Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
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The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

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August 20, 2012

Power To The People

 "Voting at the Polls Isn’t Enough Anymore"
By David Todd

In this day and age, I cannot imagine the reasons people have for NOT voting in local and national elections (except for voting for President, maybe). Really? The most popular excuse I hear is that “I don’t follow politics and I wouldn’t know who anyone was or anything about them.” Allow me to help on this one…

Google: Voters Guide [insert your zip code here] or just Milwaukee. OK that one’s easy enough. Where to vote? League of Women’s Voters; Google them, too, and give them a call. They’re wonderfully helpful and tireless protectors of our freedoms. But, I digress.

As I say, it is NOT enough to vote only at the polls anymore – and THAT I already expect of you. Now, you need to start voting with your wallet. And you have to be a little vocal about it. (You know how badly you just wanted to break up with that one hair dresser and just tell them what for? But, you just kinda stopped calling? That won’t due, here.) No, you have to be obvious. You have to be honest (brutally honest) because you are teaching a lesson – the lesson: “I DO NOT vote for you… nor does my money, thank you.”

It has been one of my greatest joys, taking my business and money elsewhere, but it does take some work. How do you do it? Well, I will tell you how I did it… and why.

First, you need to know I was a victim/participant in “the crash.” I lost a small investment property to foreclosure after pro-actively calling my mortgage company six months before I knew I would have trouble paying the monthly payment to work on a loan modification. “Oh, thank you, Mr. Todd! Very responsible of you, Mr. Todd.” I bought it. They weren’t a bank. They weren’t a credit union. They were a debt collector who bought my loan and had no vested interest in helping me out of my situation. Fourteen months later, after reams of paperwork faxed back and forth, I called a lawyer and said, “make them go away.” It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I had never defaulted on a loan, didn’t want to start, but didn’t know where to turn. I cried, and then I got to the real work. That first step was the hardest.

After I turned my home over to a lawyer, I turned my credit cards over to a credit negotiator. I cannot say it was a positive experience, but I can tell you, I paid less than if I had not sought help, closed the accounts and took the credit hit. (Taking the credit hit is really hard for the “do-better-than-your-parents” generation. They saved money. We borrowed. Not me. Not anymore. No one will give me decent credit for seven years, which I am happy about.) Again, I digress. I told Capital One, Wells Fargo, Bank of America – “see ya!” It might be important to note, I kept current on all my monthly payments on all my accounts until I turned them over to professionals, so my car loan (BMW Financial) and main home loan (Guardian Credit Union) had been maintained and in good status; the only two creditors I have now. My next step is to move my car loan, to my credit union, and then pay it off!

Now, who else was taking advantage of my business, and taking advantage of consumers in general? Or, to take more personal ownership of the situation, to whom had I not paid attention to while “they” made money off of me? I still had a Chase checking account. I had great local customer service, as I had with Wells Fargo. But, I was either going to put up, or shut up. I closed checking accounts Chase and Wells), after speaking with the manager and explaining while I was pleased with my local services, I can’t support the corporate greed, bonuses, and lack of loaning money to the people who need it most (and at a reasonable rate). They understood. But, you MUST be vocal… if you just close your account they won’t know why. 


Now, who else? AT&T and Time Warner were next. Both had services that were necessary to my work as a freelance writer and producer, so I just couldn’t NOT have service. But, I called both; explained I had been a long-time customer, and I didn’t feel like anyone should lose a customer without a chance to make it right. Both companies lowered my bills (they said to the best of their abilities, but I don’t know). I still feel I’m paying too much and by the time you read this, I will probably have dumped AT&T for Virgin Mobile wireless smartphone and mobile hotspot $50. I’ll save at least $25 a month.

I don’t shop at Walmart, I opt for locally-owned businesses (Ace Hardware or Menards, Sendik’s, Pick N Save, Outpost, Groppi’s just to name a few). That’s in investment in my local community and, ultimately, in my future. I also use an app published by the Human Rights Campaign that monitors larger retailers for their ethics (I linked the definition of ethics just in case you are unfamiliar – they are lacking these days). And, I don’t buy gas from BP.

VOTE! It takes extra work to plan where and with whom you spend your hard-earned cash, but do it… make a statement… don’t be complacent… that’s what “they” count on. And… they WILL take notice. This is one vote that CANNOT be bought with political ads and lobbyists. It’s a new economy (with what seems to be very few rules), so start writing your own! 

David Todd is an accomplished writer & television producer, award winning visual merchandiser, and Indi Racing enthusiast. He resides in lovely Bay View, Wisconsin and is a regular contributor to OnMilwaukee.com

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