Fitness Update: Timing

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This week’s fitness post is going to be a short one, directing you away from the fact that I spent another week without swimming or running, cycling only.

Instead, let’s discuss the best time of day to run or swim. I thought it would be pcist thing in the morning, but now I am finding it hard to get up and do the exercise under my current work schedule.

yet saving the exercise for after work doesn’t seem much better. There is always a reason to rush home instead, and the motivation to get back out isn’t there much more than getting up early before work. Thank goodness there is at least the cycling to keep activity in the day.

So, comments anyone, on what should be the  best time of day for exercise?

 

#137: Christ the Lord is Risen Today

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(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

 

1

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!

Sons of men and angels say: Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply: Alleluia!

2

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!

Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!

Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

3

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!

Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!

4

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!

Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!

Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Trunk or Treat

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Today’s post is announcing the Avondale United Methodist Church Trunk or Treat from 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 in the church parking lot, 3101 NE Winn Road, Kansas City, Mo, 64117.

Below are some shots from the 2015 event:

Blast of the Past #68: Peanuts Playhouse

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We have been denizens (season passholders) of Worlds of Fun since 2001. In looking back at the pictures, we can remember when Peanuts Playhouse was first built. It was one of the new attractions they put in since we started going. Yet that is at least 11 years ago.

It was also in the days when the July 4th fireworks show was launched from the Oceans of Fun parking lot, instead of the grass lot by Worlds of Fun Avenue. In those days they had a light show at the Heart of America Theatre stage before setting off the fireworks. We always watched the fireworks from there. One year everyone was oohing and aahing at the fireworks, and then suddenly a few people scattered and some of the firework ashes fell down on the grass above the stage where we were sitting. We only saw it happen once in the years we watched from there, but it still is a core memory of the Worlds of Fun Fireworks memories.

 

On the Ballot: Statutory Measures, Special Elections

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This post concludes my walk down the Ballot I will be voting on Nov. 8 in Clay County, MO. It includes two sections of the ballot: Statutory Measures and Special Elections. I am not quite sure what these sections mean, but I can parse what the items themselves mean.

Here they are:

STATUTORY MEASURE

PROPOSITION A

Proposed by Initiative Petition

Shall Missouri law be amended to:

  • increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20;
  • increase the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price;
  • use funds generated by these taxes exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects; and
  • repeal these taxes if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot?

State government revenue will increase by approximately $95 million to $103 million annually when cigarette and tobacco tax increases are fully implemented, with the new revenue earmarked for transportation infrastructure.  Local government revenues could decrease approximately $3 million annually due to decreased cigarette and tobacco sales.

YES

NO

In my previous ballot post, I said I would vote against a constitutional amendment tobacco tax. This one I think I will vote for. I am a little confused on how the taxes get repealed by other ballot measures, but I am more comfortable on where the taxes will go. And the taxes are less than the others. The impact of this one is also explained better for m.

SPECIAL ELECTION

CLAY COUNTY, MISSOURI

 PROPOSITION L

For the purpose of renovating and replacing aging library facilities, enhancing spaces and programming for children and adults, expanding services and collections to serve public demand, and for the general operation of public libraries, shall there be an eight cent tax increase over the thirty-two cent tax per hundred dollars assessed valuation for Consolidated Library District #3, known as the Mid-Continent Public Library?

YES

NO

Here is a dangerous item. It is a 25% tax increase over the current tax. But it goes  for the library, which we are big users of. Should I make other people pay for what I use? This Link explains the library’s plans and rationale. It is a form of social engineering. That 25% I mentioned is only a 1% increase in property taxes themselves, which include taxes for a lot of other services. I will vote yes for the library tax — they haven’t gone up since 1983 — but doing so I will recognize that I am exempting my own pet cause of the library from my general statement of keeping government small.

I guess my way around that last statement is to say this is a local tax, with local people and entities, making decisions about ourselves, instead of trying the top-down movements from the federal or state level. So I can redeem some of my small government credentials on this one.

CITY OF KANSAS CITY

SPECIAL ELECTION

QUESTION NO. 1,

(Park Property)

Should the City of Kansas City remove from the park system vacant property of about 1.2 acres located generally between E. 23rd Street and E. 24th Street west of Flora Avenue, which has been determined by the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners to be no longer necessary or appropriate for park, parkway, or boulevard use?

YES

NO

Yes. Don’t make the park service take care of more property than it needs to. We have good parks, they cost to upkeep. If something is no longer useful, get it back on the tax rolls if possible.

QUESTION NO. 2,

(Park Property)

Should the City of Kansas City remove from the park system vacant property of approximately 2.6016 acres located generally east of Lister Avenue and south of E. Linwood Boulevard, which has been determined by the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners to be no longer necessary or appropriate for park, parkway, or boulevard use?

