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Painter’s View: A List of REAL Presidential Debate Issues

I watched part of the presidential debate televised on September 26. Fifteen minutes into this first face off between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump, I knew that the real issues would not be discussed.

 

It had nothing to do with award-winning journalist Lester Holt’s moderating and pre-formulated questions for the candidates.

 

Here were some of the real issues, as I saw them…

 

  1. Health insurance companies sharply increasing basic premium rates yearly, while sharply decreasing life-saving coverage and benefits.
  2. Generic drug manufacturers sharply increasing prices and collaborating with prescription drug insurers, without being held liable, by the F.D.A., for product quality and safety as are brand name pharmaceuticals.
  3. Health insurance companies not being held liable for medical and pharmacological coverage and benefit decreases and discontinuations that cost loss of many lives.
  4. Health insurance companies that knowingly approve claims from large providers, with U. S. Department of Justice judgments against them for major “False Claims” fraud.
  5. Employer group health insurers that deny employees coverage and benefits when diagnosed with advanced stage or terminal illnesses or diseases.
  6. Vehicle insurers jacking up rates every 6-12 months, thus (a) penalizing drivers that obey Bureau of Motor Vehicle license and insurance laws, and (b) charging them for excessive claims’ costs they did not cause.
  7. Employers repeatedly violating EEOC and Department of Labor discrimination laws by adjusting job description and productivity requirements to enable them to disqualify skilled, experienced workers age 49 and over.
  8. Employers ignoring OSHA and EPA standards, thus causing employees to develop chronic, acute, and/or even terminal medical diseases or illnesses.
  9. Employers denying all employee hourly wage increases due to “budget cuts,” while sharply increasing managers’ salaries (and bonuses).
  10. Both employees’ hourly wage and salary merit raises, benefit increases and promotions.
  11. Business owners/employers that sell businesses and dissolve employee retirement accounts, transferring funds into private, owner-shareholder accounts.
  12. Federal government allocating and sending trillions of dollars overseas “for aid,” while taxpayers in the U. S. lose access to help, services and resources that they’ve paid for already.
  13. Utility and phone companies that indiscriminately add surcharges, taxes and other fees that are not regulated by the government, and thus must be paid by consumers.
  14. Local governments that set and increase budgets, then hide allocations and spending that sharply exceed budgets of municipalities of similar sizes and demographics.
  15. Companies not being held legally and financially liable, when (a) awarded huge tax incentives and property pre-improvements to locate within an area, then (b) either not locating there or not providing the number of new jobs as promised contractually.
  16. Federal and state governments’ regular removal of public school systems’ major funding, to pay for charter school systems’ management and operations.
  17. Physicians lack of accountability for treating medical symptoms, then medication adverse reactions, side effects and interactions, but not searching for and treating underlying cause(s) of symptoms and signs, thus causing costly ER visits and premature deaths.
  18. Local-level justice systems’ regular release of repeat felony drug trafficking offenders back onto the streets.

 

Like I said, these were, in my opinion, some of the real issues not discussed in the 2016 Presidential Debate No. 1.

 

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Debates can provide opportunities for exploring the depth of real issues in society.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik

Painter’s View: How to find something to like about every boss or employer

Ground rule: Expect, demand and require nothing more from someone else than you would ask of yourself.

 

 

EMPLOYER

 

1. What matters the most to him or her here?

2. What three things does he or she do very well?

3. What one thing do you envy about him or her?

4. In a room of 100 bosses, what would make your boss stand out?

5. Name two ways that your boss walks the talk.

6. Name two things he or she does to cover the backs of every person under his charge.

7. Is your boss a good everyday leader?

8. Does your boss help each worker to understand that he or she has something special to contribute here?

9. Does your boss trust and delegate as a habit?

10. Does your boss know when to listen, learn, lead, or follow? And, do it?

11. Does your boss value the wisdom of his or her workers?

12. Does your boss recognize that his workers know what’s what?

13. Does your boss teach and show others how to make smart decisions and take decisive action?

14. Does your boss value his or her entire team?

15. Does your boss invite or encourage every worker to bring solutions for problems?

16. What part of his or her attitude, behavior, and approach moves you to emulate?

17. How does your boss remove obstacles that may prevent his or her workers from doing their jobs?

18. Does your boss work together with his or her people?

19. Does your boss really care about each of his or her workers?

20. Does your boss empower his or her workers to do what is right?

21. How does your boss wow every worker?

22. Instead of ordering his or her people to do things, does your boss grab an oar and row with them?

23. Does your boss know when to lead, when to follow, and when to get out of the way? And, does he or she do it?

 

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It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us!

