Tuesday, April 30, 2013

About To Hit The Road

Tomorrow morning, we are leaving for Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend our youngest grandson's graduation from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Blog posts may be a bit intermittent.

Public Policy seems to run in our family. We're pretty pleased that the younger generation is carrying on the tradition.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cox v. Town Of Oriental

Sometime in the next two days, I will file a notice of appeal of the judge's dismissal of my complaint against the Town of Oriental. The complaint concerned Avenue A and the Town's contract to exchange two dedicated and accepted rights of way for a parcel of real estate. In other words, I opposed the Town Board's desire to sell or barter an asset they only hold in trust for the public.

So far the Town says it has spent $30,000 for the motion to dismiss.

What was really at issue? The Town wants to be free to sell or otherwise dispose of the newly-acquired waterfront property whenever they see fit, for whatever reason.

In other words, they want the right to flip the real estate, including any of the Town's rights of way. No irrevocable dedication. "Don't tie our hands."

The Court of Appeals will not uphold the Town's position.

For those who think I am making this up after the fact, I refer to my blog post of last June 14, before the July 3 public hearing. "What Do I Really Think?" the post asked.

I think the Town's position jeopardizes all of our rights of way, especially those leading to the water.

This is not just my fight. It is the fight of everyone who values public access to the water.

The effort to continue the appeal will take more money and effort. If possible, we need to hire an attorney. In the meantime, there are filing deadlines for the appeal process.

I have established a bank account in the name of: ONC Protect Streets. I am accepting donations. Mail contributions to ONC Protect Streets, P.O. Box 236, Oriental, NC 28571. All unused contributions will be returned.

This is about Oriental's future.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wisdom From The Great Depression

Next year, the University of California Press is bringing out a new edition of the late economist Charles Kindleberger's influential and illuminating book analyzing the great depression.

In World in Depression, 1929-1939, published in 1973, Kindleberger examined the history of international trade, finance and macroeconomics during the heart of the Great Depression. Anyone with an interest in such matters should welcome the new edition.

Kindleberger would doubtless, were he alive today, notice the alarming parallels between the decade about which he wrote and our own times. The similarities are not reassuring.

Economic historians Brad DeLong and Barry Eichengreen have written a new preface to the book. DeLong has posted the it on his blog here. The new introduction is well worth reading in its own right. Anyone reading the it who also follows international events cannot help but be concerned.

As one might expect of economists, the new preface focuses on economic processes.

I could not help but reflect, however, on the interaction between the political world of 1929-1939 and the economic world. Kindleberger focuses on the lack of international economic leadership. There was at least an equal failure of leadership in the sphere of international political relations.

I hope we are not in for a rerun.

Read the new preface!

Wage Stagnation And The Sequester: It Would Help To Be Noticed

Economist Mark Thoma has an interesting observation about the relative weight of impacts of the sequester: "If wage stagnation and growing inequality," he says,  "somehow caused flight delays and other inconveniences for those who are doing okay -- the people with the most political power -- maybe we'd put more effort into doing something about it."

Here's what economist Jared Bernstein has to say about the issue.

The Roman Numeral Gap!

Following up on my earlier post on the cursive gap and the legislature's drive to require that students memorize multiplication tables, another yawning gap in education just occurred to me. The Roman Numeral Gap!

There was a time when normal students could read the roman numerals that appeared in movie titles. This was an accepted part of everyone's education.

Now students can't even read the Super Bowl numbers.

Surely the General Assembly can adopt measures to correct this yawning gap in our childrens' education.

Other shortcomings needing attention:

Diagramming sentences;

Greek alphabet;

Latin for everyone;

Courses in rhetoric;

Analytical geometry.

The Penmanship Gap!

I learned from this morning's News and Observer that both houses of the General Assembly have courageously tackled one of our most urgent educational crises - the disappearance of cursive writing. Not to mention multiplication tables.

I was first exposed to the discipline of cursive writing in 1945. Our rural school district assigned a handwriting teacher to visit each elementary school a couple of times a week to put students through the agony of handwriting exercises. Are there any qualified handwriting teachers out there now in this day and age?

Maybe we should put out a call for retired handwriting instructors.

