The Jake Files

May 26, 2006

Gas Price Hysteria

So, I'm catching up on some things around the house today, and the familiar segments have been airing on Fox News Channel:  high gas prices, combined with the Memorial Day Holiday, equal financial disaster for consumers.  Sound familiar?  I don't like gas prices going up any more than anyone else, but let's put this in perspective a bit.

According to this site, the distance between Phoenix and Sedona (an appropriate Memorial Day get-out-of-Phoenix destination) is 125 miles. 

A quick Google search found this site, which gives today's high and low gas prices in Chandler as $3.02 and $3.14 per gallon.  Split the difference for an average of $3.08.

Pick your gas-guzzling environment devastator of choice, but for this example we'll use a generic SUV getting 18 MPG.

If my public school math instruction holds true, we find that it will take $21.39 to purchase the gas for a hypothetical Memorial Day jaunt to Sedona (125 miles / 18 MPG = 6.944 gallons required for the trip, times $3.08 per gallon = $21.39 for the total gas price).  Now imagine that the price of gas goes up to $3.35 per gallon.  Surely that would prevent us from enjoying our holiday weekend, would it not?  Suddenly the price of gas for the trip would go from $21.39 all the way up to $23.26!  That's shocking!  Congressional inquiries are sure to follow.  Now imagine that the price of gas goes up to $4.00 per gallon.  The rivers will run red and the clocks will turn backward!  But, the cost of our holiday excursion will only be $27.78, merely $6.39 more than at the average price of $3.08 per gallon.

Now I know you're thinking, "Amazing Jake, that makes sense on paper, but Al Gore says the planet's going to explode if we don't stop driving so much.  What are we to do?" 

To that, I offer the following:  Just do as Al Gore does. (click on the screen cap of Michelle Malkin).

One final thought.  A gallon of Evian water costs $6.40 per gallon.  Now I know we don't consume Evian water at the same rate as gas in our cars, but COME ON!  It costs money to produce goods and services.  Give the unscrupulous windfall profiteering capitalists a break.  They give us jobs and an affordable product that makes it possible for our mobile economy to exist.

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April 25, 2006

McCain’s Sun Lakes Visit

From the Chandler Independent:

 Sen. McCain covered numerous topics but the overriding issue was illegal immigration.

Time and again questioners in the standing-room-only audience of 600 peppered him with demands for a hard line, focusing on border protection. (more…)

April 14, 2006

Today’s Oprah – Living on Minimum Wage

So, the Amazing Mrs. Jake is watching Oprah right now (and yes, I am watching too as I do other things).  Today's topic is Living on the Minimum Wage, and guests include Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me fame) and a former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.  Hard to predict how this show is slanted. 

Of course, the segments have weepy music while people tell how hard it is to work on minimum wage, and how shameful it is that minimum wage isn't higher.

BOO (f***ing) HOO!

My first job in high school was washing cars for minimum wage.  I eventually realized that that kind of life and that kind of wage wasn't for me.  Guess what I did?  I got another job.

It's not the proper role of goverment to provide a minimum level of income anyone should expect.  If I had the kind of victim mentality that Oprah seems to be cultivating, I would be blaming society for my present lack of income, instead of pursuing all avenues to find something better.  I don't expect anyone to feel bad for me.

City Hall or Taj Mahal?

I haven't kept up on the issue of City Hall placement, but Jeff Weninger has:

The consultant hired to recommend a downtown site for a City Hall in Chandler has settled on a spot. RNL Designs plans to recommend later this month that a City Hall and council chambers be built on the northeast and southeast corners of Arizona Avenue and Chicago Street.

But the recommendation will likely draw fire from some on the City Council now and at least one candidate running for a seat in May.

“Government can be kind of full of themselves,” said council candidate Jeff Weninger. “They think they need a Taj Mahal right on Arizona Avenue.”

Weninger, a Chandler business owner, has been critical of what’s been dubbed the Chicago Street site in recent months because it would “take away prime real estate that could be generating tax dollars,” he said.

I certainly don't have the answer to where City Hall should be situated, but that seems about right to me.

April 12, 2006

Jeff Weninger’s Position on the Mark Pentz Fiasco

Yesterday, I contacted the remaining candidates for city council to inquire as to their positions on the City Manager controversy.  As of this morning, Jeff Weninger is the only candidate to respond.  Becky Jackson and Trinity Donovan have not responded, but I will post their comments if they do.  Following is the statement from Jeff Weninger, exactly as it was given to the City Council on Monday:

Mr. Mayor and Council members, .

             I do not understand how it got to this point.  Mark Pentz is a very bright , kind and successful City Manager by everyone’s assessment, with the exception of four members of this council. Major corporations have spoken up about how important Mark Pentz’s leadership has been. City staff members rated him as succeeding expectations, and in my personal dealings with Mr Pentz, he has been very professional and responsive.

            During the last few weeks, I have seen Mr. Pentz treated incredibly unfairly. He has been put in a position in the press and at Council meetings where he is verbally attacked and has not been allowed to defend himself. I will repeat what I said on an earlier date. If I treated my employees like this, then I would not have any employees left.  Furthermore, if I had an employee like Mark Pentz, I would be working on a way to extend his employment, and I would be  giving him a raise rather than trying to find a way to get rid of him.

