Friday, July 31, 2009


Judge E. Wayne Phillips has finally ruled in the "secret box/black box" lawsuit.

According to this article, he ruled that "corporations, as non-human entities, do not have individual privacy rights under the state constitution".

The city and SME have until August 14 to provide the court detailed accounting as to why they think certain documents should continue to be kept from public scrutiny. Because the court delayed in releasing the ruling, the judge has given SME the opportunity to request a later deadline.

See the order here (thanks, Gregg) and check out his perspective on the ruling.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

ECP Consultants

According to Commissioner Jolley, the consultants hired to review the city's ongoing foray into public power are tentatively scheduled to meet with the public on August 11 at 7:00pm. The location has not yet been decided.

I think it's great news the ECP board may not be around. It's my understanding they've already had their chance to talk with these folks.

It's long overdue for the public to have a chance to voice their concerns on this boondoggle without having to put up with the less than professional behavior from the chair of this board and its director.

I certainly hope that no city commissioner, city staffer or ECP board member is involved with this meeting. If they want to show up, they show up as an audience member only with no preferential treatment given.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GF Police Get Grant

In breaking news today, the Great Falls Police Department will receive a federal grant in the amount of $837,148. They will be able to hire four new officers.

According to the article, during the first three years of the grant, the officers salaries and benefits will be covered 100%. In the fourth year, the city will have to retain the positions.

How do you think this will affect the levy, of which more than a quarter of the ballots have already been returned?

ECP August Meeting

Due to board member vacations and the lack of actionable business, the ECP board meeting, previously scheduled for Monday, August 03, has been canceled.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Neighborhood Councils - Week of July 27,2009

One council is meeting this week; #7:

When: Tonight, 7/27 at 6:00pm
Where: Neighbor Works, 509 1st Avenue South


APPROVAL OF June Minutes
Police Mill Levy & Citizens’ Academy—Officer Jesse Slaughter
Downtown loan fund—Brett Doney
Closure of Black Eagle Post Office -- Erin Tropila
Neighborhood Concerns
Neighborhood Council Election filing reminder
Lowering Speed Limits on Park Drive near Gibson Park -- Greg Hall
Whittier & Longfellow speed limit petitions
Gibson Park Lighting, CTEP grant update
Weed and Seed radio ad -- update
Problem Properties
Other Old Business
City Commission
Other Reports
Setting the Time and Date of the Next meeting

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A New Low

The highlight of last night's City Commission meeting had nothing to do with the nearly 40 agenda items, but rather what occurred at the end of the meeting, during Petitions and Communications.

Stuart Nicholson, who made it very clear that he is retired from a 30+ year stint as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of DA Davidson, presented quite a performance.

He started off by discussing the success of the Lions festivities and the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and then he "let 'er rip". He proceeded to tell the commissioners that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! He's had it with the way citizens speak at the podium. He even went so far as to say they use inappropriate, blasphemous language, etc. He reminded them that they need to take back control, or words to that effect.

When the buzzer went off, signaling that his five minutes was up, the mayor didn't tell him his time was up until Commissioner Jolley made some hand motions to that effect. Nicholson didn't quit speaking, but rather held up his hand in a dismissive gesture to the mayor and continued his insult toward the citizens. The mayor told him a couple of more times that his time was up, but she was laughing when she said it. When he finally shut up the mayor thanked him very much for his comments. (I wonder if he is this obnoxious and insulting at school board meetings).

Thankfully, his weren't the last words heard on the subject. Lt. Col (ret., USAR) Richard Liebert very promptly went to the podium and informed everybody about their First Amendment right to free speech. He reiterated that he has never used inappropriate language and that citizens have the right to express their views. He also stated that he very much resented the remarks made and that they were also an insult to those who defend our rights to free speech.

In the three years I have attended City Commission meetings, I have never seen Nicholson at any of them.

