City Council Rejects Police Contract – But Will They Trim The Cost?

By Bill Oakey – December 14, 2017

The late-night vote to send the contract back to negotiations was unanimous. And unprecedented. It came after seven hours of heated public testimony from both sides in the debate. This is the first time a City Council has ever rejected a police contract. Here’s the bottom line…

We Have Until March 22 to Implore the City Council Not to Let the New Contract Double Our Property Taxes Every 9 Years!

This issue is also about improved public oversight of the police. But for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are struggling with the taxes we already pay, we face a very real danger. The police negotiators will continue to demand higher pay in exchange for the reforms in citizen oversight.

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

I ask everyone reading this to please grab a pen and write down eight critical words – How do they do it in other cities? Put that scrap of paper in your wallet or purse. Then, every time you meet a City Council member, pull out that note and read the critical question out loud – How do they do it in other cities? What’s wrong with the picture in the police contract discussions is this:

1. Austin already has the highest police salaries in the State of Texas.

2. Our standards for public oversight of police are among the lowest in the country.

What Were the Scariest Moments in Last Night’s Meeting?

Over and over again, I kept hearing the same line of talk. Look at these variations on a single theme, straight from the Council dais and from the lips of the speakers:

1. “If we add X number of officers over the next five years, how much money will be left in the General fund for other programs?”

2. “If these new benefits are kept in the contract, will we end up with more or less money to spend in the General Fund than we were able to spend this year?”

Every time I heard a question like that, I knew something scary that is fundamental for every taxpayer to know…

City Officials Are Assuming That Raising Property Taxes to the 8% Legal Maximum Is the New Normal!

When Council members asked, “Can we afford this in the police contract, or can we afford that,” here’s what they meant by “afford.” They wanted to know if the “leftover money” after the contract was paid would be enough to cover the other services that the City normally provides. Plus all the new spending items from goals that the Council has set. All of this assumes the same chilling fact. The City expects to hit the maximum allowed 8% property tax rate every year going forward. And if that happens, your City taxes will double every 9 years.

How Can We As Taxpayers Stop This Cost Spiral?

1. Email and call City Council members. Ask them to reduce the unaffordable pay raises in the police contract.

2. Ask them to establish more reasonable boundaries for the pay raises.

3. Ask them to communicate those boundaries to the police and the City negotiating staff BEFORE the negotiations even begin.

4. Above all, ask the City Council to let the negotiators know that bringing our police accountability standards up to the nationally accepted level DOES NOT require granting unaffordable pay raises!

5. Don’t ask the City Counci…Tell them…That there is no such thing as “leftover money” in the City Budget. They need to overhaul their thinking and adopt a whole new set of goals. Doubling our property taxes every 9 years MUST NOT be an option. Would everyone please pause and take a look at the subtitle of my blog at the top of this page. It says this…

Let’s Put the Public’s Ability to Pay Into Austin’s Planning Process

Every City Council member should ask themselves one little question before they tuck themselves into bed tonight…When was the last time period that most of their constituents got annual pay raises, year after year, equal to what they as taxpayers are giving to City employees? Then, let them drift peacefully off to sleep and have pleasant dreams.

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City Needs Vigorous Protections For Whistleblowers

By Bill Oakey, December 12, 2017

If anybody out there does not agree with the need to protect whistleblowers, they should keep reading and seriously rethink that position. Thanks to an excellent article by American-Statesman reporter, Elizabeth Findell, we learned late Friday that the City’s Ethics Review Commission has subpoenaed statements provided to the City Auditor’s office by a whistleblower, alleging wrongdoing by another City employee. The ethics panel’s new subpoena powers were just approved by the City Council six months ago. They felt it was necessary because of previous occasions where people whose ethics were under review either refused to cooperate with the commission, or pulled a no-show. (Can you say Don Zimmerman…)?

Now the pot is boiling at City Hall. The case at hand alleges that former police monitor, Margo Frasier, used her City computer to conduct some private consulting business. The City Auditor’s Office provides investigative support for all alleged cases of wrongdoing, from financial fraud to discrimination and harassment. Last month, the Ethics Review Commission voted 6-2 to subpoena the investigative auditor’s notes and records pertaining to the Frasier case. The Auditor’s Office turned their investigative records over to the commission. But so far, the whistleblower’s identity and direct statements have not been publicly revealed. This Thursday the City Council will revisit their decision to grant unlimited subpoena powers to the Ethics Review Commission.

