Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2009-05-27 Round up

Metro employee residency: The City paper tells us Councilman Eric Crafton has filed a bill to require Metro employees to live in Metro. I'm glad to see it. I've long thought that the people who make and enforce the rules need to live under them. I do believe if they had to live with the system they're a part of it would bring some accountability to the system. It's Bill 467 which should show up here once they upload it to the web.

Health data info: Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) has a new policy paper out on the privacy grab by the State of Tennessee via HB2289/SB2239 also known as "all payer claims database". TCPR touches on the vagueness of the bill, whether it will be effective, access to the data, privacy, costs and throw in some other important considerations like why is there only one actual health care consumer on this 19 member board? It seems heavily weighted in favor of the bureaucrats in my opinion. Here's a snip:

As with all public databases, there is a significant chance the information could become compromised. This could occur from a computer “hacker” or from someone within state government (as was the case in the State Trooper’s office last year). Exposure to liability should this sensitive data become publically available is virtually infinite and could open the state to decades of litigation from around the country. Also troubling is the potential to cross-reference health care data with other databases such as school records, criminal records, and travel logs.
Pork BBQ: provided by the Tennessee General Assembly, Governor Bredesen and TCPR. 44 pages of waste that makes you shake your head in wonderment. Some of it spent on things so foul they shouldn't be mentioned in mixed company. Some of it making repeat appearances on the report because no one in charge of the checkbook has the backbone to stop it. Only folks who are spending other people's money would allow this to continue. In this telling statement TCPR nails it.
The following is an overview of the amount of money spent subsiding some of the dozens of projects Gov. Bredesen thought were more deserving of taxpayers’ money than taxpayers, themselves:
If these projects were truly worthy why not make direct appeal to investors and donors instead of forcing taxpayers to pay for them? When will 'they' actually understand that it may be just $10,000 of someone else's money...but it's a year's worth of groceries for a family. No golf course, no art exhibit, no imaginary boll weevil is more important than feeding, clothing and housing a family.

Another snip from the Report:
In 2007, when the Pork Report first questioned this improper government expenditure, Gov. Bredesen and the Tennessee General Assembly shook taxpayers down for $2.7 million in state tax dollars to subsidize the “charity.”[Books from Birth] Ah, the good old days. In 2008, the state budget earmarked $3,444,500 for the program. In the Governor’s 2009 proposed budget, another $3,444,500 is requested for Books From Birth.

It would be a heartwarming story if Gov. Bredesen, whose personal fortune is worth an estimated $250 million, funded Book From Birth himself.

Unfortunately, he relies on Tennessee’s taxpayers – almost all of whom are less able to afford contributing to his pet project than he is – to fill up the coffers of his own foundation.

$2.64? I don't think so. I am hesitant to second guess the Chief of Police and probably like most councilmen am willing to give him great latitude in his expenditures as long as his department is doing their job well. But I just don't understand why a finance officer needs a take home car. She needs to make a midnight run to the bank to deposit evidence cash from a drug bust? Needs to authorize a check at 3:00 a.m. for K-9 dog treats? Serpas' unwillingness to explain it doesn't help and saying it costs about one gallon of gas for them to take these cars homes makes it worse. The IRS mileage deduction for 2009 is 55 cents. That's 4.8 miles. Just not believable. City Paper and WSMV.

Another reason not to vote for Wamp: Cong. Zach Wamp (R) after voting for the porkulous package gives us another reason to not for him in as governor if this KnoxNews report is accurate:
According to Tri-Cities TV reporter George Jackson, Republican Congressman Zach Wamp "stopped by Dino's restaurant on Saturday to express his support for Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams" and to have lunch.
Further evidence that Washington DC is a long way from Tennessee. I can't read this any other way than Wamp deliberately made plans to shake the man's hand. He didn't have to. Would have had legitimate reasons not to. Wasn't, apparently, invited and compelled to visit. He just wanted to shake the hand of the pawn of Naifeh and Odom.

1 comment:

Eric said...

It is a little disconcerting when the law enforcer is dodging the principle of these take-home vehicles and instead trying to convince you that they are only stealing a "reasonable amount".

Of course, you could be like Blount County where we had more police cars on the books than employees, counting the part timers and custodians. Then they just "disappeared" when trying to find them all.

I guess the logic must be that "we have these perfectly good cars sitting around that we've maintained, paid insurance for, etc. so we might as well drive 'em home too."

Or maybe they are some of the cars they steal when they make a drug-related arrest.

As for the late-night emergency requisitions, I thought it might be interesting to see the crime statistics that correlate with these take-home vehicles after hours. Is there even any activity to justify them? Seems like the department is keeping a lot of data. Shouldn't be too hard to produce should it?