statistics The Riverdale Observer

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.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Henry George and Land Tax, Cinquain and Prose

On the town's group talk list recently Land Value Tax made a meteoric rise in discussion only to go down in the smoke of controversy on the local busses and whether or not they are useful or a noisy dirty interference in our "Idyllic" suburb.

And during an unstressed moment, well the vertigo and tinnitus took me out of the usual full round of activities, and gave me time to reflect on things and I noticed that the town had a special election for Ward 1 in February and the Brazilian Style Indoor Soccer season passed me by and I had not made a post in four months. The viewing activity has been steady and much like prior to four months ago.

The above town LVT discussion inspired me to put up more information about Land Value Taxes the link is to a prose piece I did and below is a poetry piece, which truth be told was major part of a resume for a part time position I got for awhile.

Henry George's work "Progress and Poverty" is one of several inspirational books for me and my understanding of the world of ecology and economy, especially as applied to human action. It adds to the fullness of my understanding of Fernand Braudel's "Civilization and Capitalism", James Miller's "Living Systems", Kirkpatrick Sales' "Human Scale", and Murray Bookchin's "Ecology of Freedom"

Among other writing I have done for general use and to particular officials and people about Henry George's comprehensive discourse on the single tax, based on ideas of sources as old as Levidicus and as new the Physiocrats and the Classic Liberals, I now wish to add my contribution to poetry via the French Poetic form the Cinquain, a five line poem.

The Cinquain
Line 1: The title, a noun, one word
Line 2: Describes the Title, two words
Line 3: Action words or phrase about the title, three words
Line 4: Describes a feeling about the title, four words
Line 5: Refers to the title, one word

by Jack R. Jones, 25 August 2000
Henry George's Alpha and Omega

young lad
boarding sailing ship
adventure bound, unknown renown

earth's canals
winds carried round
ships, crews, commerce, lad

Francisco's mother
lively employment's cradle
wealth's, ability's, great meeting

justice's wealth
opportunity seeking all
raising even the lowly

injustice's fruit
privilege serving few
must strive to abolish

by Jack R. Jones, 25 August 2000
Henry George on Criteria of Taxation

community nourishment
production lightly touched
collection's ease, corruption's bane

burdened work
labor's life bled
to its escape, contrary

burdened produce
less, costs more
poor stricken, rich undaunted

burdened capital
lower quality caused
fleeing center, margin bound

location's value
land's highest best
true purpose, peoples bounty

by Jack R. Jones, 25 August 2000
Henry George on Factors of Production

bounteous gift
expression of potential
we tenants, God's stewards

prime mover
with nature's bounty
capital produced, advantage conveyed

fountain source
raw becoming improved
labor fed, capital made

wealth gained
matter, labor informed
some sustains, other gains

nature's friend
labor's watchful guide
gift given and taken

by Jack R. Jones, 25 August 2000
Henry George on the Progress of Economies

civilization's cradle
nature's stew beginning
hunting, gathering, brought together

limitedly close
together we strive
starving shortage, useless bounty

useless bounties
together, value created
one's shortage, bounty erased

shortage erased
yet bounty still
in global circles search

ecology's janus
nature's three, chained
one built upon another

by Jack R. Jones, 25 August 2000
Henry George on Liberty

all source
labor's necessary place
gained to make sustenance

striven focus
centered, moving outward
wither worst, thither best

action's edge
moving in quest
living for chosen state

motion's sight
bound to choice
life in chosen state

joyful arrival
journey's quest done
once done, done again

by Jack R. Jones, 25 August 2000

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Election...When and If...and Now...Again and Again

I started to write this article at the end of August when it looked like an election would be held in September; with five candidates, which would almost certainly have thrown us into the unnecessary expense of a run off election. The change in the town code made a couple years back got rid of plurality and achieved majority in the town elections, BUT AT THE COST AND EXPENSE OF AN UNNECESSARY RUN OFF ELECTION. It is possible to achieve majority in one election no matter the number of candidates. The Council should give serious consideration to changing the code so it can be done.

I have had direct experience within the Libertarian Party National Committee and the Maryland Libertarian Party Central Committee system of voting which is sort of a BORDA COUNT and APPROVAL VOTE hybrid. Libertarian Party (National and Maryland) votes all ways have as one of the candidates NOTA (None of the Above) who has won on a couple occasions, which left a position open till the next election (bylaw rules), but it could also be set up to require a new slate of candidates and immediate new election. One could skip the NOTA but Libertarians like to keep before them this person opposed to voting for the lesser of two evils, which of course is still evil.

In Riverdale Park a BORDA COUNT or APPROVAL VOTE system would give a Majority Candidate no matter the number of candidates in the election, with out having the expense, effort, and loss of Representation for a couple of months due to a run off election. My understanding is that a special election costs about Two to Three Thousand dollars. Personally I would rather see the money go toward Town Services.

While on the topic of saving money, these voting systems also eliminate the need of a Primary Election which on the county level cost from $1,000,000 to 1,500,000 each and on the State level probably in excess of $25,000,000 and that does not even look at the loss in the public economic sector.

