Mark Marcoplos's blog

Bring Afghan War $ Back Home to Orange County

   Orange County has pressing local needs including education, infrastructure, social services, health, and small business support - just to name a few. We continually are forced to wrangle over restricted budgets which pit important local needs against one another. Meanwhile about $2600 per county citizen leaves Orange County annually for the national military budget. That's a total of about $351million.
   Our current annual county budget is about $178 million. Imagine what we could accomplish for the citizens of Orange County if just 10% of our military contribution was retained at home for local needs? Another $35 million annually would make a world of difference for us.
   Make no mistake, U.S. military spending - the U.S.

Independent's Day

The Democratic Party has proven to be a failure and has demonstrated time after time that it will support the agenda of corporations and the wealthy elites over the general citizenry. Due to onerous ballot access laws and the overwhelming majority of the media that are owned by the same wealthy powers who buy our politicians, third party efforts have not gotten much traction onthe heavily-sloped playing field.

I believe that a first step toward authentic democracy is to liberate citizens from party affiliation. Then, with a sufficient number of citizens who are not affiliated with either party, we can take the next step toward organizing a party that would truly represent ordinary citizens. Think of it as a weaning process.

How about a goal of making Orange County the first county in the United States to have a majority of independent or unaffiliated voters? It would not affect anyone's ability to vote in primaries - just choose which party when you vote. There would be no sacrifice of voting power, but it would send a message that we are not being adequately represented by the out-of-touch Democratic and Republican parties.

What undesirable items or activities should we tax?

Local governments need money. Meanwhile items are sold locally that are a burden on the public and cost citizens money. Likewise for bad practices. One solution to balance these things out is to tax the undesirable activities and products, both to discourage them and to provide funds to help offset their costs to the community.

How Authentic is the Campaign Issue of Controlling Spending?

In every election, there are candidates who focus primarily on the issue of controlling government spending. These candidates often have backgrounds in business and tell us that their expertise is essential to curb the excesses of government.

This raises a few questions:

1) Given that government staff work with the uniqueness of municipal budgets constantly and that this is one of the key areas of governing that they study, do private sector business people generally contribute the knowledge that can make a major difference?

2) Given that government staff deal with budgetary issues every day and generally keep the Council informed on the state of the budget and how policies under consideration will affect the budget, does a business person have a substantial advantage over council members with other backgrounds when it comes to making policy decisions?

The Economic Opportunity of Solid Waste

I don’t think anybody in Orange County is happy that we are planning to send our trash over the horizon to a giant landfill in some poor God-forsaken community.

I don’t think our county leadership is happy about becoming beholden to a giant waste corporation that will have us by the short hairs when they want to raise the hauling rates somewhere down the road. And you don’t have to be psychic to know that fuel costs are only going to rise.

The current plans for a transfer station harness us to an unethical and increasingly expensive boondoggle. Our best bet is to avoid getting hooked into this unpredictable system by siting our own landfill in Orange County.

First, we have to adjust our perspective and realize that solid waste represents an economic opportunity. The waste stream provides many materials that have a useful purpose. Plus we’ll save money over the long run by avoiding the inevitable price hikes from waste businesses and fuel cost escalation.



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