Trump’s Entitlement Problem


Raise your hand if you have an entitlement problem?

Parks and Recreation’s surplus goes unnoticed for years while parks close

The state controller’s office develops its own year-end cash statements. They repeatedly showed that the parks department had tens of millions of dollars more than parks officials reported to the Department of Finance. Chief Deputy Director Michael Cohen said his Finance department did not regularly compare its data against the controller’s numbers — not for hte Parks and Recreation Department, not for any of the more than 500  special funds that generate revenue from dedicated sources, such as user fees and concessions.

Stockton Unified board votes 7-0 to ask voters to pay more; November’s Measure Q would raise $156 million

The Stockton Record reports: “With the pace of construction slowed by the struggling economy, Stockton Unified School District will ask homeowners in November to vote in support of a property tax increase that would allow the district to accelerate the speed with which it can complete a variety of building projects.” Jump to the article>>

“Todd sure as heck never registered as a socialist”

We’re closed; grand opening tentatively set for October 1, 2012

Would You Spend $4,250 on a Pen?

The Serif Media annual Bravado Award for 2012 goes to Paradise Pen of Denver, Colorado, for having the chutzpah to suggest we buy a fountain pen for $4,250.

Nice try, but we’re looking elsewhere for pens, as are all public purchasing agents.

Contrast the Paradise offer to the contract price obtained by State of California buyers for a dozen Bic Round Stic Ballpoint Pens. The State is paying 20 cents a box or an amazing bargain price of 1.66 cents for each pen.

Just to gauge how outrageous it would be to spend $4,250 for a pen, consider that for a bundle of 42 hundred-dollar bills, we could give a Bic pen to every State employee in California and still have money left over to buy paper.

(Side Note: California State Controller John Chiang says there are 238,816 employees on the California state payroll).

Of course, the Visconti Bible Fountain pen is made of celluloid (also used to make ping pong balls) with accents of genuine gold, but the State’s Bic pens feature a “tungsten carbide ball for added durability.” We’re betting the State’s pens last longer than the Visconti 18K gold nib.

The State’s pen tip can be used to open packing sealing tape on all those UPS packages. Dare we use the Visconti gold nib for anything but an investment in the climbing price of precious metals?

Since a quarter million public servants can have a Bic pen for a penny and a half, anyone who bites on the offer for the Visconti Bible Fountain Pen must be spending $4249.98 to make a statement: “I have money and I am important.”

To be generous, perhaps you could make an argument that the pen’s barrel tells a story in art. It is decorated with scenes of Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark and David and Goliath. The cap is engraved with the 10 commandments in Hebrew. But we could sell you a Bible with even more vivid narratives for $3.48 at Amazon.

OK, you could finally argue that Visconti is producing a collector’s item, since only 999 of the pens will exist on planet earth. But this pen is not the Mona Lisa, and will never end up at the Louvre. So really, unless you need the pen to invoke the pompous, wily charms of Bernard Madoff, you’d be better off mailing $4,249.98 to World Vision, who will see to it that 335 chickens are delivered to impoverished communities abroad.

The Lessons

World Vision says, “Fresh eggs raise the levels of protein and other nutrients in a family’s diet, and the sale of extra eggs provides money for other household needs.”

Serif Media says the Visconti Bible Fountain Pen provides gratuitous helpings of ego and not the slightest inkling of productivity.

Beware of any purchase order with “pen” and “Visconti” on the same page.