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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Caldwell Council Support Essay From Guardian Reader

The following was received by a Guardian reader who wishes to remain anonymous, (THE GUARDIAN does not endorse candidates but does provide a forum for discussion).

     "I believe it is time to open the windows in the Caldwell City Council Chambers and let some fresh air in.

     Over the past few elections we have had an interesting list of candidates show up for various reasons.  This year we have two incumbents and one open seat with at least two people running for each seat.  The good news this year is that we have three candidates, one running for each of the seats up for election that come highly qualified.  While they are not running together as a group (each one is running his own campaign independently).  Erik Makrush, David Clark and Rem Fox all represent successful backgrounds in their personal lives.  All three are in their early 40's and represent new generation of involvement ready and willing to step up to the plate.

     We need to be gracious and thankful for the efforts of all current incumbents who have served on the Caldwell City Council,  they have given us their best efforts.  However, I think we need to get behind our Mayor and bring some new younger people with fresh ideas and energy to the table in our city council. 

THE GUARDIAN  does not endorse candidates but does invite your comments to this post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Netflix Thinks It Pays To Thumb Nose At Customers

Netflix stock was around $300 per share in July of this year, today it is  $127.14 per share.  How did they work this magic?  Reed Hastings has figured out the fine art of annoying his customers on a grand scale.  We received our latest copy of the ECONOMIST and there is a very good article on the fine mess Mr. Hastings has created for what was once an excellent company a nightmare for himself, stockholders and customers alike.

Here is the Economist version in a nutshell.  DVDs may be old technology but they have all manner of legal protections.  Generally, movies are released on DVDs about four months after the original feature opens in your local theater which means Netflix can start renting it via the mail without interference from the original owners. However, if Netflix wants to stream the same item via the internet they must strike a deal with studio or outfit owing the item in question. Netflix has become too big and too scary for a lot of the owners and they have therefore made negotiations difficult for Netflix to get streaming rights and some simply won't even discuss the matter with Netflix.  They have to wait 8-9 years to stream various movies and TV programs.

The combination of DVDs by mail and the option of streaming all the older stuff gave customers a level of instant gratification they can not get today unless they opt for 60% more in monthly charges.  Add to this customers will get billed two separate charges on their credit cards.  QWIKSTER ( formerly Netflix DVD mail service), is the latest oxymoron example right up there with jumbo shrimp.

To date about 4% or 1 million customers have left Netflix.  The shorthand math is this is about $100 million in loses unless the unrepentant Mr. Hastings does a mea culpa  and lures customers back to Netflix.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Nampa Budget Items You Might Find Interesting

Most taxpayers recognize there is a level of taxation that is needed to keep a city viable.  That means more than water flowing and toilets flushing but some of the numbers below are troubling others informational.

Items noted in the GENERAL FUND,
1.  Budget transfer to Civic Center   $361,000
2.  Budget transfer to Idaho Center  $766,000
3.  Mayor and City Council   $489,000

Items in ENTERPRISE & SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS,  (additional taxes extracted from everyone as a use tax fund not related to property tax),
1.  911 Telephone and cell phone fees you pay  $1,538,299
2.  Electric franchise fees (Idaho Power bill add on) $251,800
3.  Storm-water Utility (the new one everyone hates)  $1,830,000
4.  Idaho Center revenue  $4,371,000
5.  Civic Center revenue  $$1,215,000

Public Safety Costs,
1.  Police $18,335,000
2.  Fire  $11,568,000

We picked these costs off page D-4 in the Legal Advertisements in today's Idaho Press Tribune and thought the numbers might be of interest to Guardian readers.  Numbers have been rounded to the nearest thousand dollars up or down.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Legislators Have No Business In Turkey