Three Cheers for Kathie Tovo and Leslie Pool!

The Mayor Pro Tem and Council member told the Statesman that they feel strongly about the need to protect whistleblowers. Who would want to come forward if their names and faces will be flashed on the side of a building at the Next Big Festival? Who would want to risk retaliation by a supervisor or threats from the alleged wrongdoer, or both?

Hey Guys, the Taxpayers Have a Stake In This Deal

Waste, fraud and abuse can add up to a lot of our money. The distractions caused by inappropriate behavior and activities can ripple throughout an office and hamper the productivity of everyone there. So, I recommend that the City take whistleblower protection one step further. Not only should they be granted confidentiality, but he City needs to proactively encourage confidential reporting of misdeeds. I completely agree with City Auditor, Corrie Stokes. She told the Statesman that allowing the Ethics Review Commission to publicly disclose the names of whistleblowers would have a chilling affect on their willingness to come forward. Nathan Wiebe, Chief of Investigations for the City Auditor, gave me this quote for the blog: “If me don’t protect whistleblowers, then we put the entire system at risk.”

The City Council Should Consider Taking the Following Actions on Thursday

  1. Amend the ordinance granting subpoena powers to the Ethics Review Commission. Exclude whistleblowers and their attorneys, and redact their names from all notes and documents turned over to the Ethics Review Commission by the Auditor’s Office.
  2. Adopt a policy that all employees be required to receive training on how to recognize activities and behaviors that are prohibited under various governmental laws and City rules.
  3. Provide written assurance to all employees that they can freely report misconduct to the City Auditor’s office, and be granted full confidentiality throughout any investigations or proceedings by any City department or citizen panel empowered by the City.
  4. Establish a guiding principle throughout the City organization that employees have a duty to protect the public and their tax dollars by discouraging improper activities and behaviors, and encouraging the reporting of such, with full faith that the employees’ identities will not be disclosed.
  5. Adopt policies and procedures to identify false reporting of misdeeds, and establish penalties for those responsible.

The City Attorney could advise the City Council on various strategies and best practices that have worked successfully in The World Outside of Austin (my favorite place to look when doing blog research).

I contacted the City Auditor’s office to learn more about their interactions with the Ethics Review Commission. Their office routinely sends staff to attend commission meetings to speak and answer questions. When needed, the audit staff can communicate further between commission meetings. This arrangement gives the commission sufficient information to determine whether to assess penalties or recommend prosecution. And it keeps any whistleblowers at the proper arm’s-length distance from public view.

Let’s Not Forget One Other Thing

Thursday is also the delayed final date for the Big Decision that I blogged about recently. The City Council…lucky them…will get to decide whether to protect the City Budget’s General Fund and stay within the legal maximum property tax increases for years to come. I’m talking about the huge pay raises in the unaffordable police contract.

Update: The City Has Changed the Date and Time of the Police Contract Agenda Item to 3:00 Today

The Council may have to lean on each other for support, in order to do the right thing. That would be to send the parties back to the negotiating table. I won’t be brave enough to watch the dramatic vote live on TV. Any of the Stephen King movies saved on my DVR would be less scary to watch!

Musical and Poetic Accompaniment for This Blog Piece

The auditing profession received a serious black eye in 2002 when some of the firm, Arthur Andersen’s auditors were found guilty of criminal charges in the notorious Enron scandal. There should have been a song written about it. But since there wasn’t, I took that chore upon myself and composed a satire of the Bobby Darin hit, “If I Were a Carpenter.”

If I Were an Auditor, By Bill Oakey

If I were an auditor
And you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway
Would you have my baby

If accounting were my trade
Would you still find me
Covering the tracks I made
Following behind me

Save your love through loneliness
Save your love for sorrow
Baby help me get out of this place
Help me face tomorrow

If I dipped my hands in fraud
Would you still love me
Answer me babe, yes I would
I’d place you above me

If I were a CEO
With a big jet flying
Would you run my shredder for me
While I’m testifying

Save your love through loneliness
Save your love for sorrow
Now it’s time for me for me to leave this world
I can’t face tomorrow

If I were an auditor
And you were a lady
Would you bury me anyway
And take care of my baby (!)

