Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Donor Fraud Deja Vu

Obama got some good news Friday, after his dismal debate performance:  the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate is down to 7.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since he took office.  Also, Gallup reported that his approval rating is at 54 percent.  The rating was a rolling average from Oct. 2 to 4, 2012, with the debate date right in the middle.  On Oct. 4, the Dow Jones climbed about 100 points the morning after the debate. 

But those 56 percent still love their guy, anyway.  Hey, any president is allowed to have a bad night – if he’s a Democrat.  Poor Obama.  He was probably suffering from jet lag.  He’ll get Romney next time.  The next debate is town-hall style – Obama’s kind of debate in front of adoring shills.

The bad news is the Fed ended the fiscal year with a $1.1 trillion deficit and that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it means Obama broke his campaign promise of cutting the deficit in half.  Still, all that borrowed money got people working.  It’s the Wimpy Way.  That’s J. Wellington Wimpy, if you please.  “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

But the Washington Examiner reporter a scandal may be brewing over donations coming into the Obama-Biden campaign fund via foreign entities, many using untraceable prepaid credit cards, a clear violation of federal election laws.

According to the Examiner, “a taxpayer watchdog group conducted a nine-month investigation into presidential and congressional fundraising and has uncovered thousands of cases of credit card solicitations and donations to Obama and Capitol Hill, allegedly from unsecure accounts, and many from overseas.”

But wait a minute.  Didn’t the media, in fact the Washington Post, of all papers, report the same thing during the 2008 campaign?  Why, yes it did, the Examiner reminds us:

“Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged.  Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.”

Regarding this new election 2012 scandal, The Examiner reported that “the Obama campaign has been trying to block the story. But a key source said it plans to publish the story Friday or, more likely, Monday.”

Sean Hannity had Bob Woodward on his show last night to discuss the scandal and whether it affected Obama’s performance.  A friend wanted me to go to Mom’s house last night to watch the show (since I don’t have cable).  But I was too tired to go, so I watched it on Fox News on Roku instead.  Of the entire six-minute exchange, they spent perhaps 30 seconds discussing the actual scandal.  The answer:  it may have distracted him.  Glad I didn't jump in my car to over to Mom's.

Maybe.  If he slithered out of it last night time, he’ll slither out of it again.  Of course, the last time, we didn’t have Republican House to push for an investigation.  If 56 percent of those polls didn’t think he did a bad job in the debate (how many of them even watched it?), when even Obama's own media cheerleaders were writhing in embarrassment, the sympathy vote will probably work for him if the scandal they say he’s suppressing erupts.

Clinton got away with a lot, too.  However, back in the 1990s, we didn’t have the Tea Parties.  We can’t put the pressure on until we have the facts.  It’s time for Drudge, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, the Blaze, Fox News, Breitbart, and the others to put the investigation into high gear.  We only have about 30 days.













Friday, October 05, 2012

From Russia, With Thanks

Post-Debate Trauma


The Democrats and the Liberal Media were in post-traumatic shock yesterday after the Presidential debate on Wednesday night.  All but David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, admitted that Obama blew it.  Van Jones:  “Romney Out-Obama’d Obama.”  Chris Matthews was simply beside himself with rage that Obama let Romney win.  As Michelle Malkin wryly noted, the tingle is definitely gone.


Really, you have to do better than simply repeat that your opponent is a liar.  The supposed “tax-break” for outsourcing jobs is mainly fiction.  The fact is that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world.  Companies will pick themselves up and go someplace else if the taxes – and the labor rate – are lower.  Another simple fact is that both China and India have larger populations and as result, lower labor costs.


Yesterday, Obama was back out on the campaign trail, hale and hearty once more, bouncing around like Rocky Balboa, proclaiming that he’ll come back stronger next time and maintaining that Romney is a liar.  His behavior is rather like that of a yippy little dog that backs away from the menace of a larger dog, but once the larger dog moves on, the little mutt springs forward again barking furiously to prove how he drove off the intruder.


Obama’s weak performance may have taken Romney by surprise; he certainly looked surprised – and pleased.  He mustn’t count on Obama to make that mistake a second time.  Stupid as it sounded, Al Gore may have been right about the altitude, not to mention the traveling it took to get to Denver from Las Vegas, and the late hour at which he arrived there, 2 p.m.  There may have been other factors involved as well, all of which were good for Romney.  The altitude may not have had anything to do with it, on the other hand; Romney may have simply sucked all the oxygen out of the room.


