Friday, July 07, 2006

Continuing From the Previous Thread

Charlie, as near as I can tell, Bud never expressed any desire to debate you on the principles of the founding of our country. He leaves that to you and Dr. Ellis.

You are deflecting, again. I can only assume that you have no logical answer to my July 5th, 11:13 post.

When you are dragged out of the confines of the political theory that you continue to immerse yourself into - when you are dragged into practical reality, you are, obviously, out of your element.

I don't need to explore founding principles to know that the minority business ownership rate in Alachua County is half the state average and that it is the anti-business policies of democrats like you that make that happen.

I don't need to explore founding principles to know that we are under the state average in being able to provide jobs in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, and that it is the anti-business policies of democrats like you that make that happen.

I don't need to explore founding principles to know that, even when we account for student rentals, the homeownership rate in our county is well below the state average, and that it is anti-business, anti-economic opportunity policies by democrats like you that help make that happen.

I don't need to explore founding principles to know that nearly half the kids that go to Alachua County Public Schools qualify for free and reduced lunch programs, and that it is anti-business, anti-economic opportunity policies by democrats like you that have helped to make that happen.

I don't need to explore founding principles to know that in 2003, 19.8% of children (0 to 17) lived at or below the poverty line and that it is anti-business, anti-economic opportunity policies by model Alachua County Democrats like you that have made that so.

Before you try to blame George Bush (your friends on the DEC did after we first started exploring these numbers), please note that we compared these to state averages and we, as a county, don't stack up well with the state statistics.

Be honest, Charlie. You don't want good government. You want to overturn an election and take another shot at getting the liberal / progressive candidate on the commission. If the liberal/ progressive had won by 2 votes you would have had no desire to explore this election any further.

You attack Alachua for its use of the consent agenda, but you are being disingenuous because the City of Gainesville uses its consent agenda to expend funds and to apply for grants.

You just went after Bud by recycling the same arguments that I shot down in the earlier post.

You continue to harp about low wage jobs, but I pointed out that the Dollar General jobs probably pay more than custodial jobs at UF. Are you seriously going to deny somebody that opportunity? You harp about subsidizing big business, but what if that business brings in more into the community than it costs to bring it here?

Charlie, did you oppose the re-development subsidies approved by the Gainesville City Commission. I would argue that is a worse kind of subsidy than those put forward for DG or Wal-Mart. Beyond construction, the apartment and condo projects that the city is giving huge tax breaks for don’t really provide a steady flow of jobs, and the money collected in rents, etc goes to out of town owners. The value is in the property taxes they can raise, but we are giving those away?

I keep making points that you keep refusing to address. Forget about Bud. Quit dodging me by answering him. You work out whatever you want to work out with him, but quit dodging me. I will challenge you to a debate, anytime, (WSKY if you would like, since you mentioned it) on these subjects, and I promise you, I will win it.

Posted by Stafford


At Fri Jul 07, 11:32:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I never said that I wanted to debate the founding fathers concepts of a new government. Mr. Grapski wants to bait me into it. His condescending, I'm superior to you attitude, doesn't serve him well. I conceed that he knows more about that. I challenge him to a debate on the scientific pathways of the Kreb's cycle. So there!

Mr. Grapski's attitude is an attepmt to make others believe that he is more intelligent then I. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Grapski has told us that he is proud that he has no worldly goods. He is not driven by financial security so the word "profit" strikes his soul like a cross to a vampire. He is certaily in the minority. Most of us have family to consider. We have a life style that we want and "profit" is important. Without "profit" this wouldn't be the greatest country in the world. People wouldn't have jobs. Everyone would be living off the land. I for one am not ready to give up A/C and my car. People like Mr. Grapski can't make me give those up or feel guilty for achieving success.

I am still ready to debate the economic success and security that we have brought to Alachua. Mr. Grapski likes to think for others, Clovis, my wife, my self. He doesn't understand how boorish and elitist that makes him look. He thinks that we take advantage of the poor which is also so far from the truth. The poor are not dumb. They see through the likes of Mr. Grapski. They are proud. They appreciate what we have done for Alachua. It was evident when my wife was elected by 71% of the voters.

At Sat Jul 08, 08:15:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Charlie,

There's a bit to touch on, so I'll do my best to keep it orderly.

On the issue of the meaning of conservative: I don't disagree with your general polisci description of what constitutes a conservative except for the fact that most political scientists wouldn't apply it to the US case. We have never really had that particular brand of conservatism in this country. Rather, almost all US citizens think along the liberal spectrum, separated principally by perspectives on negative and positive liberties. In this light, it's plain that conservatives advocate a governmental system ensuring negative liberties and progressives or liberals advocate a system ensuring positive liberties. To me, this line of argument is impractical for you since it is meaningless to the American political scene and to those of my ilk; in this view, conservatives are not antithetical to modern American democracy, rather they practice it as originally designed. For the sake of ease, can we agree to my descriptions of conservatives and progressives (without, perhaps, the normative statement on the practice of democracy)?

