July 30, 2006

Weekend Question 4: Why Is Living in the Congressional District You Represent Such a Difficult Concept?

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 2:09 pm

First, it was Bob McEwen wanting to represent Ohio’s Second Congressional District after buying a condo in the district one month before June 2005′s special primary, after having his principal residence the previous 12-plus years in Northern Virginia and his “sort of” residence in Ohio in Hillsboro during much of that time (Hillsboro is NOT in the Second District).

In 2006, McEwen’s further offenses against common sense were revealed when the Enquirer reported that that he and his wife (and, revealed later, his voting-age children) voted in Highland County (Hillsboro is the county seat) in the late 1990s through 2002 or 2003 , even after he stopped having any kind of residence there, and while still having his principal residence in Virginia. He and his family members obstinately continued voting in Highland County until they were disenfranchised by that county’s Board of Elections. Anyone who is so cavalier about complying with basic voting law is not a candidate who deserves anyone’s vote, even if he or she is otherwise the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan (if you’re a Republican) or FDR (if you’re a Democrat).

Then there’s Tammy Duckworth, who has taken non-residency to a new level, believing that she can represent Illiniois’ Sixth District even though she doesn’t currently live in it, and has no intention of moving into it (of course, she’s a war hero and I honor that; that doesn’t change the fact that she needs to reside where her constituents live to deserve their vote).

Shortly after I posted about Duckworth, I learned that Charlie “Green Card” Wilson (nickname created by Lincoln Logs) does not live in Ohio’s Sixth District and, like Duckworth, has no intention of moving into it.

I can think of no other public office where someone could even dream of trying to represent an area in which he or she doesn’t live. Why should serving in the House be any different?

Parachuting into a district shortly before an election and expecting to represent it knowledgeably is insufferably arrogant and unacceptable. Running for a congressional seat in a district you don’t live in shouldn’t even be legal.

Bob McEwen’s two hijacking attempts have already been repudiated. It’s time for Duckworth and Wilson to suffer the same fates. As far as I’m concerned, in situations like these, there’s no need to get to get to a discussion of “the issues.” The candidacies I’ve covered here didn’t, or don’t, deserve to exist, nor do any others that might be occurring elsewhere in the country.

Weekend Question 3: Why Shouldn’t Companies Have to Reveal What Their Highest-Paid Employees Get Paid?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 10:12 am

Maybe you thought that publicly-traded companies are already required to do this.

They are not. They ARE required to disclose the salaries and perks of their highest-paid executives, but not of any non-executive employees.

The Securities and Exchange Commission considered requiring disclosure of how much at least some of the highly-compensated non-execs make, but backed off:

SEC Drops Celebrity Pay Proposal
July 27, 2006

Tom Cruise can rest easy. Unless he suddenly assumes a policy-making role at Viacom, the movie star won’t find his salary listed in a proxy statement — even though his work for the company’s Paramount Pictures subsidiary has netted him a pretty penny.

That’s because the Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to jettison a proposal — known widely as the “Katie Couric rule” after the handsomely paid CBS news anchor — that would have required a company to list up to three non-executive employees if their pay packages were heftier than those of the executive officers named in financial statements.

Instead, the SEC will go back to the drawing board and to public opinion with a new proposal to add to the revised executive-pay disclosure rules it unanimously voted to install at an open meeting on Wednesday. The new rules, most of which will have to be spelled out in plain English, will affect compensation disclosure in proxy statements, 10-Ks, and registration statements.

I think some degree of disclosure is necessary for two reasons:

  • To give some context to executive pay; If shareholders know what othere non-execs are making, they can better think through whether certain prima donnas are overpaid, execs are underpaid, or both.
  • To shine an occasional light on the artificial distinction in the tax code relating to companies’ ability to deduct executive salaries and others’ salaries for income tax purposes. A little-remembered (except in executive suites) “legacy” of the Clinton Administration was the 1993 tax package’s $1 million limitation on executive salary deductibility. Companies can and often do pay certain individual execs more, but they can’t deduct the amount over $1 million on their corporate income tax returns. This deductibility limitation was supposed to act as a hindrance to “excessive” executive compensation. It obviously didn’t work. It also led to a greater use of susceptible-to-abuse stock options instead of cash as a form of compensation. Meanwhile the pay of top stockbrokers, movie stars, athletes and others is fully deductible, no questions asked, and no disclosure required.

If shareholders really want to know where large chunks of their companies’ money are going, it only seems right that they know what the bigwigs earn, whether they happen to hold executive positions or not.

Positivity: “The Boy from Rice’s Landing” Celebrates 50 Years as a Priest

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:22 am

In Uniontown, Franciscan priest Matthew Brozovic looks back on an accomplished life — and he’s not done:

July 30, 2006
Local friar to mark 50th anniversary
By Frances Borsodi Zajac , Herald-Standard

As he celebrates his 50th jubilee, the Rev. Matthew R. Brozovic commented, “This has been one fantastic life. It’s hard to describe. In my 50 years as a Franciscan priest in trying to serve God, I’ve had more Tabors than Calvaries – more joys than sorrows.
“Life here at St. Anthony’s Friary in Uniontown has been one wonderful life – to steal a line from Jimmy Stewart,” he continued with a smile.

