Monday April 27, 2015
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Hey Pat, something else that is connected with Mr. Hirani and the Basha's shopping center: Story in the Roundup this week about the dry cleaners which was owned by Steve Drury being closed for non-payment of rent. Mr. Drury had a sewer line collapse under his business and Mr. Hirani's corporation refused to repair it. So, Mr. Drury had to spend money out of his own pocket to provide a toilet for his employees, so he stopped paying his rent. The Hirani corporation changed the locks on the business. locking out Mr. Drury, as well as all of the customers whose dry cleaning was inside. Mr. Drury has been at odds with King Kenny for quite a while. Coincidence?
Pat, due to various health concerns, I monitor sodium and sugar intake. Which means that I read poduct labels diligently. I have been appalled by the items which contain sugar or sugar products, which you would never imagine need to contain sugar. Just to name a couple: bread and canned tomatoes. Yours is a good idea in principle, but in practice could be very difficult.
Ron, yes, indeed I do know you and how you feel about this kind of thing. Like you, I do not "lend" money. I consider it a gift and if I get it back, good for me and for the beneficiary. If I don't, well, I didn't expect to in the first place. However, EBT cards are a different kettle of fish. There are already restrictions placed on what can be purchased with the cards, thereby implying a tacit "judgment". I would never suggest that frozen, prepared foods (ie; pizzas, dinners, pot-pies, etc) should not be purchased with EBT cards, as I am well aware that there are people either physically incapable of, or without the knowledge to, prepare a meal from scratch. However, I still, and will continue to, contend that using your EBT card at a restaurant, fast food, or otherwise, is a tremendous waste of the tax-payer supported funds which people have been given; and as there are people working for their living who cannot afford to eat regularly at restaurants of any type, it is a huge kick in the teeth for them to know that what they work so hard for is being abused by others.
I know people working 2 and 3 jobs in order to avoid needing assistance, who have to budget a monthly treat of eating out. As for an ice cold beer? Or a nice glass of wine? Sorry, not in the budget. And cigarettes? Well, they are a distant memory.
No judgment here, just simple practicality, mixed in with a healthy dose of reality.
Forgot to address the "judge not" contingent. If we are truly not supposed to judge, then why are there any restrictions AT ALL on the use of EBT cards? Shouldn't we all just keep our eyes and our mouth shut? Let them buy WHATEVER they want with the cards that are being provided AT TAXPAYER expense. I mean, my goodness sakes, why should it be up to us, to deem alcohol and cigarettes unnecessary? Shouldn't people on food stamps be allowed a treat? Perhaps in the future, when churches are putting together food bags for Thanksgiving and Christmas, they should also add in a case of beer, or a few bottles of wine, perhaps even a pack or two of cigarettes; because, heck, it is the holidays and needy people should be allowed to celebrate just like anybody else.
I will reiterate: given what I personally do, have done, and continue to do, I am fairly comfortable with my level of charitable compassion. Some anecdotal experience: There are people who have free and unlimited access to meat, vegetables, fruits, breads, canned and bagged goods, and various and sundry other edibles. All that is required is that they prepare it for themselves. Some only require heating. And yet, they will still run to the local gas station and buy a Big Gulp and a tray of nachos, because currently they are acceptable on the EBT program card.
I have had time to get my thoughts in order, and to remind myself that we all deal with things in different ways.
The point I was making is that I feel that Food stamps should be an emergency measure to get people through rough times, and NOT something that they depend on month after month after year. They should NOT be a regular fact of life in how people make ends meet. There are alternate methods of treating yourself and your kids, besides a cheeseburger at McDonald's.
As for "giving the government too much more control", I fail to see how precluding the use of EBT cards at restaurants (fast food or otherwise) is too controlling. The use of EBT cards is already precluded for alcohol, cigarettes, chew and health and beauty items. On the other hand, EBT cards can be used for all "food-type" items, frozen dinners, chips, cookies, soda pop, frozen pizza, etc.
For the divorced mother with 3 kids, in Tom's earlier scenario, the $15-$20 dollars that she would spend at McDonald's, could be better and much more nutritiously spent on a whole chicken, potatoes and vegetables, with a carton of ice cream for a treat and still a bit of money left over.