[note for the non-polisci geeks among us: negative liberties generally include the "freedom from" elements - things the government can't do to its citizens. This includes the freedom from arbitrary arrest, siezure of property, torture, etc. It also includes the right to participate in the government, to assemble, to free speech, etc. This requires only that the government abstains from denying such things, and so is minimalist in cost and orientation. Positive liberties, however, assume individuals have the "Right to" certain things, such as food, education, shelter, a job, etc. When individuals cannot provide these rights for themselves, the society, i.e. the government, is obligated to provide them. Hence, there is a more interventionist (socialist), even maximalist (communist) element to positive liberties and it requires more money since its activities are so much broader.]

On the legitimacy of the government to engage in social programs: I have to vigorously dispute your interpretation of the intent behind the Constitution. You point out that it does not explicitly prevent social programs. What you are overlooking entirely is the fact that the Constitution was written with the intent of LIMITING what the government could do by stating expressly what it was ALLOWED to do. The omission of the permissability of social programs was inherently a denial of them, which is why the Supreme Court had to find justification for them in the Commerce Clause. Hence, the conservative understanding of this issue is on solid ground, though - as with many current issues - subject to judicial (philosophical) interpretation.

I bolster my argument with the reminder that the founding fathers did not want an activist or socialist government precisely because they knew that the masses would threaten property rights - the basis of our prosperity as a people. A positive liberty orientation requires the siezure of property (through taxation) and could be limitless. Charity was always intended to be left to the private sector, so it was no accident that it took 150 years to find justification for government charity (welfare). I honestly have no idea how you support the claim that the majority of the founding fathers favored a positive liberty perspective.

Also, I am utterly confused about the notion of a "general constitution" or a "small c" constitution. I assume you are incorporating the natural law philosophy at this point. I disagree that it should hold legal merit outside the constitutional framework precisely because natural law rests on one's interpretation of negative and positive liberties. Some, like myself, are negative libertarians while others, like you, are positive libertarians. Rights are not (as you claim) the expression of justice, rather justice - as the expression of morally legitimate outcome - is only meaningful as a concept if there is some predetermination of the rights to which individuals are entitled. The wisdom of the founders was in creating a state that allowed the decentralization of the government so that morality could be determined at a more localized level. This minimizes the desire and necessity to control the central government, a struggle that could under unfortunate circumstances lead to civil war.

The more the government does (positive liberties), the more it must take from its citizens (taxation), the more dependence and ire it generates (political division), the more desperate the fight to control the state becomes, the less we think of ourselves as an integrated people. This is an important principle that progressives fail to see. Positive liberties, the provision of social programs, limit the very freedoms they claim to champion precisely because the state must regulate individual behavior and commerce. It is a political irony of massive proportions.

As to whether a policy is good: This determination must take into account all that I've stated on a theoretical level (where the policy will take us politically), a constitutional level (is it expressly allowed at the level of government desired for enaction?), and a programatic level (will it have the consequences we hope?). The problem with modern politics is that there is a separate moral political foundation for conservatives and progressives (neg. v. pos libs) so the constitutionality and legal propriety of a policy become subsumed by its morality as viewed by each party. This is at the heart of your disagreement with the City of Alachua, with WalMart, and with Republicans like me.

Thanks, everyone, for sticking with this long post. I hope there was at least something interesting.

At Sat Jul 08, 06:23:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

I don't think the Kreb's cycle is a debatable topic Mr. Calderwood. As a microbiologist I can assure you I know that topic quite well - although I no longer spend much time dealing with it.

My attitude is not of condescension - it is of challenging you to put your claims to the test. You have made numerous statements about my positions - that you have distorted and misrepresented.

You have made numerous claims about how much more American you seem to be in your views - and how my views are somehow out of the mainstream or in conflict with the principles of this nation.

You have made all sorts of claims about the laws and about the rules of parliamentary procedure.

In sum you have made all sorts of public claims that YOU CANNOT BACK UP.

You play a game of bait and switch (as does Stafford, and no Stafford, at this moment you are deflecting - because I challenged Hugh to defend his positions - and then you dragged Dave Ellis into this - and now you want to do the same. I'd be happy to debate you at some time in the near future Stafford - now that you have made that challenge - but at the moment I am still waiting for Hugh Calderwood's debate. I have also agreed to continue a discussion with Dave Ellis, and was going to follow his urging to do it here, until I saw this kind of nonsensical rant of yours. So if Dave would like - I will continue that very meaningful discussion somewhere else).

So Mr. Calderwood I have called upon you to give you an opportunity to see how "intelligent" you are (your words - it was not my point).

My point is not about your "intelligence." My point is about 1) your KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING of the principles of law and politics; 2) your KNOWLEDEGE & UNDERSTANDING about the history of this country; and 3) your HONESTY and SINCERITY when you make public (or anonymous) statements.

