Where did my blog go?

I’m now blogging on WashMo.com.  Please check out my most recent blog posts at this new location:  http://washmo.com/blog/midkiff/

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Washmo Tea Party: Mitch Martin Speech

4/15/2009 Bank of the Missouri River, Washington, Missouri

Speech by: Mitch Martin “Country of Makers, not Takers!”

Video by: Guy Midkiff (Sorry for the poor video quality. I did not plan to shoot this.)

Video editing: Jason Oesterly/Washmo.com

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm  Comments (3)  
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Fotos From Tea Time on the Mo. – Washmo

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chater Govt Down In Flames

I am calling this vote, early. 73% of the votes are in. It is interesting to note this results validates the poll that I put up, last month. My private polling data predicted a 65% loss for Charter Government.

Registered Voters 0 – Cards Cast 10448 0.00% Num. Report Precinct 52 – Num. Reporting 38 73.08%
FRANKLIN COUNTY QUESTION

Proposition C

Total
Number of Precincts 52
Precincts Reporting 38 73.1 %
Total Votes 10315

YES 3259 31.59%
NO 7056 68.41%

FINAL RESULTS:

FRANKLIN COUNTY QUESTION

Proposition C
Total
Number of Precincts 52
Precincts Reporting 52 100.0 %
Total Votes 13424
YES 4380 32.63%
NO 9044 67.37%

Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Buddemeyer/Meyer-Winners

WASHINGTON WARD 1
Total
Number of Precincts 2
Precincts Reporting 2 100.0 %
Total Votes 493

HERB DILL 226 45.84%
WALT MEYER 266 53.96%
Write-in Votes 1 0.20%
WASHINGTON WARD 2
Total
Number of Precincts 2
Precincts Reporting 2 100.0 %
Total Votes 480

JOHN C. RHODES 440 91.67%
Write-in Votes 40 8.33%
WASHINGTON WARD 3
Total
Number of Precincts 2
Precincts Reporting 2 100.0 %
Total Votes 415

CONNIE GROFF 398 95.90%
Write-in Votes 17 4.10%
WASHINGTON WARD 4
Total
Number of Precincts 2
Precincts Reporting 2 100.0 %
Total Votes 458

ROGER LANGENDOERFER 227 49.56%
TIM BUDDEMEYER 231 50.44%
Write-in Votes 0 0.00%
Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Twit, Tweet, Twitter, Tweetie……

3/12/09

Just about enough to drive you crazy – all these Twit variants. Well, chances are real good that your kids know what it is and if you haven’t heard of twittering, here is a definition:

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates, tweets, which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can send and receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS (receive only), or through applications such as Tweetie, Twitterrific, Twitterfon and Feedalizr. The service is free to use over the web, but using SMS may incur phone services provider fees.

How to Twitter:



WSJ – How to Twitter

Yes, I am trying this Twitter thing. My ID is guymidkiff. If that doesn’t work, look up “midkiff” and select Guy Midkiff

Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  

POLL – Time To Open Walmart Gate?

TABLED MARCH 25, 2009

3/12/09


During the recent request for Stimulus Funding for the Camp Street Bridge, many senior citizens in Ward III made it clear that more than anything, they wanted to be able to get to Walmart and avoid HW 100 in the process.

It may be time to consider opening this gate and I will begin discussion on this subject at the next regularly scheduled City Council Meeting, on March 16th.

Please participate in the Walmart Gate Poll and let me know how you feel. Remember, no records are kept of voters. You can also leave a comment.

March 17th Entry: It has been suggested that to properly gauge public sentiment for opening or not opening the 0Walmart Gate, a petition be circulated. I think before public debate goes forward on this suggestion, the people in Ward III start a petition and give some indication of exactly how popular the idea is.

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Join BackStoppers!

Hi Folks,

This is another plea to ask for people in Washington to join Backstoppers. I attended the fund raiser last night, at the Elks Hall, and came away being very touched by this charity. Backstoppers provides financial assistance for the families of fallen police, firemen, and ems.

“Guy,  It was a pleasure to meet you and the show of support from your community was outstanding.  The best we’ve ever had.” Chief Ron Battelle, Chief of Police, STL County (Ret.), Executive Directory, BackStoppers, Inc.

I know this is tough times, but if you can make a donation, I can assure you it is for a very worthy cause!

Here is the link.

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blog Exceeds 10,000 Hits!

I am happy to announce that my Blog went over 10,000 views, today.

Blog Stats Summary Tables

Total views: 10,107

Busiest day: 186 — Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Join Backstoppers – Give to Fallen Police and Firemen’s Families

2/5/09

Chief Hahn, at the last City Council meeting, invited all of Washington and the City Council to join Backstoppers:

A Safety Net with No Strings Attached

Started in 1959, The BackStoppers provides needed support and financial assistance to the spouses and children of all local and county police officers, firefighters, publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs and volunteer fire protection units, who have lost their lives performing their duty. Deaths from natural causes, illnesses or injuries are outside the organization’s scope.

