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salon

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  1. Agenda for 4th October 2021 Did they screw it up and not follow the law when they approved the budget AND the HIGHER tax rate on 9/23/2021? Here was the signed motion made after Judge Chambers and the commissioners voted on it. Apparently so. Brian Watts, former auditor for Somervell County, sent Somervell County Judge Danny Chambers an email on September 27, 2021 that basically accuses Danny Chambers and Dwayne Johnson, Somervell County Commissioner for Precinct 2, of hubris and violating the law, as well as hiding a *slush fund* amount of significant dollars from the public and also of behaving unprofessionally. Here is the letter Letter to Somervell County 09.27.2021.pdf Some parts, with comments Some comments by me. First, this is the tax rate posted on Sep 17 as referenced above by Brian. The minutes include the documents and also votes from the commissioners. The question is why the tax rate is going up to this extent, when there appears to be plenty of money to handle basic county business.Is the reason to cover the over 1 million dollar slush fund? Second, beyond the sheer incompetence shown by Chambers (and the implication that hiding these amounts may be on purpose), which is allowing govt employees NOT to be paid because the budget is illegal, there is the matter of the *slush fund*. Why in the world IS that large amount of money unaccounted for, over 1 million dollars? Not only is that illegal, but is Somervell County planning to pay for something they don't want citizens to know about? Something, for example, on behalf of a private business???? Anytime money is spent from the budget it is going from one account to another, with receipts and payment stubs, and with citizen knowledge that the items have been voted on and approved by the commissioners (thus also holding them accountable for their votes). The items on the Bill Payments section needs to be specific and of course can be looked at by anyone that does an open records request. From a practical standpoint, I would guess that when the commissioners vote and where Danny Chambers, who is responsible for showing the payments on the overhead or the handout for the meeting, does not do so, citizens have no clue what their taxes just paid for AT THE MEETING. Are there actions that are being taken outside of the meetings that involve promises, possible payments to others, etc and the plan is to take the money from the slush fund? Who knows, but this needs to be brought up and strongly in order to put that money in an account that is recognizable by the public and HAS A DEFINED PURPOSE. I actually thought the contingency fund was for that. I've been to meetings before where a given department needed an item, he or she made their pitch before the PUBLIC commissioners court meeting and then the commissioners voted, at which time the money came from contingency. Certainly that happened with the amounts Somervell County had to pay to my husband over the lawsuit lost by the State of Texas (as represented by Andy Lucas) and Darrell Best; the money was paid from the contingency fund. But why should some amorphous amount of money without a stated purpose just be hanging out there WHILE RAISING TAXES on people? A corrupt explanation would say that the commissioners are considering doing something illegal with taxpayer money for the benefit of others and are not wanting people to know what that is. Third, and this is a personal gripe, Brian calls out the behavior and actions of Dwaine Johnson, who is MY county commissioner. In one section, he talks about Danny and Dwaine trashing citizens *in profane language* after Somervell County citizens bring what they believe to be valid complaints and suggestions up to them. Disgusting. Brian further intimates that Dwaine is avoiding following the rules and laws that he, as a commissioner, should be AS A PUBLIC SERVANT. I suppose Danny might just be waiting to get his retirement pension, coasting till then, and then someone corrupt will run for office to take his place, who knows? But I do know that HE is the one responsible and clearly if he acts this way in private and shows such contempt for Somervell County citizens, he should never be looked up to again.
  2. 8 months, Hodgkins pled guilty to obstructing an official proceeding. USAToday Incidentally, Hodgkins said at his trial today that "Biden is the rightful President". Hodgkins, unlike some others, did not assault anyone or do damage at the Capitol. More comments from the judge- Said Hodgkins entered the Capitol, you carried a large flag with "Trump 2020" in the Senate. Says Hodgkins actively participated in an event that threatened not only Capitol security but "democracy itself". ... When a mob storms the Capitol, democracy is in trouble. The damage that they caused goes way beyond the delayed certification, it will last for decades. .. It'll be harder to convince other countries to pursue democracy, it'll be harder to convince our children of the value of democracy, we are not more all fearful of the next attack than we ever were. Victims will carry trauma for the rest of their lives. .. Jan 6 attack left a stain that will not go away for years to come. Says Hodgkins came prepared to defend his position and engage with whatever needed to be done. Hodgkins had to see “the mayhem” outside the Capitol building. It was obvious that he was participating... Hodgkins, with his Trump flag on the floor of the U.S. Senate, was illustrating his loyalty to an individual rather than to democracy.