Would You Vote For $600 Million In City Bond Projects – Every Year For Five Years In A Row?

By Bill Oakey, December 6, 2017

Think of our city as one big extended family. That family has to look out for each of its members. Now, put that into context with your own family. The holiday shopping season is now underway. Your inbox overflows with tempting cyber-this and hyper-that offers. All you have to do is type in your credit card number and click…

But somewhere in the pit of your stomach, you know it’s not quite that simple. Your family has to stay within a budget. You and your spouse, the kids, and the other folks on your shopping list  can only have what your family can afford. Unless, that is, you are reckless enough to pile on the debt and t refuse to take it seriously.

In 2014, Austin voters faced a billion dollar bond election for one sliver of a citywide urban rail system. We were told then that it would double the City’s outstanding debt. We voted against those bonds for several reasons, even though many of us support rail in a general transportation plan. So, here we are three years later. The City’s Bond Election Review Task Force really is considering $3 billion in bond-funded projects over the next five years.

Look at the big picture here. Where does that leave Travis County? What about AISD, ACC and Central Health? And where does it keave us as taxpayers? The City Budget is so tight that its share of our property taxes are in danger of doubling in nine years. And with new debt on top of that, it could be even worse.

I was a little rough on AISD in a recent blog posting. When their CFO reached out to me, I softened just a little, and requested a meeting to talk things over. Wish me luck as I try to convince AISD to stay very close to their low estimate on the cost to refurbish their new headquarters building.

Let’s try to end this on a brighter note. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt gets it. In fact, here’s how she painted the picture when we discussed the long list of “needs” that our local governments think they have to have. She said this, “If you load too many ornaments on the Christmas tree, it will topple over.” Then she graciously accepted the challenge to work with the City, starting early next year on a “Go Big” on affordability initiative. I have since received some positive signals from City Council members.

Enjoy the holidays with your family. But don’t click too many of those online offers without remembering your wallet!

Musical Accompaniment for This Blog Piece

1. “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” – Elmo & Patsy
2. “Christmas In Jail” – Asleep at the Wheel
3. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” – Gayla Peevey
4. “Nuttin’ for Christmas” – Barry Gordon
5. “The Twelve Gifts of Christmas” – Allan Sherman
6. “Monster Holiday” – Lon Chaney
7. “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” – Spike Jones
8. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Jimmy Boyd

Toll Lanes On I-35 Are The Wrong Solution

Commentary: Why toll lanes for I-35 are the wrong solution

By Bill Oakey – Special to the American-Statesman

Posted: 6:12 a.m. Saturday, December 02, 2017

What part of “no” do some public officials not understand? Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick put the kibosh on more toll lanes for several Texas Department of Transportation projects, including Interstate 35. Almost immediately, state Sen. Kirk Watson and other area politicians cried foul. They insist that state money simply isn’t available to build all the free highway lanes needed in major urban areas.
I believe that an all-or-nothing position in favor of managed toll lanes is a recipe for disaster. On I-35, here’s what would happen with four new managed toll lanes and no increase in the current number of free lanes:

• Traffic will back up far worse than it is today, with four lanes restricted by managed tolls. The population projections for the Central Texas region are huge. The demand for more car lane capacity will increase exponentially.

• Trying to pretend that the demand is not there by discouraging travel with managed toll lanes will result in a water-torture type disaster. Over time, the peak toll rates on I-35 will climb to $14 per one-way trip, as they have in Florida and elsewhere — on roads with more free lanes and fewer NAFTA trucks than I-35. Increasing peak tolls here to $14 and beyond would be absurd. Raise it to, say, $20 per trip, and you will reduce the traffic in those lanes for sure — but you’d magnify the congestion on the free lanes until it becomes unsustainable.

• Dallas and Houston have more than six to eight free lanes on their busiest highways. What makes Austin officials think we can get by with only that many on I-35? Especially with the large number of trucks for the NAFTA trade.

• The demand simply is what it is. Keep recruiting more people to come here, and the traffic congestion on I-35 will eventually become unsustainable. Enforced capacity caps with managed tolls are the wrong solution.

