Tag Archives: grants

‘Vape Ban Warning’ Issued for 26 Oklahoma Counties

super cell 1

Kaye Beach

Jan. 25, 2014

Feb 11, 2014 UPDATE: On Feb. 10th the TSET apparently decided to revamp their entire website and all of the informative links below were rendered dead.  THANKFULLY the Internet has a very long memory and all links were restored on Feb 11th via The Wayback Machine.

 

An electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer (affectionately known by its fans as a ‘vape’) is a battery-operated device that heats a liquid containing nicotine (but not always) and various flavors to produce,  not smoke, but vapor, thus eliminating tar and toxins associated with burning tobacco cigarettes.   Thousands of Oklahomans have switched from smoking to vaping, potentially improving their health and longevity.

The good news about this safer alternative to smoking is being clouded by a potent mix of financial and political interests making conditions ripe in 2014 for potentially disastrous vaping bans and other dangerous political phenomena such as unreasonable taxation of vaping products.

Oklahomans should be advised that the political environment may turn treacherous at any moment.

At 4:59  PM CT AxXiom for Liberty’s Nanny State Prevention Service has issued a Vape Ban Warning for the following Oklahoma counties:

vape ban watch

The previous  state-wide Vape Ban Watch is now upgraded to a Vape Ban Warning for these counties.

TSET funds at work

Residents of these twenty-six Oklahoma counties are advised to expect a whirlwind of TSET funded anti-tobacco coalition agitation at the city level, accompanied by media saturation of anti-electronic cigarette propaganda, local political maelstroms, and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) team activation.

Immediate city level organization is necessary to  protect life and property from dangerous government overreach.

Don’t wait until the vape ban is on top of you – take your  big government precautions now!   

Oklahoma TSET Communities of Excellence In Tobacco Control

Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control FY 13 budget: $6 million (Source: TSET Program Fact Sheet)

A Vape Ban Watch means that conditions are favorable to the formation of e-cigarettes and vaping bans.  85% of Oklahoma has been under the Vape Ban Watch since last fall when the same political influences that threaten areas in 2014 produced damaging bans in Oklahoma communities such as Shawnee, Ada and others.

Sporadic outbreaks of vaping bans and e-cigarettes prohibitions this fall prompted vigilant vapers and other Oklahomans leery of the nanny state  to take action on impending bans.  Oklahoman’s may feel overwhelmed by sudden storms produced by the explosive combination of cold cash and hot air but as the residents of Tahlequah demonstrate, citizen preparedness and quick action can save the day.

Be proactive.  Call your city council member now and tell them that TSET bribes are not a good reason to ban vaping!

Please remain vigilant.  Under normal circumstances, community health coalitions are relatively benign and even helpful entities but when fueled by tobacco settlement funds granted by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these entities can coalesce becoming supercells that produce twisted efforts that can devastate opportunities for Oklahomans to improve their personal health.

tobacco free coalitions TSET

Right now these coalitions are primed to start firing off  Vaping Bans in cities that fall under the 26 county (highlighted in green pg 31-33)Vape Ban Warning area.

Detail is as follows:

These twenty-six Oklahoma counties are part of a ‘Communities of Excellence’ coalition/consortium and are  eligible for TSET Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding for  fiscal year 2014.

In 2014, flush with tobacco settlement cash extracted from predominately low-income smokers, the TSET has doubled the grant funds available to communities as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant for Tobacco Control.

If you live within one of these twenty-six  counties, chances are good that your city will be targeted by one or more TSET funded anti-tobacco groups operating in your area in over the course of this year.  TSET has set aside 4.1 million dollars in 2014 just to fund the anti-tobacco coalitions that you will find agitating for the Vape Bans.  (Page 3 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf )

‘Additional grant money of $42,000 would be granted to Choate’s group as part of TSET’s Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control.

An amount of $200,000 is received annually by her group from the tobacco settlement.

She emphasized that it is not money that motivates them to push ecig ban.’

