Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Compact with Colorado

At a recent breakfast of the Denver County Republicans, former Colorado Senator Hank Brown introduced me to what he had termed a "Compact with Colorado". This concept is only in its infancy, however I believe that it has great merit as a way to save our State.

I see the Compact as being a pledge to the people of our great State regarding how we will govern and what our positive vision for the future is. The Compact would be a statement of values. In the book, "Hope is not a Method", former Army Chief of Staff Gordon Sullivan describes the importance of values by stating:

"Shared values express the essence of an organization. They bind expectations, provide alignment, and establish a foundation for transformation and growth. By emphasizing values, the leader signals what will not change, providing an anchor for people drifting in a sea of uncertainty and a strategic text for decisions and actions that will grow the organization."

Similar in concept to the 1994 Contract with America, our State specific Compact with the people of Colorado could be just what we need to define our Republican brand. It could also be an effective way for us to communicate a clear message regarding what we stand for.

If a people are not willing to stand for something, they will fall for anything.

That's the Stone Cold Truth.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Please Stop Shoveling Mr. President

Would someone please take the shovel away from Barack Obama? He has taken a bad economy and made it worse by the hour. We all know that the first thing to do if you are in a hole is to quit digging. The President has done just the opposite. Does anyone else believe like I do that you don't get us out of a deficit by doing more deficit spending? Maybe the President could go to a small town banker that has remained solvent because of wise lending practices, and ask the banker how they have managed to stay in business. My guess is that there is no way that banker would approve of this crazy scheme that Mr. Obama has concocted. I'm guessing that banker would consider the U.S. government to be too risky to lend money to. Obama's promise to repay would be just words. Empty words that have no substance.

Our country is on a path to bankruptcy. I don't know if there are enough people concerned to take meaningful action. We have become a nation at risk almost overnight it seems. At risk to lose our independence. At risk to lose our very way of life. I don't want our democracy to fail. If we don't find enough people to wrestle that shovel away Barack Obama, the hole may become so deep that our Nation and our culture will never see the light of day again.

That's the Stone Cold Truth.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wrong Assumptions Lead to Wrong Conclusions

Barack Obama makes his case for redistributing the wealth seem very clear and easy. He also explains how he (we) will pay for all of his spending. He uses a basic assumption in both of these instances that most of us seem to agree with. Mr. Obama wants us all to believe that by simply raising taxes on the "wealthy" he can pay for it all. Can the government really soak the rich? Is there hard evidence to support this most important basic assumption?

Read this short article and then tell me what you believe.

You may very well find that we have not been given the Stone Cold Truth.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who Do They Serve?

What is behind the demands for bi-partisanship? What are people really saying? What do they want? Who do our elected officials believe they serve?

As a former Eagle County Commissioner I asked myself these questions. The answer is simple regarding who I was elected to serve. Everyone that lives in Eagle County. But do all elected officials understand this? I'm sorry to tell you that they don't. How this was first revealed to me is an interesting story.

One day early on in my first term in office, I happened to be having a brief policy discussion with another Commissioner. I have forgotten what we were discussing but I will never forget his response. I'll also never forget what one of his supporters told me when I asked him about my colleague’s comment.

First the other commissioner's comment. "You and I disagree on this Tom. I was elected to serve my constituents not yours".

Second the supporters comment. "I told him (the other commissioner) that we didn't get him elected to vote his conscience. We got him elected to vote the way that we wanted him to vote."

I guess that many of our elected officials and the public both need a civics lesson.

A constituent is any member of a constituency, including those who did not vote for an elected representative.

President Obama would be well served to learn this lesson but I doubt that he cares to. His massive Stimulus Bill, all of the ear marks and associated pork that is imbedded in it and the way it passed is the exact opposite of serving his constituency. The Democrats and Obama have shown us all how partisan they intend to be. They have shown us that they do not represent all of us. They have shown us that they believe they were elected to only serve those that supported them.

I wonder if there is an earmark for a Presidential dictionary. Obama could sure use one right now.

That's the Stone Cold Truth!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is Obama really the Wizard of Oz?

Last night President Obama remarked about his Stimulus Bill that, "It also contains an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability so that every American will be able to go online and see where and how we're spending every dime."

I have a simple question. If we are to believe you Mr. President, then why don't you demand that Congress post the Bill on their website for five days before voting on it, giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment first? It should be posted in excel spreadsheet form that would be searchable by category. This will give you a head start on what you promised.

The simple answer will be NO. The President will act like that great scene in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulled back the curtain on the Great Oz. We are all asked to ignore the details and trust that the Great Wizard knows all, sees all and can do all. Understanding this Bill is almost like a treasure hunt.

