School Spending Unsustainable

Stupid PeopleAfter almost four years of railing against the wasteful spending going on here in the city of Keene, you might be under the assumption that this place is a lost cause and subsequently choose to settle elsewhere. Don’t. Keene is a great place with a lot of good people and a lot of potential. The truth is this sort of nonsense is going on across the country and in a lot of places it is much worse. The key difference here is the strong liberty community that has chosen to keep tabs on the powers that be and hold them accountable for their misguided decisions.  We’ve cleared our eyes of the veil of apathy to see the truth for what it is.

To the wise old city bureaucrats and school officials: this may be your legacy, but it’s my inheritance. I WILL NOT stand by and watch while you squander it. You may get your way this year, but I’m not going to make it easy for you.

Here is my recent LTE to the Sentinel:

As some of you may well be aware, the Keene School District plans to cut 36.7 full-time positions, close an elementary school, and has projected a loss in enrollment of around 80 students. And yet, as you probably already expected, the budget will still be going up.

 

The school district has presented us with a proposed operating budget of $64.98 million, an increase of $181,394 from the previous year. Should that article fail, the default budget of $65.66 million will kick in. So, lose/lose. But here’s the real kicker: Due to less incoming revenue in the form of state tuition and previous-year surplus, the actual impact on the Keene taxpayer will be an additional $1.7 million increase. This will amount to a 5.31 percent increase on the school portion of your property tax.

 

 These yearly increases in both school and city spending are unacceptable and ultimately unsustainable. If the school district were a private business it would have gone belly-up years ago due to its mismanagement of funds. But unlike the private sector, the public school system doesn’t need to sell you a good product to stay in business. They’ll get your money regardless of the quality and affordability of service they provide us. Or else they’ll take your house.

In an attempt to reign in this out-of-control spending, I have introduced three warrant articles that will help school board members and administrators with their future budget preparation. They include a budget cap of .5 percent, a reduction of $500 per student per year until the student tuition matches the state average, and the formation of a committee to study the feasibility of withdrawal from SAU 29. I’ve also included a fourth article to cease participation in the one-size-fits-all common core program. Sadly, all four warrants will undoubtedly be amended in such a way as to remove their original intent at the deliberative session this Saturday.

 

If there is one thing the school and its supporters excel at, it is removing any alternative options from the ballot.

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A Growing Concern

ConanatMeetingFor the past four years now I have challenged the local school district here in Keene to reign in their out-of-control spending with no real success. Mind you, this is a huge, $65 million dollar a year welfare machine that many of the residents of Keene have grown completely dependent upon; sadly, a conundrum shared widely throughout the country.

This year I’ve introduced three petitioned warrant articles, or ballot initiatives, that would reduce school spending and one article that would direct the district to opt out of Common Core. In previous years my warrants have always been amended completely ineffective at the first Deliberative session made up primarily of teachers and school admins who oppose any types of cuts. I expect no difference this time around. Convincing people to come out early on a Saturday morning to sit through a long drawn out meeting is much more difficult than collecting their signatures. However, judging by the turnout of disgruntled residents at the first informational meeting this past Tuesday and the fact that The Keene Sentinel chose to include the story on the front page the next day, leads me to believe that more apathetic voters are beginning to wake up. Here is the full Sentinel article:

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Full Hearing on NH’s “UBER” Legislation: Lying Cabbie + UBER Drivers Testify

Christopher David of Free UBER

Christopher David of Free UBER, Courtesy Coin Telegraph

Monday’s Concord state house committee hearings included a late-afternoon hearing for the “UBER” bill, HB1697-FN and I was there to speak and record the hearing. The bill proposes state regulations for “Transporation Network Companies”, which is legal-speak for companies like UBER, that provide connections between people who want to share rides.

While the ideal “level playing field” is to have zero regulations for transportation across all of NH, we can’t expect these politicians to do that at this point. So, having one set of regulations for the entire state would be better than a patchwork of them across the different towns and cities, which would make compliance for companies like UBER very difficult. If that ends up happening, UBER may just decide jumping through various hoops for each town isn’t worth it, and pull out of NH entirely.

Whether UBER pulls out or not, the bill proposes a fee of $5,000 for any TNC be paid to the “Department of Safety”. This fee will definitely be a barrier to entry for new companies who want to compete with UBER. Not only that, but technology quickly outpaces government, as UBER has show, and Arcade City is going to continue to prove. As I point out in my testimony, the newly announced Arcade City is not going to be a corporate entity, so how is government going to get their precious fee from a computer program?

Of particular note in the video is the apparently dishonest testimony from David Weeks, the owner of Concord’s D&B Taxi. Weeks claims he took multiple experimental UBER rides in Manchester – one allegedly didn’t show up, the next driver couldn’t speak English, and the third driver had a bottle of beer between his legs.

David Weeks

David Weeks, Owner of D&B Taxis, Lies to Committee About UBER

On his fourth and final alleged UBER ride, he claims the driver, when asked, quoted a fare of $27 and asked for a tip or told him to get out! Even if Weeks were telling the truth about his first few rides, his fourth story drips of dishonesty. Now, I’m a newer UBER driver, but as far as I know, the driver isn’t presented with the amount the ride is worth in advance. We only decide to accept the ride based on their pickup location.