I believe that you are more "hot air" than you are substance. I believe that you believe in the Rush Limbaugh style of debate - talk AS IF you knew something, without knowing much about it, and say it in an AUTHORITATIVE manner - and people will believe you.

And when people COUNTER your points - you just ignore them and rant away.

I have not stated I am "proud that I have no worldly goods." Again you like to MAKE THINGS UP.

I am proud that I am not driven in my PUBLIC life - by a profit motive. As such is inherently immoral and unethical.

I am proud that in my private life I am not driven by mere self-interest - but seek to be a good citizen and a good person. I am not perfect. But my aim is to strive toward such a standard. When I falter it is due to error - not to intentional wrongdoing. And I do not create mythical historical accounts of founding principles - nor do I worship a false religion of hyper-individualism - as if it replaced that ethical foundation.

That is how I see you operate - and many others like you.

"Profit" is not an evil thing - I have never said it was. Again - you go misinterpreting (either out of ignorance or intent) my very points.

Profit, in proportion to justice, is proper. Profit out of proportion to justice is immoral.

Profit, without harming others, is appropriate. Profit at the expense of others - is unethical.

Profit is NOT an ethical driving force of society. You think society should be driven by the profit motive.

This is ANTITHETICAL to the founding principles of this nation - and to the framework of our laws and to politics and governance.

As for your "concern" about the poor. Give me a break. You claim that you are using tax dollars to bring multi-billion dollar corporations to town so that they can "give" the poor jobs.

To begin with - they can also AFFORD to bring those jobs here - WITHOUT such public subsidies.

Secondly they are not "giving" anything for free. They are using those workers for their own self-interest - not looking out for those they employ. They are making a profit by paying them AS LOW as they can get away with.

But you are seeking to SUBSIDIZE that model of business with tax dollars.


Because you call that same idea - but without the wealthy corporate middle-man - "redistribution of wealth", "socialism," "unAmerican," etc.

If you CARED about the poor individual - why do you oppose their having health insurance subsidized by tax dollars?

Yet you will subsidize a large multi-million or billion dollar profit making industry to give MINIMAL health insurance to a PORTION of their workers?

You talk about your concern for the poor - yet you oppose policies aimed toward letting them set up their OWN business - one that they OWN. Because that is welfare.

Yet you will go out of your way (and your wife will break the law) to GIVE public money, taken through taxes, to large corporations to locate in the City of Alachua.

What did America do BEFORE the large-scale corporation come into existence? Were we an impoverished society? Were we a third-world country?

What kind of quality of life was there? How much homelessness was there? How much poverty was there?

Is the multi-national corporation really the only savior we have?

I want to invest in COMMUNITY. THIS community.

I am willing to CONSIDER partnering with corporations from out of town to bring something that CANNOT be provided from within - ON OUR terms. They would be GUESTS in our community. And they would pay the price of admission. (And in the end - that will pay off for them - as they will make their profit).

But you want to take from the poor (collect taxes) and give to the rich (the large out of town corporations).

That is the difference between you and I.

Again, any time you want to debate publicly - on any topic of public policy, politics, law, etc. - I dare you to such a debate Mr. Calderwood.

You love to scream this "elitist" nonsense. What you are is a hypocrite.

At Sat Jul 08, 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


I'd like to bring our discussion to a more appropriate forum.

While there may be others reading this - who may be sincere in their desire to follow a discussion, learn from discourse, and perhaps even chime in - I do not believe this forum, with the influence and interests of Mr. Calderwood and Mr. Jones make it sufficient for a real honest discourse on these very important matters.

I will consider setting up a forum in which you and I are both given sole moderator status. And I would encourage Stafford to place a link on his site for this - and I will place links on sites I have authority to do so or will ask others to place them there.

Hope you are doing well. Not sure where you have gone off too.

At Sat Jul 08, 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


One point I want to make regarding your discussions.

As I said - I will gladly publicly debate you on matters of public policy. At some time in the near future I'd love to set something like that up - but as you are the Chair of the Republican Party - I believe a neutral location would be in order.

I do believe that you are an honest and caring individual, Stafford, as I have told you numerous times. I respect you as an individual. My knowledge and interaction with Mr. Calderwood has not given me the kind of evaluation of himself or his wife that I can make about you.

I believe you are misguided and wrong on many policies. But I believe that you honestly believe that you are pursuing those policies for good reason.

I believe your error comes in adopting positions without fully understanding what is entailed - the hidden premises - of those positions. That is where the "theory" comes in. And no - I do not live in a "theoretical" world - I live in the "real" world.

But without "theory" - most of those advances you rely on and proclaim as making this country so great - would not exist in "reality."

Knowledge of theory is very important. Ignorance of theory is very detrimental.

When there is an appropriate time and place - let us have a public policy debate - you and I.

