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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reader Board Flap Explained by Maurice Clements

The following is  a Guest Opinion by Maurice Clements that first appeared in the IPT today.

The recent message on Ralph Smeed's Reader Board in Caldwell has sparked responses from all over the nation.  The committee that manages the messages thought it appropriate to respond.

Let me begin with a point of clarification.  The reader board is the sole property of the Smeed Estate (co-executors Dan Symms and Maurice Clements).  It is not part of the Ralph Smeed Private Memorial Foundation.

The left side of the sign showed a picture of James Holmes, with the words :Kills 12 in movie theater."  Caption below his picture reads "everyone freaks out".

The right side of the sing shows a picture of President Obama, with the caption "Kills thousands with his foreign policy."  Below Obama's picture is the caption "wins Nobel Peace Prize".

The aim of the message was to point out that the nation was outraged by the massacre in Aurora, Colorado and rightly so.  And yet there seems to be no equivalent outrage for the thousands of American Soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and the countless innocent civilians who have perished as collateral damage of these wars.  Our nation has tuned out to the massacre in the Middle East and seems to have become numb to the carnage occurring there.

When President Obama promised to bring the troops home during his campaign of 2008, someone should have asked him in which decade he intended to make good on that promise.

Our Nation has been led into illegal wars for years by presidents.  We are told what the given reasons are but the real reasons are not clear.

Our Consitutition says only Congress can declare war.  Yet presidents including Harry Truman (Korea), John Kennedy (Vietnam and Bay of Pigs), Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam), Richard Nixon (Vietnam and Cambodia), Ronald Reagan (Lebanon and Grenada), George Bush (Panama, Iraq and Somalia), Bill Clinton Somalia, Kosovo and Hati), George W. Bush (Iraq and Afghanistan), and not Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner with the wars in Libya and Syria and the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan all have violated Article 1, section 8 of our Constitution.

We have become a nation with perpetual wars, a long list of dead and maimed American soldiers and millions of innocent civilians sacrificed as collateral damage.  And for what purpose?  Give me a break.

Our message on the reader board was designed to elevate the outrage for this worldwide slaughter. To that purpose, I think we have been somewhat successful.

I agree we migth have said it better. Hindsight is always 20/20.  To the extent our message to attention. I think it was a tremendous success.

We respect the loss and grief suffered by the families in Colorado.  Our intent was to encourage some critical thinking and create a discourse on how to put an end to the perpetual state of war  that our politicians, regardless of party, seem to perpetuate.

Maurice Clements, Nampa, Idaho

Monday, August 20, 2012

Idaho Center Another $300K In The Red

It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN today the Idaho Center is another $300,000 in the red.  The folks running will be asking the Nampa City Council to approve the money ASAP as checks have already been written for the money they are asking approval.

Nampa has already funded the Idaho Center to the tune of $1.2MM this year and with the addition of this additional request for $300K makes the new total $1.5MM in the hole to keep the doors open.  We have another two months plus before the end of the fiscal year before the books are closed.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Caldwell Drone Waste and Spend Redux

THE GUARDIAN did an earlier post regarding the waste and spend "drone" deal  costing taxpayers a mere $35,000 for a drone vehicle with a 500 gram payload.  Also in the deal was the cost to send four people to Canada for "training" on this new toy.  All this foolishness was done with "HOMELAND SECURITY MONEY" and no thought given to alternatives to this expensive toy.

Today, THE GUARDIAN read with interest an article in the Wall Street Journal about a whole series of remote control fliers with a costs as low as $45-$300!  It begs the question:  What were the local HOME LAND SECURITY wonks thinking when they shelled out all that money on their toy drone.

The AR. DRONE 2.0 costs a mere $300 and is equipped with an on board  high-def camera that will beam video back to a smart phone.  The footage can be saved and put into video format if necessary.  All of this just goes to show the most costly option is not always in the best interests of the taxpayers. 

But the real question here is why would local officials buy something with taxpayer money they would never buy out of their own pocket.  It would be intersting to note just how many times the "drone" has actually been put into service and for what reason.

Here's a link for more cheap drone info:
and here is a video of this cheap drone in action:

All of this nonsense is just one more example that it takes no particular talent to spend other people's money by governmental agencies.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Caldwell City v. Pioneer Irrigation

It was interesting to see the summation of the agreement/disagreement between the City of Caldwell and Pioneer Irrigation in the Sunday edition of the IPT.  One side claims years and years of past practice and the other is claiming trespass on their canal without any authority to do so.

The reality is what worked when Caldwell was a small rural farm community does not work when we are now at 46,000 people living in houses that were once farms.  Rather than put the burden on developers to pay for the expenses of growth and respect for a precious commodity, (the water we all take for granted), the city proclaimed it OK to put citified runoff into canals used to irrigate farmland and crops.

At first all of the bickering seemed like petty arguing about trivial issues.  The reality is much different.  Would you go and water your home garden with water taken from gutter run-off water and drainage from streets and other city hard surfaces?  Probably not as they contain all manner of contaminants from gasoline, oil and other crud along with all manner of toxic byproducts from city residents.

We all need to figure out how to be better stewards of the land and water resources we  have in this valley.  It all boils down to a food safety issue and keeping pollutants and toxins out of our food supply.  Dumping hardscape waste-water into irrigation canals just isn't a very good plan.

Too bad it took millions in ligtigation to arrive a this conclusion.  Caldwell taxpayers and Pioneer Water users got stuck with the bills for this lack of agreement and understanding of what was probably not the cheapest solution but the most responsible course of action.