I was interested in Dr. Stover’s story in PA 11/28/2012, which told of an Economics Professor who had failed a whole class when he averaged all the students’ grades so there was no incentive to work hard and do well. It reminded me of a similar case I’d heard of when I was an undergraduate. This was back in the somewhat more community conscious days of the late 60’s.
The Professor, back then, was convinced that the “socialist” ways of FDR and LBJ would ruin the country. He told the class their grades were going to be averaged so that no one would get an A, but no one would fail.
The first quiz average was “C”, which naturally upset the best students who had never had so poor a score. The corrected papers were distributed so folks could see who had done well and who had not. An activist in the class organized study groups, where those who had done well could work with the ones who’d done poorly.
They quickly found that the low-scoring students were neither lazy nor stupid – they just hadn’t been prepared to do college work. With a helping hand they improved steadily and the second quiz average was a “B”. Interestingly, it was often the mid-level students who were best at helping the ones who’d done badly, and by going over the material again, they gained as much as their study mates.
With the Final Exam only a week away, the activist and a member of each study group went to bargain with the Professor, who had initially said there would be no A’s. The deal was if every student in the class got an A on the Final, they would all get A’s for the class, despite the slow start some had had.
One can imagine the intensity of the study groups that week. On exam day, everyone showed up in red T-shirts with “We’re All In This Together” in white letters across the back. And, though the Professor had arranged for extra proctors to prevent any chance of cheating, every member aced the exam and received an A for the course, the first A some had ever earned.
I always wished I had been in that class, I only got a B in Econ 101. But the lesson served me well in the rest of my college career and in 40 years of teaching at the high school and college levels. When people work together, they succeed together. Cooperation can be much more powerful than competition.
Wood’s Morrison City Council Notes
Morrison City Council met on November 26, 2012. Hayenga, Blean, Thorndike, Sullivan, Zuidema, Wood, Rose and Connelly were all present. Mayor Drey, Clerk Schroeder, CA Wise, Attorney Zollinger, Engineer Gronewold, Public Works Tresenriter, Chief Melton, and Treasurer Huling were also there with many involved residents.
Public Comment: Aaron Young thanked the city for the Waste Water Treatment Plant open house. He was not clear on some of the answers that were given at the meeting. What are to proposed cost projections? How does it break down for monthly increases to basic households? Using CA Wise’s figures at 2-1/4% interest over 20 years it would mean the annual repayment by the city would be between $815,000 and $1,000,000 a year depending on total cost of project. If you amortize that out, based on 1900 households, the increase would be $36 to $44 per month on top of the already scheduled increases that are in place (one in this December). He thinks we should be forward looking vision to keep and retain the current working families. Based on the usage increase to families with children the average bill would be well over $120 a month. City should look to see if the scheduled increases will cover the cost of that project-how would the increases be distributed? There has been a lack of reporting on Well #5 also with the final dollar amount.
Public Comment: David Jindrich attended the Waste Water Treatment Plant open house. He had asked a Baxter & Woodman representative, Carl, if he could take pictures and it was okay. While taking pictures of the different plans, CA Wise told him that photos were not allowed, so Jindrich stopped. After the fact, Jindrich checked the Open Meetings Act, and found that anyone can record, take pictures, and notes because copyright laws do not pertain in this type of meeting. He contacted CA Wise twice with no response to get pictures of the two displays (D & E) that he was missing. He did see pictures on TheCity1.com newspaper online so how did that happen? He was publicly requesting D & E photos of the displays.
CA Wise stated that they had lengthy discussions with counsel about providing information to the public and found they can. If CA Wise had talked to Carl from Baxter and Woodman he would have known that Mr. Jindrich had permission to take pictures. The information will be provided to the public soon. The city council agreed to go forward with the studies on the property the fair board owns-South of the present Waste Water treatment plant-to see if would be if it would be suitable to use for a plant. If so, then negotiations with the fair board would take place.