But for the moment - please do not try and deflect from Mr. Calderwood's challenge.

Mr. Calderwood, once more, as you have openly made statements in areas you now claim to be not so well informed about (politics, law, government, and history) - I challenge you to bring those theories and ideas into the public forum and to put them on the table for discussion - by having a debate with me on them.

Again, while I find the Citric Acid/Kreb's Cylcle highly fascinating - I believe its discovery in the 1930's is not questioned in scientific circles today. Its an established fact. Not much to DEBATE. Perhaps in the 19th century - when it had not been worked out - there was room for such a debate, as biologists wondered why in aerobic conditions cells produced on product (lactic acid or ethanol) but in aerobic conditions they produced Carbon Dioxide and Water. Indeed I remember when at Auburn University I had an amazing course in an advanced microbiology topic - and we actually went through the process of determining each and every step in the Kreb's cycle. One of the most enjoyable experiments I had ever done.

When I ask you to debate - it is not merely a challenge to lay out one's knowledge - it is to TEST one's claims.

At Sat Jul 08, 07:35:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski says:

"As for your "concern" about the poor. Give me a break. You claim that you are using tax dollars to bring multi-billion dollar corporations to town so that they can "give" the poor jobs".

I didn't say that they would "give" anyone a job. They have job openings. The individuals will avail themselves of the jobs if they wish. Dollar General isn't holding a gun to their heads. They aren't shanghaied. They have "free will". I don't agree with you that these are low paying jobs. They exceed the County's definition of a livable wage. Somewhere you made the comment that these jobs limited the choice of jobs. Contrary, they give workers MORE choices.

What are the public claims I can't back up? What are the "profits" for which you say I will be hauled of to jail? That sounds like a criminal act.

I have given you an example of a person who was grateful for a job at DG. She was able to go to school, the "evil" corporation paid part of her schooling AND she made more money then the "small business" where she had worked. Where is the "evil" there?

Now isn't it nice that you can bloviate with Dave on the subject that you love. Why do you want to move it somewhere else? Maybe over th Free Alachua where no one goes. Maybe you don't like to be beaten up over here where many people are watching?? Same with Stafford. I certainly am willing to "debate" you on the good and evil in Alachua.

I have given you my OPINION of your positions. I would think that you would be happy to set me straight. I certainly believe that your tone is condescending. Others reading here will form their own opinions.

"how my views are somehow out of the mainstream" I certainly believe this and the number of votes you get will reinforce that opinion "or in conflict with the principles of this nation" I never said that.

"I believe that you are more "hot air" than you are substance. I believe that you believe in the Rush Limbaugh style of debate - talk AS IF you knew something, without knowing much about it, and say it in an AUTHORITATIVE manner - and people will believe you." If I make a claim I can back it up with facts. Don't confuse that with opinions of you.

The only thing I have said about the law is that your lawsuit will be dismissed without any fraud found and that the election will stand. The law isn't looking for a perfect election, it wants a fair election which the people got. I have asked you and you have failed to answer, will you stand up like a man and publicly apologize if my prediction comes true?

At Sat Jul 08, 07:47:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie said:
I believe you are misguided and wrong on many policies.

That's it? I have given you plenty of specific policy issue examples, and that is all you can come up with? You can't even address the issue about the consent agenda?

Charlie, I can only assume, as will most people that read this blog, that you cannot counter - that you cannot effectively communicate a worthy alternative vision - that you are full of hot air . . . or something less pleasant.

At Sun Jul 09, 02:34:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

No Stafford,

Actually it is because I am not operating on your time - at your pleasure - at your beck and call.

I will answer your questions in time - I can assure you.

Just as I have stated to Mr. Calderwood on the election. IN DUE TIME.

Yes, I know you have read the 1995 Murphy-Bowers case and think that is your "ticket" out of this mess. But no. We have actually alleged fraud - because we have evidence of it. Unless of course you plan to "dispose" of the many witnesses to these acts?

So, Stafford, IN DUE TIME.

But even when I seem to do so - you seem not to get it. Heck, my answer to the Consent Agenda issue was laid on the table long ago - you just wanted me to explain it to you in detail so you don't have to do the work to find out how to defend yourself - but the Mayor proved my point herself the other night - without my even being there - when she read into the record the quote from the Municipal Handbook on what a consent agenda is and how it is properly used. She PROVED my point - and the joke is - she doesn't even realize it (and I am not sure you even get it either).

So, Stafford. IN DUE TIME.

At Sun Jul 09, 04:51:00 AM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

I haven't read the case to which you are referring. I have asked you to address the Gainesville City Commission's consent agenda (they approve grant applications and expend funds), and have tried to have a discussion on public policy.

You are incapable of either. "Due time" is nothing more than a B.S. answer.

At Sun Jul 09, 08:36:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi guys,

Sorry for the delay in responding, but I'm out of town. Charlie has stumbled into my point on morality underlying politics, so there are a few things I wanted to point out.