So far as I can tell from the articles, the legislators have not addressed one of the most important issues - what penmanship style must be used. Surely we need to adopt a standard. Should cursive be taught in the Spencerian style? That style is elegant and has a distinguished history. Should cursive be taught by the Palmer method? That method is somewhat simpler and faster. Then there are Getty-Dubay, Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting, Icelandic (Italic), Zaner-Bloser, and D’Nealian methods. Shouldn't the General Assembly specify a standard?

The General Assembly really needs to develop a more complete systemic approach to our penmanship gap. For example, we seem to have a crisis in penmanship that spans many years. In view of the importance of correcting that gap, maybe we need to task our Community College system with developing continuing education courses in penmanship.

There must also be a program of incentives. Here are some ideas:
1. Require applicants for driver's licenses to fill out forms in cursive;
2. DMV only issue licenses to applicants with legible forms;
3. Require legible cursive in unemployment insurance applications;
4. Empower all local, county and state officials to reject any form not completed in legible cursive writing;
5. I'm sure you can come up with other ideas.

We may have to exempt written doctor's prescriptions from the legibility requirement.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Krugman Is Right - But It May Not Make A Difference

Business Insider has a well-written article summarizing the intellectual triumph of those economists like Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong who advocated more economic stimulus instead of more austerity.

Readers of my blog know I have agreed with that assessment all along. But I have to take issue with part of the BI article. "Over the course of this debate," the article emphasized, "evidence has gradually piled up that, however well-intentioned they might be, the "Austerians" were wrong." 

I don't buy into the "well-intentioned" argument. Many of the "Austerians" were simply pandering to the preferences of the wealthy and powerful. Yesterday economist Jared Bernstein posted an article about "The Preferences Of The Wealthy And Their Role In American Politics." None of what he says will come as a surprise to anyone who has paid attention. Nor is it new in our history. But from around 1935 until around 1975, it was under control. 

Things began to change while working Americans were paying attention to something (or somethings) else.

Now it will take a sustained effort to undo the work of the wealthy and powerful over the past four decades.

It is not accidental that wages of working Americans have stagnated for the past four decades while income and wealth of the wealthy has soared. And it was not due to efforts I would call "well-intentioned."

Krugman himself doubts that the thorough discrediting of studies by Reinhart/Rogoff and Alesina will make a difference. Our Congress continues applying discredited medicine. Currently the sequester. What destructive economic leeches will they apply next?

More On The Sequester Disaster

Here's an analysis of the sequester published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Now Here's My Plan:

When in a difficult situation ("sticky wicket"), it's always best to plan ahead.

My favorite graphic depiction of the planning process is in this Shel Silverstein cartoon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nowplansilverstein.jpg

Professional planners will get the point.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Sequester Is A Really, Really Bad Idea

I don't care who thought it up. The sequester was a bad idea. The obsession with debt instead of joblessness that led to the sequester was foolishness of a high order.

Unless the Congress comes to its senses, the damage that is being done will persist.

The only good thing we can say is that the US isn't acting as foolishly as Europe.

Paul Krugman explains. He shouldn't have to.

For at least four years, the U.S. political class has failed in economic leadership. In steering the ship of state, they persist in putting the rudder over in the wrong direction.

The problem is jobs, not debt.

At least the United States hasn't entered another dip in the recession.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Cox v. Town Of Oriental: I Have Not Struck My Colors

I have been asked recently whether I will appeal Judge Alford's dismissal of my complaint against the Town.

The answer is: Appeal is one of several measures under consideration.

Plainly, to go forward with any options will realistically require retention of counsel. I have already received a number of contributions to the effort and will need more.

I have opened a bank account in the name "ONC Protect Streets" to accept deposits for legal expenses to support the effort.

Anyone wishing to contribute can send donations to ONC Protect Streets at 409 Academy Street, Oriental, NC 28571.

I am also working on a web site to provide background information and to explain how important the effort is to protect public access to public trust waters.

It's all about the water.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Oriental North Carolina Public Records

Last week Mayor Sage advised citizens that the "best, most efficient and quickest way for anyone to obtain public information or documents" is to visit the Town's web site.