Legislators Have No Business In Turkey

Whenever states enter into the international arena of business and diplomacy you can figure there is something wrong with the plan.
The local news outlets played it pretty straight yesterday when news was received that a delegation of Idaho legislators and their spouses was safe following a terrorist blast in Ankara, Turkey. This was nothing more than a junket payed for by the Turkish government. It could be only a tourist promotion, but the Turks have been hustling public officials for several years. WHY?
Over the past 40 years the BOISE GUARDIAN has witnessed visits from officials in Taiwan to the legislature at a time when the island nation was struggling to remain independent–the USA does not recognize Taiwan today as a country, but various states have trade offices in Taipei.
We also saw farmers sucking up to a Libyan delegation claiming to be interested in Idaho wheat–they wanted hard red, but we grow soft white. A complex sale agreement was worked out, but the actual grain was not grown in Idaho. The reason for the Idaho interest turned out to be former Senator Frank Church’s opposition to selling US-made C-130 aircraft to Libya which could be used against Israel. The deal even had an “anti-Zionist” clause.
One politico appeared on Channel 7 saying he had taken the bait last year and had a most pleasant trip, noting the Turks are interested in Idaho beef. The legislature has no beef to sell. Ranchers have beef, but they didn’t get the freebie. We think there is a move to “BUY” political support for Turkey which has a lot of politics and diplomacy on its plate with the European Union, USA, Russia, and Israel at the moment.
We got a call from one local official who said he turned down the offer for a free trip to Turkey–airfare was NOT covered–because it was simply against the law. The local guy told us there was so much value in the gift that it would have clearly violated the Idaho ethics law. He was invited solely based on his official position.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


NETFLIX has to be one of the more serious marketing disasters of the decade.  Most Netflix customers held Reed Hastings and Netflix in very high regard for his business model of providing DVD's to customers without those ugly late fees charged by brick and mortar competitors.  Most customers saw the future of the business as streaming via the Internet and went along with the first round of price changes that incorporated streaming and DVD rentals for $10 and up depending upon how many DVD's you wanted.

The price increases this past Summer offended a lot of loyal customers of Netflix.  Not that customers had anything against Mr. Hastings making a profit but the magnitude of the increase at 60% was over the top for a lot of Netflix customers.  Mr. Hastings had a great product, great service, and great attention to meeting and exceeding customer expectations when problems came to the fore.  The good will even extended to customers who talked to friends about the great deal and service Netflix provided...grass roots and word of mouth worked for Netflix success and everyone was happy.  

The price increase was a catalyst for over a million customers to drop the mail service but what is really irksome was the choice left.  You can't get recent movies and TV shows via the streaming service, the "suggestions" for customers on the website are unavailable unless you have DVD's by mail.  The streaming service works fine but the selection stinks.  And now customers face two bills posted to their credit cards with QWIKSTER.  Netflix stock is now down to around $130/share from a recent high of over $300/share.  

Reed Hastings has taken his customer base for granted and is now paying the price of arrogance.  Everyone expect businesses to make a profit but all this bungling and the goofy blog posts along with business analysis and articles in the Wall Street Journal critical of Hastings and Netflix makes one wonder what the next marketing blunder will be for Netflix customers.  Too many other choices are out there for customers fed up with the "in your face"  marketing from Mr. Hastings.  Sorry Reed... No warm feelings in our hearts for you...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jerry Kilbourne Running for Caldwell City Council

Mr. Kilbourne is running for seat 5 in the Caldwell City Council election.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”- Benjamin Franklin-
First of all, I am not a politician.  I do not consider City Council a stepping stone for bigger and better things.  I don’t have a wealth of political knowledge from which to dip my ladle and stand here and tell you, “here is where I stand and this is what I am going to do.”  What I bring to the table is superb communication and mediation skills and a willingness to listen to both sides in order to make a rational judgment. I have no high profile friends which may cloud my judgment yet I, being a long time Caldwell resident, am sensitive to the growth needed to help Caldwell prosper.  I have always been of the school that all government needs fresh ideas from one of the masses; the masses which I belong. 
I am a 17 year resident of Caldwell Idaho and reside with my wife and son.  My wife and I moved to Idaho in November 1994 where I picked up a job with a local agricultural company which I worked until the season ended in late January 1995. I found work with various companies until settling with a High Tech company in 2000.  With the unfortunate turn in the economy I found myself laid off in 2009.  I did not see my lay off as a bad situation; instead I saw it as a new opportunity.  In June 2009 I seized this new opportunity and went back to get my degree in Business Administration.  With degree in hand, I went back to work.
In my free time I enjoy Camping in beautiful Idaho, seeing sites around town, riding my motorcycle and Family time.  I also help out as a Math and Writing tutor and am a member of Toastmasters.

