Aug 31, 2010

PHILIP'S ACID FLASHBACK: Unit Roads

9 comments
In this SET Political Review posting, Philip purposefully misconstrued the issue of job cuts among the deputy constables of Jefferson County again:
Maybe we could keep some....police officers? And the county baulked at this because of political control? Mismanagement? Now it has come home to face people in their face? Like some certain county commissioners?
Fact check: While required to be certified peace officers, Constables are not police officers. See the previous posting on the Village Idiot here.  As evidence of "mismanagement," Klein posted another bad photograph of a page from the MGT Performance and Management Review The study had problems as previously noted, but PRK continues to beat this horse with a baseball bat.

Regarding the unit road system, Philip offered this shrewd example of Idionomics:
We know now that Jefferson County in all Pct's added in 10 more positions over four years and only added on two more miles of roads in the County. If we had cut the 13 and then not added in 10 more we would have saved over 23 positions? On the county payroll? To the tune of over $3 million a year? Over four years? Meaning over $12 million back in the taxpayers pocket? Really?
Pop quiz for Philip Klein: While only two miles of roads have been added, how many miles were repaired or improved in 2009? Hint: two category three hurricanes struck Jefferson County after this study was released. Do your homework, Philip, and pay attention to the words "hiring freeze." 

Let's examine Philip's math. According to the MGT study:
MGT recommends that initially 13 positions be eliminated, including three road superintendents, one assistant superintendent, four foremen, two mechanics and three administrative positions.

The county could experience further savings by eliminating 13 additional positions in year three of implementation, 2007-08.
The study claims 26 jobs, not 13 as referenced by Klein, would have been eliminated through a unit road system.  With Philip's hypothetical hiring freeze, the total is 36, not 23 as PRK claims in his logical fallacy, a hasty generalization.  

The unit road system is ancient history. A citizen task force led by Commissioners Eddie Arnold and Mark Domingue considered this recommendation. According to Angel San Juan with KFDM-TV, Channel 6, the committee also heard contradictory testimony from a neighboring county:
Despite recommendations from MGT of America and the Texas Comptroller's office that a unit road system would save taxpayers millions of dollars over five year, Orange county commissioner John Dubose told the committee the system has not been a cost-savings for Orange County.
The committee eventually rejected the recommendation. According to Angel San Juan with Channel 6, KFDM-TV, two of the private citizens and local businessmen vetoed the issue:
Two industry leaders are putting up a road block when it comes to a unit road system in Jefferson County.

Jimmie James and Sina Nejad are members of a committee appointed to look into the possibility of combining Jefferson County's four road and bridge precincts into one.

The two admit they had a change of heart when it comes to the unit road system.

They first thought it would save money by reducing staff and equipment.

But after visiting the four precincts, the committee members say the system now in use already operates with limited staff and equipment.

They fear a centralized system would create another layer of bureaucracy.

That contradicts two management studies last year that found the unit road system would save millions of taxpayer dollars.

The committee fears any savings might take place too far down the road to make a difference.
Here's another point that Philip R. Klein overlooked: citizens would have to approve a unit road system through a referendum election -- an expenditure not factored into the MGT report -- and doesn't guarantee that Jefferson County would adopt the system.

Voters in San Augustine County rejected just such system, according to Angel San Juan with Channel 6, KFDM-TV:
In San Augustine County, voters rejected a unit road system by a very slim margin.

The system would have centralized control of all the construction and maintenance of the county's roads under one person.

Right now, San Augustine County commissioners oversee roadwork in each of their precincts, and as of Saturday's election, it will remain that way.

744 people voted against the unit road system, while 707 voted for it.
Philip's bottom line (emphasis is mine):
What we are trying to point out to you taxpayers and media is that Jefferson County is bloated. And it is NOT BLOATED BY COPS. It is bloated by employees that simply are not needed. From an employee health clinic to over staffing in Road and Bridge departments.

But who are we? Nobody - but a group of taxpayers that.....do the math.
Unfortunately, Klein's math never computes. From the SET Political Review in July (Philip's emphasis):
We said it to you last week and will say it again this week. Jefferson County Texas is bankrupt. And the real number is going to be $21.5 million. But don't say anything.
Klein was referring to a $6 million budget deficit.

Aug 30, 2010

Cable?

6 comments
The latest posting on the SET Political Review says much about Philip R. Klein, but makes little sense:
This afternoon - commissioners in their tight budgets voted on establishing cable? Yes - cable TV for the county courthouse. And the cost is not what is so bothering - it is the fact that the amount is going to be just over $1,200 a year to taxpayers - but the fact as people are losing jobs - because of mismanagement - the mismanagement continues.
People aren't losing jobs because of mismanagement and Klein has a Time Warner Business Class account like many private businesses. Philip's account is hiding somewhere behind his secret IP addresses.

This myopic comment deserves no serious response if for no other reason, the notion of running a modern urban emergency management system without cable access is ridiculous. Welcome to the 20th century, Jefferson County. Lubbock County has had access for several years, but Jefferson County got a better deal.

About five paragraphs into this posting, Philip apparently ran out of steam and manufactured sources, so he abruptly changed directions. And now for something completely different:
In other news with the commissioners - seemingly there is rumors flying that there will be a "MARCH ON THE COURTHOUSE" coming up in the next two weeks.

Apparently the goal from some of the sponsors is to attempt to shut down the street in front of the courthouse and make so much noise that commissioners cannot hear or at least hear them. And the interesting point? That both parties and the tea party will participate. Meaning that it will cross all political spectrums.
We'll revisit in two weeks, but inciting people to disrupt government illegally is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 2101: US Code, punishable by five years in prison. This isn't news; it's another example of Klein's personal agenda.

By the end of the article, Klein veered into more familiar ground like a drunken private eye on Saturday night by resurrecting this fallacy, an appeal to ridicule (reductio ad ridiculum):
Maybe the clinic kids can come out and give free flu shots for the citizens as they march around screaming at a group that simply is so far out of touch with commissioners they cannot even see straight.
Klein previously stated in an interview with Mike McNeil on KBTV Channel 4:
Mike McNeil: How many counties in the state of Texas have a health department for their employees?

Philip R. Klein: (laughing) this is what gets me, we have a, There are none to answer your question.
Fact check: Many counties in Texas operate similar clinics. For example, a random sampling includes Dallas County, Brazos County, Mesquite County, Tom Green County, and Bexar County, among others. When Bexar County opened its employee health center, the estimated cost in savings to county taxpayers was almost a million dollars after the third year of operation. For my original article debunking Klein's mendacious claims concerning the employee health clinic, see the Fat Man in the Pool.

In Abilene, Taylor County officials are debating the implementation of an employee health care clinic in the current budget, after the City of Abilene realized big savings with just such a system:
Right now Taylor County spends up to $5 million on employee health care. Soon that number may go down, thanks to new construction at the Taylor County Plaza for the counties own health clinic.

Having their own clinic would not only cut costs, but would reduce the amount of time employees spend away from work because the clinic would be right across the street from the Taylor County courthouse.

Using the clinic will be voluntary for County employees, its estimated to cost $285,000 annually to run.

The City of Abilene already has its own health clinic and the Director of Administration for the City, Ronnie Kidd, says they have been pleased with not only the cost savings but also the benefits to their employees.
Jefferson County operates its employee health clinic under Jefferson County's in-house health care program, a shared insurance pool where the rates for pooled benefits are not affected by the actual claims of the group.  Groups benefit from the spread of risk among the pool. This is common among private industry and governmental units.

