statistics The Riverdale Observer: April 2005

The Riverdale Observer

The "RIVERDALE OBSERVER" is an individualy written, produced and distributed broadside newspaper dealing with one topic per issue as it relates to Riverdale Park, Prince Georges County, Maryland, United States of America, Earth, Milkyway Galaxy, Universe, and Beyond (the writer does not wish to be too limited in subject matter).

Location: Riverdale Park, Maryland, United States

Born and raised in Weems, Virginia attended VPI, BS General Science 1964, Work experience in Research and Quality Control Labs; WWTP Management, Operation, and Teaching; Member of various Boards, Organic Food and Farming, Tax Reform, Homeschool, and Soccer. Married, wife and I homeschool two teenage children.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Economic Development and Other Factors

Tuesday I finished my cycle of four literature drops. That brings me back to economic development again. As I said before economic development will need a change in the rules of the game, however that is only a necessary condition not a sufficient condition. There are other considerations that go in to good economic development planning. The Title Link above takes you to a discussion of Braudelian Economics which I liken to an Ecology of Economics similar to an ecological food web. Also this site ( has a nice simple graphic on Walter Christaller's Theory of Central Places.

Below is a piece I did in 1999 to lay out the factors I knew about then

The Riverdale Observer

Town Center and its Place in The World

Why one needs to pay attention to the economic, social,
and technological environment and the synergy of their systems in a town

The run down appearance of some buildings and the small number of viable businesses in Riverdale Town Center has been on the mind of residents for more than a decade. There is a desire that the Town Center be redeveloped. Surveys have been taken to develop a wish list of businesses that could be there. The Town Council has even considered taking control of the situation and even see to the development of the Town Center. The Town Council should keep in mind that the direction of an economy is a difficult thing to predict.

Some important ideas to keep in mind when thinking about economic development are that the town needs a complete economic system that allows the town to operate as an organic whole. The more money that can be kept in circulation locally the better off the town will be, the more that is exported the worse off the town will be. One of the important ideas is that of replacing imports with the town's own production. The other is to make sure that all the town's population can handle higher technologies before the population moves into its use. Without the ability to handle new technologies there will be an increase in unemployment and economic dislocation.

There are many basic things that will affect the viability of business in this location. They all have to be considered as to what positive and negative effects they have on each other and what is the best mix at Town Center. The Town Council and various groups of activists need to be aware of the economic ecology of the area's economic environment so that the town can identify the most likely successful economic niches to which the town can adapt.

• For an area to increase its amount of economic activity, one of two things needs to happen. One is that the people who shop in the area have to have an increase in spendable income, or more people of the same income level have to begin shopping in that area.

• To have an increase in the number of shoppers in an area, will mean either more cars coming into and out of Town Center or more people living in Riverdale Park with in reasonable walking distance.

• A business in an economic area is also affected by taxes. Income taxes influence workers to move to areas of lower income taxes. Sales taxes influence customers to go purchase where sales are taxed at a lower rate. The property tax, which is really two taxes, one on buildings and the other on land, has two effects, the building tax causes buildings to be built where those taxes are lower. The land tax has a positive economic effect, unlike the negative economic effect of income, sales, and building taxes. The benefit of the land tax is that it encourages the highest and best use of land.

• Cultural biases effect the local economy, for instance the first claim and use system used in the U.S. gives us a less than optimum economy. For example, If a large area is zoned residential that often precludes industrial or commercial uses. If a large area is zoned commercial, there is seldom industrial or residential use, and if a large area is zoned industrial, there is seldom residential or commercial use. Zoning is a recently adopted example of a cultural bias that prevents an ecologically economic mix of residential, commercial, and industrial land use as it occurred before the 1940's and 50's. Zoning is also a pro car approach to life that is anti-pedestrian in its economic and ecological approach to life.