The next time they meet, the topic will be foreign policy.  To a Conservative mind, it’s a clear disaster for Obama, with our Libyan ambassador assassinated and the region in even more upheaval than it was.  There’s also the problem of whether he has made a deal with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi for the release of the Blind Sheikh.  The killing of Bin Laden is a plus in Obama’s column; the Arab “Spring”, not so much.  Let’s hope that Romney has the courage to tackle this issue head on, and what a danger a potential Muslim caliphate poses to the free world.


Romney is in favor of decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.  He also said he favored Green energy, probably in a nod to Independent voters.  Independent voters can be strangely ignorant about the environment, especially in regards to wind energy and even solar energy.  They want to be seen as popular and “open-minded” and accept the Green movement’s assertions without checking into the facts.  Wind energy is wildly expensive, notoriously inefficient, ineffective, unreliable, and dangerous.  There is no way to store the energy, predict the wind and weather, or maintain the giant behemoth wind turbines.  Wind developers earn all their money upfront, with generous grants from the government.  Investment firms like Goldman Sachs made a fortune building the machines, leaving the communities with all the problems.  Because they’re so inefficient, it takes a great number of these machines, whose manufacture is subsidized by the government (think Solyndra), to create about 25 percent of the energy required by your average community.  Spain was on the verge of bankruptcy because of its “investment” in wind turbines.

Romney would do well to read up on the other side of wind energy before he endorses it as president.  There are problems with solar energy as well.  Solar panels do represent a 45 percent reduction in energy costs for your typical business (or home).  But they cause their own environmental impact problems including glare, fires, and theft.  If you’re worried about global warming, solar panels will contribute to it; they don’t just heat the inside of building but throw off heat as well.  In a state like Arizona, they might work marvelously well.  In a state like New Jersey, well, that’s why Big Brother, a facilities manager, reported a 45 percent reduction instead of 100 percent.

Romney has another advantage in the foreign policy:  Obama’s image as a leader.  The statistics on his bowing average must be stupendous.  Whether Romney will consider such a point beneath him to make is the question.  Another fact is the billions of dollars Obama has spent on foreign enemies.  Then there’s the issue of cutting military spending, until the United States is no better than a second-world country.  Obama is on record as having stated this as one of his goals.

Romney will be able to enter his next debate fairly confident, but he should be prepared for more mudslinging.  Obama will still be on his high horse about the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries.  The answer is to cut the corporate tax rate.  It’s that simple, but something Obama will not do since he’s anti-capitalist and considers corporations “evil empires.”  Our double A credit rating is proof of his agenda and his success.

There are factions in those foreign countries who still look to America as the greatest country on the earth, providing the most opportunities for success.  They still love their native lands, like The Nephew’s girlfriend.  They want their countries to be more like America, at least the America of Ronald Reagan, and hopefully, Mitt Romney. 

I have readers all over the world.  A Russian reader sent me this comment (in regard to a post about Obamacare): 

Хорошая статья, искренне, мне очень понравилось,
 вы вообще постаянно радуете читателей своими постами.
 здесь с многим сложно не согласится.
 от всего сердца продолжайте в том же духе.

Translated, it says (more or less):

“Good article, sincerely, I really liked it,
you all are coming from readers of their posts.
here with many difficult not agree.
from the heart, continue in the same spirit.”

That’s the best advice we can give Mitt Romney:  continue in the same spirit.



Thursday, October 04, 2012

No Cheerleaders

 One of those telling moments that Obama was up against the ropes last night came in his closing statement, where he stumbled over the phrases “fair shot” and “fair share.”  Perhaps it was the altitude, as Al Gore suggests.  But being in Denver didn’t affect during the 2008 campaign when he appeared before 80,000 people and practically crowned himself with a laurel wreath.  Wait – maybe it did affect him, come to think of it. 

There appear to be three basic things that went wrong for Obama in last night’s debate.  We’ll get to his “fair shot” stumble in a moment.

1.       No Cheerleaders.   After the basic introductions, the audience was not allowed to respond to either candidate.  This didn’t seem to make any difference to Romney.  That’s because he’s not a narcissist.  Obama needs feedback.  He needs adoration.  He needs squealing bobby soxers fainting in front of him in the first row.  He needs hordes of SEIU baggage handlers to intimidate anyone who cheers for the other side.  He also needed someone to tell him whether he was on the right track or not.  Even in the Senate, at least he had backers among other Democrats.  The puppet-master’s hand was not up the puppet’s back.  No Grecian columns, no laurel leaves, no roses in his path.  No teleprompter.  Just him and Romney.   The cheerleaders are having a pity party today, wondering where they went wrong.

