Archive for July, 2013

Understanding Local School Reform

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

There is an article in the CA this morning about the improvements locally in I Zone schools. And recently there have been a number of reports about ASD schools (Achievement School Districts). And then there is the roll out of the new combined Shelby County School System (the combination of the old Memphis City School system and the old Shelby County School system.

Excuse me if I am a bit overwhelmed. What the hell is going on?

Well I started digging into this and this is just part of what I found. I hope I am the only one who is a bit confused.

This mess is a government solution to what we have known for some time, that the old school model run by the unions and local politicians, was set up to provide jobs and income, not education.

So the state and the federal government got involved. The federal government held a selection process for a bunch of money and (more…)

$200 Million Added To City Unfunded Liability In 4 Years

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

July 25, 2013

Here is stunning proof of the fiscal irresponsibility of the City of Memphis government versus Shelby County government.

Unfunded liability is a promise made by one party (the City of Memphis) to another to pay for most of another’s health care expenses (retirees). There is no legal obligation for this promise , it is just a promise. Well in 2007 the government came along and said that this promise called OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) needed to be put onto the books of the City and the County. In other words, the government wanted the public to see the books and how well the City and the County were keeping their promises.

You have to understand that the actuaries know that this OPEB obligation grows each year with more people on retirement and people living longer. Therefore the amount of money set aside each year into the OPEB fund needs to cover the future promised benefits. Anything less than the amount the actuaries say is needed is a loan for the future and has the effect of adding to the unfunded liability.

Now here is the proof of the irresponsibility of the City of Memphis versus Shelby County.

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The Road To Detroit

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

July 22, 2013

Look at the news. Detroit in bankruptcy, Raymond James downsizing, shops at the airport closing! There is a message blowing in the wind. Time to change our local government benefit structure to fit our taxpayer income.

We have just gone through the budget season for the City of Memphis and we are still trying to close out the county budget. Still the politicians refuse to face the reality of our fiscal house of cards.

After the arguing and posturing during the budget debates it is the perfect time to put forward real reform to insure that Memphis is not on the path of Detroit, Birmingham and a number of California cities. Here is what needs to be done now in the areas where the real money is.

Reform the pension systems at the City and County for future employees hired starting January 1, 2014. New employees will be offered a Hybrid pension system similar to the social security system except the money will not go to the empty federal social security (more…)

The Latest Loon Update

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

July 18, 2013

 

Here is the latest update from my son-in-law Dan on the Loon project. Below is a radio interview with the BBC that has their host interview his boss at google and the sheep farmer from NZ that first connected to the internet through the google balloons.  Enjoy!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01bk4jk

Long Term Fiscal Health For Memphis

Monday, July 15th, 2013

July 15, 2013

There was an article in the CA yesterday entitled “What path to long-term fiscal health for Memphis”. The article had statements by several Council members and here is my take on their statements.

Shea Flinn: He starts off with the theory of the survival of the fittest. He states that some of his colleagues see city government as the employer of the first, second and last resort. I agree because whenever I suggest a reform evolving layoffs, most of the City Council members have a nervous breakdown. He points out that the majority of the Council refuse to face the facts.

He made the bold proposal to raise the tax rate to a level to pay for the present level of services. They refused and stuck their heads in the sand.

Myron Lowery: Myron pointed out that the $3.36 tax rate would produce the (more…)

Are your satisfied with your evening news source?

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

July 111, 2013

Memphisshelbyinform is a non-profit information and investigative organization composed of concerned citizens and taxpayers. It has the task of monitoring and reporting in depth on Memphis and Shelby County governmental activities and expenditures and educating the public on their efficiency, transparency and honesty.

I have followed this principle for many years and have had some success in informing the public about what is going on in local government. However I believe that many of our local problems are caused by actions at the national level. I have seen trust in government at all levels fall to a very low level. People no longer believe that government has the best interest of our nation as its (more…)

Do You Really Want Smart Meters?

Monday, July 8th, 2013

I have heard the arguments for and against smart meters from the MLGW, from the union and from the public. I have heard about the danger of radiation, fires, hacking and potential savings to the MLGW and the customers.

I am not against advances in technology and conservation of energy resources. After much thought I have to come down on the side of personal freedom. Smart meters to me are a form of personal surveillance without a warrant. Smart meters are warrantless wiretaps. What will the MLGW and the federal government do with your data? Will they sell it or use it to control your life style?

We know that google and other data gathers already sell your data. We have seen recent revelations about the National Security Administration, their data gathering and the huge facility they are building in Utah to analyze and store your data. Do you trust your government and their use of this data?

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Is Memphis Becoming Detroit?

Monday, July 1st, 2013

July 1, 2013

The CA ran an article yesterday and concluded that Memphis was not Detroit. The article said in part When it comes to municipal finance, Memphis is no Detroit. But the problems rocking Detroit also rake Memphis. Analysts say Motown, a city of about 700,000 once populated by 1.8 million people, is a reminder to America of what can happen when problems go untended. Municipal finances implode.

 

“We’re not going to be the next Detroit,” said University of Memphis economist John Gnuschke. “There’s not going to be another Detroit. They had the perfect storm. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have problems.”

 

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