Notions of profit out of proportion and profit at others' expense are inherently a matter of perception. They will be different for different groups of people; hence our debate over Alachua. We are all making assumptions about the degrees of each and, therefore, the morality and righteousness of the City of Alachua's policies. Did the City of Alachua break the law in providing incentives to WalMart and Dollar General. No. Was the policy good and moral? This is open to debate.

On the issue of proportion of profit, I personally do not mind at all if a company is able to make a gagillion dollars if it provides a quality good or service without using illegal means to generate a monopoly. I also do not consider the ability to undercut other businesses' operating costs to be tantamount to a monopoly. So, something like WalMart I and other Republicans assume to be a morally acceptable enterprise in and of itself. Other intangible things, such as selection of merchandise, wait at the register, atmosphere will decide if I wish to go there. This differentiation will spark competition and other business opportunities (such as Target, Kohl, high end boutiques).

In this way, a company like WalMart is not profitting at the expense of others and there is no perturbation of the moral order. So long as individuals have the choice to spend their money there, and there is no attempt to specifically target a competitor, WalMart is not acting immorally; it is simply offering a service which the people deems acceptable and for which they are willing to part with their money. True, WalMart has used its vast resources to try to buy out Mom and Pop competitors, but that's because they know from experience that they will drive them out of business. This is morally analogous to a severence package for company laying off workers. In both cases, workers will have to find new jobs. Is the latter immoral? Where I do have a problem with WalMart is their recent use of eminent domain and I will fight them until the end on that one.

The free exchange of goods and services for money, then, regardless of the degree is to me assumed to be morally legitimate. You might now bring up the issue of incentives and whether this is a moral practice for a large corporation. Again, I think on balance they can be morally justified in this sense: the amount of revenue generated by the corporation is $0 if it does not exist. The corporation will seek the most advantageous location it can (a mixture of customer density, ease of access, taxes, etc.). Communities want the jobs and tax revenues generated by the corporation and will attempt to make their location more attractive - this to me is logical and appropriate. A city will offer incentives, like tax breaks, in order to sweeten their spot. When the corporation decides to build there, the city will now generate tax revenue. The city objectively incurs a loss of revenue because it has lowered the tax rate. This is not, in my view, morally unacceptable since taxes will be greater than the original income of $0. Could the corporation afford a higher tax rate? Perhaps, but the incentive might overcome another cost deficiency, and both the city and the town benefit. Morally this, too, is acceptable.

Ok, but what happens to the Mom and Pops who are unable to compete? If a town does not have a diversified economic base, it could be problematic. That's why bringing in things like a Dollar General distribution center seems like good policy. In the case of WalMart, cost savings from low prices can actually ADD income to the town since the same goods now cost much less. New job opportunities can open as a result; this does require the public to seek new and more profitable opportunities. Thus is the cycle of American prosperity. The transactions are moral and the policy is good.

At Sun Jul 09, 08:44:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Sorry, one more thing. I whole heartedly agree that efforts to limit the diversification of an economic base is wildly counterproductive to improving living standards. The reason a company can offer lower wages or fewer benefits is precisely because there is surplus labor willing to take whatever is available. If you want to improve wages and benefits, thin out the labor market by creating an enabling environment for business. Lack of labor will automatically cause compensation to increase. So when Stafford gives the statistics about Alachua County, it shouldn't be a surprise that we're suffering in this county. The policies have been designed to prevent economic growth and diversification, leading to a labor surplus. I think the hypocritical policy is to prevent economic expansion and then to wonder why compensation packages aren't better; the answer is they don't have to be! This isn't immoral, it's a consequence of public policy choices.

At Sun Jul 09, 08:48:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:

Correct me if I have misinterpreted your argument about the Consent Agenda. You claim that the city is passing substantive business without public input, is that right? Also that the Mr. Watson is running the city by his authority in setting up the agenda. Our Charter allows for a strong City Manager.

I await your response to the following items on the next BOCC meeting which was compiled by their County Manager, Mr. Reid:

Request to approve the following meeting minutes:
April 6, 2006 Retreat
April 13, 2006 Special Meeting
May 4, 2006 Special Meeting
May 9, 2006 Special Meeting
May 11, 2006 Special Meeting
May 23, 2006 Regular and Public Hearing
June 6, 2006 Special Meeting

Request approvals of the Resolutions to Increase the Alachua County Forever General Obligation 2nd Bond Issue Capital Fund and Increase the Pooled Commercial Paper Debt Service Fund. Amount: $5,300,000.00
Staff Recommended Action: Approve the attached resolutions and budget amendments to Increase the Alachua County Forever General Obligation 2nd Bond Issue Capital Fund and Increase the Pooled Commercial Paper Debt Service Fund.
Request the approval of the issuance of Purchase Order #061902 to Dataline, Inc., in the amount of $198,832.04, for the purchase of a San (Storage Area Network) System for disaster recovery of County Networks, for the Information & Telecommunication Services. Amount: $198,832.04
Staff Recommended Action: That the Board approve the Finance Report and the issuance of the Purchase Order #061902, to Dataline, Inc., in the amount of $198,832.04 and authorize the Chair's signature. A copy, if applicable to be included in the Board's minutes.