2.      Obama was outmatched.  Now, the Liberals would naturally dispute this.  But in 2008, the election was a cakewalk.  The morons in the GOP put up an old, white-haired crippled man against someone nearly half his age.  Romney should have been the GOP candidate in 2008 but the machine decided (for us) that the extremely Liberal McCain was our guy.  They had to be kidding.  So, of course, hordes of Republicans and Independents, especially the young, stayed home and Obama won.  Now we’re in a big mess financially and globally.  Who comes to the Republican rescue but a man eminently experienced at turning around failing companies and governing at the executive level?  Pundits note Obama didn’t throw the 47 percent at Romney.  That’s because the 47 percent are stuck like glue to Obama.  He’d like to shake us off (I’m one of them – I’m unemployed) but he and the Democrats created us.  I know exactly who’s responsible for my situation and it’s not my company or millionaires; it’s the New Jersey Democrats who drove my company to leave the state and a high corporate tax that makes the U.S. the highest taxer of companies in the world.  Obama’s not fooling the 47 percent.  He owns us. 

3.      He didn’t like what he was saying.  Our speechwriters always gave the speakers ample opportunity to supply input to their speech.  The speech has to sound like something the speaker would say.  The words have to be in their voice and language.  Sometimes the executives had too much input and would keep the videographers waiting for a couple of hours while they rewrote the speeches.  Well, that’s the life of a communications strategist, isn’t it, JD?  The puppet masters put words in the puppet’s mouth and he stumbled and choked on them.  “My faith and confidence in the American future is undiminished.”  Not exactly what he meant or wanted to say.  He added, “because a company in Minnesota…was willing to give up salaries and perks for their executives to make sure that they didn’t lay off workers during a recession.”  Or this:  “Four years ago…I…promised that I’d fight every single day on behalf of the American people, the middle class, and all those who were striving to get into the middle class.”

But here was the telling statement, and in the video, you can hear him stumbling:

“All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is – is channeled and – and they have an opportunity to succeed.  And everybody’s getting a fair shot.  And everybody’s getting a fair share – everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules.”

It sounded like he was supposed to say “everybody’s doing a fair share” but said, “everybody’s getting a fair share” instead and had to go back and correct himself.  “Everybody’s getting a fair shot:”  that’s what started his trouble.   Everybody already has a fair shot.  That’s not his doing; you’d have to go back about 50 years to find the Democrat responsible for that legislation – so what’s Obama’s beef?  Notice that the “everybody’s doing a fair share” phrase is grammatically incorrect.  A grammatical error from the former editor of the Harvard Law Review.  That should have been “everybody’s doing their fair share.”  A cliché, but acceptable.

What Obama really wanted to do was go back in time to 2008 and repeat his “transforming America” mantra.  But that won’t really work this time.  There’s plenty of evidence that his “transformation” is working – just the way the puppet masters want it to and the way he wants it to – only America is transforming the way Americans thought it would and they aren’t very happy about it.  What’s more, a segment of Americans organized themselves into the Tea Parties and began protesting his socialist, communist, redistribute the wealth policies.

They didn’t protest in the streets, like Occupy Wall Street, and burn cars and so forth.  They rallied in their own hometowns, places at least one of the organizers (ahem) knew Obama was targeting.  Indeed, at the same time the Tea Parties were organizing, so was Obama’s Building One America, a plan for cities to annex suburbs, something they’ve done in Virginia (one of the reasons Obama won there) and they’re in the process of doing in Ohio.  BOA’s organizers readily admit one of their goals is to upset the political landscape in the suburbs, by federalizing Section 8 vouchers and forcing suburban towns to accept these new “residents”.  In our suburbs here in New Jersey, the number of minorities, particularly Mexican has increased, typically from 4 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in the 2010 census.  Enough to change our political landscape, especially in Passaic County.

We can’t even trust our Republican representatives; Sen. Joe Kyrillos is in favor of this regionalization.

In any case, ironically in the aftermath of the debate debacle, Obama sent out a letter of apology to his supporters for flubbing the debate.  He owed them apology for acting like a sullen teenager who just lost the student council debate.  It may seem silly to talk about smiling, posture, articulation, all the basics to good public speaking.  Obama has never been a good speaker.  What he does well is smile (just like his late father), and in a good mood, he can mesmerize an audience.  Last night, he showed us the real Obama:  temperamental, egotistical, immature, and very, very angry. 