I have visited the web site frequently in recent months. I looked again today. There are no minutes of Town Board meetings since last November. Minutes are adopted by the Town Board at every monthly meeting, most recently at the meeting of April 2 for minutes of March meetings.

December, January, February and March minutes are not posted on the Town's web site.

And that's not all.

Minutes for 2010 are in a bad way.

Some minutes refer to closed session minutes for which there appear to be no corresponding open session minutes.

What else? I have just begun to look.

I'm sure it's just an oversight.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sit Down And Shut Up! - Just Who's In Charge Here, Anyhow?

NC Senator Tommy Tucker earlier in the week admonished a North Carolina Publisher "I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet."

Democracy is messy. It doesn't always achieve the best result. But one thing is clear: elected officials work for the citizen, not the other way 'round.

Shame  on Tommy Tucker. And shame on citizens who don't stand up and make themselves heard. It isn't enough to just vote at election time.

The principle is, you can't have Democracy without elections, but you can have elections without Democracy. We have seen that in our time, around the world.

As Chris Fitsimon of NC Policy Watch explains, "Tucker's berating of a citizen he is supposed to be representing wasn't all that surprising. That's the way the General Assembly, especially the Senate, is run these days.... The folks in charge not only want to make sure you know they are in charge, they want your obedience, not your questions or doubts and certainly not your disagreements."

Closer to home, last Wednesday, Oriental mayor Bill Sage wrote an article appearing in the Pamlico News: "Oriental Town Board and Public Participation." The key message: "The town board's meetings are for the purpose of its conduct of official town business with which the board is charged with responsibility by its charter and by state law. It is an opportunity for the public to observe the work of the mayor and commissioners."

In other words, to the public: "sit down and shut up."

Incredibly, at a number of recent meetings, that has been the message to commissioners as well. Issues of public finance have been deemed unsuitable for discussion in public. "Schedule a private meeting to discuss your questions with the Town Manager," the mayor directed the board. Questions raised by a citizen concerning number of employees were not answered. The questions were not even answered when asked by a commissioner.

Sage's article does not come right out and say so, but the rest of the message seems to be: "input from the public is neither required nor desired."

Who knows - the Town's Governing Body might actually learn something from the citizens and be diverted from its preordained course.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seventy Years Ago: Isoroku Yamamoto

April 18, 1943, a squadron of US Army P-38 twin engine fighters took off from Guadalcanal on a 1,000 mile round-trip flight to shoot down a Japanese aircraft taking a very important person to Bougainville. The very important person was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Fleet.

Four days earlier, US Navy communications intelligence personnel intercepted a series of messages encoded in the Japanese naval operating code, JN-25. It proved to be a series of communications giving Admiral Yamamoto's precise itinerary for a command inspection tour. The purpose of the tour was to enhance Japanese morale for their next planned offensive operations.

US planners considered what aircraft to assign to the mission. The only aircraft with enough range was the P-38. Eighteen P-38's were assigned to the mission, code-named Vengeance. The planned time of intercept was 09:35.

The four P-38's designated to intercept Yamamoto arrived at 09:34 just as Yamamoto's flight of two Japanese twin-engined aircraft began their descent. The interceptors shot down both aircraft. Yamamoto, in the lead aircraft, perished. Yamamoto's deputy, in the second aircraft, survived.

The mission was an assassination. The assassination succeeded.  Today we would call it a "targeted killing."

Did it shorten the war or make the next two years of warfare easier? Probably not.

John le Carre: Interview And Portrait

There are no heroes in John le Carre's novels. At least no heroic ones. Just human beings. Survivors, for the most part, dissembling when necessary. Faithful to the truth when convenient.

Today's New York Times Magazine on line publishes an interview and portrait of le Carre by Dwight Garner.

I won't try to summarize. The whole article is well worth reading.

After The Spy Who Came In From The Cold appeared as a movie, I read the book. Complex characters. Moral ambiguity. Le Carre's world wasn't divided into "good guys" and "bad guy," but his novels exude an old fashioned morality where personal loyalties override patriotism. And there is no treason more invidious than the violation of that loyalty.

I was hooked on le Carre's books with that first reading.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Messing With The Wrong City

Dennis Lehane, writing in today's New York Times, explains in detail why Boston won't be terrorized.