• The level of the economy is also important. Economies can be at a primary lower level selling things like farm products, fish, lumber, sand, and gravel, at moderate secondary level making and selling things like clothing, furniture, cars, and houses and a higher tertiary level of providing and selling professional service such as doctors, janitors, teachers, lawyers, restaurant owners, and bankers. The soundest and stabilest economy is one that has a sound primary economy supporting a secondary economy which in turn supports a tertiary economy.

• The location of economies relative to an ecology of economies affect the over all stability of the economic systems. Numerous local economies, with their barter and work exchange support moderate numbers of regional economies, with their sale of goods in the market place. These in turn support a few global economies, with their primary concern of investment and disinvestment to maintain optimum or maximum profits. For success Riverdale Park's population needs to have some idea of how Town Center fits in to this ecology of economies, this economic food chain.

• The scale of the economic activity affects the number of activities. For example more Corner Markets can exist than Super Markets because Corner Markets require less Economic activity than the Super Market.

• Scale also effects businesses (and business systems) in that the larger a business becomes the greater the percentage of its resources are needed for management and the lower the percentage that can be applied to making its product. If it becomes smaller then the percentage that can be devoted to management may become so small that the business is not able to produce anything.

These are ideas that need to be kept in mind so that Town Center can be built up from a sound economic foundation that can continue through an economic evolution that will give it an optimal place in the local economy as well as the regional and global economies.

Respectfully submitted,
Jack R. Jones
October 1999

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Consensus - A need for greater citizen participation

One of my campaign issues is to develop better ways to incorporate citizens' talent and effort into our governance. I consider the approach of standing committees with citizen participation, ward meeting, and town meetings (New England style), and the constitutional balance of powers such as bicameral (two houses) legislature, executive veto with legislative over ride, and the judicial powers that lay in the people with a court of appeals or a common law jury.

I can not impose any thing on the people, I can only ecourage the people to use the powers that reside in the people. My "Fractal Republic" is a speculation of how Riverdale Park might rise from an organization that works on simple majority (4 of 6 or 7), through a two house legislature that could assure super majority (4 of 5 in each body of legislature) to a common law jury (12 of 12 to support a government action).

Check the Link.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Mutual Aid and Efficient Use of Resources

Mutual Aid Agreements
A way to more efficient use of tax revenues

Economists and Historians who study cities have observed that there is a population range where a high level of public service can be delivered with lower taxes per person than cities with a smaller or larger population. That range is about 75,000 to 150,000. No city inside the beltway has a population near that size. Through Mutual Aid Agreements a service population in that range can be created. Currently there are various Mutual Aid Agreements between different groups of cities.

These Mutual Aid Agreements make more efficient use of these cities' revenues and resources. Jack Jones will use his management experience from AA County, Public Works Department, Wastewater Division to work with Riverdale Park Town Council members and the Town administration to broaden the use of Mutual Aid Agreements to include the use of all public safety and public works of the inner beltway municipalities, and to include educational and recreational facilities and programs. By cooperative development of an inner beltway League of Municipalities we can have the benefit of high level service at the low cost a larger population makes possible. Riverdale Park will be a better place to live, work, and play; and our municipal neighbors will be too.

The Field of Dreams is Only the Beginning

I wrote the Request for Volunteers and Job Descriptions below on 12 October 2001. Alas the next to last paragraph is no longer true, The baseball program was non-existent in spring of 2004, the soccer program also ceased in the fall of 2004. There were some thing like 580 people who signed the petition to save the Field of Dreams, however a field has to be cared for by people. David Hiles and I together spent 20 to 40 hours a season seeding, fertilizing, mulching, lining, and setting up the field for soccer. David spent 85+ hours a year as a coach, preparing for practices, conducting practices, coaching games. I did 20-30 hours a season in registration, data processing, administration, and driving to and from PGCBGC headquarters. As the club got less and less help it decreased in the number of children it served. I estimate a drop of 80 to 20 children in soccer alone from 2001 to 2004. Because we could not get the volunteer help needed to stay at the status quo, let alone grow. So please all you people that signed the petition to save the Field of Dreams, help the Riverdale Boys and Girls Club. If only 1% would help that would be 5-6 people, if 10% would help that would be an awesome 55-60 people. A few of the positions below are filled but many are not. Do what you can, call RBGC President Elizabeth Paige-Greene 301-779-9418 to volunteer.