Apologizing:  it’s what Obama does best.  Romney’s job is to make Obama scowl in the upcoming debates.  The best way to do that is to get Obama to defend America.  He might say the words, but he won’t like it and he probably won’t be able to hide it.  No speaker pronouncing words he doesn’t believe ever succeeds in convincing his audience that he’s sincere, at least not when he has real competition.






Smile When You Say That

The biggest worry Mitt Romney’s strategists had about last night’s debate was that Romney would so how come across as “unfriendly” or remote.  There’s a simple solution to such a problem:  smile.

And did he ever.  Mitt Romney was every inch the presidential figure:  poised, confident, courteous, incredibly polite, and friendly.  If he didn’t smile every second, he smiled every second that it was appropriate to do so.  Obama, on the other hand, only smiled about three times.  Obama’s smile is admittedly flashier, but we didn’t see much of it.

Smiling is everything when you’re trying to win over an audience.  That’s what I used to tell the freshmen insurance agents I was photographing them for their first photos.  Smile.  Smile.  Smile!!  Don’t frown at the camera!  You don’t want to scare your future customers off.  I used to tell agents’ team members the same thing at town fair events, where the agent would set up a tent.  I’d push their prettiest team members out front and tell them to smile and not be afraid to greet the people.

But of course there’s more to a debate than appearance, although it’s about 90 percent of the factor.  As Glenn Beck pointed out, Romney addressed Obama directly more often than Obama addressed Romney.  Obama made numerous mistakes, beginning with the scowling and shaking of his head.  He also ran far over his time and completely defied the moderators warning that he was out of time.  Obama didn’t care; what he had to say was important!

I’ve seen Democrat candidates defy the time limits in other debates.  But they weren’t on national television and they weren’t the President of the United States.  When the President of the United States starts setting aside the rules, deciding that he’s above them, you’ve got a problem.  Romney, on the other hand, was very correct and proper.  When Lehrer told him he was out of time, he acknowledged the reality, accepted it, and stepped back from the microphone.

Romney would not play the fool, however.  He wouldn’t allow Obama to get away with telling a lie, such as his alleged proposal for cutting taxes on the wealthy.  Lehrer didn’t want to allow him to respond because it was out of turn, but Romney explained that he just couldn’t permit a lie to stand on the record.

He was also the epitome of organization.  Obama’s allegations to the contrary, Romney detailed his plan in precise order.  He told us exactly what he wanted to do, or enough of it for a two-minute segment of a presidential debate.

My personal favorite moment of the night was when Lehrer began debating Romney on Obama’s behalf, leaving Obama standing there as a spectator.  Such a scene illustrates the entire problem with Obama’s presidency – and Democrat strategy in general:  he allowed one of his cheerleaders to do battle for him.  A strong leader stands his own ground.

Obama declared himself the champion of the Middle Class, as did Romney.  But just what is Obama’s definition of the Middle Class?  The richest man in America is Bill Gates, at $66 billion.  The poverty level in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314.  That’s a big gap.  Where is the middle?  The middle point between those two would be someone making $33 million a year.

However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income (that’s accounting for all incomes) is about $50,000 – and it’s been falling since Obama took office.   A media HHI would account for incomes in the inner ring suburbs.  The median HHI in Bloomingdale is higher - $83,956; Butler, $79,197, Pompton Lakes, $88,352.  If you told residents of these towns that, by Obama’s class warfare standards, they were “rich” as in Bill Gates rich, they’d laugh at you.  There are wealthier towns yet, such as Oakland ($111,390) and Ringwood ($109,139), to say nothing of the ultra-wealthy towns farther east in Bergen County.

Who does Obama think he’s kidding?  The fact is, he hates the suburbs.  He’s declared war on the suburbs through Building One America and its satellite organizations.  His minions have been traveling up and down the state, including David Rusk himself, convincing towns that it’s in their best interests to merge.  He’s been advocating regional utility authorities that would certainly save towns money but would give a bureaucratic government body the right to dictate where you can live.  There’s another catch to the regional sewer pipe dream:  affordable housing. 

In order to refurbish or build new sewers for a new development, at least ten percent of a district’s (no more small towns) housing would have to be devoted to low-income families.  They will be provided with federal Section 8 vouchers, giving them the right to live anywhere.  Such a move would have a devastating effect on political demographics, essentially turning America into a one-party country (well, George Washington didn’t believe in parties anyway) and giving the poor the right to vote themselves money out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

So much for Obama’s credibility with the Middle Class.  Our economy is in shambles, premeditated shambles, as Romney had the courage to point out, and he’s the Turnaround Guy to get the job done and put us on a straight fiscal path.  Romney is the right guy at the right time for America, and he proved it in last night’s debate.

