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A bunch of random thoughts

Jack Balshaw 3/26/2003


Just to be different, here are a whole bunch of random thoughts.

Building with redwood is like using drugs and we're using the same failed method to solve the problem. We're going after the growers and suppliers and not the users. If U.S. citizens didn't USE drugs, there would be no drug problem. If we also didn't build redwood decks, etc., the trees wouldn't be cut down. Let's make using redwood a shameful thing.

When the county approves a new open space purchase, I would like to see the Press Democrat print a picture of the site taken from the nearest public road, (no telephoto lenses). That way the public could see the view the purchase is supposed to be preserving. And, if it can't be seen from a public road, why was it approved?

Why don't peace loving South Koreans ever question why the North Koreans they support won't let them visit?

Based on the latest state budget, the prison guards' union is smarter than the teachers' union. Does this mean that prisons make people smarter than schools?

How do cities not on a river handle sewage problems? There are almost 20,000 municipalities in this country. Some of them must have come up with methods that would be useful to Sonoma County.

If we were able to cut the cost of buying prescription drugs in half, who would lose the money not paid? In this country, politics are mostly about who will get and keep the money and who will lose it. Does your friendly local drug chain really want you to pay less for prescription drugs?

Public hearings don't lead to any understanding or compromise; they just reinforce pre hearing positions. What is needed is something more like a public debate. Random three-minute monologues only serve to let the public blow off steam.

Is the "on time" record of some airlines real or have they just added to the flight time on the published schedules to give themselves more time to get there, (wherever there is)? Think about it, who compares the scheduled flight times on alternate airlines between the same cities?

In the stock market, are small investors there just to increase the pot? (Twenty percent of stockowners own eighty percent of all stocks) If these major investors can make better and quicker buy/sell decisions, aren't the small investors serving to just increase the amount of money in play? Sometimes they get lucky.

We all want inexpensive goods and we all want good paying jobs. There's something mutually exclusive about that. If we want inexpensive goods, they have to be made by cheap labor. If we export all our production to countries with cheap labor, how do we ever get good paying jobs for most working Americans?

A current book, Free Agent Nation, explains the difference in attitude about employment between the Depression generation and the Boomer generation. It says, " In two generations the focus of employee motivation has shifted from the fear of privation to the expectation of comfort."

A funny thing happened on the way to the gas pump. While the cost of gas has increased 50 cents in the last six months, people are grumbling but not rioting. If gas taxes had increased that much, politicians would be being recalled. But think also, that money goes out of Petaluma, if it stayed here as a tax, we could fix all our streets in no time.

The one-cent of the 7.5 cents per dollar we get from the sales tax on gas brings $500,000 a year into the city coffers. That 50-cent price increase, if it were a Petaluma tax, would bring in $25 million a year. Funny how we fight tax increases but accept product cost increases with little anger.

That's all folks.


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