genders, and political views.

For more information, contact Pat Yenney at (509) 529-6505 or Linda Moats at bmoats-at-q.com.