Thursday, July 16, 2009

Budget cuts, the news media and the Spokesman-Review opinion article.

As predicted here, Phase Two of the SR's push to form public opinion around the city's budget happened today in a piece by their editorial board. I am pretty sure I know what Phase Three is going to look like (sound like?). If you want to hear my prediction, email me. If I know you, I will tell you.

Before I get started here, I would like to thank Chiefs Schaeffer and Williams for not sugar-coating it for the media yesterday. The cuts, if they come to fruition, will mean 15 firefighters and the closure of one station. Thanks for telling it like it is.

Now then, this morning's editorial. It is basically a rehashing of the Journal of Business' editorial which I addressed here. No wonder, the Journal is an arm of the Cowles Publishing Co. Here is a more complete picture of the Cowles Publishing Co. It is easy to see how the information is controlled in Spokane and that the formation of public opinion is almost like a lab experiment where all the input is planned for a desired result.

The tone of the editorial this morning is that we are all one community and that many in our community are hurting financially and that city workers have good compensation, better than most of our citizens. There is a funding gap and we should chip in to help. Fair enough. I hate to sound like a broken record, but here we go again:

1. How will the community ever know when we give up compensation and benefits when the Spokesman-Review won't tell them? Why won't they tell the citizens? Please refer again to the Wikipedia article. The Cowles have not been a friend to organized labor or government employment. To squash positive stories of city workers is a "two-fer," in that city employees are both government employees and organized labor.

2. Yes, we are one community. In fact, we are the second largest city in the state. Interestingly, we are the only major city in the state without a B and O tax. Why is that? Who would stand to lose from a B and O tax? I know who would stand to gain - those of us who shop in the city and pay a whopping sales tax, those of us who live in the city and pay property taxes, cable TV taxes and other surcharges that go a long way to offset Spokane's bizarre lack of a B and O tax. Hey Journal of Business and Spokesman-Review, show us what community supporters you are by proposing a B and O tax. I've told you what we could do in response.

OK this is old news and my old opinion. Don't ever expect to see it in print. That's fine, the way things are going, probably just as many are reading this blog as are reading the paper.

Here is something new to chew on. Yes, the community is hurting. Foreclosures are up. The ranks of the uninsured are swelling. Medical assistance to the mentally ill is dwindling. Guess who takes care of these folks? Guess who stops the insurance arson fire from spreading from the building next door into your abode or business? That's right. And these are the folks you are going to cut. It's like being in the middle of a war set to escalate and you want to cut troop levels and troop compensation. Except this war is not in some far-off land. It's right here and right now. And those who get the most benefit from those fighting it are the ones least willing to pay for it.

Some things never change.

1 comment:

D Waller said...

Things the S-R leaves out. FF's work over 300 hrs per year more, with no extra pay (no OT), than any other worker. There are other major fire departments in the county that make almost the same as the city, and those agencies are not blaming FF's wages on the demise of their budget. We make less than our comparable's, do more work per FF than our com parables, and the city has the least amount of FF's per capita. I would like to see what the staff writer, editors, and Cowels make? Do they deserve to make so much money off of the citizens? Shouldn't the push for our community be to make everyone earn a fair wage, not drag the wage of some workers down? Does the Wendles, Cowels, and other business leaders huge incomes count in the average salary? Who had more to do with our economic downfall; the 50k/yr, the 500k/yr, or 5 million/yr person? So why should we continue to beleive the richest of the rich? The ones who have the most to loose, and the least to gain, always convince those who have less to loose and more to gain, that taxes are evil.