Ii believe the approval of the spending of $5,3000,000.00 via a consent agenda is substantive, don't you?

Dr. Hugh Calderwood
Diplamat ACVA

At Sun Jul 09, 09:10:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Good points, Dr. Ellis. Let me add a few thoughts, if that is alright with Mr. Grapski.
"Could the corporation afford a higher tax rate?"

Of course any company can afford higher taxes. They just pass them on to the consumeer. The poor will be the ones who feel it the most.

That 2000 acres of industrial land sat there for over twenty years not generating any taxes as it was taxed as Ag. The City offered incentives to bring Dollar General away from Ocala. Now Ocala is crying for those lost tax dollars.

These new 250 acres are paying much higher taxes then before as they are now taxed as Industrial. The City, County and School Board are the beneficiaries since it takes fewer service dollars to support Industrail properties then Residential.

You also said:
"The reason a company can offer lower wages or fewer benefits is precisely because there is surplus labor willing to take whatever is available. If you want to improve wages and benefits, thin out the labor market by creating an enabling environment for business. Lack of labor will automatically cause compensation to increase".

Followed to its logical conclusion, Mr. Grapski should be happy that Wal Mart and Sysco are coming to Alachua. Their competing for available employees almost guarantees higher wages for everyone, esp. those low skilled workers who are now working at McDonalds for minimum wage, not $9-11.00/hour.

Dr. Calderwood, Diplamat ACVA

At Sun Jul 09, 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Stafford, as I said:

1) I am not here to prepare Marian Rush for her defense of the City of Alachua. She is paid well enough to do that for herself. She doesn't seem very capable true. But I don't see why I should do her homework for her. That will come in due time - in the courts.

2) You beg the biggest question of all. Show me a time when the City of Gainesville or the County of Alachua has KEPT something on a consent agenda WHEN a member of the public requested to give input into the matter? When was the last time the City of Gainesville or the County of Alachua has forcibly removed someone for raising a point of order - or has banged a gavel incessantly just because someone refers to Roberts Rules of Order.

Its funny. When citizens get up to speak - even in citizen comment (where the same rules don't apply to comment on a particular item up for discussion) - the Mayor demands that the citizen follows Roberts Rules of Order (she didn't realize that she was citing Roberts Rules of ORder - but she did it at the last meeting on more than one occasion).

So let me understand this. According to the Mayor of Alachua, her husband, and the chairman of the Republican Party (who seems to have a lot to do with the City of Alachua and its policies) citizens MUST obey Roberts RUles of Order when addressing the Commission; but the Commission does not have to follow Roberts Rules of Order - and the Citizen cannot challenge the Mayor's understanding of the rules?

The issue is not whether or not the City of Gainesville or the County of Alachua is violating the law. They may or may not be. That is another question (although if they were challenged on any point - unlike the City of Alachua - they would ALLOW that citizen input and act accordingly - that is the key).

The question is whether or not the City of Alachua is doing such. Their defense cannot be others have broken the law in the past - so we thus have a right to do so.

As for this idea of the City Charter allowing a "strong City Manager" government - not only have I never heard of such a thing - where the City Manager gets to legislate - but it is absurd, undemocratic, violates Florida's laws, and is not provided for in the Charter.

Think about what you are defending. You are saying that it is legitimate to have ONE UNELECTED individual, forget for a second the quality of that individual, LEGISLATE for the City of Alachua? Why then do you need an elected commission? What is their purpose.

At the last City Commission meeting - there was a regularly scheduled meeting - in which EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION was listed as a consent agenda item.

THe only business was conducted - on items ADDED at the last minute - between the two rounds of citizen comment (general) at the beginning and the end of the meeting.

Are you saying this seems "normal" to you?

No, Hugh, America is not a country which is modelled on a strong dictator model of government - with mere limits that an elected commission MAY override that one individual. Nor is Alachua.

Now, let's get this: Clovis Watson, who has "earned" a BA from the University of Alabama correspondence course paid (rumor has it at minium) for by the City of Alachua. An MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Mountain Valley State - a West Virginia correspondence school - which he falsely claims is a Masters in Public Administration - again paid for (at minimum) by the City of Alachua. And now a PhD!!! (and in so few years - your hero) from a correspondence school in Arizona which does not even offer Public Administration as a PhD degree - where he claims that is what he is earning.

Prior to that he had NO QUALIFICATIONS whatsoever for the job. He was not in good standing WHEN he was "in" the professional associations - and has royally been lambasted for his unprofessionalism by them recently.

