Monday, September 04, 2006

Sheriff's Candidate: Bill Brown

Crime is up and arrests are down in Lompoc. Scores of officers have left the Lompoc PD for greener pastures and less than 45 percent of voters in Lompoc supported Brown in the recent primary as his current challenger beat him handily.

His primary corps of support is from outside Santa Barbara County, only 8 deputies in the Deputy Sheriffs Association (300+ members) voted to endorse him and no one currently employed by the sheriffs department has publicly endorsed his candidacy.

So, why should residents on the south coast support Bill Brown for Sheriff? He makes several claims on his web-site that seem to imply that he can manage the Sheriffs Department better than the current Sheriff – but, do facts support his claims?

Bill Brown has a track record in the City of Lompoc that may indicate how affective he might manage the department if elected Sheriff. For example over half of the police department (29 officers) have left during his tenure (there are only 49 sworn officers); he was unable to convince the City Council to provide funding for increased staffing even after they publicly debated and supported staff increases; and, the crime resolution rate in the city has plummeted by 50 percent while he has been police chief.

Recently he was forced to publicly apologize for police department arrests of several high school students during an act of civil disobedience. Even though the ordinance that was the basis for the arrests clearly stated that protests of this type were exempt, police managers proceeded to direct officers to make the arrests anyway. Even though Brown was absent during the arrests, he personally delivered the agreed to apology which was viewed by many as an embarrassment to the City of Lompoc.

Bill Brown has said publicly that "There's been a tunnel vision on building this big North County jail, adding that he would support a jail smaller than the 800- to 1,500-bed building sought by the sheriff.”

This shortsighted approach to the problem of jail overcrowding is a prime example of why Bill Brown is not qualified to be Sheriff. The UCSB economic forecast predicts a dramatic increase in north county population and there is clearly a demonstrated need to house more prisoners. Based on these population growth estimates and the current early prisoner release rates, a jail of the size proposed by the Sheriff will likely become filled with prisoners shortly after it is constructed.

Bill Brown has misrepresented the views of his opponent on the immigration issue. Brown contends that his opponent is intent on rounding up all the illegal aliens in the county. The fact is that only the Lompoc Police department has listed “illegal alien” as an incidental cause for arrest and six of these arrests have occurred since Brown declared he wouldn’t arrest anyone for immigration violations!

Lastly, there is the experience factor. The Sheriffs Department is a very large organization when compared to the police agencies Brown has managed. His experience is limited to managing a small university police department and the Lompoc PD. There are about 100 paid and volunteer employees in the Lompoc PD and over 700 in the sheriffs department.

The only similarities between the sheriffs department and the police department are dispatch, patrol and detective functions. Bill Brown has no experience managing functions like rural crime, search and rescue, air operations, corners bureau, mounted units, court services, civil bureau, a 700+ inmate jail facility, inmate transportation or deploying over 150 officers to maintain order in a small community like Isla Vista.

In summary, Bill Brown appears to lack community support, has little to no experience in several important functions of the Sheriffs Department, has overseen a drain of experienced officers in Lompoc and doesn’t have the support of the men and women of the Sheriffs department or their management team.

So, why should the residents of the south coast support Bill Brown when voters in Lompoc, who have seen his management ability up close, don’t?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Bush Lied!

Some people, mostly Democrats in denial about their own statements and actions prior to the war, claim that “President Bush lied about the reasons to go to war in Iraq.”

Well, what sort of plotting and how long would it take to fabricate a lie big enough to convince the US Congress and the United Nations that war was the only way to resolve the worlds’ dispute with Saddam Hussein?

The idea that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction is cited as the primary “lie,” so I suppose that in the early 1990’s then-citizen Bush would have begun the process of creating circumstances to support it as he tended to his ranch down in Texas.

I can see him now kicking a dried up cow pie around the yard and yelling at his ranch hands to “get me some dirt on ole Saddam, I’ll be president in a few years and I want to spend billions of dollars and get thousands of our soldiers, sailors and airmen killed and injured so I can look tough.”

We’ll need to get the CIA to feed Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Washington a bunch of faulty “intelligence data” so he can build up a case. It’ll make it look better if I can say Bill dropped the ball while he was messing around under his desk with the munchkin.

Maybe I can get Tony Blair to start a phony rumor about Hussein and his stockpile of weapons.

I know that Kofi Annan can hoodwink the United Nations into passing several resolutions requiring Iraq to: “unconditionally accept the destruction, removal or rendering harmless, under international supervision of all chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities (the first was on April 3, 1991)."

