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• Ethics board versus the charter
• Think about it
Ethics board versus the charter
“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less,” Humpty Dumpty told Alice in “Through the Looking Glass.”
It came to light at the meeting of the Ethics Board on Valentine’s Day that members of the board seem to agree with Humpty Dumpty. At issue was a request from Jonathan Chun, chairman of the Charter Commission, for an advisory opinion which would allow him to appear on behalf of private interests before other county agencies. Such activities are unconditionally prohibited by charter section 20.02D.
Two members of the public presented closely reasoned written testimonies upholding the view that the plain language of section 20.02D is the only basis for answering Chun. But board members didn’t like the obvious meaning of the section and seemed determined to find their own meaning. As reported in The Garden Island, one member opined that “it almost gets to the level of absurdity” if you take the language of the charter at face value.
Chairman Mark Hubbard also offered several gambits for defeating the unambiguous language of the section, culminating with the false claim that under its terms he wouldn’t even be able to apply for a driver’s license. Applying for a driver’s license clearly is not appearing in behalf of private interests.
Adopting Humpty Dumpty’s philosophy seems a curious attitude given the fact (1) that the board’s oath of office includes a pledge to support and defend the charter, and (2) that the board is charged with enforcing the code of ethics established in charter Article 20.
Lost in the shuffle was the fact that Chun was asking for an “after-the-fact” advisory opinion. He requested the opinion nearly a year after being appointed to the Charter Commission and four months after he was elected chair of the commission, during which time he appeared on multiple occasions before the Planning Commission and council in behalf of private interests. By contrast, in nearly all cases persons asking for advisory opinions do so before engaging in questionable activity.
It should be noted that members of the public indicated that their purpose is to support and defend the charter, not to seek punitive actions against Jonathan Chun.
In the end the board deferred answering Chun’s request pending an opinion from the county attorney’s office.
It is now up to the county attorney’s office to agree with Alice by acknowledging that section 20.02D says what it means and means what it says or, as the board seems to hope, to play Humpty Dumpty with the section. The public will have little or no opportunity to examine the legal opinion before the board adopts its answer to Chun. At best the public will have the opportunity only if the board votes to release the opinion at the March 13 meeting and releases it before it takes action on Chun’s request and while the public can still offer testimony.
Will the March 14 headline read, “Ethics Board gives chairman of the Charter Commission permission to violate the charter,” or will it say, “Ethics Board denies chairman of the Charter Commission permission to violate the charter”?
Think about it
From reading letters to the editor, one can get the impression that a great many people carry around misconceptions about what government and politicians have done, are doing and will do to our country. Some statistics are warranted:
The bottom 44 percent of income earners pay no income tax whatsoever. Exxon alone pays more taxes than the bottom 50 percent of income earners, which number 65 million people. The top 25 percent, those who earn over $62,000, pay 86 percent of all taxes. The top 5 percent pay 60 percent of all taxes. The richest one-percent pay 39 percent of all taxes which is 3 percent more than before Bush cut taxes, and which is to say that the rich are paying more taxes after Bush cut taxes than they did under Clinton’s term.
Currently no one knows how much the government actually owes, but estimates by the Government Accountability Office are that there is $53 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Others say the amount is over $70 trillion. Using the lower figure this means that every full-time worker owes $440,000. The number keeps on growing, ceaselessly.
The National Taxpayers Union (NTUF) estimates that the presidential candidates have put forth over 450 proposals. John McCain’s proposals would result in a $6.9 billion spending hike. Mitt Romney’s proposals would result in a $19.5 billion spending hike. Mike Huckabee’s proposals would amount to $54.2 billion.
Hilary Clinton’s proposals would result in a $218.2 billion spending hike.
Barack Obama? $287 billion spending hike. And you know there will be more if he or any of the rest of them get elected and we will add more trillions to the national debt.
On the other hand Ron Paul is calling for a $150 billion spending cut. But he’s seen as a radical while Obama is seen as a progressive.
We have a country where about half the income earners pay no income taxes. Do you think these people are interested in any reduction in spending or in tax cuts? But they vote. Is this what America has become, a nation where millions of people vote themselves benefits at no cost to themselves?
What we have is an unsustainable system and it is getting worse day by day. Both parties grow government and pay absolutely no attention to the stupendous debt that grows without end.
Did you know that every penny of personal income tax now goes to pay the interest on the national debt? We have troops in well over a hundred countries. We spend more on the military than all other nations combined. Up to half of farm income now comes from government subsidies. Group after group spends millions on lobbying in Washington and then hundreds of millions come back for the effort.
The politicians pass 700 page bills chock-a-block with spending programs that are voted on when few have even read the bill let alone understood the consequences. It would seem every group across the land has learned that Washington is the source, the horn of plenty, but this is going to end badly. You know it and I know it. The whole thing is out of control.
What must happen is that people begin once again to take responsibility for their own lives and stop asking the politicians to do it. We now have a hugely powerful central government that is busy taking away our liberties and denying the limits put on government by the Constitution. We need to take back that power. The way to do it is to elect politicians who will reduce government’s influence in our lives. Can anything be more important? Since the Federal Reserve came into existence in 1913 the dollar has eroded in value by over 95 percent in direct contradiction to its intended purpose. Every fiat currency throughout history has in the end gone to zero. The U.S. dollar is well on its way to its own end. Every great nation has experienced a great upheaval when its finances became unbalanced. Things are going to get very bad in America if we don’t stop doing what we are doing by electing politicians who propose to spend hundreds-of-billions of dollars in their effort to get elected by pandering to people who seem to believe that there is a free lunch. Please, please think about it.
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