While Philip frequently denigrates Jefferson County Commissioners for their lack of experience in the private and public sectors, Klein is equally inept at both.

Aug 29, 2010

Dull Boy

7 comments
Philip R. Klein published the campaign donation record of Attorney Brent Coon amid a personal attack on Coon.  Philip explained the reason behind this attack here:
Coon, who is no friend to the Review, and continues to take shots at the Review...

For comparison, here is Philip R. Klein's campaign donations for the past 20 years.

Contributor Occupation Date Amount Recipient
KLEIN, PHILIP BDairy Queen
Nederland, TX 77627
3/31/94$1,000Kay Bailey Hutchison
KLEIN, PHILLIPSPRK Enterprises
Nederland, TX 77627
8/10/94 $250Texas Restaurant
Association PAC
KLEIN, PHILIP MRKlein Investments
Nederland, TX 77627
4/27/07$300National Republican
Congressional Cmte

Klein's sparse record of donations speaks volumes about his influence and credibility as a self-proclaimed "politico." Philip's biased and distorted description of Coon is more appropriate to Klein himself.

Our take - he is an excitable boy that seemingly continues to have illusions of grandeur that may owe big money and picks fights where he just doesn't need to.

Pot, meet kettle.

BOLO

1 comments
Breaking news from the Sam The Eagle Political Review:

Philip Klein unveils new company vehicle

Aug 28, 2010

You get what you pay for

4 comments
In his latest editorial, Philip R. Klein commented on the competition between private process servers and Jefferson County Deputy Constables:
And we in the private sector who can do it better in some cases (not to knock the guys and girls in office) do more of the basic paper - the citations/TRO's/Subpoena's.
From Klein (Plaintiff) v. Faggard (Defendant):
Plaintiff was made aware of Defendant's displeasure with services rendered on two (2) occasions when Philip R. Klein advised Defendant that he pulled a gun on someone while attempting to serve a subpoena. Defendant was unhappy about this and had some serious questions as to whether or now Plaintiff, Philip R. Klein, acted properly in pulling a gun on the witnesses and/or the people he was serving process on.
At the time, Klein was working off a debt owed to Attorney Mark Faggard for representation in other litigation.

Aug 26, 2010

$500,000 (Show Me The Money)

4 comments
In this article on the SET Political Review, Philip R. Klein writes:
Well...the Review has been taking a look at the budget. And it seems there are some little hidden secrets and a study four years ago that seemingly tells the story of where the fat goes in Jefferson County, Texas. And where can it be found? Well.....in fuel?

The Southeast Texas Political Review has found that almost $500,000, that is a half a million dollars, could be saved by the county if it stopped using patrol cars for take home cars and private security jobs. Yes - you heard it here first - Jefferson County Deputies are using patrol cars for private security work. Meaning they are using Taxpayer Money and Taxpayer cars for private security work.

Well, how much? Well the Deputies make around $25 to $40 per hour doing private security work while OFF DUTY. And the fuel to get them there - the car to get them there - and the wear and tear of the car including fuel usage at events is all paid by you and me.


Now adding insult to injury - the practice is forbidden by every single police agency in Southeast Texas with the exception of......you guessed it....Port Arthur. Where officers can check out a unit for a private security job if it is in the city of Port Arthur. If not - well.....just take a cruise down Highway 366 early in the morning and late in the afternoon and you will see what we are talking about.
Klein lied about seeing the budget, since his evidence is a bad photo of a page from a five-year-old document available free to the public, not an actual page with fuel costs from the Jefferson County 2010-2011 Budget. Show me the money, Philip. Klein is currently involved in another lawsuit with similar circumstances.

In a previous statement, PRK publicly admitted that he doesn't know how to read a county budget:
Well - the Marine Division - which is the Jefferson County Navy - a part of the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department. Why this is not a part of the SO budget...well we do not know.
Read the "Dirty Secrets of Jefferson County Part 1" here, although there was never a sequel.

Philip is confused about funding
for a department in the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office; likewise, his claim of finding fuel savings in the county budget is impossible, since one needs gas pump and vehicle usage records that are not included.

Instead, PRK's claim is based on this formula from the Klein School of Idionomics, with numbers purportedly taken from the 2005 MGT Performance Review:
So we took the MGT study and applied to units and each car driving around 50 miles a day at five days for off duty jobs - including stall time where units simply sit there. And guess what? We got a whopper - $500,000 in fuel and costs to maintain the fleet for private security jobs in Jefferson County.
Deep thoughts: "We took the MGT study and applied to units driving around 50 miles a day for off duty jobs."

Fact check:
Fuel costs for law enforcement was not addressed in the MGT Performance Review. See for yourself.  Show me the money, Philip.

Instead, Philip provided a bad photo of a page from this report, with these underlined sentences taken out of context:
Administrative staffing and expenditures for the offices of the commissioners and county judge appear to be high when compared to peer counties. Jefferson County’s commissioners and county judge should reduce their administrative staffing by at least four employees, for an annual savings of about $160,000.

The county has no long-range strategic plan to guide its operations. Only the county judge’s office has a formal strategic plan.

Jefferson County should establish a countywide strategic planning and budgeting function, and develop a long-range strategic plan based on input from all county departments and employees.
Philip's conclusion:
We particularly enjoyed the comments where the only long term planning process was being performed by the county judges office - and not the entire county. Hmmm....who was the county judge at the time of the report? Was it Walker? No - it was GRIFFITH.

As well, this one page shows how out of control government was back in 2006 and how porked up it was. Now - and again - we are going to lay off police officers because nobody wants to give up the pork? Really? Are the county fathers that set in their ways.
Especially note that PRK admitted taking one page out of context. From another page in the MGT Performance Review:
In Jefferson County, each constable has a staff of five to ten individuals. (Page 7-38)
The county’s six constables’ offices experienced an overall decrease in workload between 2002 and 2004, yet their staffing levels generally remained constant and their funding rose. Furthermore, the constables’ workload is not distributed evenly; Precinct 8, for instance, with the highest staffing, had the second-lowest workload of all precincts. Eliminating one constable and redistributing the workloads would allow the county to save about $116,000 annually. (Page ES-7)
Quoting Philip, "What does this mean in our simple little words that you the taxpayer uses?"

This means the MGT Management and Performance Review recommended eliminating a Constable's office because of decreased workloads, and that Philip R. Klein has a simple little mind.

Inconsistencies within the The MGT Management and Performance Review are obvious. While Judge Griffith purportedly had a strategic plan, the review found that:
Indeed, the initial planning for Ford Park is an indication of what can happen without a formal strategic plan. Because the county did not have longterm goals for the park, last minute design changes resulted in additional costs. The lack of a strategic plan continues to plague operations of Ford Park. Although the economic downturn has severely hurt Ford Park operations, the lack of direction and mission for the park have left the county unprepared to deal with the financial issues impacting park operations.
Apparently, Judge Griffith's master plan consisted of "Build it, they will come."

Message to Philip from a scared little girl

4 comments

Philip R. Klein's 202 petition in the 172nd District Court of Jefferson County, Texas, is one year old today! Google has still not released any information.


Happy Birthday, Philip.

Aug 25, 2010

Response to an Unsolicited Response

4 comments
In his latest editorial, Philip R. Klein posted a letter from incoming County Judge Jeff Branick, who explained his personal position regarding the reduction in workforce among Jefferson County constable deputies. Klein inserted his own vacuous and verbose commentary after every paragraph, destroying the context. The Port Arthur News published the original version.

