Want to take back the country? Start by taking back your own back yard.

Some things look wonderful when seen up close.
Local governments are usually not among them.

If you think the Federal Government is acting more like a helicopter parent every day, I agree. But I’m convinced that liberals in city and county governments do far more damage to our freedom than other politicians could dream of.

The most recent misdeeds of local government are listed in the column called Fresh Outrages. I hope you’ll take a minute and read a few. 

I live 50 miles north of San Francisco, so I could write a whole book about the craziness in my back yard, but unfortunately, liberals, progressives and twits in local government are spread across more zip codes than you can imagine. So in this blog, I’ll bring you local horror stories from coast to coast; from dense urban conglomerations and dinky hamlets alike. What kind of outrages can you find in here? I’ve lumped them into three basic categories: the massive amounts of your money that local governments waste; the stunning intrusions they make on your personal liberty, and the things they do that are so flat-out dumb that nobody could possibly make this stuff up. Three examples:

▪   The city manager of a mid-sized Midwestern town gets a compensation package that adds up to $463,000 last year.

▪   A city puts microchips in your recycling bin to see if you’re separating your garbage the way they like it.

▪   A city arts commission pays $10,000 to sponsor an EcoSex Symposium where a former porn star discusses the pros and cons of marrying the sky, the trees, and maybe coal.

I find more of these stories every day, and am compiling them into a book with the same title as this blog. But there’s nothing like having a network of eyes and ears who are looking for fresh outrages.  Any time you see a story about an outlandish local government action, send me a short version of the story. Or send me a link to the story in your local paper.

As an added incentive, I offer The MoonPie Award. If you send an item that, in my opinion, proves you have the looniest local government in America, you and your elected body could win a dozen Double Decker Banana Marshmallow MoonPies each. Imagine their delight when you present this award at their next public meeting.

I hope you enjoy these brief excursions into civic lunacy. But more importantly, I hope you see how close some of this country’s biggest problems are to your own back yard, and that you pay your local city council or county supervisors a visit and tell them exactly what you think.

© 2011 Greg Karraker

41 thoughts on “Want to take back the country? Start by taking back your own back yard.

  1. sometimes you can stop some of the lunacy by offering to be the enforcement agent of the loony proposal in a public meeting. For Example, years ago I was farming in Montana and raising alfalfa seed and using leafcutter bees to pollinate. All area farmers were invited to attend a state meeting regarding leafcutter bee regulation. Upon arrival we farmers were told we were to listen and not participate. I promptly raised hell and had the full support of every farmer in the room. We were then allowed to participate nut not vote. Next state ag people proposed a check off tax from alfalfa seed sales to fund bee regulation and hiring of staff. All complained in the room and I could see the state folks were not going to listen. I stood up, got every ones attention, and applied for the position being created. I further stated that there was no one in a state position that more experience or knowledge than I and tried to force an immediate decision to hire me. Since the state folks did not want someone like me nosing around in their world, the decision was made that Montana didn’t really need me or that position and the check off tax was stopped.

  2. I also read recently where the SF goofy bastards will outlaw storage in people’s garages. Is there no limit to their lunacy?

    • Ted… Thanks for the heads-up. I hadn’t heard that one yet, but will look into it. And I certainly wouldn’t put it past them.

  3. Greg, You are so right we can make changes but the public has shown over and over again they don’t want to be bothered. I guess it’s not bad enough yet.

    • I wish every voter could sit through just one Design Review Committee, where six unelected twits tell a legitimate businessperson exactly how he can improve his property and how he can not. If they saw this abuse in person, voters would be storming City Hall with pitchforks and torches.

  4. Greg,
    I just received and read one of the above mentioned flyers. Thank you for your time, expense and passion to circulate a flyer that clearly means a lot to you. With that said, it looks like a representation of a very short sighted agenda to me.
    The KEY question is: Does our community want beneficial and essential community services provided or not??
    If the answer is YES, then we must also ask: As a community, do we want to recruit and retain qualified professionals to serve as public employees?
    If the answer is YES, then simple business logic dictates that the City of Cotati as an employer must compete in the job market to attract top employees. Inflation is also one of the costs of doing business that public employers have to account for, just like the rest of us. How well would you function today on your 1990 income, especially in this area of high living expenses?
    For clarification, I am affiliated with the City of Cotati as a resident, not an employee.
    Lessons of the past show that arguing over peanuts only serves as a distraction from issues that really need to be addressed. Others have said it better than I: “Penny wise, pound foolish”.
    As a society we have really big problems to address and we need to recruit & retain the best people to solve them, while simultaneously maintaining accountability, transparency & responsibility. It is fundamentally unreasonable to demand a high level of public service, while undermining their ability to operate,
    On another topic, plastic bags (just like any other form of pollution) are IN FACT detrimental to the very same ecosystems that provide almost everything human beings need to survive. It’s basic cause (pollution) and effect (malfunctioning ecosystems) that we all learned in grade school. To expect our ecosystems to forever provide all the products we rely on while simultaneously not participating its care is the highest form of hypocrisy. Shameful.