YES

NO

Ibid. Same as Question No. 1

QUESTION NO. 3

(Light Rail Sales Taxes)

Shall the City of Kansas City enact the following three sales taxes:

  • a new 1/8¢ sales tax for 25 years beginning April 1, 2017, pursuant to sections 94.600 through 94.655, Revised Statutes of Missouri, the transportation sales tax; and

  • a shifting of the current 3/8¢ sales tax currently devoted to the KCATA, for 25 years beginning April 1, 2024, pursuant to sections 94.600 through 94.655, Revised Statutes of Missouri, the transportation sales tax; and

  • a new 1/4¢ sales tax for 25 years beginning April 1, 2017, pursuant to sections 94.575 through 94.577, Revised Statutes of Missouri, the capital improvements sales tax,

with the proceeds of said taxes and any other additional funds, which may include federal matching funds, to be used for the purpose of funding, or funding as much of as is possible, the construction, operation and maintenance of a citywide light rail transit system (rapid electric trains operating in their own right-of-way separated from traffic) to include a north/south line operating from Kansas City International Airport to the Cerner Campus at Bannister with scheduled stops at Twin Creeks, Vivion Road, North Kansas City, Downtown, Union Station, the Plaza, Brookside, and the Kansas City Zoo; and including an east/west line operating from Union Station to the Jackson County Sports Complex (utilizing Linwood Boulevard and the Rock Island Rail right-of-way) with scheduled stops at Troost Avenue and Prospect Avenue (to connect to the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system), and also including a fleet of electric mini-buses (to transport passengers to and from light rail stations) with all station stops at or near designated locations and with the light rail system utilizing, where possible, city parkland, medians of city boulevards, and existing rail right-of-ways, and including necessary bridges and other infrastructure?

YES

NO

This one I like where and how the proceeds are to be applied. It would be additional government, creating a public light rail transport system. Another pet project I believe in. Its the revenue stream that I have my issues with. Two new taxes. I could go for those. My question lies on the shifting of a current tax away from the current bus system. This Article in the Kansas City Star gives greater background. The KCATA tax expires in 2024. This would renew the tax for light rail instead. But What does the KCATA do for its buses? I think that while I like the expanse of this plan, I’ll vote against Chastain and let the smaller project have its go. Once again, it is a local, home-grown effort, and will gain traction over time.

#136: Christ is Risen from the Dead

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(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

Christ is risen from the dead — He is risen as He said!

Never, since the heavens rang With the song the angels sang

On the morning of His birth, Had such gladness come to earth;

Quickly were the tidings spread: Christ is risen from the dead!

2

Gone the garden agony, Dreadful death of Calvary,

Gone the hours of hopeless gloom While He lingered in the tomb;

Like the waking, did it seem, From a terrifying dream —

Now what rapt’rous joy instead: Christ is risen from the dead!

3

Christian brothers, shout and sing — Death has lost its ancient sting!

Christ, the Crucified before, Is alive forevermore!

Grave, where is thy vict’ry now? See the light upon His brow!

Empty, see, the stony bed: Christ is risen from the dead!

4

Heirs of glory, thru His grace, Tears be dried from ev’ry face!

Be your harts no longer sad, On this Easter day be glad!

Faith and hope are not in vain You are born to live again!

Ev’ry soul be comforted: Christ is risen from the dead!

On the Ballot: Constitutional Amendments

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When people talk of constitutional amendments, my mind goes to the U.S. Constitution. But each of the states has a constitution, and they get amended with much greater frequency. This year I see 5 amendments of the ballot: they are numbered 1 to 6, skipping 5.

Since I didn’t know much about the process, I looked it up online, and found this summary:

The Missouri Constitution can be amended via three different paths:

  • Through a constitutional convention as established in Section 3a of Article XII. A question about whether to hold a constitutional convention is to automatically appear on the state’s ballot every twenty years. The first of these automatic referrals under the Constitution of 1945 (Missouri’s current constitution) was in 1962, 1982 and 2002.[3] The next will be in 2022. In 1942, under an older version of the Missouri Constitution, voters were asked about having a constitutional convention and said “Yes.” It was that convention that led to the Missouri Constitution of 1945, the state’s current constitution.

Votes on proposed amendments can take place at a general election or a special election.

A unique feature of Missouri’s law governing constitutional amendments is a provision in Section 2(b) of Article XII saying that proposed amendments should be published if possible “in two newspapers of different political faith in each county.”

None of the amendments proposed come through the constitutional convention option, but the 5 amendments are split between initiatives and legislative movements. I think  Initiatives are the more popular route.

So here are the Proposed Amendments, with my perspectives on each:

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 1

Proposed by Article IV, Section 47(c)

Missouri Constitution

(SJR 1, 2005)

               Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years?