I just can't help but think his little performance has something to do with an upcoming election.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Economic Diversification Rollout

Everyone is cordially invited to attend the Economic Diversification Rollout presentation tomorrow, July 22 at 3:00pm at MSU-COT Heritage Hall.

See here for more details.

Thanks Gregg

Thanks very much to Gregg for hosting a very enjoyable Blog Meetup on Saturday, July 18.

After discussions pertaining to blogging, we adjourned to his house for leisure conversation, a barbecue and "fun in the sun". He and his wife were very gracious hosts. Gregg's photos are here and here.

Here are a couple my hubby took:

Many thanks to Treasure State Network for picking up the tab on our lunch!

Monday, July 20, 2009


If you attended or watched the City Commission proceedings from Tuesday, July 7, you know that Larry Rezentes, CPA was shut down during his presentation pertaining to ECP. Following is his explanation of the goings on pertaining to the financial statements of ECP as presented by Coleen Balzarini:

No, it’s not too late for Electric City Power to go down the tubes, but the taxpayers won’t know about it.

At the Electric City Power Board meeting this past Monday night, City Finance Manager and Electric City Power Executive Director, Colleen Balzarini presented the financial results of operation for Electric City Power.

I spoke at that meeting and pointed out:
· If you reduce April’s supposed “profit” of $39,043 by the amount of the "transitional rate” “savings” for the purchase of power by Electric City Power that are still paid to SME as a “deposit” ($55,409), the profit turns into a loss of $16,366.

· If you increment the reported fiscal year-to-date loss through May of $7,261 by the amount of the “transitional rate” “savings” for the purchase of power by Electric City Power, that fiscal year-to-date have been paid to SME as a deposit ($288,742), the loss increases to a loss of $296,003.

These facts (coming directly from the financial reporting presented at the meeting) went unreported by the media present at the meeting.

The city has negotiated (if that’s the right word) a deal with Southern Montana Electric that results in its payment to SME of the same “pass through rate” for power purchases as before, but with the difference between the amount actually paid at the “pass through rate” and calculated at the “transitional rate”, reflected as a “deposit”. Oh what a deal! The city pays the same as before, but gets to reflect a deposit on its books for the difference; an amount available to it at the earliest at January 1, 2011.

The advantage (if that’s the right word) to Electric City Power, is the ability to mislead the taxpayers as to the financial results being generated by Electric City Power by the fact that it can (using a stretch of accounting principles) reflect a lower cost of power purchases in calculating its monthly “profit” results at the lower cost, even though it pays the same amount as it would have before to Southern Montana Electric. It is also the basis for the supposed profits forecast to be generated by Electric City Power as represented in the proposed Fiscal 2010 Great Falls city budget.

The ultimate receipt of these “savings” and achievement of the supposed resulting “profits” is highly questionable, speculative, and unlikely. The assumed “savings” will sit in the bank account of SME until at least December 31, 2010, and SME, ECP AND THE CITY are subject to litigation from Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative based largely on the provision of this rate to ECP.

Who in good judgment would use this rate as the basis for calculating financial results of operation of any business? A deal where the price of the product you are buying supposedly drops, but where you continue to pay out of pocket the same price for the product, but are to receive in two years the supposed benefit of the “price reduction”, with the availability of that rate the subject of a lawsuit.

Further, the recording of the economic results biased by this decision regarding recognition of the “transitional rate” cost of power purchases, is biased, additionally, by decisions to defer recognition of a number of expenses and costs, as was recently brought to light by Ed McKnight in an e-mail exchange among Mr. McKnight, City Finance Manager Colleen Balzarini and City Manager Greg Doyen.

