Sunday, April 25, 2010

Much To Do About A Lot Of Nothing

One has to be careful about taking small-town politics too seriously and, in the process, making big problems out of not much at all.

Here are a few recent examples that belong in the molehill hole.

The silliest is Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche's radio spots where he wanted the public to identify Soldotna city workers who were doing a good job and, as a reward, Peter would take them out to lunch on his own dime.  Yeah, the mayor paid for 1/2 of the plugs and the city covered the other half and the spots sounded a bit like he was campaigning, but I think his intentions were good, despite a bit of self-promotion.  It was curious that the PC interviewed folks at the PO to get their opinion and one of those was Carla Anderson, wife of recently elected councilman, Nels.  What a coincidence. She wasn't happy, and her response sort of came across as bitchy.  Considering the not-so-clean campaign the anti-Redoubt cemetery folks ran, maybe Carla's comments were revenge.

In other city news, the Mayor M is trying to duck a little responsibility by removing himself as the decider when it comes to conflict-of-interest cases.  Shea Hutchings's particular case comes to mind as his parents own property needed by the Soldotna Creek Park expansion.  Yes, it is a conflict-of-interest.

Not to be outdone in self-promotion, borough mayor Dave Carey took out an ad in the PC last week because it was radio dispatcher appreciation week.  Fine, but the mayor had his handsomeness's picture taking up about 2/3 of the ad.  Just who do you want us to appreciate?

Carey is also trying to give out some more pay raises, but at least this time he is up-front about his largess.

A couple of weeks ago, I chastised Dave about recommending that the borough not fund the schools to the cap.  He had proposed giving the KPBSD about $200K less than what they had requested.  But then the assembly outdid the mayor and underfunded the school district by a whopping $4.2 million. I can't get too worked up about that because the school district simply didn't offer a compelling reason for receiving the money.  They have a huge savings account, are flush with federal stimulus money and didn't point to a single thing they would have done with the extra cash.  In today's political climate, if the school district didn't see the need for a more exact accounting of what they were doing with their money,  show why they have a such a big surplus and explain why they wanted so much from the borough, that shows some insular and out-of-touch thinking.

Sue McLure, the assembly person from Seward demonstrated that she has no backbone and changed her mind about the dual-service conflict-of-interest ordinance. The voters know if a person is has more than one political office - shouldn't they decide?  Carey has threatened a veto and it might be one of the few times I would agree with hizzoner.

Despite all of this light-weight political news, there was one thing I did find particularly disturbing.  A Soldotna police officer is under investigation for misusing his authority.  The PC picked up the story and within minutes, the comments began - including one that named the officer and what he may have done.  The comment section for ALL articles was then pulled.  A couple of days later the comments section for other stories was back, but the original story about the cop vanished.

I don't know if Soldotna police officers have that much pull, but this is the second time in recent memory that stories about them or their families have been kept under wraps by the PC.  Certainly everyone deserves a right to privacy and folks are innocent unless proven otherwise, but who else, especially public employees, gets stories pulled?


freeper said...

For you to say the school district didn't or couldn't or wouldn't say 'what they'd do with the budget funds they requested' ignores the fact that they said without that money they wouldn't be able to fund all the positions they have open.

In the school board's budget presentation and in the budget they submitted it's not a true representation of their actions to state they didn't say what they would do with the funds they requested.

The facts don't support such a statement.

When you're attempting to chide another news organization and raise questions about the ethics or the integrity of their journalism, it would help your credibility if you didn't promote a few instances of questionable 'journalism' yourself.

Especially so, if you hadn't performed your 'error of omission' in the very same post.

The Clarion may very well deserve to have some questions raised about it's practices, certainly a close eye should be trained on the amount of power to frame the local debate on the issues of this community.

But then again, a bit more diligence and a bit more care, a bit more attention paid to one's own journalistic ethics, and a bit of scrutiny concerning one's own journalistic integrity may be necessary to be heeded.

When one assumes to decry the state of someone else's house, upbraid someone else and say their house isn't in order, it prudent to pay equal attention to one's own house, make sure your house is kept in order too.

Souldotna said...

Yo, Freep! Good to hear from ya again.

Pssst...Just between us, I'm not a real journalist, I just play one on this series of pipes. In the real world I usually work a job or two at a time and this blog is just sort of fun for me.

D'ya remember back when Nels Anderson was on the school board and they tried to pass the bond to fund extra-curriculars? Nels stated that sports and clubs would vanish if the bond was voted down. Well, it was defeated and low and behold, sports and clubs remained intact. One of many idle threats by the KPBSD.

This time around they made some offhand remarks about not being able to fund all of the positions they want, but they were at a loss to say which ones. The school district didn't really have any plausible explanation for the multi-million dollar (and growing) surplus they have.

As I stated in the post, I previously chastised mayor Dave about his arbitrary $200K under-the-cap funding proposal because he couldn't point out exactly what he thought was excessive. This time some assembly members did their homework and had very specific questions for the KPBSD. The school district had nothing of substance in response.

freeper said...

Between me and everyone else, i think it's probable that it's long been known you're not a real journalist.

Nothing wrong with trying to have fun, but that has little to do with misrepresentation and mischaracterization.

Nothing wrong with my memory, you're just ignoring the fact that, though a certain specific bond fund didn't happen, funds 'outside the cap' were requested and provided from a number of other sources.

( you can find the documentation at the borough offices. )

Anderson wasn't wrong, your limited and incomplete description of events and facts is less than a comprehensive and factual representation of the reality.