            Whatever the outcome here today, this has tarnished Chandler’s reputation!  When four members of the council sully a man’s reputation over petty politics, there is a problem!  Let me remind everyone that in my mind and many others public safety is Chandler’s most important issue. To relieve the City Manager, will cost the taxpayers of Chandler a minimum of $250,000. This is the equivalent of four new police officers for an entire year.  I believe that anyone with a shred of common sense knows that these funds would be better spent on the safety of the citizens of Chandler rather than being spent on personal vendettas. 

            I want to commend Mayor Dunn and council members Caccamo and Huggins for standing by this fine man during this time.I know he and the rest of the city employees are appreciative. I am afraid of the effect that this could have on the morale of other city employees.  When you try to get rid of a man who has been a great steward of Chandler, you can only hope that it does not lead to a further exodus of employees of this great city.

            In closing, I want to implore council members Sepulveda, Orlando and Wallace, and Vice Mayor Westbrooks to reconsider the path that they have taken.  Damage has been done to Chandler’s reputation and morale, but hopefully it can be mitigated by some responsible actions taken by the council today.”

Thank you Mr. Weninger for your response, and your principled stand.  Let's see if the other candidates have similar positions. 

By the way, the East Valley Tribune is supposed to have an update on Monday's meeting.  I won't have time to review it until later, but will post a link and comments sometime later today.

March 31, 2006

Job Search Update

Filed under: Conservative,Economy & Business,Job Loss,Unemployment,Work — Amazing Jake @ 2:49 pm

Blogging has been light  non-existent over the past week due to my job search.  There's been a lot of potential tpoics to discuss, from the French riots (I really missed out on that one) to the illegal immigration demonstrations.  I'd like to take a break now and then to write about that, but looking for a job is a full-time job.

Since my job was eliminated last Monday, I've had 5 interviews for positions ranging from call center middle management (my background) to individual sales rep positions, and made a lot of networking contacts.  I've also done some exploration of self-employment options, and did a short contract writing job.  I've been through this layoff thing before, so I'm pretty regimented about my search. 

So on that note, back to the grind.  If only those French protesters would be as focused on finding and keeping a job as they are on protesting, there wouldn't be a need to protest over job security.

March 23, 2006

I Am Not a Victim

Filed under: Conservative,Economy & Business,Job Loss,Unemployment,Work — Amazing Jake @ 10:44 pm

So you may have noticed the lack of blogging lately.  First, I wanted to take a few days off after the election, which I did.  Second, part of that time off was spent in Pinetop, where it snowed after the major drought we had in Arizona that made all the news.  We took the mini-Jakes to play in the snow, and it was great.  If there was ever an omen that we we should have signed on to the Kyoto Protocols, 13 inches of snow in Pinetop AZ and snow on the Superstition Mountains visible from Phoenix is all the evidence we need.

Third, my job was eliminated and I was laid off on Monday.  Hence, the lack of blogging due to a laser beam focus on finding a new job. (more…)

March 9, 2006

Response from Jeff Weninger

Council candidate Jeff Weninger responded yesterday to the Amazing Jake’s campaign commentary, and was a good sport about the criticism he’s received here

Just a couple of points.  I agree with most of what he said in his comments. 

I have also said that I believe the best places for big box stores is in the freeway corridors. I am just not willing to say that under NO circumstance could a big box go anywhere else.

Well, we’re in agreement that they belong near freeways.  Not so much on whether they could go somewhere else.  Chandler approved a general plan a few years back that identified appropriate locations for various zoning categories.  It’s not too much to expect that when citizens make the largest purchase of their lives knowing what the development plans are for the area they will live in, that the City honor the plan that they developed, and not allow prohibited development in inappropriate locations.  I expect the leaders of my community to take stands on such matters. (more…)

March 8, 2006

Chandler AZ Council Race – Direct Mail Week of March 6th

In this last full week of the race, the mail is coming fast and furious.  Actually, before I get into this week’s mail, I neglected to post one piece I received a week ago last Saturday.  I got a door hanger from Phill Westbrooks that was targeted directly at my neighborhood.  It mentioned under no uncertain terms:

I will not ever support Wal-Mart on Arizona Ave. and Riggs Rd.  Vice Mayor Phill Westbrooks

It also takes a shot at the Mayor:

Mayor Dunn has failed to manage Chandler’s growth – our streets, parks, and police services are lagging far behind in Southeast Chandler.

So, back to this week.

Chris Stage sent two pieces.  One focused on Ms. Stage’s “commitment to Chandler’s public safety.”  The second highlighted endorsements from Matt Orlando, Patti Bruno, and Martin Sepulveda. (more…)

Party Affiliation in Chandler Mayoral and Council Race

The last Chandler City Council meeting before Tuesday’s election was a showcase of political sniping.

It started when Councilman Martin Sepulveda questioned Mayor Boyd Dunn’s public appearances with Republican congressmen and called for an elected officials’ “code of conduct.”

Sepulveda, who is backing Dunn challenger Phill Westbrooks, said, “It’s not my intent to browbeat,” but challenged Dunn’s Feb. 20 appearance with U.S. Sen. John McCain on the city’s cable channel and mailing, at city expense, invitations to a public session with U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake in November.

Today’s story in the Arizona Republic by Edythe Jensen highlights the tension on the current council. 

It also helps answer a question that I, and several people looking for information on this site, have been trying to find out:

Search term:  “Westbrooks what political party is he” – 7 hits

Search term:  “Boyd Dunn Chandler, AZ Republican” – 13 hits (more…)

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