(Reported by North West Watch http://www.northwestwatch.org/news/speculations-that-money-push-council-to-ban-ecigarettes/)

These health related coalitions work within our communities to promote public health education and policies that many of us welcome and support but the TSET and it’s partners have decided to focus in on eradicating the imaginary scourge of e-cigarettes and are funding the coalitions to be the tip of the spear in this misguided effort.  Given the well established and devastating effects of smoking, redirecting health activists’ efforts away from this and other pressing health concerns can only be described as perverse.

turning point coalition e cigarette

Coalition applicants must develop work plans to address five (required) Core Indicators defined in TSET’s 2014 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding. (Page 24 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf)

Required “Core Indicator 1” is a city-wide tobacco-free policy which is defined to include e-cigs/vapor products.

CI red lined

Pg 25 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf

Oklahomans fed up with the ever encroaching nanny-state would do well to inform themselves by spending a little time perusing the TSET’s website http://www.ok.gov/tset/    (Well, not so much now since they have removed MANY public information links!) You should get to know these coalitions that are getting their paychecks and marching orders from TSET while professing to represent ‘the community’ and thus YOU!

Each of the twenty-six  counties eligible for TSET tobacco control grants in 2014 are listed below.  They are linked with their respective TSET funding pages that identifies the lead coalition as well as their most recent yearly and cumulative total TSET funding to date.

Coal
End Advisory.
When the political weather heats up, stay tuned to AxXiom for Liberty, we’ll keep you advised.
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Who Owns the Fusion Centers?

Kaye Beach

Jan 15, 2012

Part II

This is Part II of my ongoing dissertation on Fusion Centers and the work they do.  You can read Part I, Intelligence Led Policing and Fusion Centers: How the IACP Helped the USA to Cross the Rubicon, which dealt with the flawed and dangerous philosophy of preemptive or Intelligence Led Policing that makes the whole domestic terrorism apparatus, including fusion centers such a threat to the liberties of everyone.

In Part II I am going to explain what the centers really do and who is in control of them and how.

Fusion Centers-State of Federal?

It is all about collecting the data and getting it to the federal government.  The most important function of Fusions Centers is also the most invisible portion of their work; the computer networks and information sharing that takes place through those networks.

Despite claims that the Fusion Centers were created by the states, the truth is that the modern day fusion centers were born of policy established at the federal level and they are largely funded, staffed and  trained by representatives of federal agencies.  The federal government likes to claim that the states are partners with the federal government in this and other programs like it.

Question: If I set the rules and I pay the bills and I own the house that you are currently residing in, are you really my partner?

Answer: only to the degree that I am willing to pretend that you are.

When it comes to state fusion centers, the federal government has been paying the bills, they set the rules and they own the house.

Paying the Bills-Federal Funding

Since 2003 the Department of Homeland Security has given $31 billion dollars to the state and local governments.

3.8 billion was given to the states in 2010 alone.  The programs funded by the DHS, largely focus on countering terrorism but also on natural and man-made disasters are required to be tuned to DHS dictates.  According to the Government Accountability Office, Fusion centers have been received $426 million in general grant funding from fiscal 2004 through fiscal 2009.  Stating the obvious about money and control, “You take the king’s shilling, you become the king’s man”—Tom Cole

This  news article published Nov 27, 2011, Oklahoma’s fusion center has a broad role these daysmakes who is paying the bills pretty clear.

Oklahoma’s federally funded information fusion center has a broader role today than it did when it began operations four years ago.

. . .Oklahoma’s fusion center is housed inside the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation‘s headquarters, 6600 N Harvey Place, and includes a secured room where secret information from the federal government is received.
. . .A central office includes a small room filled with monitors and TV screens, relaying data to an analyst. Its operations are funded, for the most part, by grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Stenhouse said the federal agency provided Oklahoma’s fusion center with about $400,000, which he said was used to pay the salaries of four analysts and training purposes. (All emphasis mine) Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahomas-fusion-center-has-a-broad-role-these-days./article/3626735#ixzz1i4z2ZOBQ

Oklahoma has received hundreds of millions of dollars in Homeland Security funds since 911 and the state understands who is in charge even if the officials choose to dance around the truth with the public.

The following is from the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center’s “Privacy Policy.”  It is clearly stated that the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security oversees the initiatives and mandates of the federal Department of Homeland Security-including our state’s fusion center.

