Saturday, September 25, 2010

It is time to privatize state golf courses or let them return to nature.

This morning at the DCRP Green Hills Pastry and Politics event, Justin Owens of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) spoke on wasteful government spending. One of the things he talked about was state golf courses. This year for the first time, the state lost money on the operation of every single one of the state's golf courses. They have been losing money for years, but in the past there was always one or two golf courses operating in the black, but this year they all lost money.

The state builds golf courses out of capital improvement funds. The money generated from the golf courses green fees is not expected to recoup the cost of construction but is expected cover operating cost. Since starting to track government-run golf courses in 2005, TCRP has exposed a loss to state taxpayers of $6,998,610. In 2010, over $1.6 million was lost. Fortunately, as a result of TCPR’s work to encourage fiscal responsibility, the state plans to close Old Stone Fort and T.O. Fuller courses this year, a move that will save the state nearly $311,000 annually. (To learn more, see the TCPR Pork Report.)

I am supportive of a strong state park system. Tennessee is a beautiful place and I want the state to preserve the natural beauty of our state and I am supportive of preserving wild waterfalls and important vistas and critical habitats. However, we must realize the state cannot do it all. We have to prioritize.

It is time for the state to get out of the golf course business. We should privatize the state golf courses. If someone else makes a profit, the state stops hemorrhaging money, and the golf courses remain open to the public, we win. The state should lease the golf courses to private operators and let the operators set the fees. Even if we lease a course for a dollar a year, we avoid losing million in operating expenses and we still win.

If no private operator will take them at any price, it is time to stop mowing them and let them return to nature.

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Report from the DCRP Green Hills Pastry 'n Politics Summit

Email received from Peter Voysey, Co-Event Chair, DCRP Green Hills Pastry 'n Politics Summit

Well, we just finished up on this month's meeting at Nero's Grill.

Justin Owen, President of the TCPR, got us going with a presentation on wasteful spending--especially at the State Of Tennessee level--and then opened it up to Q&A.

And What An Active Discussion We Had! The group got into a broad spectrum of the issues of the day, including: The State Budget--Myth and Reality; The State Budget Process; Tennessee Boondoggles wasting taxpayers' money on a grand scale; TennCare; Education and the Teachers' Union; The Societal Unintended Consequences of Welfare Programs; African-American voters desiring school choice and opposing the abuse of eminent domain--yet electing candidates who thwart those desires; etc. etc.

Several of you have said to me, "OK--hearing from candidates is great, but I long for the day when we can talk to each other and deal with substantive matters."

Well, today was that day.

Yet, for this, our 5th meeting, it was our smallest attendance (19 people).

So where were you? [I know it was the first day after the unseasonable heat wave, but come on, folks--Rise And Shine! We've got to take our country back!

You missed a great meeting, with fellow terrific conservative activists.

Don't let this happen to you again! Mark Your Calendar: 4th Saturday Of October, i.e. October 23. Nero's Grill. 8:30 a.m.

See you then!

Peter Voysey
Co-Event Chair
DCRP Green Hills Pastry 'n Politics Summit

Comment: To see a schedule of all local Republican activities visit the DCRP website. Please plan on attended this event next month or the meeting of a Republican group near you.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Green Hills Pastry n Politics with Justin Owen

Justin Owen

Saturday, September 25th

Continental Buffet - 8:30 am
Meeting - 9:00 am
$10.00 - No Credit Cards

Nero's Grill Green Hills
2122 Hillsboro Drive
Green Hills, 37215

Justin will address the implications of wasteful and excessive government spending at both the state and federal levels.

Copies of TCPR's most famous publication, the Tennessee Pork Report, which has uncovered more than $1.2 billion in wasted tax dollars since its first release in 2005, will be available for a nominal donation

Justin Owen is the President and Executive Director at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. He manages the day-to-day operations of TCPR, oversees all policy initiatives, and serves as the main point of contact for members of the Tennessee General Assembly, the media, and the public on policy issues.

Owen advances TCPR's mission by frequently appearing on television and radio and writing opinions pieces for newspapers across Tennessee. He has appeared on all four major network news stations in Nashville, as well as stations in Memphis, Knoxville, and the Tri-Cities. He has a weekly radio segment on the "Ralph Bristol Show" on WTN 99.7 FM, and often appears on other talk radio stations throughout the state to educate citizens on public policy issues. His writing has appeared in newspapers such as the Tennessean, the Nashville City Paper, and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Prior to joining TCPR, Owen served as a law clerk to the U.S. Attorney in Memphis and at the Pentagon as a legal intern to the General Counsel of the United States Navy. He is involved in various nonprofits in Nashville, serving as legal counsel and civic committee chairman of the Nashville Junior Chamber and as a board intern for Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee.