Romney cleaned Obama’s clock on domestic policy, which one would have thought would be Obama’s strong suit.  The debate on foreign policy should be extremely interesting (Romney tossed in a little dig about Libya last night just for good measure – did you see Obama’s face?).  The next debate is between the Vice Presidential candidates.  It should be a howler.

Just the other day, Biden was thundering on about all the people on government assistance and how something had to be done about it.  That’s okay, Joe; you’ve done enough.  With any luck, he’ll bring his own shovel to the Vice Presidential debate.

Excellent job, Mr. Romney!  Keep up the good work!


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Debating a Carnival Barker

How do you debate a liar?  How do you debate a carnival barker who’s peddling Obamacare Health Tonic?  The obvious answer will be to tell the truth and expose the lies.  Let us hope that Mitt Romney is up to the task.

The first of three presidential debates between Republican candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent president Barack Obama will take place at the University of Denver in Denver, Colo.  The debates are being sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.  Jim Lehrer, hos of NewsHour on PBS, will serve as moderator.

Tonight’s topic is domestic policy.  Obama will be on his stump, confidently displaying a bottle of Obamacare Health Tonic, with his face on it, as a sign of successful government.  Perhaps he’ll cite stories of people who have already been “cured” by government health.  His previous, pre-debate attack on Romney and the woman who died from cancer because she lost her health care didn’t hold water, much less Obama’s assertions. 

Romney had already left Bain Capital by the time her husband’s company closed.  She went on her own company’s health care plan, then dropped it, was uninsured for awhile, then found another insurance, and then seven years later, she died of cancer.

This myth has been dispelled.  Romney shouldn’t have to waste precious moments defending himself on that score, but rather pointing out the more damning facts of the ruinous effect Obamacare will have on our freedom and country.

Obama will point to an “improving” economy – that at least it isn’t as bad as it was.  The economy is part of domestic policy.  But since fiscal Conservatives promote a laissez faire position towards business and free trade, will the moderator favor Obama, since he proposes “policies” – i.e., government regulations – and Romney, as the GOP candidate, favors limited government involvement in business?

The evidence is so overwhelming that government regulations and involvement is an economic disaster, Romney would have to be a pretty poor shot to miss Obama’s mishandling of our economy.  In regards to domestic policy, Obama is a disaster.  Or he would be, if running the country instead of ruining it was his goal.  Pundits give him the benefit of the doubt.  Accusing him of wanting to transform the country and redistribute the wealth is a pretty serious charge, bordering on treason.  And after all, he did give the order to kill Bin Laden, which makes him a hero in his own mind.

Yet, redistributing the wealth and transforming the country were his personally-stated goals during the 2008 campaign.  In that regard, he’s been a tremendous success.  He’s kept his promise.  His own autobiography speaks to his embrace of socialism and even communism.  His mentors were communist.  He chose communist associates and professors in college.  Apparently, he was a star student in such topics as collectivism and deconstructing the U.S. Constitution, with its bothersome, selfish freedoms.

Meanwhile, he’ll paint his opponent, Romney, as one of the disconnected One Percent (extremely wealthy).  Obama will opine that he is carnival barker for the common man.  Obama, who never set foot on the mainland of the United States until he was an adult.  Obama, whose Bohemian mother took him off to Indonesia until she found her second husband had gone over to the “Dark Side” of Capitalism.  She sent him back to Hawaii to live with her parents.  His grandfather was a Communist (like his daughter, an avowed atheist) and introduced young Obama to his hard-drinking poker pal and card-carrying Communist Frank Marshall Davis.

Obama lived the privileged life in Hawaii.  His grandmother was a bank vice president and sent him to Hawaii’s exclusive Punaho School.  In his autobiography, Obama sneers at the wealthier students who invite him over to swim in their pool.  He misinterprets their suburban lives as cold and distant, though his own childhood is hardly the model of a great childhood.

He idolizes his absent father in faraway Kenya.  He meets him once when he’s 10 and is mesmerized by Senior’s storytelling abilities.  Obama only learns the truth about his father after the man is dead, having struck a tree while driving drunk.  Obama vows to take up his father’s anti-colonialist, collectivist cause and becomes a “community organizer.”  That is, to say, a political organizer for socialist and communist causes of collectivism, transferring the wealth from the hard-working suburbs to the inner cities, and even to poorer nations.