In the bills payable, we paid Wilco Rental, Inc. $3,700 for weed eaters/blowers. It was for a purchase of a “leaf vacuum” that was purchased for the cemetery since we do not burn leaves at the cemetery any longer because of the new changes to leaf burning ordinance.
Mr. Hilty requested relief on an outlandish water bill of over $800. Tresenriter brought in some meters and explained how they work. No one could figure out how the meter ran so much, as he did not have any leaks (a plumber was called in). The council decided that his bill would be reduced to his regular amount of $30.43 since it was such an odd occurrence.
The city decided to rent building space from The Trust for Revitalization, Inc. for $500 a month. (This is the same group that purchased 101/103 W. Main from the city for $2.00.) It is a month to month rental, hopefully not too long. The waterworks building has been in disrepair for several years and will be torn down eventually. The city is waiting for approval from General Electric - they will be letting the city use a building once it is approved by their higher chain of command.
We discussed the Historic Preservation Commission meeting cancellation by Tim Slavin and the Historic Preservation Commission after all the people were already there. Mr. Slavin said he didn’t feel right that people could not get in the front door…it was suggested that someone wait by the front door or a sign could have been put on the door. Come to find out, it was NOT the key that was missing (as we were led to believe by CA Wise) it was the allen wrench that keeps the door unlocked after it has been unlocked with a key. Leo Sullivan asked if there was something we could do to make sure that it never happens again. Mayor Drey said we could possible get another allen wrench to be kept somewhere in the office. I was concerned with the fact that 2 meetings were delayed as for property owners to get their “opt out” paperwork in on time. CA Wise stated that the deadline for the “opt out” applications to be turned in is DECEMBER 31, 2012 (OR AT LEAST POSTMARKED BY THAT DATE). So be sure if you are trying to “opt out” of the Historic Districts, get the paperwork in by that date!!
The next Morrison City Council Meeting is Dec. 10, 2012. Hope to see many of you in attendance.
A Morrison Taxpayer,
Tax, Borrow, Spend, Repeat
This week marked the start of veto session, and our team headed to Springfield to ensure hardworking taxpayers have a seat at the table.
The experience felt a lot like “Groundhog Day” — spendaholics with no concept of fiscal reality pushing to borrow another $4 billion to pay down the state’s backlog of bills, which totals $9 billion.
This is the exact same song and dance we heard two years ago during the “temporary” income tax hike discussions.
Advocates of the 67% tax hike promised to pay off our backlog of unpaid bills.
Gov. Quinn said, “We have some temporary tax increases that are designed to pay our bills, get Illinois back on fiscal sound footing and make sure that our state has a strong economy.”
This tax hike, the largest in state history, cost the average family about $1,500 per year, and lawmakers are now looking to make the increase permanent.
Governments keep crying poor and looking to taxpayers to enable their spending addiction through myriad tax increases – from gas and sales taxes to congestion fees and excise taxes.
Enough is enough.
Our 2012 Piglet Book, which identifies nearly 200 examples of wasteful spending totaling more than $354 million, is proof that lawmakers have not earned the right to hike your taxes. Here are some of the most outrageous spending examples:
$2.3 million for cable television for prison inmates
$2.4 million for a 3D-capable movie theater
$2 million to create a vacant lot
$200,000 for eco-friendly zip lines
$21,000 to Swine-time Pig Racing
The vicious cycle of tax, borrow, spend has to stop. It’s time to initiate reforms, cut spending and eliminate waste.
Thanks to your hard work, we’re making progress toward much-needed reforms. Our most recent victory — committee transparency reform — will make it easier to hold elected officials accountable by providing access to legislators’ votes on every bill, in every committee, at any time.
Let’s continue to turn up the heat in Springfield.
enior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst
P.S. Be sure to visit illinoispolicy.org/piglet to download a copy of Piglet 2012. We’ve also created some cool videos and graphics for you to share on your social networks.
