Friday, January 25, 2008

DC Workers Hit Porn Sites More Frequently Than Most Citizens Breathe

The great Samuel Johnson recommended the "suspension of disbelief" when viewing plays or reading fiction. One has to channel Johnson these days as a DC taxpayer. One scandal of corruption goes to the next but this one might be the best:
Nine D.C. government employees were fired Wednesday and 32 more will be disciplined for viewing pornographic Web sites thousands of times on the job last year, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced.

The worst offender, according to data provided by the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, was a single employee whose computer registered 48,002 porn site page views in 2007. That averages to about one hit every 2.5 minutes.
Even worse stats fro the Wa Post:
Each of the nine employees clicked on porn sites more than 19,000 times last year.
My back fo the envelope math means that those employees were refreshing their porn screen more than 50 times per day. I wish I had a job like that, and it also paid me a pension and protected me from getting fired.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Some DC Schools Will Have Textbooks in Sept, is This Progress?

New DC schools "Chancellor" Michelle Rhee just announced that that
most of the District's public schools will start the academic year this month stocked with required textbooks, although more than half of the schools lack the requisite number
Iknow that Rhee is working hard, as much as a Colorado divorcee with young children can work.

As a DC taxpayer I say scuttle the whole system. Rhee might be brilliant, but unless she finds a way to give taxpayers relief for funding the most expensive and least productive public education system in the US I will not be a big fan.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Michelle Rhee- The Salvation of DC Schools?

Mayor Fenty has annointed Michelle Rhee the "Chancellor" of DC schools. He awarded her with a $300K salary and a hired driver, an excess that no DC official should have.

I know people who know Michelle Rhee. They really like her, but I have harbored suspicions about her since I knew that she was leading her NY non-profit from Colorado as she raised her two young children with a husband she is now divorcing. Fenty acknowledged that Rhee needs to live here. And, as the Wash Post reported, Rhee was given a bonus of $25,000 to compensate for her moving the the District. I would think that the $300K salary would have been enough.

As a business person, my experience is that women with young children are distracted and should not be put in important positions. To top that, Rhee is a single mom, so her distraction and commitment to her children is even more extreme. I know this is politically incorrect, but how a single mom with two young kids has the bandwidth to justify her huge salary and reform the dysfunctional DC schools is beyond me.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The Scourge of Ping Pong on DC

Monday, June 04, 2007

DC Schools Break a Record at $18k Per Student

The DC public school budget is a moving target, veering hundreds of millions of dollars in many directions. That in itself is cause for concern. But what really scared me is that the Wa Post today cited a billion dollar budget to educate 55,000 students. That dollar figure is worse than taxpayers' worst nightmares and comes out to about $18,000 to poorly educate every DC K-12 student. For fuck's sake, we could send them all to Potomac School or Cathedral for not much more than that.

The city is spending $3.2 million to do an audit to learn how, exactly, the school system spends its money. While this is good thing, it is horrifying to realize that they currently have no idea how $1 billion of taxpayer money is being spent.
D.C. government officials will launch an extensive audit of the city's public schools today designed to pinpoint how the system is spending its $1 billion budget and identify areas of waste and mismanagement.
Taxpayers pay through the nose for all sorts of waste and mismanagement. When will an elected official rise to try to help us?

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Want to Know what REAL Tax Reform Would Look Like?

Leonardo's post on Jack Evans' proposal to cap property tax increases reminded me how low most folks put the bar for tax reform. We don't need piecemeal proposals when it comes to either federal or local tax reform - we need radical tax reform.
What to know what real tax reform would look like? Go HERE!

Friday, May 18, 2007

DC 2008 Budget 9% Higher, Kills Proposed 5% Cap on Property Taxes

This week the DC Council once again asserted its desire to grow beyond the ability of its taxpayers to finance it. The Council passed a $5.6 billion 2008 budget, which is 9% higher than the 2007 budget. As a point of reference, the consumer price index increased 2.6% in the 12 month period ended April, 2007.

Even worse, the budget nixed Council hero Jack Evans' proposal to cap property tax increases at 5% per year. Evans' proposal was ambushed by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, which sought to kill the cap by cravenly making it a racial issue, claiming that most of the cap's benefits would flow to predominantly white Wards 2 and 3. Any property tax deduction or cap would benefit most those whose properties have the highest assessments, but every tax payer would benefit proportionally. The DCFPI also left out of their press attack that diverse Ward 4 would be a big beneficiary, something that Evans deftly pointed out today on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU.

The Washington Post is the house organ for the DCFPI. It had only one article on Evans' proposal and and a Schwartz proposal to reduce DC estate taxes. That article quoted generously from the lobby group before even explaining the details of either proposal to its readers. The article is so one-sided that it is worth reading the first three paragraphs:
The D.C. Council is considering substantial breaks on inheritance and real estate taxes, and the plans could cost the city almost $100 million in revenue over the next four years, officials said yesterday.

Some council members said the proposed cuts are a way to encourage homeowners to stay in the District. But a report scheduled for release today by a think tank concludes that the legislation would most benefit the city's wealthiest residents and do little for people who don't own their homes.

"This is a city that is divided by income already," said Ed Lazere, who wrote the report. Lazere is executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which analyzes District tax and budget issues.
The Wa Post also wrote an editorial titled "Giveaway" that attacked the tax reductions and, of course, cited the conclusions of the DCFPI. How reducing the rate of tax increases from three times the inflation rate to about 1.5 times is a "giveaway," I have no idea. If the DCFPI really want DC to be affordable to seniors and low-income residents then they should endorse lower property taxes and enable those constituents to be able to keep their homes.

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