I do hope our Council will consider using one of these better voting systems and perhaps some other reforms that will give the People a better say in how they are governed. To get a better understanding of the systems, follow the link, and read the whole article.

excerpt from Science News Nov 2, 2002; Vol. 162, No.18, p. 280

While the instant runoff, Borda count, and approval voting each has drawbacks, most voting theorists would be happy to replace plurality voting with any one of them. "All methods that allow voters to express their views fully rather than to single out one candidate convey a much more nuanced message to the political machine," says Hannu Nurmi, a political scientist at the University of Turku in Finland.

The fact that U.S. elections have always been plurality votes is no reason to resist change, Tabarrok says. "We chose our voting systems before voting theory existed," he says."I don't think any voting theorist would choose plurality rule today."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Death Defying Act...Revisited

One can get responses from Government Agencies. The Md State Highway Administration took my letter seriously. They found some of the timing off at the Queensbury Road and Baltimore Avenue intersection and have made timing changes. I have been through the intersection at various times from 3:30 to 7:30 PM and it has been much better in general. If you feel that it moves better be sure to call the folks at District 3 and let them know. I always worked better when I had pride of accomplishment.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Who's not paying their fair share

I ran some numbers for how much letting land go vacant cost those of us whoare making good use of the land. The figures below are the totals of the subsidy we who are making good use of the land are paying for those who are not using the land. These are the unused land numbers. I am also working getting numbers on the underused land too, I will post them when I get them together.

We are not going to solve our economic development problems by doing things the same way they have been done before. We have to think outside the box of ways to change the economic incentives to encourage development. We need to get human nature working with us instead of against us. Here is how. Every one looks for the best deal they can get. When grocery store A sells milk fora dollar a gallon less than store B, people buy milk from B. Car dealer A sells the same car for $1000.oo less than Dealer A, where do they go. For expensive items people will drive to Delaware or North Carolina to avoid the sales tax. This happens so much that Maryland puts police patrols on the border to try and catch the people. People shop for alcoholic products in the district of Columbia because the liquor tax is lower in DC than in Maryland, and you guessed it police on the borders. All things being equal people will try to live and work where the income tax is lower, or try to live where the property tax is lower...have any friends who have bought retirement homes in Delaware? Face it only the clueless and mentally incapacitated try to pay more for what they buy and use. So!..people move around so they can pay less for things. Wooops, there is one thing that we buy and we can not move it...if we want it to be a better deal we have to use it better. And that is what the Land Value Tax is about encouraging the best and highest use of land, so there is no unnecessary sprawling, underused, or vacant land causing us to have to pay for roads, and electric wire, water and sewer pipes,police officers, fire fighters, public workers, teachers, schools to serve this vacant land that does not pay its full share for all these services. And, that is just the governmental stuff. There is also inefficiency in the local economy caused by these vacant and underused lands.

The Land Tax is better than The Improvements Tax and Land Tax Combination for Economic Development. If Riverdale Park taxed only land then the owners of these vacant lands would have to pay their Fair Share for Governmetal Services.

20 Vacant Industrial Lots would pay a total of $76,904 more in taxes

42 Vacant Commercial Lots would pay a total of $25,391 more in taxes

7 Vacant Multifamily Lots would pay a total of $3,965 more in taxes

60 Vacant Residential Lots would pay a total of $25,391 more in taxes

This also means that owners who are making better use of the land, will pay less in taxes than they currently pay.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Dutch Football School/Homeschool Soccer Program

Hello Homeschoolers, fall is coming on fast, join NCSA's fall soccer at Anacostia River Park [MNCPPC, Prince George's County] Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00 AM to NOON. We play and learn to play soccer in small sided games. It is coed K-12. Come for Fall Registration: the Wednesday after Labor Day from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Anacostia River Park, 5800 Riverside Drive, Riverdale Park Maryland 20737.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Don't do that

There was this gentle person who went to the medical doctor about their hurting arm. "Doctor, When I do this (lifting arm) my arm hurts."Doctor, lifting arm same way, "Well don't do this and your arm won't hurt"

Maybe to improve DEVELOPMENTS in Riverdale Park something other than the "not lifting arm same way" needs to done.

Any one have some non status quo ideas?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Listening to a Turning Point in History

This week past, I have been listing to a PGMLS CD "Adams vs. Jefferson" by John Ferling; it gives the political history surrounding the election of 1800 and the transition from a federalist dominated government to a republican dominated government. I had some sympathy for John Adams who did not quite fit either group and was more at the concern for "balance of powers" in the government. Federalist were the party of Mercantile Wealth and control, favoring a top down leadership by a few oligarchs. They came up with burdensome taxation of the lower economic classes and the "Aliens and Sedition Act"; could not say anything against the government or you were likely to end up in prison. The non sequitur, is they sounded a lot like today's Republicans. And the then Republicans sounded like today's conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans, and Libertarians (mostly).

In a digressionary moment, I wondered, about when did the Red/Liberal and Blue/Conservative states of the 1960's become the Red/Conservative and Blue/Liberal States of the 2000's. I also am trying to wrap my mind around the "English" fighting the "British", during 350 to 650 AD, in the British Isles from a history book on the period.

