Learning To Say No!

11 years as a Congressional Field Representative taught me a very valuable life lesson – How to say No!

Constituents wanted a speaker, a ribbon cutter, a grant writer, coach, project coordinator, and problem solver. And why not the Congressman’s aide? During those eleven years I helped individuals and groups, cities, counties and special districts with every conceivable problem. We built bridges, found a bridge to buy, dedicated wildlife refuges, saved U.S. Coast Guard Services, got special funding for docks, ports, dams, and parks. Each project had one specific characteristic – it matched the Congressman’s goals.

During those eleven years I read a number of excellent books on management, leadership, and time management. I don’t remember which one had the magic phrase for me, but it’s stuck after all these years. When someone calls, writes, or drops by and has a request for some use of your time go ahead and use the phrase I’ll have to check my schedule, but instead check your goals.

Does the event, project, time, speech, etc. further your goals, and in that case it was the goals of the Congressman? When the answer was yes I took the project on personally. If it didn’t I found someone or agency to help them meet their goal. It wasn’t so much that I needed to help them, just getting them help when they had no idea where to turn was the answer.

This week’s theme is “Don’t be afraid to say no”. The power of establishing boundaries is critical to everyone’s well being. Don’t let people talk you into doing things you don’t really want to do. Conversely, when you take on a project to help others, don’t let them down. Put all your energy into helping them achieve their goal. You’ll find your time is better spent and you won’t feel guilty because you learned to say no.

Garfield County School District, UT – Usage Fees run amuck!!!

When school districts forget about people and become just another government agency they need reminders like this.  I wrote this at the request of Jason Porter.  I hope it helps.
Garfield County School District
Superintendent: ben.dalton@garfk12.org
cc:  Business Administrator: kevin.orton@garfk12.org
cc:  School Board Rep: kenp@scinternet.net
 
I salute you in your efforts to standardize the building rental policy and procedures in an attempt to obtain fairness and equality.  That works in urban districts where the environments are equal.  It does not work in districts with isolated communities.
 
Small rural districts have unique challenges because of limited resources, volunteers and funding.  This requires partnerships with cities, businesses, and volunteers.  Escalante has always stepped up to those challenges.
 
When Fire Station #1 was built in Town Center Park it displaced the “ball park”.  The school district partnered with the volunteers and allowed unused and undeveloped property to be developed for the purpose of a “ball park” for the bantom league.  There was, to my knowledge, no discussion about fees, etc.,  it was a community effort.  When Potato Valley Lions Club donated $750 for materials to build the dugouts, there was no discussion of usage fees.  When the business community donated  time and equipment to level the field, install fencing, and grade an access road, there was no mention of fees.  And when efforts by members of various organizations helped the district lay water pipe for irrigation water, they didn’t ask to get paid.
 
I believe you need to revisit your decision regarding the excessive, on-going fees that are being proposed for use of the “community field”.  Liability insurance needs to be provided by those using the field, but in good faith the school board needs, in my opinion, to recognize the hundreds of dollars of in-kind work and other funds and allow use of the field by the bantom program for a set amount of time without additional fees.  It should not be forever, but it should be fair.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Jana Hassett,
Past President – Potato Valley Lions Club
Escalante Business Owner

“Canceling Policies was Built Into Obamacare”

A month or so ago my youngest daughter called,  her insurance company had cancelled her because of Obamacare.  She has some major health issues and getting cancelled was very scarey.  What if she couldn’t get another policy?  Was the coverage the same? How expensive would it be?  Should she just pay the penalty?  All good questions, but I had no answers.  She had spent hours trying to get into healthcare.gov, to no avail.  What now?
She ultimately decided to go ahead and sign up for the new policy at higher premiums just to be sure she had coverage, but she was not happy about the hit to her budget.
The President is now so concerned about his credibility that he’s willing to “allow” insurance companies to sell the old policies, but he has no authority to alter the terms of the law, only Congress can do that.  But just what the emporer wants, nothing more and nothing less.  He knows the right answer, even if he never asked the right questions.
This week’s Bloomberg Business article on page 37 tells the truth, the part President Obama doesn’t want to tell – Cancelling policies was built into Obamacare – or the insurance companies weren’t interested in playing.
As the article states, “In Obamacare’s central bargain, insurance companies agreed to stop turning people away or charging them more for costly health conditions in exchange for everyone buying a minimum level of coverage.”  Plain and simple, more Robinhood.  We’ll take from the rich and take care of the poor.  That only works in fables.  Once Americans realized they were going to pay for coverage they didn’t need, want and couldn’t afford the President’s credibility dropped like a rock.  And since that’s more important than what happens to average, hard-working Americans, he’s trying to get it fixed.
Frankly, I don’t see Congress playing along.  Because the President is just playing more politics instead of concentrating on policies.  It saddens me to watch Pres. Obama continually downgrade the creditbility of our country.  His lack of ability to create and enforce policy and procedures and hold people accountable is pitiful and a disgrace to all those who came before us to work hard to establish the credibility of our Country.
All these outcomes from his failed leadership will come back to haunt our Children and Grandchildren.  His election was a popularity contest, not a discussion about his ability to lead and that’s what voters got – not policy, not procedures, not accountability.  So now that the country wants to hold him accountable he hasn’t a clue what to do.  How about admitting that all the President had to do in 2009 was tell the truth.  As Bloomberg’s article ended – “The Bottom Line – Months ago the administration hinted that some health plans would be canceled but played it down.”
As for the end result – will it be better as they claim?  We won’t know that for many years.  But be prepared to pay more for health care, have more restrictions on what kind of care the insurance companies will pay for and how often you can have your drugs.  That’s all going to be determined by Obamacare.