Quick facts:
Name Jerry Kilbourne
Born: January 1966
Residence:  Caldwell Idaho Since 1994
Marital status: Married
Education: College of Western Idaho 2010 -   Business Administration
Favorite quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Class Warfare? You Decide

THE GUARDIAN has watched with interest all of the Republican bluster about taxation destroying our economy when by any measure real taxation is at an all time low since WW2.  Most people are for limited government and low taxes but the Republicans in both houses of Congress are trying to tell the Baby Boomers and the elderly that Social Security and Medicare are "entitlements" that will have to be cut.

These are the same people who signed onto an unfunded prescription drug plan without funding it.  The same people who signed the American people up for two wars without funding them (they did borrow the money from China).  The same people who encouraged banks to loan people with low paying jobs and lousy credit money to buy a home.... the "OWNERSHIP SOCIETY" were the words used by then President George W. Bush.

We now have mega billionaire Warren Buffet telling us he pays a lower percentage of taxation than his secretary.  The Republicans in both houses of Congress fail to see a problem with this difference of higher tax rates on the Middle Class while those in the highest income brackets pay a much lower tax rate.  In addition, they manage to get a lot of their pay in the form of stock options and when the stock is sold it falls into the category of capital gains tax with a maximum rate of 15%.  They continue to demand and press their Republican Congressional people for even lower taxes at the expense of the elderly, the middle class and call something most people have paid into for a lifetime "ENTITLEMENTS".   ( I will gladly trade my social security payments for a congressional retirement package, I will even throw in the gold watch.)

We have witnessed nothing less than war on the middle class in this country for the last 30 years to pay homage to globalization.  We have to consider Ross Perot may have had it right with his vehement opposition to NAFTA.  We may not have heard that "sucking sound of jobs leaving this country" he predicted but I think most of us have borne witness to the results and economic pain we are all feeling these days.

THE GUARDIAN is constantly listening to our CONGRESSIONAL POLITICOS and those who call Social Security and Medicare "entitlements" may have stirred up a hornets nest come election time.  The party of Lincoln is doing little to get us out of this economic mess while at the same time stepping up the warfare on the middle class in this country.  When Senator Mitch McConnel of Kentucky says his number one job is to make President Obama a one term president is this showing any concern whatsoever for the millions of Americans who are out of work, losing their homes, can't pay their taxes and trying to keep the bills paid?  I always thought and was taught it is the duty of Congress to conduct the business of the people.  What is currently  going on in Congress is nothing less than shameful in reflects the 82% disapproval ratings of Congress in most of the polls.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Property Tax Cap (the short version)

THE GUARDIAN has been hearing elected officials mentioning and lamenting a thing called "the cap".  And in the same context they mention bumping into "the cap".  This was a new term I didn't have a reasonable feel for what it is and how it is calculated so I went on a quest for knowledge of this mysterious thing called "the cap"

Heretofore, all taxing districts have been in a growth economy and under Idaho Code their levy rates were budget driven.  This meant no matter what you assessed valuation amounted to all the taxing entities could take all the new growth plus a 3% increase in their maximum taxes levied against all real property.  If last year they got $100, this year they could take a 3% increase and take $103 for the sake of simplicity.

The past three years we have a situation where we have falling real property values and to protect property owners the Idaho Legislature wisely placed a "cap" on what all taxing districts can extract (levy) from property owners.  They simply can't continue to raise taxes in a down economy with taxpayers ability to pay imploding with regularity and lockstep with the general condition of the economy.

