Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day tradition

Since moving into our current home in 2002, we've been blessed to have a neighbor who puts a US Flag on every property on the street on Memorial Day weekend. It's a beautiful site to see the flags lining both sides of the street.

For years, I've wondered who this person was and why he or she chose this option to celebrate Memorial Day. I wondered if they served or, perhaps lost a son or daughter in service.

And I've always wanted to offer my thanks, but never knew who it was that performed this wonderful act.

Yesterday, I met him - sort of.

I was in the middle of a project with my hands full when Sam came in and told me that the man who gives us the flag was coming up the street. By the time I got my hands cleaned up and got outside, he was already on the other side of the street (we're the last house on one side) and about 3 houses I called out to him.

Either he didn't hear me - or didn't want to acknowledge me.

As I walked quickly after him and he didn't answer my hails, I wondered if he didn't want be thanked for what he was doing. If maybe my recognition of his act might embarrassment him in some way.

But even as these thoughts were going through my mind, my feet continued in his direction. Despite so many of his generation believing they require no thanks for the service they performed, I believe we owe them a lifetime of gratitude and that any opportunity to say 'thank you' should never go by without those words being said.

So as he placed another flag and I approached, I said, "Excuse me, sir," and he looked up at me. I offered my hand and he grasped it firmly. I was struck by how large and strong his hand was, but how also by how gently he took mine. He was wearing both a hat and shirt with military markings, but all I could see where his eyes. I don't even remember the color, just the fact that they were clear and kind.

I told him that I always wanted to know whom to thank for our flag and now I could do so in person.

He didn't say anything - just nodded and gave my hand an additional squeeze.

Then he turned and began walking back up the street, placing flag after flag...

And still I do not know his name - but I know his heart.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Court:Cincinnati Public Schools violated state law

This in via email from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. There was some discussion of this issue in Toledo so I'm sharing the outcome from Cincinnati.

Court: Cincinnati Public Schools Violated State Law

Judge Rules CPS Deed Restrictions Against Charter and Private Schools Illegal

Columbus - Cincinnati Public Schools' (CPS) policy of prohibiting the sale of unused available public school buildings to charter schools and private schools violates state law, yesterday ruled Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert P. Ruehlman. The judge issued the ruling immediately from the bench.

The case was won by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt School, a Cincinnati charter school CPS sued to block from opening. The school building was unused and located in the Fairmount neighborhood, where all CPS schools are in academic emergency, and 80 percent of families are of minority status, and live in poverty.

CPS attempted to enforce a deed restriction prohibiting charter or private schools from using school buildings previously owned by CPS. The 1851 Center asserted such a restriction is void by Ohio's public policy in favor of school choice, and cheats taxpayers of sales revenue from the buildings. The court agreed.

In his ruling, Judge Ruehlman called CPS's deed restrictions anti-competitive and acknowledged that CPS was merely attempting to suppress competition from charter and other alternative schools, and thwart school choice for the parents and children of Cincinnati.

"The court's decision is a landmark ruling in favor of school choice in Ohio and against adversarial school districts who attempt to block alternative schools' right to exist," said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. "School districts across the state are now on notice that Ohio law clearly and specifically protects the rights of alternative schools. And serious financial penalties could befall districts who attempt to squelch the rights of these schools."

The ruling halts CPS's restrictive practice and opens the district to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). Last week, OSFC member State Rep. Kris Jordan moved to stop state facilities funding to CPS because of its purported violations. Jordan, prompted by the 1851 Center's legal action against CPS, informed the commission the school district forfeited its statutory right to project funding because of repeated violations of state charter schools provisions. The court's ruling bolsters Jordan's assertion. Jordan's letter to the commission is available here.

"Over $46 million in state revenue has been directed away from Cincinnati Public Schools, and to charter schools, as over 7,000 students have left the Cincinnati Public School System for charters," said Thompson. "Deed restrictions like the one struck down were devised to stop new charter and private schools from opening in Cincinnati, so CPS could retain students and state funds."

The court's ruling affirms:

* A contract term that violates public policy is void;
* A contract term that hinders the purpose of a statute is void;
* CPS's deed restriction is void due to Ohio's public policy in favor of transferring taxpayer-owned school buildings to community schools;
* CPS's deed restriction is void because it is in derogation of a statewide public policy in favor of effectuating parental choice and educational opportunity through community schools; and
* Although the deed restriction is void, the conveyance must remain valid.

The 1851 Center's filings in the case are available here and here.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, voting rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Mayfly season has arrived

I just saw my first mayfly - it's on our front picture window.

In case you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, go here.

Quote of the Day

"In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place." ~ Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi

I wish people would remember this when voting on ballot issues that restrict freedom, liberty or unalienable rights.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Blade is wrong about charter county government

There are times when I just shake my head over some of the things I read. I did so today after seeing the latest Blade editorial on changing the form of county government.

It starts off with the headline "Don't run from reform." So far, I've not seen anyone run from reform, though plenty of people are being cautious about such a momentous restructuring and are still waiting for various questions to be answered before taking a position.

That's obviously not good enough for the editors who, in their 16th writing, think everyone should be jumping on board because they say so. (The politicians do, after all....)

They state that the campaign has just begun and already people are opposing it, trying to cast those opposed as "entrenched political interests that benefit handsomely from the status quo, at the expense of the county's taxpayers and prospects for economic development and job creation."