"Trust me," he says, "we won’t be giving up any civil liberties to keep ourselves safe because of this. We won’t cancel next year’s marathon. We won’t drive to New Hampshire and stockpile weapons. When the authorities find the weak and terminally maladjusted culprit or culprits, we’ll roll our eyes at whatever backward ideology they embrace and move on with our lives."

That's what it means to not be terrorized.

Lehane continues: "The little man or men who did this will, I have faith, be arrested, jailed and forgotten. Whatever hate movement they belong to will ultimately go the way of the anarchist assassination movements of the early 20th century or the Symbionese Liberation Army of the 1970s."  

"Boston took a punch on Monday," Lehane closes " — that left it staggering for a bit. Flesh proved vulnerable, as flesh is wont to do, but the spirit merely trembled before recasting itself into something stronger than any bomb or rage."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We're Really In This Together

It's hard to watch the scenes from Boston. Hard to imagine why. What one or more people wanted to accomplish by setting the bombs. Them against everyone else.

But in Boston we see the antidote at work: people rushing into the face of danger to help others. People who don't stop to think about it - they know: we're all in this together!

Think about it! It isn't rational. It's human!

Thank God for humans!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What Is To Be Done?

A lovely day for a marathon. A lovely place for a race.

When Donald Rumsfeld explained that "the purpose of terrorists is to terrorize," he failed to identify where the words came from. They are the words of Lenin.

If Lenin is right, the best response to terrorists is to refuse to be terrorized.

I think that's what the people of Boston will do.

Patriot's Day, 2013.

April Is The Cruelest Month


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain.

T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land


Who Benefits - Who Pays?

As I have said before, this is the central question of politics. It is also a central question of economics. The issue is not "is the system fair?" it is "does the system work for the prosperity of everyone?"

The answer right now is "no."

In fact, that has been the answer for about four decades.

Economist Joe Stiglitz has some ideas about how to make it better.

The central purpose of our national economy should not be to make the already wealthy wealthier or to replicate Downton Abbey.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seventy Years Ago: Jefferson Memorial

President Franklin Roosevelt had a few words to say about Thomas Jefferson at the opening of the Jefferson Memorial, April 13, 1943. The full statement is here.

Roosevelt on Jefferson:

"He faced the fact that men who will not fight for liberty can lose it. We, too, have faced that fact.

"He lived in a world in which freedom of conscience and freedom of mind were battles still to be fought through—not principles already accepted of all men. We, too, have lived in such a world.

"He loved peace and loved liberty—yet on more than one occasion he was forced to choose between them. We, too, have been compelled to make that choice.

"Jefferson was no dreamer-for half a century he led his State and his Nation in fact and in deed. I like to think that this was so because he thought in terms of the morrow as well as the day—and this was why he was hated or feared by those who thought in terms of the day and the yesterday.

"The words which we have chosen for this Memorial speak Jefferson's noblest and most urgent meaning; and we are proud indeed to understand it and share it:

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

The Anecdote Gap

Brad DeLong posts a comment by economist Evan Soltas from this week's conference of economic bloggers.

Soltas bemoans the fact that politicians extol anecdotes, often untrue anecdotes, in preference to data. He is right, but there may be no way to fix the problem.

Humans seem favorably disposed to storytelling. In every sense of the word. Many, if not most, on the other hand, have difficulty getting their head around statistics. Even when the statistics are graphically displayed.

Not even Presidential Candidate Ross Perot succeeded in combining the two skills.

Unfortunately, skill with anecdote leads to bad policy.

As we used to say in the Pentagon: "figures don't lie, but liars figure." Even worse, if a problem can't be described by anecdote, it all too often isn't addressed at all.

Friday, April 12, 2013

My Great Grandfather Rode With Billy The Kid*

My grandparents never told me about my Great Grandfather. What little I know I have had to dig out from scattered records and stories passed down through other branches of the family.

His name was John Scroggins. He was born in Georgia in 1852. In 1872 he travelled to St. Louis and enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry. He served in the 4th Cavalry Regiment, mostly in Texas. He was in the Regiment during the epic raid into Mexico fictionalized in John Ford's movie Rio Grande, starring John Wayne. After the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, the Regiment went north to round up Chief Dull Knife's band of Cheyenne warriors in late 1876. He was discharged in 1877.