Volunteer Positions:
Position Descriptions

Riverdale Boys and Girls Club is looking for volunteers to take a role in organizing the following programs. In order to be a viable organization, we need volunteers to get involved with the day-to-day operations. Currently, multiple jobs are being performed by a few dedicated people. We need HELP! There are many opportunities to do so. Some, but not all, are listed below:

President: The president shall conduct the affairs of the club and execute the policies established. The president shall be responsible for the conduct of Club in strict conformity with the by-laws of Riverdale Boys and Girls Club and the rules and regulations of PGCBGC or other appropriate organization.

Vice-President: In case of the absence of the president, and upon approval of the president shall perform the duties of the president.

Treasurer and Assistance Treasurers: The treasurer shall be responsible for all duties as set forth for receipt of all monies, collection of fees, payments, prepare financial reports and any other duty that may be customary with the office of treasurer. Assistants and the Treasurers may divide duties as the Board deems appropriate.

Secretary and Assistant Secretarys: The secretary shall be responsible for all records affiliated with Riverdale Boys and Girls Club, correspondence, meetings, notices and carrying out the necessary duties as may be customary with a secretarial position. Assistants and the Secretary may divide duties as the Board deems appropriate.

Equipment Managers: (Soccer/Baseball/Football/Basketball): Responsible for Ordering and Distribution of Equipment and Uniforms. Select Team Uniforms. Determine Equipment necessary for the program. Purchase uniforms and equipment. Receive Players Orders (through Coaches). Distribute Equiment to Coaches (and players). Retrieve equipment after the season (as appropriate). Keep inventory of available equipment, store and collect equipment. Maintain Uniform records.

Facilities Managers: (Soccer/Baseball/Football/Basketball): Provide practice schedules to coaches and teams. Arrange practice facilities. Procure appropriate authorization forms, facility permits and clearances. Maintain control of and provide access to facilities as appropriate. Inform coaches/Team Managers as appropriate of the cancellation of field usage (school closings, vacations, special situations, etc)

Commissioners and/or Assistant Commissioners: (Soccer/Baseball/Football/Basketball): Work with coaches to enroll in appropriate leagues. Procure appropriate league information (sign-up dates, starting dates, deadlines, etc.). Determine costs and inform Board of appropriate fee structure for the year's programs. Send in registration forms and fees (working with Treasurer). Obtain team rosters from the coaches and work with the Registrar to assure that all players are registered and fees paid.

Registrar and/or Assistant Registrar: Registers members with the county, insures correct documentation is in place, maintains member records, coordinates member records with the PGCBGC.

Coaching Development Coordinator: (Soccer/Baseball/Football/Basketball): Arrange for Coaching and Children's Clinics, Soccer Camps, Programs, and Coaching Meetings. Maintain the RBGC Library. Order new books, Tapes and CD's for training and development.

Fundraising Coordinator and Assistants: Investigate appropriate fundraising activities to subsidize our existing programs, and provide the opportunity for disadvantaged children to participate with the club. Work with teams to carry out appropriate fundraising activities.

Volunteers and Service Hours Coordinator: Coordinates Volunteers. Enlists volunteers for various projects (fundraising events, clubmember volunteers as coaches, instructors, set-up personnel fo events, set up displays for
Riverdale Day and other events. Oversee the service hours program for high school students. Sign off on their volunteer activities with the RBGC.

Information Coordinator and Assistant: Prepares news articles and announcements for the RBGC. Sends to various newspapers, newsletters, and cable channel announcing programs and items of interest.

Coaches and Assistant Coaches: (Soccer/Baseball/Football/Basketball): Train children in the various sports. Schedule and conduct practices. Coordinate activities at scheduled games.