Second, though this alleged UBER driver in question could have been breaking the rules, the UBER training video makes it CLEAR that UBER does not require tipping. Yes, drivers can accept tips, but UBER riders are well-aware that tips are not required with UBER, so it would be stupid for an UBER driver to demand one.

Amusingly, in the beginning of his testimony, Weeks claims he doesn’t have an axe to grind! Anyone paying attention knows at the very least, that’s not the truth.

After Weeks’ testimony, Free UBER‘s Dennis Acton calls Weeks’ claims, “preposterous” and proceeds to discuss the barrier to entry that is the $5,000 fee. He also says the bill contains too much regulation and that riders should decide, not government.

Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on Free UBER and Arcade City.

Portsmouth Police Threaten Charity Drivers Offering Free Rides on New Year’s Eve

Christopher David of Free UBER

Christopher David of Free UBER – Graphic Courtesy Coin Telegraph

Free UBER‘s Christopher David is making headlines again for his latest announcement where he and several other drivers are offering free rides to people on New Year’s Eve in Portsmouth, NH. The drivers are accepting tips, and Portsmouth police chief Frank Warchol said in an interview with the Portsmouth Herald that accepting donations would still place them under government control and means they’d be fined if caught operating without government permission slips.

Chris’ announcement has really put the government gang in a ridiculous spot that shows their true nature. Prior to this, the controversy with UBER in Portsmouth has been that UBER’s background check requirements aren’t as stringent as Portsmouth’s ordinances demand. There’s been endless debate and discussion in city council meetings about who should be allowed to drive other consenting adults from place to place, with the town government agents acting concerned about “protecting” the passengers from potentially criminal drivers. However, no one in the Portsmouth government would care if a felon takes someone from point A to point B for free, but if they accept a dollar for their effort, then the regulations apply! What’s this scheme of theirs really about? Perhaps money, control, and protecting the old cab companies from competition?

Frank Warchol, Chief of Portsmouth Police

Frank Warchol, Chief of Portsmouth Police – Photo Courtesy SeacoastOnline

The Portsmouth gang is threatening the charity drivers with fines of $500 to $1,000 if they are caught accepting money for rides. How police will catch them is another question entirely. With UBER, police could use the UBER app to monitor the locations of the UBER cars (whether they have, I don’t know). However, UBER is not involved at all with the New Year’s Eve charity, so police would have to run a sting operation by scheduling a ride, then pouncing on the driver when he or she accepts a tip from the undercover cop.

Chris says that his reading of the Portsmouth gang’s “ordinances” and the state gang’s “statutes” lead him to believe there are virtually no restrictions on limousines. The Portsmouth transportation ordinance defines limousine services as those which, “provide designated luxury or specialty vehicles by prior appointment for discrete functions or transportation to locations outside the City or the reverse”. Chris says the vehicles on New Years Eve will be specialty because they will have fun games in the passenger seats.

Will anything go down on New Year’s Eve between city cops and the charity drivers? Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest, and if you’re looking for a ride on New Year’s Eve in Portsmouth, sign up for yours here at Chris’ new project, Arcade City!

Also, for more about Christopher David, check out his interview conducted for bitcoin news publication Coin Telegraph.

Mayor Admits City Has Spent $78,000 in Legal Fees on Robin Hood Lawsuits

Sheriff of Nottingham

Hey, we’ve got legal bills to pay.

The last time we heard about how many taxpayer dollars the city of Keene has spent on their frivolous lawsuit to try to crush the rights of Keene’s Robin Hooders, it was December of 2013, the year they filed the suits against us.

Now, two years later, having lost at superior court in 2013, then mostly losing at the NH supreme court, and losing again at superior court this year, the city’s racked up a total legal bill of at least $78,000! This, according to mayor Kendall Lane in a recent interview on WKBK’s morning show.

Keene’s Robin Hooders were feeding expired parking meters in relative obscurity until the city filed its suit in May of 2013. That suit blew up into a huge storm of publicity, making Keene’s government the laughingstock of the world.

Charles Bauer

Attorney Charles Bauer is getting very rich from taxpayer dollars.

Determined not to show any good sense, the city gang continued to lavish tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on failure after failure in this case. They hired the go-to law firm for all NH municipalities, “Gallagher, Callahan, and Gartrell” (the same firm that lost the Gericke case, which upheld the right to record police). Hey, it’s not like it’s the city’s money – they stole it from Keene’s productive class – the people.

Now the case is going back to the NH supreme court on appeal, but mayor Lane claims the law firm is going to cut them a break on this appeal and do it pro-bono. How generous of Bauer’s firm! (Robin Hood attorney Jon Meyer has been pro-bono from day one.)

Will they successfully overturn the Cheshire superior court’s refusal to grant their requested injunction against Robin Hooders?

No date has been set for the hearing – stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this ridiculous saga.

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