There is a common thread in all this, in my opinion...that is consensus and the necessity of a balance of powers to bring about the consensus at any level of government.

I have brought an old RIVERDALE OBSERVER out of the archives. At the time an elected official of Riverdale Park told me that "it would not allow anything to get done." I replied, "only the things that have a consensus of the people will be done." And apologies, I understand are due, for not using a pure mathematical sense of fractals. John Adams was the inspiration then also. It is my offering to start a discussion of how best to acheive consensus on what we do as a people in Riverdale Park

The Riverdale Observer

July 1999

Spontaneous Order out of Chaos

A Fractal Republic for the Age of the World Wide Web

The Past Is Prologue. Let us John Q. Citizens take a trip back in history. The year is 1776. A fiery radical from New England, by the name of John Adams, was trying to stir up an independence movement with his republican confederates from Pennsylvania and Virginia. He was a strong advocate for a limited government and a republican government to replace the monarchical rule the colonies then suffered under. John Adams finally had his day, July 4th 1776. The Revolutionary War, The Articles of Confederation, and the various problems these United States had, influenced John Adams in his writing "A Defense of the Constitutions of Governments of the United States of America". Adams who was neither a federalist nor an anti-federalist was working from a different perspective. His guiding concern was how to balance the power between the interests of the one, the interests of the few, and the interests of the many. Adams feared the power of the unbridled MONARCH, as much as the NOBILITY, or the DEMOCRATIC MOB. Government needed to be limited, and each interest needed to be checked by the other two. His first concern was validated by George III, the third by the unicameral legislature of the French Revolution that led to the Reign of Terror. The French reformed their government for a second and a third time. The third time was modeled on John Adam's balance of power between the one, few, and many, and in doing so the French achieved a large degree of stability. As we know the new United States Constitution also was built with the numerous checks and balances in it, and serves us well.

From this bit of history, we jump to modern science and the study of chaos. One feature of chaos is the unpredictability of when or what event is going to take place, but with in that is the interesting occurrence of patterns that repeat themselves at ever smaller and larger scales. These repeating patterns are called fractals. It is in this sense, that my opinion is, the federal constitution has not devolved to the local governmental level.

My observation to share with you is that we have the federal fractal with its balance of powers and we have the state fractal with its balance of powers. However we do not have the Riverdale Park fractal, which I hope to persuade you that we should have. I will further suggest how this balance of power between the one, the few, and the many, may be instituted in Riverdale Park.

The town of Riverdale Park as it is presently constituted has only the executive and the legislative functions of government. To provide the protection of the minority as offered in the republic form of government we need to provide restraint on the rule of majority as provided in the democratic form of government. That balance of power comes from the judicial function of government. That judicial protection exists only at the county level and above, and the resources of the county and local governments can overwhelm the resources of an individual.

A better democratic representation of, and a greater republican protection of the minority can be achieved by the establishment of some executive and legislative reforms, as well as the addition of a local judiciary, which reforms are presented below:

• The Mayor will be elected as now. The Mayor to check the power of the few should have a veto of legislation that has passed both councils by a 3/5 ths vote. The Mayor's veto can be over ridden by a 4/5 ths vote.

• The town legislature represents the power of the few in that it can be checked by the mayor, but can also check the mayor. The council should also be bicameral so that there is a check and countercheck of ward (few) interest versus town interest (many). The legislature should be composed of the Council of Wards with one member elected from each of five wards by majority vote, and the Town Council with five members elected at large by list proportional voting with accumulative votes. The at large member with the largest vote total will be the Vice Mayor to serve temporarily for the Mayor in the case that a Mayor becomes incapacitated, or to become Mayor in the case of an existing Mayor leaving office during an elected term. The next highest vote ranking at large member will become Vice Mayor, and a special election will be held to fill the vacated lowest ranking seat. This election will also be conducted by list proportional voting. List proportional voting provides for the greatest consensus of who should serve on the legislature.

The level of representation in each Ward would be one per one thousand. The Town Council will allow for at least five major issues to be represented

• The judicial branch represents the power of the many, and is the check on the one and the few by the use of a common law jury. The judicial branch can be established by instituting an elected ombudsman, also elected by list proportional voting, to hear citizens' complaints against the executive or legislative branches (we may also consider a hearing in a citizen to citizen complaint), after all administrative remedies are exhausted. The ombudsman will attempt a mediation over a specified period of time. Failing a resolution, the ombudsman will call a common law jury of twelve randomly drawn jurors from a volunteer pool of registered voters. The government official in question and the citizen will put their arguments to the common law jury (see Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 23 for the duties of juries). The jury will judge the law and the facts of the case and will need an unanimous decision to find for the government. The jury nullification shall apply only to the case at hand and shall set no precedence.

Finally we return to history to get our guidance, for "The Past Is Prologue". Gather all ye citizens around the Liberty Tree and sing praises to the Creator and His Creation, Free Will.

"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

excerpted from
The Declaration of Independence
Action of Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States

Submitted Respectfully, Jack R. Jones, July 1999