His community organizing activities get him elected to the Illinois Senate, then the U.S. Senate and finally the presidency, with the generous support of billionaire George Soros.  As president, Obama surrounds himself with Soros minions – Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones, David Axelrod, and others.  He creates an entirely separate cabinet of bureaucratic czars and goes about the business of instituting Stimulus’ packages, putting companies on corporate welfare, and thrusting upon an unwilling public the Affordable Health Care Act.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney follows in his father’s footsteps and becomes governor of a state – Massachusetts.  He also starts a successful business whose stock-in-trade is healing troubled companies and guiding those companies who can’t make it towards an organized end, where they pay off as much of their debt as possible before closing their doors.

Mitt Romney grew up in the heart of America, not on its fringes.  He and his wife Ann raised five sons here.  Our country is in financial trouble.  Some accuse Obama of being a Muslim, although it’s more likely he’s an atheist, like his mother.  Romney is a Mormon, a religion some people, especially Catholics, take issue with.  But Romney will defend the religious freedom of Catholics, where Obama will not.  Romney believes in God, at least; Obama believes he is God, or that the government is God.

Who do we want for president?  A lying carnival barker who hates white suburbia (you’d have no doubt if you read his first bio, “Dreams From My Father”), believes in redistributing your wealth, and dismantling the Constitution?  Or a solid American with a credible political background and knowledge of free trade and economics?

In his wake, Obama has brought along with him the Bearded Lady, the Fire-Eater, and the Dog-Faced Boy.  Let us put an end to this freak show administration and put a real leader who loves freedom in the White House.

This will be an interesting first debate, by the way, given the release of the 2007 video of Obama speaking at Hampton University, a black university in Virginia, where Obama, using a Southern accent, invokes racism.  He claims that Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans were treated differently than 9/11 victims in New York and Hurricane Andrew victims in southern Florida, implying that the federal government’s slow response was somehow related to the fact that New Orleans is largely black and poverty stricken.   Obama also praised Rev. Jeremiah Wright heavily, calling him a “friendand a “mentor.”

Obama is a slick man of many accents and a menu of political stances tailored for different audiences.  His 2004 Democrat Convention keynote speech was an example of his outreach to white, independent voters, assuring them that he was filled with all-American virtues.  In 2007, he put on a different accent and gave a different speech for his mainly black audience at Hampton.

He’s probably practicing his suave, politician act for tonight’s debate.  He hasn’t used it in a while, so it needs some polishing.  Otherwise, he’d look foolish in comparison to the more sophisticated, urbane Romney.

You can take the actor out of the carnival barker but you can’t take the carnival barker out of the actor.  A familiar figure we haven’t seen since the 2008 campaign is going to show up tonight.  But don’t be fooled.  He’ll slip away again just as quickly, leaving you with an empty bottle of Obamacare Health Tonic.



Tuesday, October 02, 2012

PILOT for Dummies

I had a lot of nerve getting up in front of the mayor and town council of a town I no longer live in and ask them a lot of questions about taxes on a proposed development that were actually for my mother’s benefit (who’s still a resident).  True, I’m a former resident, but I was still concerned.  Big Brother was supposed to be at the meeting to deal with the hard questions, but he let me down.
What IS the deal with AvalonBay (besides its ridiculous name)?  What’s it all about?
Fortunately, someone came up with straight answers, the real numbers - and the other side of the story - regarding the Union Avenue development.

The Mayor, with the support of the Democrats on the council, has proposed that Bloomingdale participate in a program that would allow the Developer of Avalon Bay to avoid paying all of the School, and part of the County taxes, thus saving at least 18% on their tax bill for the next 30 years. Plus the program guarantees that the developer’s taxes will rise by no more than 2% per year during that 30 year period no matter how high taxes rise.

The Developer will build 174 units of mixed 1, 2 and 3-bedroom rental apartments. It costs the Board of Education about $14,000  per year per student.  If 1 in 10 of these units has a child, school enrolment will increase 2.8 percent at a cost of about $243,000. If it’s 1 in 3, school enrolment will increase 9.3 percent at a cost of about $812,000 (These cost estimates are based on data provided by the New Jersey Department of Education Comparative Spending Guide and a per pupil cost of approximately $14,000; another source puts the Cost Per Pupil at $17,951.)