Owen received his J.D. from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis in 2008 and obtained his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

Click here for more information on TN Center for Policy Research

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'Riding with David Hall", a YouTube video.

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David Hall: ‘Small Business Job Act’ is a job killer.

Nashville, TN –David Hall, Republican nominee for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th District, commented on today’s events in the nation’s capital:

“I am looking forward to working with Republicans after November to return our country to fiscal sanity and common sense reform. And I am encouraged by the release today of ‘The Pledge to America.’ From what I’ve seen it is a positive initiative, and I suspect that I will sign on following a thorough review of it.”

“As far as the passage of the so-called ‘Small Business Job Act,’ Jim Cooper may be thrilled with his vote, but this legislation is a job killer not a job creator. When will Cooper and other Liberal Democrats in Washington learn the lesson that it is a combo of lower taxes and less government meddling–in short, ‘economic freedom’–that helps our economy grow and helps our economy create more jobs?”

“The jobs created by government–judging from the Stimulus bills these past few years, are jobs that pay $40,000 and cost taxpayers $400,000. Freezing spending at 2008 levels, as put forth in The Pledge, is a nice first step to ending the Democrats’ job killing policies. Heaven help us if we have to endure two more years of spendthrift Democrats in control of the Congress.”

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pledge to America

House Republicans are set to release on Thursday a "Pledge to America," an ambitious and sweeping set of proposed changes to domestic and security policy, including promises to freeze most federal government hiring, cut Congress' budget, place hard caps on domestic spending accounts, prevent the phase-out of tax cuts that are set to expire in 2011 and "repeal and replace" the new health care law.

Read more:

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Contribute to TCPR

Dear Rodney,
Last week, we urged you to help us defend your liberty and return power to Tennessee instead of Washington, D.C. We asked that you help us raise $1,787 during Constitution Week, which runs through this Thursday. So far, you have generously donated $1,275 toward our cause! But with just two days left in Constitution Week, we're still $500 away from our goal.

Visit our secure website to make a tax-deductible donation today. Whatever you can provide - $25, $100, or even the $500 we need to hit our mark - will go a long way toward advancing individual liberty and limited government in our state.

Last week we asked if you would you stand with us against trillion dollar bailouts, a federal takeover of our healthcare, and outrageous government spending. Many of you responded with a resounding "YES!" by making a generous donation to our cause. If you haven't already, click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help us reach $1,787 in the next two days.

I am excited to hear from you, and I look forward to working with you to restore our constitutional principles.
In Liberty,
Justin Owen

Tennessee Center for Policy Research is a highly respected and effective organization worthy of your support. Rod

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ObamaCare: Creating Paperwork, Raising Costs, Destroying Jobs

Section 9006 of ObamaCare expands information reporting requirements to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for business transactions in excess of $600 in goods or services. Starting in 2012, ObamaCare mandates that all businesses file an IRS Form-1099 for any vendor with which they have more than $600 in yearly transactions. With an unemployment rate above nine percent for 16 consecutive months, this monstrous accounting and paperwork burden will not provide any incentive to create jobs. To the contrary, the “1099 Provision” will create additional costs for business owners, particularly owners of small businesses, reducing productivity and further stifling economic growth.

Please see the document from the House Republican Conference on what we can continue to expect from Obamacare. Click here to read the brief.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

David Hall Welcomes the Fire Pelosi Bus Tour

David Hall, Republican nominee for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District, will be welcoming Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, on the Murfreesboro to Nashville leg of the Fire Pelosi Bus Tour ( taking place Wednesday, Sep. 22, 2010.

The Bus Tour is scheduled to arrive in Murfreesboro’s Victory Center at 111 East Main Street at 3pm. At 4pm, the Bus Tour is scheduled to leave Murfreesboro headed to Nashville.

“Jim Cooper’s first vote will be for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and nine out of ten votes thereafter will be to advance Nancy Pelosi’s agenda,” said Hall. “That certainly doesn’t represent voters of the 5th District, so we need new representation in DC,” he continued.

“I invite concerned citizens in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to join us as we kick off this effort to hand Pelosi her pink slip.” Hall concluded.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Kathleen Starnes, Chairman DCRP: our voters are expecting a "bona fide" Republican.

RE: Administrator of Elections
Monday, September 20, 2010 4:54 PM

From: Kathleen Starnes
To: Patricia Heim , Steve Abernathy, Lynn Greer, Beth Harwell, sen.jack.johnson, Chris Devaney

Message contains attachments1 File (25KB)Norman(Buck)Dozier,Jr.xls

It has come to my attention, that one of the candidates for Administrator of Elections is Norman "Buck" Dozier.

I am sure you realize that he is not a true Republican as his record attached proves. This is not personal.

This is an important position for Republicans in Davidson County and our voters are expecting a "bona fide" Republican as our Administrator of Elections.