OKOHS (Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security) is directed to continue their efforts in combating terrorism, and shall continue to oversee the implementation of any and all initiatives or efforts mandated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, including the development of a state information fusion center. (Emphasis mine)Read more

 

Federal Personnel Staff state fusion centers-.  According to the Government Accountability Office Report, as of July 2010, the DHS has deployed 58 personnel to fusion centers, and the FBI has deployed 74 personnel to fusion centers.

Setting the Rules

In 2008 we learned that the federal government has no qualms about yanking those strings attached hard and that includes subverting state law intended to protect the citizens of that state in the process.  The Fusion Centers have a job to do and that job requires some changes to be made to pesky state laws meant to provide residents with openness to,  and oversight of,  their government.

EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg said, “the FBI memorandum indicates that the federal government is attempting to shroud the Virginia Fusion Center in secrecy and prevent meaningful public oversight. Virginia citizens deserve an open and transparent state government that is not constrained by federal secrecy policies.”

http://epic.org/press/041108.html

Through the litigation, EPIC uncovered a secret contract between the State Police and the FBI that limits the rights of Virginia citizens to learn what information the State Police collect about them.

http://epic.org/privacy/virginia_fusion/


Fusion centers may be physically located in the states but their guts belong to Homeland Security! 

If you think of Fusion Centers as a place you will miss what the centers are really about.  Fusion Centers are part of a domestic intelligence system and the guts of the fusion centers are the data networks.

The federal government (guided all the way by the International Association of Chiefs of Police) defined the fusion centers and their processed from the start. They drew up the map.

“The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, developed by Global in partnership with the IACP, is the first of its kind in this country — and promises to bring us closer to achieving the goal, expressed at your 2002 Summit, of “intelligence-led policing.” . . . it serves as a “roadmap” for our national criminal intelligence sharing initiatives.” –THE HONORABLE DEBORAH J. DANIELS

The question of whether or not these institutions are state or federal entities is a moot point.  Though they physically reside in the states, the federal government aside from defining, funding and staffing the centers, also controls the data networks and they set the standards for how data is collected and shared.

Federal standards equal federal control

Standards are important if you want to:

  • SHARE DATA (speak the same language)

Standards Provide

  • On-demand real time data access

 Navigating the Standards Landscape

A Nationwide Network

You know what is worse for you privacy ant autonomy that a central database?  A distributed network of databases that are constantly updated that the central government can reach into at will.

The DHS intelligence analysis center or the DCI’s counterterrorist center do not need to accumulate and hold all relevant databases to which they may gain access. In other words, there is no need to build one big data warehouse. Instead, the centers should interface with such databases as needed.

—Markle Foundation Task Force Report 2002

Owning the House

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and Global jointly published a supplement to the Fusion Center Guidelines called Baseline Capabilities Baseline Capabilities defines the capabilities needed to create a nationwide network of fusion centers and sets forth the minimum standards for a fusion center to be able to perform basic functions. 

The Department of Homeland Security set out an objective to create a network of fusions centers as a unique law enforcement and threat information resource that works across jurisdictions and is supported by multidisciplinary teams dispersed throughout a national network of information hives. Source EPIC

“. . .Fusion Centers will be the centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing for the future and that the Department of Homeland Security will be working and aiming its programs to underlie Fusion Centers.” –DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano March 13, 2009

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/speeches/sp_1236975404263.shtm


Jurisdiction

The Fusion Center Guidelines states that, “nontraditional collectors of intelligence, such as public safety entities and private sector organizations” will be “fused’ with law enforcement data”   The goal is to break down traditional barriers to information sharing. 

These barriers are commonly referred to as “siloes” or “stovepipes”

Those “silos” or barriers can also be thought of as jurisdictions.

From the Legal Information Institute;

Jurisdiction-The term jurisdiction is really synonymous with the word “power” Jurisdiction is the territory within which a court or government agency may properly exercise its power

It is not difficult to understand that when the the lines of authority are blended power will default to the higher level.

