FACEBOOK BONUS: My office introduced our Facebook page yesterday afternoon at https://www.facebook.com/JohnMWMoorlach. For those of you that enjoy using Facebook, please pay us a visit and “Like” our new page.
“Loaded question” is a topic addressed on Wikipedia. When reporters and camera crews ask you about an FBI taskforce, what are you supposed to say? Here’s a helpful tutorial from Wikipedia:
A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption ( e.g., a presumption of guilt). Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda. The traditional example is the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, they will admit to having a wife, and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed. The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is asked the question does the argument containing them become fallacious. Hence the same question may be loaded in one context, but not in the other. For example the previous question would not be loaded if it was asked during a trial in which the defendant has already admitted to beating their wife.
A common way out of this argument is not to answer the question (e.g. with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’), but to challenge the assumption behind the question. A good response to the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" would be "I have never beaten my wife". This removes the ambiguity of the expected response, therefore nullifying the tactic. In many cases a short answer is important. I neither did nor do I now makes a good example on how to answer the question without letting the asker interrupt and misshape the response.
This brief lesson sums up the fun I’ve been having about this topic, which is covered nationally by The Bond Buyer below.
DOUBLE BONUS: I have an opening to fill on the Assessment Appeals Board. If you are interested, please contact Cammy.Danciu. Individuals appointed to the Assessment Appeals Board serve on a three panel Board which conducts quasi-judicial hearings to hear and consider taxpayer disputes of the Assessor’s established property values for secured and unsecured property in Orange County. These hearings are evidentiary and include testimony taken under oath, by both the Assessor, the taxpayer and any witnesses. Hearings and the process are highly regulated by the California Revenue and Taxation Code. Second District residents wishing to serve on an Assessment Appeals Board must be either an attorney, C.P.A. or Public Accountant, real estate broker, or appraiser who is licensed/certified within the State of California for a period of at least 5 years. The applicant must also maintain their qualifications through their term of office. The Assessment Appeals Board meets daily, however; a member’s service may be as little as once per week to four days per week. Service will be adjusted to fit personal schedules and appeal workload. Appointees must pass a state test provided by the California State Board of Equalization and attendance at annual training/educational workshops are required. If this is of interest, please let us know.
Targets of FBI, IRS Investigation Unknown
by: Keeley Webster
LOS ANGELES — A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman confirmed a task force has been formed to investigate political corruption in Orange County, but no information has been released about the impetus for the investigation.
Ari Dekofsky, an FBI spokeswoman, said a memorandum of understanding regarding the task force, which includes the FBI, IRS, district attorney’s office and U.S. Attorney’s office, was signed by the involved parties in April.
The task force has released no information about the scope of the investigation, the impetus for forming the task force, or which political leaders might be the targets of the investigation.
The agreement between the federal agencies and the district attorney’s office was formalized in April, but had been in the works for some time, Dekofsky said.
The task force, formed to investigate political corruption in Orange County, "isn’t related to anything in particular," Dekofsky said. "It is just a joint cooperative effort."
She added that the FBI has formed similar task forces all over the country. The only formal task forces in California are in Riverside and Orange County, but Dekofsky said they have not ruled out forming similar task forces elsewhere in the state.
"They are denying it is related to the civil grand jury report," said John Moorlach, chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
A civil grand jury released a 35-page report in June alleging a pattern of corruption exists in the county and recommending county supervisors establish a blue ribbon ethics commission.
"I don’t sense that I’m the target," Moorlach said. "What I’m incensed about is that they are painting with broad brush strokes without released [sic] anything specific."
Thus far, the FBI has made no requests for documents from the Orange County supervisors, nor have they interviewed anyone that Moorlach is aware of.
"It’s all speculation and innuendo with nothing concrete," Moorlach said.
FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS
For the August-September issue of the Christian Management Report, I wrote the front-page article, titled “Have You Hugged Your Employer Today?” It was a discussion on total compensation and that employers provide more than just salaries, in the form of employee benefits that are exempt from taxation, such as employee medical insurance, retirement benefits, group-term life insurance, educational assistance programs, and retiree health plans; just to name a few. It would be the first in a series of articles over the years that I would submit on employee benefits. Here is a selected segment and the concluding paragraph:
When many of these benefit are provided by the employer the employee’s total compensation package is greater, especially when the tax considerations are taken into account.
If your employer is already providing some of the benefits that we have touched upon then this is cause to hug your employer. Your employer is making a statement. Your employer cares about you. Your employer is demonstrating concern. Hopefully, this will lessen turnover, raise morale, and increase productivity. And if this is happening, perhaps you should hug each other.
Andrew Ward of The Bond Buyer provided its update on “Voters Face Pension Ballot.” Here are the opening three paragraphs:
The Orange County Board of Supervisors this week approved a ballot measure that would require voters to approve any future increases in public employee pensions.
The charter amendment will go on the Nov. 4 ballot. The measure requires a simple majority to pass.
If approved, the measure would require the Orange County Employee Retirement System to prepare an actuarial study of the cost of the proposed benefit increase and require that voters approve any pension increases other than cost of living adjustments. The amendment was sponsored by Supervisor John Moorlach.
Shelby Grad and Jean O. Pasco of the LA Times, assisted by E. Scott Reckard and Lornza Munoz, continued on the recent transcript disclosure theme with “Tracing Merrill’s Role in Citron Campaign – Bankruptcy: Brokerage officials helped the treasurer answer queries about his policies and defended him to reporters, despite their earlier concerns, documents show. They deny actively aiding his reelection.” The piece provides the background of the nonsense I endured during the campaign. Every campaigner has to put up with a boat load of craziness, but it is rarely documented and reported on after the fact. The piece accurately describes the obfuscation I was facing, but it also shows how reporters were manipulated into believing that everything was fine, when all normal fiscal indicators would tell you that things were not fine and that a little deeper analysis should be done.
A side story that I want to provide for posterity’s sake is that of Forbes magazine and Forbes reporter Bob Lenzner, who are both mentioned in this piece. The story referred to below that Forbes was working on never saw the light of day. In fact, years later, Bob Lenzner would deny ever working on the story (informing me that I must have been smoking something). It is my belief that Merrill Lynch did more than just try to paint a favorable picture, as detailed below. I believe Merrill Lynch told Forbes that they would reduce or eliminate their advertisements in the magazine if the story was printed. Consequently, after all the work invested by Bob Lenzner, in what could have been the best exposure story of this County’s recent history, it was pulled by Forbes management for fear of lost advertising revenues. Ever since this presumed unfortunate decision, and the brazen denial by Bob Lenzner, I have had a low regard for Forbes magazine and its editor-in-chief. As usual, when money talks, the truth is silent. Do not underestimate the power of a paying advertiser when it comes to negative articles pointed at them. I can still recall receiving a call from a Forbes reporter immediately after the bankruptcy filing who inquired about the poor local journalism on this topic. “Are you kidding me?” was a paraphrase of my retort and I proceeded to let him know how disappointing the reporting of his publication was (I’m not bitter