Price Is Right

August 29, 2005
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Any politician worth his or her salt knows about it. Some like it; others hate it.

But regardless of which side you support, the book “The Price of Government” is impacting your life.

State legislators (and city governments) across the country are using a results-based budgeting system that moves beyond the inertia and incrementalism of traditional budgeting.

Three states, including Iowa, have adopted an Accountable Government Act that gives state agencies more funding based on their performance against targeted outcomes.

One of the book’s authors, PeterHutchinson, will be in town Sept. 14 as part of the Strategic Issues Series, which will look at the book’s practices from a variety of angles.

Also speaking at the event will be JimChrisinger, who leads Iowa’s “accountability and results team,” which is charged with implementing the principles, and State Rep. JerryKooiman, R-Grand Rapids, who used results-based budgeting in the House version of the 2006 Michigan budget.

All three individuals will give a presentation on the new budgeting model and spend time in discussion with audience members. Registration begins 7 a.m., the conference starts half an hour later and everyone leaves by 10 a.m. The venue is the Gerald R. Ford Museum. Call 456-7826 for information.

The seminar is free.

  • On another entertainment front, Van Andel Arena’s DVD debut is about ready.

West Michiganders will soon have the chance to wear out their pause buttons, as Grand Rapids plays backdrop to a new live concert DVD from veteran rockers Mötley Crüe. (“Look, that’s me behind the flaming demon head!”)

According to promotional materials, “Mötley Crüe: Carnival of Sins Live!” intersperses behind-the-scenes vignettes and music videos with live footage from the umlaut-enhanced hair band’s April 27, 2005, concert at Van Andel Arena.

Judging by the popularity of the tour — which sold out across the country — the concert DVD will likely be a must-have on every fan’s Chrïstmäs list.

For anyone hoping to buy a copy of the DVD online, however, use caution. You might accidentally end up with another Mötley Crüe video: the rather graphic tribute to the love between drummer TommyLee and ex-wife PamelaAnderson

That one was definitely not filmed in Grand Rapids.

  • Breaking the silence — Due to the ravages of peer pressure from our fellow media outlets, we’ve decided to stop ignoring what seems to be the biggest story out there today: How ’bout these gas prices, huh? Hooo-whee!

There. We mentioned it in print. Now let’s move along.

In keeping with our far-reaching, deep-digging journalistic style, we've uncovered an angle on this story that seems to be ignored by our colleagues. What happens when all the old-fashioned gas pumps — the ones with the mechanical digit tumblers instead of LCD screens — are forced to deal with a price over $999.99? It could be like Y2K all over again (except something bad might actually happen). Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  • On an eerily related note, the CXT has come to Grand Rapids. The four-wheeled behemoth marketed as the biggest truck on the market has been spotted at Woodland International Trucks on Hall Street.

Can’t quite picture what the world’s biggest pickup looks like? Let’s try an analogy: Hummer H1 is to International CXT as Dr. BruceBanner is to the IncredibleHulk

Imagine a Hummer that spent a few months working out with RafaelPalmeiro. The truck’s quasi-industrial design is somewhat off-putting at first glance. It combines the good looks of a Bluebird school bus with the agility of a cement mixer. To add an ironic twist, International is touting the environmental friendliness of the 14,500-pound monster.

Promotional materials use the tagline: “Possibly too much truck … Like that’s a problem.”

Then again, maybe it’s not too much truck, for the right buyer. Guys who can fork over $115,000 for one probably need the 17,000-pound axle capacity to support their wallets.

  • Feeling patriotic and you’ve got $40 to spend? Consider honoring America’s heroes.

There is still more room for entries in the 2nd Annual Grand Rapids Jaycees Patriot Day Parade, which will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, in downtown Grand Rapids.

More than 50 entries have signed up so far to participate in this year’s parade, including Congressman VernEhlers, long distance swimmer JimDreyer representing Big Brothers Big Sisters, marching bands from Catholic Central High School and East Kentwood High School, and the Grand Rapids & District Pipe Band.

The annual parade, which carries the theme of “Heroes Among Us” this year, seeks to honor community heroes and pay tribute to those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The winner of the Jaycees’ “Everyday Heroes” children’s essay contest, Carley Lopez, a first-grader at Ada Vista Elementary School, and her parents, Joe and Stacey, will be grand marshals.

There is no entry fee for military, municipal rescue and marching band units. There is a $40 entry fee for all other units. For an entry application or additional information about the parade, contact the Jaycees at (616) 954-9409.

  • Speaking of honors, local photographer DavidDeJonge counts another one this week.

DeJonge, who has a studio in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, is releasing a book of his portraits. The forward for the hardcover book is written by none other than NewtGingrich

“I was honored,” DeJonge said. “He’s a very busy man.”

DeJonge had shot Gingrich’s “official portrait” some time back, and the politician has raved about it ever since.

Many of DeJonge’s portraits are of statesmen and politicians, but some of his more moving work focuses on veterans.

Gingrich makes mention of that in his forward: “I have always been most moved by his portraits of veterans from the 20th century. Again his ability to capture all things with the lens is on display, particularly the balance between the harsh sobriety of war and the softer themes of sacrifice, dignity and honor.”    

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