Saturday, March 31, 2007

Case In Point By Joe Koester, Councilman Ward 9

“ Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”
Mahatma Gandhi

It’s that time of week again to sit down and put a few thoughts onto paper for the local paper. I appreciate hearing from everyone who calls or writes to share his or her thoughts. Usually, I do not know what I’m going to write about until I sit down and begin. The subjects I write about are sometimes about national, state, or local politics, sometimes just about our town, and sometimes just
observances made that week.

This week I will just put down a poem and see if any reader knows the author. As Click and Clack on Car Talk always say, “Send your answer on a $20 bill to…” Actually, just email: with “Poem Contest” in the subject line.

The Sounds Unheard by Man

“I have heard the moon’s beams
Sweeping the waters, making a sound
Like threads of silver, wept upon.
I have heard the scratch of the
Pulsing stars, and the purring sound
Of the slow moon as she rolled across
The Night, I have heard the shadows
Slapping the waters, and the licking
Sound of the wave’s edge as it sinks
Into the sand upon the shore.

I have heard the sunlight  as it pierced
The gloom  with a golden bar, which
Whirred  in a voice of myriad colors.
I have heard the sound which lay
Between the arms  which danced in the
Golden Bar. I have heard the sound
Of the leaves reclining upon their
Cushions of air, and the swish of the willow
Tassels as the wind whistled upon them.
And the sharp sound which the crawling
Mites proclaim upon the grasses’ blades,
And the multitude of sounds which lie
At the root of things. Oh, I have heard
The song of resurrection which each seed
Makes as it spurs. I have heard the sound
Of the night’s first shadow, when it
Intermingles with the day, and the
Rushing sound of Morning’s wings as she
Flies over the Eastern gateway.

All of these I heard, yet man
Hath not an ear for them, Behold,
The miracle He hath writ within me;
Letting the chord of imagination strum!”

Okay, I have to admit this Case in Point is sort of the lazy man’s way out, but hey, I’m busy and it is a pretty good poem anyhow.
In the next edition the author will be revealed along with those who submit the correct answer to the FCN.

Response to Negative Campaign Material sent out the last week before the election:

When I ran for state rep. this past year, I was frustrated with a mailer that was sent out against me just before the election that called me a liar. The mailer offered nothing to back up their statement, it was just name-calling that is, sadly, typical of the election process. When you decide to run for council you are offered an opportunity to sign a pledge that says you will run a clean campaign. Everyone currently running signed this pledge.
Of course, “clean” is a very subjective term. Let me show you what I mean. A mailer you received on Wednesday or Thursday stated that I “supported a proposal to disqualify seniors from utility tax breaks.” Welcome to semantics class 101. What the mailer wants you to read is that all seniors would be disqualified. What the writers of the mailer knowingly misrepresents is that a limited amount of money was made available for utility tax rebates so I proposed allocating the limited dollars to the most needy seniors based upon income. The $200 cap I wanted also made certain that the tax dollars were going to the most seniors possible. True, if you are 65 and have a 6,000 square foot house and your utility taxes run you $100 per month – you would be disqualified from receiving more than $200 in tax refunds. The fact of the matter is, almost no senior received more than $200 in tax refunds in a one-year period anyway. Another fact of the matter is that the current council put greater tax breaks for senior into place regardless how you see it – with or without limitations in place! The rest of the tax issues brought up on this mailer is just bizarre and talks about my stance on federal and state tax cuts? I would encourage you to go to: and read Case in Point from August 28, 2006.
Wait, the spin continues. I voted against the city budget that cut $6 million in wasteful spending. Do you think I voted against the budget because it cut $6 million in wasteful spending or perhaps because there were parts that were more wasteful or contained allocations for pork projects that I didn’t think we needed?
Next, it continues – I traveled to Las Vegas and Germany at the taxpayers’ expense. When I flew to Vegas for several days to attend a retailers’ convention where we could meet business reps from all over the country and hopefully entice some of those businesses to open up shop in town, I certainly did use my expense account money to attend this meeting. You see, if I had gone to Vegas to gamble (which I don’t) then it would have been a misuse of tax money. In fact, I kept appointments with different retail representatives, explored retailers that would fit well into our town and worked. Currently, I am working with a major developer on a project in our ward and the contact was a result of this trip. I did fly over once to Germany for the ten-year celebration of our sister city, Ludwigsburg along with the mayor and about half of council, the city clerk and the fire chief. I lived for years in Germany and in no way was 6 days in Germany and going from official ceremony to official ceremony the way I would spend my vacation. I turned down previous offers to go to Germany on the city’s dime because I thought the anniversary was the appropriate time for us to send a delegation.
Here’s one of the last spin pieces, “on public safety.” It was stated that I “failed to show for a key vote to crack down on sex offenders.” This ordinance passed, my failure to show up to this meeting had nothing to do with this ordinance. As each and every councilperson can tell you, sometimes you cannot make a meeting because of illness, family matters, etc. Not one councilperson has a perfect attendance record. I guess the spin from my opponent surprises me. I certainly felt that each of us would talk about our plans for ward 9 and not attempt to manipulate voting records that do not tell the whole story or worse still, purposefully misrepresent our voting records. You will hear it said that if it is too good to be true, it probably is. If you receive half-truths and outrages claims such as, “I oppose $186 million in state breaks” please take the time to email me so as Paul Harvey puts it, you can get “the rest of the story.”
Thank You!
Joe Koester
Councilman – Ward 9
Paid for by Committee to Elect Joe Koester