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Thank you to all bosses that hang in there, do their jobs, and treat their people like they matter.

 

And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

Painting In and Dining en Glass

Recently, I sat around a glass-top dining table with five ladies. All were retired, but hardly sitting around nursing their arthritic joints and less than 20/20 vision.

 

Among the group were three career educators and education writers, a corporate office administrator, a writer/editor/consultant, and me: a painter and decorator.

 

Each lady present was well-educated, traveled, articulate, and opinionated. Did I mention also that each lady was hilarious!

 

They’d lived in well-known places like New York City, Manhattan, Village, Bronx; Chicago; Boston, Martha’s Vineyard; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Miami Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. They’d lived in less common places, too – eg. the Caribbean, London, Athens, Sicily, Pakistan.

 

We discussed everything, from writing and publishing fiction…to political and social unrest…to police protection and brutality…to employer-employee law…to gourmet cooking and restaurant eating…to eating healthy, and for fun…to dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons…to auto design and mechanics…to fashion design and men’s clothing styles…to fine art and folk art. (What did I leave out, Ladies?)

 

We even hit upon interior design, restorations and painting. We even covered how to repair and reinstall front door latches and knobs.

 

We were supposed to eat at 2 pm. By the time that we enjoyed our Pear Sparkling Water, cheese spreads, and variety of crackers – and got to the table, it was nearly 4 pm.

 

No problem!  All of us were having a great time! Including the hostess!  Including me, the only person there that was male, and far from retirement age.

 

Why bring this encounter with the aging up at all?

 

If you want to take a crash course in a lot of subjects, accept an invitation to dine with a group of your elders.

 

If you live far away from your own parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. – or they’re deceased – fill in with the elders wherever you are planted!

 

“Go ahead!  Make their day!”   Go ahead!  Make your day, too!

 

Postscript: By the way, the family secrets are safe!  If you’re a teen-to-middle aged relative of one of these fine, dynamic women, breathe easy!  Your 21st Century matriarch of the family – mother/grandmother, aunt/great aunt, cousin  – is savvy about protecting your – and her own – privacy!

 

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Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Painting with “SYMPHONY SAM”

STRADIVARIUS
My mother told me recently about “Symphony Sam.” That’s the name she gave the homeless man that played virtuoso-quality music with his violin, in Chicago’s Pedway. And, he handed out free copies of the official Vietnam Veterans of America newspaper.

 

She met him one morning, in the Pedway between Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue, and S. LaSalle Street. She took the underground walkway, when Chicago’s temperature dropped to the 30s (wind chill factor 20 degrees or lower), and freezing winds bit into one’s cheeks.

 

“Symphony Sam” was a Vietnam Veteran. He suffered from PTSD, the debilitating effects of Agent Orange, relentless pain from the shrapnel still in his back and legs, and major depression. He always wore “a frayed, dark blue suit” when he played in the Pedway. And, a “subtle smile of absolute acceptance.”

 

Prior to serving three tours of duty with the U. S. Marines, “Symphony Sam” taught music at Julliard. Also he played Second Violin, part-time, with the New York Philharmonic, and violin in the orchestra of an on-Broadway theatre.

 

WHAT DOES “Symphony Sam” HAVE TO DO WITH PAINTING?

 

After “Symphony Sam” was released from the military hospital in Japan, he returned to the United States. The only job he could get was painting sublet apartments for a New York City real estate company. He lived with a fellow Vietnam Veteran and his wife, in a small, three bedroom flat.

 

One Christmas, he ended up on a Greyhound Bus, as it pulled into the main terminal, in downtown Chicago. He told my mother that he never remembered buying a ticket, and getting on that bus.

 

He said that he checked into a cheap, but clean hotel on Randolph Street. He carried a few clothes in a small suitcase, and his Stradivarius violin. No painting tools.

 

The hotel’s manager helped “Symphony Sam” get little painting jobs at other small hotels, located in the Loop.

 

One night, he suffered a severe PTSD episode. He said that he’d been fortunate. All of his previous attacks, in New York and Chicago, had been mild ones. He ended up in Michael Reese Hospital on the South Side.

 

Since then, he’d been unable to work regularly. When he had enough money to get by, he stayed at that cheap hotel, managed by the friendly Sicilian. Usually, though, he “lived underneath the city…with a few friends…also Vietnam Vets.”