Bloomingdale’s school budget is capped at a 2 percent increase per year. The probable effect of such a large, unfunded increase will be larger classes and fewer teachers. It’s a lose, lose and then lose some more proposal. When class size increases, teachers are cut and then class size increases some more. The only recourse the School Board has in the case of such a shortfall is either to cut or to ask for a tax increase by way of voter referendum or, quite possibly, to do both. Mayor Dunleavy has probably given the school board assurances that if they need extra money that the borough would give it to them, but 30 years is a very long time and even if he is sincere, governments find ways to spend every cent they get on themselves.  The more cynical view is that the Mayor wants to create more income for the municipal budget so that short term taxes can be held down below the permitted cap amount.  The mayor would look like a hero and the county and school board budgets make his look even better.

Bloomingdale’s Schools and Passaic County deserve their fair share of taxes from developers. In the last few years there have been enough huge government giveaways to banks, insurance companies and private business.

There is also the issue of the open space fund, which is currently being used to pay some DPW salaries and will shortly double in the amount collected because of the recent revaluation (from 90K to 180K per annum).  Mayor Dunleavy wants the increase; Republicans want it kept at 90k.

Q & A about the Democrats “Pilot Project”

Q: What is this Pilot Project?
A: This is supposed to be an aid to help distressed cities entice developers to redevelop in slum and other undesirable areas. Its application to Bloomingdale is based on the false premise that Bloomingdale is a blighted area where developers have to be given huge tax breaks to build. The truth is that the developer went to court and forced Bloomingdale to let them build. This project was well on its way to being built before this gimmick was proposed. This kind of tax break was never supposed to be applied to a viable project in a suburban town like Bloomingdale.

Q: Is this a good deal for the Taxpayers?
A: No. The Developer will not be paying their fair share of taxes. If any homeowner in Bloomingdale was given the opportunity to pay a lump sum once a year to the Borough at a savings of 18% they would jump at it. To put that in perspective, if a home owner pays $10,000.00 a year in taxes they would save about $1,800.00 a year in taxes and the amount would increase as taxes rose for the next 30 years. That’s a minimum of $54,000.00 that the homeowner would save over those 30 years, before factoring in tax increases or applying interest payments. A more realistic estimate, based on the last 30 years of tax increases, is the home owner would save up to $150,000.00. Nice deal but the homeowner can’t get it.

Q: How much in lost taxes will the taxpayers have to make up?
A: You can’t tell exactly because you don’t know how much taxes will rise during the next 30 years, but in the unlikely case that taxes didn’t rise and if you don’t consider interest on the amount saved it’s about 4 million dollars. Obviously the real amount will be will be much more and could really skyrocket if the tax rate rises. A ballpark estimate would be anything up to 10 million.

Q: Why do the Mayor  & Democrat council members like this deal so much?
A: Because they get to control all but 5 percent of the reduced payment, creating a large slush fund for them to dole out as they see fit. If the tax bill was paid normally the Municipality would get about 21 percent of the taxes collected, but under this arrangement that jumps to about 77 percent. Of course the School Board would get none of the 55 percent or so of the taxes that would be paid and the county would get only 5 percent of the amount they are entitled to. The Mayor’s municipal budget would receive a boost and the School Board, County and taxpayers would get shafted.  Any way you cut it, if the developers are allowed to avoid paying their fair share of taxes the rest of the taxpayers have to make up the difference.
Q: What effect could this have on our schools?
 A: It would be very detrimental.  Enrollment would increase without any secure source of funding and this would continue for 30 years.

Q: Isn’t the taxpayer protected to some extent by the 2 percent cap on spending?
A: Right now there is a 2 percent cap, which means that with certain exceptions, budgets can only increase 2 percent from year to year, but this can be changed or eliminated by the State Legislature at any time and almost certainly will over the next 30 years.  Under the program the Developers are guaranteed that their already lowered taxes will not rise more than 2 percent per year for 30 years no matter what happens.
That’s the bottom line on the PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) program for AvalonBay.














Monday, October 01, 2012

PILOT Is Ejected

 Just when you think everyone is on board, that the deal is done, and that you can relax, your town council rethinks an affordable housing complex program in which the developer will pay minimum, if any taxes, in return for doing its own garbage and snow removal.

Even the Bloomingdale Board of Education was on board for Avalon Bay.  The EPA was okay with it, even though its swampy marshland, just like much of the rest of the land on the northern side of Union Avenue.  No worries about bloomingdalus frogus here.  Or the ghosts of the Pompton Mutiny.  In a rather unusual move, the town declared it a “blighted area” ripe for redevelopment zoning, even though nothing has lived there since the last Ice Age.

When last we heard, Councilwoman Linda Shortman said she wanted to do more research on this project before giving it the thumbs up, even though the developer has been blasting away at the area now for weeks and upsetting the poor old people in the nursing facility next door.

