Monthly Archives: August 2006

Just Pay the $6 Already

Just Pay the $6 Already

Ironically, given that this post is about local politics, the tagline that greets me, incase it has changed by the time you read this, is “the price of living in a democracy is that any moron can vote, say what they want, and procreate at will.”

An article our local paper Tuesday morning discussed Monday night’s special meeting of the Richmond Common Council to discuss a $6 increase in monthly sewer bills in order to help pay for capital improvements to our sewer system.

The problem is that the federal government has ordered cities to improve the quality of water it allows to drain into area rivers. Cities can do so by regulating
the amount and quality of water that runs from the city to streams.

When you take into account that this water is absorbed by the atmosphere, redistributed in the form of rain, and eventually drunk, bathed in, or used to wash food this doesn’t seem to be a bad deal.

In addition, the southwest part of the city has been plagued by flooding. The city has tried to solve that problem by installing a holding tank near the affected homes. Unfortunately, according to someone I’ve spoken with in the Sanitation department, this will only hold water for 15 seconds in heavy rain. The improvements to the sewer system are needed to help solve this problem as well.

Some landlords, who own rental property in the city, are upset because the fee may be charged on a per-unit basis. They’ll just
pass that cost along to their tennants the next time the lease is up so I don’t see what they have to be angry about.

The article quotes Councilman Bing Welch as saying, “”In 2004 we gave you an increase in user fees. Now you’re asking to hit us again. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the numbers you’ve given me.” Granted I wasn’t here in 2004 and I’m certainly no expert on sewage systems or City policies, but I’m guessing that “increase in user fees” can be explained by a basic principle of economics, something they taught all of us in high school is a guarantee, INFLATION. Prices go up, and if there’s no way to pay for that increase, services decline or even stop.

I hear people wining all the time about how, “things are too expensive,” and, “it didn’t used to cost this much.” That’s true, but I don’t think there’s any way of stopping it. Milk isn’t 50 cents a galon, you can’t get a burger and fries for 45 cents and you can’t buy a car for much under 10 grand. Guess what, at least as far as the car goes, you’re paying for better safety, more features, and reliability.

This $6 charge is one meal at McDonalds, a 24 pack of pop, and just barely gets you into the movies. If it were your, thos who are complaining, basement that was filling up with water because of an aging wastewater system you would be screaming bloody murder until things changed. In an era where people are screaming about too much government and asking, “What is my money being spent on?” here’s a darn good answer. It’s being spent to improve a city who needs imrpoving.

If Richmond wants to become an economically viable city and attract new economic development opportunities we will need to improve not only the way the place looks, but also the way it functions. The things you don’t see, like what happens when you flush your toilet, are just as viable to building and maintaing interest in living here as how good the park looks and where you can go eat dinner.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the city is going to misspend the 1.5 million a year they have the potential to collect with this fee, but I don’t think so. The Sanitation department has already identified 16 major projects this money will be earmarked for. I’m as fiscally conservative as the next guy, but when we have the 5th largest unemployment rate, as a county, in the state I think anything we can do to improve the marketability of our city is crucial. It’s not glamorous, it isn’t exciting, but it is a necessity.

Random Survey

Random Survey

Got this from Sas, and Shanti.

Grab the book nearest you – turn to page 18 and read line 4:
My PDA was closer to me than the BookCourier, and the only book I have on their is the NCIC 2000 Operators Manual. This is from the Vehicle Chapter: “2. If the license plate number exceeds 10 characters (eight for NCIC format), only the last ten should be entered.”

Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. Youre touching:
One of Treva’s pillows.

What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Without looking, guess what time it is:

Now look at the clock:

With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
Fayette County dispatch on the scanner.

When did you last step outside?
Last night, when I came home with Treva.

Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
My Gregarius page with all my RSS feeds on it.

What are you wearing?
I just woke up, so, um…

Did you dream last night?
Actually yes. It was quite detailed, not the norm for me, and a little odd. I was doing a paramedic ride-a-long with the two medics from “Saved.” A show which I don’t get since no TNT, but the guys had the same name. I forget parts of it, but we had brought in a comatosed patient who had been fine until a fight with her family. She had walked out to the bus stop and was talking to one of the medics until she just froze. While at the ER I was standing at the desk and talking about the $225 bill I had gotten for visiting when I cut my finger. Then I got into a weird conversation with a doc while wondering the hospital in search of a recycling bin for my Coke. Finding the coke, and realizing we had been gone for a while, we sprinted back to the ER. In my little world it is broad daylight at 2245 too. Some other random stuff happened, including a disertation on why I was going to stay in Dispatch and not go be a street medic, but I don’t remember it all. I swear, this is why I remember almost none of my dreams. It’s my system’s way of protecting me… from myself.

When did you last laugh?
You mean before I wrote the last paragraph, which is all tru, hmmm. Probably last night while playing Anagram Mania with Treva and watching TV.

What is on the walls of the room you are in?
I’m in our bedroom at the moment. There’s a picture of something between the closets and a shelf of some sort with nicknacky type things over by the door.

Seen anything weird lately?
Nothing more wierd than the usual Rednecky goodness I encounter on a daily basis. Mmm, rednecky goodness.