Idaho Code specifies the maximum amounts of money each taxing entity can take based  upon the average three year total assessed value of all real property.  Here are some examples spelled out by Idaho Code:

TAX ENTITY                                                   ID. CODE SEC.    CAP MULTIPLIER

Airport ..................................................................... 21-404                    .0004
For building and/or maintenance.
Ambulance Service ................................................. 31-3901                   .0002

Appraisal Program .................................................. 63-314                     .0004

Armory Construction............................................... 46-722                     .0002
Must jointly levy w/city. Total levy cannot exceed max levy.

So, here we are in 2011 with declining property values and most taxing entities faced with forced budget reductions v. going merrily forward with a 3% increase each and every year.  The "cap" was something wisely built into Idaho Code to protect taxpayers in a down economy from "PREDATORY TAXATION" regardless of the needs or wants of taxing districts.  Most elected officials do not have an understanding of "the cap" but it is out there and would behoove citizens to find out what it is in areas they have a concern about over-taxation.

( A special thanks to Joe Cox and Zach Wagoner who work for the Canyon County Assessor and Auditor/Recorder respectively for their help and explaining "the cap" to me.)

Jeremy Feucht Announcement for Seat 6 Caldwell City Council

We received this announcement from Jeremy Feucht today,  He is running for the seat vacated by Bob Sobba.  Again, THE GUARDIAN will be happy to post candidate info but will not endorse any candidate over another on this blog.

ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 8TH.  You can vote early at the County elections office once the ballots are printed, sometime after the 23rd of September clear up to  November 5th.

Hello to all. I would like to let the community of Caldwell know, that I would like nothing more than to represent you as a member of Caldwell City Council, seat 6. I will be running against David Clark.

I have been in Caldwell now for seven years. I first came to Caldwell, in the Fall of 2004 as a Freshman at the then Albertson College of Idaho. I would end up graduating from their in the spring of 2008. I fell in love with a lifelong Caldwell resident to whom I am now engaged. During this time, I have seen the cities east of Caldwell boom in population while Caldwell's has stayed relatively low. While the lack of population is appealing, the progress the city has made in certain areas, has left me wanting.

There are definitely certain problems the city needs to tackle. First, why are we deficit spending? We have the tax base, and if a person reads the Urban Renewal legislation from the State of Idaho as well as the ordinance that was passed by the City of Caldwell, it can be spent on about anything unfortunately. Second, why are our police and fire departments paid so much less than their counter parts in Nampa and Meridian? I realize that these towns are bigger, but ultimately we have lost members of the police force especially to other areas. Third, why do we not yet have a texting while driving ordinance? This is something we need to follow other cities in the treasure valley on. There are other issues we definitely need to be concerned about, but these are the three I wanted to mention at this time.

I am 25 years old and there will be questions about my age and length of time within the city, of that I am certain. Just know, that I have the energy and the passion to get things done to continue to move the community of Caldwell in the right direction. I have a Facebook page that I hope you all will visit: Jeremy Feucht for Caldwell City Council. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to send me a message of email me and I will respond back as soon as I possibly can.

A special thank you to "Caldwell Guardian," for keeping us up to date on the issues that surround our community, and a thank you to all for your time and support.

Jeremy Feucht

Sunday, September 11, 2011

David Clark Running for Caldwell City Council

David Clark sent in the below information on his bid for Caldwell City Council.

Hello everyone. I wanted to personally send out this email to let you know I am running for Caldwell City Council, seat 6. Councilman Bob Sobba has decided not to run this time around. I wanted to thank him for his 40 years of service to Caldwell. During a recent lunch meeting with Councilman Sobba, he said he has been blessed to have been able to serve and he is looking forward to more outdoor activities in the future! I also wanted to thank Arlene Yamamoto for agreeing to act as my Treasurer and Lety Juarez-Sisson as my public relations manager.

