Good News: Sometimes, the System Works

California has adopted an Alert System to aggressively post information about suspects vehicles when a child is kidnapped. That system was put to use today when an 8 year-old girl was kidnapped in Fresno. Signs on the freeways alerted drivers to the description of the suspect vehicle, and TV stations included it in their broadcasts. Today, it paid off:

An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect’s vehicle and cut it off, police said. … Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper’s vehicle.

So, Kudos to the driver, Victor Perez, for taking action. He may well have saved the girl’s life.

The High Price of Low Taxes

By now, most of us are aware of the story out of Obion, Tennessee where the firefighters watched as the family home, 3 dogs and a cat burned.

The family had a choice, pay a “subscription fee” of $75.00 per year or do without fire protection. In this sense, taxes for firefighting were made voluntary. Their taxes were lowered. And they, and their pets, paid a dear price for their choice to forego fire protection. One can only imagine the horror had people been in the house while the firefighters stood by, ready to protect…the neighbor’s property should the fire spread to the lands of someone who paid the $75.00!

But let’s take a closer look at that $75.00 voluntary fee for firefighting services. Apparently, the entire county could be covered for a 0.13% increase in their property taxes. That means, for houses valued less than about $57,000, they would be paying less than $75.00 per year, while those whose houses were valued at more than $57,000, would pay more.

So, what’s the median house prices in Obion, Tennessee, you ask?

I’m glad you asked:

As the chart shows, the current median price of homes in Obion is about $10,000 more than the $57,000 break-even point on the “subscription fee.” But this shows that roughly half the homeowners in the county pay too much for fire protection, while those with pricier homes get a break.

The High Price of Low Taxes.

This worked so well, the powers that be want to expand the program. It’s a good deal for the folks with the more expensive homes. For the poor, not so good a deal. Left out of MainStreamMedia stories is how this “subscription service” is made available to renters, if at all. For all we know, they’re at the mercy of their landlords.

But there is one other thing we know: this time, the price was furnishings and pets. This time. Next time, it could well be someone’s children, wife, husband, father or mother.
Perhaps the firefighters could be equiped with violins, so they could at least fiddle while they watch houses burn.

The Watering Hole: October 5 – Vote!

There are 4 weeks to go!

It is getting down to the wire. We worked hard in 2008, now it is time to carry the work forward in the current election cycle. While things did not always happen the way we wanted, it is not time to give up the struggle!

Without enthusiasm in the progressive base, this nation will lose everything gained since 2006.

Two years of retreat is the last thing that our people need. The Republican Pledge to America is empty on promise, but replete with hypocrisy.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.