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How Kavanaugh Should Have Replied

Nothing Brett Kavanaugh said at his hearing would have changed anyone’s vote. If I am at a job interview in the future, this is what I would say:

Asking questions about what I did or did not do 30 plus years ago is irrelevant to the decision you are trying to make. You are not trying to decide if I should a life-time good conduct medal.  None of us are the same person we were 30 years ago. What is important today is can I / will I do the job at or above the expected performance level.

 

Hertz Arena

Who should decide the color of Hertz Arena?

My answer:

It is their property and their money, let them make it a landmark.

If the abutting neighbors think it is annoying, Hertz could paint most of it their corporate yellow, and the parts that neighbors can see from their homes the  traditional Estero colors.

Make Hertz buy a bond that would pay to have it repainted when either they are no longer the sponsor or they go bankrupt.

Why you should vote against the Lee County schools tax

The News-Press published an opinion article by Jane E. Kuckel is a Lee County School Board member on September 16, 2018 headlined: I tell you why you should vote for Lee County schools sale tax

Here is my rebuttal point by point: (Ms. Kuckel comments in blue)

The School District of Lee County is projected to grow between 1,500-2,000 students per year over the next 10 years. That is the equivalent of one new high school each year. The average statewide cost of a new high school is more than $65 million.

The average cost of a new high school has grown to more than $65 million because school boards are willing and able to pay that much. If we give the Lee County School District more money they will be willing and able to pay even more.  If the number of students are growing, than the number of families moving to Lee County must be growing. Each of these families will be paying taxes. If the schools don’t get their share, it is the fault of other government officials not the general public.

While the district student population has grown exponentially, the money to build and maintain schools has declined exponentially, from $318 million in 2007 to $118 million last year.

The decline in capital funding from $318 million in 2007 to $118 million last year is not due to the general public, and certainly not due to the tourist who would have to pay the extra sales tax. Why look for a remedy from the taxpayers, when the decline is due to the priorities set by government officials.

The capital fund must also pay for:
Technology purchases and upgrades.
Everyday maintenance and repair for 110 school facilities.
Purchase and maintenance of a 700-plus bus fleet
Safety and security improvements — our first priority.
Debt retirement.

Again, whose fault is it that the capital fund must pay for the items she listed.

Last year, the district spent $52 million in “mortgage” payments for previous schools which had to be built with borrowed money due to inadequate capital funding. That’s $52 million of taxpayer dollars that went to pay back loans rather than to our students.

When the “mortgage” was started, the School District must have ear-marked a revenue stream to pay the debt service. Whose fault is it they chose an unreliable revenue stream, certainly not the taxpayers.

We have nearly $80M in needed building repairs and replacements, like HVAC systems and roofs, and we do not have the money to replace them.

Responsible purchasers of assets, understand there are funds needed to maintain the assets. A revenue stream for meeting those maintenance costs should have been established when the schools were built. If that was not done, it is the irresponsible government officials who did that not the taxpayers.

we need six new schools, just to keep up with previous growth. Right now, we have 177 trailers serving as makeshift classrooms for students in high growth areas across the district.

The School District has a static view of what is needed for education. With the advent of the internet, it is proven that high school students do not need to go to school everyday. As technology improves it should require less brick and mortar schools to serve the public, not more. It is the concentration of students in school buildings that create the safety and security issues that the government is now trying to fix by making schools armed camps. We need new solutions, not new sources of money.

We are not in this position because we have mismanaged money. We are not in this position because we have spent unwisely. We are in this position simply because our growth is outpacing our funding.

If other school districts in the state and country are providing adequate education with the tax money they have been given, that might be an indication that the Lee Country School District could better manage their money.

The quality of schools is the biggest economic driver in any community because:  

  • It impacts the ability to attract high wage businesses to Lee County.
  • It impacts the District’s ability to educate students so that we can provide highly skilled employees to our local employers.
  • It impacts your property values.  

The purpose of the School District is not to encourage more economic activity in the community. Many Lee County residents don’t welcome more economic activity. The effect on the economy should not be a reason for increased funding of the schools.

There are only five other Florida counties that are growing like we are, yet we are the only one that does not have a surtax.

My mother told me that “everyone else is doing it” is not a good rational for trying to steal more money from the public.

 

Lets Replace all Criminal Law with Civil Law

Some have asked why murder should be a crime if abortion is not a crime.  My answer is that the government should not prosecute murders.

One of the problems we have in today’s world is that we try to have separate civil and criminal proceedings. With criminal law, no victim has to come forward and claim they have been harmed. Thus we need to have government paid prosecutors, investigators, etc. Restitution of the victim does not have as high a priority as punishing the criminal. There is little incentive for the government to deter crimes such as murder. The more murders, the more budget and jobs for those involved “fighting crime”.

A possible solution would be to have those concerned about being murdered get insurance in an amount they believe their life is worth. Then if murdered, the insurance company has a claim against the murderer which it can pursue in civil court.  The designated beneficiaries would get compensated, and the insurance companies would have control over the murder until they have been made whole. Some restitution theories say, the amount owed should be twice the amount of the damage.

The CDC estimates that the probability of being murdered in the US each year is about 1 in 19,000.   With those odds, a million dollar policy would probably cost less than $60 a year, and even lower for those who live in low crime areas.