• We hear the argument that if you build more free lanes, they will quickly fill up. Well, duh, that’s because people need to travel. The managed toll philosophy is that people only think they need to go somewhere. Heck, let them stay home or pay through the nose for high tolls. But, what happens when all of that “unnecessary” travel gets factored out, and future demand for needed travel exceeds the road capacity? High tolls will not fix that problem.

• Rapid buses would help to a certain extent, but enough people may not be willing to give up the freedom of their cars to make a difference. Park-and-ride facilities are a great idea. But, it would take a seismic shift in Central Texas lifestyle habits to make a meaningful impact. It would be wonderful if it worked — and maybe it is possible. But who knows for sure? What if the big managed toll gamble backfires?

• Show me where we can find $15 to $20 billion for a citywide urban rail system, then we can discuss that pipe dream.

• Given the high poverty rate in Austin, how are people here supposed to pay monthly bills on a huge network of “gotcha” toll roads? Just try doing the math on peak daily toll charges for commuting 21 workdays per month. Then try it for two sets of tolls for each day. Then three! Even “middle-class” families won’t be able to afford it, as population-driven demand continually forces up the managed toll rates.

• Is everybody ready for years of construction nightmares, only to end up with the same number of free lanes on I-35 that we had 30 years ago?

Abbott and Patrick made the right call on this one. So, where is the state going to get the money to pay for all those “free” traffic lanes? How about a few business taxes to take the load off residential property taxpayers? How about funding education at the state level to reduce property taxes? If that sounds like another pipe dream, we may all get to ponder it together — while we sit stuck in traffic for the rest of our lives.

Oakey is a retired accountant and writes the blog, AustinAffordability.com

Should the City Allow A Soccer Stadium On Butler Shores Without An Election?

By Bill Oakey, December 2, 2017

Nope!

The Austin American-Statesman has published a stunning headline story, daring to suggest that the MLS soccer stadium might be plopped right into downtown! Well over 80 readers spoke out loudly against it in the comments section, in no time at all. The scariest part is that some insiders are proposing that the Butler Shores site be approved without the City Charter mandate for a public election.

The City Charter provision requiring a public vote on parkland use was set in motion by Mayor Bill Drake and the Austin City Council on December 9, 1952. On that date, the number one song in the country was “Why Don’t You Believe Me?” by Joni James. All these years later, we must still ask that same question. When lawyers successfully sue the City, the taxpayers get to pay their hourly fees plus court costs. To the big dreamers who want to build the soccer stadium on Butler Shores without an election, we can offer this. The number one song on January 31, 1953 when voters approved the Charter Amendment by 61% was “Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes” by Perry Como.

Read the history of the City and State laws protecting parks in the two blog postings below:

https://austinaffordability.com/2017/11/09/soccer-stadium-on-city-parkland-would-require-public-vote/

https://austinaffordability.com/2017/11/13/lets-clear-the-air-on-soccer-stadium-election-requirement-issue/

The Big AISD Question That Nobody Is Asking

By Bill Oakey – November 30, 2017

The question seemed so obvious that I never imagined it wouldn’t be asked. AISD just approved the sale of 8 district properties for a grand total of  $64.8 million. And they approved the purchase of a new site for their headquarters for $28.4 million. That leaves the school district with a cool $36.4 million in extra cash.

I read about this in several news articles, waiting anxiously for the answer to the obvious question. The one that for some odd reason was never asked…

What Are They Going to Do With All That Money??

Austin voters just passed a whopping $1.1 billion AISD bond proposition, by far the largest in history. The mailers in the bond campaign never mentioned the price tag. But they prominently featured a highly misleading statement – “AISD will not raise  the tax rate if the bonds are approved.”

Most citizens are painfully aware that the tax rate has to DECREASE each year to offset skyrocketing home appraisals. So, a carefully crafted promise not to raise the rate leaves plenty of wiggle room for higher taxes on everybody. This lack of disclosure must be a loophole in the 1987 Truth In Taxation law that I proposed and successfully got passed in the Texas Legislative.

I realize that my concerns beg the question of whether AISD needs more money to repair and replace dilapidated facilities. Of course they do. And the root of the problem is the Robin Hood funding formulas that force AISD to send more money back to the State than any other school district in Texas.

To me, that is all the more reason that AISD should handle their finances responsibly. Back in the 1980’s I humorously referred to their board as the Board of Mistrustees of the Austin Inefficient School District. Back then, they consistently had the highest per student costs in 8 out of 11 categories among the largest districts in the state.