The future County Judge deserves some recognition for taking time to draft a letter to the citizens of Jefferson County that explained his opinions. I can't remember this happening during the last three administrations. When read without interruption from the village idiot, Mr. Branick makes a strong case for eliminating those positions based on a cost-benefits analysis.

I have other fish to fry tonight with Klein's more recent postings, so I'll address only one of many logical fallacies, half-truths, and overt ignorance in Klein's myopic opinions. I'll revisit the rest at a later date as I have time.

Klein has repeatedly demagogued the duties of these deputy constables:
We fully understand that boats on the Neches and a full air force that doesn't cost us taxpayers a dime (wink wink) is more important than street cops.
Regarding Klein's disconnect from reality regarding the Marine Division of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, see this article, this article, and this article.

Constables and their deputies are not "street cops," according to Texas Local Government Code, and none of the constables in Jefferson County serve in that capacity.  Commissioner Eddie Arnold clearly pointed this out in his Memorandum to the Constables of Jefferson County:
Constables must agree to implement flexible scheduling in order to improve the efficiency of serving all Constitutionally required papers. At a minimum coverage should be scheduled for the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and when possible Saturdays without the use of overtime and or comp time.
While the constables will not agree to flexible scheduling that requires an occasional Saturday shift without overtime pay, Klein claims they're "street cops." I suspect that most street cops don't work between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday.

Since PRK has accused the deputies of illegalities in the past, his position is hypocritical  and politically expedient based on his own personal agenda.

Jeff Branick presents an eloquent case based on common business practices. The numbers are dramatic.
The [Port Arthur News] Editor:

During the past week several new voices have joined the debate over the wisdom of eliminating nine deputy constable positions from the Jefferson County budget.  Unfortunately, I do not believe these voices have been informed of all the facts surrounding the making of this very difficult decision.  I am certain that those who speak in support of the constables are motivated by a desire to help the deputies avoid the anxiety and uncertainty of having to find other employment.  I can appreciate this.  However, in considering what is best for the taxpayers of Jefferson County, I believe the Court made the correct decision.

The Constables have made several arguments which they believe justify the continued retention of these nine positions.  First, they contend that public safety will suffer if the manpower in their offices is reduced.  My question in response to this assertion is, how?

Is it with respect to traffic safety?  If so, a quick review of statistics should allay these fears.  During the past year 3 of the 6 constable precincts issued zero traffic citations.  The other three together issued what would be, in comparison to a city traffic cop, only a handful of such citations.  How about with respect to violent crime?  How many rapes, burglaries, robberies or murders have the constables offices had reported to them during the past ten years which they investigated, solved and made arrests in?  Again, the answer is, none.

Of course, the lack of law enforcement activity is not something I fault the constables for.  Their job is not one primarily of public safety.  This is meant to be performed by city police, the Highway Patrol and, in the unincorporated area, the Sheriff's Department.  The Texas legislature recognized this when they passed certain provisions of the Local Government Code which specifically set forth the constable's duties, which are to act as bailiff for the Justice Courts and to serve papers.

This brings up the question of the workload with respect to the constable's statutorily defined duties.  Year-over-year from 2003 through the present the combined number of papers for all constable precincts has dropped by more than 48%.  During this same time period their staffs grew by 14%.  I would note, however, that Constable Trahan in Precinct 4 saw a net increase in total papers received because of residential growth in and around Hamshire-Fannette.  But this begs the question of how the Commissioner's Court could possibly justify continued increased spending of taxpayer funds for roughly half the workload? 

The following chart summarizes the number of papers served per deputy during each year from 2003-2009.

   Pct 1 Pct 2   Pct 4 Pct 6 Pct 7  Pct 8
2003 2071 1221 772 1834 1257 904
2004 1745 955 595 1410  972  737
2005 1856 941 733 1607 966 639
2006 1701  881 988 1380 1014 630
2007 1289 879 1300 1360 778 597
2008 1145 528 700 909 631 559
2009 1137 563 690 706 533 548
Change -45.1% -53.9% -10.6% -61.5 % -57.6% -39.4%

Again, I do not blame the constables for this reduced workload.  I believe it is a function of reduced court filings due to tort reform and alternative dispute resolution procedures and by the decision of many local law firms to utilize the services of private process servers rather than constables.  However, from this chart we can glean several important facts.  First, from looking at the 2003 numbers for Precinct 1 we can discern that deputy constables are capable of serving a little over 2000 papers per year.  Second, we can see an almost uniform decline year-over-year in the workload of each precinct.  I am assuming that the slight uptick in the number of papers served in 2006 by 3 of the 6 precincts was due to claims filed against insurance companies as a result of Hurricane Rita damages.  However, one thing is clear, the workloads have decreased dramatically and the staffs have not.

As an analogy I will use the Commissioners.  Each Jefferson County Commissioner has approximately 100 miles of roads and bridges that he is responsible for maintaining.  Further, each Commissioner has a road and bridge crew made up of approximately 14 individuals to maintain these roads and bridges.  If tomorrow each Commissioner's road mileage was magically reduced in half to 50 miles per precinct, would the Commissioner's Court be wisely spending taxpayer funds by maintaining a full compliment of 14 road and bridge crew workers?

Lastly, the constables contend that their workloads will increase as a result of a deal they recently solicited from the Texas Attorney General's Office for service of their documents.  During the past 8 years the constable's offices have cost the taxpayers over $15 million considering expenditures over revenues.  This loss came despite the fact that the County charges $60 for service of process in civil actions.  The deal cut by the constables with the AG's office calls for the county to collect, effectively, less than $40 for service of each paper received from the AG.  I fail to see how making an agreement to serve documents for a fee that is far below the County's cost of service makes good economic sense.

I do not relish the idea of anyone losing their job and having to go through the anxiety associated with finding another one.  However, I believe that sound financial management dictates that whether we are in a good budget year or a bad one, the Commissioner's Court's duties to the taxpayers mandate that they adjust budgetary allowances for staffing levels to coincide with true workloads.  Any other approach smells of political expedience.

Jeff Branick

Aug 23, 2010

Media Whores

16 comments
Philip R. Klein writes:
We got our noses in the air this last week when we got a tip about a screaming match that broke out at the BISD board meeting between Advisory Member Jennifer Swantner and the king of all kinds Dr. Carroll Thomas. So we watched the news?

So we said hmmm? So we called over to BISD and asked for the tape of the meeting where everything seemingly went haywire and the screaming began and continued between the two parties. Then again - we were told that :"There was a malfunction in the system."

So we called over to a source at KFDM - we were told that KFDM had a camera there. And guess what? When the screaming began - the camera man was asked to turn off his camera and he DID IT! The request? Well it was by the media darling Jessie Hayes.

D**n - we hate that for KFDM! They do how they are instructed by BISD? They do not make the news report - they are given the news report?
I couldn't find the story about the BISD board meeting on the KBTV Faux 4 site; did I miss that or did Channel 4 miss the meeting?

I did find this article (emphasis is mine):
Republican Strength Growing In Jefferson County
Reported by: KBTV Fox 4 News Staff

Texas has been a republican state for over a decade now, so even though, the GOP is expected to make big gains nationally in the mid-term elections.

You would think here in the Lone Star state things would remain status quo.

Not so in Jefferson County.