I have been living in Caldwell for a long time and I love it here. I chose to raise my family here and I hope that opportunities will be created so my kids may raise their kids here as well. One of the issues heavy on my mind is the proper role of government. I believe government should create the environment so business owners can come in and set up shop. Currently, it is quite difficult for businesses to come here due to unnecessary restrictions, antiquated rules, regulations and red tape. In addition, the City should not be choosing between who wins and who loses, i.e, subsidizing businesses. 

I have already been asked by friends why I would be the best choice for this office. I answer them by saying I have operated many successful businesses. I have also failed a few times and that has given me valuable experience. I also say I have fifteen years of marketing and advertising experience. This experience will be helpful promoting the city and attracting new business ventures via the Internet and other media sources. Lastly, I am from Caldwell. I graduated from Caldwell High School, I worked here and I have raised my family here. I am a Ambassador in the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on the Planning and Zoning Commission. I have plenty of community equity. Plainly, I love this town.

I also wanted to ask you to go my facebook page ( and check out my platform to create positive changes in Caldwell. If you like what you see, please pass it on.

I hope that you would feel free to call me or send me an email with any questions you may have. I want to be sure I am representing the Citizens of Caldwell properly. Your opinion is important and necessary. 

Thanks and I will see you at the Indian Creek Festival! (look for our cardboard kayak). 

Rem Fox Running for Caldwell City Council

 THE GUARDIAN received this post from Candidate for Caldwell City Council, Rem Fox Sunday afternoon.  Mr. Fox has taken a personal interest in the City of Caldwell and was a Co-Author of the Master Framework Plan done for Downtown Caldwell along with other projects he has generously put his personal time and efforts into as a Caldwell resident.

Intro: Helping Our Community Grow and Prosper

If you take a drive throughout the Boise Valley and compare notes on progress and business development for the last 10 years you can see a huge difference between Caldwell and the surrounding cities.  Nampa, Meridian, and Boise continue to expand even in tough economic times over and above Caldwell. 

Caldwell’s elected leadership have not cultivated the private investors through public/private partnerships that launch solid growth plans for businesses and jobs as a priority for our community in over a decade.  Without the right focus our home values and township values have deteriorated far below our peer cities.  With the nation’s debt and our dependence on major jobs outside our community we are in a vulnerable position that must be remedied through significant work efforts.

Caldwell has a rich history and needs new leadership skills that can guide and enable changes for positive investments that create jobs and balance the wages to our side of the Boise Valley.

The efforts required are akin to the 1940’s by building from within and focusing on our assets that we have today.  We can no longer rely on taxation tools as a way to build a city and a community.  We need new leadership with the skills required for the times we face.  We cannot afford to be left behind.


     For the last 23 years I have been a business and technology executive for several major corporations and small business start up companies.  I have worked in four completely different industries gaining incredible knowledge and applicable skills that I have diversely applied to various roles and contributions along the way.

     I have personally invested most of my working career in Idaho with my 3rd start up company located in Meridian, Idaho in the Health Care industry.  As a local Caldwell resident I have donated my time the last two years to the City of Caldwell.  I served as Chairman of the Master Framework Committee, Business & Economic Incentive Program for Urban Renewal, and Operational Management Consultant for development services Red Carpet Program.  I serve on the Business Retention & Recruitment Committee for Caldwell Economic Development, the County IRB Committee and donate time to various projects supporting education and business improvement programs.

     I am the Economic Development Director of Sage Community Resources consulting for new strategy and program development projects and the Area Agency on Aging for senior services and programs. 

      As a seasoned business executive in private industry, my exposure to Idaho Government has been quite a learning experience.  Since my involvement I have brought much needed business, financial, and analytical skills to the decisions being made with public dollars.  Public money needs to be managed with great respect and strong equitable outcomes for taxpayers.  Using my business experience to focus on Public / Private partnerships, job creation, growth, technology innovation, education, and building a road map for the future of Caldwell; these are my top priorities.

