Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekly Recap: "Organizing"

Craig served as this week’s Toastmaster, and as always did a great job facilitating the meeting. Anna gave us the thought of the day, though was mistakenly informed that the week’s theme was “Thriller,” which is in fact next week’s theme. With that in mind, this was her Thought of the Day:

“Imagine a hundred zombies all dressed—some in lace, some in elegant costumes, but all covered in blood and white, and suddenly they begin to dance. A few minutes later you hear Michael Jackson. This is the annual Portland Thriller Dance. I don’t know if any of you have had the pleasure to of seeing it but every year hundreds of people practice the Thriller dance around the city and all come together on Halloween and at a certain time spontaneously begin to dance all in unison. It happened in Pioneer Square about two years ago and up in north Portland last year. It makes me think ‘why do this?’ It’s simply a random act of fun. We all hear of random acts of kindness but this is an opportunity to get together and join with your fellow Portlanders and do something that you can only see in Portland Oregon.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Mike shared with us some of what was discussed in the “Officer’s Meet.” Once a month they discuss ideas to improve or solve any problems involving the club. One of the decisions they came to was to start the meetings on time, at the stroke of 12pm (so don't be late!). Another policy change is that the week’s Toastmaster will print handouts containing the agenda of both the current week and as well as the next week’s itinerary. For the holiday weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, instead of the regular meetings, we will have a lunch meeting, which will just be a social event. The ET leadership is also looking at special meetings to emphasize different techniques, as well as having a microphone day, where they hope to grab an auditorium where the whole meeting will be a Table Topics session. Lastly, the Annual District 7 Toastmasters Conference is coming up November 3rd. Visit the Toastmasters District 7 and Register nowWe also have a new member, welcome Erik Sundstrom to the Electric Toasters club!

SPEAKER 1:  Kayla – “Tax Compression 101"

As luck would have it, the speech Kayla gave had objectives focused on organization in her CC Manual. Titled “Tax Compression 101,” she put forth a noble effort to educate us of something. Admittedly, when it comes to talk of tax in the technical, my eyes immediately begin to glaze over. Fortunately, that’s why I bring my recorder! Otherwise my attempt to summarize the following info she provided would likely end with members being audited by the IRS. For those who’re as lame as I am or didn’t make it to the meet, read further and learn what statistically only fifty people in all of Oregon know:
The three components of tax compression that will give you the base level understanding you need as an informed voter:
  1. Limits: In 1990 measure 5 was passed in Oregon by a 52% vote, which capped the annual property tax at $10 for every $1,000 of real market value, plus an additional $5 dedicating to school funding. Measure 50 passed in 1997, which limited the adjustments in assessment value growth. The immediate impact was $51.4 million reduce in tax revenue within the first few years. 
  2. The type of tax levy matters: Some tax levies are compressed more than others. Permanent districts are compressed less than temporary districts. On any given property, you could have a city taxing district, county, sewer, water, port, community colleges, or an infinite amount of special districts. In the event that they’re all permanent, they all then compete for a certain amount of the real market value. Whatever remains is left for the temporary levies.
  3. Every property is impacted in a unique way: This relates to the limits and the inequities of how assess value is calculated and the different taxing districts that cover a given property. Depending on the relationship between the assess value and the taxing district of a property is categorized under, a property might not be compressed at all, or compressed to the limit.

Congratulations, if you’ve read this through (or listened to Kayla’s speech at the meeting), you’ve just become one of Oregon’s intellectual elites (on tax compression, anyway). So when considering how you vote in the upcoming election and all thereafter, keep in mind the information you now know thanks to Kayla’s great speech!

 “Organizing” TABLE TOPICS:

The meeting’s Table Topics Master was Ryan this week. Being that there was only one speaker for the day, he was stretched into providing quite a few more topics than usual. Personally, I always appreciate it when a Table Topics Master initiates each topic with a bit about himself that relates to the following question. It gives the mind a hint as to where he or she is taking the conversation. At this meeting Ryan did an excellent job of doing just that.

The first topic was volunteered by David, who does three things to stay organized at both home, and at worked. Those include a checklist of tasks, and utilizing different organizational technological mediums. Lastly, his wife helps to keep him in line.

Second was Susannah, who has friends who have hired workers who help clean up and organize their houses, who seem to hoard the possessions they pick up throughout their life. Susannah on the other hand, tends to move every couple of years, so she tends to have fewer possessions.

Erik was a member of the boy scouts and eagle scouts. He told us about the history of the organization, originating in England. In addition to skill and leadership training, Erik taught us that the scouts were all about organizing hikes, meets, camping trips, and other events.

Asked about a historical figure that interested me, were my brain better organized I might’ve talked about Thomas Jefferson. Being that I was struck with “stage stupor” (as I often am), I instead shared that I can be both messy and OCD about different things, an example being that I used to separate my Legos in Ziploc bags when I was a kid.

Next Pechara was asked about a good leader or a team that has been well organized. Unfortunately, her voice was so soft-spoken I couldn’t hear much of what she said. To anyone who was able to hear her, please email me so I can update this section.

Lisa has recently Google’d a lot about the Adobe Premier software, to get answers to her questions, since she is learning to use the program. One specific inquiry she searched was “how to import footage,” which was the first thing she needed to do.

Eric says he goes through cycles in his personal organizational levels. He loves to be organized, but if he gets too much on his plate he can sometimes let things at home get sloppy, though he’s good with information organization, such as with his business. For Eric, it just depends on what the subject is.

Mike was called upon to answer the question I sidestepped, who talked about Earl Nightingale. Mike thought this historical figure was interesting because of “The Strangest Secret,” a message he wrote that in summary was about how “we become what we think about, and our mind controls a lot of our lives.” Since that time he came up with a number of programs that have been influential to Mike in his life.

Kayla, our sole speaker for the day, was asked to be our final Table Topics speaker (as Ryan was running out of people to call upon). Kayla listens to a podcast that she describes as a morning radio show, which play this game called “You Auto-Complete Me,” every week. She’s played the game herself a few times, and said it was a lot of fun, and recommended the rest of us try it sometime.


This week’s evaluator for Kayla’s speech was Neal. He told her how he appreciated the information she provided about tax compression, and felt that she was very brave to have tackled such a topic. He offered to Kayla an alternative intro she might’ve used to hook the audience’s attention. Neal also stated that her hand gesturing helped him to follow along with her.

I don’t usually refer to the “Ah Counter’s” report, simply because I don’t believe there is anything constructive that comes out of posting online how many ‘ahs’ and ‘ums’ each person says in each meeting. However, I make an exception only to recognize the “Ah Counter” David himself, who gave about the most thorough report I think I have ever heard. Way to go David!

Lisa, the General Evaluator for the week, praised Neal for his energy right off the bat in evaluating Kayla’s speech. She also appreciated his acknowledgement and gratitude to Kayla for the knowledge she shared, which Lisa felt was important. She also felt that in summary his reiteration was well organized, and suggested that Neal introduce what he concluded with at the beginning of his evaluation.

  • Best Speaker Awarded to Kayla Mullis.
  • Best Evaluator Awarded to Lisa Cicala.
  • Best TableTopics Awarded to Susannah & David.

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