Thank you for your attention.
Kathleen Starnes, Chairman
Davidson County Republican Party

Comment: Thanks to Kathleen Starnes for representing the Republican wing of the Republican party.

The above email was sent today. I have deleted the email addresses since those addresses my be private email addresses and I wish to respect the privacy of the recipients of this email.

The enclosed attachment is a spreadsheet and I cannot reproduce it for this post. It shows Buck Dozier's voting record for the last several years. Voting records are public information. No one can tell how you voted of course, but your voting record will tell if you voted in a particular election. The voting record will tell if you voted in a Republican or a Democrat primary.

Buck Dozier failed to vote in 6 of the last 23 elections, he voted in 3 statewide primaries as a Democrat. There is no record of him voting Republican in any of the available primaries.

If the Election Commission gives this job to Buck Dozier, the Republicans on the Election Commission need to be replaced.

If the Republicans on the Election Commission vote to give this job to Buck Dozier, I think it reflects poorly on the judegment of the legislators who appointed them.

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Is the Republican Election Commission going to hire Democrat Buck Dozier as Administrator of Elections?

Long-time Administrator of Elections Ray Barrett is retiring and the Davidson County Election Commission is seeking to fill that position. Rumor is that Buck Dozier has the inside track on the job.

Following the November 2008 election when Republicans attained a majority in the Tennessee General Assembly, control of Election Commissions switched to Republicans, with every county in Tennessee receiving a newly appointed Republican majority election commission.

The Davidson County Election Commission is governed by five commissioners appointed by the State Election Commission for a two year term. The State Election Commission appoints commissioners recommended to them by Republican legislators. It is my understanding that the Election Commission chairman Lynn Greer was recommended by Representative Beth Harwell. In essence, Beth Harwell appointed Lynn Greer. The other two Republicans on the Commission are Patricia Heim and Steve Abernathy. I am uncertain who recommended the appointment of Heim and Abernathy.

One of the duties of the county election commissions is to hire the Administrator of Elections. Ray Barrett has worked for the Election Commission for twenty-five years and has been Administrator of Elections for the past six years. He is a likable guy and runs honest elections and is fair and helpful to everyone regardless of party affiliation. In some counties the new Republican Election Commissions fired the Administrator of Elections and hired a Republican to fill the post. The Davidson County Election Commission did not do that. I think they were right to keep Ray Barrett in his position. We should not be so partisan that we fire a faithful public servant like Ray Barrett.

Now however, Ray Barrett is retiring and it is time for the Election Commission to hire a replacement. I have heard a rumor, that the Election commission is going to hire Democrat Buck Dozier to fill the position. I hope this is not true. I have nothing against Buck Dozier but the position should go to a Republican. Buck Dozier has served in the Metro Council where I served with him. He has served this city's Fire Chief for seven years. He currently serves as Director of the Metro Fairgrounds, a $90,000 a year job that he was given without the Fair Board conducting a national search or advertising the position. Since the fair grounds are to be sold and this is the last year for the fair, Buck Dozier is looking for another job.

Earlier this year I was very disappointed when our Republican dominated Election Commission did not see the wisdom of having early voting and had to be pressured to support it. They should have supported early voting simply because it was the right thing to do, but also because this is a Republican year and Republicans benefit more from early voting than do Democrats. If not for a grass roots effort demanding early voting, we would have had early voting at only one location in the August election.

What is the point of having Republicans in office if they are not going to support policies that benefit Republicans? One may wish that Administrators of Elections were protected by civil service and that the positions was not political, but it is. There is absolutely no reason the Republicans on the Commission should hire Buck Dozier. I am tired of Republicans who care more about being liked by Democrats than they do supporting the Party.

If the Election Commissions hires Buck Dozier, then the Election Commission might as well be in the hands of Democrats. If they do, I will be disappointed in the Republican members of the Commission and those Republican legislators who appointed them.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Communism is dying in Cuba: The US should end the embargo now.

This week Cuba took another big step toward ending Communism. The Cuban government announced it will dismiss more than 500,000 workers — 10 percent of its payroll — and will allow a major expansion of private economic activity.

Since Fidel Castro’s ill health and retirement, we have seen positive change taking place in Cuba. The government has legalized private taxicabs, it has given individuals the deed to their homes, it has allowed Cubans to own cell phones, it has permitted Cubans to stay in luxury hotels, and it has encouraged and expanded private farms. These changes are significant and encouraging. This announcement about cutting the government payroll and allowing greater private sector economic activity is another significant development. The U.S. government should announce that due to these positive developments we are immediately ending the travel restriction and trade embargo of Cuba.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and perhaps as far back as the Nixon opening to China, our policy toward Cuba has been wrong-headed, illogical, and counterproductive. Communism would have probably ended in Cuba years ago if we had ended the embargo.