I absolutely deplore the thought of someone who is truly needy, going hungry, because of a surfeit of pride keeping them from applying for help. However, I can assure, those are the people who would NEVER pile their food items on the conveyor belt, with the prohibited items piled behind for which they would find the cash.
I will stipulate that, of course, I am not in every grocery store, 24/7; however, when you see those piles of "disapproved items" which will be paid cash for, I have NEVER seen a treat for a child. No, never a coloring book and crayons, or a small toy, or a new outfit. Nope, 99% of the time it is a case of beer, a bottle or two of whiskey and some wine, and then they ask for a carton of cigarettes.
To address Tom's assertion that this proposed measure is too much government control, were I in charge of the food stamp program, each and every recipient of food stamps would be required to attend regular nutrition and cooking classes. In these classes, they would learn how one can buy the cheapest cut of beef or chicken available, throw it in a crock pot with some water, salt and pepper, maybe an onion, potatoes and other veggies, and have a delicious meal waiting when they get home from work. They would learn to shop for bread, eggs, cheese, milk, and vegetables; rather than frozen pizza's and soda pop. However, in light of the fact that I can't control everybody, I have to choke it up when I watch the shopping carts filled with zero nutritious junk.
Finally, there would be absolutely no need for a separate card, or a different, and costly program to enforce the no fast food prohibition. All that simply needs to be done is make the fast food purveyors, et al, aware that they will no longer be reimbursed for purchases which are disapproved in the EBT card program.
No Pat, that does not make you a bad person.
As for judging others...sorry, human nature. God recognizes that we are all sinners and that we have our shortcomings. One of my many is that I absolutely deplore people who circumvent the system when the rest of us are banging our heads against the walls.
As for me judging, not having compassion, or looking down on those who ask for or need help, anybody who knows me and knows what I do, have done, and continue to do, would never question or doubt my dedication, compassion and resolve towards helping others.
But I believe in offering a hand UP, not a hand OUT.
I will point out the recent news story about the couple who was finally arrested after having been found to have fraudulently obtained in excess of $168,000.00 in food stamps, welfare and medical treatment. The determination of fraud came about because they were found to be living in Florida on a million dollar yacht, while owning a lakefront mansion/home in Minnesota or Wisconsin (one of those really cold places, I can't remember which). This fraud had ben perpetrated upon the taxpayers over the course of 7 years or so; during which the woman gave birth, and also administered the estate of her very wealthy Grandmother.
There are people who are the ones going to work, 2 or 3 jobs, struggling to make ends meet, having taxes taken out of their paychecks, budgeting every penny, eating ramen noodles, or macaroni and cheese, for whom going to McDonalds once a week and ordering off of the dollar menu, is a HUGE treat. For them to see that their neighbor who is on food stamps, wearing expensive designer shoes and clothes, carrying the latest I-phone, sporting tattoos and piercings, can go into McDonalds and order whatever they want and in the large size, and then slide their food stamp/ebt card to pay for it, is a huge slap in the face.
I recognize the point you are making Tom, however, it is simply a matter of the food stamp program informing fast food purveyors, convenience stores and any place else that sells what is essentially junk food, that the program will no longer reimburse them for un-approved purchases.
Grocery stores, convenience stores and the like, know EXACTLY what the program will and will not pay for. It is not a matter of a huge retrofit of software, or a remake of equipment. The stores know that the program will not pay for alcohol, or cigarettes, or various and other sundry items of which I am unaware; as do the recipients of that aid. At the grocery store, all you have to do is look at the conveyor belt full of groceries. There will be a pile of "program approved" items, and then there will be a case of beer, a couple bottles of whiskey, cigarettes and some chew. Those last are the items that the program will not pay for, but sure as heck, that recipient will find the cash for that stuff.
My point in referencing the story at the beginning? That couple managed to fleece the system for more than 7 years!! They were not deserving of receiving benefits, nor were they entitled. However, because some agency or bureaucrat failed to do their due diligence, which is all too common, they lived very well while receiving government assistance.
Tom, I too, commented under the article; however, I will reiterate here.
First though, I will answer your questions:
TQI: Is the deputy trained in firearms safety? Based on the fact that he was teaching a class in it, evidently.
