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Do Your Research and Vote Responsibly!


There is something to be said for speaking up!

How often do you speak up? The first amendment gives you the right to freedom of speech.

I take the first amendment very seriously. However, there is, as they say, a time and a place for everything.

The time and the place now is voting in November! I am not speaking on a national level. I am speaking on a local level, which effects many of us more than some realize.

Your vote carries more weight than you realize.

Voting for someone you know without knowing what they stand for is not really voting. At least, not in my mind.

It is important to know the individual (s) not in a personal way, but as a public figure, responsible for your tax dollars.

Where are your tax dollars going in the city you live in? You can always find that out. Go to your city office and pick up the current city budget. This will provide a detailed statement of how much money is in each department. This of course varies from department to department. Each department lists many items, the first being salaries. The list goes on. I happen to be very familiar with budgets and how they are implemented. It is a very lengthy process. Each council member and the mayor are responsible for every single dollar in this budget and where and how it will be spent. Not an easy task.

I currently have all of the budget sheets from when I served on Oakland’s City Council. I will be picking up the new budget sheets. I will be curious to see how it compares from the last two years since I served on the City Council.

I have heard rumor, but just that, rumor. I want to see it in print. I will be sharing that information with everyone soon.

Remember, the money supporting your community comes from your wallet. Be responsible!

The future of your community lies in your hands. As I said, voting for someone is not based on the fact that you know them. In a small community, such as Oakland, everybody knows everybody. Public office is not personal. Far from it. Attend a city council meeting, ask questions. Take the time to call those running for office and ask the questions! Otherwise you are voting blindly, trusting someone just because you know them.

Until next time, which will be soon, the responsibility is on you.

 

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Conservation, Crop Insurance and Tax Dollars


By Rachael Meyer, rachaelm@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

America loves farmers. Our government loves them so much that they subsidize, on average, 62 percent of their crop insurance premiums. Crop insurance provides a safety net for farmers when things go wrong, and premium subsidies were intended to get more farmers interested in using crop insurance.
 
Crop insurance guarantees income year after year, but does not require much at all in terms of good soil and water conservation from farmers. Since farmers know they are guaranteed income, there is nothing stopping them from increasing insured acreage by planting marginal land, or land that is unsuitable for farming. Insurance companies ultimately hand farmers a nice cash reward for damaging the heartland.
 
To cut the budget, congress took money out of programs that support conservation such as the Conservation Stewardship Program. At the same time that they made this decision, they had spent $58.7 billion (from 2003-2012) on premium subsidies and administrative and loss reimbursements for insurance companies like Wells Fargo, which had $1.4 trillion in assets in 2013, and Ace, which had a $2.7 billion net income in 2012. But why put money toward conserving the soil and water we rely on for food when so much money goes to the very companies that are paying farmers through insurance regardless of their conservation efforts?
 
America needs to reexamine the effect crop insurance is having on our food industry or else taxpayers will continue to pour money into supporting farming practices that only destroy our environment.
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