     I am a very driven and optimistic individual that removes barriers for success.  My level of engagement to this community will be a top priority if elected.  Together I believe we can ensure Caldwell a path to great success.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Washington State Will Eliminate Vehicle Emission Testing by 2020

THE GUARDIAN noted at the bottom of page 12 in the September 12th edition of TIME MAGAZINE there was a cute little green car.  Curiosity drew my eyes to the short piece on ENVIRONMENT in the Briefing section. Here is what was printed:

"One state is saying goodbye to long lines, incomprehensible readouts and $15 fees.  Washington State's ecology department has announced that thanks to improved air quality and more efficient engines, it will phase out vehicle emissions testing by 2020.  The 30-year old antipollution programs, matched in many states, requires a trip to a testing center once every two years, or annually for vehicles more than five years old, in one of the nation's greenest states."

Meanwhile, in the Great State of Idaho we continue to badger, threaten and rain down all manner of punishment on people who fail to take their vehicles in for testing so the Idaho DEQ can cash in on a potion of the fees collected at testing sites all over Treasure Valley.  What is really confounding about the forced testing on vehicle owners is the data trends are we are nowhere near going out of compliance with air quality standards set by the EPA.

Old sludge box engines are going to the scrap heap in ever increasing numbers and new cars are engineered to squeeze every mile they can out of a gallon of gas and continue to be cleaner and greener with each passing year.  We think it time for our Idaho Legislature to enact a legislative end to vehicle emissions this next legislative session.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Erik Makrush Announcement for Caldwell City Council

THE GUARDIAN received this announcement from Erik Makrush today.  He has filed and is running against Shannon Ozuna who was appointed to the Caldwell City Council when former City
Councilman Rob Oates took over as Caldwell Airport Manager. 

Dear neighbor and patriot,

I am pleased to announce that I am running for Caldwell City Council this November.  Like many cities around the state, Caldwell faces many challenges and is in need of new leadership to take us into the next decade.

Upon election to city council, I will fight for:
  • ·         LOWER property taxes
  • ·         Solutions that actually work to create a viable, business friendly environment
  • ·         Elimination of non-essential services and pork spending
  • ·         Complete transparency and engaging citizens to find better ways for city government to operate
  • ·         Adopt a “pay-as-you-go” philosophy and pay off outstanding bonds

As a policy analyst, I have worked on issues of urban renewal reform, transparency in state and local government, reform in transportation funding, higher education, reform in building codes to allow for more local control, and exposing waste in state and local spending.

I am asking you for your support.  In order to make the needed changes and to lead the way as an example for the rest of the state, my team and I are asking you to tell 5 people about my effort to give a new, strong conservative voice to the Caldwell city council.  Together we can stop wasteful spending and bring real government reform.  It’s up to us here in Caldwell to set an example for the rest of the state to follow!
Thank you for support. 
Erik C. Makrush
Candidate for Caldwell City Council Seat 4

Monday, September 5, 2011

Commishes Meet Tuesday Sept. 6th To Raise 911 Fees by 80%

THE GUARDIAN could not help but notice the agenda item on the Canyon County Commissioner's Agenda for Tuesday 9/6/2011 to discuss raising the E 911 fees by $1/month per phone line and cell phone.  You can look forward to this fee accounting for $2.25 of your phone bill each month if approved by our Commishes.

All of this sounds innocuous on the surface but when you figure the E911 fees have been going on for years and years and can only be used for equipment purchases.  When do the endless upgrades in equipment stop? Millions and millions have been collected and spent on E 911 equipment upgrades.

We all want to be safe and have a working system but where is the accountability for all the changes made to these systems at taxpayer expense.  THE GUARDIAN would like to know the justification of this latest round of E 911 tax increases on all of our phone lines.   The upgrades and money spent on new and improved 911 dispatch systems has been a never ending exercise and it is time for some feedback to taxpayers on why we are all facing a 80% increase in this tax from those who are spending all this cash on 911 systems to what advantage to taxpayers.