Expense deferral, together with acceleration of revenue recognition, are the two most common methods of manipulation of enterprise financial results. Such methodologies have been recognized with their own humorous term as the "cookie jar concept" in statements by the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others. The analogy is apt. In the case of accounting for ECP, the approach is one of deferring expenses (meaning reflecting them as an asset on the ECP balance sheet rather than as an expense) until ECP can "afford" them (keeping them in the city’s financial cookie jar until you can “afford” them): that is, as the City Finance Director herself describes it (in the e-mail exchange) "The prepaid deferred energy imbalances occurred as a net result of cash out-flows (energy supply contracts, market sales of surplus energy, general and administrative expenses and transmission expenses) exceeding cash in-flows (customer sales) from FY 2005 through FY 2008. A large portion of the deferred expenses are related to net imbalance transactions, but not all. They will be expensed in future periods when existing customer contract rates increase and existing supply contracts remain relatively the same or decrease." (Emphasis mine).

Non-acceptability of this approach is true whether or not this is acceptable, at the margin, under GAAP. The issue here is one of accurate accounting for the impact of the operation of Electric City Power on city cash flows and impact on the taxpayers, not what is acceptable at the margin to present a biased, best possible representation of results for Electric City Power.

I call upon the city to include in ECP’s monthly accrual-based financial reporting a cash flow statement prepared under (in accounting parlance) the “direct method”. The suggested supplement would show the payments that Electric City Power received from its customers in that month, fiscal-year-to-date, and cumulatively from Electric City Power’s inception, and what Electric City Power paid for power to Southern Montana Electric over this same period and to others for all other expenses of ECP.

I encourage candidates for Great Falls public office, and incumbents, for that matter to consider the above and make their views known on the subject.

Lawrence C. Rezentes, CPA

Neighborhood Councils - Week of July 20, 2009

Only NC (#4) is meeting this week:

When: Thursday, July 23 at 6:30pm
Where: PreRelease Center, Women's Annex at 1019 15th Street North (one time only location change)

Many thanks to Paul Cory, the director of the center, for inviting us. We'll conduct our normal business and then enjoy a tour of the facility.

If you would like to learn more about what the PreRelease Center does, please come.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Are You Tone Deaf?

Here is a fun way to check if you are tone deaf. The test is conducted by the National Institute on Deafness And Other Communication Disorders.

Feel free to share your score with us.

My score: Out of 26 tunes, I correctly identified 25. Fine sense of pitch, according to them!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The following post is from Mr. Larry Rezentes in response to an attack levied against him by an anonymous commenter on July 10:
In a recent blog to the topic “The Right to Be Heard”, anonymous said, “Mr. Rezentes would like to have you believe he is a local CPA, but he isn't. He is not licensed in the State of Montana to call himself a CPA.” The individual posting the statement has not revealed their identity, and so there is no way for me to confront and challenge the individual personally as to the position he or she has taken.

The facts, however, are these:

· I am a CPA, correctly represent myself as such, and have been a CPA for 34 years, with an active license in Texas, where I first became certified. I joined the U.S. department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee four years ago. To become so-employed, I submitted to an extensive background check of my educational and professional credentials; including my status as a CPA; my educational background with an undergraduate degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; a criminal and general character background check; credit check; employment history check, etc.

· As my practice as a CPA is strictly in my employment with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee, I have no need or requirement to be licensed in the State of Montana. Any individual with the knowledge to post such an allegation would know this.

· I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and have been a member for over 14 years. To become a member, obviously, one must be a Certified Public Accountant.

· I began my career by working for three years in public accounting with Arthur Andersen and Company.

· I also hold a membership in Financial Executives International; an organization whose membership is limited to those holding senior financial management positions. I qualify because of a 25 year background serving in Chief Financial Officer roles; including 17 years serving in such positions in Public, Venture Capital and Private Equity financed businesses. I also hold memberships in the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors and the Society for Human Resource Management.

· I possess extensive experience in dealing in complex financial and accounting issues, including those in turnaround and bankruptcy settings. I have served as CFO of two businesses in bankruptcy.

· The designation of me as a “local” CPA and “local” accountant has come from others; including the Great Falls Tribune and KFBB.

