Day: July 18, 2014

50,000 and counting

The exodus of children from Latin American countries across the border into the U.S. continues while the people who can do something about it would rather win political points than address this humanitarian crisis. Many of the children, some as young as four, are escaping dangerous life in their home countries, especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are escaping deprivation and violent gangs; many of these younger immigrants have witnessed what no innocent child should see. More than 50,000 children have been caught crossing the border since October 2013. Minors from Central America cannot be deported immediately according to the 2008 law that had bi-partisan support. The children are given a hearing before they are deported. Before that they are given a health inspection; many are placed with a sponsor or a family member while their case winds through the immigration court system. Those children that are not quickly sent back can expect to be in this country for up to two years. President Obama has called for $3.7 billion to address this issue, including increased border patrols and more immigration judges to clear the backlog. It would be as effective to use that money to address the causes of the immigration surge in the countries the children are fleeing. Life in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador has been dangerous for decades. Poverty and violence is a way...

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Social networking

People talk about social networking sites as if they had a right to use it. Take the latest hullybaloo over Facebook’s manipulations about mirroring content to users interest. Social networking sites are a business—a lucrative business. There is no right for the public to use them other than the way specific  companies require. If people are unhappy with the changes any Internet site makes they can step away from their computer and go another way. How companies use customer information is up to them. Client lists are sold back and forth between companies who know how to maximize that information. For those who don’t want their information provided to others the solution is simple: don’t provide the information in the first place. The price of using any web site is to provide personal information. This information is used to microtarget advertising messages; it comes with living in our high-techonology world. Social networking sites are not vital. They are fun. Just as the gambling industry, both private and public, drive home the message that playing the lottery or other games is for entertainment only, not for investment purposes. That’s a good lesson for those who take social networking sites very seriously and complain when the companies do what they do. The consumer always has a choice if they don’t like the policies of a business: walk away....

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Salaries

City Councilor Joe Egli was right when he voiced concern over, and voted against, the recent salary survey for the city manager and city attorney positions with Keizer. He voiced concerns about the process including step increases and the cities that were included such as Lake Oswego and West Linn, two cities that are decidedly more affuent than Keizer and a higher tax base. Keizer conducts salary surveys to assure that Keizer’s city staff are being paid commiserate to what other like-cities pay their managers. That’s all well and good but Keizer should match itself with other cities that are more like itself financially. Keizer has always prided itself as being a low cost city—frugal, if you will. With some salaries now topping $147,000 residents would be excused to ask themselves how that amount squares with low cost. We do not begrudge any one getting a pay raise. We question the salaries at a time when many in the private sector are still feeling the financial effects of the Great Recession. Municipalities use salaries as carrots to attract or retain talent. Surveys show that money is never the number one employee motivator; working conditions and career challenges beat money every time. If we want top talent let’s be sure we’re offering what really matters—a challenging position that allows one to use their creativity to complete the duties at hand. ...

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