While I was standing in line to vote in the recent billion dollar bond election, I heard a disturbing comment from an AISD employee. These were his exact words:

”You wouldn’t believe how much money the administrators spend traveling to all kinds of conferences! That would be enough money to give the teachers a pay raise.” That sounds like a great tip for one of the TV stations to use for an investigation. (Hi there, KXAN…). In any case, we certainly need some immediate disclosure on how the AISD board plans to use that nice chunk of change from the land sales. What is their process for determining such a thing? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Pass the savings on, directly to property taxpayers. (Not likely).

2. Evaluate options based on best practices used by other school districts across the country.

3. Research methods to refinance existing debt.

4. Increase reserves to raise their bond rating and earn the resulting benefits.

We might be able to assume that they are doing some of those things, or possibly something even better. But whatever they decide, they should let the taxpayers know about it as soon as possible…Oh gosh…My apologies for not mentioning the most likely option for AISD to consider. There must be a perfect conference in Brazil or on the French Riviera that would address all of these unanswered questions!

While composing this blog piece, I sat in the Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin Blvd., surrounded by young AISD students enjoying a nice breakfast. Today is some kind of teacher training day. It was fun to observe the little poignant love scenes in some of the booths. It was like something straight out of “Grease,” “The Breakfast Club,” or “American Graffiti.” These kids will grow up in a very uncertain world. We should wish them all the best of good fortune and happiness.

Update – Response From Melissa Taboada, Austin American-Statesman

Melissa Taboada’s latest article about the land sales can be viewed here. She was kind enough to email me some additional details she has learned about this topic. But many questions still remain. She wrote:

Hi Bill,

The district needs to make the Southfield building compatible to its needs. At Monday night’s board meeting, the district outlined the new central office building could cost $37-$50 million with those changes. In the story, I mentioned that remaining funds from the CAC would go toward the new administration building. The bond projects also total $1.3 billion and to bring the cost down to the $1.1 billion, the district said it will use bond contingency funds, as well as $40 million in land sales.

Hope this information helps,

Melissa Taboada

My Analysis of These Additional Details

Melissa is well-versed on many details, having attended all of the AISD board meetings. However, let’s take a close look at these numbers…

$64.8 Million – Total land sales from 8 properties
$50.0 Million – $28.4 M purchase price + $21.6 M high estimate to refurbish Southfield Bldg.
$14.8 Million – Leftover money from land sales, using high-end building estimate

$64.8 Million – Total land sales from 8 properties
$37.0 Million – $28.4 M purchase price + $8.6 M low estimate to refurbish Southfield Bldg.
$27.8 Million – Leftover money from land sales, using low-end building estimate

These calculations tell us that after fully funding their new headquarters building, AISD will have somewhere between $14.8 and $27.8 million left over for other purposes. These amounts don’t fit very well with AISD’s plan to use bond contingency funds “plus $40 million in land sales” to reduce the cost of the bond projects from $1.3 billion down to the $1.1 billion that appeared on the election ballot. Unless I’m missing some more details, there appears to be a gap of missing money here…

$40 Million – Land sales funds needed to reduce bond projects from $1.3 billion to $1.1 billion
$14.8 Million to $27.8 Million – Land sales available after fully funding Southfield Building
$12.2 Million to $25.2 Million – Apparent funding gap

The gap doesn’t look too bad until you factor in the likelihood of cost overruns for refurbishing the Southfield Building to make it “compatible with AISD’s needs.” Cost overruns tend to spring up on just about everything these days. And the “needs” of AISD’s executives may not be quite the same thing as the taxpayers’ needs. Thanks to all of you readers for bravely wading through the weeds with me on this issue.

Update From Nicole Conley Johnson, AISD Chief Financial Officer

Nicole Conley Johnson

2017/11/30 at 9:21 pm

Good day Bill. I am Nicole Conley Johnson, the CFO of AISD. The subsequent analysis that you’ve done regarding the purchase and rehabilitation of the Southfield site is spot on. There is still a gap to get to the $40 million from land sales. It is anticipated that there could be more properties sold as the bond program is implemented. As it is implemented, several school site could become available for future sales. For example, Rosedale after its rebuilt on the Lucy Read site and/or the proposed school unifications.