The embargo of Cuba began in 1960. The intent was to pressure Castro to democratize. The policy failed. Instead, it had the result of pushing Cuba further into the arms of the Soviet Union. The embargo made a martyr out of Castro and helped prop up his regime. Cuba has been able to blame all of their failings on the United States and the embargo rather than Castro’s socialist policies.

I realize that Cuba is still a Communist dictatorship but I don’t think we need to wait until Cuba establishes democracy before we lift the embargo. We did not wait for democracy to flourish in China or Vietnam before we engaged in trade with those nations. We did not demand that China and Vietnam free all political prisoners before we normalized relations. While neither China nor Vietnam are perfect democracies, neither are they orthodox Communist nations. Our engagement and trade surely contributed to the liberalization in those two countries.

If the US would end the embargo and travel restrictions, we would see an acceleration of Cuba’s transformation. If American dollars could flow freely to Cuba, we would see concession on the part of Cuba to accommodate investors. With opportunities to make money, we would see an evolving Cuban entrepreneurial class. With more dollars to spend, Cubans would not be dependent on the government for everything, other spheres of influence would emerge, and the socialist totalitarian mold would be broken.

Our policy toward Cuba has been a failure and we should end the embargo now. Cuba is changing despite the policy of the United States. We should help accelerate the change that is taking place in Cuba by ending the travel restrictions and trade embargo. Lifting the embargo will not change us, but it will change Cuba. The cold war is over. Lift the embargo now.

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End Pot Prohibition: California's Proposition 19 should pass.

Proposition 19 is a California ballot proposition which will be on the November 2, California ballot. It essentially legalizes marijuana and allows local governments to regulate and tax it. Even if legalized by the State of California however, pot may not be legalized due the the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which says "this Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof...shall be the supreme Law of the Land." Since Proposition 19 conflicts with the federal Controlled Substances Act, a Federal Court will likely rule California proposition 19 unconstitutional using the same logic they used to declare Arizona's immigration law unconstitutional.

I hope Prop. 19 passes and if I were a citizen of California I would vote for it. Even if the Federal Government uses the Supremacy clause to override the will of the people of California, Proposition 19 will move us toward ending pot prohibition. If California passes proposition 19, this will put pressure on the federal to end federal prohibition.

The governments policy toward recreational drugs, marijuana in particular, makes absolutely no sense. For far too long many people have had their lives damaged, not by marijuana but by a policy that criminalizes a harmless activity. People lose their right to parental visitation or custody of their children, they lose their job, they lose their college scholarships, and they go to jail for simply smoking a little dope.

Casual use of marijuana is much less damaging to society than alcohol. I think marijuana may actually be good for society. If some of the people who drink alcohol switched to pot, we would probably see fewer violent brawls, less domestic violence and fewer fatal car wrecks. Some uptight people might be less uptight and more pleasant if they occasionally got stoned. I suspect the world might actually be a better place if more people got high every once in a while.

I think we should have an immediately end to federal pot prohibition and then let each state decide the issue. I would hope that the several states would then end state prohibitions. Using pot should not be a crime and neither should pot users be considered to have a “drug problem.” While I would much rather see people forced into drug treatment rather than sent to jail, requiring treatment is hypocrisy. Casual users of marijuana do not have a “drug problem.” They just have a preference for a recreational drug that is less dangerous than the society-approved recreational drug alcohol.

I think procession of small quantities or growing small quantities of marijuana for your own use should be legal much like brewing your own beer is legal. I think dealers should be licensed and taxed. The government at all levels loses a lot of money because this large segment of the economy is not taxed. If marijuana was distributed much the way alcohol and tobacco are distributed the criminal element would be driven out of business, much the same way that ending alcohol prohibition drives out bootleggers. Also, with commercial distribution of marijuana the consumer would benefit by having quality control. The consumer could expect honest weights and measures and proper labeling. I can see the day when shopping for pot could be like shopping for wine. I can imagine a weekly pot review article in the Tennessean. It should happen.

While I would not want to see an immediate legalization of all dangerous drugs, I think we should deemphasize prosecution of users of these hard drugs. For the more dangerous drugs, I think we primarily need to educate people to the dangers and then realize that sometimes free people make poor choices. Just the way that some people now abuse alcohol or people make poor financial decisions, we must accept that some people will get strung out on drugs. Help should be available for those with a drug problem who want help, but putting people in prison is not the help they need. Drug treatment would be less costly and more humane than imprisonment.

I suspect that if we end the crack down on the supply of drugs, the price would fall. Those with a real addiction would not commit armed robbery to feed their habit if drugs were less costly and less profitable and we would not enrich Mexican and Colombian drug lords. We might even deny the Taliban a major source of funding.

We can't tackle the whole drug issue all at once, but Proposition 19 would be first step toward rational reform.

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