Out in California lives Daryl Jones, who makes it his business to expose mismanagement of public funds, political shenanigans, and plain stupidity. He is the public watch dog in the San Francisco Bay area, but he also keeps an eye on other situations around the USA. He is kind of like the Drudge Report for the private wireless communications industry.
A recent article has a striking resemblance to a recent situation here in Alabama. I invite you to take a few minutes to read the article to get a better understanding of the incredible arrogance, mismanagement, and the waste of taxpayer money described in his latest report on a "big dig" (with apologies to Boston) project in the Bay area. Click here for the article.
In Alabama, we also have a "regional" project involving Calhoun and Talladega counties with a handful of self serving individuals. These folks recently tried to ram an additional tax on property owners. The alleged need is for modernizing of an antiquated radio system that does not serve the needs of all the first responders, the taxpayers, or anyone else except those in control of the system (the "Bully Boys") and a single manufacturer with a great deal of unexplained collaboration by the local newspaper (The Anniston Star). The most recent article with a listing of previous articles at the bottom is available by clicking here.
It all started with trying to make all first responders accept equipment that had reached it's end of life and then making the user departments pay a $22.50 per radio monthly fee "for maintenance". That fee, by the way would pay for brand new radios! Most of the volunteer fire departments refused to participate. They were then told if they didn't get with the plan that they might lose 911 dispatch service. Fortunately for the people who made the threat, it was not necessary to get the State Attorney General to "explain some things to them".
Then, along came the tragic school shootings in Connecticut. That's when the Bully Boys came up with the bright idea of developing a bill to tax property owners to the tune of $35 annually per 100K of accessed value to support a bill for providing school resource officers and "necessary" communications upgrades. This was followed by calling an emergency meeting demanding that the Chiefs of all volunteer fire departments sign a document supporting the bill. Apparently, they neither knew nor cared that these departments could lose their 501 C3 tax exempt status by getting involved in a political activity. Fortunately, most did not sign.
Then, through their friends at The Anniston Star, the proponents of the ultimate proposed pork barrel funding started a PR campaign to "educate" the public on the need for school resource officers (a good thing). The problem is that the majority of the money would have gone to upgrading the antiquated radio system which does not meet federal interoperability requirements or even the needs of the community.
Fortunately, State Senator Del Marsh of Anniston killed the bill. And STILL the media campaign continues. The citizens of Calhoun county have much to be thankful for. Senator Marsh is the one who stood for what is right - not what "they" think is good for the public. Thank you Senator Marsh! I tried to extend my thanks through the Anniston Star reader forum, but they don't print anything I have to say. Wonder why?
The bottom line is when someone tells you "It's ALL good", and it Sounds good, and it ONLY costs a little - be VERY concerned. There is ALWAYS a hidden agenda!