The Right Opinion

Better Storm Drains for All

By Rich Galen · Dec. 5, 2012

It is now likely that a deal will not be reached between now and December 31 to avoid the fiscal cliff. Before you become an economic prepper and start stocking up on canned goods and extra Tequila, remember I also thought Mitt Romney would win the election.

If we do tumble over, the automatic sequester – spending cuts – kick in and everyone is looking for the worst-case scenario of what services will be lost to old folks, young folks, sick folks, and all the other folks in the United States.

As an example, in a Fresno Bee piece titled, “Automatic Cuts would hit California Hard,” reporter Michael Doyle writes, “California is projected to lose $27 million in Community Development Block Grant funds … a sizable chunk from a program that in recent years has funded better storm drains in Fresno County.”

I have no way of knowing whether Fresno County needs better storm drains if only because I don't know where Fresno County is. You don't either so there is a map on the Secret Decoder Ring page.

I do know where it isn't. It isn't in Northern Virginia where I live.

Maybe I'm just being a jerk about this. Maybe Fresno county is in desperate need of “better storm drains” and I'm being an East Coast elitist by denying the good people of Fresno the right not to get their eco-friendly, vegan, hemp-laced, recycled-tire-soled sandals wet in a rainstorm.

So be it. It seems to me this is really a problem for the Great State of California and the Really Good County of Fresno to solve.

There are about 900,000 people in Fresno County. The size of the average U.S. household is 2.6 people per. That means there are about 350,000 families in Fresno County.

The Storm Drain Improvement Program costs $27 million according to Doyle's reporting. If the Fresno County Commissioners imposed an “Improve Our Storm Drains Tax” for just two years, it would cost each family about $40 per year.

Fresno County's storm drains would be improved and not one penny of my soon-to-increase federal income taxes would have been needed to do it.

I am only picking on Fresno because of Michael Doyle's excellent reporting. I am absolutely certain that the People's Republic of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia gets more than its fair share of federal funds for local projects if only because we can actually see the U.S. Capitol Building from our side of the Potomac River.

In fact, the Mighty Alexandria Times ran an article in November which covered the effects of the sequester. Among the items mentioned were federal funds for school building projects.

The Congressman from the People's Republic, Jim Moran (D-VA) was quoted as saying “schools should refrain from planning additional initiatives or major capital projects.”

The reporter, Melissa Quinn added, “This is bad news for Alexandria City Public Schools, which is set to replace several aging buildings in the coming years.”

Same argument. If Alexandria, Virginia needs to replace public school buildings there is no reason in the world for taxpayers in Savannah, Georgia or Lansing, Michigan to help pick up the tab.

Related Topic

I wrote an article that appeared in the yesterday on what Speaker John Boehner's options might be in the three weeks remaining of this calendar year.

I spoke to two former senior House staffers and one senior Member of the House. They all agreed that the Speaker doesn't have many cards in his hand before the clock runs out on 2012.

The only leverage the House Republicans have is the looming debt ceiling which will be reached sometime in mid-February.

Until that time, though, President Obama is in control of the debate and, as Speaker Newt Gingrich learned in 1996 during the shutdown fight with President Bill Clinton, the White House's megaphone is much louder than the one in the House of Representatives.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Fresno Bee and Alexandria Times articles as well as my Daily Beast piece.

Also a Mullfoto that made me shake my head.

Copyright ©2012 Barrington Worldwide, LLC |


Jim W. in Santa Cruz said:

Fresno County is one of those bread basket areas suffering under a state imposed drought, have to save those little fishies. Thereby leading to unemployment north of 15% and higher food prices for the folks in Alexandria,VA. and the rest of the country. If they get storm drains to put water into the aquifers, it might actually help both those issues.
Can't get much dumber than this bullet train, though.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Gregory in Yakima Wa. said:

I've visited Fresno...have relatives there. The farming areas have had to endure the same agricultural facts of life as other rural communities. Towns have folded, school districts are poor and jobs that pay well are few.

Where 1000 workers were needed in 1930, a handful are enough now. They still produce crops but agriculture operates with huge machines and few people.

The irony is that areas like Fresno tend to be politically conservative, older and white. Sparsely populated areas have fewer elected representatives, less influence. It's a matter of the haves getting more while the have-nots get even less.

Behind that too is a legacy of poisoning the land with pesticides and fertilizers. It's a sad situation growing ever more tenuous. I guess they should have been more progressive.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Capt. Call in New Mexico replied:

Guess what?!! Life isn't always fair!! But that is the type of Government we have; if you prefer socialism/communism/Marxism, there are plenty of those types of countries in the world.....why don't you go to one of them, and work to make it better, and stop working to make this country worse!! Just in case you didn't know it, this country has population-based representation in the House.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 4:55 PM

pete in CA replied:

Greg @ yak, It was "progressives" who insisted on adding mtbe to our gas, and guess what! It turned out to poison not only the food, but the air, the ground, and the water.

Thanks a bunch!

Also thanks for clearing up something else for me - that Fresno is "older and white." We've been told for decades that CA needed young illegal immigrants to do the stoop labor in the fields. Now that we know they have been replaced by "older and white" pickers maybe our alleged representatives will try to do something about the others.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado replied:

The irony is that the white, non-hispanic, population of Fresno county is 32.4%, hardly a majority for conservatives. The county population is 930,450. I don't get how the different races are counted, but when you add them up they total 1,398,420. Obviously some races are counted more than once. All according to 2010 Census data.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 11:17 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

Being more progressive would have made the failure occure faster Greg. Once again a clueless mindless factless opinion from a traitor. Better living through Chemistry! Maybe some jihadi will detonate a fertilzer bomb in close proximity to your home you idiot.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

JJStryder in Realville replied:

It is typical of you to bring in the race of the population(white) and their political leaning(conservative) and then blame the problems they endure on those factors and conclude progressivism is the cure. You left out one big factor, the state has been and will continue to be run by democrats. Immigration policy is nonexistent, taxes are highest in California,there no accountability for the highest welfare rate in the country and the cesspool of one failed liberal policy after another that have crippled a once great state. And your Washington State is on its way to be Californicated as well. You can keep your failed progressivism and shove it where the sun don't shine. When the people finally wake up, conservative values will clean up your messes!

Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri replied:

Gregory, did your parents have any children that lived?

Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Also, back in 1930, plenty of true blue Americans, wouldn't even think of taking a handout from Uncle Sam. Today, getting handouts from the taxpayer, is a way of operating, by pagan neo-marx reprobates!The dust bowl was starting,and California was a solvent State---back then.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Arabiascott in Indiana said:

Rich, you may not hear much directly from Fresno, but if you ever get west of the Appalachians you might want to drop in, for a basketball game or something, maybe some excellent Chinese or Mexican food. Have a talk with the folks who actually grow your favorite fruits and nuts. Maybe you'll find out something nice to say about a really nice town in The Valley.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 7:46 AM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri said:

Rich, unless it rains more in Fresno County than it does say in the Santa Clarita Valley area, which is just south of Fresno County, they don`t need storm drains at all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM