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Around Town: Free is always good

January 8, 2013

By Pat Orr
APPLE VALLEY REVIEW

Seldom does government provide something for free to you that they haven’t confiscated from someone else first, but Apple Valley has a deal for you.

First, you have until Friday to put your Christmas Tree out for free pick-up by the trash man. Now, if your trash collection day has already passed this week and you are still hanging on to that dead old stick of a tree, you are out of luck.

But you can still go out and get a free Town Community Calendar at Town Hall, the golf course or chamber of commerce. The calendar has the important dates and town events listed for your convenience — and it’s a nice, belated Christmas gift to Uncle Rufus in Minnesota or whomever you forgot.

Change is coming
This is the time of year when business owners and managers start getting memos and bulletins advising them of the impact of new laws, regulations, fees and taxes. Our own California Legislature passed 800 new laws in 2012 we get to deal with.

On the federal side, businesses are finally getting some IRS rules on how Obamacare will be implemented and how it may affect them. Many large chains in my industry — fast food — are taking steps to cut hours because a 30-hour week is considered full time under the law. A whole plethora of bad and expensive things can happen to your company under the new law if you have more than 50 such “full time” employees.

The easy answer: Cut hours.

I expect this to start a spiral of outrage amongst the liberals when they realize the minimum wage worker will now have to get two jobs to scrape by. No, don’t even think about a minimum wage increase unless you want more job cuts. The law of unintended consequences always is in play.

An ‘anointed’ Sheriff
Some folks are uncomfortable with the way in which our last few county sheriffs have been selected or “anointed” by their immediate predecessor. I would be uncomfortable with this type of scenario if it took place in any type of organization except law enforcement.

My father and father-in-law were both cops. Cops trust other cops and usually few others. To have credibility inside a law enforcement organization with the rank-and-file is absolutely vital to have effective leadership. It’s not like electing a supervisor or hiring a new Manager. Sometimes you need to look outside an organization if there needs to be a organizational “clean-sweep.” This is not what our county sheriff’s department needs right now. The department needs disciplined, no-nonsense, effective leadership that is trusted in and outside the organization.

There are pension, budget and union issues coming down the road that won’t be fun to solve. Luckily, John McMahon stepped up and agreed to take them on. I predict his long-term performance will make anyone forget there were any qualms about how he got this job.

2013 prediction
State Treasurer John Chiang reported at the end of November that the state was already 10.8 percent behind in revenue projected for this year’s budget. Look for an unrestrained Democratic Legislature to begin their “death of a thousand cuts” approach to increasing fees and taxes. It’s a revenue problem, you see.

Pat Orr is a local business owner, community volunteer and political junkie.

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