  3. I live on a rural county road with a long driveway. I do not want packages that don't fit in our large mailbox to be left along the road, along the driveway or anywhere, basically, but the front porch. Most of the time the delivery services do this, which is most appreciated. If they don't, I like to know the delivery service so I can call them and request that the packages be left at the door. I assume that maybe the person delivering is new, or a fill-in contractor, etc. I've had the same wonderful regular postperson for years, who I adore, and I always know it is not her who has done this. She recently told me that sometimes packages are left by the road, not by USPS, but by other services, such as FedX, but that they look like they're from the post office. About a week after she told me this, I found a package of live plants that were left by the road in the hot sun .The package was marked with "Live Perishable Plants.. Please Open Immediately" (One time some years back I ordered some red worms and they were left in the hot sun in August in the metal mailbox for a day, killing all the worms, so I really do care about this). As you might imagine, I wanted to know WHICH DELIVERY SERVICE did this? On the package itself, there was a USPS tracking #. My logical assumption was that it was a USPS (ie, Post office) delivery), so figured that my regular mail woman had not done this, but a fill in. I called in to the local postoffice and was told by the manager there that this was actually a FedX delivery. I had seen nothing on the package that showed FedX but there WAS an "S", as well as SmartPost on the label, which did not indicate in any way the shipper was not USPS The tracking information from the company I ordered the plants from showed that, despite having a USPS tracking number, the package went out by FedX Smart post. It appears to me that FedX uses the postoffice sometimes to deliver packages, and that must be why there is a USPS # on it in the first place EVEN THOUGH IT WAS PICKED UP BY FEDX. In fact, the tracking information said explicitly that it was NOT going to be delivered by USPS but you would not know this from the package. Also seems logical that at some point during the shipping, FedX hands off packages to USPS IF they choose to have USPS deliver, but there, again, is nothing to give a clue about this on the box. I do not want to ask USPS to please deliver the right way when it's actually FedX shipping through SmartPost. What I did was contact the company I ordered the live plant from, they had no other way to economically ship, so I will not be ordering through them again.
  4. Have said before that I had geese, ducks, chickens, and guineas for some years. And loved them, although having them caused a few problems along the way, even though living in a rural area. More specifically, what I have wanted to do is fix up the front yard for some time, including flowers. The geese would come along and eat virtually any flower I attempted to grow, so I pretty much quit worrying about it while I had them. Also having a grassy lawn was an impossibility, and I don't miss it anyway. But now, oh, how glorious. I have pots in the front by the sidewalk with flowers, vegetables, even a banana plant; hanging plants with ferns and wandering jew; flowers, including lantana and petunias in a front section. Also spent a deal of time repainting the front porch walls, trim and floor, and paring down the stuff that was on it. I repainted chairs and moved most of everything that a paper wasp could seize upon to build a nest. The best part of what is growing, though, are the crepe myrtles, in bloom and providing a shady pleasant atmosphere to the front yard. For example, and I am quite proud of this, I had an automatic cat food feeder on the front porch for a long time. Basically, it is an automatic feeder set into a large plastic container with a brick on the top so that raccoons and other predators can't get in. It was on a timer so that a selected amount of food came out twice a day, time picked when the predators would not be still out. Looked basically like this, except that I put the feeder on a table on the porch, to help cut down ant activity. Raccoons love cat food and I'm sure tried their best to get in, but this just works. But it was time to get it off the front porch., so it has been moved to a part of the porch out of sight that is covered. Also pulled out a broken down trellis from the yard that I had put up some years back for wisteria. Folks, wisteria is beautiful but way invasive. Behind the lattice was what I thought was a Texas sage plant but actually was a huge butterfly bush Before-had a Grey Gardens-feel to it:) After- (today) -Also adds some interest and depth to that part of the yard and the butterfly bush, although it's not blooming much anymore, has a prominent place for the eye. Also have put in, or rather, hub worked hard to build, a raised garden that is deer proof by dint of having chicken wire all the way around. Neighbor has had a beautiful one of these for some years. Put up some shade cloth over the top because the sun, this being July, is brutal. Used old deck boards and filled it up with dirt from elsewhere on the property, so the cost of all this was minimal. I've seen one like it, which I modeled this on, for sale for about $1400 bucks. Would like to make two more, and have one earmarked specifically for a winter garden.
  5. Monday will be a hearing to decide whether Kraken lawyers Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and their co-counsel should face heavy sanctions. Why? Because their lawsuits were frivolous and bullchit. King v Whitmer More from bloomberglaw What has happened? The judge signed an order requiring the Kraken lawyers to show up in person before her. The defendants tried to see if they could get their attorneys to show up for them instead. Judge denied their motion. Kraken tried to keep their witnesses secret, probably because they were fraudsters. Judge said no today One of these attorneys, Emily Newman, has hired her own attorney to defend her in the sanctions hearing, where she could be disbarred.
  6. USAToday Do you know these people? From FBI-Capitol Violence - Help turn those traitors in! Here is a list of the defendants who have been charged in DC
  7. I've been bemused for at least several years over why in the world people that call themselves *christian* would support Donald Trump. Have decided that the word *christian* has simply been appropriated to excuse the type of behavior and actions that are in direct conflict with the principles that this nation was founded on. Further, have decided that these people involved in christian nationalism don't really care whether others admire their examples and want to emulate them (because, who would?) but rather be members of a large cult while ostensibly worshipping a political party that excuses law and order. From Contemporary Christian Nationalism in the US
  8. https://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2021/07/07/trump-golf-course-will-pay-new-jersey-400k-to-settle-charges-related-to-2015-drunk-driving-crash-1388099Politics.com
  9. From April 14, 2001 LOOK at this video and you will understand why. This starts at the point where the mob is trying to break down the door and smashing glass. Emptywheel has a breakdown
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