· In all cases where I provide statements to the media, I ask that the following legend be provided stating my background: “Lawrence Rezentes is a Certified Public Accountant with experience as CFO in public, private, venture-capital and private equity financed companies. He currently works in the public sector for the US Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee. The views expressed herein are his own and are not intended to represent the views of the US Department of Justice, nor those of the Office of the United States Trustee.” As a compromise, I agreed in my interview with KFBB to a designation as CPA; KFBB chose the alternative title as “local CPA”. I have never introduced myself as “Local CPA”, and did not do so at last Tuesday’s meeting. Given my background and experience, why would I “like to have you believe that I am a local CPA”, as indicated by our anonymous blogger.

No, the accusation is a scurrilous and malicious attempt to malign me by those in, or allied with, city government, who object to my having brought to light the misrepresentations by those in city management and elected city officials, of the large losses sustained, and that continue to be sustained, by the city’s operation of Electric City Power; the cause of those losses; the questionable accounting used now to hide them; and of the city’s flagrant violation of Electric City Power’s founding ordinance. It is a retaliatory attack against me by such individuals in or allied with a city government that has abused its power, selectively applied and knowingly violated its own laws and harassed those, such as myself, who oppose its actions and the incompetence, misrepresentation, and illegality of its entry into and continued operation of Electric City Power, and its involvement in the Highwood Generating Station program. It follows other such attacks against me by the city, and those allied with its views.

I have challenged elected officials of the city, the City Manager, the City Attorney, City Finance Manager, any or all, to debate me on the issues surrounding the establishment, financial results, and legality of the operation of Electric City Power and its involvement in Highwood Generating Station. I did this most recently in a letter that I sent to the Great Falls Tribune with copies to the Mayor, City Commissioners, City Manager, City Finance Manager, and City Attorney dated February 17, 2009. The attacks upon me personally are a cowardly substitute by those without the character, courage or integrity to face me to defend what they know is their indefensible use of taxpayer money in support of the ill-conceived, and incompetently managed Electric City Power and associated Highwood Generating Station ventures.

My statements of the facts surrounding Electric City Power at last Tuesday evening’s City Commission meeting, where the Commission approved the hiring of a consulting firm and the wasteful expenditure of $60,000, in knowing violation of Ordinance 2925, in an attempt to acquire a consultant to whitewash their actions, is what led to Mayor Stebben’s interruption of my talk.

Lawrence C. Rezentes,

Monday, July 13, 2009

ECP July Meeting

The ECP board meeting is tonight at 5:30pm in the Gibson Room at the Civic Center.


Financial Reports
Financials - Year to Date and Projected
Energy Consumption Charts (to be handed out at meeting)
YVEC vs. Southern, et al. (Cause No. DV 08-1797) Defendants’ Motion and Brief for Partial Summary Judgment

Miscellaneous Reports
Presentation by Mr. James E. Morin, Director of Shell Energy North America, regarding the gas industry

Accept Board Meeting Minutes from June 1, 2009

Energy Consultant Proposal Award

Public Comment

August 3, 2009

Here is the agenda packet for tonight's meeting.

Neighborhood Councils - Week of July 13, 2009

No meetings are scheduled this week.

NC#7, which normally would have met this evening, has postponed their meeting to Monday, July 27. An agenda is forthcoming.

NC#8 is holding an ice cream social on Wednesday, July 15 from 6:30pm-8:00pm at Memorial Park at 19th Street and 2nd Avenue North. Enjoy ice cream cones and root-beer floats. Kids can also enter a sidewalk chalk art contest with prizes for the winners.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Secret Box

Two very important questions were asked at last night's City Commission meeting:

1. Will the consultant hired to evaluate ECP have access to the secret box?
2. Why haven't the Commissioners (albeit Jolley) looked into the secret box?

Greg Doyon indicated that he would encourage SME to cooperate with the consultant, but he did not think there was anything in the box that would help them in their review. He claims he knows this because of conversations he's had with Commissioner Jolley. He himself has not looked in the box.

Not surprisingly, the second question was not answered. The mayor had her usual smug grin on her face and Bronson sat there with his chin resting in his hands, staring off into space.