This county has been a blue island in a red sea for generations.


But it looks like that's starting to change with a new leader and an energized grass-roots movement.

Former Tax Accessor Miriam Johnson and Commissioner Mark Domingue have endorsed Republican Shane Howard for Tax Accessor.
Channel 4 has reached a new low in journalistic integrity: they've misquoted Philip R. Klein without attribution. That is, unless PRK wrote that; the spelling of "Tax Accessor" certainly looks familiar. During an interview with Mike McNeil from Nov. 25, 2009:
I'm a red dot in a blue sea.
From Nov. 26, 2007:
I am a red speck in a sea of blue.
This has always been one of my favorite variations from Aug. 25, 2008:
Run for office? No way no how...I would be one vote in a sea of blue kool-aide.
Fact check: The State of Texas first elected Republicans to every statewide office in 1994, less than one generation ago, so if the state has only "been a Republican state for over a decade," how could Jefferson County be a "blue island in a red sea for generations?"

This statement is inflammatory demagoguery, not serious journalism, just like referring to the current budget deficit in Jefferson County as "a financial crisis," and that the county is "going bankrupt." This is quite typical of Philip R. Klein.

We can enjoy the confused metaphors, however. Philip as a speck of red in sea of blue symbolizes a distinctly different perspective than Channel 4's island of blue in a sea of red. So which is it?

Let's revisit these statements by Philip R. Klein on KBTV Faux 4:
Look at Hardin County...none of them are in the crisis that we're in. Why? Because they're fiscally responsible and they didn't go crazy with their spending.
Philip said this on November 25, 2009 during another interview on Channel 4:
Jefferson County has one of the highest tax rates in the state of Texas
The effective tax rate in Jefferson County is currently 36.5 cents per $100 dollars valuation. Channel 4 published this story today (emphasis is mine):
Despite a nearly half-million dollar budget shortfall, Hardin County officials say they don't plan on raising taxes.

They met this afternoon to discuss the matter and decided the keep the tax rate the same as last year, which is fifty-five cents on every $100 spent.

County officials say, instead, they're making up for the shortfall by taking money out of the contingency fund. They say they made the decision with taxpayers in mind beacuse they know everyone is feeling the effects of the spiraling economy.
Since a tax on money spent is a sales tax, not a county property tax, I'm certain Philip must be contributing to the stories. The spelling gave it away again.

Regarding spending money from the Hardin County to finance the deficit, Jefferson County has been there, done that, and got Judge Carl Griffith's management study:
Jefferson County’s revenue growth has been sluggish in recent years, yet its expenditures rose in all but one year since fiscal 1999. Consequently, the county has experienced repeated budget deficits since fiscal 2000.

To finance these deficits, the county has relied heavily on its fund balances. The General Fund balance fell from $25.4 million in fiscal 1999 to $5.1 million in fiscal 2004, a drop of 80 percent. The Government Finance Officers Association recommends that governments maintain an unreserved fund balance of 15 percent of general fund expenditures or two months of general fund operating expenditures.
The cozy relationship between Channel 4 and Philip Klein leads one to wonder who's the paying customer and just how much is the going rate for a self-proclaimed political consultant these days.

Aug 22, 2010

Ticket Shot

11 comments
Philip R. Klein writes in the first posting of the week on the SET Political Review:
The Southeast Texas Political Review has been told that an investigation is ongoing regarding a county employee that was caught in Dallas County Texas this past month on a red light camera.
Oh, look - more corruption in Jefferson County!
How out of control can it get? Where does it stop? So we are going to lay off cops?
Like most of Klein's purported "investigations," this deserves no comment. Instead, I'll address this example of Philip R. Klein's notion of Idionomics:
We have been telling you - that our sister county - Lubbock County - which has the same if not more population - yet has low crime, low taxes and low unemployment - and spends almost $50 million less than Jefferson County - does not allow deputies to take cars home, has limited cell phone polices, has limited and audited auto expenses, has a check and balance system that keeps every single county office within strict guidelines - and a zero tolerance police towards government waste - continues to hold as the model for government.
Only Philip R. Klein would compare a cotton-based economy on the high plains with an oil-based economy on the Gulf coast. Here are some U.S. Census Quick Facts about Lubbock and Jefferson County for the number-impaired:

Lubbock Jefferson
Population, 2009 estimate 270,550 243,237
Median household income 44,389 44,155
Private nonfarm employment, 2007 102,424 104,809
Total number of firms 20,792 16,680
Manufacturers shipments, 2002 ($1000) 1,115,440 21,485,736
Building permits 2009 1,031 1,600

For corroboration, Jefferson County issued substantially more building permits in 2009 though smaller in population. Likewise the total number of firms, i.e. independent farmers, is substantially higher in Lubbock County.

I'm not sure what this means in Idionomics, but perhaps Philip will explain how the organization of Jefferson County differs from Lubbock County with its "check and balance system," since the structure for both counties is expressly defined by Texas Government Code. Philip's bumper-sticker intellect is showing again.

Of interest, the Lubbock County Commissioners Court approved a 3.14 percent raise for all elected officials, including themselves.

This came after Lubbock County Commissioners increased the effective property tax rate for two years running in 2008 and 2009. This tax increase involved a new $100 million jail. Commissioners sold the tax increase to Lubbock County taxpayers as a way to decrease taxes. I can see how this makes sense to Philip R. Klein.

On Philip's History of Litigation

8 comments
From Klein et al. v. Google et al.:
For example, without limitation, the website Operation Klein Watch, [sic] contains false information on legal proceedings that do no involve either Mr. Klein individually or the Petitioners, falsely represent that judgments have been taken against the Petitioners and/or Mr. Klein individually, falsely identify a bankruptcy proceeding, also identify lawsuits that do now involve Petitioners and/or Mr. Klein individually.
When I changed the design of Operation Kleinwatch a few weeks ago, I did not repost the history of Philip R. Klein's litigation until I could change the layout to reflect the new blog design. I've completed that task and reloaded the new layout on the sidebar.

I've also provided direct links to court documents or the District Clerk's Civil Index that reference these cases. As an example, I've included court documents on all the judgments filed by Klein, since he alleges that some of these are false.  A cursory examination shows Klein's allegation is not factual.

There are two exceptions: I've not linked documents to Klein's bankruptcy or divorce filings, but I may include those documents in the future. In the meantime, each of these five filings can be easily verified through PACER and the Civil Court Family Law Index.

While not intended to be comprehensive, I've now identified 40 different legal actions that involve Philip R. Klein, PRK Enterprises, Klein Investigations, Klein Investments, or any of Philip's other legal entities.

Sam the Eagle and I have contributed to Philip's extensive history of litigation: there are now four actions specific to Klein's original 202 petition filed in the 172nd District Court:
  • Original petition (E184-784)
  • Appeal in the 9th Court of Appeals (09-10-00051-CV)
  • Mandamus in the 9th Court of Appeals (09-10-00189-CV)
  • Mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court (10-0366)
Tracking these cases can be tedious because of Klein's propensity for suing everyone, no matter how remote their involvement. In the most egregious example, Klein sued the PAISD Board of Trustees collectively, each of the members individually, the board's attorney, and the attorney's law firm. You can verify here, where the parties include the PAISD, Feemster, Elmore, Flores, Frank, Londo, Meador, Thomas, and Wells, Payton, Greenburg & Hunt.