Thanks to Everyone at Heritage Canyon’s Christmas Walk
The Early American Crafters welcomed many youngsters and oldsters alike to the beautifully decorated Canyon event held last Saturday.
Many thanks to the Fulton Kiwanis Club, Girl Scouts, Daisy Troup, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Leaders for assisting us when needed.
A special thanks to the City of Fulton and Unity Christian School for providing the shuttle service for the Illuminated Walk. It was the perfect way to kick-off the Christmas season. Again, to all participants, THANK-YOU for another successful year at Heritage Canyon.
Linda E. Dykstra
H.O.M.E.S. - All talk, No Action
You printed in the November 28, 2012 edition, a long article written by the press agent for the HOMES group with the internet address, Stop the Mega Dairy. This organization has noted that a settlement between state regulatory agencies and the owner of the proposed dairy farm in Jo daviess County states that the owner will abandon the site.
The organization against the dairy farm goes into great detail of their efforts against the $73 million dollar dairy farm. It details the five years of court and environmental conflicts. I have had the opportunity to attend many of the one-sided meetings presented by the HOMES group held in Jo Daviess and adjoining counties.
As a retired dairy farmer, with family members now operating the facility, I found that we as dairy farmers have failed in our efforts to inform the uninformed citizens about our efforts to produce their food products. Family farmers that have farmed the same land for over 150 years have a more complete understanding of saving the environment than individuals who have not farmed.
Our Agricultural Environment is of concern to those on the land 365 days of the year. They can make better decisions than some bureaucrat in Springfield or Washington.
Several times at the HOMES meetings, I heard the members comment, “We in Northwest Illinois need 50 new farms with 100 milk cows instead of one farm with 5,000 head.”
Yet I have not seen any member of the HOMES group step forward to invest the necessary $300,000 to $500,000 to provide the startup of a 100-cow dairy, in spite of their advocating for producing our food locally. In fact, I cannot name one of their members that has any livestock.
The HOMES group was successful in stopping a dairy farm that never had a cow on the farm. The $73 million dollar investment is gone, and the buildings moved to dairy farms in Wisconsin.
I hope that we can continue to keep our dairy processing markets here for those dairy farmers that had continued their operations. If you see some milk tankers on the highway headed this way, with Wisconsin or Iowa license plates, or even the name “Fair Oaks Dairy” in Indiana, you know that our processors are still getting their raw milk supply.
I. Ron Lawfer
Guest Commentary – Long Live the Twinkie!
(Twinkie Killers, Part 2)
By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson
Can the Twinkie and other famous Hostess brands be saved? I hope so, and I’ll offer my own two cents’ on one possible way of doing so. First, though, I’d like to address two of the criticisms of my previous article—namely, that I confined my comments to the Bakery union and the allegation that I “hate” unions.
Yes, it’s true that I did not write a comprehensive diagnosis of the chain of events that brought Hostess to the brink of liquidation. My focus was simply on what, to me, is the astounding and sad decision by the Bakery union to deep-six their own jobs.
That is not to say that the bakers are solely responsible for Hostess’ demise. The Teamsters surely share in the blame for the massive inefficiencies that their work rules and featherbedding imposed on Hostess.
As for management’s alleged culpability, I don’t know enough of the particulars to judge. I’m sure they made some mistakes. Who doesn’t? I wonder, though, whether any management team would be brilliant enough to make Hostess profitable, given the union-imposed inefficiencies and the challenge of funding and administering Hostess’ several hundred collective-bargaining agreements and health and benefit plans.
Furthermore, I question the arithmetical skills of those who claim that management bonuses comprised half the problem. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Hostess’ managers gave themselves $60 million in bonuses. (One figure I read was $6 million, but I can’t verify that, so I opted for a larger figure.) Even if those $60 million bonuses were cancelled or retrieved, that wouldn’t come close to eliminating the company’s annual red ink of $341 million. In comparison, the compensation packages for 18,500 current employees, plus who knows how many retirees, must be somewhere around $1 billion per year. I’m not asserting that the bonuses were justified, but for anyone to say that management bonuses constitute “half” of the company’s financial problems doesn’t add up.