The next appearance of John Scroggins in available records was in the census of 1880. He and his wife Kate (Wampler) Scroggins were living in Palo Pinto County, Texas with two small children, next door to John's father in law, Roderick Wampler, who was also working on the railroad.

So what happened between 1877 and 1880?

It turns out that on April 4, 1878, John Scroggins rode into Blazer's Mill, New Mexico, with Billy the Kid and a large posse (the Regulators) seeking the assassins of John Tunstall. Not long after the shootout at Blazer's Mill, John Scroggins disappeared from New Mexico.

In Texas, he is said to have worked as an Indian Scout, disappearing for months at a time and on one occasion turning up with an Indian woman and a small child. The woman died and is supposed to have been buried outside the fence of the cemetery in Strawn, Texas. He and his wife had about thirteen children, ran a store for miners at nearby Thurber, Texas and eventually a rooming house in Mineral Wells.

John Scroggins is said by some descendents to have been a hard drinker and a gambler, allegedly drinking up much of the family's profits.

In other words, a typical westerner of the day.

My grandfather, Valentine Scroggins (named for a maternal uncle and a maternal great grandfather) was born in Palo Pinto County April 2, 1886, eight years almost to the day after the shootout at Blazer's Mill.

*Maybe. It fits. So far I can't disprove it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

News from Goldman Sachs: Federal Deficit Rapidly Shrinking

It turns out that on a twelve-month average basis, federal outlays in nominal (constant) dollars have fallen for the first time since rapid demobilization after the Korean War. Here's the story.

Bottom line: there is no federal debt crisis. There is still a jobs crisis.

Our political leadership continues to worry about the wrong thing.

By the way, putting people back to work will bring the deficit down even further and faster.

Speaking Of Elections: Hayes - Tilden 1876

Economic historian Brad DeLong has raised another interesting question: "why did the Republicans in 1876 abandon their most reliable supporters in the South (African Americans) for small gains that put Benjamin Hayes in the White House?" The negotiated outcome of this, one of the most contentious elections in US history, ended any effective Federal oversight of the South for nearly a century.

Another historian provides a plausible answer.

It remained for Lyndon Johnson to undo the Republican capitulation of 1876. The Republican Party then promptly recruited Southern racists to their own cause.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

As Mississippi Goes, So Goes...

When Haley Barbour of Yazoo City, Mississippi (where my father was born in 1915 and my brother in 1941) was appointed Chair of the Republican National Committee in 1993, astonished journalists asked how this came about. Haley Barbour replied that "the rest of the country is following in Mississippi's footsteps," or words to that effect.

Oriental resident (or former resident gone cruising) Tony Tharp, calls attention today to an article in the Jackson Clarion Ledger blog site describing just where those footsteps lead. Tony, a native son of the Mississippi Delta (near Leland, MS along US Highway 82), often reflects on past and current developments in the state.

North Carolina Election Law

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering more than sixty bills that would change the way elections are conducted in the state, plus more than a dozen measures that would call for constitutional amendment votes in 2014.

One of the most consequential bills for Pamlico County is House Bill 607, which passed the House on April 9. This bill decrees the use of paper ballots in all elections in North Carolina. If adopted, it will abolish the use of the Ivotronics Direct Record Election (DRE) touch-screen machines in use in Pamlico County since 2006.

The bill requires that these machines no longer be used for elections beginning January 1, 2014. In other words, we would have to replace the machines in time for the next Congressional election, including the primary election, about a year from now.

That's a tall order, and an expensive one.

In Pamlico County, we like our Ivotronics machines. But they will need to be replaced in three to five years, whether HB 607 becomes law or not. Technology marches on and parts are no longer being made.

Still, DRE machines have advantages.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Training For Election Officials

Training for North Carolina election officials ended early this afternoon in Concord.

Some of the training was done by experts brought in from the world of education and training to improve our ability to prepare precinct officials to insure effective elections. The morning's expert, after enlightening us on the techniques of Andragogy (you can look it up), admitted that she had learned a lot. "I vote," she said. "I walk up to the scanner with my paper ballot, put it in the slot, and it says "whoosh.'"

