Economics 101: Privatization

Chart of contract v. in-house workers

In the world of government, the word “privatization” has become a dirty word.  Of course, those who run government agencies don’t want to hear that private companies could do the same job, more efficiently and cheaper.  Advocates of government will give you every reason in the book why it’s a bad idea to contract out some services, as opposed to keeping public employees on the payroll.  Of course, the public unions will try every trick in the book to stop all privatization at any cost.

But, let’s look at some of the simplified reasons how the City of North Miami Beach could save tax dollars and run more efficiently by contracting out certain services.  For starters, please click on this chart above to magnify it so you can read about the relationship between contract workers and in-house workers.  Then please read my essay below so you can understand my thoughts.  Please remember, this is just my opinion based on my own research.  If you disagree, please explain why and give some examples.  I’m certainly open to discussion. Continue reading

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A North Miami Beach Police Officer Speaks Out

Regardless of the personal attacks I’ve received from a very, very small group of North Miami Beach police officers (three of them to be exact), I still believe that the vast majority of the members of our Police Department are courteous and professional.  They are just as anxious as the residents about how this budget process will end.  For every piece of “hate mail” I’ve gotten, I’ve received at least three or more letters and comments from cops who completely understand my position, even if they disagree, and who are willing to discuss the issues in a rational and adult fashion.  I welcome these comments because an open and direct dialogue is the only way to create an atmosphere of understanding and, hopefully, resolve problems.

Like all of you, I have no idea what’s going to happen with our Police Department.  Like all of you, I have an opinion.  But, unlike most of you I am fortunate to have this website and be able to publish my opinion, whether anyone cares to read it or not.  Hopefully, you do even if you don’t always agree with me.  By the same token, I would like to give others the opportunity to express their opinions, regardless of whether or not I agree with them.  You know what they say about opinions….we all have one.

I received a comment from NMBPD Officer Juan Pinillos that prompted me to write back to him.  First of all, I was impressed that he was willing to use his real name, and discuss his real life situation.  Continue reading

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State of the UNION

Everyone knows that when UNIONS organize peaceful protests, it’s all good.  Nothing bad ever happens, right?

The North Miami Beach Police Officers Association, a/k/a UNION, applied for a permit for a “1st Amendment Right Demonstration,” described by UNION president Mike Pons as a “Peacefully demonstration by union members and
citizens in front of NMB City Hall (17011 NE 19 AV)on public sidewalks.”  This “Peacefully demonstration” is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 16, 2011, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

But, I assure you, nothing bad will happen.

Just like nothing bad happened in February of this year in Madison, Wisconsin, when Governor Walker tried to balance the state budget and bring government spending under control. Continue reading

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Beware of Calico Cops

To say that all this madness in North Miami Beach is making me a tad jittery would be a gross understatement.  All the nasty, rude and “GO F$&K YOURSELF” comments are, if nothing else, keeping me on my toes.  Not that I’m a bad driver or anything, but I’ve taken to traveling the streets of NMB even more cautiously than ever before, going at least a mile per hour under the speed limit.  I’m not about to give any cop who’s already pissed off enough at me a reason to pull me over.  I’m just saying.

Anyway, here’s a story for you.  Try to follow the runaway train of thought of a “crazy woman.”

I may have stated a few times or so that I’m an animal lover and that I’m a sucker for a whiskered face.  Rodents aren’t my favorite of all animals, but when my daughter brought home a pet hamster named Doc I welcomed him to the menagerie.  I jokingly told a friend of mine that I expected Doc to pull his weight (like the cats who are on critter patrol), and that Doc decided to apply for a position at the North Miami Beach Police Department.  My daughter just found out that she can’t bring Doc back to school with her this year because she’s in a brand new dorm, so we’re stuck with taking care of yet another four legged child.  Yeah, we’re suckers alright. Continue reading

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Your a crazy woman Kienzel. GO F$&K YOURSELF.

crazy womanI got yet another “lovely” comment from yet another disgruntled North Miami Beach cop, from what is most likely a freshly created email address, and calling himself “YeahRight.”  Frankly, this is getting tiresome.

This cop starts off his comment with “Your a crazy woman Kienzel.”  The English teacher in me must again lament the misuse of the word “your” for the word “you’re,” but I’ll refrain from explaining yet again. <sigh>

The misspelling of my name is a common mistake many people make, but if he bothered to look at the blog he claimed he read, all he had to do was copy it correctly.  However, I digress.

Officer YeahRight then follows that statement with a story about his loss of salary, his new expense of having to contribute to his own pension, and how his wife has been out of work and unable to find a job.

