Bruce’s Poor Man’s Recession Bulletin
Your choice for usable Urban Survival Resources
In this Issue:
· New online sources of extra income
· Goat herder makes cash
· A city which outsources everything & SURVIVES
· What’s wrong with government
· Fixing our country-what would you differently?
The American writer and satirist, Sam Ewing, once observed that inflation "is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars...back when you still had hair."
Banging the Customer & Other Thoughts
My brother is a loss prevention manager for a large multi-national retail outlet and he used to tell me of a concept called “banging the customer.” Prevalent among convenience stores, the clerk would lay a package of gum or other candy on the counter and leave it there all day. Each time a customer with several items checked out, the gum would be rung up too.
The price of that gum might only be 50 cents, but it adds up day in and day out and if a customer caught it, the clerk could easily profess innocence and the charge would be refunded.
If you use eBay’s free TurboLister program for your listings, you may have noticed a similar problem in that it frequently adds on gallery listing fees, which apparently a lot of folks don’t catch. Colleagues of mine have caught this too and no one on eBay seems to have a clue and in most cases, does not respond. Several of us have deleted and reloaded the program and it still takes place…sure makes me wonder!
On another note…competing for customers and online marketing is more of a challenge today than ever before. There are tons of ‘gurus’ promising they have the solution to all of your online needs whether it’s figuring out Google’s new search engine methods or how to implement the 1001 various codes onto your website to achieve greater glory.
In many respects, online marketing requires more work than promoting a local retail store…but we all try to set ourselves apart from competitors and to get the word out there about our services…in that vein, the Poor Man added another interactive community to his arsenal through AARP which now offers a Groups section where anyone can create an interactive online presence. In my case, the Poor Man Survivor community on AARP is another means of promoting our cause!
Fixing our country...What would you differently?
Perhaps you have a cause you’d like to promote, something which caters to the over-50 community. Take a peek at www.AARP.org and go to their Online Community section.
· Here’s what’s posted to the discussion "Fixing our country...What would you differently?" in Poor Man Survivor
Finally, a reminder to new and existing subscribers, you can place your free ads, wants, offers, etc. directly to the group home page at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BruceBulletin
New Resources we like…Feel Free to share these with your friends! Most folks are always seeking ways to supplement their income & we share these resources freely but always use caution with ANY program.
Everyone has something to share. Use this site to share your expertise & earn some cash for yourself or your favorite charity.
More legitimate ways to earn extra cash online
Voice your opinion & get paid at:
American Consumer Opinion – www.ACOP.com or www.MySurvey.com
Become a Spy & get paid for it at these sites…if you have an eye for fashion you can become a mystery shopper at www.GAPbuster.com or if you love food, try www.RestaurantCops.com
Share and find even more resources on making ends meet at this blog:
Play games for cash – try these sites:
New FTC Rules Further Consumer Protection
It’s been 30 years since the FTC has updated its rules and this video covers many of the new online issues we face. Click on our Consumer Help tab to view the video
What do I sell (on eBay)…it’s been increasingly more difficult to source products that can be sold for a profit on eBay but this gal provides sourcing and how-to…she’s also a featured eBay speaker via teleseminars. Get her 15-part course free here:
“The government already owns 1 out of every 3 acres in the U.S. — 1 out of every 2 acres in the West”--Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Small Farmer & Goat Herder Creates
Successful Soap Biz
Behind every farm there is a unique story and for Mike and Shannon Wiggins it all started with a couple goats. Their daughter became involved in 4H and they soon learned what exactly would need to be done if they wanted to be seen as a serious farm. After registering with the A.D.G.A they became Galloping Goats Farm and home to a variety of different goats. After a while Shannon soon began to realize the potential behind the milk. Tapping into her creativity she launched Washington Goat Milk Soap. Made in her kitchen with only the best ingredients, her soaps are a natural choice for anyone whether or not they live in the Washington area. Read the rest of the interview and find other examples of what folks are doing to generate extra cash during these tough times at our BootStrapBiz section of our site: www.PoorManSurvival.com
Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation http://www.tbotech.com/cmd.asp?af=1126539
Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for $100 or less. http://tinyurl.com/PMEnergy
Terrific site for resources and green, eco-friendly goods http://www.growandmake.com?ref=71
Don’t Get Caught With Your Pantry Down – the all time best book on family preparedness has been updated & now includes an online video segment as well. Highly recommended 11th Edition. http://tinyurl.com/PMBasics
Make enough laws and you create more criminals.
More criminals equals more control & the court
System becomes another taxing authority as well
Local government says it can't cut expenses? The New York Times:
A City Outsources Everything. Sky Doesn't Fall.
MAYWOOD, Calif. - Not once, not twice, but three times in the last two weeks, Andrew Quezada says, he was stopped and questioned by the authorities here.
Mr. Quezada, a high school student who does volunteer work for the city, pronounced himself delighted.
"I'm walking along at night carrying an overstuffed bag," he said, describing two of the incidents. "I look suspicious. This shows the sheriff's department is doing its job."
Chalk up another Maywood resident who approves of this city's unusual experience in municipal governing. City officials last month fired all of Maywood's employees and outsourced their jobs.
While many communities are fearfully contemplating extensive cuts, Maywood says it is the first city in the nation in the current downturn to take an ax to everyone.
