It’s Thursday today, and honestly it’s pretty slow. Well pack up the kids or take a late lunch break to visit the Queen Anne Farmers Market. The Queen Anne Farmers Market opens at 3pm and goes until 7:30pm tonight. The market offers a wide selection of food, plants, and entertainment to keep you busy. More importantly you’ll experience a little sunshine, breath some fresh air, and get out of the house. The Queen Anne Farmers Market features about 40 farmers/vendors selling their freshes supply available. Make a trip to 1 Crockett St in Seattle and experience some of the freshes food in town.
Hold on to your wallets. Seattle has created a “Seattle Transportation Benefit District”. This will consist of 9 Seattle city council members. One thing they are tinkering with is raising car tab fees. It will be divided up as follows.
- an $80 vehicle license fee, with:
- 50% of the revenue would go to transit
- 30% of the revenue would go to street maintenance
- 20% of the revenue would go to pedestrian, neighborhood, and bicycle improvements.
This message came out in “The Reader” that Mayor Mike McGinn sends out which is very informative but which I seldom agree with. The Mayor is blaming the recession AND the Eyman initiatives for all the money problems. He says he has no money for basic street maintenance. How can that be? Look all over the city at the projects going on. These are not basic maintenance. They have torn up my whole street and re-doing it when it did not even have a pot hole. They must have a list or plan to tear up a street every few years or who knows if they even have a plan. But the money the transportation department squanders would pave a yellow brick road most anyplace. Instead it just raises our property tax, car license fees and anything else they can sqeak through without a vote. Look what the city council did with the tunnel that no one wants, no one can afford, and will be so dangerous only a fool would go in it. Not sure if they are putting a bike lane in it for the Mayor or not.
When you count on the government to fix the problem that the government created, it will never work. I am not against future planning, I am not against rebuilding things that need rebuilding but we have a bunch of buffo’s that seem to just sit and make a plan and then tell us “worker bees” we are going to get a new road, a new bridge, a new tunnel and it wont cost us a thing. The city will pay and X amount, the state will kick in a few millions, then the good old Federal Government will surely write a check for the rest. They have not told most of the sheep out here that the money tree is really their own pocket. They count on you being so busy with going to work, and your family that you just pay your taxes and stay quiet. BUT right now people have lost their jobs, taxes are maxed but the planners are still planning away.
We need 9 council members that think like Tim Eyman and Elizabeth Campbell and there would be some changes in the city’s spending. The transit drivers are the third highest paid in the nation. That should change. The salaries they pay the people in the transportation department are obscene. Top dog at DOT has a salary of $600,000 and picture what the whole department squanders away. The more they raise the taxes the more raises and bonuses they will get. They muddle it by saying that appropriations committee set the funds aside, or they have to spend millions of city/state dollars to get federal funds but you never hear a thing about government efficiency.
“The Reader” said the Mayor and City Council members want to hear from you. Please contact them. Their addresses are on our website for your convenience here. If enough people start to complain someone will hear about it. Right now any letter I have written to the council members or my congressman had resulted in a boiler plate answer, one size fits all. I could have written a letter saying the “neighbors hamster peed on my lawn”, or tell them to put aside their “funding packages until the recession is over’, and I would have gotten the same answer from them. I want to give credit where credit is due. Mayor McGinn sends a boiler plate letter first but you do get a personal e mail that mentions what you had written him about.
The United States Postal Service posted a loss of 3.1 billion dollars for the months of April – June 2011. Total losses for the year are now at 5.7 billion dollars. Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, keeps saying that aggressive actions are being taken to reduce their costs due to less customer demand but obviously his “aggressive actions” are not enough. I do know, however, that every year the postal rates continue to increase more and more. Did you really think that you could continue raising your stamp rates and expect the public and technology to just stand by the sidelines doing nothing?
The reality is technology destroyed the United States Post Office and it maybe to late to save it. Banks have setup free payment options that make it extremely easy for everyone to get their bills paid ontime. Many digital PO Boxes are now available where your physical mail is delivered to them and with just a click of a mouse you can shread, read online, and/or forward your mail back if wanted. The monthly cost is very small for the service. The Internet has setup their own payment options (like Paypal) which allow people to send money to an email address instead of the post office.
Our mailing and payment technology only continues to get better while the USPS continues to operate with an older mindset. In short, like any business you must grow and adapt to public wants and newer creative technology. Newer and better services are created because the current one in place lacks features or has become outdated (and increasingly expensive). That is how our capitalistic World works folks. They have failed due to their lack of technology upgrades (and services they could have provided to the public). Since they had a monopoly pretty much in the postal niche they could have really capitalized on it – but they didn’t.
I’m sure their solution to this problem will be to raise postal stamps again. They will also try to limit the days mail is delivered which will cause more damage for them. What they should be doing is investing and building out better technology. They need to create services like the ones above that let businesses (local or international) open PO Boxes in any state for a monthly fee. It should allow customers/companies access to their mail online without having to go to the mail box. Do they realize how much money they would make with a service like that? Less gas, employees, trucks, and billing (it’s automated!). How about a monthly service that pushes all your physical mail to your email address? Millions of people (maybe hundreds of millions) would order that service for $12 bucks a month. It would save people time, gas, miles, money, envelopes, etc plus it would be more secure. Hell think if you made that service a global service where international companies could order one (capturing global currency revenue). That is some serious hands free and automated revenue. Many parents have a hard time packing up the kids just to go the post office or store and the monthly fee is easily worth it for them.
There is still opportunities available to make it work for the USPS. However, technology will destroy them if major innovated changes are not made quickly. Out the old and in with the new!