Well, at least this guy has an idea of what’s going on all over the country.  Millions of Americans are in the same boat, many of them right here in North Miami Beach. Continue reading

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“From MY Seat”

I understand there’s a new drinking game in town called, “From My Seat.”  The rules are very simple.  Every time North Miami Beach councilwoman Phyllis Smith says, “from my seat,” you’re supposed to take a shot.  Apparently, that’s become Phyllis’ trademark phrase, along with the variation, “in my seat.”  No matter what she says, and we all know she says a lot, she typically ends her comment with “from my seat.”  She also manages to intersperse “from my seat” within a sentence – sometimes in the beginning, sometimes in the middle.  Sometimes you can’t tell whether it’s the beginning, middle or the end, what with all her run-on sentences and continuous chatter.  You just know you’re gonna hear “from my seat” a few dozen or so times at any given council meeting or, lately, budget workshops. Continue reading

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UNTITLED. Because I’m too pissed to think of one!

Last night’s North Miami Beach City Council meeting was a real eye opening experience for me.  Fully expecting the “sea of blue” to the fill the Council Chambers, I knew I wouldn’t be getting a warm and fuzzy welcome from NMB’s Finest.  But I certainly didn’t expect the open hostility and snide remarks from the so-called professionals who I had previously thought were civil servants.  “Civil” being the operative word here.  The police officers filled the Chambers and stood guard along the back and side walls with stern faces as if challenging anyone to “cross the picket line.”  They also recruited a bunch of heretofore-unseen-at-City-Hall residents holding cute little signs saying “Hands off our police.”  Nice touch.

I wonder if any of the cops who asked these folks to come support them also checked the public records to how much they paid in property taxes to the City of North Miami Beach like they did to me, as if the amount we pay in taxes is directly correlated to how much our voice is worth.  Oh, wait, I know!  Maybe the council should allot speaking time to residents based on how much they contribute to the coffers.  We could even be required to present copies of our property tax bills before we’re allowed to speak and the Clerk can set the timer accordingly.  Would that work for you guys?  I’m just saying. Continue reading

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Blue Herrings and Hunting Cats

So here I am standing at the kitchen sink this morning washing dishes when I catch a movement out of the corner of my eye.  I instinctively look down and right there on the counter under my face is one of those big fat, ugly, disgusting palmetto bugs that made South Florida famous.  You know, the ones the size of small helicopters that aim right for your head if you’re unlucky enough to be in their flight path.  Normally I just nonchalantly walk away and load my shotgun…  KIDDING!  They sure would be great for target practice, anyway.  But, this morning it caught me completely by surprise and I dropped the plate and screamed like a girl.

My husband came running, thinking I got electrocuted or burned myself trying to boil water again (kids, don’t try this at home), and when he saw it was just a palmetto bug he promptly killed it.  My hero!

Now our cats usually take care of this problem before I run into any of those damn bugs.  The deceptively sweet faced Little Girl is actually our best critter hunter. Continue reading

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If it bleeds, it leads

Make no mistake about it.  Nothing sells news like murder and mayhem.  The same principle is involved when traffic slows to glacial speed even if the accident is well off to the side of the road.  People love blood and guts.  While there’s no actual bloodletting to report here in North Miami Beach, where a contentious budget balancing act is taking place, the North Miami Beach Police Department lured the press here with the promise of murder and mayhem if things don’t go their way.  Like sharks circling a shipwreck in search of survivors, reporters are flocking to our city, elbowing each other out of the way to get a story worth broadcasting at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, and then again at 10:00, 10:30, 11:00 and, if there’s enough gore, again the next morning.  The more gore the better because in the local news business, if it bleeds, it leads.

Yesterday, some of the members of the Police Department walked the streets of NMB trying to drum up support for the “List of 24” officers who are allegedly targeted for layoffs.  In a theatrical show of what is meant to be visually shocking, the “24” are even wearing numbers on their blue shirts in order to announce where they stand on the “List.”  I totally get it.  First of all, they’re trying to put a human face on what is usually a very dry topic, i.e., the city budget.  But even more importantly, it’s a cute shtick that plays well in the media.  The “sea of blue” is camera ready.  By circulating this “List of 24,” and accusing the brand new City Manager, Lyndon Bonner, of making this “List,” the cops are getting lots and lots of media attention.  Which is exactly what they set out to do.  This is no grassroots effort.  This is a carefully planned and executed game plan to garner public sympathy.  It really is right out of the Cloward/Piven Strategy playbook – create, then manage a crisis.  Good job, fellas!

Continue reading

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