One should be careful equating a budget increase with “growth.” The 2014 budget increased by approximately $3.2 million due largely to a one-time transfer of state grant money to help pay for $4 million of improvements on the RTC grounds. The additional revenue that the city realized in property tax growth was much smaller — only about $18,000.
Caution is also warranted when celebrating additional funding via Local Government Aid. The state of Minnesota isn’t exactly the best partner when it comes to a stable funding stream. Dependence on transfer payments is a dangerous road to travel.
A better approach might be to focus on developing and enhancing the places in our city that give a high return on investment relative to the space consumed and level of services used. Think downtown and the core part of our city: Lundeens instead of Target. Bello Cucina instead of Applebees. Just as you judge a car by the number of miles it gets per gallon, not the number of miles it gets per tank, so, too, should we judge the places in our city.
For the record
Perhaps because I broke the good sense filter on our local newspaper’s website, my skeptical take on their recent "local boys do good/miracle diet" story has yet to see the light of day. While it’s enticing to imagine an elaborate conspiracy theory involving fraudulent marketing, pyramid schemes, and kickbacks to receptive media outlets, I’m sure it’s something much more mundane. Such as
being filtered for including too many links to, oh, say, reputable sources a policy, according to the publisher, to “not allow
comments on our business features.” (Hmm.)
The full text, in all of its link-and-blockquote-filled glory is below:
Before rushing for your wallet, don’t miss the disclaimer on the bottom of the Spray your Fat Away website:
Spray Your Fat Away is the registered name of our weight loss company. It does not imply or mean to imply that you can simply Spray Your Fat Away without following our complete protocol which includes a very specific low calorie diet of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
The “low-calorie diet” mentioned is in the range of 600 - 800 calories, which is about a third to a quarter of the normal caloric needs of an adult and is low enough to be classified as a very low calorie diet (VLCD). WebMD has an article on VLCDs, which states, in part:
Very low-calorie diets are generally safe when used under proper medical supervision in people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Use of VLCDs in people with a BMI of 27 to 30 should be reserved for those who have medical complications resulting from their obesity. VLCDs are not suitable for everyone. Doctors generally recommend them on a case-by-case basis and your doctor will decide whether or not such a diet is appropriate for you.
The secret to the success of this company, if any, lies in the diet, not the spray. If you’re moderately to very severely obese (BMI 30+), out of other options, and comfortable with the thought of a near-starvation diet and the health risks that come with it, this might be the weight loss plan for you. But please do it under the watchful eye of a trained doctor or dietician and not some fad dieting business that sells you spray that is indistinguishable from tap water.
The Fargo Forum did a bang-up job of investigating the company and its claims a couple of years ago and the FDA warns consumers against buying into these types of schemes. Mere mention of the word “homeopathy,” as is made on the Spray Your Fat Away website (“…All Natural Homeo-Energetic”) should be enough to set off one’s skeptical radar.
If you’ve got yourself $350 to burn in the name of weight loss, I suggest buying yourself a five-year supply of running shoes, a gym membership, or a new bike instead. You’ll get much more enjoyment from your purchase while also helping to stop the promulgation of quackery such as this.
Tenuous local ties or not, I question the Journal’s decision to run this piece.
Adventures in consumer advocacy
Yes, I’m the guy that send emails like this:
Subject: Coupon suggestion
You might want to look at your coupon policy for coupon number 168 (full bar code 098437101681), which is $3 off any large pizza. I attempted to use it last night to purchase a pizza and the coupon was not accepted, as it appears that the October promotion of free breadsticks does not allow the simultaneous use of the $3 coupon. I would have preferred the $3 off to the free breadsticks. But as there was a sizable line behind me, I opted not to pursue the matter with the cashier.
Perhaps you can investigate this matter further to prevent others having this problem in the future.
I also yell at kids who walk across my lawn and wear socks with sandals.
I can’t stop those flashing reds
Perhaps worth your time, even if you don’t get the reference:
Part of a very occasional series documenting observations around town.