The school crossing guards were let go. Parking enforcement was contracted out, City Hall workers dismissed, street maintenance workers made redundant. The public safety duties of the Police Department were handed over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
At first, people in this poor, long-troubled and heavily Hispanic city southeast of Los Angeles braced for anarchy.
Senior citizens were afraid they would be assaulted as they walked down the street. Parents worried the parks would be shut and their children would have nowhere to safely play. Landlords said their tenants had begun suggesting that without city-run services they would no longer feel obliged to pay rent.
The apocalypse never arrived. In fact, it seems this city was so bad at being a city that outsourcing - so far, at least - is being viewed as an act of municipal genius.
"We don't want to be the model for other cities to lay off their employees," said Magdalena Prado, a spokeswoman for the city who works on contract. "But our residents have been somewhat pleased."
The reaction is all the more remarkable because this is not a feel-good city. City Council hearings run hot, council members face repeated recall efforts and city officials fight in public. "You single-handedly destroyed the city," the city treasurer told the City Council at its most recent meeting.
Four years ago, in what was probably the high-water mark of acrimony in Maywood, a deputy city clerk was arrested and accused of soliciting a hit man to kill a city councilman. The deputy clerk, Hector Duarte, was concerned that his salary might be reduced or his job eliminated during a previous round of bad fiscal times; he was sentenced to a year in jail and six months of anger management counseling.
This time, the councilman, Felipe Aguirre, has received no threats and has seen remarkably little anger. "This is a very bad economy," said Mr. Aguirre, who like the mayor and fellow council members receives a stipend from the city of $347 every two weeks. Even if city employees lose their benefits, he said, "very good workers are still going to hang around."
Jose B. Garcia, an assistant city planner, will now be working on contract. "I still have a job," he said. "In that sense, I can't complain too much."
Maywood, which covers slightly more than one square mile, is one of the most densely populated cities in the country. The official population of 30,000 is believed to considerably understate the actual total of about 50,000.
It has some of the ills that plague other cities. Property taxes, a primary source of revenue, have declined to $900,000 from $1.2 million in 2007. Sales taxes have also dropped. But Maywood's biggest problem by far has been its police department.
A report by the state attorney general last year concluded the culture of the department "is one permeated with sexual innuendo, harassment, vulgarity, discourtesy to members of the public as well as among officers, and a lack of cultural, racial and ethnic sensitivity and respect."
The budget for the Police Department last year was nearly $8 million, more than half of Maywood's revenues. The contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will cost about half of that. Insurance premiums for the city have fallen to $200,000 from $1 million.
The deputies have already engendered good will, Councilman Aguirre said, by cracking down on a local hotel that was a haven for prostitution.
One reason for the general enthusiasm might lie in the fact that many of the nonpolice workers have been rehired on contract, so in some cases the faces encountered by the public remain the same. In other words, no one has noticed much going wrong because there was not much to notice in the first place.
The five crossing guards, for instance, are doing the same work but are paid by a security company.
And it is possible the bad news is just slow in arriving. Maywood has dabbled in contracting before, and it has run awry in some instances. Skeptics cited the example of two handball courts in a Maywood park. City officials said it cost an outsized sum - hundreds of thousands of dollars - for a contractor to build three concrete walls.
Jerald Bennett was on his way to the $2 seniors' lunch at the bustling Maywood recreational center when another car made an illegal turn and almost rammed him. "It seems like that sort of thing is happening more and more," he said. "They're not patrolling the streets."
For others, however, the celebration here is practically palpable. Freed from its employees, Maywood has nowhere to go but up, they say.
"Remember the Soviet Union?" said Hector Alvarado, who heads a civic advocacy group. "They had a lot of bureaucracy, and they lost. Maywood was like that. Now people know if they don't work, they will be laid off. Much better this way."
What’s Wrong W/ Government
*Can any city afford this? It's not just the state of California that's facing overwhelming budget problems. Many of the municipalities in the Golden State are, too. Here's one reason why: In the city of Oakland, 1,149 people work for the police department. Of that number, more than half earn more than $100,000 a year. Last year, the top four wage-earners in the department were regular policemen. Each made more than $225,000 for the year—including $100,000 in overtime. Maybe crime doesn't pay; but fighting it sure can. Read the follow excerpt…
BELL, Calif. – Three administrators whose huge salaries sparked outrage in this small blue-collar suburb of Los Angeles have agreed to resign, the City Council said Friday.
Council members emerged from an hours-long closed session at midnight Friday and announced that they'd accepted the resignations of Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia and Police Chief Randy Adams.
Rizzo was the highest paid at $787,637 a year — nearly twice the pay of President Barack Obama — for overseeing one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County.
Spaccia makes $376,288 a year and Adams earns $457,000, 50 percent more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. More-http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100723/ap_on_re_us/us_bell_salaries
…No parting thoughts for this issue…well maybe even though the above should highlight why so many Americans are sick of government and how it has screwed the public. Consider the following as our parting thoughts for this issue.
Costs got out of hand. The United States has one of the least extensive social welfare systems. (It makes up for it with military spending.) Yet, its basic figures are not much different from those of most European states. The US has a current deficit equal to about 12% of GDP and has debt approaching 100% of GDP. If you include state and local debt, as well as the under-funded liabilities of its pension and health care plans, the total rises to more than 500%. In other words, future generations will have to devote 5 years' worth of total US output in order to pay for benefits awarded by a previous generation of politicians.
Until we meet again, that’s the scoop of the week.
Yours for better living,
Bruce ‘The Poor Man’
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