Re: “Hearing looks at tax industry credits”, Valley Sun March 24 and at lacanadaonline.com: The conservative economic system that has been established has given corporations a kind of stranglehold over local and state governments as they play [filming] locations off one another to get the biggest bribe in exchange for the jobs. A movie production is mobile and temporary, not a good investment/bet for any government that thinks it can hand out bribes for eternity.
The previous model for filmmaking was better for the industry as a whole and for those who wished to work in it. When there are just one or two primary locations where most of the production occurs, it requires that aspiring professionals make the commitment to move there.
Now it doesn't take that kind of initial decision, so someone who just happens to be entering the workforce at a time when the roulette wheel of incentives lands on his state thinks he can just stay put and build a life where he already lives. But eventually, the incentives will go away, production will dry up and that professional will sit there wondering what happened, complaining that the government should continue to hand out bribes so he can keep working.
Right now the bouncy ball of incentives roams around randomly, and the only one's “winning” in the incentive game are the corporations who get the bribes. The governments paying out the bribes eventually lose, and in the long run, the labor force loses too.
Not too late to enter ‘Friendly Garden Contest’
It's wonderful to hear about more people devoting their yard space to California native and other drought-tolerant plantings [“La Cañada’s greener green thumbs,” Valley Sun, March 31]. Lisa Novick's yard sounds lovely, and I am eager to view it during the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour (April 10).
On a similar note, the Foothill Municipal Water District is sponsoring a California Friendly Garden Contest this month. It is open to anyone served by the Foothill Municipal Water District and who has converted a majority of his or her front or side yard to low water/drought tolerant plantings. Landscaping can be newly planted or well established and can be designed by either the homeowner or a professional company.
There are cash prizes for first, second and third places, not to mention bragging rights by the homeowner! More detailed information and applications can be found at www.fmwd.com orat the district office at 4536 Hampton Road, La Cañada.
I've seen many gardens throughout the city that could enter, so get your application in before April 15.
A different perspective on the national debt
Our politicians in Washington on both sides of the aisle toss around our nation's debt figures as if they're barely consequential. For instance, we owe China $1 trillion plus the interest due. That's not counting all the other debt—the $13 trillion we owe domestically and to other foreign nations.
So how much is this in terms that we can grasp? According to information on the Endowment for Human Development website (www.ehd.org/science_technology_largenumbers.php), we can compare the heights of stacks of dollar bills:
A single one dollar bills is .0043 inches thick.
A stack of 100 one dollar bills is .43 inches high, just under 1/2”.
The height of a stack of 1,000 one dollar bills is 4 1/3 inches high.
A stack of a million one dollar bills is 4,300 inches or 358 feet high — about the height of a 30 to 35 story building.
The height of a stack of a billion one dollar bills measures 358,510 feet or 67.9 miles. That's MILES, folks!
And a stack of a trillion one dollar bills, the amount we owe China, is 67,866 miles high, about one-quarter of the way to the moon.
Does that put our debt in perspective for you? Don't believe it? Do the math.
I love my country, but our government's borrowing binge is the problem. It's not the solution, as the politicians in Washington would have us believe!
Trent D. Sanders
The city unfairly limits input from working residents
A city government that provides little opportunity for a majority of residents to have input into its decisions cannot claim to be responsive or representative. Consider the case of our LCF city government.
Many LCF residents work outside the city and have little or no occasion to visit City Hall during its normal business hours. Yet the “Association MOU” (read: union contract) passed at this week's City Council meeting makes it clear that the city intends to keep no regular weekend hours. Wouldn't it make sense for City Hall to have weekend hours in a residential community like this?
Commuters like myself depend on the city's website for information about what is happening in upcoming City Council and city commission meetings. In the past, all agendas were posted with links to the supporting staff reports. In the past six months, that practice has changed, so that very few commission agendas have links to the staff reports. What this means to commuters is that they can't give intelligent input to issues impacting them at commission meetings.
The City Council agendas consistently give access to staff reports, but the meetings themselves are structured to limit public input. Much of each meeting is devoted to commercials for various community organizations and politicians. The vast majority of issues coming before the council are placed on the consent calendar — to be enacted by a single vote. The message is clear: The decisions have already been made, and no public input or discussion is desired.
The “Association MOU” was on the consent calendar calendar this week. Buried down inside that MOU was a $500 bonus for each and every Association member working for the city — and four free lunches at the city’s expense. It was unclear whether those lunches were Happy Meals, lunches at Spago or lunches on the left bank in Paris. Our tax dollars at work! Perhaps some discussion would have been in order.
City government scandals begin when city officials forget who they represent and where their money comes from — in this case, the hard-working residents of LCF.