Agency protectiveness over jurisdiction and it is the authority an entity has over that jurisdiction that is the real barrier.  Simply stated, the problem with integrating data systems is not a physical or technical one; it’s political. Until recently, the barrier was both political and technological.  Now that the technological barrier has been removed, some think that the political barrier should follow suit.  But just because something is possible does it mean we should do it?

“National employment databases, national medical databases, national criminal databases, and others have already been created.

The dream is to blend all these separate resources into a single centralized one…the only real impediments to creating the database that now remain are political and cultural: the stubborn assumption of so many Americans that they have rights.”

The State’s Quest for Total Information Awareness by David M. Brown

In the past, the technological or physical barrier acted as sort of a firewall to siloes of data.  Data was shared on a legal right and need to know basis and  the entity wanting it had to ask.  While technology makes it possible to share lots of information in an instant with anyone in the world, there are still plenty of good reasons to protect sensitive  information.

If you really, really want to settle this whole argument about whether or not fusion centers are state of federal, just read about Homeland Security’s Federal Fusion Center initiative.

In 2010 The Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to;

“collect, plan, coordinate, report, analyze, and fuse infrastructure information related to all-threats and all-hazards, law enforcement activities, intelligence activities, man-made disasters and acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other information collected or received from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and organizations; foreign governments and international organizations; domestic security and emergency management officials; and private sector entities or individuals into the Department.”

The DHS is creating a federal fusion center by ‘fusing’ information from the   centers.  DHS is laying claim to all of that data to use as they see fit.

The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly stated that Fusion Centers were  owned by the states, the creation of this new system of records action totally negates that dubious claim.   They didn’t ask anyone’s permission.  Why?  Because they paid the bills, they set the rules and they own the house.  The states are a  “partner” up until the federal government decided they weren’t.

Fusion Centers, for all practical intents and purposes, belongs to none other than Big Momma Gov. and if anyone tells you different,  grab a pitcher because their pants are on fire!


Got Sovereignty Oklahoma?

Kaye Beach

Sept. 15, 2011

Not so much.

This article from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is an eye opener.

[In 2009] “Federal aid into Oklahoma grew twice as fast as the national average”

OCPA’s research shows that far from being “free money” this federal influx causes an increase in our tax burden.  (It also adds to our regulatory burden and liberates us from the burden of state and local control)

Federal Grants and Unintended Consequences

 

By J. Scott Moody and Wendy P. Warcholik · Tue, Sep 06, 2011

The data used in this analysis are from a report called “Federal Aid to the States” published by the U.S. Census Bureau.1 Chart 1 shows the inflation-adjusted (real) per capita federal aid flowing into Oklahoma between Fiscal Year (FY) 1995 (the earliest year of available data) and FY 2009 (the latest year of available data). Federal aid into Oklahoma grew twice as fast as the national average (87 percent versus 39 percent, respectively). As a result, Oklahoma went from being below the national average to above it in FY 2009.

Read more

ROPE Takes the High Road, Calls Barresi on the Carpet

Kaye Beach

May 31, 2011

This article is from Restore Oklahoma Public Education-R.O.P.E.’s latest newsletter. (sign up here to receive ROPE’s newsletter by email)

I admire their courage and adherence to principle over politics.  This is what separates the mere advocate from the Watchdog.

Thanks ROPE!

At the State Republican Convention in May, State Superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi told members present that she went up to “The Hill” to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce and told the Federal Government to stay out of “our business”.

In the actual testimony, Dr. Barresi states, “As all participating states prepare to transition to Common Core curriculum standards [initiated with Arne Duncan and the DOE], more flexibility is also needed in the use of federal funds for professional development that would support effective instructional practices. Additionally, broadening the scope of the designation of Title programs to include a wider array of subject matter, such as STEM initiatives, would help enable states to offer a more challenging curriculum.”

This does not sound like “get out of our business” so much as “give us the money and let us spend it the way we want”.

Republican Ronald Reagan wanted to abolish the Federal Department of Education created by Jimmy Carter. Our state Republican platform specifically says, “The federal government has no constitutional role in education”

Though Dr. Barresi has stated on numerous occasions that she advocates for “local control”, a post on the State Department of Education website dated “May 19th” heralded the announcement that Dr. Barresi had just joined Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change.