Then by golly we’ll call Saddam and tell him to ignore the UN, throw their inspectors out of the country, keep saying he has all those nasty weapons and that he’ll use them on his neighbors just as he did on his own people. In the meantime, we’ll have the UN repeat this resolution many times during the Clinton administration so we can build up enthusiasm for a war!

Oh, and put somebody in the Democrat National Committee to tell John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean and all the rest of those weak-kneed liberals in Congress that they should come out strong during the campaign and demand that “something be done” about Saddam and his henchmen. They’re easy to fool and they’ll want to look like they really care about “the security of the United States.”

Anyone who believes that “Bush lied” would have to ignore the history of this war and are giving President Bush credit for orchestrating a diabolical plot that would have taken years to hatch! And, you have to discount the statements of many prominent Democrats who supported and contributed to the wording of resolutions in Congress that preceded this war.

The only president that has ever firmly established himself as a liar was Bill Clinton, who was convicted of perjury (lying) and was required to relinquish his license to practice law.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Security risk in the Whitehouse!

I see that the maverick Bill Clinton is in the news again. This time his former FBI Director, Louis Freeh spills the beans about the security problems created by the randy Mr. Clinton in his book “My FBI, Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton and Fighting the War on Terror”.

You may recall that Mr. Clinton had an insatiable appetite for anything in a skirt. He couldn’t keep his hands off of willing female journalists, unwilling hotel clerks, waitresses, power groupies or his staff members when he was Governor of Arkansas and later as President. In at least one recorded case, his interest was piqued to the point that he resorted to a violent attack (also known as rape) to satisfy his perverted interests in the wife of one of his contributors.

According to the former FBI Director: “The problem was with Bill Clinton -- the scandals and the rumored scandals, the incubating ones and the dying ones never ended. Whatever moral compass the president was consulting was leading him in the wrong direction. His closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out.”

This presented a significant problem for the FBI. How do you preserve the security interests of the United States when the Commander-in-Chief is as easily exploited as Mr. Clinton was? Spies drool when they can get some low level government functionary or military member to sell secrets to protect his/her “dignity”, for money or for sexual favors. But, they didn’t even have to try with the biggest government functionary of them all – the President of the United States.

Mr. Clinton was privy to the deepest and most damaging secrets of the United States. Revealing one of them while frolicking with one of scores of females who had no need to know this information, or the security background checks could have resulted in the destruction of the country he swore to “protect and defend".

To put this issue in perspective 19 Airmen were killed when radicals bombed the Kobar Towers, a military barracks, in Saudi Arabia. The FBI wanted to participate with the Saudi government during the questioning of the suspects in this bombing. The Director asked for Clinton’s help to get the permissions the FBI needed.

But, Mr. Clinton refused to personally ask Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to allow the FBI to question the bombing suspects the kingdom had in custody – the only way the bureau could secure the interviews. Freeh writes in the book, “Bill Clinton raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he understood the Saudis’ reluctance to cooperate and then he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the Clinton Presidential Library.” Says Freeh, “That’s a fact that I am reporting.”

Once again, the self-indulgent Clinton defaulted to a destructive personality trait and sought to satisfy his personal ego. Of course, this isn’t the only time that he let the military and his country down in favor of personal interests. He frequently entertained a female staffer under the desk in the oval office as he discussed important matters with members of Congress on the phone.

Mr. Clinton also used the power of his office to reward his conquests with favors only a President or a Governor could offer – pardons for crimes committed against the state. The wife of Mark Rich appeared publicly with Clinton and performed privately for him as well, in exchange for the pardon and return from the self-imposed exile to avoid prosecution of her husband. Mr. Rich was involved in an oil fraud scheme which should surprise Democrats who feel that only Republicans favor oil barons.

Mr. Clinton was a scandalous person who scammed his way into the Whitehouse. Once there he sullied the institution of the Presidency; created a classic “hostile work environment” for female staff members; ignored his duty to the people of the United States in favor of his own personal desires; and, created an aura of abject hostility between the two political parties as one sought to “defend their man” and the other sought to remove a ultra-high level security risk.

Mr. Freeh will appear on “60-mimutes” this Sunday, October 9th.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Endangered Species Act - a dismal failure!

Recently Representative Capps, Santa Barbara Democrat, objected to proposed changes to the current Endangered Species Act saying the ESA had been highly successful at protecting and recovering threatened and endangered species.

