Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Tuesday Odds and Ends
Spike in Gas Prices Might Threaten Recovery - Our nation runs on regular, we are a nation of drivers so with gas prices heading up again there is reason to be concerned.
John Connaughton, Professor of Economics, UNCC addressed Charlotte City Council last year and his comments paint an ugly picture of where we might be heading this year.
Let me tell you what a $4 per gallon gasoline price will do in this country. For every $ .50 that gasoline goes up it takes $150 billion out of American consumer’s pockets that they don’t spend going to the movies, going out to eat, going on vacation, getting a hair cut, or whatever it is. Because we import 65% of our oil you know where most of this 150 billion goes.
The problem is that in the short run, our economist say that the demand for gasoline is very price in-elastic, an expensive term for saying you live where you live, you work where you work and you drive what you drive so you don’t have a lot of flexibility to respond to prices of gasoline in the short run.
If we go from $3 to $4 that is not $150 billion, it is $300 billion. It is a nice number but what does it mean.
How many people here remember the Bush stimulus back in 2007 when you got your $600 or $1,200 check back. That took the economy that was negative and created a situation where instead of having essentially 6 quarters of declining GDP, we actually had one quarter where GDP went up, the second quarter in 2008. Why? Bush’s tax stimulus rebate was $160 billion and it spiked GDP back when we didn’t know what was going on so we took the money and did what we wanted with it. Like good Americans, we spent it.
Take $300 billion out of people’s pockets and stop to imagine what that is going to do to GDP. I’m a firm believer that this recession started in the summer of 2007, long before the housing bubble and it was caused by $4 per gallon in the summer of 2007.
CMPD Turmoil Creates Environment Of Poor Performance - Imagine spending more time worrying about your job than doing your job. An environment where the latest department scuttlebutt and water cooler fodder is more the talk than this past weekend's Superbowl.
If you are a CMPD Officer you keep your head down and do your job, other than the low pay and long hours you love your job and frankly you wouldn't be here if you didn't. Still, you are often distracted by the talk from above and do your best to tune it out before you roll on the next hot call.
You have already learned that if you rise above the ranks of patrolman and officer you need to start walking on eggshells, and start worrying about "the numbers". With the numbers come the worry if you will be next, to be thrown under Chief Monroe's bus.
You get the daily pep talk from your sergeant who spends most of time telling you he's on your side. Yet you have a funny feeling that if it came to it the captain you both report to would throw the two of you under the bus before you could say 10-4.
There is a culture of lies and disinformation that seeps through the ranks of CMPD and it is not healthy. Everything is distorted, nothing is ever presented without some material fact missing, a good amount of spin or a generous helping of embellishment.
Prior to Chief Monroe's arrival most things ran smoothly. Given the size of Charlotte's Police department the years prior to the Monroe regime were relatively drama free.
But since the summer of 2008 and the revelation that the new chief held nothing but a bogus college degree the drama has been none stop. Never in the history of Charlotte has the Police Department been in the news beyond the reports of the most recent arrests on such a recurring basis.
Yet every day there is something odd that drifts down the chain of command.
This environment of stress spilled over to the communications department after Captain Chuck Adkins was transferred to the Duty Captain's office to give Mike Campagna a job.
Campagna was thrown under Chief Monroe's bus when emails leaked out from the CMPD training academy. Emails where the command staff had asked recent officers to provide answer to the certification test the chief would soon take.
Campagna shook up the folks in dispatch with his own style and performance of the unit suffered including the inability to get the address and business name right.
But this is how Rodney Monroe rolls.
Church at Charlotte Sewage Spill - You might of noticed the foul smell coming from the Church at Charlotte located at the corner of Camel and Colony Road. The sewage leaking from the ground has been flowing across the sidewalk the planting strip and into the storm drain for more than a week.
The cracked cast iron clean out pipe is a clear sign there is a stoppage somewhere between the building and the city sewer.
After the third day Cedar Posts called the church and left a voice message. I even offered to help the church find a solution. Nothing but crickets. I called 311 and was told that I couldn't report a broken sewer line unless it was may property because there are certain questions that only the property owner could answer.
The sewage continued to seep and ooze and then with every flush a cascade of toilet paper would come down the street. The weekend rains did little to wash away the toilet paper or the smell.
Church at Charlotte sewage leak.
Monday I called the Church again, the women on the other end of the phone was clueless about the problem, and when pressed about fixing the leak she stated that it was the City of Charlotte's fault.
Another call to 311, I was nice but wasn't taking no for an answer. Finally I got someone who cared. We worked out the location and within 30 mins the guy was starting at the toilet paper as well.