Hm...I'm opposed and I don't fit that description - I wonder who they could mean? In fact, most of the comments I've seen on the issue were cautious - committing to looking at the issue, examining ways to achieve more efficiency, etc.

The second paragraph of the editorial is a call to arms - telling everyone that if the effort is to succeed (and it's not yet been determined by anyone other than The Blade that this is actually a good idea - or even the right one for Lucas County), it will need a "determined coalition of interests working together for meaningful change." They are correct in this statement, because wishy-washy coalitions rarely accomplish anything at all.

But then comes the warning:

"Should county voters perceive reform as nothing more than a power grab by business lobbies or suburbanites or Republicans - and that is how its enemies will portray it - it will surely fail."

Nothing like handing your opponents a successful strategy right up front!

But this gives the reader insight into what is actually going on. So far, the only proponents of the idea are the paper and a couple of politicians who are too anxious to do the paper's bidding. The currently elected officials whose positions are at risk of elimination in a charter form of government (auditor, coroner, recorder, sheriff, treasurer) are all Democrats. They rely upon strong support from Toledoans in order to get elected - and only the sheriff and the coroner didn't serve in Toledo government before their county jobs. They are the only ones who might possibly try to depict the structural change as a 'power grab' by 'suburbanites or Republicans.' But only a fool would believe that depiction, considering that it's The Blade and two Democrats on the Board of County Commissioners who are pushing this.

Then they come up with this:

If, however, these groups are joined by local civic and academic leaders who want a more-efficient county government, Toledoans who seek a more-diverse government, and independent Democrats who place community interests ahead of partisan ones, reform just might have a fighting chance.

Yes, it's a call to local leaders to join the effort, but note how they phrase the next part, referring only to Toledoans: "...Toledoans who seek a more-diverse government..."

Why just Toledoans? Don't they care about county residents outside Toledo who might want a more diverse government? In fact, it's traditionally been those non-Toledoans who strongly support this concept. But representation in terms of geography does not assure that any of the goals outlined (more efficient county government) will be achieved. As I've said repeatedly on this blog and on the radio when I was hosting Eye On Toledo: it's not the form of government and it's not the difference in faces that give us real reform - it's a change in philosophy. But we won't get that until voters, themselves, make a change.

The editorial then tries to make this a crisis issue ("Time is of the essence" they write), saying that if we don't bow to their wishes now, the idea might be dead "for good." Since they're such supporters of the idea, that would probably bother them immensely. But for so many of us, that would actually be a good thing.

But the problem with this approach is that most Lucas County residents don't see any emergency in the issue. Other than a couple of politicians and prior proponents of uni-gov, there is no grass-roots movement to change the structure of county government because there is no grass-roots frustration with the existing form.

I'd wager all county residents would agree that government should be more efficient and less costly, but many will balk at cutting programs or spending that benefits them personally. We've seen this in every government entity. And while there are general rumblings about the dominance of Toledo politicians in the Commissioners Office, they mostly understand that the commissioners' ability to implement the same failed policies Toledo has is limited by the Ohio Revised Code which grants only limited power to them to administer county government. They are somewhat comforted by the fact that so many onerous and 'not business friendly' policies these same politicians supported when they were in Toledo government cannot be implemented on a county-wide level because the commissioners have no authority to enact laws.

However, that all changes in The Blade's proposed charter form of county government which gives the new county council the ability to pass laws. That very point, so rarely mentioned, is the actual 'crisis' of the issue and one that will doom the idea among the suburban municipalities - and probably among Toledoans who are suffering under Toledo laws.

As I said in my post yesterday - could you imagine how 'not business friendly' Lucas County will become if the newly chartered county council passed laws like Toledo's living wage, or extended the existing county Project Labor Agreements requirement to all county municipalities?

Side Note:
if the paper was so adamant about cutting the costs of county government and making it more efficient, why didn't they do more to highlight the PLA requirement that the commissioners passed and oppose it as they did in the 1990s when it was first introduced? Contradiction? Absolutely!

The Blade then goes back to their article on San Fransciso as a reason for why we should change our form of county government. They cite such positives as "more efficient administration and budget making ... more checks and balances among the branches of government, more responsive and transparent representation, greater public accountability and access, cost savings, and a better credit rating."

While those might be outcomes achieved in San Francisco, those are not outcomes unique only to a charter form of government. Many communities across the nation accomplish these exact same things by making better decisions without ever changing their governmental structure. It's a fallacious argument known as questionable cause - confusing cause and effect.

Of course, one of the things not emphasized about San Francisco is their budget deficit which "...still stands at almost $483 million and it's projected to balloon to $787 million two years later, according to an annual joint report by budget analysts for the mayor, Board of Supervisors and City Controller." Not sure how much of that type of policy we'd want to adopt.

But the fact is that, despite a change in their county government structure, they're still facing a huge deficit. So how, exactly, does that result in cost savings and better credit ratings? (I know, I know ... that's a good question.)

The editors then, fallaciously, promote the idea that a change in our county government could deliver many of the same benefits seen in San Francisco - but that, again, confuses cause and effect.