I don’t know how she quantifies success, but in the United States, the ESA has been a dismal failure!

Currently there are 1,268 species of plants, animals, birds, fish and other critters listed as either threatened or endangered.

Of those a scant 16 have been recovered – this is a recovery rate of 1.26%, which is feeble at best. The same numbers have been removed for “data errors”, meaning they shouldn’t have been listed in the first place because they didn’t meet the criteria; and, another 9 were already extinct.

This means that in the 30+ year history of the program 41 species have been removed from the list, which is a little more than 3% of the total, less than half of which have actually been “saved”.

Thousands of lawyers, biologists, engineers and misguided activists have been enlisted to “save the environment” – few have met with any success other than creating obstacles for landowners. Billions are spent annually to list, study, prepare plans and implement protections for the listed species. Even more billions have been lost because the primary method of “protection” is to deny access to valuable lands and resources.

In Fiscal year 2003 the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported: “Total Expenditures reported were $1,201,165,885, of which $785,589,376 was reported as expenditures for specific individual species, including $100,760,067 for land acquisition; and $415,576,509 was reported as ‘Other ESA Expenses’ (not identified to species), of which $30,918,891 was for land acquisition.” This was about $48-million more than FY 2002 and has been fairly consistent for at least a decade.

The ESA needs a total overhaul, not just some cosmetic “improvements”. The current methods of listing, planning and protecting nature simply have not worked. One suggestion has been to address ecosystems, rather than specific habitats – but that requires significantly more effort and transcends political borders, so even though it makes sense scientifically, it probably wouldn’t work politically.

The current plan is to compensate landowners for the loss of their property. This just increases the overall costs to us taxpayers. The end result will be the same – few species will actually be saved by the process.

There are other more pressing needs for these huge sums of money – education, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, disaster planning, protecting our borders, improving medical care, etc.

Maybe in Congressperson Capps world the ESA constitutes a success – in mine, it constitutes an enormous waste of our time, energy, skills and tax money!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Which American President told the biggest lie to start a war?

War is on everyone’s mind lately. Some say we shouldn’t have wars, others say President Bush lied about the events that lead up to the current war in Iraq and others want us to retreat from the battlefield.

I contend that every American President that has ever led us into war, with the exception of the war with the Revolutionary War and Japan, has adapted the facts to suit the situation he wanted to create to support the need to engage the “enemy” in combat.

The United States was born from the War of Independence which began in 1775. The premise of this war was that the colonists wanted to free themselves from the British who were taxing them and not allowing fair representation, almost like the situation we find ourselves in today with tax and spend politicians who rarely listen to us commoners who fork over large portions of our paychecks.

President James Madison (Jeffersonian, Party) led us into this war because the United States had been irritated since the American Revolution in 1783 by the failure of the British to withdraw from American territory along the Great Lakes; their backing of the Indians on America's frontiers; and their unwillingness to sign commercial agreements favorable to the United States.

This was the first of many wars that were fought essentially to preserve the United States trade interests help business interests survive in the “New World”.

President James Polk (Democrat) led us into the Mexican-American War in 1846. It was the first major conflict driven by the idea of "Manifest Destiny"; the belief that America had a God-given right, or destiny, to expand the country's borders from “sea to shining sea”.

Disputes over the border lines between Texas and Mexico sparked military confrontation, helped by the fact that President Polk eagerly sought a war in order to seize large tracts of land from Mexico.

President Abraham Lincoln (Republican) led us into the Civil War in 1861. It began after the union between the states was dissolved over the issue of slavery. Once again, the issue was primarily about business interests in the Southern states who chose to use slaves to reduce the costs of producing goods.

President Lincoln and the northern states justifiably objected to this practice and thus the Civil War proved necessary to resolve the issue. Many thousands were killed on both sides before the issue was resolved.

There were scores of “Indian Wars”, fought by several Presidents, which were intended to expel the first Americans from their native lands so that farmers, ranchers and businessmen could capitalize on their rich lands. The Indians were mistreated, whole camps were slaughtered and the stragglers rounded up and herded onto “reservations” where they tried to eke out an existence.

Indians have recently begun to exert their rights, given to them in exchange for their land, loved ones and dignity hundreds of years ago by politicians of the era. Today the “concerned citizens” of Santa Ynez are attempting to deny the Chumash Tribe the sovereign rights they have to annex property, obtained by purchase not war.

President Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) led us into World War I in 1914. This was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”, but history has proven otherwise. WW1 proved to be the decisive break with the old world order, marking the final demise of absolutist monarchy in Europe. Entry of the United States into the conflict was circuitous since the combatants did not threaten our territory.

First “volunteers” served with French and British units and later under our flag. This may have been one of the first times in modern history that “Presidential lies” were overtly used to justify our involvement. It was at this time that our Congress advocated isolationism as a national policy, so President Wilson was forced to make a series of elaborate speeches to convince the Congress, and the people, that entering this war was in our best interests.

WWI would prove the catalyst for the Russian Revolution, which would inspire later revolutions in countries as diverse as China and Cuba, and would lay the basis for the Cold War confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Then President Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat) led us into World War II. This war was fought on two fronts by millions of American soldiers, sailors and marines. The Germans did not attack the United States; however, our support for our European allies and failure to properly mitigate grievances of WWI was ample justification to enter this war.

It started with supply missions to the British, where ships crossing the Atlantic were sunk by German submarines. This constituted an act of war, and we reacted accordingly.

The Japanese actually attacked the United States, so a second front was fought in the Pacific – basically two full fledged wars at the same time! I feel confidant that this is the reason that we maintain an ability to fight two simultaneous wars today.

President Harry Truman (Democrat) led us into the Korean Conflict in 1950 following an attack on South Korea by the north. The Chinese were a very large part of this “conflict” and poured thousands of troops into the battle. Relying on “intelligence data” President Truman sent a weakened army to assist South Korea. Thousands were killed in the “conflict” and the dispute was never really resolved and tensions remain today with North Korea and the Chinese.

The Viet Nam Conflict also began in the 1950’s when President Dwight Eisenhower (Republican) sent a small contingent of “military advisors” to help South Viet Nam when the French retreated after many years of tremendous losses. The involvement of American forces escalated during the President John Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson administrations based on “intelligence data” that later proved misleading at best.

President Richard Nixon (Republican) finally ordered a retreat after decades of politically controlled battlefield strategies failed to produce anything other than dead and maimed American service men and women. North Viet Nam justifiably declared “victory” and began a process of cleansing and occupying the south.

President George H.W. Bush (Republican) sent troops to aid in the expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait. Although the dispute between these neighboring countries did not involve us directly, we came to the aid of a Middle Eastern ally arguably to support our economic and political interests.

President Bill Clinton (Democrat) engaged in several limited conflicts around the globe. Faulty “intelligence data” subverted these efforts and resulted in embarrassment and the loss of hundreds of brave American service members without achieving the desired outcome. Mogadishu and Haiti are two examples of these failures.

Many claim that President George W. Bush (Republican) lied to obtain United Nations and the Congress’ support for the current war in Iraq. Once again, faulty “intelligence data” seems to be the culprit.

I would submit that Presidents have stretched the facts and/or blatantly lied for centuries to support their desire to exert the power of the United States through warfare. This is nothing new – all of them claimed to have some form of “intelligence data” to support the need for a war. All of the wars were arguably fought to reserve business or political interests. Some were won and some were lost.

When we elect a President there is a whole host of supporting and unelected, people who make up the “administration”. Some are better at it than others are, but the bottom line is that America has been periodically at war since our founding and despite the best efforts of anti-war constituencies, the trend will probably continue.

This is not a partisan issue – both parties, and some that don’t exist anymore have botched wars and stretched the truth to support their efforts.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

So, what’s next in New Orleans?

Some of the politicians involved, namely and almost exclusively President Bush, have admitted that serious errors were made. The President sensing that his former field commanders let him down seems to have taken a keen personal interest in the recovery and is personally monitoring the progress by placing his boots on the ground.

The head of FEMA was justifiably replaced by the President with a person who actually has experience in responding to large disasters and barge loads of tax dollars are on the way.

Democrats, who originally wanted to investigate (that would be: “make political hay”), now find out that Democrats screwed up just as bad as Republicans, so they don’t want anything to do with it, claiming it would be a partisan exercise. Well, what did they have planned, a "well done"?

If Mayor Nagin’s constituents ever return to the Big Easy, they should recall him and name someone who is competent to lead the city into a new era. Clearly, this is the single individual who could have altered the outcome of this catastrophe by simply paying attention to his past experience in these matters and using those hundreds of school and city transportation buses that are still sitting useless in their parking stalls to move people before the storm struck.

Governor Blanco should resign her position. Her miscues made a bad problem worse because of her failure to understand the protocols that were necessary to acquire federal assistance.