In Klein's nuisance suit against Google, he asked for:
  • The identities of all people responsible for the Sam the Eagle Political Review and Operation Kleinwatch
  • The identities of all people who provided financial or literary contributions
  • The identities of all people who posted comments
  • The identities of all people who are in any way affiliated with, or connected in any capacity, with these websites
Presumably, this would include the names of all Google and Blogger employees, since they're directly responsible for maintaining the platform where our blogs are published.

For the record, this is just intimidation by Klein, since Texas law clearly states that Klein must set forth in writing and verbatim any comments that he considers defamatory. Vague and spurious allegations about Philip's relationship with Elsie the cow aren't enough to pierce this First Amendment veil of anonymity.

I've included Klein's "motion for summery judgment" in one of my favorites, Klein v. Faggard, filed on June 3, 2003. Had Klein filed this document in December, I suspect that he would have called this a "motion for wintry judgment."  As further corroborated in the quote at the top of this posting, Klein clearly drafts these legal filings while his attorney du jour simply signs.

Attorney Mark Faggard's interrogatory is especially interesting. While Mark tried to give Philip a break by allowing Klein to work off a debt from his bankruptcy, Klein sued him when Mark objected to Philip's arbitrary rate increase from $50.00 to $75.00 per hour. I especially enjoyed this portion, where Faggard noted that Klein pulled a gun on two occasions while serving subpoenas:
I wonder what would happen to a deputy constable who pulled a gun during civil process.

Aug 21, 2010

On the Village Idiot This Week

9 comments

CAVEAT: I'm extremely wary of anything that Philip R. Klein posts; even more so after Andrew Brietbart posted a video of Shirley Sherrod out of context. PRK has been posting documents of dubious authenticity, without attribution, and out of context for years.

Out of respect to my readers who are probably as shocked as I at Philip's horrific page layout, the referenced media are posted here in a more conventional manner. There is no such thing as a "low-tech website;" rather the SETPR is operated by an inept editor with no expertise in basic blog publishing.

For purposes of public debate, I'll accept these spurious materials at face value.

This week, Philip R. Klein has focused (term used loosely) on the Jefferson County reduction in workforce on the Southeast Texas Political Review (SETPR): 
We are never really that shocked by anything that goes on in Jefferson County. But this one really took us back a little.
While I'm never really that shocked by any of Philip's aberrant claims, I, too, was taken aback by his postings this week,  where he reached a new low in abject stupidity. 
Judge Walker [2007]
Judge Walker [2010]
Patrick Swain [???]
The Southeast Texas Political Review has been given audio of Judge Ron Walker in September of 2007 regarding his support of the Jefferson County Constables and urging the creation of another deputy position as well as the reasons for creating the position. And frankly the position made sense. But that was then and this is now.

We want our readers TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO OF JUDGE RON WALKER OF SEPTEMBER 2007 :    LISTEN

Well again - that was then and this is now. Hello 2010 and we are guessing that things have changed. Really changed. We want our readers TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO OF JUDGE RON WALKER OF AUGUST 2010 :    LISTEN

If that doesn't shock you - then you need to stop reading this web site and you need to get out of politics. In three short years Walker and Crew have gone from needing the deputies and being worried about their safety to calling the constables bailiffs and or paper chunkers.
Philip misconstrued Judge Walker's purported statement from 2007 who opposed adding any new deputy constables with one exception: Precinct Four.

As clearly enumerated by Judge Walker, the primary reason was that while the workload decreased in the other precincts, Constable James Trahan's workload had increased. Only the secondary reason had to do with law enforcement, since Constable Trahan did not have a municipal police department in his precinct who served as first responders. At the time, Constable's Trahan's staff consisted of only one other deputy.

In the 2010 statement, Judge Walker explained his position on the cuts: the county can only fund those duties specifically set forth in Sec. 86.021 of the Texas Constitution:
Sec. 86.021.  GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES. 

(a)  A constable shall execute and return as provided by law each process, warrant, and precept that is directed to the constable and is delivered by a lawful officer. 

(b)  A constable may execute any civil or criminal process throughout the county in which the constable's precinct is located and in other locations as provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure or by any other law.

(c)  A constable expressly authorized by statute to perform an act or service, including the service of civil or criminal process, citation, notice, warrant, subpoena, or writ, may perform the act or service anywhere in the county in which the constable's precinct is located.

(d)  Regardless of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, all civil process may be served by a constable in the constable's county or in a county contiguous to the constable's county, except that a constable who is a party to or interested in the outcome of a suit may not serve any process related to the suit. 

(e)  The constable shall attend each justice court held in the precinct.
The Texas Constitution corroborates Judge Walker's statement: law enforcement is not a prescribed duty of constables even though the constable and his deputies must be licensed law enforcement officers.

Philip Klein took these two statements out of context and has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the affects of the 2008/2009 recession on Jefferson County.  While the county itself has not cut jobs whatsoever until now, workforce reductions in private industry across the U.S. were projected at 20 million last year.

Jefferson County felt these effects very early when the price of oil fell from a high of $167 a barrel to a low of $37 during February 2009.  Because of this, several major expansions at Total, Motiva, and Valero were canceled or postponed. This resulted in a $12 billion hit to the local economy, so local businesses reduced their existing workforces. These reductions in workforce are still occurring in Southeast Texas.

This is the fundamental problem in the local economy, but Klein has obscured honest debate about these issues with his own personal agenda.
Adding insult to injury - Patrick Swain - the so called chief money criminal of Jefferson County - who is not only on team Walker - but seemingly the district judges have NO CONTROL over as he has employees not even show up to the office to work and they work from home (so they say) while drawing down huge salaries and benefits (like car allowances when they don't drive to work - we guess the cell phone allowances come in handy), seemingly said this :    LISTEN
When compared with what Swain actually said, Klein's comments reveal more about PRK's ignorance of common business practices. I can certainly see how Klein managed six Dairy Queen franchises into bankruptcy during the boom years of the 90s.

Philip has repeatedly claimed that Patrick Swain is a criminal, guilty of fraud. This is defamatory speech and stems from nothing more than Klein's own dislike of Swain that began when Patrick repeatedly pointed out the profligate fiscal policy of Judge Carl Griffith, who now works as a lobbyist

Klein will not admit that during Carl Griffith's , the county was much closer to bankruptcy than it is today. From the 2007 Management and Performance Review funded by some private businesses who supported Judge Griffith:
Jefferson County’s revenue growth has been sluggish in recent years, yet its expenditures rose in all but one year since fiscal 1999. Consequently, the county has experienced repeated budget deficits since fiscal 2000.

To finance these deficits, the county has relied heavily on its fund balances. The General Fund balance fell from $25.4 million in fiscal 1999 to $5.1 million in fiscal 2004, a drop of 80 percent. The Government Finance Officers Association recommends that governments maintain an unreserved fund balance of 15 percent of general fund expenditures or two months of general fund operating expenditures.

In addition, Jefferson County’s Enterprise Fund has been operating in the red. From fiscal 2000 to fiscal 2004, the airport ran a deficit averaging $1.7 million per year, while Ford Park’s deficit ballooned to $3.6 million in fiscal 2004. These deficits are partly financed by transfers from the General Fund, thus increasing its problems. Jefferson County has no comprehensive financial management strategy or longterm financial plan. It budgets and spends funds without analyzing how they further the county’s goals and objectives. MGT found little accountability for spending and a shortsighted focus on current-year finances.
As the village idiot, Philip R. Klein wrote this about Judge Griffith during that period:
Carl R. Griffith Jr. - Oh boy. Here is our man...The leader of all leaders (and we are serious about that). The guy has his ticket written and the media loves him.
While the county grapples with Griffith's boondoggle, Ford Park, Philip Klein continues to divert attention with spurious charges, based on vague an anonymous sources:
Even more shocking - Eddie Arnold as we wrote yesterday may have broke the law.