As is visible from the post on the left, the Chiefs are very specifically advocating MORE federal control of the already over-federalized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. How does surrendering local control of our elementary and secondary students to the federal government in turn provide local control?

According to a CATO study it doesn’t. “We find strong evidence that the widespread adoption of preschool and full-day kindergarten is unlikely to improve student achievement.”

Though recently, Dr. Barresi told an audience in Tulsa that she had not used Federal money for education reforms she has touted, the NewsOk article in the upper left, Oklahoma State Education Board awards millions to poor-performing schools, flies in the face of such a statement.

ARRA (stimulus) funds are those used to “turnaround” failing schools. Is this semantics? If the Oklahoma State Department of Education is simply ‘passing’ on the funds from the federal government to the local school, then the Department is not spending them so the Department is not taking federal funds for education reforms?

ROPE has found at least one bill “requested” by the Department containing references or inclusions for access to federal grants. Additionally, ROPE has uncovered the mechanism by which the Core Curriculum Standards and something called the P20 data system (begun by a “requested” bill) which will collect data from children across a wide range of data points and share that information in  without parental consent are linked to federal funding. We will share that with you soon.

In the meantime, we must be vigilant and continue to monitor the words and actions of our newly elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Baressi, and hold her accountable for them.

In This Issue

Oklahoma State Education Board awards millions to poor-performing schools

The School Improvement Grants were approved by the board Thursday and the federal money is intended to help the schools, all of which are in Oklahoma City, improve a track record of poor student performance.

“We’re hopeful that this will have an impact,” state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said.

Oklahoman plays key role in announcement of new Race to the Top

“Early childhood education, special for children ages birth to 3, is both a profound moral obligation and the most effective way to reverse the cycle of poverty in  America,” Kaiser said in a town-hall meeting in Washington, D.C., following Duncan’s announcement.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi Joins Jeb Bush’s “Chiefs For Change”In the “Statement of Principles for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” dated May 19, 2011, the Chiefs maintain:

 

Q&A With State Supt. Baressi with the Oklahoma Education Association
“No. I don’t like mandates. I’m a local control type of fan and advocate. I’m sure Oklahoma City would be happy to share their best practices in this area and results from this. My bottom line is this: I want to see the numbers. I want to see the academic outcomes as a result of this process, after they’ve had it in for a couple, three years. I want to see how it facilitates outcomes, how it facilitates learning.”

Oklahoma charter schools hire math, science teachers from overseas

The schools have come under scrutiny by conservative and tax watch groups throughout the nation, including Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE), which can be defined as both.

“If Oklahoma teachers are being laid off, why are we as Oklahoma taxpayers paying people from not even inside our country to come and teach our children?” asks Jenni White, president of ROPE.

To Read More information collected on Gulen Schools by ROPE, see this article just recently added to our website.

Central Oklahoma Going “Metro”?

Kaye Beach

May 30,2011

Regional Governance, also called “New Regionalism” or Metro Government,  is getting a boost from the federal government with the passage of the Livable Communities Act which made law a partnership between HUD, US DOT, and the EPA.  The Livable Communities Act  created a new office within HUD, called the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. This office is  distributing billions to local governments through Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants.

The Move to Regional Government

In most U.S. cities, the smart-growth coalition described in the preceding section has little political power over the suburbs. Most suburbs have a long history of resisting annexation or merger with their central cities. To overcome that resistance, smart growth advocates support regional government agencies with authority over both the central city and the suburbs.

Some writers are explicit that the purpose of regional government is to prevent local areas from democratically resisting smart-growth proposals.