TQI: Is the deputy an expert in gun use? By his own assertion.
TQI: Was the deputy on his own property? Yes.
TQI: Was the dog illegally allowed to stray? Yes.
TQI: Was the dog on the deputy's property? Yes
TQI: Was the dog engaged in killing animals? That information is not available, therefore the answer is inconclusive.
TQI: Was the deputy within his rights in killing it? Absolutely not!!
TQI: Are there emotional factors that cloud the issue? No, looking at the facts alone, one can reach a conclusion.
TQI: Are there any other factors to consider? I think that the deputy's history with discharging his weapon would be relevant, as well as the relationship that the deputy has with his community.
TQI: What is your bottom line position on what happened? My personal opinion is that Deputy McClure comes across as awfully cocky and arrogant in his assertion that he is an "excellent marksman with years of experience", therefore, he "knew exactly where those rounds were going". I would assert that as a self professed "expert" in firearm safety, Deputy McClure should have exercised more common sense, and better anger management. He should have held off on doing anything to the dog, until and unless he was POSITIVE that it was that dog which had killed his chickens. He should have NEVER shot the dog while the dog was on the run. He should have never shot the dog when there were other people, including children who would witness, as well as be in the slightest danger. The deputy should have verified that the chickens were dead, and then, in an official capacity (which had been approved by his superiors) met with the owner of the dog and decided on a course of action then.
Deputy McClure has evidently been certified by somebody or some entity to teach firearm safety, and he claims to be an "expert marksman with years of experience". That being the case, why in the devil did it take him 5 shots, and by his own admission, he missed 2 of them completely, to kill the dog?
The deputy was not positive that it was the dog which had killed his chickens. Now, if there had been feathers flying out of the dogs mouth and blood around his muzzle, that is conclusive evidence. The fact that the dog was roaming his yard and the deputy found his chickens and a rabbit dead, does not indicate conclusively, that it was that dog which did the killing.
Oh Pat and Nancy, I am in complete agreement with both of you. Deputy McClure claims to be an "excellent marksman with years of experience", but it took him 5 shots to kill a dog that he wasn't even positive had killed his chickens? Were he truly an "excellent marksman with years of experience" he would have had the common sense to either not shoot the dog until all evidence determined that the dog had indeed been who or what killed the chickens, or he could have killed the dog much more humanely, instead of letting it run around in agony, ending up paralyzed, before he shot the dog to death.
"McClure told Gartner that no one was in danger of being shot accidentally or hit by a stray pellet because he knew exactly where the round was going." and "assured Gartner he endangered no one". Due to so many variants and unknown factors, nobody, not even "an excellent marksman with years of experience" can be positive when aiming a gun in the direction of people that they know "exactly where the round was going". Had Deputy McClure known "exactly where the round was going", somebody's pet would not have suffered needlessly, and several children would not now have the memory of watching a known, liked, local dog mercilessly killed simply because a deputy had a suspicion and a hot head.
Shameful!! And I also agree that a weeks suspension is absurd. Deputy McClure should have been immediately terminated. He endangered the safety of 19 people because he ASSUMED the dog is what killed his chickens. Sounds like Deputy McClure has a bit of an anger control issue.
Call me dumb. Call me naïve. Call me a conspiracy theorist. I absolutely DO NOT believe that ONE SINGLE fiber optic cable is the means by which all of the Payson area receives
ALL of their cable tv transmission, telephone service, cellular telephone service, and internet.
Aaah, Mr. Naughton, more threats???
I put my disclaimer at the bottom of my statement,
"In conclusion, all of the above are simply my opinions, based on observation, and information which has been printed in this newspaper."
Besides the fact, that some positions cannot decide when they are or are not "public figures". When one is the Mayor of the entire town, or even any elected politician, they are a public figure, like it or not, regardless of what other position they hold. As for the "slush fund" comment, I did not accuse Kenny of using MHA's treasury as his slush fund. I simply said that I was certain that their mission statement did not indicate that they were set up to be used for Kenny's personal whims.
However, once again, King Kenny's knight in shining armor rides to his rescue to vanquish those who would dare to speak out against the Emperor not wearing clothes.
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