They look at what happened in Cuyahoga County - how proponents are using the structural change there "as an engine of economic development, promising specific programs to promote business growth and new jobs." But there is nothing currently stopping our elected officials from implementing business-friendly policies right now. In fact, many of the not-business-friendly decisions made by the commissioners have been supported by The Blade. So we end up with the statement I made above: it's the decisions of politicians, not the structure of government, that determines whether a community sees economic development, business growth and new jobs.

The Blade then attacks the very constituency they need to help them in their goal: the business community.

The reform effort in Lucas County, patterned on Cuyahoga County's new charter, will need similar business support. So far, though, many executives here are refusing to commit to reform, taking a wait-and-see, someone-else-go-first stance instead of displaying leadership.

Such temporizing will kill the impetus for reform as surely as the proposal for a commission to "study" changes in county government, which is primarily a stalling tactic devoted to incumbent protection.

They deride business leaders they've spoken to who say they want more information and accuse them of not 'displaying leadership.' Perhaps the editors need to take a better look at the definition of 'leadership' because what they're demanding of the business community is that they follow the paper.

Analyzing and identifying the problem to be solved, asking good questions, thoroughly evaluating ideas, looking at other options to achieve the same goal, examining the short-term and long-term costs and determining the best path is what leadership is all about. Our business leaders know this, as they do it on a regular basis in their daily occupations. The Blade hasn't done any of these things - or if they have internally, they've not published it.

Instead, The Blade has decided what is good for us and they are bullying people into following along. And then they have the unmitigated gall to accuse the very people whose support is vital to their efforts of failing to be leaders.

No wonder their subscriptions and ad sales are in such decline!

The paper has failed to demonstrate a need, failed to identify and analyze various methods to meet the need and failed to document why their preferred option is the best. They have just decided and are expecting everyone else (just like the politicians) to fall in line.

But their tactic is too well known and individuals in Lucas County should reject The Blade's belief that they know what's best for us.

Side Note:
And how, exactly, is this the job of a newspaper? They are reporting specific stories that promote their own agenda. They are not reporting negatives associated with their agenda. So that means they are biased in the 'news' portion of their publication. Their opinion properly belongs on the editorial page, but it is clear that the opinion was decided PRIOR to the writing of the news articles and all the news articles have been designed to promote that opinion. It is this type of agenda-driven news stories so blatantly pushed on the front pages that further erodes any credibility the news department once had.

Please attend the public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 8 in the Downtown Public Library and be sure to insist that answers to the right questions be provided before going forward.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Asking the wrong questions about a county charter form of government for Lucas County

Since April 25, The Blade has been publishing articles and editorials (15, if my count is right, and many on the front page of the paper) promoting a charter form of county government.

A charter form of county government is basically a home-rule structure with an elected County Executive and a multiple-member county council. In the two counties that currently have this form of government (Cuyahoga and Summit), several elected official positions are eliminated in favor of appointed individuals who serve the same function under the direction of the County Executive.

Why are we suddenly seeing all these articles? As I'm often told, that's a good question - and one that is vital to any decision about changing our form of government.

There really isn't anything in any of the articles that detail the problems with our current 3-member commissioner form of government.

The current board is highly restricted in the types of actions it can take, being governed by the Ohio Revised Code. Under our current structure, if the ORC is silent on an issue, the commissioners have no authority to act. The most-often used example of this deals with the Dog Warden. The ORC details the duties of the Dog Warden, but never mentions cats - hence the inability of the County Dog Warden to deal with cats.

In a charter county government, however, the county council has the ability to pass laws and step outside the limitations of the Ohio Revised Code. This is a structure similar to a home-rule township, like Sylvania Township here in Lucas County.

So what is the problem we're trying to solve by changing our form of government? It's important to remember that a change in government does NOT equate to a change in behavior. In fact, as we can see from Toledo's change from a city manager to a strong mayor form of government, we've gotten pretty much the same types of decisions we'd previously gotten and Toledo is STILL heading downhill in terms of population, job growth, etc... while heading up in terms of government costs, spending, taxation and fees.

So we have clear evidence that a change in government structure does NOT mean we'll get a change in the philosophy of those being elected to govern.

So, absent a reason to change the structure, why is the paper pushing this?

Well, to the elected officials worried about keeping the paper happy, that's really not an issue. In fact, the modus operandi is for elected officials to fall all over themselves to promote the paper's position and ensure their desired changes happen. This is what happened with the United Way building and the South Branch YMCA. And it's not confined to just local politicos, either.

In fact, Commissioners Pete Gerken and Ben Konop were so anxious to comply that they presented competing plans for implementing a charter form of government.

The major problem with county government is not the form or the structure - it's the people we elect and the policies they promote. I cannot emphasize enough: those two things are not going to change if we change the structure.

(Though, many of the truly negative policies Ben Konop has promoted might have found traction, due to support from The Blade, had they not been outside the authority of the Board of County Commissioners. Perhaps this is why the paper is suddenly promoting the change?)

In fact, under a charter form of government, the county would be able to implement laws, just like a city does (think smoking bans and living wage requirements). This would be an expansion of government when the majority of Americans are so frustrated with bigger government that requires more of their money to operate.

And there really isn't going to be much in savings. You can figure that an elected county executive would make as much as the current county administrator ($105,684), perhaps more. Cuyahoga's County Executive earns $175,000 per year.