 

My mother saw “Symphony Sam” for the last time in 1989. The week before Christmas. “He wore a newer, used suit, and a pair of polished black boots,” she told me.

 

He told her that he had been living back at the hotel. He worked part-time doing repairs and painting for “a list of steady customers.” He called them “small hotel people.”

 

“Symphony Sam” seemed content,” Mom told me. But, her eyes told me a different story. A major concern of hers, over twenty-five years later.

 

Did “Symphony Sam” make it? For how long? In 1989, when she saw him last, he was over 55. PTSD and Agent Orange’s lung effects had become less manageable. Several common medical conditions had set in. “His newer suit hung on his frame, always very bony,” my mother recalled. “His eyes an eerie tornado green. . .”

 

“Florida has ‘Symphony Sams,’ too,” said my mother recently. On “FLASHPOINT,” two Central Florida homeless coalition officials were describing the modern housing facility to be built for the homeless in the area. A plea was made for major capital support from corporations.

 

What about the “foreclosure-bound” hotel that a church congregation and volunteers converted into studio efficiencies for the local homeless? (“Painting It: A Multi-Family ‘Home for the Homeless,” posted December 11-12, 2014.)

 

What about the abandoned mansion, turned into a transitional residence for the homeless? (Watch for: “Painting It: Existing Home for the Homeless,” to be posted December 23-24.)

 

What about “Symphony Sam?”

 

“I would offer these people a much quicker solution.” I told relatives during Thanksgiving.

 

“Constructing a new structure – a large transitional housing facility, for millions of dollars – could take a couple of years,” I explained. “The groups involved in the Central Florida project – facility – haven’t even selected the land yet.”

 

Here’s one proposal to help people like “Symphony Sam” have a safe, clean home – and a chance at a better life.

 

  1. Rescue a few smaller hotels and motels along U. S. Highway 192. The ones plagued by low occupancy rates, disrepair and damage, and the threat of foreclosure.
  2. Repair them. Reconfigure their rooms and public areas. Set up a central dining area for the homeless residents.
  3. Recruit homeless persons, who once worked as skilled construction workers. Put them to work. They can help in making certain repairs and reconfiguring the rooms and common (public) areas. Give them a chance to regain some of their dignity. Their basic skills, like riding a bike or typing, will come back to them.
  4. Offer these workers future housing there, when the property opens for occupancy.
  5. Give the homeless residents a good reason to take care of their respective room, and the overall property.
  6. Keep the housing as simple and practical as possible. Recycle whatever furniture, desks, fixtures, appliances, window treatments, kitchen ware, dishes, etc. that are in good condition. Repaint, re-stain and refinish all surfaces.

 

By the way, expensive wallcoverings, flooring, furniture, and state-of-the-art systems are unnecessary. Research and reports about homeless shelter accommodations show that “pricier” amenities tend to make persons just off the streets nervous, self-conscious, apprehensive, distrustful, and even ill.

 

Every community has a “Symphony Sam.” A person who still possesses the skills and abilities, the passion, and the interest to give back! To get off the street! To once again become a more productive part of the universe.

 

Every community has do-able options to meet the dire housing needs of the homeless. Every community has at least one existing multi-unit property, that can be converted in a time-cost-manpower efficient manner.

 

Our local hotel GMs and their staffs can do only so much. They can help only so much. Their resources are very limited. Their ability to use their properties – which they do not own – is very, very limited.

 

What needs to happen to provide safe and clean housing for the “Symphony Sams” in our respective communities? To get this job done sooner than two to three years after they become statistics?

 

Local entities such as the Central Florida Coalition on Homeless and Central Florida Foundation (http://www.cffound.org) are proactive, and motivated.

 

Special projects such as the “Reconstruction of Housing for the Homeless in America Project” focus on providing safe housing promptly.

 

Professional and trade projects like the AIA’s new redesign/rebuild internship project tap young talent. Among other things, they offer fresh, new approaches to “reconfiguring and retrofitting” solid existing structures into great multi-occupancy housing.

 

What is your community doing to get your homeless adults and children, into safe and clean housing?

 

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“Best wishes for a healthy, safe and peaceful holiday season – and Year 2015.”

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

Painting In: Company Policy, Common Sense, and Common Courtesy: Part 2

Scenario No. 1: A regular hotel guest reports that the paint color used to touch up in his room does not match the rest of the wall. He wants the entire wall repainted immediately. It’s after 3 pm on Day 4 of a 7-night stay. He declines management’s offer to move him to a different room, and “comp” him for one night’s stay.