Team Managers: (Soccer/Baseball/Football/Basketball): This is a position that is invaluable to the coach. Make calls, arrange carpools and drink schedules.

Awards Banquet Coordinator and Assistants: Do all the hall, food, publicity, trophy, set up and take down, etc. arrangements needed to have the Annual Awards Banquet.

Believe it or not, these tasks do not get done by magic. Somebody is responsible for accomplishing all of them (sometimes more efficiently and thoroughly than others), and if they do not get done, there are usually people who notice and complain voraciously (believe me, I know!).

The RBGC is currently at a crossroads. Our interest and player enrollment is at an all-time high, yet our volunteers are at an all-time low Right now, the programs that will happen this season will be because an individual coach has taken the initiative to choose an age group, organize his players, select an appropriate league, organized his practices, and move forward on his own. He will have a league to play in, equipment, and a practice site because someone has made the arrangements, put up the down payment, ordered the equipment, done the appropriate groundwork.

We urge everyone to assess their abilities and commit to donate some regular time working with the RBGC to make it a successful, smooth-running organization that everyone can be proud to be a part of (and if you don't have any free time, a monetary contribution is always welcome). Everly little bit helps. Without adequate volunteers, the club may need to look into mandatory family service or registration surcharges in the future.

Thanks for your consideration in this important matter.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Gazette and Town Crier

The Gazette came out on 4-14-05 with the articles on candidates for Riverdale Park Town Council; Tracey Toscano and Jack Jones for Ward 1, David Hiles and Mary Donaldson for Ward 2, and Doris Pullman and Novella Sargusingh for Ward 3. There were no articles on the uncontested seats. There were no articles on Vernon Archer and Guy Tiberio this week, I am assuming that those will be out in the 4-21-05 Gazette.

Also keep an eye out for a special Town Crier edition for the May 2nd election. I commend the Crier editor Rob Oppenheim on having the candidates write their own pieces, which is what I am used to from the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, the Prince George's Journal, and The League of Women Voters in other elections I have been in. The Gazette article, is not inaccurate, however it did miss the emphasis that I was making in the interview...'tis better to let the candidate make the point rather than trying to make it for them!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Political Race

Yesterday, I finished my second literature drop. I have walked the entirety of Ward 1 twice in the past two weeks...I wonder if this is what is meant by a political race the 10 mile literature drop in six hours, can one deduct the conversation time.

As I go around I have noticed some interesting things. The older houses are closer to the walk than the newer houses. Probably a result of the change from "build to lines" of City Planning being replaced by "set back lines" of Zoning. The older houses were built so you could talk to your neighbor passing by on the sidewalk with out having to scream to be heard, sounds like friendlier times. Old Doors and Stormdoors are more note or calling card leaving friendly than the new doors. The new doors have handles so big the Sunday Issue of the New York Times could not be wedged in it. And the new storm doors, quite the energy saver, they are so tight that a single sheet of paper can not be pushed in. Could it be I have found why less people vote now than in the more distant past. Politicians can not get the literature to stay on the door and thus voters are less informed. Nooo, I think it is probably another reason.

By the way, the people I am meeting by a large majority are agreeing that my proposed tax reform makes sense.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Financial Disclosure

I saw on David Hiles' literature that he was first to disclose his spending on his campaign on the web. I do not know yet, but maybe I can say "I am number two and I try harder".

My campaign is of Jack R. Jones, by Jack R. Jones, for the individual citizens of Riverdale Park. To date I have bought and used less than two color ink jet cartridges (two color for about $42), and I am still on the first black ink cartridge (two black for about $38) and have used one half ream of card stock (about $12).

I have received no financial contributions, no appointments to office, or petitions to office. I am free of any political debt and am free to represent each one of you and with you work toward a consensus of Ward 1 concerns and actions.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More Thought on the Land Value Tax

I found another link that has more on "Progress and Poverty" by Henry George, a very good political economy book.

Monday, April 11, 2005

New Feature on Link

MD Land Tax (www, has an expanded feature now, not only can you check how a land tax will effect your property you can now check the whole town. And there is extensive information on each lot.