Douglas Porter (1991) of the Urban Land Institute writes “about the gap between the daily mode of living desired by most Americans and the mode that most city planners and traffic engineers believe is most appropriate” (65), He supports “regional agencies [with] substantial powers to influence local decision making on land use issues”

. . .a regional government made up of local government representatives “can take controversial stands without making its individual members commit themselves to those stands. Each member can claim that ‘the organization’ did it or blame all the other members”

Is Urban Planning Creeping Socialism?  O’Toole

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant

On October 14, 2010, HUD announced that it is awarding nearly $100 million in Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants to support more livable and sustainable communities across the country. Forty-five regional areas will receive funding through a new initiative intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

HUD press release: HUD Awards Nearly $100 Million in New Grants to Promote Smarter and Sustainable Planning for Jobs and Economic Growth

In addition to helping to push sustainable development policies that run counter to the tradition and law of the US, the grant also makes it a point to reinforce regional governance mechanisms. Only “multijurisdictional and multi-sector partnership consisting of a consortium of governmental entities and non-profit partners.” are eligible.

Regional governance makes government more remote from the people and sets up numerous boards, councils and commissions of unelected bureaucrats.

Charlotte Iserbyte, in her book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” writes,

THE DAILY WORLD OF NOVEMBER 8, 1975 CARRIED A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE ENTITLED “Planning Is Socialism’s Trademark” by Morris Zeitlin.

We have no regional government and no comprehensive regional planning to speak of. Regional government and planning remain concepts our urban scholars and planners have long advocated in vain….

. . .In socialist countries, metropolitan regions enjoy metropolitan regional government and comprehensive planning.

. . .The economic and functional efficiencies and the social benefits that comprehensive national, regional and city planning make possible in socialist society explain the Soviet Union’s enormous and rapid economic and social progress.

The Daily World (newspaper of the Communist Party USA) was formerly known as The Daily Worker and was founded in 1924.

The importance of this article lies in its blatant admission that regionalism, which is gradually becoming the accepted method of unelected governance in the United States (unelected councils and task forces, participatory democracy, public-private partnerships, etc.) is the form of government used in democratic socialist and communist countries.

(Page 134 of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyte)

On August 10, 2010 the City of Norman, Oklahoma passed a Resolution in support of ACOG’s (Association of Central Oklahoma Governments) application for federal money under the Sustainable Communities Initiative that would be used to create a regional plan for Sustainable Development.

In a paper entitled,  The Promise and Perils of “New Regionalist” Approaches to Sustainable Communities, Lisa T. Alexander writes;

“The Grant Program’s unique targeting of regions as sites for regulatory reform, as well as its multijurisdictional and multisectoral emphasis, make it an example of what scholars and policymakers call “New Regionalism.”

The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program is an attempt by the Obama Administration to resurrect federal incentives to facilitate regional collaboration as a condition to receive federal funding

Yet, other than the 1960’s housing and transportation programs mentioned previously, there is little precedent in our federalist system for this type of federal/regional regulatory cooperation.

 http://ssrn.com/abstract=1818030

Councils of Government and Metropolitan Planning Organizations

ACOG, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments applied for funds from HUD’s Communities Regional Planning Grant.

ACOG Seeks Partners for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) is seeking regional partners for the new HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program

To kick things off, on July 19 ACOG hosted a Sustainable Communities Workshop on the Chesapeake Energy campus.

According to HUD, the regional planning grants will be awarded competitively to regional partnerships consisting of state and local governments, MPOs, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations.

Read more

The consensus seems to be that Metropolitan Planning Organizations are the natural choice as a vehicle for regional governance and that coordination of land use transportation, housing and economic development are the areas of society that must be integrated. 

“Responsible for planning and programming transportation investments, metropolitan planning organizations [MPOs] are the most widespread form of regional governance in the United States today”…. Myron Orfield  American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality, (The Brookings Institution Press,Washington, D.C., 2002), p. 137

ACOG is one of eleven regional councils of government in Oklahoma and one of only two that is a federally recognized as an MPO, a Metropolitan Planning Organization.

With only a few unique exceptions nationwide (such as the MPO in Portland, Oregon), MPO policy committee members are not elected directly by citizens. Rather, a policy committee member typically is an elected or appointed official of one of the MPO’s constituent local jurisdictions.

From Wikipedia

Of course, federal money will be provided for this endeavor and as shown above, federal money is contingent upon the regionalist approach to these endeavors which largely bypasses both the participation and notice of the average taxpayer.