Now, in response to the charge that I hate unions, that’s just absurd and unfounded. First, I don’t hate anyone. (Actually, I think the pro-union people who sent vile emails to me might be projecting their own hatred onto me.) In essence, I am neither pro-union nor anti-union. I believe that a person should be able to exercise the right of free association and join a union, and also should be free to not join a union as a condition of holding a job if the person doesn’t want to join.
I have been on the workingman’s side at least since working as a janitor at Chrysler over four decades ago. I think unions sometimes make poor decisions (the Bakery union’s being the most recent example) and that is why I have urged unions to adapt so that they can thrive in the 21st century. I have even argued that there should be more unions—a goal to be accomplished by removing the current monopoly status that unions have. That way, additional unions could form, resulting in competition between unions that would yield better service to rank-and-file workers, just as competition between businesses leads to better service to consumers.
Okay, here is what I propose with regard to Hostess:
Instead of selling off the Twinkie and other famous brands to outside interests, let the owners either give them or sell them at a discount to the Bakery Union. Other unions have lined up financing to buy the factories where they worked. Then, the union members could pay themselves whatever they think they deserve—no more of the toxic “management is the enemy” atmosphere. They could charge whatever price they want for the Twinkies they would make. They could bake as many or as few as they wanted and do so in the way of their choosing. They could hire whomever they wanted to manage the business and set their compensation—no more unjustified bonuses to resent. The Bakery Union could hire whomever they wanted—Teamsters or non-Teamsters—to drive their products to market.
Such a change in ownership could be a very effective learning experience, not just for the Bakery Union and the Teamsters, but for other unions and the American public, too.
Long live the Twinkie!
– Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
I’ve always believed that if you don’t work for something, you don’t appreciate much about what you obtain. President Obama’s now infamous statement, “he didn’t build that” and our unbelievable expansion of entitlement giving has truly expanded the problem.
Our link card system (food stamps) is a classic example. In the past several years, the expansion of their use has gone viral. For years you could only use them for necessities. Are you ready for this folks - you can now get cash from your ATM machine with your link card. The Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Community services has a link at http://www.dhs.state.il/pageaspx?item=35541that explains how to do it.
Remember several weeks ago I shared how a person bought a new iPhone 5 with her link card? Now I learn that DHS deposits money for you and you can get the money for whatever you wish at your ATM.
There goes that evil Republican Jim Sacia trying to stick it to poor people – NUTS! I’ll help anyone in need and I have a track record to prove it. I’m sick and tired of those bilking the system and we truly are getting out of control. Why can’t we balance a budget? Why are we headed for a fiscal cliff? The answer is very obvious my friends, and until we again find shame in taking money we don’t really deserve, it will only become much worse.
My high school classmate, Kathy Osley Young, often shares interesting information with me. Several months ago I shared how the pilgrims’ communal government system failed. Kathy put it in its proper perspective. “In addition to common ownership of land, the pilgrims farmed corn on a common plot and divided it evenly among themselves.”
An early pilgrim governor, William Bradford, best known as the “Father of Thanksgiving,” reported that the arrangement miserably failed. He wrote, “For the young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.”… “The equitable division of inequitably produced assets did not sit well with those whose labor yielded the harvest.”
Bradford, faced with starvation of his group, allowed each family to produce what they could on their allotted ground and keep what they produced and sell or barter their excess. Wow! It replaced infighting with harmony and industry and abundance of food. The pilgrims stumbled upon capitalism.
Statistics of giveaway programs today are appalling. Government programs to combat poverty produce more poverty and have increased nearly tenfold over ten years. When something obviously isn’t working isn’t it time to try a time tested approach?