    • I’m with you 100%! This guy Greg prefers to bury his head in the ground rather than stand up straight and tall to see what the real, very important problems are in the world. I get a headache just trying to think as small as he does, but then again, most self-styled Conservatives are really afraid to accept the world they live in and would rather just run away from it.

      • “This guy Greg……….” is considerably more thoughtful and original in his thinking than are you. Like most progressives (liberals, socialists, communists—the terms are interchangeable) you play games with your rhetoric, and with the truth. In 1946, psychiatrist Eric Berne, wrote a book he titled, Games People Play. In it he describes a game he calls, Blemish, in which the player tries to make himself look good by making someone else look bad. Although your comment above is an attempt to play this nasty game, you are not very good at it. On the other hand, you do have much in common with most players of this game. You are transparent, your discourse is uninterestingly similar to that of most other people who imagine themselves to be intellectually superior to others, and you seem to be unaware of the writings of many of histories great thinkers and writers. Among them are F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Frederich Bastiat, You seem astonishingly unaware of the history associated with most of the regimes which adopted the method of governmental organization you appear to champion. As a retired physician, I venture to say your headache is significantly more serious than anything attributable to Greg Karraker. Rather, it may well be symptomatic of those who inspired Dr. Thomas Sowell, Scholar in Residence at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, to title one of his books, Illusions of the Anointed. Had I been asked to title Sowell’s book, to which I referred above, it might have been, Stupidity is Endemic to California, New York, Illinois, and Washington State.

        Dr. Sperry

      • Mr. Brochu: The progressive malfeasance that infests counties and municipalities, large and small alike, is a mirror image of the ills in Washington and Sacramento. And if you want your head to hurt, Mr. Brochu, attend a Design Review Committee in a town of 6800 where a group of five unelected committee members tells a business owner how many California Poppies he can have on his own patio. You can accept the tyranny of mice like these, but I choose to fight it.

        Dr. Sperry: Thank you for the nice words. Once again, you have made the point I attempted to make far better than I could have made it.

  5. Greg: You are probably aware, March 4th, Tues. at 7:00pm Sonoma Clean Power has scheduled a forum to discuss the implementation of their program. A rep. from PG&E will also be present. Maybe some of the followers of your site will be able to attend, of course seating is limited and you are required to reserve a seat by e-mailing and leaving your name, Electricity ForumSoCo@gmail.com. Will be attending, hopefully we’ll have a larger attendance than previous forums. Last spoke to you at the Cotati forum.
    David Feere

    • There is no substitute for REAL science when confronting a hoax the breadth of which is epitomized by the “man-made” global warming scam. All real scientists, those who observe, measure and independently verify, are “deniers” and proud to be so labeled. The remedy for objective critics, as opposed those who currently reside on UN’s Panel on Climate Control and its lemmings, is to read the following authority: Ian Plimer, Heaven and Earth, Global Warming, The Missing Science. Armed with facts presented in Dr.Plimer’s book, no one will have a ghost of a chance to impugn your knowledge of the subject.

      Donald W. Sperry

      • Donald… Thanks for the book reference. I’ll get it from Amazon after I finish this reply. I’m guessing you’ve read Brian Sussman”s books, Climategate and Eco-Tyranny. They’re both good, but he leads by criticizing the political agenda of the climate hustlers. This makes it possible for believers to ignore the very real facts he then gets around to.
        Be well,

    • David… Thanks for the update. I just attempted to register for my wife and me, but got an immediate notice that the address is invalid. Maybe it’s ElectricityForumSoCo@gmail.com,or maybe the whole thing just works as well as the POTUScare website. Will try again and keep you posted. Be well,

      • Just noticed that Electricity was not highlighted, also the address is 2600 Bennett Valley Rd. at the Shomrei Torah Cong. Also, Joe Como the director from the PUC will be the moderator. Hopefully we can get Mr. Syphers to respond to yes/no questions with yes/no answers, he is a bit slippery.