From an editorial in the CHATTANOOGA NEWS-FREE PRESS of November 18, 1972, about the perils of accepting federal funding for local needs;

“Philosophically, local governmental dependence upon federal grants through revenue sharing lessens the independence of action and decision by local government, thus becoming… (a) threat to the degree of freedom we have experienced and should guard carefully.”

In the future, State and local governments will look to the federal government to provide them with funds rather than to their own initiative. As a consequence, they will become increasingly more dependent upon the federal government and increasingly more impotent themselves.

Forcing Change

Sustainable communities present three problems:

(1) the initiative for a community to become a sustainable community almost always comes from outside the community;

(2) the comprehensive plan through which a community is transformed into a sustainable community always infringes, and in many instances completely destroys, private property rights; and

(3) the local community rarely knows anything about the plan until it reaches the final stages of adoption

This process, of course, is by design. In communities that have been transformed, individuals may discover that they cannot build a house for grandma on five acres of their own land because the county’s comprehensive plan requires no more than one home per 40-acres. Many communities discover that their comprehensive plan includes a provision to incorporate by reference the entire set of 13 different codes developed by the International Code Council. Each of these codes amounts to government dictating human behavior.

These codes go far beyond building and fire safety codes. They include: residential, property maintenance, energy conservation, wildland interface, and other behavior modification codes.

. . .Sustainable development is coming to your community, or is already there. Your property rights have been diminished, or soon will be. The only way to protect your community and your property and profit is to reject the entire concept of government-dictated land use and behavior codes.

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/forcing-change/010/11-sustainable.htm

Price of Peril: Homeland Security Spending by State

REPORTED BY G.W. SCHULZ

The nation has committed billions of dollars to improving homeland security since 2001, including large sums awarded to states in preparedness grants.

This map is part of an ongoing effort to document the continuing costs.

See Map

Click on each state to learn how authorities there have managed, or mismanaged, anti-terrorism funds from the federal government. Download source documents tracking funds for each state. See more homeland security reporting
from the CIR project America’s War Within. Follow our ongoing coverage on CIR’s homeland security blog Elevated Risk.

Michigan State Police wants 7 million for FOI request

State police want nearly $7 million to fulfill FOIA request

 

The Michigan Department of State Police is charging the Mackinac Center for Public Policy nearly $7 million to fulfill its FOIA request for information on how the state has used homeland security grant money since 2002, the nonpartisan research group reported.

A communications specialist at the center requested information after the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report that detailed multiple implementation problems in how $129 million in security grants was spent in seven Michigan counties between 2002 and 2004.

The center filed a follow-up FOIA request for all documents relating to homeland security grants in the state since 2002, but the state police department, which administers homeland security grants in Michigan, said there would be more than 2 million pages and that it would cost $6.9 million to process the request.

OIG Report Oklahoma NDIS National DNA Index System

Compliance with Standards Governing Combined DNA Index System Activities at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma Central Regional Crime Laboratory, Oklahoma City, OklahomaAudit Report GR-80-07-012
September 2007
Office of the Inspector General
——————————————————————————–

Executive Summary
The Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, has completed an audit of compliance with standards governing Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) activities at the Oklahoma Central Regional Crime Laboratory (Laboratory).1 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began the CODIS Program as a pilot project in 1990. The DNA Identification Act of 1994 (Act) formalized the FBI’s authority to establish a national DNA index for law enforcement purposes.2 The Act authorized the FBI to establish an index of DNA identification records of persons convicted of crimes and analyses of DNA samples recovered from crime scenes. The Act further specified that the indices include only DNA information that is based on analyses performed in accordance with quality assurance standards issued by the FBI.

The FBI implemented CODIS as a distributed database with three hierarchical levels that enables federal, state, and local crime laboratories to compare DNA profiles electronically. The National DNA Index System (NDIS) is the highest level in the CODIS hierarchy and enables the laboratories participating in the CODIS Program to compare DNA profiles on a national level. NDIS became operational in 1998 and is managed by the FBI as the nation’s DNA database containing DNA profiles uploaded by participating states. DNA profiles originate at the local level, flow upward to the state and national levels, and are compared to determine if a convicted offender can be linked to a crime or if crimes can be linked to each other. Thus, a laboratory’s profiles have to be uploaded to NDIS before the profiles benefit the system as a whole.

