AllenN's blog

Acton Selectmen should hold hearings on Verizon, Dunkin Donuts, pizza places, etc.

There is a serious and potentially dangerous situation in Acton that the Acton Board of Selectmen (BoS) may want to get involved in, and that is the public health hazard of distracted driving.

According to the FCC, distracted driving causes 18% of all fatal crashes and texting while driving increases the risk of a crash 23x. (http://www.fcc.gov/guides/texting-while-driving).

"Texting and driving safety.com" says that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.

Makaha launches petition drive to reinstate liquor license

The Makaha Restaurant, whose liquor license was revoked at the January 12, 2015 Board of Selectmen (BoS) hearing, has started a petition drive to convince the BoS to reinstate the license. A copy of the petition is available here: http://actonforum.com/sites/default/files/PetitionA.pdf.

Questionable school assessment increase

Two weeks ago, we reported on the proposed 8% increased school assessment to Acton. That article is here: http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/acton-school-assessment-may-incre....

This was discussed at the School Committee meeting of 1/8/15, which you can watch on Acton TV here: http://actontv.org/on-demand/post-video/school-committee-meeting-1-8-15m....

Two for One

Fiscal Conservatism 401

One of the tenets of Fiscal Conservatism is belief in small government. American liberals today tend to believe in large government.

Small governments are better because they interfere less in the daily affairs of citizens. Government is meant to do the things that must be done as a society, and does not exist primarily to “help people.” People should help people, not governments.

BoS Bullies Makaha Restaurant, wrongly terminates liquor license

I read this week's Beacon about the cancellation of the Makaha Restaurant's liquor license during a Board of Selectmen (BoS) hearing this past Monday night, Jan. 12, 2015. The BoS held a liquor violation hearing based on the police being called to the restaurant by the owner, Raymond Cheng, on November 23, 2014, to take care of a patron who was inebriated. (For the Beacon article, click here: http://acton.wickedlocal.com/article/20150115/NEWS/150118483/?Start=1).

FC and logic, addendum

Fiscal Conservatism 306

It just so happens that yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (1/14/2015) was gushing with the news that our federal budget deficit is down to the lowest level in several years—only $450 billion! (See http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-treasury-reports-2-billion-surplus-in-de...).

Actually, I mistyped. It is $488 billion. But $38 billion is just a rounding error anyway.

Town Manager: Acton not taxed enough

In reviewing Acton Town Manager Steve Ledoux's budget request for FY16, I was startled to read that the Town Manager does not think Acton residents pay enough in taxes! He is proposing an increase in the meals tax for all Acton restaurants.

This seems to contradict about 100 articles on Acton Forum about our high tax burden no matter how you compare it to other communities. Other than a couple of town leaders and Town Manager Ledoux, I doubt you'd find anyone who actually lives in Acton who thinks our taxes are too low.

PAYT: A solution in search of a problem

Last month, Acton's Town Manager released his budget request for FY16 (starting in July, 2015) which is scheduled for rubber-stamping at this April's annual Town Meeting. The budget includes a section describing the "Pay As You Throw" (PAYT) trash disposal system for Acton transfer station users. PAYT would lower sticker prices but require users to purchase special garbage bags in which to throw out their trash. The goal is to reduce waste disposal and increase recycling (since recycling would be at no additional charge.)

Acton's property taxes jump relative to Boxborough's

Acton's average single-family property tax bill, the measure used by the state's Department of Revenue to compare tax burdens between communities, has continued to grow while Boxborough's has remained flat. That has opened up a rift between the two towns, which are joined together by a regional school system.

FC and logic, part three

Fiscal Conservatism 305

This is part three on using logic to make public policy decisions.

In part one, I tried to setup the thinking for this series. In part two, I gave an example of why we should build the Keystone pipeline. I contend that this is the logical course of action, and that opponents are opposed to the plan because of emotion, or some type of "emotional intelligence" that rejects or ignores logic.

FC and logic, part two

Fiscal Conservatism 304

Last article, I started to describe why Fiscal Conservatives (FC) are more logical than others when discussing things like economic policy. (See http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/fiscal-conservatism-intelligence-....) This is based on my own observation when talking to those on the other side about various issues. It seems to me that the FC side is using logic to backup our arguments and our philosophical opponents are using emotion to backup theirs.