While you contend that the school board was only able to offer some off-hand and/or implausible remarks, and couldn't or didn't articulate specifics, the reality provides a distinct contrast to your statement.

The school board's comprehensive presentations, including accounting for the use of the surplus, and importance of maintaining a sufficient level of surplus, stand in direct contrast to your contention, which ignores the open to the public budget planning sessions, the preparation and submittal of the detailed budget plan to the assembly and the reports which documented specifically which cuts would have to be made and where.

Speakers for the board reported 40 positions that would go unfilled, including positions currently open and positions needed for expansion to meet the enrollment needs.

As to your previous post, and the dissonance between that post and the current post, you found no 'excess' in the budget before, but now you claim there's 'multi-millions of dollars of unspecified fat in the budget.

You chide Carey and tell us his move to cut a minor portion of a percentage of the budget is comparable to 'thumping his chest and pandering to the tea-baggers', and a month later, you're thumping your own chest and outdoing the tea-baggers at what is usually the tea-bagger's game.

Exaggeration, sensationalism, amid distortion, misrepresentation, and mischaracterization.

Fun, huh ?

Have your fun, meanwhile adults will deal with the less funny reality, and they'll address the very real shortage of adequate educational funding, and the lack of support for adequate educational funding.

They'll do so despite a toxic false atmosphere created by the misinformed and those who don't care to apply themselves enough to find out what it is they're talking about.


Souldotna said...

Freeper - there's just one thing you are right about in your latest mouth foam: The vote WAS to fund outside of the cap. But the big rationale given by the KPBSD and Anderson WAS sports. The vote went down in defeat...were sports cut?


That is documented in the PC.

All the rest of your diatribe is your typical unsubstantiated vitriol.

The district could not sell their request to the assembly. There's the growing reserve of over $8 million that Atwater says are for computers (if it might be needed). There's the $2 million reserve for charter schools. Then there is the standard budget reserve. And this does not include the extra funding the district has received from the state and feds

Then there is the steadily declining enrollment. This has been a fact for 10 years.

So - my WHOLE point was that the district didn't do a good job of selling their need. Talk to any of the assembly members who voted for the under-the-cap funding. They didn't buy the district's threat that it might cost jobs. Dave Jones from the district admitted that no one now working would lose their job.

If the district needs the money, they need to do a better job of convincing the assembly. They obviously get an 'F' for their latest attempt.

freeper said...

The contingency fund, the reserve account of 8 million includes the 2.3 million earmarked for charter schools, that leaves only 5.7 million, upgrade the IT network and purchase the computers, (there isn't a question if it's not needed, that's past due and the reserve fund is exactly for such contingencies which can't be included in the budget process, or funded from any likelier source), so after the reserve gets drawn down to a level that can render it's purpose effectively dead, we'll be right back to square one.

Square one being not having adequate funding for education.

If you're going to argue against adequate education funding, at the least you could learn to separate fact from fiction.

Not being able to separate fact from fiction is a clear demonstration that education failed to prepare you to grasp the simple realities of the world around you.

That's a failure of education as well as a failure to apply yourself.

It might not be a lot of fun all the time, having to learn facts and learn how to present facts correctly, but life ain't all fun and games, as they say.


Souldotna said...

Freep - do you ever tire of being a pompous ass?

In your incessant quest to be right, you miss the obvious. You do that often.

I was just being the messenger in my post. The fact is the assembly did not fun to the cap, and the main reason was that they didn't buy the KPBSD argument.

There is no disputing that.

Personally, I've always supported funding to the cap. But it is understandable that politicians in this day and age - especially here in the central peninsula, have t answer to a vocal constituency that demands cutting budgets (whether the demands are logical or not is another matter).

So, as is your MO, you jump to conclusions as you pound your chest. But you couldn't be more wrong for all of your self-righteousness.

Add some sanity to your postings please. Critical reading skills are important for understanding. That would be a good place for you to begin.

Ta Ta for now.

Freshwrestler said...

Out here in the outlying areas we have felt the reduction in funding a little more keenly. Cuts in staffing in a school with 20 teachers is more easily absorbed than in a rural k-12 school with 4 teachers. You may lose some electives, we are losing 1/2 our k-6 staff.

Hire Intelligence said...

Google: Soldotna officer under investigation
Advanced search About 2,250 results (0.17 seconds)
So the Clarion tried to unring the bell. Too late too little. Tony Garcia resigns after the media attention."Unless charges are actually filed against somebody, we can't release that," trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said. "We're not going to soil somebody's good name on something not proven in court."
Sucks to be innocent. This is going to be the cub reporter's life changing scoop.

freeper said...

Is there any evidence of innocence ? No. There is not.

No reports claim there is any evidence to support a claim of innocence.

Is there any evidence of intelligence ? Nope, none of that either, not when assumptions are put forth as fact without any evidence, that's not intelligence, that's imaginary magical thinking.

Hire Intelligence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hire Intelligence said...

This makes for an interesting time.

Sol,I do not feed trolls, so when toxic freeps posts his creeps I'll ignore his inabilty to read, understand and respond

freeper said...

Having no credible response to the reality that there is no evidence of 'innocence', lack of intelligence is reduced to misdirection and naught but whining obfuscation.

Neither of which addresses the matter of there being no evidence whatsoever to support a claim of 'innocence'.

It's expected that when some have no credible response to being faced with a reality that doesn't support their fantasy, they try to change the subject or start in on some whining about something that has nothing to do with the reality that contradicts their fantasy.

They've nowhere to go but to whine and try to change the subject.

How else can they try to preserve their fantasy..


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