Monthly Archives: August 2015

Lights, Camera, Action

There’s been a lot of focus on media personnel lately.  Whether it’s an anchor who browbeats presidential candidates or  two  that are horribly shot on live camera they are capable of becoming newsmakers themselves.  And from the days of Lincoln they have been a necessary-albeit not so admired- element in the protection of a free society.  But not many know details of the individuals who make up the rest of the news media and  how they get compensated for their efforts.  At many small places  minumum wage is still the starting norm.  No matter how good u are at writing or how viral your picture goes or how many numbers of print publications it sells there are little to no royalties of any kind paid to the creators of the work.

Work for Hire at a creative level pay equivalent to slavery, which is still prevalent in an intimidation environment. A place where newbies are often forced to work with no pay at all (Internships) or off the clock sometimes for so many days per month.   It is ironic to me that although many cover the abuses in other arenas they tabu out when it comes to the inner workings of the news media. A place where information is distributed worldwide in third party wire, database and other secret contracts while the buck stops with the owners and investors of the companies.

Many top anchors make good salaries after all they’re considered the face of the news.  But I think it is important to keep in mind that many who make up the majority of news gatherers-the little people- do so at high risk,  low pay and many times in the presence of abusive internal environments.   All for a dedication to bring the truth out.  And when they die in the line of duty anywhere in the world a little piece of our American freedom dies with them.

Running our country takes, Risk, Monopoly, Payday, Clue and Scrabble

We have a new kind of candidate in town in this country. His name is Donald Trump. Whether you love him or hate him his words are resonating with an American people not happy with the cowardly leadership we are showing in many areas of our country.  The areas I’m talking about are Finances,  Military and Police Services,  Healthcare and Illegal Immigration.  Like a child getting bad parenting our country is running around in their diapers on the golf course.

The irony of this is not lost on the masses.  I’m going to talk about Illegal Immigration first. Here is my solution. I think there should be multiple options for illegal immigrants. Running them all out as you say seems extreme and not the best option to me. Many illegals have been here for generations and have really ingrained themselves in the fabric of our nation and also made contributions.  So have their children and grandchildren.  I think somehow because we have let them stay this long maybe we need to grandfather them in based on time consuming review on a case by case basis. ( We could employ our returning military and disabled veterans to this task).

Younger illegals should be given an option to citizenship through voluntary military service. Illegals that surely are only a waste of American space need to be prosecuted for their crimes in temporary lieu of deportation with the understanding and cooperation of the Mexican government that they serve their time in a Mexican prison.

All borders need to be sealed off-including tunnels- and we need to fortify our borders with military presence and high tech weapons just as it is necessary while playing in the game of Risk.

Healthcare: It shouldn’t be free to anyone so long as one American soldier has to beg on television for it through Wounded Warrior or the American Legion or a host of other agencies stepping up for our spineless Veterans Administration. (You don’t see ads for donations  to give poor people healthcare).

Disband the entire VA and send them all to the unemployment line. Let our military choose their own doctors and help the financially hurting private sector of medicine which is doing best care.  How would we do this? Separate healthcare from employment.  Let everyone pick healthcare like car insurance- mandatory yet accessible- if you can pay for it.  (Not everyone will own a Mercedes level). Give subsidies in the form of tax breaks if necessary in a Fair Tax system that allows everyone to pay based on their luxurious buying habits.

Finances:  News flash we can’t create new bills when we are out of money so the US government shouldn’t do it either. Pay our bills by cutting elsewhere.  Get out of debt as a country so that our whole system is not teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.  One debt at a time.  Cut up the credit card.  Stop spending money that our great grandchildren will be burdened with.  Leverage assets like our labor force.  We have a great amount of untapped educated labor in America which is being under-utilized.  Just look at all who are internet savvy and selling online on Ebay and Amazon.  These same styles could be used to get our country out of debt.

Military and Police Services:  One word: RESPECT.  We have burdened our local law enforcement with the fallout of our lack of collective parenting.  Misbehaving children have grown into entitled adults with bad citizenship habits.  Whatever happened to former President John F. Kennedy’s montra, “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, But What You can Do For Your Country.?”

Respect starts with each one of us.  Respect yourself, show respect to all others and respect the rich heritage that we have been privileged to live under.   And as always appreciate and be grateful for the Military and Law enforcement Officers who are dying and living in suffering every day in the eternal fight for our unique opportunistic lifestyles that we naively and mistakenly think is globally normal.   Maybe today just say THANK YOU.




The Village should include slumlords.

Amy Mihaljevic. Two words.  A name that I will always remember. The name of a smiling little 10-year-old blond girl.  Twenty-six years ago when I was first cutting my teeth as a photojournalist she disappeared from my home state of Ohio near Cleveland the city I grew up in.   Although her body was found in a rural area approximately a year later her killer has never been found.

Maddie Clifton, Summer Thompson, Cherish Perrywinkle. The names of missing children that sticks in my head from my current home here in Jacksonville.  And now Lonzie Barton.  Will he be the next one found murdered?  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and hoards of more than 200 law enforcement officers have combed areas of this large city like a fine tooth even finding two other bodies in the process.  But no Lonzie.  And now with the recent surveillance video it appears that the druggy boyfriend/lousy childcare provider may be the one who caused it all.

But I don’t think everyone else is innocent.  The other morning I decided to check out the Ravenwood Apartments. I drove in past the balloons and signs appealing for Lonzie to be found.  What I discovered was an apartment complex that had an epidemic of blight in the form of: a graffiti swear word painted in white on the wall of one of the buildings,  a cancer of potholes throughout the entire common driving area,  litter in the parking lot and what appeared to me to be an overall rundown appearance of neglect.  A perfect storm environment for drug dealers and their clients to  do business in our city.

The police officers know where they are. Ask any officer and he can tell you: Cleveland Arms, Eureka Garden (where one comment online suggested “All trash. I would rather live in my car.”;

The District…and more. The rundown high crime apartments they visit on a regular basis and sometimes with their undercover narcotics agents are a beacon to drug dealers and their clients, who come from all walks of life.   From bank executives to apartment managers all roads lead to illegal drug buys coming from specific locations. Crime has to live somewhere but do we as a city need to make it so easy to own and not maintain a cesspool?

My suggestion is this:  We need to have a zero tolerance for  those who exploit and allow trashing of our community. Hold property owners responsible for the level of crime they allow to continue in their communities.  Force them through strict financial penalties including possible forfeiture of their properties to provide a higher standard of living in their properties-complexes worthy of our  tourism brochures. Put them on notice that they are the enforcers of the  city’s standards. Make the slumlords pay dearly to stay.  Force the drug lords to leave our city or be constantly pummeled from all sides.

Newly elected Sheriff Mike Williams was right when he said that the illegal drug trafficking trade is the root  of our high crime and murder rate. We need to show that we as a community  will no longer tolerate this behavior in our city.  It permeates every level of our society because the rich need to buy their drugs somewhere.   And if slumlords are held accountable for each crime they allow to happen in their community properties maybe a change will happen.  We all need to have a Zero tolerance for the illegal drug industry.  And maybe the custodial parents of children in these high risk neighborhoods would benefit from a place where they could go to get help raising their children.  A properly supervised place where maybe the parent of a Cherish Perrywinkle or Lonzie Barton could have found a safe and peaceful place for their child to play.