Monday, June 30, 2008

I remember Silver. Is it OIL this time?

In the late 1970’s two brothers Nelson and William Hunt were trying to corner the silver market. They drove the price of silver from $11 an ounce in September 1979 to $50 an ounce in January 1980. By the time they were finished they owned 1/3 of the worlds supply, then came “Silver Thursday” March 27, 1980. The price of silver stopped going up and led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges. The price collapsed. Even today, 20 years later silver is way under the high of 1980.

Let’s jump forward to oil of today. The biggest argument I hear is that worldwide demand is up. OK, worldwide demand is up, but did it jump two, three times overnight. In fact according to between 2007 and 2008 the consumption rose by 2.5 percent and in the first quarter the consumption rose by 8 percent. So where is the doubling. In the USA consumption even went down, very slightly, but down. It is estimated that world consumption will grow by 50% by the year 2030. If we were to push more solar and wind energy the demand might even drop further.

So are we living the Hunt brothers all over again? I think so. Will the market collapse? I hope so. Are the Sheiks and speculators pushing up the prices? I would have to lean to a yes. Maybe just maybe, some of the extreme terrorists realize they can’t take us over by military action, but they can hurt us beyond means by oil action. And just maybe our oil top heavy President and Vice-President don’t see the big picture because they are blinded by money pouring into their friend’s pockets.

What can we do? Let’s start doing our share, lets allow solar panels on rooftops and wind generators in Indiana. Let’s develop tax incentives like many other states for these products. We have lots of empty factories, could we help start up production of energy products, from windmills, to power invertors to power factor units. That would bring jobs to Indiana and reduce our power needs at the same time. What a different concept.

Pounding the Streets Saturday June 28, 2008

When you are running for office and don’t have lots of money you walk neighborhoods. Well Saturday morning was another walk in a small subdivision in Noblesville.

They were having a community wide garage sale so lots of people sitting in their driveways. What a great way to meet people. This subdivision is still being built out, so the homes and people are new to the area or homes. Here are some of things I saw, spoke to people about, etc.

On a sad note, I saw a lot of for sale signs and foreclosure signs; in fact one home the garage was boarded up.

I asked a neighbor about the home, “lost their job and then the home, nice people.” Then he told me about someone a few houses down, who was not paying his mortgage on purpose and had not paid it since January. He told me that smart- … believes with so many houses on the market, they won’t foreclose on him because he keeps the lawn nice. I had to laugh. Your kidding I said. “No” was the response. He figures he is going to last a year that way and then find another home and do the same thing. I asked how he was doing on the mortgage front. He told me when his mortgage jumped, he sat down with the bank and took his four years of equity and reapplied it into a new 30-year mortgage, with little monthly increase. Pretty smart guy.

I spoke to another couple that just moved here from Michigan and needed forms to register to vote. They took a beating on their Michigan home, but were very happy to be here.

One dear woman asked me if I was Republican or Democrat, only one out of the entire area. That is a surprise to me. When I responded Democrat she said “too bad, why should I vote for you?” I started out by asking her if she knew who her representative was? She didn’t. The I told her she had been in office for 16 years, you would think she would have hear of her by now. The came the OK, “my husband is 62 and an engineer without work in his field, he is now selling cars and most of the time brings home almost nothing as cars are not selling. “ We spent the next 15 minutes talking about energy and jobs in Indiana. By the time I left I think that Republican is going to vote for me.

Lots of people would not answer their door when I rang I have to wonder why? I could see them in their house, maybe they though I was selling something. But I did get to talk to about 1/3 of the people living in the area. Main areas of concern, since was a neighborhood with lots of young couples was state testing in the schools and of course the price of gas. I did not find one person who believed testing was in the best interest of the children. On the price of gas, I asked them if they insulated their home about what the builder recommended. Only a few said yea. I explained to them if everyone did in the entire state we would reduce the power needs and in the long term reduce overall fuel consumption, that overnight we are not going to get the price down. I also explained how Indiana does not provide real incentives to reduce home power needs such as credits for wind and solar power. Many were surprised.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hey Mitch Daniels your Tollroad is calling.

Hey Mitch

The chickens are coming home to roost on the toll-road and you haven’t even finished your term in office. Maybe it’s time people understand what you have been up too and totally finish your time in office.

On Monday June 23, 2008, the Associated Press reported that drivers are flooding the state offices with complaints about the highway. “Gripes include filthy restrooms, busty model….”

Lets go back in time for a minute. Mitch didn’t like the idea of the state owning and running a toll road, put it in the hands of a private company and have them buy it. They can run it better than the state. Plus the state will get billions from the sale and can use it to build more highways elsewhere. The state did get $3.8 billion, but so far I don’t see many other highways being built. They are starting slowly to use the highway money, but I just don’t see it. Somehow I see Mitch ads about a surplus in the state budget, maybe just maybe it’s the highway money that makes it look like a surplus. Sort of like a shell game.