And you are PROUD that this is who is unilaterally running - and how it is being run - the City of Alachau.

On its face, Hugh, this is patently absurd. But then again - this is the very model of the Bush administration. You put someone in the front spot - who knows nothing - so they are a mere pawn for those around them - who are often unelected - and hide behind the scenes manipulating the process for their own self-interest.

You defend that all you want. But I will oppose you and your efforts with everything I have. Because it is wrong.

At Sun Jul 09, 10:24:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

"As for this idea of the City Charter allowing a "strong City Manager" government - not only have I never heard of such a thing - where the City Manager gets to legislate - but it is absurd, undemocratic, violates Florida's laws, and is not provided for in the Charter".

Mr. Grapski, you are getting a major wedgie. Our Charter does not have an elected Mayor by the voters. The day to day running of the business of the City is in the hands of the City manager. The Charter addresses that the Commission is not to interfere with that day to day activity. The Commission does the legislative business NOT THE CITY MANAGER, your absurd comment aside. If as you say Mr. Watson is doing such, file a complaint with the State Attorney.

Rule #19, Section 2 in the City's Rules states that the Manager is to prepare the agenda. This is the same Rules and Proceedures that Robbins, Rothseiden and Burgess wrote and passed.

What does Bush have to do with this discussion? It was Robbins, Rothseiden and Burgess that hired Mr. Watson as Manager. Many of the ALA members stood up publicly and praised him to the sky about HOW qualified he was and how literate he was. Check the video.

Check the DVD of the last meeting, the Mayor pulled an item from the consent agenda at the request of Mr. Russ, who didn't even have the courtesy to come to respond to his request. She also pulled another request at the previous meeting.

We have already had the discussion as to whether you can stand up from the audience and demand a point of order. It is already everyone elses contention that you are not a member of the commission and as such can't demand a Robert's Rule of Order.

Dr. Hugh Calderwood, Diplomat ACVA

At Sun Jul 09, 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Ward Scott said...


I'm having trouble following how one can go from Clovis Watson, Jr. to the Bush administration and suggest the two analogous without using careful, logical transitions.

Dave: I've taught writing for forty years. Your clear writing indicates clear thinking and a balanced mind.

And Hugh continues to cite specific examples to document his points, as does Stafford.

The rest I don't pay much attention to, except to skim for flaws, which are too numerous to mention, save the one mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Ward Scott

At Sun Jul 09, 11:14:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Thank you Ward. All I see are personal attacks on the Mayor, the Manager and the City Attorney from Mr. Grapski. It is his way of running around the Court's order to have NO CONTACT with them. Before he was sending them harrassing unwanted e-mails.

Speaking of that tactic I see on the ALA site that Bernie Machen won a judgement against Mr. Grapski for $1300. Mr. Grapski's tactic of sending unwanter e-mails failed there also.

Another question that Mr. Grapski needs to answer so that we can understand his qualifications to address our questions on small businesses is to expand on his failed photo shop. Was this a business that you started from scratch or a family business that you took over or ran for a family member. Or was it one that you managed for a non-family member?

Dr. Hugh Calderwood, Diplomat ACVA

At Sun Jul 09, 11:58:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

My "attacks" are not personal on these individuals. I am "criticizing" (call it an attack if you like - as I do indeed find them, at minimum, criminally negligent - and believe that at least some of them are just plain criminals) their performance as PUBLIC OFFICIALS.

As for your continued misinformation - which you posted on the ALA site - Bernie Machen has NOT won any JUDGMENT against me. Again you are simply mistaken.

At Mon Jul 10, 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:

We are trying to carry on a discussion of the economic development in Alachua. We want you to contribute. Dr. Ellis and I have presented facts about the tax benefits and employee opportunities with a living wage and benefits. I have asked for clearification of the business you had. We are awaiting your reply to those.

Dr. Hugh calderwood, Diplomat ACVA

At Mon Jul 10, 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Mr. Calderwood, my business past or present is of no concern to the City of Alachua and has no bearing on this issue - other than to refute your false statement that unless one has owned and operated a business - one has no credibility to discuss or knowledge about the factors involved in "capitalism." The fact is that this is a false and illogical statement in itself - and it fails to recognize the fact that I have indeed operated a small business in the State of Florida.

I will have no further discussions with YOU about my personal life. It is none of your business or anyone else's - beyond merely correcting the facts as you have misrepresented them.

I will engage Dave Ellis in another forum - more conducive to an intellectual discussion made on a serious basis. I look forward to that discussion. You are welcome to observe and comment at that time.

In the meantime - I am still awaiting your acceptance of my challenge for you to put your mouth where you money is - and defend your positions - face-to-face in a debate, just you and me, in ANY forum you choose.