At the end of the meeting, Rosenbaum indicated that when the occasion arises that would warrant looking into the box, he would. Now, how exactly does he know what occasion would warrant looking into the box when he doesn't know what's in it?

I bet I know. He calls Gregori.

Coleen Does It Again

Last night was a tough night for the supporters of ECP and its director, Coleen Balzarini.

First, Larry Rezentes took her to task and then Kathy Gessaman inquired why the June power payment of $650,000 was once again not listed on the over $5,000 report. Coleen said it was paid on time, but she forgot to list it.

To recap: At the June 16 City Commission meeting, it was brought to Coleen's attention that no power payment in the amount of $650,000 had been reported as being paid to SME for the month of June. She indicated that the wire transfer was made on time, but missed the report for the 16th so it would be on the next meeting's report, which would have been last night's.

Mr. Gessaman inquired of her later how many other couple hundred thousand dollar expense items have been forgotten.

That evidently sent her over the edge, because she left the meeting and never came back. (You may remember that just over a year ago she did the same thing). This time though, her boss didn't go out after her.

For her sake it was probably just as well she left, because Ed McKnight's comments wouldn't have made her feel any better.

She has nobody to blame but herself.

The Right To Be Heard

At last night's City Commission meeting, Larry Rezentes, local CPA, was told to "wrap it up" in the middle of his explanation as to why he doesn't think the city has the authority to hire a consultant to determine the feasibility of ECP.

Evidently the mayor didn't like hearing Mr. Rezentes take the city to task for being in violation of Ordinance 2925 (section 5.20.070) and for a pattern of misrepresenting ECP numbers.

The majority of his explanation was technical, and because he was speaking rapidly, it was not at times easy to follow, but he was speaking during NEW BUSINESS, which does not have a time limit. He was on topic and deserved the right to be heard to the end of his dialogue.

At least his remarks are on the record and the mayor once again proved how much she dislikes OTAG; Open, Transparent, Accountable Government.

Monday, July 6, 2009

ECP Board Meeting - July 2009

Normally, ECP meets the first Monday of each month, but because of the holiday, they rescheduled their meeting to Monday, July 13th.

Guest speaker will be Jim Morin, Director of Shell Energy North America

Bob Pancich, past chair and current board member of ECP, requested that Jim cover the following topics:

* Current infrastructure to deliver gas to HGS
* Is there sufficient capacity to deliver the needed gas for HGS and the City of Great Falls?
* How large are the existing gas supply lines?
* Is there sufficient excess capacity to provide for growth into the next 20 years?
* Do we have to consider building a pipeline to supply the plant? How long would [it] be?

Mr. Pancich also wants him to address the supply of gas now and into the future as well as these other areas of concern:

* What is the source of the gas supply? Canada? or where?
* What about proven reserves? How large are they?
* What about price? Can prices be 'locked in" for 20 years?

I'm acquainted with Mr. Morin and am looking forward to his remarks.

Police Department Open House

When: Wednesday, July 8 from 5:00pm-7:00pm
Where: Police Department

Tours of the building, 911 Center, video firearms simulator, police cars and firing range will be given.

Neighborhood Councils - Week of July 6, 2009

One council is meeting this week:

When: Thursday, July 9 at 7:00pm
Where: Camp Fire Office at 1925 2nd Avenue South

Police Levy
Committee reports
Neighborhood concerns

Friday, July 3, 2009

Declaration Of Independence

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock

For an interpretation of the Declaration, click here.

Final Slate Of Candidates

Yesterday was the final day to file for the Mayoral seat and two City Commissioner positions on the City Commission. Following are the candidates for each office, listed in alphabetical order:

Bill Bronson (current City Commissioner)
Sandra Guynn
John Hubbard
Michael Winters
Michael Witsoe

City Commissioner:
Fred Burow
Kathleen Gessaman
Robert Jones
Roland Leitheiser
Ed McKnight
John Rosenbaum (incumbent)
Donna Zook