"I had no idea until this week," she admitted, "what goes on behind the scenes. Thank you all for what you do."

I will have more to say after I study the election bills submitted to the General Assembly. Some have already been passed. Many of the bills seem based on what some legislators imagine goes on behind the scenes rather than actual knowledge.

The pending bill I most strongly support is H38. If adopted, it will eliminate second primaries. Good idea.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Who Are The Tyrants?

Churchill saw Tyranny as the foe.

So who were the tyrants?

Economic historian Brad DeLong has a very interesting blog post today on the history of Tyrants, especially twentieth century tyrants.

His essay is worth reading. Just as worthy of attention are the many well-argued comments others have posted taking exception to or modifying many of the points DeLong makes.

Churchill: "Tyranny Is Our Foe"

In 1943, Winston Churchill was awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University. Churchill spoke at the ceremony, emphasizing the importance of a common effort by English-speaking peoples because of their shared traditions of freedom.

"We do not war," he said, "with races....Tyranny is our foe, whatever trappings or disguise it wears, whatever language it speaks, be it external or internal, we must forever be on our guard, ever mobilized, ever vigilant, always ready to spring at its throat. Not only do we march and strive shoulder to shoulder at this moment under the fire of the enemy on the fields of war or in the air, but also in those realms of thought which are consecrated to the rights and dignity of man."

Let us not forget.

Friday, April 5, 2013

North Carolina Legislature

I first visited North Carolina in 1955. I was a student at the University of Mississippi. A year earlier, in Greenwood, Mississippi, the town where I started to school in the first grade in 1943, a prominent local citizen started the White Citizen's Council.

North Carolina was a very different place. It stood out as a southern oasis. North Carolina had men and women of vision. A manifestation of that vision was the election of Terry Sanford as governor in 1960.

I was happy to move here after I retired. Decent people. Progressive initiatives like the Research Triangle. Fine institutions of higher education. University of North Carolina. Duke. A fine community College System. Sailors. Good public schools. Efforts to improve the environment. One of the best election systems in the nation. Thoughtful public officials dedicated to making the state an even better place to live.

Earlier this evening, I watched the weekly legislative summary on public television. I had already read some of the bills introduced in the state legislature. What I heard and read brings back recollections of Mississippi in the 1940's and 1950's.

That isn't where North Carolina needs to go.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Courtesy And Respect Are Never Out Of Order

Just observing. Respect should be a two way street. But elected officials especially need to respect the input from citizens. They might learn something.

As for "negativity," when citizens ask elected officials for answers, it seems pretty negative to ignore their queries and refuse to respond in public. It is elected officials who answer to the citizens, not the other way around. Witness last night's Town Board meeting as reported (so far) by Town Dock:

"7:26a The Town Board voted 4-0 last night to give up South Avenue at the harbor in the land swap with Chris Fulcher. It had already given up Avenue A in the swap last summer. More on that coming. (In the meantime, see posting from last night – scroll below)

"Also at the meeting, The Board okayed Town Manager Bob Maxbauer’s request to shift $65,000 from the Town’s General Fund (rainy day fund) to fill a budget gap while the Town waits for Hurricane Irene money to come through.
Commissioner Warren Johnson tried to prevent Maxbauer from hiring a third police officer until at least the new fiscal year in July. That failed on a 3-2 vote in which the Mayor broke a tie. Meanwhile, Maxbauer revealed that the part time cop hired in February may be working more than half of his full-time hours in Public Works where his “skills” are needed. No mention of the total numbers of people working in Public Works, a question that Commissioner Johnson posed at the agenda meeting 5 days earlier. Also, it was revealed that about $9,000 was spent on “tools” in February.
More than a half dozen residents used the Public Comment session at the beginning of the meeting to, among other things: question the land swap; claim Maxbauer was recklessly spending money; and suggest a Q&A session between the public and the Board. A short time later, one of the attorneys working for the Town, Clark Wright, criticized what he said was “negativity” and said that people should instead focus on “positive attributes” and “talk about what they love” about the Town. A fuller report of the meeting is coming…"

What I love about Oriental is that it has citizens who will stand up and speak up. That is our most positive attribute. Down with passivity!