The Southeast Texas Political Review has learned late this afternoon that the Jefferson County Commissioners, especially elected member Eddie Arnold may have violated the Fair Labor Standards act and that serious consideration is being given to filing a federal lawsuit against the county for the violation (s).
A cursory examination of the Texas Penal Code that Philip posted reveals that like most of his lawsuits, the statute is (intentionally?) misinterpreted by Klein.  

PRK has repeatedly ignored the real issues, as stated in Arnold's document that Klein posted.

Historically, the constable workload has declined. The Examiner verified reductions of as much as 50 to 75 percent. In reading the document posted by Klein, it seems to me that Commissioner Arnold is describing a flexible schedule where deputies stagger their work times serving papers to take advantage of times when people are home. In private business such as the plants, this is called shift work.

Even more telling, Commissioner Arnold asked that Constables limit their staffs to a maximum of three deputies. This is entirely consistent with Judge Walker's guidelines in his 2007 statement. There are currently 21 deputies spread among six constables.

This is yet another example of how Klein took these two statements by Judge Walker out of context. Here are the numbers:
These figures are based on the overall cost of all Constables' departments, less all revenue refunded or collected by them, and with net credits of the Justice of Peace collections over their expenses. 

The cost of constables has now surpassed funding for Ford Park, which will cost 1.8 million this year in operating expenses. When considering operations and debt service as a package, perhaps it's time to cut Jefferson County's losses on Griffith's Boondoggle and look for an exit strategy.

PRK's personal and unprovoked attacks on County Auditor Patrick Swain and Commissioner Eddie Arnold have nothing to do with these issues. Commissioner Arnold cut his own budget by 12 percent, eliminated one position in his office, and promised to take a 5 percent voluntary pay cut over the next year. Riddle me this, Mr. Klein: how much as Swain reduced his operating costs? No comment? 

Klein's personal agenda is showing again this week:
And we have not even HIT the so called "Clinic for Employees" and the true numbers of patients treated and the total budget for the cost per employee to have a $500,000 clinic open? Anyone want to do the math and send it to us. How much is spent to employ a nurse, a nurse practitioner and a secretary for a department that nobody uses? That costs the taxpayers six figures?

Retirement - Another astute county employee - furious over the misinformation from the commissioners tells the Review that all three of the clinic employees have ties to the political machine - thus they are untouchable. One is the daughter of a former US Judge, one is related to a current sitting commissioner and one is the wife of a former county auditor that passed. They have been deemed by many in the county as "The Untouchables" - have all one year before full retirement. Uh....Eddie? Is that why you said let's give it a year?
I've addressed Klein's misstatements concerning the health clinic in detail here in an article entitled, "Fat Man in the Pool."  Philip didn't mention that the nurse practitioner who runs the County's in-house employee health care program is the former mother-in-law of Klein's cutthroat attorney, John Morgan, whose acrimonious divorce is common knowledge. Uh...Philip? Is this why you took Eddie Arnold's statement out of context again?

Reiterating the simple point that Klein refuses to address despite his verbose and loquacious statements, the workload of deputy constables in Jefferson County has decreased, while the costs have continued to increase. In the private sector, those deputies would have been targeted for cost reductions a long time ago.

The real tragedy is this: Griffith's Boondoggle, Ford Park, has become the gift that keeps on giving.  Ford Park can't compete with other venues in Houston, and now has a direct competitor in Jefferson County. Yet Jefferson County residents must continue to fund this tar baby because there is no other realistic alternative. The county can't simply shut it down, nor can they run it profitably.

Thank you, Judge Griffith. I guess you got the final laugh after all.

Aug 18, 2010

Any Comments, Philip?

12 comments
I'm fact-checking Philip R. Klein's posting of Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010, however there is so much misinformation concerning the reduction in workforce (RIF) of nine Jefferson County deputy constables that this process may take a couple of days.  For example, consider this grammatical trainwreck:
Adding insult to injury - Patrick Swain - the so called chief money criminal of Jefferson County who is not only on team Walker but seemingly the district judges have NO CONTROL over as he has employees not even show up to the office to work and they work from home (so they say) while drawing down huge salaries and benefits (like car allowances when they don't drive to work - we guess the cell phone allowances come in handy), seemingly said this :    LISTEN

Oh...wait a minute there Paddy boy? Did you just say that county budgets are already padded? Have you been lying to the public all these years? Do what the ****? Now you say it in public.
In the meantime, here's an interesting nitwit tidbit. Special thanks to the reader who provided the tip.

KBTV Fox 4 has interviewed Rhonda Dugas twice in the past several weeks. While no other media has mentioned Rhonda, Channel 4 quoted her on July 22, 2010:
Community activist Rhonda Dugas says, "They just put 9 good people out of work, they have morages and car payments and children to feed and homes to take care of. And I want to see you reduce Ford Park by 10- 15-20 employess dont reduce our law enforcement take it, take it out of Ford Park, not law enforcement. Those constables do an incredible job and they keep us safe and we need that."
Apparently, Philip also edits Channel 4's copy, too. You can see the video here.

KBTV Fox 4 later did a full story concerning Rhonda's petition drive on Aug. 14, 2010:
Rhonda Dugas is heading up a petition drive, and hopes to have plenty of signatures before commissioners vote on the budget.

She says, "These deputy constables work very hard for us, and we are so appreciative of them and we need to show them that we need to stand behind them, and present to commissioners court a petition that says we want these jobs saved, and we have the money in the bank to save them."
See that video here.

While both are on the same side of this issue, Rhonda is doing something. Philip is feeding his own ego and pushing his own personal agenda with spurious and fictitious allegations of felony investigations concerning Commissioner Eddie Arnold.  

If politics truly do make for strange bedfellows, I thought Rhonda Dugas had better taste than that.

Aug 17, 2010

Rut-roooooooo

13 comments
Rut-roo? Philip R. Klein can't even properly quote Scooby-Doo. This particular misquote falls under the purview of the Sam the Eagle Political Review, so I'll let Sam handle this one.

The rest of the article is more of Klein's "same old think, over and over and over again."  
The Southeast Texas Political Review has learned late this afternoon that the Jefferson County Commissioners, especially elected member Eddie Arnold may have violated the Fair Labor Standards act and that serious consideration is being given to filing a federal lawsuit against the county for the violation (s).

So we called the Labor Board and described the situation without using Jefferson County's name. The response?

"If this were to happen it would be a clear violation of the law," the agent in the Houston office told us.
Been there, done that, remember this:
The Southeast Texas Political Review has learned late this afternoon that local elections may be overturned with a little known law called the "Hatch Act. So we called Washington DC - and asked the question at the United States Attorneys office. "The Hatch act clearly states that if federal funds are being used by a government agency any employee is precluded from running for office unless they take a leave or quit," said the spokesperson.