 

Company Policy: Have the painter inspect the area, and repaint the wall when the guest will be gone for the day.

 

Common Sense: Painter tries to arrange to repaint the wall, when the guest will be out of the room for at least four (4) hours, to allow the fresh paint fumes to dissipate.

 

Common Courtesy: Painter talks, one-on-one, with the guest and explains that the hotel values his patronage. The painter emphasizes the importance of repainting the wall, when it’s safest for the guest.

 

 

 

Scenario No. 2: A guest calls the front desk, and reports multiple large black mold buildups in the bathroom. Rooms Manager offers to move the guest to another room. The guest declines.

 

Company Policy: A housekeeping supervisor assesses the extent of major black mold buildup. She calls the painter to clean up/remove the mold.

 

Common Sense: Painter uses mild soap and warm water mixture to reduce the level of buildup, and the guest’s exposure to mold spores. The standard chemical bleach solution is not used, to prevent the guest from suffering an adverse reaction to dangerous bleach fumes.

 

Common Courtesy: Inform the guest that the mild soap/warm water mixture is a temporary, partial solution. Explain that treatment with the more effective bleach solution requires that the room remain unoccupied for at three (3) hours. HEALTH TIP: Place a fan in the room to increase ventilation, and air flow.

 

 

Scenario No. 3: The painter finds a guest crying, because she has been locked out of her room. He hears young children crying inside. He tries the key card; it does not work. He learns that the guest owes back rent for the room.

 

Company Policy: The guest/mother must go to the front office and make payment arrangements. Then the guest will be allowed access into the room.

 

Common Sense: Painter calls the head of security, to get help for the children a.s.a.p. Painter uses master key card to open the room door. He lets the mother stand in the doorway, and check that her children are safe. Then, he has the guest/mother step back outside. He re-closes and relocks the door.

 

Common Courtesy: Painter gets permission and assists the guest/mother in getting promptly to the front office, to make payment arrangements. A security officer stands guard outside the guest’s room, to ensure the safety of the children inside.

 

 

Scenario No. 4: A customer changes his mind about the paint colors, just applied inside his new martial arts studio. He tries to reject the job, and refuses to pay. He insists that the painters redo the entire job (over 1800 square feet), in time for his grand opening four days away.

 

Company Policy: (1) Payment in full is due when the paint job is completed, per the terms of the contract. (2) The customer rejected paint job because he changed his mind, not because of any problem with the products and/or workmanship. (3) The “redo” is considered a new paint job. It must be contracted separately, and scheduled at the convenience of both the contractor and customer.

 

Common Sense: Talk one-on-one with the customer. Find out what’s really bothering him. Does he have the money to pay for the job completed? Did he, or someone else, select the original color scheme? Regardless: Require payment in full of customer’s bill.

 

Common Courtesy: (1) Offer customer a small cost break for paint job no. 1, if payment in full received within twenty-four hours. (2) If possible, offer to redo the front part of studio in time for the grand opening, using the new colors. Terms: Signed contract for the new paint job, at least one-half prepayment for labor, purchase and delivery, in 24-hours, of all products and materials responsibility of customer.

 

Scenario No. 5: Exterior paint, applied one week ago, peels off the surface in rain. Commercial customer is upset. (The painters: “Us, too!”)

 

Company Policy: Call in paint manufacturer’s rep to inspect, and analyze. Nothing wrong found with the paint. Nothing wrong found with the substrate, surface’s preparation, or paint application by the painters. Strike agreement with paint manufacturer: They pay for new prep and finish products, also re-rental of required equipment – eg. hydraulics.

 

Common Sense: Report to paint manufacturer’s rep all concerns about product (s), and use.

TIP: Check all products, materials, tools, and equipment used for cleaning, removing, prepping.

 

Common Courtesy: Put customer’s final payment on hold till the job is redone. If possible, offer customer a nominal cost break on the whole job. TIP: Do not take the bulk of cost cut out of labor part.

 

Painting In, through, with, or in spite of company policy, common sense, and/or common courtesy challenges is part of the job. And, more often than not, it must be played by ear. Each time around.

 

With experience comes greater perceptivity, clearer understanding, more creativity, and deeper wisdom.

 

By the way, it might well be that youthe painter – are the more perceptive, understanding, creative, and wiser one when it comes to doing your painting job right!

 

 

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Follow through! Stay true to your own high standards and work ethic!

Thank  you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

 

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