  6. i Greg, great to see you again, glad your one of the good /right guys. I made some bumper stickers last year and sent to some friends that read,”Vote Right or you’ll have nothing Left. J

  7. One more dagger into the heart of free men and women. Tues. night at Petaluma’s city council meeting their was a unanimous vote to go forward with the county-wide banning of plastic bags as well as the implementation of a $.10 fine for shoppers requesting a paper bag. I did attend and requested that our citizens be allowed to vote on this issue, but their decision had been decided long before this meeting. Do you think there’s enough interest from our citizens and fellow bloggers to place a measure on the Nov. 2014 ballot through the initiative process ? It would require many committed volunteers just to get through the petition process. Of course we would probably face legal roadblocks from our county and city council members as they are aware that if a measure stopping this ban made on the ballot it would easily be passed. Any other ideas on how we can stop the county from implementing this ban?

    • I agree that the plastic bag is a solution looking for a problem, and one more example of nanny state overreach, but I seriously doubt if it will get people stirred up enough to attract enough volunteers to get the required number of signatures for a countywide petition. With so many progressives in this county, the only possible approach would be to point out how much the extra charges harm those in the community with the least money. If a large family uses ten paper bags a week, that’s $4 out of their EBT funds, roughly equal to one box of Wheaties they can’t buy their children.

  8. “Gee, I didn’t know that…” is an absolute genius of a response to an incredibly interesting (but verify) screed. Very jiu jitsu, re-routing all that energy elsewhere instead of fighting back. Hats off to Mr. Karraker.

    Speaking of which, I posit this signal moment as the demise of civilized discourse in Congress.

    Bill Frist was majority leader. Republicans are pushing something Dems don’t want. Really don’t want. At the 24th hour, Dems pull some forgotten, but legitimate, parliamentary ploy out of the archives – unused since 1843, or something, and whatever legislation Repubs wanted got derailed. Legitimately.

    Frist calls it “a personal affront, a slap in my face.”

    Scuse me, Bill … the US constitution can ‘personally affront’ you? Slap yo’ face?

    Not the first time, but hello ad hominem, and bye-bye civil idea-considering discourse.

    Current system is a third-world YADA fiasco.

  9. Greg:
    You commented on Bob Sullwald’s Alameda Blog recently. You’re not living in Alameda now, are you? Bill Delaney

    • Bill… excellent to hear from you. I still live in Cotati, but am following libertarian/conservative bloggers in as many cities as possible. Gathering material for my book and blog. Still writing advertising to make a living. What are you up to?

  10. I am a former conservative. I’m not a liberal in the classic sense. “Sovereignty” was declared the form of government over democracy and republic form in 1999 Alden v Maine Supreme Court. This means that “sovereigns” are immune for violations of “article VI” of the Constitution. The court articulated that. So I can no longer blame myth of political ideology of opposing viewpoints for our problems. The 11th amendment started this process, and yet it is rarely debated, an irony due to the extreme destruction of liberty and individual rights through its creation of inequality by elevating public officials to the status of “sovereigns.” According to logical syllogism, argument fails to dispute that the word “sovereign” is none other a term to describe, as did Sir William Blackstone, for the first time refraining from Latin and using common language English to articulate the extreme implausible church and state basis in his “Blackstone Commentary” 1769. See Chapter 7 “Of the Kings prerogative.” Sovereign = “divinity,” “per-eminence,” “supreme being,” “potentate.”

    Therefore, the proper order of genus species, logically speaking, is that Sovereign, though equivocated to mean “autonomy” in modern thought, is the fallacy. I support this with Justice James Wilson who co-authored the Constitution, who in Chisholm v. Georgia, authored the premise in the first place. This was the five to four decision in Alden, where one vote converted officially our republic and democratic form of government to subjugation of Dark Age mythological dogma from early dark age exploitation using “divine sovereignty” despotic potentate rule.