The bottom line - now that we know - IF YOU RUN FOR OFFICE IN JEFFERSON COUNTY AND YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE OF A GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN EITHER AN ELECTED FORM OR HIRED FORM YOU MUST RESIGN FROM YOUR POST WHILE YOU ARE RUNNING FOR OFFICE IF YOUR OFFICE AND OR COUNTY RECEIVES A DIME IN FEDERAL FUNDS.
After I pointed out that the Office of Special Counsel, not the the U.S. Attorney General, administered the Hatch Act, PRK then claimed: 
The Review has been in direct contact with the Office of Special Counsel who has asked us for a list of names and counties.
Apparently, the Office of Special Counsel declined to pursue the investigation. Klein resurrected this dead horse last week:
GOP Sources say there is no doubt that they will have a primary on Eddie Arnold's seat.
Those same GOP sources told Klein in 2008:
Two are waiting in the wings to run the only GOPER for any seat - being Eddie Arnold.  Arnold we are told is getting a fundraiser together with some local democrats.
In reality, Commissioner Arnold won reelection by default, since no one ran against him in the party primaries and the general election.

And then there as this investigation from two weeks ago:
As well, the Review is taking a look at the campaign contribution laws. As Derouen accused Reid of irregularities - apparently Derouen accepted corporate funds which is a violation of State Election Laws.
Find the real facts here.

Special note to Mike McNeil: When Philip spouts this garbage on your show tomorrow, why don't you show some intestinal fortitude and question Klein objectively about some of these past statements? Find more here - I'm sure you can get enough material for the rest of the year.
 
Or you can play the fool and wait until Klein is sued again for defamation with your station as a named party in the suit. See Gillam v. Klein.

Aug 16, 2010

Symptom Three (A Series)

4 comments
Philip R. Klein has stated in past weeks:
For those of us educated in the political world...
Well, I am starting a speaking tour in Southeast Texas. I have been invited to nine speeches being at one Rotary Club (I accepted), one political fundraiser in Hardin County (thinking about it) and one in Jasper County (thinking about it). The rest are for small gatherings or clubs. I have a specific message that I am sending out. I have no intent to run a party or the party - but I recognize that this site is now being brought into another scope of media.
But I am sure we are going to Washington with this [Klein v. Google lawsuit]. This will be a ground breaking case. This case will write law in Texas and beyond. And it will answer such for our lifetime.
A few minutes spent reading any article on the Southeast Texas Political Review will prove that Klein isn't very well educated in politics or any other subject.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (301.81) as:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following [symptoms]:

3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
To be continued.

Read the rest of the articles in the series.
  1. Symptom Two (A Series)
  2. Symptom One (A Series)
  3. Somewhere Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Another Face

0 comments
Philip R. Klein attacks Hilton Kelley again in this article:
What do we know about Hilton Kelley? Well he is a liar. His entire resume is a flat out lie. He was never a stunt man for any TV shows. He was never in the SAG union.
When I called the Screen Actors Guild and tried to confirm Kelley's membership, I was told that the guild doesn't release that information. Try it for yourself and let me know what happens: (323) 954-1600.
The Review even checked the registry for the US Boy Scouts and could not find Kelley's name?
As an Eagle Scout, I can address this from personal experience. The National Eagle Scout Registry that Klein is referencing is a for-profit project by Harris Connect. Participation is voluntary, so I had them take my name off the registry after I was repeatedly contacted by the group to buy a copy of their book. 

The National Eagle Scout Registry is not to be confused with the National Eagle Scout Association, who doesn't sell subscriptions or maintain a database of Eagle Scouts. I suspect that, if Klein was involved in Scouting, he didn't t make it past the rank of Second Class like most other endeavors in his life. 
Adding insult to injury - Kelley scammed two of the plants into giving him money - which he built a non-profit (giggle) with Kelley as its leader.
Fraud is a felony. This is a defamatory statement.
And get this - Kelley has put more money into his pocket than he has given out to help people.
No evidence of this claim.
And....according to federal filings - all of the addresses he has listed as the headquarters for CIDA, Inc. are run down and closed buildings.
If operating a run-down building as an office is a crime, I'd like to file a criminal complaint on the business located at 826 Nederland Avenue.
There have been cars bought with the money to get Mr. Kelley around as well as his travels.
No evidence of this claim.
And the company CIDA has defaulted with the State of Texas and the IRS got upset because the tax returns were not filed - but when they were - the math didn't add up. If you don't believe us - LOOK :
Klein references this listing on the Texas Secretary of State website. As the website clearly notes, this has nothing to do with the IRS but whether the corporation is current with Texas Franchise Tax filing requirements and payments.  
Now you would think our government - would run away from someone or something like this. As well, the media, not some blog, would run away from this guy. But no - they continue to interview this man and quote him as some type of professional in the air quality business - when in fact he is nothing but a conman getting rich on others money.
I'm not defending Kelley, but Klein's ad hominem attack has nothing whatsoever to do with the real issue of the Keystone Pipeline project. While Klein spent most of this posting denigrating Kelley, he barely mentioned the real issue:
Buried in the Beaumont Enterprise this morning in an article that bashes a company trying to build a pipeline for crude oil to be brought into Southeast Texas to up production of products such as fuel and oil based products - there he is again - Hilton Kelley talking about how bad the local plants are to the Southeast Texas Health.
Here are some other articles on the Keystone Pipeline, none of which mentioned Hilton Kelley:
Take a few minutes to read the facts about the real issue and develop your own informed opinion, rather than taking Klein's personal agenda at face value.

Aug 15, 2010

On Philip and Mike: Laurel and Hardy Redux

11 comments
Revisiting Klein and KBTV Channel 4's purported "budget crisis" in Jefferson County, let's examine a few more claims made on The SET Political Review and on Channel 4 KBTV:
Philip R. Klein: If you go back and look at the inflationary that the GAO gives us, it is like two and a half, three percent. We're right in line with the rest of the United States.
Watching Mike McNeil and Philip R. Klein discuss Idionomics reminds me of a short film by Laurel and Hardy.

Neither of them realize that the General Accounting Office (GAO) has nothing whatsoever to do with determining the "inflationary." Instead, the rate of real inflation is derived each month from the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Furthermore the real rate of inflation is not "two and a half, three percent...right in line with the rest of the country." It doesn't take a shrewd investigator to recognize Klein's body language (see image right) and that blank stare into space. Klein is simply inventing statistics again to disguise his failure to comprehend the real facts:
This low inflation is the direct result of the 2008/2009 recession; Since the county has plenty of money to cover the shortfall in revenue through the unreserved fund balance, Jefferson County is clearly not bankrupt as Klein claims.

Some inflation is a good thing, but these extremely low rates are one of the factors fueling fears of a double-dip recession. Since the Fed has literally printed money because of this low inflation rate, at some point inflation will catch up under this monetary policy.

This is distinctly different from the fiscal policy that Klein referenced below:
Philip R. Klein: Look at Orange County, look at Hardin County, look at Chambers County, look at Liberty County. None of them are in the crisis that we're in. Why? Because they're fiscally responsible and they didn't go crazy with their spending. They said, nnnnn, this is a temporary gig. What you've got here in Jefferson County, owned and operated by the Democratic Party of the State of Texas, is you've got out of control spennding. and unless these guys recognize and I think they have, they're bankrupt, they have spent every dime there is...
Regardless of Klein's uninformed opinions, overt falsehoods, and manufactured statistics, the real facts show that a deficit runs through it.