In the case of Riverdale Park the tax revenue is now 75% from improvements (building, etc.) and 25% from land. The pay more/less column is for a tax revenue that is 50% from improvements and 50% from land.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More on Rules of the Game

The current rules for residents are if you improve your house your taxes will be higher than if you only maintain the house, and maintaing it will have higher taxes than if you let your house deterioate. The same is true for commercial property.

So if one wants to make money with out doing anything, sit on a vacant lot or a run-down property, let economic growth caused by others increase the value of one's property, after a number of years sell it and make a profit on it with no effort on one's own part.

A rethorical question, how would the rules have to be changed to encourage improvements to homes and businesses, and decrease speculation?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Rules of the Game

Another sunny day for walking around. In the early afternoon there are not as many people around to get signatures from and to talk to. It is a good time for contemplation. I have several friends who chide me about my language and writing not being in "Street English". Being an avid and long time reader of college level technical and non-fiction texts, I have a proclivity for the compound and complex sentence with a latinate vocabulary. See what they mean. So I am sauntering along thinking how can I describe the current lack of economic development and the long range futility of doing the conventional current approaches to economic development in "Street English" . . . my thoughts drifted back to the warm sun on my face which reminded me that tomorrow was going to be great weather for the Dutch Football School/Homeschool Soccer class that I teach on Monday and Wednesday mornings. I was thinking - well, Monday we did the Basic, Position, Midfield, and Counter Attack Games, so Wednesday we should start with the Offence/Defence and Shooting Games. Then it hit me YES! I change the rules of the game so the children will learn the playing techniques needed on different parts of the soccer field. It is the Rules of the Game that makes the economic development cycle work like it does to day. To make it work better we will have to Change the Rules of the Game. Rules of the Game make soccer what it is, basketball what it is, elephants and donkeys what they are, and economic development what it is.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Orignal Art

As I was walking around the ward this afternoon I noticed that a number of yard signs were up, how could I miss them? I am offering an alternative to the conventional political signage, with a tastfully small door sign of my own design.

It is a glossy post card size sign with my orignal campaign art work and election slogan above. Limited edition for voters who agree with me and want to show their support. Contact me and I will get you your card.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Many Thanks!

Saturday would not have been my first choice for a day to go petitioning, but alas the nasty thing going around that had me down and out for the better part of last month had put me behind schedule. So Saturday it was.

Thanks to the many, many people who signed my petition, held brief discussions of issues, while observing how talented I was becoming at using one hand to hold an umbrella above a fellow citizen while, using another hand to hold a clipboard for them, while using the other hand to get my literature out of my pocket for them.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Jack Starts Campaign

Hello! I am Jack R. Jones and I have just started my campaign this week for the Ward 1 Council Seat in the 2 May 2005 election.

Tell me your top three concerns for Riverdale Park !

I will be coming around to visit between now and the election to talk to you about your concerns and my three which are:

1. Reform Property Taxes so Citizens and Businesses will enjoy the benefits of their own good economic decisions.

2. Broaden the use of mutual aid agreements with neighboring towns so every town can make the best use of all resources.

3. Establish an environment of consensus between private citizens, public organizations, and town government so their diverse talents can be used to make Riverdale Park a better place to live, work, and play.

For the tax reform issue check the Tom Paine Network and Urban Tools (LVT) links for information on the benefits of land value tax over the building or improvments tax.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Hello World

Hi, I am Jack R. Jones, an 18th century guy coming into the 21st century who is definitely interested in finding out and understanding why 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Unfortunately Douglas Adams left us in 2001 to search for the answer on a higher plane. Another great observer is Pogo of Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia who made astute political observations from the 1930's through the 1970's. A favorite of mine is "We have met the Enemy...and he is us" An earlier version comes from the foreword by Walt Kelly to "The Pogo Papers" copyright 1952-53, which read "There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!" In interesting times these thoughts allow me to greatly appreciate the complexity of life.