What is the last film you saw?
Sadly, I had to consult my Netflix queue, to answer this question, since we’ve been watching more older TV shows than movies lately. It was “Monster-In-Law.”

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
I would purchase a plot of land, several barrels of concrete, a shovel or two, and a group of hired goons; shortly thereafter, a team of high priced lawyers. All right, fine, in all seriousness I would give a bunch of money to my church, send some to Shanti’s parents, bribe the Chineese government to speed up Tony and Rett’s adoption paperwork, finally get my island in the south Pacific, and hire a personal shopper/chofer and never shop at Wal-Mart again, and I would probably buy a couple of new radios too.

Tell me something about you that I dont know:
I don’t know. What doesn’t anyone know about me? I look good in a dress.

If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
Everyone would know God and how wonderful his love is.

Do you like to dance?

George W. Bush:
Wow, I don’t even know. I have many mixed emotions.

Imagine your first child is a girl..what do you call her?
A surprise.

Imagine your first child is a boy..what do you call him?
Also, a surprise. Haven’t given much thought to having children yet. Ask my wife, she’s probably got loads of ideas.

Would you ever consider living abroad?
Probably, but I’m not sure how our families would take it.

What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gate?
“Well done. The buffet is that way.”

Labadee, Hatie

Labadee, Hatie

I didn’t have a chance to post yesterday, I was way to tired when I got back and crashed before I could even think about writing. It was a fairly relaxed day. We got up around 9:00 and didn’t actually go anywhere until about 10:15.

We met up with some family members and we lounged around in the sun for a while.

Treva and I ate lunch at Johnny Rocket’s and, unfortunately, filled up on onion rings and fries before our burgers arrived. After lunch we made our way back to our deck chairs. The rest of the afternoon was spent lying out and tanning. I came in and napped for a while, then it was time to get ready for dinner.

It was the first of the two Formal nights. We got all dressed up, Treva looking exceptionally hot, and had a family portrait taken. I had a chilled pear soup, cesar salad, roasted duck, and strawberry cheesecake. Mmm, good stuff.

The post-dinner show was a 13 time Starsearch winner, singer and dancer, Kenny James. He was really good. Had the audience singing, dancing, and full of energy.

After the show, Treva, Danny, Katie, and I started a game of Phase 10 and ate pizza.

We wrapped up around 1:00 and crashed in preparation for today’s activities.

We dropped anchor around 8:00 at Labadee off Hispanola. This is a private island owned by Royal Caribbean. The island has a lot of beach areas, water sports, and a craft market.

We went over and hit the beach, scoping out a spot early, and looked around. After exploring the high pressure Marketplace Treva and I went for a swim. We had a wonderful time until…

I lost it.

No! Really. It. Is. Gone.

My wedding ring fell off in the ocean and got swept away before I could grab it. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! So. Not. Cool. At. All.

Some of my family scoured the sand where we were, but it was nowhere to be found.

Even still, it was a good time in the water. Treva is pretty sure it was her first time in the ocean and she was amusing herself by splashing me and seeking revenge for being dumped. I would like to point out that it took her, and my aunt Amy, to dunk me. Ha. Someone forgot to tell them I am a shark in water.

We left the water and got some food, american picnic style, then layed around on the beach until it was time to leave. There is, somewhere, a picture of Treva holding two, the lush, tropical drinks at the same time.

I’m just hanging out in the room now, relaxing before dinner. Think I might have to go find a snack.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

“left is right, and right is wrong,” were some of the first words to greet our tour group as we set out to explore Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They drive on the left side of some rather narrow streets leading to us being informed that, “the driver greased the van just this morning.”

Since we had a fairly large group Aunt Amy had arranged for us to have our own van. Our first stop was Dunns River Falls where Amy, Mike, Danny, Jarrod, and David, climbed the waterfall. Bobby, Treva, and I, stayed behind and watched from an observation deck where a seemingly euforic local tried to get us to take a stray dog home with us.

After the falls we drove through Fern Gully. This is a rainforest area which contains over 550 different species of Ferns. It is usually 10 degrees cooler in the area than in the city because of the foliage. Ten years ago you could drive through and only see if you had your headlights on. Due to several hurricanes hitting the islnad it is now possible to see daylight in the Gully.

Our guide next drove us through a local village and provided us with information about life in Jamaica’s villages. She informed us that the villages are all self-sustaining and only need help from the outside on things like emergency services or luxuries like attending theater programs. We also learned that houses are built from cement blocks and that rooms are added as money is available. It can take up to 3 generations for a family to finish their home. The guide said that it was a nice way to do things since you knew you owned it and weren’t tied to the bank. The minimum wage sallary for a Jamaican is $46.00 US a week. The exchange rate is sixty jamaican dollars to one US dollar.

Following our tour of the village, we explored the offerings of a local shopping area and craft market. We purchased some Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee, a sweatshirt for Treva, some sunglasses for me, and presents for Treva’s family.

We decided to have lunch at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant. The place was pretty nice with a pool and waterslide in the middle of the outdoor eating area. Service was a bit slow however, and we were all pretty hungry and cranky by the time our food arrived.

That’s about it for Jamaica. Others in our group went on a jungle Canape tour where they ziplined through the trees, but they’ll have to tell you all about it.

Tomorrow is Georgetown, Grand Cayman.