Even Fox News is running a contest and asking for our help to uncover what's in the Bill. They state, "At more than 1,500 pages, the House and Senate versions of the economic stimulus bill aren’t exactly a light read. That’s why we’re counting on our FOX Forum audience to help us all get through it. Join our challenge to find what’s right — and maybe not so right — with the working versions of the $850 billion plan, which will have to be mashed together into one piece of legislation before it goes to President Obama for his signature."

The truth is that Obama and the Democrats want to do a cram job on the American public before we have time to fully understand what they're spending our money on. They arrogantly believe that they know better than we do.

Please give us five days before you mortgage the lives of our children and our grandchildren.

Was your promise of transparency just words? We'd all like to know.

That's the Stone Cold Truth.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What can done locally about the economy?

We all hear a lot about a Federal Stimulus package. Most people probably feel helpless and hopeless both. Helpless because they have no meaningful input on the $Trillion dollar spending Bill now before Congress. Hopeless because our new President now only preaches fear of certain economic disaster no matter what is done. So let's look at what we can be done by our local elected officials to help our economy and look to what we can individually do.

I am a former Eagle County Commissioner who was forced out of office due to term limits two years ago. During my eight years in office, I am proud to say that I did my best to govern in a fiscally responsible manner. Highlights include lowering our property tax mill levy several times and actually cutting our budget by over one million dollars one year. But what is important is not so much what I accomplished while in office, but rather the stupid things that I stopped from happening. Our Commissioners should be leading by example during these tough economic times by cutting back on wasteful spending. Locally we have a good example of stupid spending that has been called by one paper as "Logogate". Seems as though our Commissioners decided that they should invest over $36,000.00 for a new County logo in a no bid process. They are currently prevented from showing this prospective logo to the citizens because it seems that the County doesn't own the logo even though they spent lots of our money on it. What went wrong here and what can we learn from this?

First of all we need to implement better transparency in our local government. It would relatively easy for the County to post their check book online for all to see. Politicians that know they are being watched tend to behave in a more responsible manner. Also, it would be nice to know what the County expected to accomplish with this expenditure on a cost/benefit analysis basis. How many new jobs did they expect to create in Eagle County? Why did they pick a company in Texas to do the work thereby exporting our tax dollars out of State?

Ok Tom, if you don't agree with this spending than what would you be doing if you were still in office?

Thanks for asking! Let's get the money to job creators. $36,000.00 could have been much better spent with a grant to the local Chamber of Commerce. It is the Chamber's sole purpose to promote local businesses. It's simple - supporting local businesses means supporting local workers which means supporting our local economy which means putting bread on the table and paying your mortgage. Instead, the Commissioners actually totally cut out all support to our local Chamber. They don't even pay member dues. What's wrong with this picture?

What can we do individually?

We all need to look at how we can both cut our expenses and also look for new business. My background is as real estate broker. One of my biggest expenses is marketing and advertising. My ads in the newspaper are expensive, are seldom seen and their effectiveness cannot be tracked. So what's the answer? A better internet presense. Realtors are generally not very tech savvy and tech savvy people are generally not Realtors. The reason that newspapers across the nation are going under is because they cannot compete with the less expensive, more effective and trackable internet. Let me share two simple examples. Click on this link and look at this new company that will give you a report card on how well your listing is syndicated across the web on all popular realty websites. These websites are all FREE advertising. Next concept is search engine optimization or how do I get more people to look at my website. Why did you spend all of that money on a cool website if no one is looking at it? These are just a couple of small examples of how we all need to look at our businesses in new ways. I am in the process of developing a website that will give Realtors all of the tools that they need to be competitive in today's market and today's economy.

Above all else there is one simple concept that can help us all during these tough economic times. It's called - Self Reliance.

Here is one of my all time favorite mottos:

The harder I work, the luckier I get.

If self help books work for you, I recommend "What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-Changers".

Let me leave you with this quote:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have faith in the American people.
I have faith in you.

That's the Stone Cold Truth.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tax Revolt for Dummies

I am considering writing a new book to be titled "Tax Revolt for Dummies". While the rest of us scrimp and save to make ends meet, our government is busy finding new ways to tax us. Local, State and Federal programs are rapidly expanding with entitlement programs that will never be removed. How will they pay for these new programs? Simple. Tax us more. Can someone please tell these people that there is no way to tax ourselves into prosperity? Ok, I admit that they won't listen so I will simply have to write this book. Having been an elected official I know very well that the only way to stop government expansion is to starve the beast.

Chapters will include:

1. How to get a referendum on the ballot.
2. How to get people on your team.
3. How to set up a campaign fund.
4. How to raise money.
5. What your message should be.
6. How to make your message viral through social media.
7. How to get information from the government that they don't want you to see.

If anyone wants to help me write this book please let me know. It's sure to be a best seller overnight.

That's the Stone Cold Truth!