The following is from WIKIPEDIA ON E-911:
Fees vary widely by locality. They may range from around $.25 per month to $3.00 per month, per line.[25] The average wireless 9-1-1 fee in the United States, based on the fees for each state as published by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), is around $.72. Since monthly fees do not vary based on the customer's usage of the network, the fees are considered, in tax terms, as highly "regressive", i.e., the fees disproportionately burden low-volume users of the public switched network (PSN) as compared with high-volume users. Some states cap the number of lines subject to the fee for large multi-line businesses, thereby shifting more of the fee burden to low-volume single-line residential customers or wireless customers."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

City Council Candidates Welcome to Post Statement on Guardian Blog

This year THE GUARDIAN is opening up the blog for candidates to post their statements should they choose to do so.  No endorsements will be made on this blog but we would like to offer candidates an opportunity to reach potential voters this year for local city council races.  You can send your press releases to me at my email address and I will be happy to post them as a service to those running for office.

The part that is bothersome to THE GUARDIAN is low voter turnout in Caldwell.  There will probably be less than 2,000 votes in this election.  I will add candidate info to this post as they come in.  We can't have too much info about candidates and free space is even better.

The cutoff date for filing for office is September 9th, 20011 with the City Clerk in your city.  Here's a HERE'S LINK TO GET A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM  Voting is something taken for granted in this country and sadly a majority won't bother to exercise this right to weigh in on how our local governments are doing.  You can also vote early.  Generally, you have until the Friday before election day which should fall on the 8th of November this year.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bujak Legal Costs to County $101K And No Bid Contract for Jail Food Service

THE GUARDIAN filed a public records requests last week in two areas of interest.  First was the cost of legal fees for the Bujak case and the second was regarding a NO BID contract issued to a food service company for preparation of jail and juvenile  meals served in the jail and juvenile detention facility.

The costs for Mr. Bujak's legal fees to date with the county come to just under $101,000.00! One invoice listed $17,488.00 and the second invoice came in at $83,280.00.  It may turn out the Canyon County Commishes will end up losing the Tort case filed by Mr. Bujak come January of 2012 and there will be a lot more zeros added to they cost of this messy business with Mr. Bujak.  Let's hope some kind of settlement is reached before the case goes to trial.  Right now Bujak has not been charged with a crime nor has his license to practice law in Idaho been suspended.  Under Idaho Law the County Prosecutor is one of the few elected officials who can make a profit while serving as a public official.

The second issue we did some research into was the NO BID Food Service Contract.  No RFQ/RFP

was used to determine who was best suited to fill the needs of the jail and juvenile detention meals and commissary program for inmates.  We can all appreciate the efforts to lower to costs of keeping people in our jail and juvenile detention facilities but the use of a NO BID approach was determined to be legal by the County Prosecutors legal staff.

ABL Management Services will provide meals to the adult detention inmates at a rate of $3.3714 to $3.9879 per day based on inmate populations.  The lower the numbers of inmates the higher to cost of meals per day (fixed costs etc here enter into play).  The juvenile detention meals are a flat $4.50/day for each juvenile held in the South West Idaho Juvenile Detention Facility.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Medicare Premium Costs Rise Higher and Faster In 2011

Living costs for seniors 65 and older are rising faster than younger households because seniors use more medical care and health care.  Medical costs are growing much faster than prices for most other goods and services.

According to a fact sheet released by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), households headed by seniors 65 or older spend two to three times as much of their budgets on medical care as younger households and disabled individuals spend even more. NASI also says that health care costs have grown faster than prices for other goods; and services over the past thirty years. Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B have grown ―fifteen-fold‖ since 1976 — from $7.20/month to $115.40/month  in 2011.

What you can do: Members of Congress are more likely to re-think voting for legislation when they see a large number of seniors adamantly opposed to cutting COLAs. Write to or call your Member of Congress and ask what plans he or she supports to maintain COLA adjustments in their present form. The more input they get from their senior and Veteran constituents the less likely they are to support the proposed changes. For quick Congressional email or telephone contact data refer to congress.html.