Insurance companies could also sell policies to parents of minor children, or future children. A parent concerned that someone could cause a fetus or a new born baby to be killed (maybe the other parent) could buy insurance.

 

Estero River Park – Yes, Socialism No

While I support the idea of having a park in the proposed area on the northeast corner of route 41 and Corkscrew Road, and I am willing to help pay for it, I do not support the Village of Estero buying and developing the site.

The Village of Estero was sold to the taxpayers of Estero as “government light”. This socialist proposal increases the role and responsibilities of the Village of Estero government. If the plan is truly supported by the public it should not require taxes to buy and operate it.

I understand in today’s world most people act as if the purpose of government is to make other people pay for the things we want. That is a stretch from the idea that government exists to protect individual rights.

The Village of Estero should support the establishment of a non-profit organization to buy and develop this land. An organization that would only accept voluntary donations can do everything that the Village government could do. The Village could establish zoning rules, to make sure that the land was used for the intended purpose.

Owning an additional 62 acres of land is not just an asset. It also adds additional responsibilities. It is not something that will take care of itself. It will take staff and operating expenses, and expose the taxpayers of Estero to liabilities if people get hurt in the park.

Will the Village of Estero only allow residents of Estero to use the park? If not, why have just Estero taxpayers pay for it? A non-profit organization could get regional support, perhaps from people from neighboring cities.

Don’t force your neighbors to support something they may not want. There are more than 23,000 registered voters in Estero. It would only take 13,000 of them to pledge on average less than $2,000 to fund the project. With people from Bonita Springs, and San Carlos invited to participate, the pool of supporters could be more than just the voters of Estero.

True democracy involves people stepping up and voluntarily paying for what they want, not getting the government to force others to pay for things that would be nice.

 

Transition from Public Schools

In a region without coercive taxation* it is unlikely that the government would provide or run schools.

Those of us who recognize the immorality of taxation, see the need to limit the scope of what governments try to provide if taxes are to be eliminated so government spending can be reduced.

Since taxpayer funded education is so ingrained in the United States culture, some would say that those who want to reduce government spending should look to other functions of government as better opportunities to garner support for cutbacks.

Former Governor, Bill Weld, recently mentioned that education is a priority for most Americans, and Millennials are burdened with excessive student loans. He proposes legislation that would treat student loans like all other debts. Current US law  treats student loans as non-dischargeable debt.

He also supported a plan to have free tuition for the first two years of college.

 

 

 

 

 

* some would say that taxation implies coercion, thus the phase coercive taxation is redundant – that non-coercive taxation would not be taxation. For the rest of this article, when I mention taxes – I am assuming that such money is obtained by governments using the threat of force if not directly using force to collect the money.

 

Support for the Common Good

On  8/6/2018 Stephanie Slade as Reason Magazine editor published in a Jesuit magazine

“A Libertarian Case for the Common Good”

Excerpt:

One of the widespread misconceptions about libertarianism is that it denies the importance of community—assuming, in the words of the Notre Dame political scientist Patrick Deneen, that “the individual lives, or could live, in splendid isolation” from others. Another is that it preaches a selfish unconcern for the plight of one’s fellow humans, especially the least among us. If these portrayals were correct, the libertarian philosophy would indisputably not be compatible with the Catholic Church’s social doctrine—in particular with its teaching on the common good. But sneaking a peek into that Students for Liberty conference (or, for that matter, reading Reason, the magazine of “free minds and free markets” that I help edit) should make clear that, in fact, neither of those positions is integral to the libertarian worldview.

Click here for full article

Who will build it

Why not build a pipeline from Lake O to 10 miles out in the ocean?
 
The Los Angeles aqueduct is 137 miles and designed to flow 290 cu ft/s. The Corp of Engineers is authorized to discharge up to 5,000 cu ft/s. It would take about 17 pipelines the size of the Los Angeles project. The pipelines could be about 60 miles long if going east, or about 110 miles long if going west. With equal length pipes, it could be done with 12 pipelines to the east and 7 to the west.
 
The LA project cost about $24 million in 1907, but it had to go over mountains. Accounting for inflation, today the LA project would be about $620 million. That would give an estimate for the FL project of about $10 billion. That is less than 1/2 the government paid for the Big Dig in Boston, and less than the Trump wall.
 
Who wants to start a GoFundMe to pay for it? I will donate $500 if 20 million other people will donate the rest of the $9.99 billion for the project.

Lets show respect for our neighbors decisions.

As reported in “The Banner” (July 7, 2017: page 10A – “Estero considers tree protection ordinance”), most members of the Estero Village Council continue to show a lack of understanding of property rights, and a disdain for their neighbor’s decisions. This time, by preliminary approval of a more restrictive and costly tree ordinance.

Village Councilmember Howard Levitan raised the concern because in one day in April, eight trees were cut down in his neighborhood.  He fails to mention how many trees were cut down in the last 10 years in his neighborhood (very few). In my neighborhood, hurricane Irma took down more trees in one day, than all my neighbors have removed in 5 years.

The neighbors who had to make the difficult decision to remove the trees may have consulted arborists and others. They had to pay the cost of tree removal, and the new landscaping. They should not need to pay the village and convince third party busy bodies before doing what they believe is best for their environment on their own land. Especially in a gated community that already has significant restrictions.

Rights homeowners had before Estero became a village should not be nullified by an over-reaching village council.