Our county's auditor's pay for 2009 was $90,428.48. Do you think we'd be able to hire a CPA to perform this function for less? The county coroner's pay for 2009 was $117,459.31. However, the deputy coroner pay ranges from $140,000 to $147,000. Do you believe we'd be able to hire an appointed coroner for less than what the deputies are earning?

Under most of the charter forms of county government, the Prosecutor remains a separately-elected official. So let's take a look at the other elected officials' pay for 2009 (which may include reimbursables):

Clerk of Court: $72,892.38
Engineer: $103,658.88
Recorder: $70,896.40
Sheriff: $99,789.19
Treasurer: $72,892.39

The salary for a commissioner is $86,836.36, times three for a total of $260,509.68. So the total for these elected officials is $680,638.92.

Would we save any money by having a county council and appointed individuals? I don't believe so, and here's why...

As we've seen in city governments, the elected officials have a limited compensation because they must vote on their own pay and any increases. But if you look at other positions within city governments, you'll find specialized positions like Chief of Police, Engineers, etc., often earn significantly more. The 'logic' being that the governmental entity is competing with the private sector to hire the skills necessary. So I would expect that the wages for the Sheriff, Engineer and Clerk of Court to be similar and probably more than what we pay the elected officials.

So that really leaves the Commissioners. In Cuyahoga, the members of the county council earn $45,000 per year and the president of the county council earns $55,000 per year. There are 11 members total so their yearly wages are $495,000.

Cuyahoga's council pay of $495,000 versus Lucas's commissioner pay of $260,509.68 per year.

Now, there may be some reductions in staffing by combining the duties of the auditor, recorder and treasurer, but how much additional staffing would you need for 11 members of council? Would there need to be more than three assistants (the number currently on staff for the commissioners)? Probably. Would we save roughly a quarter of a million dollars by going to the charter form of government? Based upon my experience in Lucas County government, I doubt it.

Even if we decide that the costs of county county will remain roughly the same should we switch, we're still back to the question of why?

But the most important question is not 'should we switch to a charter form of county government.' The most important thing to do is to determine what the problems are with our current form and then evaluate ALL options to address those problems. Upon such evaluation, we may find that the solution to problems in county government have absolutely nothing to do with the structure.

In fact, I'd wager that most problems identified will be a matter of decisions being made by individuals - which has absolutely no relation whatsoever to the government structure.

But let's not allow facts, logic or even proper evaluation get in the way of what The Blade wants. They've pushed the concept of 'uni-gov' for years, only to be rejected by too many municipalities for all the right reasons: concern about the failed policies of Toledo which would tend to dominate any newly-formed uni-gov structure and loss of local control over issues and actions. The only thing different in this latest push to grow county government is the fact that the council council members would come from 'districts.' But since Toledo is the largest municipality and contains the most number of people, how could districts be drawn that wouldn't give an advantage to Toledo?

Strange, but that concern isn't even addressed in the current discussions.

Fortunately, the commissioners have decided to hold two public hearings to discuss a charter form of government. The first one is at 6:30 p.m. on June 8 at the Downtown Public Library. The second one will be June 22, though the time and location have not yet been set.

My concern is that we'll get 'wonderful' presentations from proponents without any real evaluation of the problems they're trying to solve and the other potential solutions to address those problems.

This is being rushed because of pressure from the paper - and while there are legitimate reasons to reject changing our form of government, the fact that The Blade and local politicians are fast-tracking it should be enough for most people.

I urge you to attend the hearings and ask the following questions:

* What specific problems exist in county government?

* Why do we have these problems? Is it because of decisions by individuals or some structural problem?

* Where is the fiscal analysis showing the costs of the current government structure versus the cost of the proposed government structure?

* If there is no fiscal analysis of the cost comparisons, shouldn't that be done prior to any discussions on the matter so we're acting from an 'informed' point of view?

* If the problems with our county government have been identified, what are the other possible solutions to address them?

* Is there any type of documentation of the other potential solutions?

* Why are the commissioners rushing this? In the only two other Ohio counties to make this decision, it took them several years.

* Who are the other proponents of the idea - besides The Blade and certain politicians?

* Who are the opponents of the idea?

* What outreach have the commissioners done to the other municipalities in the county before proposing their new form of government? What was the reaction of the other municipalities?

* What new authority or powers would a charter form of government give the elected officials? What are the pros and cons of such new authority?

* What will be the taxing/fee authority of the charter form of government versus the limited taxing/fee authority of the current board?

* The Blade has done numerous articles promoting their perceived advantages of a charter form of county government. What are the disadvantages? Where are those documented and how will the commissioners share both sides of the issue with residents?

And anything else you can think of....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rear-end collisions rise at red-light camera intersections

The Palm Beach Post has taken a look at the accidents in West Palm Beach following the installation of red-light cameras and found:

"Rear-end collisions more than doubled and accidents increased overall in the first 70 days of red-light cameras in West Palm Beach compared to the same period of 2009..."

This is consistent with what other communities found - that while side-impact crashes may show declines, other types of accidents increase. Strangely, Toledo Police have never provided such analysis for the public to review.

I can only wonder why it is that all these other newspapers can find the time and staff to examine the 'safety' claims, but our local daily can't be bothered?