According to Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux in the Orange Leader:  
“There’s a $2.2 million deficit we need to work on to balance this budget, and we’re going to be working on that this month.”
According to Hardin County Judge Billy Caraway in the Beaumont Enterprise:
The proposed budget leaves the county with deficit of about $500,000 due to a $67 million decrease in mineral values and a $300,000 loss in other investment income, Hardin County Judge Billy Caraway said.

"We've reached a stage where we have to ask for more help" to cut the budget, Caraway said.

Caraway, who said he would sacrifice his $7,500 raise for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, was proud of the many officials who said they would also give up their raises.
I wonder why Hardin County Commissioners even considered substantial raises for themselves, when the county has a budget shortfall. Neither is this a partisan problem limited to those counties purportedly "owned and operated by the Democratic party," since most of those Hardin County officials are now in the Republican Party. Did Philip mention RINO?

Likewise, Chambers County took a hit over the past two years, according to the Baytown Sun:
In Chambers County’s case, commissioners are resisting the financial wallop of a 9.5 percent drop in property values from last year and a 3 percent drop this year to give all county employees a raise.

Under the proposed $28 million 2011 budget, both elected and hired employees would receive a 3.5 percent raise.

The drawback? Commissioners also are going to call for a 3 percent budget reduction in each county department, said Commissioner Precinct 4 W.O. “Bill” Wallace, Jr.
While Chambers County experienced a 12.5 percent decrease in revenue over the past two years and a budget shortfall, they're reducing operating expenses in each department by three percent to give employees a 3.5 percent raise. No comment is necessary, but Philip could probably get a job as the chief budget officer in Chambers County.

Meanwhile, the State of Texas is faring worse, with a projected $18 billion deficit, according to the Houston Chronicle:
Lawmakers had been warned to expect a shortfall of at least $11 billion in the next two-year budget period. But Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, on Tuesday put the gap at $18 billion — and said lawmakers should consider casino gambling as one way to fill the hole. 
Ironically, even as some legislators are pushing a gambling bill as a quick fix, the state can't pay it's own gambling debts, according to the Dallas Morning News:
2 quick Lotto Texas winners put state in bind
12:00 AM CDT on Friday, August 13, 2010

AUSTIN – The luck of lottery winners is picking up. For the state, not so much: It has taken a $3.4 million hit in just the past 10 days.

Since July 31, someone has correctly picked the six Lotto Texas numbers twice, but the state sold an insufficient number of tickets to fully cover the advertised prize.

Bobby Heith, a spokesman for the Texas Lottery Commission, said the state account holding lottery earnings will cover the winning tickets.

[edit]

Lottery expert Dawn Nettles, who operates the lotto report.com website, said dipping into the state fund means money is going out instead of coming in for Lotto Texas.

"That's like saying we're getting paid $1,000 a month and spending $2,000," she said.
Even more irony: the reason we have a Texas Lottery is because our state government sold Texans a bill of goods that the lottery would fix funding problems in state education. But I'll reserve further comment on this until Philip endorses casino gambling in Texas as the perfect solution to our deficit problems.

As regular readers know, I think it's highly unethical for KBTV Fox 4 to allow Klein to propagate this misinformation without at least challenging Philip's blatant lies. This is biased reporting and the station is complicit in furthering Klein's personal agenda. 

Aug 14, 2010

The Fat Man in the Pool

4 comments
For most of this week, Philip R. Klein has focused (term used loosely) on Jefferson County employee health care and its shared insurance pool, with special attention to the county employee health care clinic: 
According to county records - the Review has learned that Jefferson County has its own MEDICAL CLINIC for its employees. Yes - you heard right - the county runs a doc shop for its employees. And it costs you the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars. And get this -nobody uses it to the point there is a discussion from commissioners NOT TO CLOSE IT BUT MOVE IT SO EMPLOYEES WILL USE IT MORE? What the hell? While cops are getting laid off?

Late yesterday afternoon the employees in the "Employee Health Department" (who knew?) sent our an email that was forwarded to the Review about 100 times. Here it is....

According to the sources - the Employee Health Department records indicate that other than flu shots - they have seen (wait for it) little or no patients.

"Everyone is provided health insurance and have their own doctors. We don't need a d**n health department for employees," the source told us.


The Public - The Review's phones have been ringing off the wall. Thanks to all that called and are continuing to call as we write this. Uh....how was your sleep? Waking up huh? That is our message to the callers.


Jefferson County Employee's Health Service - The only one in the state, the only county in the state, and we know now that the employee's there are ALL RELATED TO COUNTY OR FEDERAL APPOINTMENTS WERE THE GOVERNMENT JUST CREATED A JOB!

It is too funny - the employees of Jefferson County have THEIR OWN clinic that NOBODY USES? No Patients! And over $500k a year in pork to political appointees....and we are going to let cops go?
These uninformed statements and wild claims were repeated during his appearance on Channel 4 KBTV this week as the station's political commentator (term again used loosely): 
Mike McNeil: How many counties in the state of Texas have a health department for their employees:

Philip R. Klein: (laughing) this is what gets me, we have a, There are none to answer your question.
Fact check: There are many counties in Texas that have similar clinics, ranging from small to large. For example, a random sampling includes Dallas County, Brazos County, Mesquite County, Tom Green County, and Bexar County. Fort Bend County even offers a mail-order pharmacy for its employees. 

While we've come to expect these lies and ignorance from Philip R. Klein, Channel 4 is complicit in spreading Klein's reprobate claims by not challenging his mendacious statements.This unethical bias underscores the station's commitment to confusion.

This employee health clinic is operated under Jefferson County's in-house health care program, a shared insurance pool where the rates for pooled benefits are not affected by the actual claims of the group.  Groups benefit from the spread of risk among the pool. This is very common among private industry and governmental units.

In Jefferson County, this program is provided through the Southeast Texas Employee Benefit Pool, a public entity risk pool sponsored by the County and accounted for as an enterprise fund in the county's budget. See for yourself

The nurse practitioner referenced by Klein administers the county's program, according to real county documents, not manufactured sources who reflect Klein's ignorance of this subject:
Nurse Practitioner - Responsible for the County's in-house employee health care program. The Nurse Practitioner's primary function is preventative health care for all Jefferson County employees.
While Klein claims that the Jefferson County is an example of nepotism, this method of self-insurance, a shared benefits pool, has saved taxpayers literally billions of dollars across the U.S. See for yourself.  The State of Texas uses a similar insurance pool or high-risk management.

When Bexar County opened its employee health center in 2009, the estimated cost in savings to county taxpayers was almost a million dollars after the third year of operation:
Full-time Bexar County employees now have access to convenient, low-cost health care  through the Bexar County Employee Health Clinic and Wellness Center, a centrally located clinic officially opened by Commissioners Court on Monday.

The County’s expected operating cost of approximately $400,000 per year will be offset by an expected savings of $1.1 million annually, starting in the third year of operation and thereafter.

“Bexar County now counts itself among large employers who realize the value of taking care of their employees; companies such as USAA, the City of San Antonio, Toyota and Valero,” Commissioner Tommy Adkisson said. “We realize the value of having a healthy, productive workforce and how that will contribute to an overall better community for all of Bexar County.”
Neither is this concept of an employee health clinic limited to just governmental entities. It's quite common across private industry, where economies of scale provide real savings to the businesses. As an example, Toyota included a $9 million employee health care facility at its San Antonio plant.

As penance for being so abysmally stupid, I challenge Philip Klein to publish the number of businesses in Jefferson County that have on-site health clinics for their employees. (Hint: start with Valero, Goodyear, and Exxon-Mobil).