Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Scary Poll

I've been following the results of the current informal poll at digitalBurg. It seems that a majority of those participating think that government has the right to ban smoking where-ever government and anti-smoking zealots please. That's scary.

Why is it scary? First, it says that government knows best for you. That's a common problem among those who think that governemnt has to keep people from doing things that may be bad for them. It's intrusive, it's excessive.

Second, it says that anti-smoking zealots will slant things (such as stacking a poll) to get it to turn out as they want it. That's an "ends justify the means" aproach.

I don't smoke and I prefer to patronize non-smoking establishments. I don't allow smoking in my own business. I fully support voluntary limits on smoking. I support the government, acting as an employer, when it bans smoking on its own premises. I do not support government meddling in the private lives of those who want to indulge in this particular form of stupidity just because soemone else on the street may be offended.

In Liberty

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Audit Raises LOTS of Questions

I visited the Courthouse today (on something completely different) and got to look at State Auditor McCaskill's report on the "problems" at the Recorder of Deeds' office. You can read the story at digitalBurg.com so I won't go into details here. My reaction as I read through it? First it was "oooh," then "OOOH," and finally with the disclosure of the sweetheart deal with a title company - "OOOOOOOH." Trust me, there are some pretty egregious findings there.

I am very curious as to which title company was involved and what, if any, the political connections of that company are. I'm sure the Attorney General will be aggressive in his investigation, since he's running for Governor in 2008 and nothing makes him look better than uncovering and prosecuting government corruption.

If there's any local political hay to be made of this scandal, I'm sure some candidates will come up with some proposals; I may even do so myself. I understand that the bonding requirements for these positions are ridiculously low, so an update of the statuory requirements may be in order. A little more sunshine on government never hurt anyone, either.

In any case, it will be interesting to watch as the matter unfolds.

In Liberty

Monday, March 20, 2006

TDD Abuse is Epidemic!

If you haven't read the dB article on the state audit of Transportation Development Districts, do so now! Our local $6,000,000-plus TDD is just a drop in the $800,000,000 bucket of taxes impsoed without a vote of any real citizens, just that of the retail developers who benefit from the tax.

Isn't this sort of thing why we voted the Hancock Amendment? How did our legislators decide that people who pay the tax can't vote on it? Isn't it time to do something to stop this abuse?

The City Council election in Warrensburg is only 2 weeks away. Your choices are the incumbent who supported the Hawthorne TDD (the extra 1/2 cent you pay every time you visit Wal-Mart) or a relatively unknown individual who says she opposes the tax. I certainly hope she gets a chance to bring her issues to the public, now that absentee voting has already opened.

In Liberty

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Making Employees Happy

I see that the City Council decided to reward city employees by reducing the proposed pay increase from 2.5% to 1.5%. That ought to make them happy and help reduce turnover. Sure it will.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Einent Domain "reform"

The state legislature has come up with its new compromise bill to "reform" eminent domain and TIF. This will probably be the one that passes, since virtually all the Republicans seem to be co-sponsors. It's a pretty long bill, and I haven't had the chance to reflect on the details, but it is certainly an improvement on the current open season on private property. Whether it's adequate remains to be seen.

To read it yourself, it's HB-1441.

In Liberty

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

City Regulating Resale?

I've been doing some more thinking about the City's desire to require resale businesses to keep detailed logs of everything they buy for resale. I know the intent is good - to find theives and return stolen goods to the rightful owners, but ...

I wonder - do they understand how the resale business works around here? Do they want to limit it to certain types of property or include everything? Would there be a certain minimum value? Would it apply to all the people who have booths at antique malls and flea markets within the city or just to management? Would it apply to items bought by booth owners for resale at garage sales? Would it apply to items sold within the city limits if purchased outside the city limits? What about trash picking for resale? What kind of proof would they have to keep of where they actually obtained the goods? Who'd pay for the administrative burden? How many staff people would the city add to compile the weekly reports and compare them to the "hot list?" What's to stop the resellers from moving their businesses outside the city limits and costing the city sales tax money? Do we really want this level of intrusion into our business lives?

Missouri has a law that requires state agencies promulgating administrative rules to estimate their effect on small business and to prepare a small business impact statement. While this law (536-300) doesn't apply to cities, perhaps Warrensburg should follow its precepts before opening this can of worms.

My wife, Sandra, has a booth at the Those Were the Days mall and has written her own thoughts; I'm posting them as a comment to this topic.

In Liberty