This change of events made Major Jonathan Dunleavy very cranky.  He demanded that Councilwoman Shortman and Councilman Conklin to explain their changes in vote, they had no explanation, at least according to the mayor and the reporter from the Suburban Trends.

“In explaining her reasons for not supporting the ordinance, Councilwoman Shortman said she felt the Union Avenue parcel where AvalonBay is being constructed was inappropriately named  as redevelopment zone (not to mention, a “bay”) because it was not a blighted area as is often the case when properties are designated as redevelopment zones.

“Additionally, Shortman questioned the 2-percent built-in increase provided under the PILOT program (Payment in Lieu Of Taxes), while she predicted that homeowners taxes will go up more.

So then, the mayor and council got into an argument about who bonded more, Democrats or Republicans, leaving property owners and businesses in debt.   Some residents noted that the Board Education was “comfortable” with the arrangements, while others noted that Avalon Communities was the type of developer with no scruples about suing to get what it wants, and that such a developer would likely to bring more trouble to the town than benefits.

Bloomingdale’s average taxes are nearly $8,000 per year, compared to $6,537 in next-door Butler.  Butler has the advantage of having commercial ratables, although it also has the burglaries and the traffic headaches to go along with it.

But not to fear.  AvalonBay is within a few hundred feet in each direction of blind curves.  Union Avenue is a winding, country, two-lane county-maintained road.  The mayor said that AvalonBay would have its own security.  This particular location, I predict, will keep the Bloomingdale Police Department, the fire department (which is right down the road), to say nothing of the Tri-Boro first aid squad (who says we don’t know who to share services?), very busy.  A 174-unit complex is capable of producing about 350 cars.  Union Avenue is already a busier road since the I-287 interchange went in.

As for schoolchildren, it is yet to be seen just how many children AvalonBay will produce.  Although the Martha B. Day School is right up the hill, there’s no road up there, as yet.  Bloomingdale has 522 schoolchildren at the moment.  If every unit in AB housed even two children, like the cars, that would mean 350 additional children.  Probably not all on the same grade level, but that call for at least 15 new classrooms.

On the other hand, AvalonBay may not wind up having any kids at all, but rather senior citizens.  Given that it’s being built next to a senior nursing facility, it’s the more likely prognostication.  If the citizens of Bloomingdale could just see the blueprints, we wouldn’t have to do all this guessing.

Mayor Dunleavy was so undone that, in addition to the article about the most recent PILOT meeting (now we know why there were so many cars at the municipal building the other night), he wrote a commentary to the Suburban Trends, vowing that he only had Bloomingdale’s best interests at heart and that the PILOT program would ultimately save the taxpayers money, ultimately stabilizing and reducing municipal taxes.

Bloomingdale has seen a population decline of 2.6 per cent since its heyday in the 1980 Census of 7,867 residents.  In 10 years, its poverty level has climbed from 3.4 percent to 5.7 percent.  It’s been rising again, though slowly.   With a population of 7,656, Bloomingdale is in no danger of losing its coveted small town status (the town started out with a population of 2,193).

There are socialist forces at work that want to condemn any town with a population below 10,000.  Bloomingdalers are up in arms at the thought of playing host to cluster-style apartment housing, the kind they’ve seen spring up in neighboring towns and all the social ills that come with it.  If a commercial business had gone in there, no one would have thought about it twice. You can’t keep the world out forever, Mom says.  But Bloomingdale is going to do its darndest.

Bloomingdale was the scene of one mutiny two centuries or so ago (in fact, in the very spot where AvalonBay is being constructed).  It’s about time for another one.







Sunday, September 30, 2012

So Many Activities, So Little Time

Bloomingdale Pride Day is always a busy day for me, especially considering I’m no longer a resident of the town.  I had about 15 minutes for photographers before I had to put away my camera and take up my station behind my orchestra bells for the Bloomingdale Cornet Band.  Although I didn’t play them half the time because we have new director who’s big time into rock music, so I was banging away on the claves, instead.  Something called “Rolling in the Deep” by someone named Adele.  It was a big hit with the teenager girls.

Then it was time to pack up the musical instruments and pull myself into my Molly Pitcher costume to help out the Bloomingdale-Wanaque Tea Party.  That was pretty much it for the photography.   But here are a few photos from yesterday’s Pride Day or country town (bedroom community) fair, just to let you know how much we all enjoy living in a small town like Bloomingdale.  I missed getting the PTA and Fortune Telling tents because I was on a five-minute warning for the concert.