The FBI provides CODIS software free-of-charge to any state or local law enforcement laboratory performing DNA analysis. Before a laboratory is allowed to participate at the national level, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) must be signed between the FBI and the applicable state laboratory. The MOU defines the responsibilities of each party, includes a sublicense for the use of the CODIS software, and delineates the standards laboratories must meet in order to utilize NDIS.3

The objective of the audit was to determine if the Laboratory was in compliance with standards governing CODIS activities. Specifically, we performed testing to determine if the: (1) Laboratory was in compliance with the NDIS participation requirements; (2) Laboratory was in compliance with the quality assurance standards issued by the FBI; and (3) Laboratory’s DNA profiles in CODIS databases were complete, accurate, and allowable.

We determined that the Laboratory was in compliance with the standards governing CODIS activities with some exceptions. Specifically, we noted the following:

All DNA Laboratory personnel have access to the CODIS system terminal located in the offices of the CODIS State Administrator, including after normal work hours. The CODIS system is password-protected and each user has a unique password. T he Laboratory keeps the terminal in an office space behind a key‑lock door that is left unlocked 24 hours per day, affording all DNA analysts, including those who are not authorized CODIS users, unlimited access to the CODIS server. This fails to meet the NDIS requirement that access to the CODIS system be limited to the minimum number of personnel needed to complete the work. This unrestricted access to the office by non-CODIS users presents opportunities for inadvertent or deliberate misuse of the CODIS system or the alteration of information. The Laboratory took corrective action while we were on-site. The CODIS State Administrator now locks his door during non-duty hours. The key is only available to authorized CODIS users.

The Laboratory did not meet the NDIS standards requiring limited and controlled access. While we were touring the Laboratory, we noticed an exterior door was propped open and unattended. This exterior door is on the side of the building adjacent to the DNA labs. The DNA lab is locked so only DNA personnel may access the laboratory. While on-site, Laboratory management reminded Laboratory supervisors of security policies regarding exterior doors. Additionally, the Quality Assurance Manager issued new policy clarifying how exterior doors are to be manned and monitored while these doors are open. We believe that this new policy will ensure that exterior doors will be adequately manned and secured.

NDIS procedures require a laboratory to submit its external audit to the FBI within 30 days after receipt. However, the Laboratory audit report for 2006 was submitted 2 months after receipt, and the Laboratory had not requested an extension from the FBI.

We reviewed 10 NDIS matches and found that 1 case file did not contain sufficient documentation to verify that the investigator was notified in a timely manner of a convicted offender match.

We found that 94 of the 100 forensic samples we reviewed were complete, accurate, and allowable for upload to NDIS. We identified six case forensic samples that were unallowable for upload to NDIS because they were not forensic unknowns. Also, two additional unallowable profiles, which were not part of our sample, were identified as a result of our review. We confirmed that all eight profiles were removed from NDIS. Laboratory officials told us they recently began using the flow chart prepared by the FBI (entitled A Guide to Determining What is Allowable in the Forensic Index at NDIS) when assessing whether a profile is uploadable to NDIS.

We make one recommendation, which is discussed in detail in the Findings and Recommendations section of the report, to improve the Laboratory’s compliance with CODIS activities. Our audit scope and methodology are detailed in Appendix I of the report, and the audit criteria are detailed in Appendix II of the report.

We discussed the results of our audit with Laboratory officials and have included their comments in the report as applicable.

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Footnotes

DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is genetic material found in almost all living cells that contains encoded information necessary for building and maintaining life. Approximately 99.9 percent of human DNA is the same for all people. The differences found in the remaining 0.1 percent allow scientists to develop a unique set of DNA identification characteristics (a DNA profile) for an individual by analyzing a specimen that contains DNA.

Pub. L. No. 103-322 (1994)

These standards were appended to the MOU as Appendix C – NDIS Procedure Manual. This manual is comprised of several operational procedures that provide specific instructions for laboratories to follow for procedures pertinent to NDIS. For our purposes, the NDIS participation requirements consist of the MOU and the NDIS operational procedures.

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