Friday night - what a week! Here are my random thoughts tonight:
LISD Salary Schedules
Want to know what your public servants at Lewisville ISD earn? LISD has a Salary Schedule posted. But if you're looking at that $18 million shortfall and wondering if there is any administrative fat to cut, don't expect to see any superintendant salaries there. At some point, I'll request that, but for now it's one battle at a time.
Cholesterol and Fatness
I'm seriously starting to get to the point where my body is rebelling from me. I have this tendency in my family for the men to gain weight right in the belly. That's where I've got it, and I hate it for all sorts of reasons.
Here lately, I've been thinking more and more that it's time to go vegetarian again. I've done it before and felt really healthy. Last night I got out the cook book and started looking up some recipes for vegetarian dishes. Today, Mamask8z went to the grocery store and re-stocked us on veggies, so tomorrow hopefully I'll cook something healthy.
Tonight I logged in to carterbloodcare.org and checked on my cholesterol level as of my last donation, and although I was down from the 247 mg/dL from last time, I was still at 226, which is not too healthy. I really need to work on healthy eating. I've been trying to take B vitamins and fish oil daily, but at some point, it's just gonna come down to getting off my ass and going for a run. It's gonna take passing up that hamburger and eating a salad once in a while.
Texas Open Meetings Act - TOMA
I've been reading up and studying the Texas Open Meetings Act lately. As you may recall a couple of weeks ago, the LISD Board slipped up and held an illegal meeting. I didn't view it as a criminal act so much as it was an inconsiderate act that was contrary to the public interest.
Anyhow, on Monday night, the Lewisville City Council held a closed session to meet with the City Attorney Ron Neiman to discuss whether to join in as plaintiffs on a lawsuit being considered by Alpine City Attorney Ron Ponton. The lawsuit, if filed, would challenge provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act that can trigger criminal charges for inadvertant violations of the act.
Basically the issue is that the Texas Open Meetings act defines a meeting as any gathering of a quorum of elected officials where official business (or items related to the body's authority) are discussed. The concern is that in 2004 two members of the Alpine City Council were indicted (although charges were later dropped) for merely sending and responding to email where a majority of the Council was cc'd and there was discussion of whether to put an item on the agenda. This has resulted in a good bit of paranoia on the part of local governments, and it has resulted in elected officials being afraid to blog about their thoughts on city business.
City Secretary Julie Heinze confirmed that Council took no action on the lawsuit at this time. But a recent article in the Abilene Reporter News says that at least one Lewisville Councilman has joined in the suit. Over the past couple of days, I've been calling and emailing our Council Members to see who it might have been. I've yet to confirm which members have signed on, though I have heard from several who were not aware that individuals could sign on. None would comment on the closed-session deliberations on the matter. (of course)
As you can imagine, I have some thoughts on the law, and ways to balance the first amendment rights of the Councilmen with the right of the public to see their business being transacted transparently. I hope to be able to publish something substantial on that soon.
Last night I did a one hour online training course offered by the Texas Attorney General. It was a pretty good resource, and you can download and print a certificate of training when you're done. You can also download the full handbook.
The kids' bearded dragon "Ron" bit me the other day. I discovered that Ron likes pomegranite. I grabbed small chunk of pomegranite from the fridge and brought it to his cage. Funny thing was that he acted as if he knew what it was, and he just started striking at it and eating it as fast as he could. Unfortunately my hand got in the way of his feast, and the little bugger got me on the pinky. His teeth are tiny, so it barely scratched my skin, but it was alarming nonetheless.
I got in a bit of trouble today in a conversation on Facebook. There was a discussion about the use of Ethanol as a motor fuel, specifically with GM cars and trucks, since they have a large fleet of E-85 capable vehicles.
I basically made the comment that I thought the hype over ethanol was greenwashing. Maybe it wasn't the best use of the term, but it made a GM employee pretty pissed off at me. What I meant to say is that because ethanol from corn requires valuable farm land to grow, and because the energy inputs required to produce it can be up to 90% of the energy that it provides, I think it's more about the perception of being green than actually being "green".
I suppose what I really mean to say is that it seems to me that a lot of times we fail to focus on the big picture and take the course of action that provides the most impact. You do get some marketing buzz and a nifty logo when you make a car E85 compatible, but it just doesn't do much impact on fuel consumption.
For a lot of us who believe in conservation, it's easy to fall into a trap of sort of doing those things that are novel or unique, or that make an outward statement of our beliefs, but sometimes we lose track of the bigger picture.
I think the mantra of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE is the most meaningful thing to keep in mind. Not only are these 3 R's correct, but they're in the right order.
Where am I going with this? Let me give an example: Plastic grocery bags.
We conservationists truly fret over grocery bags, don't we? They're virtually indestructable and non-biodegradable. They blow around and get in trees and junk up the place. All of that is a given. So what do we do? Apparently we buy reusable shopping bags now. And we definitely recycle any plastic bags that we get because we forgot to bring our cloth bags. This is all good - don't get me wrong. But I think we do this mostly because it feels good. If we all wanted to make more impact, we would start with the REDUCE part of it.
Think about all the crap we buy that has excessive plastic packaging around it - much of which simply can't be recycled or reused like bags can. We can avoid buying products with excessive packaging. We can work harder to REDUCE, then we won't have to worry about REUSE or recycling. The 20 plastic bags you may get from a trip to Kroger may amount to a couple of grams of plastic, but the plastic containers that prepared food items come in account for much more waste.
My thought is that with every consumer decision we make, it benefits us to think about the impact. Bottled water costs a lot of fuel to ship, wastes a lot of plastic to package, and gives you virtually nothing you can't get safely from your city water supply.
I'm not saying to obsess over it, or to be guilt-ridden if you decide that you just HAVE to have that 12 pack of imported bottled beer. I'm just saying we should work at making better choices, and think about the impact of these choices in a world with declining resources.
Well, anyhow, I'm rambling. I guess I'm tired. I should be reading instead of writing tonight. Take care, and I'll type at ya later.