    Am I saying that we, or more directly, Five Supreme Court Justices, “CONSERVATIVES,” believe that God has ordered them to claim immunity for government corruption given them immunity from liability for criminal 18 USC 242? I’m not saying that. What I am saying is the basis is dogma, therefore implausible, and cannot logically be law under our appellate guidelines. Sovereign usage of the verb is the SCOTUS common law claim. But if you read the case, “sovereign” us used (equivocated) as to leave the impression it is some sort of jus cogens “autonomy” that is widely accepted by democracy. But in reality, “sovereigns” were the enemy of patriots, and the cause of the declaration which barred “representation.” The Declaration of Independence stated clearly that it was “a right inestimable to them and formidable for tyrants only!” The only obstacle I see, to get this show on the road to end this once and for all, is your, the readers, inability to identify who is “them” and “tyrants.” Well the document said it was “He.” Who was he? It had to be a Sovereign named George III of England. I could be wrong, perhaps you’d argue it was the captain of the boat at the Tea Party. After all, an organization feels strongly about the Tea Party it is there namesake.

    I’m looking for some individuals who can comprehend this, or at least have mercy on me and come to my aid and show me the error of my ways. Perhaps I’m confused and associating minor premise results of “sovereign immunity” abuse will end solve something. I would think like Sun Tzu who showed us how to find the “off switch” he called the “Master of Empire,” to win battles without fighting bloody death duels.

    Verses 5-7
    5. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.
    6. Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.
    7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

    I live in the Sierra Nevada and East Bay and would like to dedicate the rest of my life to putting the final nail in the coffin of Sovereign mythological abuse as a legal means of Jus Cogens abuse of power as a constitutional right. Well anybody join me in this forum? Its ground floor, But started by Galileo and perhaps William Blackstone.

    Thank you

    • The first sentence of your “essay” informs us that you are a former conservative. The second merely repeats the first. You are apparently unaware that liberalism in the classical sense, i.e., as used in the nineteenth century by both Ludwig von Mises in, Human Action, and F.A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom, meant limited government and free markets, the exact opposite of what the bastard term “liberal” has come to mean in the twentieth century and beyond. The remainder of your piece reveals only that you have mastered the art of gobbledegook, a gift given to some for not being able to say anything simply.

      Donald W. Sperry

      • Mr. Sperry…

        Thank you for dissecting Pat’s comments, which seem to exist in a sort of gaseous state. I have to confess that I was unaware of the original meaning of liberalism. Should have known, because Hayek’s book has been on my nightstand, unopened, for far too long. This blog seems to have gained some momentum, so I’ll be updating it frequently. I hope you’ll visit again and be part of the conversation. Say hello to your daughter-in-law for me.

      • Lawrence. Thanks for your comment. I’m interested in gaining readers, and in gaining new sources for local stories. Feel free to send me anything interesting from your home town, if you like.

    • The comment below Karraker’s succinct, and deliciously sarcastic, reply to you (below) was intended for you, Pat.

  11. Sorry, but I think your label of “liberal” is not hitting the mark for me. I am a Liberal and for me it means not infringing on the rights or beliefs of others. Allowing people to live their lives in a manner that they find conducive to happiness (without hurting or denigrating others). Understanding that morality is not tied to religion, and that my body is mine to do with as I please. I also believe that a Liberal understands the necessity of speaking out against bias, bigotry, and intolerance. There will always be a “moral” majority that most of us follow without reservation, but being Liberal is not a label you put to nutjobs or crazies. They are just the loudest and most outspoken so hence get more attention drawn to them. There are more crazy laws and statutes here in Uber Conservative Utah than anywhere else in the U.S. For example; Here in Utah there is a current law affectionately named “The Zion Wall.” It basically states that an eatery or restaurant must maintain a 7 ft partition behind which alcoholic drinks are mixed and prepared. The rationale is that if children do not see the drinks being prepared, they will not be influenced to drink. Their parents can still drink it at the table the children are sitting at however. Crazy conservative tripe. I find the conservative drive to hold onto their idyllic “good ole days” to be crazier than a Liberal wanting to offer marriage equality to same sexed partners or the rights of a woman to decide on her own reproductive choices. Just my opinion.

    • Tracey…

      Thank you. You may be surprised, but I agree with many of your points. Nobody has the right to tell anyone else who they can sleep with, who they can marry, or what they can drink. That does not make me a liberal. It makes me a Libertarian.

      To me, a liberal is someone who believes in big government and does not believe in personal responsibility. Liberals want to stop building projects because of a few salamanders may have been seen in the area, want me to pay for city workers who have elective sex changes, and think they can tell me how big my Big Gulp can be.