At Mon Jul 10, 02:37:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I think that your business experience IS of importance for others to see where you are coming from. You claim that corporations force small businesses out. I can easily argue that it may be for any number of business factors that fit a competitive business model and any new business, even another Mom and Pop would result in the same end. Your business experience plays into your remarks. Such factors as under financing, inventory, curb appeal, location location location, keeping up with technology and many others play a role. Small businesses fail daily that have nothing to do with corps.

At Mon Jul 10, 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Again Mr. Calderwood, the details of my personal business experience have no bearing whatsoever on this discussion.

You falsely claimed that a) one must have run a business in order to understand "capitalism"; and b) that I have never experienced running a business.

I corrected your error.

In running that business I became quite sensitive to the current structure of community development - with strip malls, inflated rents, anchor stores, and big corporate and big-box anchors engaged in direct "competition" (indeed with the intent to "put out of business" those smaller competetors - by using loss-leader based tactics to undercut the small, locally owned business).

That is the extent of the information that is pertinent to this discussion.

Anything else would be like my asking you which supplier of cat gut you preferred - completely irrelevant to any possible topic at hand here.

At Mon Jul 10, 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski says:
strip malls, inflated rents, anchor stores, and big corporate and big-box anchors engaged in direct "competition" (indeed with the intent to "put out of business" those smaller competetors - by using loss-leader based tactics to undercut the small, locally owned business

I guess that you are against competition in business. Do you expect government to regulate rent like in NY city? The use of loss-leader wasn't started by Wal Mart. Every grocery store, auto parts, bakery, etc. uses this tactic to capture market share. The stratagy of any business is to find their niche. I will post a Letter to the Editor I had published several years ago about Wal Mart coming to Alachua when I get home tonight.

Dr. Hugh Calderwood, Diplomat ACVA

At Mon Jul 10, 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Here is the letter I wrote back in November 2004:

Let me start off by saying that I love America and all we stand for. I am an unabashed capitalist and believe that any person can achieve their dream if they are willing to work hard and smart. Having said that, I want to give you my views on the current controversy over the possible opening of a Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Alachua. As Mayor Calderwood has said, this should be a wake up call for all businesses in our area.

Alachua has seen many ups and downs in its history. We started out as an agricultural community dependent on the railroad to move our goods. The railroad went away and we survived. Next we were dependent on Copeland Sausage for jobs. It went away and we survived. When I opened my business twenty five years ago the downtown main street consisted of a few merchants, a bar and many closed, boarded up buildings. City officials and business owners worked very hard to make our downtown what it is today. If Wal-Mart comes we will see many changes but we will survive. That is the nature of business, ups and downs.

Whether you love or hate Wal-Mart you have to admit that they have changed the way America does business. Recently I watched three television programs on Wal-Mart and Sam Walton and one on Home Depot. The point of these shows was that the business model of retailing in America and the world has changed. We now live in a true global market. Just like the days of the horse and buggy, there is no turning back time. You can wring your hands and gnash your teeth but that will not stop the change. The old business model of the manufacturing companies telling the retail people what they would sell has changed to the retail people telling the manufacturers what products they want and how much they are willing to pay for those products. A new paradigm has emerged.

When I was young the big fear was cheap products coming from Japan. Now it is China. Today Japan has a very good standard of living. I predict the same will occur in China, eventually. And another Communist country will fall to free enterprise capitalism.

I found it interesting that in the November 18th issue of the Herald there were two articles. One bemoaned the possible coming of Wal-Mart and the other chastising the small businesses in downtown High Springs for not doing enough to promote their images and that of High Springs. How do you guess these companies will do in competition with Wal-Mart?

We read that small businesses fail when a Wal-Mart comes to town. Why do you think that is? Maybe they didn’t have the buying power to compete. Maybe the locals didn’t have a lot of choices of where to shop before Wal-Mart came. Maybe their stores weren’t as attractive to shoppers as a Wal-Mart. Maybe they didn’t have the foresight to change with the times. How many downtowns dried up when suburban malls became the rage. Look what is happening with Sears and K Mart. Even they are struggling to compete. They see that they must merge in order to survive. Look at Hitchcocks Market. When Food Lion came to town they had to change to survive.

To compete in the new retail market, mom and pop businesses will have to find their niche whether it be better service or different merchandise. As Pogo said, “We have seen the enemy and it is us.” It’s a tough world out there for businesses. Small business owners would be well advised to read, “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Kenneth Blanchard. He writes about businesses that developed customer appeal by giving them what large corporations like Wal-Mart never could, outstanding service. You can have cheap prices or great service, but it is difficult to have both. I have great faith in the entrepreneurial spirit of small business in America. They have always found a way to survive and flourish.

It has been said that four out of five small businesses fail within five years. This is due to their not having a good business plan. You should remember that Sam Walton started out as a mom and pop business in a small town in rural Arkansas. He had a plan that was better than his competition. Who knows, maybe the next Sam Walton will open his or her business on Main Street in Alachua.

Dr Hugh Calderwood, Diplomat ACVA


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