               The measure continues and does not increase the existing sales and use tax of one-tenth of one percent for 10 years. The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.

YES

NO

Okay, This one is proposed because it was part of the original amendment to have it reapproved every 10 years. I actually like this, that a tax has to be reapproved periodically. I have no objection to the status of state parks or soil and water conservation. I haven’t studied these enough, of course, but I’m willing to vote yes to continue this tax. If someone can tell me these funds are being squandered or not used well, I would  be glad to reconsider.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 2

 Proposed by Initiative Petition

 Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office;
  • prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions;
  • require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions; and
  • provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment?

It is estimated this proposal will increase state government costs by at least $118,000 annually and have an unknown change in costs for local governmental entities. Any potential impact to revenues for state and local governmental entities is unknown.

YES

NO

Now parts of this seem so reasonable, while others send warning flags for me. I don’t think sources of contributions should be concealed. But what sort of limits/requirements will be established for corporation and labor organizations? This is very loose wording allowing current politicians to hobble their competitions ability to raise funds. The first bullet, to establish limits I disagree with philosophically. Preventing people from spending their money as they deem fit is a form of curtailment of free speech, or their freedom of expression. I am convinced that campaign finance reforms perpetuate what they claim to prevent. See the below video for more:

The fact that this will have uncertain impacts on localities is another reason I do not think this a wise amendment. So I will be voting NO on this.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 3

Proposed by Initiative Petition

               Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20;
  • create a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes, which fee shall increase annually; and
  • deposit funds generated by these taxes and fees into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund?

When cigarette tax increases are fully implemented, estimated additional revenue to state government is $263 million to $374 million annually, with limited estimated implementation costs.  The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal.  The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown.

YES

NO

Okay, I saw a billboard on this one, talking about 747% tax increasing being too much, and to vote no. That billboard is an example of using numbers to create a different impression that reality. Is the percentage that large? Yes. Does the percentage tell the story they billboard wants it to tell? Probably no.

This one really raises the whole question about where we raise our taxes. Sin taxes are popular on the unpopular items. Since I don’t use these products, it is easy for me to agree to say raise taxes on them. But what I really need to do is fall back on more general principles and ask myself if I  believe we should raise taxes for these, when my general bent is for lower taxes.

The thing to realize is that I am not against taxes themselves. I am against taxes as a way of social engineering. The entire IRS tax code is meant to create winners and losers. Every tax is going to have some sort of impact of this sort. A policy of freedom ensures that taxes warp the individuals choices the least.

Now this tax is creating a trust fund for early childhood health and education. It is blatantly avowing social engineering. What is going to happen to those funds? How are they going to intervene and meddle in the lives of parents and families? How are these do-gooders going to make life miserable by ensuring people doing things the way they want with other people’s kids?

I actually find that I could go against my general priciple on the tax itself; it is where the tax funds are for, and how such good-sounding things can create bureacratic fiefdoms for certain progressive meddlers that will make me vote no. The billboard made me want to vote yes, but my better judgment will make me vote no.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 4

Proposed by Initiative Petition

               Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of January 1, 2015?

Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant.  The proposal’s passage would impact governmental entity’s ability to revise their tax structures. State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal.

YES

NO

I am somewhat confused by what this particular amendment means. It sounds reasonable: prevent governments from creating new types of taxes.I like that idea. It prevents a lot of crazy new ideas that governments could create. But it could also prevent a government from using an old standby means of revenue if they hadn’t previously used. 

I’m not sure if this is what it means, but if a city never had a sales tax previously, would it prevent it from starting one? Such a situation could burden local property owners with additional taxes when the sales tax could “revise” its tax structure to a greater equity of the current economic condition of the city.

Ultimately, I see this amendment as trying to preserve the taxes that work in a 20th century economy, instead of allowing them to be shaped to a 21st century economy.

I’ll vote NO on this one, despite my initial YES reaction. If someone could clarify my concerns, I would be willing to vote YES.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 6

Proposed by the 98th General Assembly

(Second Regular Session)

SS HJR 53

               Shall the Constitution of Missouri be amended to state that voters may be required by law, which may be subject to exception, to verify one’s identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification?

               The proposed amendment will result in no costs or savings because any potential costs would be due to the enactment of a general law allowed by this proposal.  If such a general law is enacted, the potential costs to state and local governments is unknown, but could exceed $2.1 million annually.

YES

NO

Apologies,  but this sounds like the most sensible amendment possible. If you don’t have the capability to get the documents to prove who you are, you shouldn’t be voting. The law allows for exceptions, too, so it shouldn’t be onerous for someone who can justify not having the ID. It doesn’t prevent anyone from voting. It requires everyone voting to do it in a deliberative manner, and as a responsible member of society. Stand up and be counted. Don’t slip into the voting booth and then slip out.