But then, we know it's all about the money, now that Toledo is actually confiscating vehicles without an order from a court if the vehicle (not necessarily the owner) has a red-light or speed camera ticket that hasn't been paid.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trash Tax advisory

Statement from Karen Shanahan from today's press conference:

Citizen’s Advisory regarding Refuse fee lawsuit and class action.
May 24, 2010

There are two issues regarding the refuse fee and this Citizen’s Advisory is an alert to all residents of Toledo who pay the fee. It is to address the request for class action, which was denied once, but will be heard again by the Common Pleas Court. Would you want to be included if the “fee” is determined to be illegal?

Let me start with some numbers:

• $28,000,000 – revenue received or projected from the Trash Tax in 3.5 years

• 100,000 –approximate number of residences being bill quarterly for the Trash tax.

• 122 – number or residents identified who protested the fee to the Department of Public Utilities.

• 50 – number of protest letters the City can find.

• 1 – number of persons included at this point by Common Pleas Court in the class action.

Let’s say a robber robbed a bank and got away to ½ a million dollars. As he flees the scene, a local citizen stops the thief who is then arrested and the money is recovered. Now the citizen had a checking account with the bank with $500 in it, and the courts tell him, you get your money back because you caught the thief, but the other 5000 investors whose money was stolen… they don’t get their money back because they didn’t catch the thief, in fact, the thief gets to keep the rest money.

Preposterous, ridiculous, you say!

Well, it’s happening with the request for class action in this lawsuit.

The original decision by the court was that only those who file a formal protest could be included.
In essence we did that on behalf of everyone when we filed the lawsuit 2 years ago. It was to serve as the official protest against the tax and read as follows (CASE: G-4801-CI-200802348-000):

1. This class action seeks … compensatory damages, …. a preliminary and permanent injunction, …. for unjust enrichment due to Defendant’s wrongful taxation of Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s class by administratively approving an additional tax to collect refuse without the approval of Toledo City Council and without the approval of voters by referendum as this is a tax on property owners.

8. On information and belief, Plaintiffs’ class includes over 100,000 housing units, but this class is limited only to those who pay this tax.

9. This action is properly maintained as a class action because in all pertinent aspects the Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals have predominately identical claims.

10. This tax is not completely identical for all members of the Plaintiffs’ class because some individuals own multiple unit apartment buildings, and some individuals receive a discount for recycling.

11. Each member of the Plaintiffs’ class is required to pay this tax or face the following penalties by the city: (1) terminate water service; (2) forward the account to an outside collection agency; (3) transfer the delinquency to any other property owned by the account holder; (4) bring an action at law for collection; (5) or place a lien on the property.

What constitutes class action? As defined by © 1999 Timothy E. Eble: Standards For Class Certification Under the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure: A Concise Summary

• Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) contains five explicit requirements that must each be satisfied when seeking class certification.
• First, the plaintiff must establish that an identifiable class actually exists
• Second, the named representatives must be members of that class
• Thereafter, the plaintiff must demonstrate:
a) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
b) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
c) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class;
d) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class;
e) Common questions predominate over questions effecting only individual members; and, that a class action is superior to other available methods of resolving the claims.
The City has already demonstrated they are unable to record and maintain protests submitted by concerned residents. When I asked for copies of protests received in an open records request, they sent 54 protests letters; of those 9 matched emails received stating a protest was filed; however, there were no letters for an additional 68 protesters who notified us they had filed.

One must conclude it is obvious that class action is necessary to ensure everyone is included according to point
a): the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable
If the City cannot account for 68 protest letters we know exist, how many more were submitted that just disappeared? How would the city manage 100,000 protests?

We residents of Toledo must stand up and make our will known, class action is essential to ensure the city does not profit from this illegal tax. They must be held accountable.

As the thief who robs a bank, we would never allow him to keep his booty, so likewise we must demand the same decision for a government who blatantly disregarded the Ohio Revised Code when it legislated this tax.

I suggest further that every resident of Ohio should watch the case and brace themselves if the courts do not rule in favor of residents of Toledo, for as Toledo goes, so likewise will other desperate governments of Ohio as this is easy revenue with no limits.

Take action now, quickly and with conviction as the Courts are soon to rule on class action. I suggest you call the Common Pleas Court and ask that every resident be included in the class action.

Common Pleas Phone # is: 419-213-4484
CASE: G -4801 -CI -200802348-000

For questions contact:
Scott Ciolek, Attorney, 419-491-7270

For information:

Quote of the Day

"Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne... Oh no! It's a...long distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting." ~ Albert Camus

Saturday, May 22, 2010

City 'misplaced' trash tax protest letters

This in via email:

Karen Shanahan will present a Citizen's Advisory regarding the Refuse Fee and Class Action representation regarding the Fee. A call to action by the residents of Toledo.

When: Monday 10:15 a.m.
Where: In front of One Government Center

Karen has been keeping us updated on this issue on her blog where her last post detailed the request for public records on how many people filed a protest against the trash tax. I know that I've filed the protest form she provided with every one of my water payments since the form was introduced.

But apparently, the city "has "misplaced" most of the protest letters," according to a comment Karen left on my earlier post "Trash tax and broken promises: we told you so!"

How convenient for the city - they just happen to 'misplace' all the letters that could be used against them in a lawsuit.

