Last evening I had the opportunity to sit down with a small group of people from throughout the East County, calling themselves the "East County Tax Hawks". I went to the meeting with many doubts because, like my Blog about "pebbles against the stone wall", there seems damned little any one of us can do to fight the establishment. This establishment is well "established" and generally, whilst polite, ignores any and all pleas for relief from their grinding raising of taxes, rates and fees. "Well, its because our own prices have gone up", "Well, we have the very best employees and must reward them for ...", "Well, you can see we have and are doing everything we can to keep rates down. Just look ...", ad nauseum. Its difficult for people like me to combat their barrage of "facts" in page after page or retorts that go on and on. I'm not very good at extemporaneous debate because I get lost in these "Facts". I must futilely show my monthly bills and shout, "You're Killing Me!" Each month their bills arrive and our jaws drop once again. Of course, this does not impact those of you having lots of money, those that have outstanding retirement packets or those of you who just ignore these things and continue to pay, regardless of the amounts!!! Seemingly, most of you cant bother to even inquire why this is happening to us. One lady said she could bother because it probably wasnt that important. But, for those of us on fixed incomes and diminishing resources it mean alot! At this meeting I discovered the many exorbitant salaries and outlandish benefits of many, if not most, public employees. I knew they were well paid, etc, but when a fireman's pay and benefits packet totals just under $200,000 a year, well, I Mean! Water District employees pay little or nothing toward the massive benefits packets they possess as well as the Social Security deal they have with the various districts. I look at some of these numbers then look at my own pension. Where the hell are all MY pay raises?? Gas has surpassed $4 a gallon, groceries are high and getting higher, my bills just keep coming in and getting higher and, where the hell are MY pay raises? Everyone else is getting them. People arent buying my paintings because they must buy gas and groceries so that puts paid to any hope of supplementing my own income.

So, this wee group began to talk and I was amazed at the amount of knowledge in the room. I'm sitting here with the real deal, people who know people, who know where to go, whom to contact, whom to lean on. And here I sit, the little guy who writes blogs because he's mad at the corruption, the greed, the theft, the waste, the, well, you name it. How can I help this group? And where is the community? Those faceless ones who keep their low profile and just pay their bills. If they wont even respond to my blogs how can I/We expect them to pay attention to what this group has set its goals to accomplish. Perhaps we cant. Perhaps I/We can or will have to try to drag them from their complacency. That probably wont work either because they have been brainwashed to "ACCEPT". If there are any of you out there that can pull yourselves away from your tv and the exciting things Oprah and her ilk are pumping you with and merely ask, "HUH?" Maybe there is hope. As you know, I am pretty much of a skeptic and cynic and on this subject I remain skeptical and cynical. YOU arent going to say or do anything and it will remain to the few, the incredibly few, to try to do at least something! Well, we'll go ahead and try it, attend meetings with Councils, Districts and whatnot it, for no other reason, to let them know by God we are here and we are watching your greed at work. BUT, if you are looking at your own income and getting madder, and I hope you are, then you will ask a question, call someone, stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore". How do you think the Tea Party got started? Just this way. If you have any concerns, any thoughts, any questions or just want to stand up, take a look at the website, "eastcountytaxhawks.web.com.". I cant continue to believe that I am the only one suffering here.  David Stanley

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