Now Mitch, would a private company buy a highway, if they didn’t see a profit? I doubt it. How do you maximize a profit, reduce costs is one way. So they installed electronic tollbooths, sure, it gets rid of people and maximize profit, could the state have done that of course. Could the state have bought the new snowplows, the odds are they already had them and would have to buy a few new ones every year. Was the announcement by the company that they bought 40 plows because the state highway department took its trucks with them when the road was sold. So buy new trucks to make it look like you are doing something special. The filthy restrooms, well maybe the state inspectors can’t get to them because they can’t afford the tolls to drive to the restrooms to inspect them.

A long time ago we used to have ferries and roads that were private and with time the government took these over as a matter of public good. Gasoline taxes were used to improve the highway network. What happened to this concept? OK, Mitch I understand you needed a lot of money to build out I-69 and couldn’t wait for the highway taxes but sell off the highway.

Here is what I would have done and by the way would have raised the same amount of money and still owned the highway. Have you ever heard of a state tax-free revenue bond? The concept is rather simple, the state sells revenue bonds for $3.8 billon and then collects tolls and pays off the bonds. That is what was done in the first place to built the toll road. In fact the state actually makes more money since the “profit” now going overseas to Ryan Company would have stayed in the state.

Mitch a few last items – Why don’t you sell the Capitol Building and then the state could rent it back from the new owners, oh, please don’t sell the Governors Mansion, the next occupant plans on living in it.

My name is Joe Weingarten and I am running for State Representative in the 29th District and I approve this message.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who's Who

I just received the notification I am going to be included in Who’s Who in America in the 2009 edition and in Who’s Who in the World. I am already in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering.

This is not the first time I am in Who’s Who. It used to be a big honor to be selected for inclusion, but today there are so many Who’s you don’t know the real from the hanger-on book. I do feel honored because this is the original company (Marquis) with the higher standards to be included. You can’t buy your way into the book.

Today you can buy your way into too many things. It’s like the cost of an election. If you have lots of money, you can flood the airways with ads and if you don’t, you can walk neighborhoods and meet people. I guess I will be walking. I hope to meet lots of people, talk and listen. Have a group that meets in the district (Fishers, McCordsville and Noblesville), I would be happy to come to your meeting. Just give me a call 598-1026.

My name is Joe Weingarten and I am running for State Representative in the 29th District and I approve this message.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Conflict of Interest

On Monday June 16, 2008 at a meeting of he Fallcreek Township Board of Trustees, the big discussion was an agreement between the Township and the Town of Fishers, Indiana.

I am not going to bore all of you with details on this agreement. Rather, I want to talk about how elected officials act in the State of Indiana and how we need to clean house and get some laws changed.

One member of the Township Board is a financial consultant; in a previous meeting he stated that he had a possible conflict of interest with the Town. What he didn’t state was that he received compensation in excess of $16,500 in the year 2007 and was going to get more this year. Also that he has been consulting to the town for years and years and being paid all those years.

I formally requested he step aside and even leave the meeting all together. According to the Township attorney he didn’t have to leave, just not vote on the issue. This came from an attorney who has clients that will directly be affected by the actions of the document they were discussing.

Now if I had not said a thing, I am willing to bet he would have voted.

To me this is a clear-cut conflict of interest and both he and the attorney should have left the meeting. For him to continue to chair the meeting and the attorney to provide legal opinions on the document they were going to approve is not exactly above board.

We need a law in Indiana that enforces and better defines what is a conflict of interest and another law that forbids any elected official to have a contract with any government agency.

You can’t have two masters – it’s either the people or the government. If you are elected you are given the public trust and if you are being paid by another agency, how can you have the publics trust.

My name is Joe Weingarten and I am running for the 29th House District in the State of Indiana and I approve this message.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Indiana Government Waste

You would think the Representatives and Senators would know better, but some don’t and some do.

Around the last week in May 2008 I got in the mail a slick 4 page, full color flyer from Kathy Richardson the Representative of the 29th District. It so happens this is the same district I am running for to be the state representative.

As an incumbent she has the ability to spend your tax dollars to get her name in front of you just before an election. Interesting how that works. So what does this fancy flyer have to say? Nothing that was not already in the news, on TV, etc. Her letter on the back page is all about the property tax cut and her thanks to those who contracted her during the session. Kathy the session is long over and you write us now. What took you so long?
Oh, I understand elections are coming.

Well, how much this slick flyer cost? I asked. I got a response of sorts. They would not tell me how much was the cost of developing the flyer. But did tell me the cost of printing and postage which comes to a whopping $12,656.70.

I know I did not get one of these form Senator Gard. Maybe she doesn’t want to waste money.

I am also certain that many other Representatives and Senators have the state mail out these flyers, after all it’s a cheap way to tell all the voters about yourself without spending any campaign funds. I don’t care if it was a democrat or republican who mailed these out, its wrong and a waste of your tax dollars. This money could be much better spent on education, heath care and many other things, rather than self-preservation of yourself in elected office. Or even better yet reduce, your taxes some more.

While the property tax cut is a great idea and I fully support it, I strongly believe other taxes and fees will skyrocket because the government has done nothing to reduce the cost of government.

Anyone want to take a bet you will get one of these in October?