Thankfully, I kept a copy of the letter I sent, but I wonder how many other people thought about doing so?

If you can, please come out to support Karen and help fight the this illegal tax.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Erick Erickson of RedState:

"You know this whole war on salt and food Obama is pushing? Why is it the left is adamant government should stay out of our bedrooms, but is perfectly happy to let government into our kitchens? I don't want government in my house at all."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trash tax and broken promises: we told you so!

Well, well, well... I really hate it when we warn people what's to come in terms of taxation and we're right.

In this case, the "we" is me, Karen Shanahan, WSPD and any other person who commented on the radio or on the blogs about the trash tax never going away. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised about the most recent broken promise on the trash tax considering all the other statements made that have been 'modified' since the tax first went into effect.

As part of the budget debacle, Mayor Mike Bell recommended and Toledo City Council passed (not unanimously) an increase in the trash tax. They all call it a fee, but it IS a tax. For those (like me) who recycle, the fee went from $1 per month to $15 per month. We were promised that, if we passed Issue 5 on the primary ballot May 4th, the $15 would be reduced to $8.50 per month. The measure passed 55% to 45%.

They lied.

The ordinance introduced at last night's city council agenda meeting:

Amending Section 963.03(b) of the Toledo Municipal Code to revise the monthly refuse collection fees; and declaring an emergency.

Upon passage of Issue 5, the Administration is proposing a revised refuse fee structure of $5.00 per month for residents who are eligible for the Homestead Exemption as determined by the County Auditor and $10.00 per month for other City residents.

Yes, you read that correctly: $10 per month.

In case you're mathematically challenged, that's a 900% increase.
It's also an 18% increase over what was promised. And why, exactly, is the administration reneging on their promise?

It's easier for them.

"Easier"??? They've been doing two fees (recycling and non-recycling) for several years now, so how is this suddenly 'easier'? They've established fines for people who say they're going to recycle and then don't. They've given us (and charged us) for two different containers to make it 'easier' to recycle. They've told us that recycling rates are up. They even voted to sell landfill space because we've increased our recycling which has given us space in the landfill that can generate income.

Maybe they should think about how 'easy' this tax is for us to pay? Because it's not - and the last thing most of us are concerned about is paying more to make it 'easier' for the politicians!

Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle has a summary of the conversation during the agenda meeting. From her notes:

"(Councilman Steve) Steel said the administration plan is different than before, (Deputy Mayor of Operations Steve) Herwat said it was, that they felt a standard across the board would be easier to administer."

This is a broken promise, plain and simple.

A majority of voters approved Issue 5 based upon the promises made regarding the roll-back of the trash tax. While I oppose the trash tax in any amount and opposed Issue 5 for its diversion of Capital Improvement Program funds into the general fund, I expected the promises made to be kept if the measure was approved. As did all city residents.

The fire fighters had agreed to pay their employee portion of their pensions as part of the concessions negotiated during the budget process. If Issue 5 passed, they were promised reimbursement of those amounts as well as a return to the city picking up everything they paid prior to the concessions.

Do you think the administration is going to break that promise the union?

No - but they're perfectly willing to break their promise to the taxpayers!!!!

Perhaps those who are cynical about elected officials' promises have every reason to be...

Also in the news was the rejection of the contract negotiated between the city and Teamsters Local 20 for the refuse workers. They rejected the agreed-upon terms unanimously.

And of course they did! The other unions, through one means or another, have gotten back all they originally gave up so why should the refuse workers not stand pat on their current benefits and wages?

So now the taxpayers are screwed - again - and the city unions are not really making any concessions whatsoever. So much for the 'shared pain' everyone was talking about in March.

And as I write this, I'm listening to Mayor Mike Bell being interviewed on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD. And he's saying that yes, he's managed to get a balanced budget for this year and will look at all the costs he's pushed into 2011 between now and the end of the year when he hopes to see increased revenues as a result of an improving economy.

But as so many are fond of asking, "what if" we don't see an improved economy in Toledo and those hoped-for revenues don't materialize? All we've done is postpone the inevitable.

How much do you think the trash tax will increase then?

No wonder we're losing population faster than we can count. People are disgusted and who can blame them?

***Note: This post probably doesn't reflect just how angry, livid, irate I am over the issue. But there really aren't words for the level of outrage I'm feeling.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do public schools risk loss of state funds over charter school issue?

I received this press release from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and am sharing it with all of you because we've had some discussion in the Toledo area about what buildings charter schools can go in.

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cincinnati Public Schools Forfeit State Construction Funding, State Legislator Says

1851 Center Sued CPS Over Handling of Charter Schools

Columbus - State Representative Kris Jordan, a member of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, yesterday notified commission director Richard Murray that Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has forfeited its statutory right to project funding because of repeated violations of state charter schools provisions.

Rep. Jordan's action is a direct result of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law's ongoing litigation against CPS regarding its unfair treatment of charter schools. CPS has prohibited charter schools from purchasing buildings previously owned by the school district, a violation of state law.

"I strongly believe that violations have occurred, and, once again, I urge OSFC to follow the law and withhold CPS-related project funding until these matters are resolved," wrote Rep. Jordan in a letter to commission director Richard Murray. As a result of the violation, CPS potentially stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding. According to CPS's facilities master plan, posted on its website, the state is contributing about 23 percent of the cost of an ongoing $1 billion school construction project.

