The Seeds of Economic Failure
By Bonnie McGuire
ome might call it unfortunate, but being a witness to American businesses dealing with an unfriendly government has been an eye opener. Those who have watched what's been going on, and have experienced it first hand know. Why would government kill the Golden Goose that keeps it economically solvent? For that answer you have to start at the top...where the gods decide who gets what grant money...if they comply. To the State, County and City governments this bait is manna from heaven. They know that the Golden Goose in the private sector keeps on working to survive, so property, sales taxes and fees will keep rolling in. Guaranteed revenue.
We were in the trucking business for around forty years and finally gave it up because we got tired of fighting corrupt officials who didn't live up to their oath. They can ruin you financially if you let them. Those who don't correct a wrong are enabling corruption to grow. You'll hardly ever hear about it unless the media sheds light on it. Fed up with what was going on with trucking, we decided to go into specialized lumber milling. Our son commented, "Dad's pushing 70, so he retires from driving truck and goes in for manual labor." Less income, but the work was wonderfully peaceful and creative. But it's still causes pain to see others suffering from official harassment.
We witnessed a local businessman jump through hoops because he wanted to expand and improve his local business. It was repulsive how some Grass Valley government officials treated him...and others during the planning process. What plan? He did everything they demanded. The local newspaper even asked if the city had a plan because of the expensive delays. They said they did. But their plan proved to be illegal. The businessman felt it necessary to bring an attorney to the meetings. After witnessing what was going on, he declared that if they wanted to take part of the businessman's land for a trail in order to get their approval, they would have to pay for it...citing a similar Supreme Court case in Oregon (that awarded the property owner $ 2 million for what the city put her through). Other businesses didn't want the liability of the trail either. The city was seeking grant money for the trail. They'd already spent $ 50,000 for a study that would be a drop in the bucket compared to the cost for its completion. At taxpayer expense.
When the lawyer dropped the bomb that the city would have to pay for the property if they wanted it, one of the city council members stated that "He caught us with our pants down!" Hardly. The city has an expensive lawyer on staff to advise them, but like a former city lawyer told me many years before, it makes things appear legal, but they don't listen...and some day they'll be sued.
This has been going on for years, and the only people who know are those who went through the experience. Don't think all government officials are bad. There are dedicated people who are beat down and worn out by those who serve special interests. The end result of getting grant money from higher government sources results in over regulation, fees and taxation on those who provide the steady flow of revenue and employment for the community. The result is bankruptcy, businesses leaving the state, and country seeking a business friendly government. It's an old story of survival.
During the battle with the city (and Wolf Creek Trail lobby), it was interesting to participate in the local newspaper's Blog. One man who called himself Baha commented that the businessman would probably suffer from bad Karma. Why? For not allowing thieves to steal property he's still paying for, and paying property taxes on? Obviously Baha didn't understand Karma, so I reminded him that it's not nice to wish bad things on good people. (When I mentioned that DeMartini RV Sales brought the State around $400,000 per month sales tax and Grass Valley 10 percent of that, or $50,000 per month, Baha said it was BS). Prophetically, it wasn't many months later that our nation, state, county and cities went into an economic recession. The city of Grass Valley was going to have to tighten its belt and change its ways. Little did anyone realize that this was just the beginning of what goes around comes around...
On June 1, 2012 the Union newspaper ran a story about the former Weaver Truck and Auto Center (that went broke) was finally purchased, but no one knows what will happen. The city Planning Director says it would be nice to see something happen there. According to the newspaper..."Before the recession hit, sales tax made up about 40 percent of Grass Valley's total income (after subtracting the portion it paid to Nevada County in recently annexed areas. Then, five new vehicle dealerships fed the City's income stream and were among its most important contributors. Since 2005, two dealerships closed, one moved to northern Auburn, and one had its dealership status removed and has become a used vehicle dealership. The last one remaining is DeMartini RV Sales. Gross sales tax revenue to the city has dropped about $1 million since the 2006-07 fiscal year, the last full fiscal year Weaver Truck and Auto was in operation..."