Fiscal conservatism, intelligence and logic

Fiscal Conservatism 303

There is a wide spectrum of human thinking abilities. We generally use the term "smart" to indicate intelligence, but we know that intelligence comes in many forms. One person can be good at math and another at music and they may both possess the same level of "intelligence."

Acton school assessment may increase 8%

The preliminary school budget for next fiscal year is out and will be discussed at the next School Committee meeting this Thursday (1/8/2015). A link to the agenda and proposed budget is here: http://www.abschools.org/school-committee/meetings-agendas-packets-and-m.... The preliminary budget increases over 5% but because of possible cuts in state aid, Acton's assessment would increase 8%.

An 8% increased assessment for Acton means that Acton's share of the school costs will increase by $4 million. Acton's current-year assessment for the regional schools is $49.7 million.

Sit, Jeb, Sit

Former Florida Governor and First-Brother and Second-Son Jeb Bush has been featured in the news as the front-runner at this early date for the Republican nomination for President in 2016. Many Republicans feel he is a solid choice based on his background and family connections. I beg to differ.

Jobs, jobs and more jobs

Fiscal Conservatism 302

Recently, we've been inundated with talk about the importance of job creation. Many economists and stock-market investors eagerly await the monthly jobs report to see how the economy is doing.

Globe reaffirms bias

I can no longer read the Boston Globe on a regular basis. It's liberal bias is simply overwhelming. It has seeped into its reporting and editorial judgment such that the paper is no longer trustworthy to deliver the news in an unbiased way. Fresh evidence of this can be found in the Sunday Globe of Dec. 21, 2014.

Bengazi update

A Republican-led U.S. House investigation into the Bengazi debacle has released a report indicating that there was no White House-led conspiracy to misdirect the public about the cause of the attack nor a purposeful decision not to send aid to the embassy personnel who were under attack. That is really good news, because it means we don't have to impeach President Obama nor charge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with perjury.

Elections and shutdowns

What a fantastic day just two weeks ago as the voters nationwide repudiated Obama-style socialism in electing a landslide-worth of Republicans all across the country.

President Obama holds news conference after Asian trip

President Barack Obama held a news conference at Andrews Air Force Base upon his return to Washington, in which he said he had a very successful Asian trip, including major new agreements with China.

Things got a bit unruly when he moved into the question portion of the media event.

"Yes, Mary in the back for the first question."

How they got Obamacare passed

A good socialist believes that "the end justifies the means." They believe there are certain policies that are so beneficial to so many people that it is fine to lie, cheat, or steal your way to victory because there is a greater good involved. Health insurance for all (or so they said) evidently is one such policy.

Special Town Meeting November 12

There is a Special Town Meeting in Acton called for Wednesday night, November 12, 2014. The meeting will start at 7 pm in the usual place, the ABRHS Auditorium, which is at the back entrance to the High School off Hayward Rd. I expect there to be plenty of parking available.

The underlying dishonesty of deficit spending

Fiscal Conservatism 301

Conservatives have long argued for a federal balanced budget. Running deficits creates a lot of problems, although deficit spending isn't the only way that our politicians can spend our future wealth. (Unfunded liabilities are another, of course.)

But let's say there is an obvious example of the government wanting to do something, or several things, and making the decision to borrow the money to do them. What's wrong with that?

George W. Bush did not lie

President George W. Bush invaded Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and it was refusing to turn over those weapons to the UN. So we went in, removed a brutal dictator, and ended up mucking up the whole region.

Afterwards, no WMDs were found, or so we were told. That led to the "Bush lied, people died" slogan that made Bush almost as unpopular as President Obama is today.

Medicaid fraud

Fiscal conservatism 207

Let me start by saying that our economy can't survive long-term if everything we do is based on deficit spending.

Many people remember that during a couple of Bill Clinton's years as President, we had a modest surplus in public spending. That was 20 years ago. Since then, everything we do, everything we spend, is borrowed.

Financial cheating and hypocrisy

Fiscal Conservatism 206

There are lots of major financial purchases people make in their lives. Saving and paying for college is one of them.

Financially, college is thought to be an excellent investment. Those with college degrees end up earning more money, and of course college prepares most people for a white-collar life rather than a blue-collar life. Unless you like to do it, you won't be digging ditches if you have a college degree. So parents usually assume their kids will be going to college.