"CPS has shown little regard for the laws put in place to protect charter schools from antagonistic school districts," said Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center. "The law clearly stipulates that CPS should lose its facilities funding as a result. De-funding by the School Facilities Commission would send a strong message to school districts unwilling to co-existing with charter schools."

The 1851 Center is pro bono defending the Theodore Roosevelt School, a Cincinnati charter school CPS is trying to close. CPS is attempting to enforce a deed restriction prohibiting anyone from using any school building ever owned by CPS for a charter or private school. The 1851 Center asserts that such a restriction is void by Ohio's public policy in favor of school choice, and cheats taxpayers of sales revenue from the buildings.

A copy of Rep. Jordan's letter is available here.
The 1851 Center's court filings in the case are available here.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, voting rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.


New TPPA agreement just postpones the inevitable

In March, the city of Toledo declared exigent circumstances and, as a result, stopped certain compensation for unionized workers. One of those items was the pension pick-up - the employee portion of their pension plan that the city has been paying for quite some time.

Following the declaration of exigent circumstances, several unions reached agreement with the city for new terms of their contracts and the city then revoked the exigent circumstances for those unions. After the voters approved (in the May 4th Primary) a diversion of the 3/4% payroll tax capital improvement allotment to the general fund, the fire fighter unions got their concessions back. The mayor had promised, as one of the terms of that approval, that the fire fighters would be reimbursed for the pension pick-ups they'd gone without and the city would, again, pick up the employee portions for the rest of the year.

The Toledo Police Patrolman's Association claimed the exigent circumstances were actually an unfair labor practice and ended up before SERB - the State Employment Relations Board. SERB found 'probable cause' to believe that the city had committed an unfair labor practice and the city and the union reached an agreement that was approved yesterday by the union. As it is a memorandum of understanding, it does not require city council approval.

That's too bad because, for the life of me, I can't see how this new agreement is good for the city - and especially for the taxpayers.

From the news reports so far, the agreement calls for the city to again pick up the employee portion of the pensions beginning May 27; no police officers will be laid off through April of 2011; the police will get their scheduled 3.5% pay increase beginning January 1; and the overtime that officers earn will not be paid until March 2011, though when it is paid out, it will be paid at the increased pay rate being earned at the time.

This means that the only 'savings' for taxpayers is the amount of the pension payments paid by the employees between the declaration of exigent circumstances and May 27th. That amount is estimated to be about $520,000, according to a quote from TPPA President Dan Wagner (link). However, the administration is claiming they're still saving $2.6 million as a result of this agreement.

How can that be?

I don't think it can. Perhaps they mean that there will be roughly $2.6 million that the city won't have to pay out in 2010. That could be. Deferring the overtime payments would result in a reduction in the amount of money expended this year. But there are no 'savings' if the money still has to be paid in 2011.

In fact, deferring the overtime payments to 2011 and then paying it at the 2011 increased pay rates means that this little deal will actually cost the taxpayers 3.5% more than it would cost us if we just went ahead and paid it when earned!

That's not a savings!

The city may have found itself in a difficult position with the SERB ruling. Declaring exigent circumstances and then revoking it upon partial concessions from the other city unions may have also weakened the city's position. Using the exigent circumstances as a bargaining chip to get minor - temporary - concessions from the other unions proved that the city wasn't serious about the major concessions being sought from the TPPA.

Now District 2 Councilman Mike Collins wants the city to give the exempt city staff the same 'give backs' the unions have received.

All this puts the city back into the exact same position we were in at the beginning of the year: unsustainable compensation terms, too much spending and not enough revenue - and no willingness from voters to give the city any more, especially when the voters don't have it in the first place.

So how has any of this helped? Well, the administration claims that they've got a balanced budget for 2010 even with all the concessions that didn't carry through to the end of the year. But that's because they're raiding the CIP account and they increased our trash tax to cover it.

The bottom line is that the unions won and the taxpayers lost. The unions are getting their employee portion of their pensions paid by the city - meaning you and me - and we're paying more in a trash tax in order for them to have this perk. Furthermore, the 2011 city budget will be much higher than in 2010 because of already agreed-upon pay increases as high as 3.5% - and especially because the police overtime earned this year will be paid out in 2011 at that higher rate.

In the meantime, being self-employed, I have to reduce the amount I put into my pension because my taxes have increased. I won't be getting a pay increase next year and I expect the 'trash tax' will again rise because the city just won't have the money to meet its obligations without it.

But don't expect the same bargaining tactics to work again next year. Wagner has already warned of the TPPA's concern about whether the city would again ask for concessions for 2011. And having just 'won' on the terms this year, they'll be much less likely to make such concessions in the future.

This is not a good deal for the taxpayers - all it does is postpone the inevitable. Eventually the city and the unions will have to face reality: the compensation terms are unsustainable. Something will have to give and when it does, it will be very ugly.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fake Tea Party petition in Michigan?

Chet Zarko, a blogger friend of mine in Michigan, has the exclusive: Dem Party Dirty Trick on Fake Tea Party Petition Revealed.