Last year on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 our local Union newspaper headline read, "Grass Valley pays ‘ransom' to keep redevelopment agency intact" ..."Calling one element of California Gov. Jerry Brown's budget “extortion,” Grass Valley city leaders reluctantly agreed late Tuesday to pay $706,000 to keep their redevelopment agency. “This is a very painful item,” city Community Development Director Joe Heckel said during Tuesday's City Council meeting. “Some are calling it ransom. ... Basically, we're paying to play.” City Councilman Dan Miller called it “extortion money,” but he and other members voted 5-0, under protest, to approve the payment. The city also must pay $116,000 annually in future years to keep the agency that will fund a major chunk of the costs for the long-awaited interchange at Dorsey Drive and Highway 20/49. Construction on that project is expected to start next year, and the $5 million set aside to help fund it is “safe,” Heckel said. Meanwhile, the city is exploring avenues for appealing the amount to be paid, and also is supporting legal action against the state being brought by two associations. Grass Valley's bill was assessed by the state Controller based on the city's finances during fiscal year 2008-09, City Administrator Dan Holler said. Since then, the city has taken on debt — $5 million in bonds issued through the city RDA for the Dorsey Drive interchange. The state “can't impair the repayment of those bonds,” giving the city grounds for appeal, Holler said. He estimated the city should be able to cut its share by about $100,000, he added. Cities are being allowed to keep their agencies, but only if they pay a fee to the state. The California Redevelopment Association and League of Cities have filed a lawsuit to block the state plan and have asked for a stay on the payments; the first payment is due in January, said City Attorney Ruthann Ziegler. In Grass Valley, millions of agency dollars have been used to improve neighborhoods, upgrade low-income housing and create public art; but agencies elsewhere have come under fire for illegal practices. All of them use a portion of property tax payments to fund their projects; $1.7 billion that formerly funded RDAs now will help solve the state's budget shortfall."
Everyone is in the process of finally realizing where the government gets revenue. Not from god, nor does it grow on trees. Government has no money. It gets it from the working people on the outside through taxation to pay all those employed in government, and then redistributes what's left to the outside. Government employees pay taxes with tax money collected from those outside government. But when government grows too large it ruins the productive base on the outside. That's why former President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned about the destructive power of Public Employee Unions when he told Luther C. Stewart (President of the National Federation of Federal Employees), "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable." Was he implying that the paralysis of Government by public servants who swore an oath to uphold it is a form of sedition?
During President Bill Clinton's (1993-2001) administration we watched Federal Government union workers go on strike during the Budget process, because they wanted their demands met. They got what they wanted plus back pay for the weeks they were on strike. Multiply this behavior throughout government and the private sector. It isn't hard to realize why the United States has economic-financial problems. It's painful to watch the political crucifixion of those representatives selected by the people to correct the problem. For many years we've listened to indoctrinated people call business achievers (employers) greedy rich people. We've watched them go on strike, shake their fists and threaten to destroy their employers business unless their demands were met. Next, having accomplished his threat, we saw one guy living in his car looking for a job and complaining that his labor union should have prevented his employer from leaving the state. Completely forgotten was his greedy desire to destroy his former job...What goes around comes around?
For many years I wrote letters and articles regarding the devastating war within that was being waged in America. Paid non-profit activists helping to create our huge labor union corporate government by destroying free enterprise and our productive middle class. Our government spending $ billions on endless wars all over the world, sacrificing thousands of our finest young men, and flooding America with refugees who only understand what they left behind. It appears that most of our elected officials forgot they're supposed to represent us. Many of us are guilty of an addictive way of life until some unpleasant experience gets our attention. We're all learning by experience. We know what is destroying us and it requires we do something, so don't hate the messengers who tell us we need to look at what made America great; a place where ordinary people could achieve their dreams...because of freedom. Thousands died to make the original laws that unified America. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Learn more about it, what inspired it... and insist that your elected representatives become informed and live up to their oath to uphold it. Perhaps if enough of us do this, America will once more rise to spiritual greatness and be a beacon of light in blessed harmony with the Law of the Prophets.