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Virginia Congressman tells concerned veteran to sit down and be quiet

The budget crisis has indeed come down to the eleventh hour and a government shut-down seems imminent, however it’s not the closure of the federal offices that should concern Americans it’s the disregard for the U.S. military.

With three wars raging in the Middle East and humanitarian assistance the over-stretched forces are providing Japan, one would think lawmakers would insist military personnel and their families are taken care of during this very stressful time in their lives.

In fact the Republicans put forth a new budget bill that would fund the military the rest of the year and removing them from the political gamesmanship.

However, the Senate and President Obama said no deal.

This is the point one retired veteran made at a town hall meeting last night in Virginia. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) was clearly upset that a 27-year veteran wanted his representative to be working harder to avert a government shutdown, one that would unfairly affect the armed forces.

Once the back and forth unfolded the Congressman told the disable veteran his arguments were “caustic.” The entire conversation was caught on video and can be seen here.

The disrespect lawmakers continue hurl onto military personnel is shameful, one that voters of Virginia should remember in 2012.

To view video comments begin to heat up at the four minute mark,

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Santa Barbara loans $4.4 million to employees to buy homes

In an ultimate case of government gone wild, the city of Santa Barbara has given “teacher’s pet” employees money to purchase homes in the expensive seaside community.

The down-payment for home program began in 2001 when the city gave Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez a $500,000 loan. Over the years and multiple employees later the city has given city employees approximately $4.4 million to purchase homes.

The city of Santa Barbara, like most California cities, is broke and needs to fill budget shortfalls. As a result the city has cut back on numerous resident services.

The scandalous program caught the eye of council members and watchdog groups who are outraged the city has not made a better attempt to recoup taxpayer money, according to the Daily Sound.

The severe budget crisis has already forced community leaders to close city pools and libraries while the 37 employees enjoy their homes on the taxpayer dime.

“The whole thing is nuts,” says Ernie Salomon a Santa Barbara City Hall watchdog. The money used for the loan program was taken from the city’s reserve general fund, according to Solomon. “It’s unforgivable.”

Responding to the criticism surrounding the city loans was Bob Samario, Santa Barbara finance director. “At the time we weren’t having the financial problems that we are having today.”

He explained that city employees needed to come up with 85 percent of the financing on their own before the city gave them the remaining 15 percent to purchase homes. Samario also noted the loan recipients did not have to pay any principle for the first five years, just the interest which ranged from .46 to .56 percent of the loan.

The lucky employees were also treated to the city buying down the interest rate of their second mortgage by two percentage points saving employees even more money.

According to the city finance director, claims the $4.4 million of taxpayer money is gone are not true, it’s just tied up in employee loans. However, over the past eight years the city has only been reimbursed $188,000.

Oversight for the employee loans has been limited. The 37 loans were given out without the approval of the city council something that outraged current City Councilmember Michael Self.

“We do not have the due diligence or the fiduciary understanding to implement a loan program. That is out of our purview. These people are getting benefits no private company could pay for,” she said.

For now Self says she will work to get the city’s money back and make sure this program is suspended moving forward.

For those not familiar with Santa Barbara, the seaside neighborhood is home to many Hollywood movie stars and home prices are some of the highest in the country, however, nearby towns do offer affordable housing options.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Budget negotiations limp along for another 3 weeks

It’s been more than a year since lawmakers have proposed and approved an operational budget. Instead under Democratic leadership the budget process has been continued six times and still Congress in no closer to passing a spending plan.

However, freshman lawmakers decidedly made a decision to stop the nonsense and threw a wrench in the House vote by saying no to the continuing resolution extension this week.

Yesterday’s House vote played out this way; 54 freshman GOP lawmakers said the $6 billion in cuts were too small to make a difference and 104 Democrats said the $6 billion was more than the country could afford.

The U.S. currently owes more than $14 trillion and counting. The national deficit for February alone was $222.5 billion, or $7.9 billion per day, according to the Wall Street Journal. Also Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Egypt this week giving interim government officials a $2 billion check. Where is the money coming from? China? Taxpayers? Or a national credit card.

Looking at the current budget numbers, the proposed $6 billion in cuts demanded by the Republicans would only keep the federal government for 30 hours. However, if the GOP’s wish of $61 billion in cuts were granted the government could only operate for one week. Spending is a very big problem.

Nevertheless the House voted 271-158 in favor of a three-week stopgap spending measure that would allow the government to run through April 8.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) both urged completion of the longer-term bill, but both will leave D.C. for the scheduled week vacation.

“We get our guidance from our constituents and that’s why we need a week break to discuss the spending cuts Americans think Congress should be making,” Cantor said. “We hope and intend for this (continuing resolution) to be the last one.”

Holding his ground and GOP leaders accountable was freshmen Congressman Allen West (R-FL) who indicated that a government shutdown could actually be good for the budget debate.

“I will NOT be voting for another short term CR,” West tweeted. “There is a confrontation coming on this budget and the sooner we get to it the better.”

And that’s the adult conversation many Americans have been demanding.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Budget negotiations limp along for another 3 weeks – San Diego County Political Buzz |

California budget crisis leads to a fire sale

California budget crisis leads to a fire sale

By Kimberly Dvorak

San Diego- California’s budget crisis leads to a fire sale. Need money now? Quick sell some of your stuff. For average Americans that means electronics, cars or maybe a house- but in the case of California it means, San Quentin Prison (Charles Manson’s home), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Home of the 1984 Olympics) or Del Mar Fairgrounds (home of Del Mar Racetrack).

Yes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the market to sell some California stuff. Among other ideas the Governor is reaching his hand out to Washington to work with U.S. Rep. Barney Frank –D-MA. The state capitol is seeking Washington’s help in raising some federal-backed bonds, all this back room dealing in order to keep California afloat through the fall.

The reality about California’s fiscal problems run far deeper than the sale of some real estate. Even if the state was able to unload the properties and procure short-term loans, the state still faces a massive deficit.

California voters will go to the polls on May 19 to vote themselves a tax hike. But the Field Poll for California shows a double-digit no vote. Taxpayers aren’t buying into another tax increase. Even if the voters passed one of the measures 1A, the state will still face a $21.3 billion deficit through mid 2010.

The time has come for California to pay the piper and figure out how to restructure. Something about the line by line process that may be in order.

One such new program that may be put before the voters is The California Protection Act of 2010. This will do away with the anchor baby program many illegal aliens use to gain residency in California. This commonly leads to more children and lifetime welfare.

Once Californian’s are able to see how their money is being spent, maybe, just maybe real change will happen.

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