Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Bridge to Saving

Stephen Moore’s editorial in the WSJ on September 23, “Our $2 trillion Bridge to Nowhere,” addresses a recent Gallup Poll. While American believes that the Feds waste half of our tax dollars. He cites that the government spent nearly $4 trillion dollars this year. However when Mr. Moore compares another recent Gallup poll that American’s believe there is too much government regulation of business and industry as believe as too little (45% to 24%). He goes on to show that today public perception of government waste was lower 30 years ago when Americans thought 40 cents of every dollar was wasted. We Americans are the source and solution to government waste.

Many businesses externalize their waste passing if out to the taxpayer evident by our recent financial crisis. Privatization is another example where sometimes it costs the government more. Both sectors can foster innovation to fully optimize their transfer goods and services with less waste and improved performance. Increasing productivity must become a direct result. Our collective “output and inputs” must balance with increased environmental and social considerations on how the

We must become fully accountable through a new national policy of developing improved performance measurements. These measures must balance flexible environmental partnerships offer, integrated management system and ingenious paperwork processes. Preventing pollution, improving environmental management, and integrating approaches across media will become a new triple bottom line.

We need a middle path where neutral good third-party. Will our financial market not melt down like our environmental concern? American requires close examination of how we can efficiently save. America can champion waste reduction, and so profit from such minimization measures. Such renewal is tied to our nation’s health and safety and public welfare.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Larry Kelly: Silver Lining Specialist

I first met Larry Kelly back in 1989. November 11, the day the Berlin Wall fell, a truck carrying an international cross section of laundry workers from a Southampton New York laundry crossed the road, and hit me head on at 50 miles per hour. There seemed to be no insurance, and my physical therapist recommended an out of the box thinking trial attorney with a local reputation. Larry used Virginia and Maryland law to create new law in New York State, making a silk purse out of what appeared to everyone else as a sow's ear. The law is only a tool, he would say, a tool to find justice.

For many years, Larry would tackle the unpopular cases. He embraced the challenge. His work on behalf of civil rights plaintiffs against law enforcement so impressed law enforcement officers that they retained him to challenge what they saw as the unfair exclusion of cognitive grading on police entry and promotional exams. On 9/11, Larry volunteered to lead the High Income Lead cases for the Cantor Fitzgerald claims before Special Master Feinberg. His work for Trial Lawyers Care led to an initial $5.3 million award for one family, and the acceptance of the program by most of the Cantor families. After his nephew S/Sgt Ryan Kelly was seriously wounded in Iraq in 2003, he created TSGLI, a lump sum disability benefit which has now paid out over $200 million to seriously wounded service members. Larry is a transformer. He assesses a bad situation, and then moves on to finding what good he can bring out of it. Just before he left for Iraq, he introduced the concept of First Contact, a diversion program for military veterans coming into contact with the criminal justice system. After he consulted with their office, most of the New York area District Attorneys adopted the program.

Larry thought there was no reason his 23 year old nephew's work in Iraq should go unfinished while his 53 year old uncle had a chance to make a difference. Just six months ago, Larry visited me in Washington DC as he trained to volunteer to restore Iraq's legal system as part of a State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team. This kind of mid career opportunity to do national service in the international arena allows out of the box thinking to transform other regions.

When I last checked, he was introducing literacy programs, reopening libraries, introducing case processing systems to the courts, and improving prison conditions one day at a time. He also spent part of a day convincing the visiting Texas Governor Rick Perry that the Estate of one of the Sergeants in the Team's protective detail was entitled to Texas State Crime and Terror Benefits. Because even in Iraq, there's nothing Larry likes better than finding a way to fashion the law into doing justice.