Control or Leadership?

Control

  • – to exercise authoritative or dominating influence over
  • – to have power over
  • – to direct the behavior of

Leadership

  • a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”

In psychology, Control Freak is a slang term that refers to a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done – usually those with Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.  Judith Orloff, MD,in her new book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life”  describes it as a person “who feels out of control and tends to become controllers.  Deep down, they’re afraid of falling apart, so they micromanage to bind anxiety”.  You can read her blog post at Psychology Today.

Compare that to the definition of leadership and the key word becomes accomplishment. Unless control is your ultimate goal and not  problem resolution, I guess you could say thats leadership. I don’t believe most Americans believe that. I believe they want leadership from their members of Congress and the US Senate, but most of all from President Obama.  Years of standing at a podium lecturing on legal issues and topics of the day have left him believing his title as Commander In Chief does not require compromise, discussion, or accomplishments.  All he seems to understand at this point is “a red line in the sand”.  Add  535 Members of Congress and the Senate and you get a recipe for the very disfuction we’re living through now.  Control – not leadership.

After 11 years of working in a Congressional office I know first hand the difference between control and leadership.  For instance, a CBS reporter asked Senate Pres. Reid if he has walked across the building or made any attempt to communicate with House Speaker Boehner.  His answer after he hemmed and hawwed for over a minute, with a smile was “I have done what I was asked to do”.  That is control not leadership.

So what was he asked to do and by whom?  One can only surmise it must be the head of the Democrats, President Obama.  Control is more important than accomplishments for the good of the people.   Directing the outcome has priority over resolution

.In United States history, the degree to which the President’s political party has control over the House of Representatives and Senate often determines his political strength – such as the ability to pass sponsored legislation, ratify treaties, and have Cabinet members and judges approved.  Moreover, it appears to have a strong effect on presidential popularity and historical ranking, especially in conjunction with years served and number of elections won.

With control over the Senate and 2 years with the House you would expect to see more accomplishments by this administration than there are.  And if POTUS spent 1/3 of the time he spends running around the country campaigning for one issue or another working with ALL members of congress he might learn how to lead so that others would follow!  I’m afraid he always gets out so far out in front he leaves himself open to get his tail end kicked – and the country with it.  How was President Clinton able to accomplish a great deal for our country without total control – he knew what leadership required.

At this rate, nothing is going to get resolved anytime soon unless Senator Reid and President Obama figure out what Leadership is.  They might look to Speaker Boehner for help.  You may not like what he’s doing, but he is leading.  So, maybe Michael Reagan is right – just wait.  By the first of the year the American people will recognize that Speaker Boehner is the only leader and they’ll be willing to follow.  You can read his article here.

PS.    Congressman DeFazio just sent via Facebook a list of agencies currently open.  Here it is:

Passports
Visas
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Veterans’ benefits and services
Active duty military members and families benefits and services
Customs and Border Protection
Patents and Trademarks
Social Security applications and appeals
IRS extensions, payments
Transportation Security Administration
Student Loans
FEMA
Overseas travel
Affordable Care Act implementation
Federal retirement services, disability claims
Workers compensation (federal)
Postal Service
Small business disaster assistance
Military Academies
Unemployment benefits

Harvest Moon and Sunflowers

It’s been a week that moves us away from Black & White, all or nothing, to thinking and accepting a full spectrum of colors, styles, values and emotions.  World affairs have reflected that as countries agreed on how to deal with a leader that needs supervision from their allies and enemies.  My perspective, which is biased because of Vietnam, is one that looks at the families on both sides.  How will war help the fatherless Syrian refugees and the fatherless US soldier families?  How does that feed them and put them through school?  And what does that give the single family parent left to deal with the loneliness, and challenges of raising a child by herself (himself)?  And how does that provide funds for veterans that have sacrificed everything for their country to be sent home and left to their own devices?

So many Hats for Vets have been made and donated to the homeless Veterans living on the street that have PTSD or other mental disorders because of war.  We can spend money on weapons for overseas but we cannot spend it on our mentally ill.  I wish we had all the money donated to Environmental Organizations to spend on the mentally ill.

www.tracyhphotography.com

Sunflower at the Adobe Wall

Since that won’t happen, we’ve worked our way through an August Moon and the September Harvest Moon (and the fall equinox) and the power of summer.  Between the Farmers Market and a friend’s garden I acquired enough vegetables yesterday for soup.  It’ll slow cook today and feed us many nights.  My thanks to all those who spend their time feeding the rest of us.  As the Sunflowers dot the landscape and the Festival of First Fruits brought families together to celebrate the Corn Tree, their giver of life, we make and give yellow dishrags as gifts of thanks.

My husband knows how I love Sunflowers so he recently created this image and gave it to me 16 x 20 for my kitchen Sunflower collection.  He’s a keeper.  You can see his work at tracyhphotography.com.