The BackStoppers provides assistance to counties served by Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop C in Missouri and Illinois State Police District 11 in Illinois.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop C Counties Served:

Franklin
Jefferson
Lincoln
Perry
Pike
St. Charles
St. Francois
St. Louis City
St. Louis County
Ste. Genevieve
Warren
Washington

I fully support and have joined this organization. To join, click on this link: Backstoppers

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fuel Taxes

Did your know:

The federal tax on fuel is 18.4 cents per gallon, regardless of the pump price.

The state tax is 17 cents per gallon, regardless of the pump price, for a grand total of 35.4 cents per gallon purchased at the pump.

Missouri is estimating that the cash in the road funds will decrease from the current $1.8 billion to just under $560 million by 2010.

If I were a betting man, I think we could be looking at higher gas taxes in the near future.

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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City Council Voted to Increase Water Rates

2-2-09

Last night we voted to increase water rates for Washington. We were given a presentation from the water works board, several weeks prior. In that presentation, we were told that the water department is predicted to run a deficit some time in 2010. Their recommendation was to increase water rates.

While I am very sensitive about raising the costs to citizens about anything, Washington has not had a raise in many years. If there is anything to like about an increase it was the fact that our senior citizens would be protected my keeping the increase to a $1.50 for the first 1500 gallons of water used. This will now cost $6.50 instead of $5.00. There will be a graduated increase in the 10% range for amounts above the first 1500 gallons.

Published in: on February 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just Another Reporter?

2-3-09

Last night, during city council, I glanced over at Ed Pruneau, Missourian Managing Editor, feverishness scribbling away on his legal pad. I will be upfront and say I don’t agree with some of what Ed writes but conversely, I do agree with most of what he reports.

But this is not my point. My point is one of consistency, dogged determination and endurance. For example, I was doing a topic search on the eMissourian when I realized Ed had been reporting – consistently – since as far back as I could search – 1999. And while I can’t say for sure, I would suspect he has been doing this beat for much longer.

Ed is a professional reporter and I think is talented enough to work for the New York Times (heaven forbid), if he would ever be so inclined. The community and I must respect the shear depth and breath of his work. Will some of the council and I sling stones at him from time to time? Yes, we most certainly will, when we think he gets it wrong. But this should not lead one to believe I do not have considerable respect for what he does. His boss buys ink by the tonne, I replace my laser printer cartridge once a year. The only way to defend my positions is in council and on this blog.

Keep up the good work Ed. Continue to be objective and call them like you see them. This is all one can ask for at the end of the day.

(Scroll down for comments on this post.)

Published in: on February 3, 2009 at 8:25 am  Comments (4)  
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Senate Bill 211 – End Red Light Cameras?

Senator Jim Lembke Introduces
His First Bills in Missouri Senate
Hopeful Senate Bill 211 Will Result in Stopping
Usage of Red Light Cameras

— State Senator Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, introduced one of his
priority bills on the Senate floor yesterday (1/20). Senate Bill 211 would prohibit cities from using automated red light cameras to enforce traffic violations. “These ‘red light’ cameras are being used as revenue enhancers within municipalities and profit out-of-state companies,”
Sen. Lembke said. “The cameras can’t prove who’s driving the vehicle, and many people argue this method of traffic enforcement disregards a
person’s Fifth Amendment rights and forces self-incrimination. This is an example of big government and ‘Big Brother’ at its worst.”

While the starting salary for a commissioned St. Louis police officer is $37,514 a year, one red light camera costs around $56,000 a year to operate. Senator Lembke also introduced Senate Bill 210, Senate Joint Resolution 9, Senate Joint Resolution 10, and Senate Joint Resolution 11 on the Senate floor.

“I am hopeful these bills will make it onto the governor’s desk,” Sen. Lembke said. “While all of these items are important to me, SB 211 is one of my priorities this year.”

End of Story

From Guy Midkiff:
The primary argument for the devices, “safety”, simply is not accurate. In every incident where entities have proclaimed miraculous increases in accident statistics, there has been significant evidence of bias and a flawed application of analytical processes. Municipalities have sometime entered into unholy alliances with red light camera companies where greed and profit  have become the corner stone of their existence. Also, insurance companies – the usual generator of statistical “studies,” stand to add millions to their bottom lines, not to mention how much red light camera companies and municipalities can add to balance sheets and general revenue funds. Follow the money if you really want to know the truth about red light camera operations.

Your bill makes no mention of standards for camera installation and in fact there is no federal or state standard for intersection design criteria. In Washington, where we have two intersections with cameras, the yellow light length is 4.01 seconds – regardless of the approach speed. If anyone is serious about intersection safety then the first step is to match yellow light length with approach speeds.

