Wardell (Ward) Connerly: In Utah Pushing Legislation Against “Racial Preferences”; UT Is Not in Need of this Legislation, May Pass Anyway

It seems that Wardell (Ward) Connerly is still pursuing his “racial preference” campaign. This time he is in Utah. Considering the population demographics of Utah, I do not believe that Utah needs this “racial preference” language in Utah’s Constitution.

Utah (population: 2,185,974 (2000 Census))

Race Percentage of population Number
White 89.2% 1,992,975
Black 0.7 17,657
Native American 1.3 29,684
Asian 1.7 37,108

With these numbers, it appears that any affirmative action that is present in Utah is necessary to confirm that every element of the society there is truly equal. The supermajority power of the White population (numbering nearly 90 percent of the Utah population) makes this move to pass this Connerly-inspired legislation suspect.

Considering my consistent argument that the citizens in the social minority having their human rights put to the vote that they have no way to prevent, any action regarding so-called (fictitious) racial preferences should have the complete and full assent of the minority population. Anything less is intrinsically unfair and unjust.

Post Script
For background on Ward Connerly, see bigmoneyconnerly.org

For the Utah Legislation, see H.J.R. 24

Fed. Govt.: President Barack Obama Issues 2010 Federal Employees’ Pay Schedule; Federal Judges Receive COLA

On December 23, 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13525, which provides the pay schedule for federal employees for 2010. The recent appropriations bill provided for cost of living adjustments for several classes of federal employees.

One group is the one for federal judiciary (see schedule 7 of Executive Order 13525) (amounts in chart are in dollars).

2010 fed judicial pay chart

Also in Executive Order 13525 (schedule 6), Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S Senate will receive $174,000 in 2010, no change from 2009.

Health Care “Reform”: President Barack Obama Planning Summit; Discussion Seems to be Geared to Pass Senate Bill

[Update 2/22/10: President Barack Obama posted his proposal for health care “reform.” Unsurprisingly, the President’s proposal is similar to the Senate bill–with the unacceptable in any form excise tax and the mandate to by a private industry product-health insurance policy.]

According to Talking Points Memo, President Barack Obama is planning a summit, which would consider these issues (emphasis (in bold) mine)–

The President will then open and moderate discussion on four critical topics: insurance reforms, cost containment, expanding coverage, and the impact health reform legislation will have on deficit reduction.

The bolded portion of the agenda I think is a discussion of the so-called cadillac tax on high-cost insurance plans (in H.R. 3590). Despite the President’s State of the Union address, he seems obstinate in his support of this middle-class unfriendly tax, supposedly to bring down the deficit.

I have covered this issue in depth previously on this blog and my opinion remains–the cadillac tax is the worst idea in the bill, followed closely by the mandate to buy a private industry product-health insurance. This legislation proves the adage that the devil is in the details. No one should take any politician’s words at face value. One has to read the bill to verify every statement uttered about the legislation.

I am hoping that these politicians do not rush through this bill at the wee hours in the morning without giving the public time to get the legislation and review it.

WMATA: Search Underway for the Next General Manager of DC’s Metro System; Risks Presented by GM Job May Lead to High-Salary Candidate

[Update 25-January-2011: Richard Sarles selected to be WMATA General Manager/CEO.]

[Update 23-April-2015: New WMATA post on blog.]

The present General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) system, John B. Catoe, Jr. (bio-General Manager John B Catoe), is leaving the post on April 2, 2010. Catoe is an experienced transit manager, yet he is leaving after little more than 3 years (the general tenure for Metro’s General Managers).

Who will be Catoe’s permanent successor? The Metro system will attract candidates because of its location in the nation’s capital; however, Metro presents significant challenges for candidates to consider.

The Metro system’s organizational structure is complex, its capital structure is aging and is in need of an overhaul for its next 33 years, it is an industrial organization in a white-collar, service-oriented region, its funding is generally uncertain, and all actions of the transit agency are evaluated by four jurisdictions, plus the ridership.

I think that the political wild card of having to deal with the unpredictable (often bombastic (witness Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-Md. [Baltimore (Baltimore, Md. has its own subway, so Md. pays for two systems (one with the MTA and the D.C. Metro)].) comments) and diffuse scrutiny of Congress may cause a successor to want more money to compensate for the high-stakes risk he or she will accept as the general manager.

In addition, Metro does not have a fixed source of revenue, outside ridership fares and fees and cannot rely on a state for support like all of the other subway systems in the country. This means a yearly passing of the tin cup for your operations, something a potential general manager must consider heavily before assuming the job.

Over the past 20 years (from 1990-2010), only one Metro general manager had a 10-year tenure-Richard White (August 1996-February 2006). The others had tenures of 3 years or less.

Potential candidates will likely consist of transit managers from other transit agencies in the United States.

Interesting Background Facts

Metrorail system age: 33

Organizational Structure of Metro (Metro Compact Article III)

[Four legislative bodies–Congress (federal government), D.C. City Council, Md. state legislature (Montgomery and Prince George’s), Va. state legislature (Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria) (subsidy funding)]

Board of Directors (8 members selected from each jurisdiction [federal government, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia]) [Note:  There are 8 alternates.]

Officers (General Manager, Secretary, Treasurer, Comptroller and General Counsel and such other officers as the Board may provide.)

Subsidy Funding (fiscal year 2010)

Maryland $215.6 million

District of Columbia $201.6 million.

Virginia $129.4 million

Total subsidy $546.7 million (+27.5 million debt service)= $574.2 million

Passenger fares and parking fees: $702.7 million

Metrobus

340 routes (breakdown by jurisdiction not available)

Metrorail stations (by state)

Total: 86

District of Columbia 40 (38.3 miles of track)

Maryland 26 (Montgomery County (11) and Prince George’s County (15)) (38.31 miles) [Note: The state of Maryland operates its own subway in Baltimore, Md.]

Virginia 20 (Arlington County (11), Fairfax County (6), and the City of Alexandria (3)) (29.47 miles)

Metro FY 2010 budget

Supreme Court: Justice Clarence Thomas Objects to Criticism of Court; Citizenry Right to Hold Government to Scrutiny

Justice Clarence Thomas while speaking at the Stetson University law school in Florida, provided a defense of the Supreme Court’s majority decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (08-205). Thomas asserted that corporations have First Amendment rights to engage in political speech. I maintain that legal fictions like corporations or any form of business organization do not have innate rights under the First Amendment like human beings do.

Thomas reasoned that corporations have first amendment rights to political speech because human beings have the right to association. This right to association, he explains, allows groups of people to collectively assert their speech rights. Thus, the people in so assembling can create a partnership or a corporation to assert their political views.

I disagree with Thomas’ reasoning because a business organizations (partnerships, c corporations, LLCs, LLPs, and so on) are created under state law. Partnerships are creatures of contract, one that can be dissolved rather easily. In addition, people have to pay fees to create a business organization. Outside of strictly commercial activity (buying and selling of goods and services), I do not see why these business organizations would be seen as having First Amendment rights.

First Amendment rights have to be limited to those who are capable of exercising them autonomously–a requirement that an business organizational form will never satisfy (rightly so).

Post Script:

DC business organizations

Clarence Thomas at the University of Florida

WUSF audio

Post at the Above the Law blog