Both she and the mayor ignored lessons that were learned from past hurricane responses and both failed to address issues that directly impacted the health and safety of the people they served; people who had been raised by the government to believe that only the government, their local government, could take care of their every need.

The management of the levees around New Orleans should be centralized. There are scores of public and private “levee authorities”, who each have their own little fiefdom. No one coordinates the “big picture” and no one has the authority to prioritize projects to assure that the city is safe from flooding.

So, now there will be billions sent to the region to rebuild what Katrina and the subsequent flooding destroyed. The press has noted that thankfully the Mardi Gras floats were not destroyed, so maybe they can be used to dispense cash to greedy contractors, the professional poor, corrupt politicians, levee commissioners and the ever present lawyers.

One thing you can count on, for every dollar directed at “recovery”, several will disappear into the hands of corrupt politicians and the buzzards that always circle following disasters of this magnitude.

The gouging has already started – fuel prices are up, developers in California are already complaining that the cost of building materials are increasing and New Orleans realtors are plotting to scoop up flooded out properties at bargain basement prices, speculating that huge profits can be made.

Hopefully the lessons learned by decades of the welfare state won’t be repeated. President Bush has outlined a new plan to address decades of poverty and political racism in New Orleans. Unlike racism of the past, these are black politicians who are keeping poor black people beholden to the Democrat party by handing out crumbs instead of education, jobs, homes and a quality of life equal to theirs.

Many Democrats have some good ideas about how to solve the poverty/racism issue in Louisiana, but will their party allow them to join Republicans to solve the issue? I doubt it, the Carville/Clinton era of divisive, political combat has placed a huge barrier between those of each party who tend to be centrists and problem solving has taken a back seat to “gotcha politics”.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Representative Lois Capps weighs in on Katrina - Bush responsible!

I see that Lois Capps, local Congressperson from Santa Barbara has weighed in on “What went wrong in the wake of Gulf Coast Disaster?” Note the clever play on words in the title.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ms. Capps, she is the darling of the wine and cheese liberals of southern SB County. Her district, like all the rest in California has been gerrymandered so that her stay in office is dictated by her allegiance to the Democrat party machine, not her fitness for office.

Her most notable contributions to date have been a failed attempt to federalize the entire coastline of her district (the Gaviota National Seashore) and a tattoo removal program.

It is no surprise that her commentary follows the DNC script (fire the FEMA head and George Bush is totally responsible for all the misery in New Orleans). You would think that a person of her stature would at least acknowledge that hundreds of towns were destroyed and thousands were injured and killed.

You’d also think that she would acknowledge the contributions of the thousands of emergency workers from all over the United States that have descended on the area, but that wasn’t in the script she was handed.

Capps says: “Many years of short-funding New Orleans' flood control projects, combined with the degradation of local wetlands, left the city highly vulnerable.” This statement is in conflict with itself. Flood control projects are to blame for the degradation of the wetlands; so, if you solve the flooding problem you wind up destroying more of the wetlands.

She continues: “FEMA, once renowned for its expertise on preventing and responding to disasters, has become an international embarrassment.”

New Orleans had an evacuation plan, but local officials, not FEMA, failed to follow it. "The city of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas." The city had enough school and transit buses to evacuate 12,000 citizens per fleet run, but Mayor Nagin left them neatly parked in their yards to be destroyed.

An Amtrack train sat empty at the depot the night before Katrina hit while Amtrack officials asked the Mayors office if they wanted to fill it with evacuees – there was no response from the Mayor, so the last train out of New Orleans left empty.

The sad fact is that local officials had the experience and resources necessary to move large numbers of people to a safe haven and they didn’t do it. This created a complicated rescue situation for FEMA.

Another sad fact is that Ms. Capps, along with all her colleges supported the merging of FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security, which seems have diminished its ability to get things done quickly. Of course, she didn’t suggest removing FEMA from DHS, but that would have required an original thought that was not in the DNC script.

At least Ms. Capps could have been a little more statesmanlike, but since she is beholden to the hardcore liberals in SB, she must by default parrot their hatred for the Bush team at every opportunity instead of offering constructive suggestions, even in the “wake of Gulf Coast Disaster” as she puts it.

Congressperson Capps, criticize and investigate if you must, but how about proposing tangible solutions for all those problems you have identified instead of just pointing fingers? If you feel strongly about these issues, demonstrate some leadership qualities and propose legislation that will solve them.