Let’s Not Overlook the Elephant(s) In the Room!

Here are two final, very critical questions:

  1. How do the prices on each of the 8 properties that AISD plans to sell, and the purchase price of the Southfield Building compare to the appraised values on TCAD’s official tax rolls?
  2. What are the detailed specifications that AISD has laid out for the refurbishment of the Southfield Building? The cost estimates range from $8.6 million to $21.6 million. Let’s assume that AISD strives to use our tax money just as prudently as Austin families have been forced to do with their own budgets under today’s affordability constraints. Can we get a commitment from AISD’s top brass that they will stick as close as possible to the low-end estimate for their new digs?  And can we get a commitment that they will publish a press release beforehand, telling us exactly what we are getting for that amount of money? (This calls for one new song to be added to the music list below).

Musical Accompaniment for This Blog Piece:

  1. “Such An Easy Question” – Elvis Presley
  2. “96 Tears” – Question Mark and the Mysterians
  3. “Hey Schoolgirl” – Tom and Jerry (before they changed their name to Simon & Garfunkel)
  4. “To Sir With Love” – Lulu
  5. “Wonderful World” – Sam Cooke, or the cover version by Herman’s Hermits
  6. “Commitment” – Leann Rimes

Can The City Council Put The Brakes On Police Pay Raises?

By Bill Oakey – November 28, 2017

Yes.

But that’s not the right question. The question is, do they have the will to do it? At their regular meeting on December 7th, the City Council will face a critical decision that will affect the  General Fund in the annual City Budget for many years to come. This is serious business, and I do not envy the Council members. All 11 of their positions on the dais will become “hot seats” on December 7th.

Staring at affordability projections is really spooky stuff. It’s a lot more comfortable to look the other way. You can kick the can down the road but, by golly, you’ll run headlong into it sooner or later. The other vitally important factor is that we all value the service of our police officers. Austin is one of the safest cities in Texas, if not the country, for its size. So, I would be the last person to suggest that we should short-change them on well-deserved pay.

The fact is that we already have the highest paid police force in Texas. The proposed new contract, approved by the union after negotiations with City staff calls for 9.5% in pay raises over the next five years. With additional stipends included, the total jumps to 12%. The impact on the City’s General Fund was laid out in a public meeting this past May. This was the headline in the Austin Monitor on May 18th: “Mayor Suggests Changes in Public Safety Pay.”

The article starts out with these words:

“Paying for Austin’s public safety needs could add more than $75.9 million to the city’s General Fund budget over the next five years – with more than two-thirds of that funding going to the Austin Police Department, according to the city’s preliminary needs assessment.”

Then, in a later paragraph, this dire warning appears:

“Looking at the projection of public safety needs over the next five years and the city’s projected income, it is clear that even going to the 8 percent rollback rate every year, the City will not be able to meet most of those needs.”

So, public safety salaries could push the General Fund over the edge, and force the City to raise property taxes to the 8% legal maximum every year going forward. And, even if that happens, all of the needed City services covered by the General Fund cannot be met. Fairly simple math will tell you that 8% annual City property tax increases would cause them to double in 9 years and quadruple in 18 years.

During that May City Council Meeting, Mayor Adler suggested that City staff expand their analysis of the public safety costs and other basic needs. And he stated that perhaps some adjustments should be made.

The Big Decision on December 7th Will Not Be Easy

In my current round of affordability meetings with City Council members, one fact has become clear. They cannot predict how the vote on the police contract will turn out. Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s office, often seen as the most conservative, expressed concern over both public safety salaries and the pensions. Council Member Ann Kitchen told me that “It is important to consider all of the cost projections and their implications.”

As an affordability advocate, I have just one piece of advice for each City Council member. Never be afraid to do what you really believe is the right thing. When in doubt about an issue like this, don’t just rely on verbal prowess and the power of persuasion. Sometimes it may be best to remain relatively quiet and…

Just Let the Numbers Do the Talking!

Musical Accompaniment for This Blog Piece:

  1. “Murder By Numbers” – The Police
  2. “One For the Wonder” – Sammy Kaye
  3. “Heartaches By the Number” – Willie Nelson (from 1966)
  4. “Fool Number One” – Brenda Lee
  5. “One” – Three Dog Night