      I hope this helps you understand why I have such a low opinion of liberals.

      • Why is it that conservatives who back gay marriage , abortion and numerous other “causes” are willing to throw the whole country under the bus by registering and voting democrat all in the name of that one issue? Sounds immature to me. We need to do what’s right for the country first. People’s personal issues should be debated and ruled in Supreme Court or by public vote. We shouldn’t change the whole country because a minority didn’t get its way. If I may quote the words of a true scholar, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try you get what you need.”

      • As a Libertarian, I can’t speculate on the motives of social conservatives, but only disagree with them. If you want a forum to discuss Federal and state issues, there are zillions of them. I want to focus this blog 100% on local issues, so I would welcome your thoughts on those.

  12. Teddy Roosevelt remains a controversial figure ushering in a new era of big government. The Cotati Independent newspaper is transitioning into an online information source.

    • For me, Cotati will always be the epicenter of dysfunctional local governments. It competes with Madison, Bennington, Detroit, Sebastopol, Chicago, and San Francisco, but it has its own special brand of arrogance and venality that make it fun to observe. Feel free to reuse my most recent post in your online version of the CI.

  13. My son and daughter-in-law, viz, “One Degree More” advertising, told me about your blog. I look forward to reading it. My political views are somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun, but there is still room in my mind for less radical right-wing views than my own, but only when they are factually based, well reasoned, and well written, as I am told yours are. Mike’s mother and I live in a very rural and pristine area of Washington State where there are no local newspapers. My conservative views are informed by 80 years of living, 40 of which were spent practicing surgery. Nothing I have ever learned is more precious to me than my personal liberty.

    Having been trained in the sciences, there are few “looney” ideas, stories, or events, of which I am aware, which are more looney than the global warming due to human activity hoax. For anyone possessed of even rudimentary exposure to what is known of our planetary systems, it is elementary that the Sun is the ONLY engine with sufficient power to significantly impact any of Earth’s systems, including climate. For anyone interested, a few hours spent with Singer and Avery in their book, based in REAL science, Unstoppable Global Warming, Every Fifteen Hundred Years will provide them with facts rather than propaganda. Another such read is titled, The Real Global Warming Crisis, written by Christopher Booker. Both are serious efforts to counter the hysteria created by liberal environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, et al. Another is an organization dedicated to educating the general public everywhere, CFACT (Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow).

    The impact of the mythology perpetuated by environmentalists, the groups they sustain, and liberals whose agenda is a lot of things, and who are easily identified by their contempt for facts, is very wide spread. Thousands of jobs have been lost because of their duplicity (perfidy), which is a terrible thing, but pales by comparison to their absolute disregard for science in this matter and and other areas where there is a conflict with their agenda.


    P.S. Nice photo of what appears to be a Lily.

  14. Hi Greg,
    Here’s a link to a local Cotati newspaper ( The Cotati Independent) written by a man that is very active in his community. He was elected to the city counsel afew years ago, but because of his conservative views was literally run out of office. His friends convinced him he could still do some good in his community by publishing a small local paper. In (I believe) his second edition, he writes how he literally caught a Press Democrat employee tearing up his paper at 4am at the Cotati Post Office. To this day, NOTHING has been printed or been done to litigate this blatant act of surpressing free speech. Here’s a link to it. I truly support his efforts.

  15. Greg: Somehow “progressives” got thrown into your pantheon of muddled politicos. The greatest Progressive of all times was also one of our three greatest Presidents, notably Theodore Roosevelt. His progressive policies brought the U.S. into the 20th century as a world power. I urge you to read Edmund Morris’ biography of TR during your non-blogging hours.


    • Dick — No disrespect intended to the Rough Rider. In fact, he would spin in his grave if he knew the Progressive brand has been hijacked by the likes of Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, and Lynn Woolsey, who could all be candidates for my MoonPie Award, if it weren’t reserved for local loonies.

  16. Greg: I applaud your effort to expose goofy ideas by local government. Having served sixteen years as law director of a small city I’ve seen nitwit ideas come and go. However, I cannot attest that liberals have cornered the market on fuzzy thinking. Both ends of the political spectrum share accolades for wrong-headed ideas.

    Dick Schunk

    • Dick, Thanks. Send me your best Talmadge OH goofiness. BTW: Notice the title again. I blame Liberals, Progressives, and Twits.

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