Monday, August 11, 2008

MORE TAXES (WCHL Commentary)

Us baby boomers who remember our 50s TV know the answer to the question, "Say kids, what time is it?" Well, in August 2008, the answer isn’t "It's Howdy Doody Time!" The modern answer is, It’ Tax Bill Time! Even knowing what the increases were really doesn’t prepare you for seeing the numbers in print.

For my house, the new city, school and County rates translated to a 7.76% increase from last year. But when I compare this new bill to our 1995 bill, it comes to a whopping 70% increase. I think we get a lot of value for our tax dollars, but here’s the thing. We have more and more people who will be forced out of our community if we aren’t careful.

Those citizens on fixed incomes, and many still working are not going to be able to keep pace with these increases. We all know that we depend much too much on personal property taxes and that we need more businesses paying commercial taxes. I think we have to reexamine constantly our needs and wants. We have to fix what prevents us from having a more balanced tax base. We also have to take a hard look at how we are using our tax dollars.

If the greatness of our community is placed in jeopardy because more and more citizens can’t afford to continue living here, then we are not the community that we should be. Even Buffalo Bob and Clarabell the clown would understand this threat and they would support the need to fix this. How about you?

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Last night's opening ceremony was nothing short of spectacular in every respect. As we watched, we were reminded of our time in Beijing in the summer of 2006. We were staying at the Crowne Plaza and my wife was attending a management conference at the International Conference Center just down the street. The Crowne Plaza Hotel is a truly beautiful five-star hotel and now is serving as a headquarters hotel for the Olympics!

The added benefit of our hotel was that it was just across from the Olympic Green where the "Bird's Nest" and the Olympic Village were under construction. One afternoon, my wife went out to look at the stadium and decided to take pictures of the construction site. She was quickly spotted by a guard who followed her around while she snapped away. The guard never said a word, but carefully followed her to ensure that she was not going to harm what would become the "pride of China" on 8/8/08.

Here is what it looked like in June of 2006. Note the smog! One day, we could not even see the construction from our window, but then it rained and the smog disappeared. Seems like they are still dealing with the smog.

(Double click on the "Photos by Sylvia" to make them larger.)

For more information on the Bird's Nest, click here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


While in DC last weekend, I had some free time on Saturday afternoon so I walked down to the White House to see the happenings. Back in the 60s when we protested at the White House, you did it on the sidewalk that was between the wrought iron fence and the traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue. Now, the street is blocked off and they have erected barriers all over the place.

The topic was WAR and the protesters and counter-protesters were nearly in about the same numbers as the media and police. As their signs indicate, there were many concerns. Irrespective who happens to be living in the building at any moment, the White House is simply a spectacular building. I hope my shots from the front and back are doing it justice. But the fact remains, we have the freedom to protest our government and leaders, and protest those protesting our government and leaders. Is this a great country or what!

(Double click photos to enlarge)