….. Brozovic, 75, will celebrate his jubilee at a Mass at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, hosted by St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Old Walnut Hill Road, Uniontown, under the direction of the Rev. Alexander L. Pleban, pastor. A display of accomplishments in Brozovic’s life will be set up in the social hall, called “The Boy From Rices Landing.”

Brozovic chose Aug. 6 for the celebration because it commemorates the Transfiguration of Christ at Mount Tabor in the presence of Apostles Peter, John and James. He also had the honor of celebrating Mass at Mount Tabor in the chapel of Moses while working in the Holy Land in 2000, which the Catholic Church observed as a Jubilee Year – a trip that Brozovic lists among the highlights of his life as a Franciscan.

“The greatest one, of course, is being ordained and doing my priestly work to the best of my ability,” he commented during a recent interview at St. Anthony Friary. “On a par was the blessing (I call it a blessing) of being one of four American Franciscans serving as an English confessor in the Holy Land during the millennial year 2000. I was a confessor at the Basilica of the tomb during the time I was there. I met people from I don’t know how many countries and was part of the official greeting company for Pope John Paul II.”

Brozovic was born on Nov. 18, 1930, in Brier Hill, the son of the late Emily L. (Yelinek) and Albert E. Brozovic and baptized in the former St. Hedwig Parish there. He grew up in Rices Landing and attended Sacred Heart Parish.

Brozovic remembers being in summer catechism at Sacred Heart when he was in the fourth grade and Sister Bernardine, a Vincentian nun, asking if any of the boys wanted to become priests.

“What made me put my hand up, I don’t know,” Brozovic said.

But he stayed true to his decision, consulting with his pastor, the Rev. Paul J. Simko, who would later become a monsignor, when it was time to register for high school. Simko recommended Brozovic become a Franciscan and, at age 13, he was enrolled that fall in St. Bonaventure High School/ Minor Seminary in Sturtevant, Wis.

“It was thrilling. I cried myself to sleep every night for two weeks,” Brozovic said. “I talked to the rector and he said you’ve got to give yourself a chance. Wait until Thanksgiving and see me a week before if you want to go home. Well, here I am and I never told my parents.”

He would remember this later as a teacher.

“I would talk to my senior students about going away and seeing the world and how they would be homesick and, believe it or not, miss Mom and Dad. That’s normal and natural. I went through it,” he said. “But if you want that dream of yours, within a couple of months, everything would be OK. I would meet them at reunions and they would tell me, ‘It was just like you said.”’

Although he would tease at his 25th anniversary Mass at Rices Landing that he decided to become a priest because he liked Simko’s Chrysler New Yorker, Brozovic said of his call to serve God, “It’s hard to describe. I just felt that’s what I wanted to do with my life. When the going is tough, demanding the best of you, always hold your own. This is the price you have to pay so you can move on to the next level.”

….. Brozovic spent his first 10 years as a priest teaching and received the George Washington Medal from The Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge for a program that was a 1960 model political convention that involved 26 schools. Through the years, he’s preached in 14 archdiocese and 25 dioceses around the country and has been to all the major shrines in Europe, Canada and the Holy Land.

He compiled a list called “Father Matthew’s Memorable Masses Around the World” that includes, in part, St. Francis of Assisi Altar in the Basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart), Paris, France; Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, Lourdes, France; Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Portugal; St. Thomas the Apostle Altar in the Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican City; Tomb of St. Francis in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi; Annunciation, Nazareth; Nativity, Bethlehem (one privately and again concelebrated with Pope John Paul II); Calvary; The Holy Sepulcher; Garden of the Apparition (Risen Christ Appeared to Mary Magdalene); Mount Tabor, Site of the Transfiguration; Site of the Ascension; Chapels at the Fifth and Seventh Stations of the Via Dolorosa; Basilica of St. Anne on the reputed home site of Ss. Joachim and Anne; The Our Father Church in the Garden of Olives; Friary Chapel in Garden of Olives where Christ wept over Jerusalem prior to His Passion; and Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal, Canada.

Although called upon to serve out of the area, Brozovic has been assigned to St. Anthony’s since 1978, where the friars provide service to the greater Catholic community. Last year, he became superior/guardian of the friary, which was established on Oakland Avenue in Uniontown in 1956. The members belong to the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist with provincial headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brozovic commented, “I would say another factor for the community’s goodness to the friars flows from the 27 years that the late Father Marion Herrick gave spiritual assistance to the sick – Catholic or not – at Uniontown Hospital. To this day, I meet people – Catholic or non-Catholic – when they find out I’m a Franciscan from St. Anthony’s Friary, they will have genuine kind words to say about Father Marion, and, to me, he is one of the factors in Franciscan’s promise being fulfilled here in our community. And all we can do to show our appreciation is to be the best Franciscans possible and serve the people to the best of our abilities.”

And he plans to continue that service. “From Day One of my priesthood, I have prayed that I can die with my boots on, doing priestly work in honor of God and for the good of his people,” Brozovic said.