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Latitude 38

• July, 2007

LETTERS taxpayers never want to pay. 'We the people' would rather — on conservative advice — save the tax money and let the rats inspect the cheese. We have been stupid and irresponsible, and let our government be decimated by small-minded people. Bashing the Coast Guard is not the way to fix the problems that we have created by our own elected choices. Robert Furnback Vivianna Emeryville Robert — While we think there are some excellent, well-intentioned and very hard-working people in government, by and large, we think it is a monumentally wasteful and corrupt enterprise. We're not necessarily a John McCain fan, but we think he hit the nail on the head when he said, "Fiscal irresponsibility is the one thing that unites Democrats and Republicans — and for that we should all be ashamed." As everyone knows, Congress doles out tax subsidies and increases federal spending to benefit influential constituencies and pet projects. Need we mention things such as subsidies for the not-exactly-ailing oil and gas industry and big agribusiness, pork that in the state of Alaska amounts to $870 a year for every man, woman and child, and government benefits and pensions that far exceed the norm in the private sector? Would you like a local example? Presumably you're aware that the Berkeley City Attorney recently recommended firing all 22 employees of the Berkeley's Housing Authority for the "blatant misuse" of $25 million in federal funds. The whole department was accused of paying rent subsidies for dead tenants, giving subsidies to people who didn't qualify, playing favorites by subsidizing families who weren't eligible while leaving qualified families on the waiting list, paying subsidies retroactively when they weren't owed, and on and on. What do you want to bet that none of those employees sees a day behind bars, and that none of the money is recovered? And the last time we checked, Berkeley government isn't controlled by radical conservatives, yet where is the accountability? Your state senator is Don Perata who, because of his position as President of the State Senate, is the second most powerful man in California. How long has he been under investigation by the FBI and the subject of highly critical articles for alledgedly receiving kick-backs? Not even our highest public officials behave in ways that are above reproach. Over in San Francisco, another not particularly conservative place, anybody who wanted to get a building permit without it taking forever would have done well to pay big bucks to an 'expediter', who managed to get permits faster than regular citizens. The Bay Guardian whined about a marina motel project that submitted controversial plans for a large marina district hotel on the Friday before a Labor Day Weekend and, can you imagine, got the permit the following Tuesday — thanks to a "high-powered expediter." Then there's Jimmy Jen, a former plan checking engineer for the city's Department of Building Inspection. Subsequently known as a top 'expediter', Jen has been sued repeatedly — and convicted — for being, in the words of the city attorney, "one of the city's most notorious building code scofflaws." In addition to $150,000 in civil penalties, he's been ordered to reimburse San Francisco more than $830,000 in legal fees. You may think everything is on the up and up in progressive San Francisco, but we think it's possibly one of the most corrupt cities in the country. We don't think the problem is that government gets too little in taxes, but rather is woefully inefficient, wasteful, and uses huge amounts of money to all but pay off constituents. We'll never forget a great news clip we saw once of U.S. Congress-

Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 July 2007  

The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 July 2007  

The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.