Richard Elfers

Politics in Focus | Your city government structure and you | Rich Elfers

Do you know the type of city government you have in your city? Is it council-manager, or mayor-council? Never heard of these differences? These governmental forms are important because each operates differently.

Politics in Focus | Socialists, Liberals, and Fascists, Oh My! | Rich Elfers

Labeling people by using these terms puts individuals into boxes and diminishes their humanity—making them something less than human. Labeling someone with political "slurs" turns the object of these attacks into two-dimensional caricatures, rather than the complex humans we all are.

Politics in Focus | North Korea’s nuclear specter hangs over Seoul | Rich Elfers

Nearly 50,000 American and United Nations forces died in Korea during the Korean War in 1950-53. Another 2 million Koreans died in the Cold War conflict. Today, the presence of 28,000 American soldiers sends a silent message to North Korea’s regime, warning them not to launch another invasion of their cousins to the south.

Politics in Focus | Citizens United decision unleashed corporate money | Rich Elfers

The campaign season is upon us. Signs are popping up and ads are appearing in the media. This year you’ll probably experience a lot more campaign ads and general political noise. The reason for this increase is due to the decision the Supreme Court made in January 2010, just two and a half years ago.

Religion informs our international politics whether you know it or not | Rich Elfers

What are two things your mother told you to never bring up as a discussion topic? Religion and politics, right? Well, these are the two topics I’m going to discuss in this column, so hang on to your hats! Our topic is Christian Zionism.

Challenge is the seed of personal growth | Rich Elfers

Many of you who are reading this article are Baby Boomers. Others are the generations that will follow in the wake of the Boomers. Like it or not, you’ll have to live with our decisions about retirement because our great numbers will suck much of the Social Security fund up before you get a chance to use it for yourselves. We Boomers can set a good example for the younger generations that follow us or we can set a bad example. We will definitely set an example no matter what we do.

Be vigilant against emotions hijacking your votes | Rich Elfers

Same-sex marriage. This is the most recent, commonly used hot button that is rallying the troops on either side of the political spectrum. The topic raises people’s blood pressure, cause the veins in their necks to pop out and reddens their faces.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages still a raw deal | Guest Column

ARMs were created in 1982 to make borrowing easier. The advantage was low interest rates for the borrower. The Federal government wanted people to be able to buy homes because it spurred the economy. Once Americans got a new home they were likely to fill them up with washers, driers, refrigerators, and furniture. These purchases would further spur the economy, especially in the real estate industry, banks, construction, and insurance companies, creating jobs and wealth in a ripple effect.

Guest Editorial | The reasons for elected officials’ actions goes more than skin-deep | Richard Elfers

The first clue to find out what is going on in local government is to come to council meetings on a regular basis, at least until you understand the personalities, perspectives and agendas of the various council members. Watching the program on television at home can give you some clues, but actually observing body and facial language and tone of voice can give you deeper understanding. Much of that can only be gained by actually being in the room.