If you look at data collected as a result of fatalities at intersections, what you will find is the real culprit for “deep red” light penetrations is caused by distraction and impairment. NO red light camera can stop this; they can only record the accident aftermath. It is also interesting to note that rear end collisions increase dramatically as local drivers are trained to brake aggressively at the first hint of a yellow light. They will do anything to avoid a $100 ticket, and when automobiles with dissimilar braking capabilities brake aggressively, the results are often disastrous.

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Future Mileage Tax For Missouri?

The following is an article that I came across in the Post. The story is about using GPS’ in cars to monitor miles driven. It is ironic that only one year ago I wrote about this very subject. I wrote that it is not too far fetched having GPS installed in cars to automatically fine drivers that exceed the speed limit by….even 1 mph.  Now, Oregon will probably be the first to install the GPS systems in order to monitor all drivers, 24/7.

If big brother knows how much you drive, they know where you drive, how fast you drive and anything else related to your driving habits. This is the slippery slope argument that has always concerned me. Once government sinks their tentacles into you, they rarely, if ever, let go.

The Story: http://www.stltoday.com.


A mileage tax isn’t yet under consideration in Missouri or Illinois, but it is an idea that’s probably inevitable in the next two or three decades, said Pete Rahn, head of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

“We will end up paying for what we drive, where we drive and when we drive,” he said.

Rahn envisons a tax where “if you want to drive a Hummer, or whatever that vehicle might be 30 years from today, at 7:30 in the morning on I-70, you’re going to pay a higher rate. If you’re going to drive a Civic on side streets at 10:30 in the morning, you’re going to pay a lower rate.”

The obstacle isn’t technology, Rahn added.

“The hugest impediments to implementing this type of system are the privacy issues,” he said. “Americans don’t like the idea that someone, or the reality would be some machine, would know when you drove or where you drove.”

In Oregon, Gov. Theodore Kulongoski’s proposed budget calls for a task force to work out details of the plan. Eventually, GPS devices could be recording every mile driven, and possibly which routes motorists use. Motorists would pay a mileage tax at the pump in place of a gasoline tax. The state tested the concept in 2006 and 2007 with 285 volunteers and a handful of gas stations in Portland, Ore.

The idea of mileage fees is gaining traction. States such as Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio are discussing similar projects.

“What’s motivating us is this concern about the long-term viability of the motor fuel tax,” said Ken Buckeye, program manager for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. “Particularly now, the tax you pay for using the road is based on consumption of the wrong commodity. We think it should be based on consumption of the road.”

The concept also is gaining federal support. Last year, the National Surface Transportation Police and Revenue Study Commission established by Congress reported that a mileage tax should be “strongly considered as a long-term replacement for the current fuel tax.”

A study under way at the University of Iowa is looking at the technological and institutional issues, as well as potential public response, involved with mileage fees.

In states such as Illinois, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Iowa, legislators are considering raising the gasoline tax for the time being to fill budget gaps and potholes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Missouri, revenue from the 17-cent tax on gasoline and diesel fuel is expected to be $498 million, down from $520 million collected in 2008.

Opponent to the plan in Oregon made privacy a top concern. Many are concerned that a mileage taxing system could lead to government officials’ tracking their whereabouts.

“I see this as a privacy invasion,” one man commented on the Argus Observer website, a newspaper in Ontario, Ore. “Whose business is it how often and how much I drive my car?”

Jim Whitty, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding, said the state had no interest in tracking people.

“The people who have spoken up are intense about it,” he said. “They’re very concerned about issues like privacy and whether green vehicles would be at a disadvantage.”

In the Portland test, vehicles and gas stations were equipped with technology similar to that in cell phones and electronic toll collection systems. When drivers pulled up to a gas pump, the vehicle equipment would broadcast the mileage traveled since the previous fill-up. The station charged the motorists 1.2 cents per mile rather than the state’s 24-cent gasoline tax.

The equipment did not pinpoint vehicle locations, but it was able to determine when a driver had left the state. It also kept track of what time of day the car was driven so a premium could be charged for rush-hour driving.

Lee Younglove, who volunteered for the pilot test, said he wasn’t concerned about privacy but had friends who were. He has come to believe a mileage tax is more equitable way of paying for roads and bridges.

“There are cars now that are plug-in electrics. They don’t pay anything,” he said.

For the time being, Oregon legislators are considering raising the state gasoline tax by 2 cents. The time frame for implementing a mileage tax, Whitty said, is at least six or seven years away.

If the state continues to move toward a mileage tax, equipment would have to go through another round of tests. Policy decisions would have to be made, such as whether to charge a higher fee for heavier, gas-guzzling vehicles.

And if electric cars grow in number, the state would have to find another place besides gas stations to charge mileage fees.

“Once we know their habits, we’ll create a system for them,” Whitty said.

ecrouch@post-dispatch.com — 314-340-8119

To see more of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.stltoday.com.

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 2:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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