From his post:

Zarko Research has learned that a nefarious unknown group calling itself "The Tea Party" at PO Box 23 in Richville, MI 48757 (near Flint) is circulating a petition on a paid basis, at roughly $1 per signature to the circulator. The group is so new that the Secretary of State has nothing on file as of this moment.

The petition was mailed to known paid circulators in the metro Detroit area earlier this week and based on conclusions of proprietary knowledge to Zarko Research, the petition is being operated by a liberal-leaning petition management firm with ties to the Democratic Party. The petition claims to seek access to the ballot for an entirely new party - the "Tea Party", although when Zarko Research interviewed known organizers of the Tea Party they all knew nothing about it. When shown copies of the petition, Wendy Day of Howell, Michigan, organizer of Common Sense in Michigan considered one of the lead Tea Party protest organizers in the state, told us that the Tea Party as she has known it has never sought official access to the ballot and works to create an environment where both of the existing parties work for reform and limiting governmental intrusion into the lives of individual citizens. Day condemned this effort and stated it was an effort to dilute the impact of the current Tea Party - she argued this was evidence that forces opposing reform were taking the Tea Party seriously - so seriously that indeed they are trying to steal its trademark and hijack it.

read more....

And as part of an update, Zarko has confirmed that Progressive Campaigns, Inc., was hired to collect signatures for the petitions.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Equality vs equal

Amid all the talk of 'equality,' I thought these quotes were quite timely.

"It is the greatest inequality to try to make unequal things equal." ~ Aristotle

"We clamour for equality chiefly in areas where we cannot ourselves hope to obtain excellence." ~ Eric Hoffer

I don't need a government to make me 'equal' to others - because no one (except God) could do such a thing. I have talents and skills that others don't have. Others have talent and skills that I don't possess. I have interests and goals that are different from those of other people - and they shape my learning and my actions.

If everyone were 'equal' in all these things, the world would be a very dull place. Could you imagine if all of us could play a piano like Beethoven, draw like Picasso or write like Mark Twain? If we all thought like Thomas Edison, would his inventions stand out? Would we even need anything at all from others if we all were equal?

Today's discussions all seem to center around the concept of equality, but what they really mean is equality of outcome. Regardless of your talents, skills, knowledge or abilities, you should all have the same 'things.' And by 'things,' most people mean jobs, pay, housing, food, etc... The discussion even goes so far as to designate these 'things' as rights - as in a 'right to housing' - though that directly conflicts with our founding documents that say rights are God-given and inherent in our existence. Anything that must be taken from someone else in order for you to have it (whether it's the knowledge of a doctor or a physical item like a house), cannot be a 'right.'

So I don't want to be 'equal' and I don't believe in equal 'outcomes.' One of the things that made this nation so great - a prosperous, inventive, charitable grouping of people - is our ability to use those God-given rights to make things better for ourselves.

Another thing that made our country the envy of the world - and something that I do need - is a system of laws that treat everyone equally. I want to know that when I am wronged, I have recourse in a legal system that treats me the same as anyone else who also finds themselves wronged. I need to know that the laws we all live under apply to all of us in the same manner - not that my standing or income will mean I am exempt or get special treatment.

We are a 'nation of laws, not a nation of men' for a reason. We are also a nation where each person can use their God-given talents to advance themselves - or not - as they choose. We are not - and cannot be - equal in results if we are to be true to the freedom and liberty our founders fought for.

So make no mistake: there is a significant difference between treating people equally under the law versus making everyone 'equal' in outcomes.

But I fear many adults have lost that distinction and many children are growing up not understanding it in the first place.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lucas County Sheriff is over budget? So what's new?

According to today's paper (link), Lucas County Sheriff James Telb is over budget.

So what's new?

The Sheriff Department is consistently over budget. When I was a commissioner (years 2003 through 2006), it was a constant concern because any savings other elected officials might have had in their budgets was used to cover his overages.

The county's Office of Budget and Management constantly informed him throughout each year that he was overspending in multiple line items, but Telb always counted upon the practice of just covering his costs when the county closed out the books at the end of the year.

No matter how loudly I complained, little media attention was given to the fact that this elected official just could not live within his means. Even during election years, the lack of fiscal management never really made it into the discussion, despite valiant attempts by some challengers.

While I'm glad to see the coverage today, I'm wondering why it's taken so long to inform the public of Telb's long-standing 'tradition' of spending more than was/is allotted.

But I'm sure you have your own theories about that...

So the question now is this: What will the commissioners do? Will they complain and then just cover the costs as they've done in the past? Or will they tell Telb 'no more money' and let the consequences prevail?

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just another way to not be responsible

I saw the headline yesterday on the Drudge Report and just had to shake my head:

FCC Wants Alerts on Wireless Overages

It was a link to a Wall Street Journal article (subscription may be required) detailing a proposal being considered under the 'truth in billing' rules so consumers know what they're paying for in their phone bills.

Now, I'm all for simplified statements - but Congress has obviously missed the point that all their rules and regulations are a prime reason why the billing is so complicated in the first place!

The actual proposal, according to the article:

Federal regulators are proposing new regulations on the wireless phone industry, which would require carriers to alert consumers if they've gone over their monthly data or text message allotments.

Joe White has details of a new FCC proposal which would require wireless carriers to alert consumers if they've gone over their monthly data or text message allotments.

The proposal is similar to rules recently enacted in the European Union on wireless companies, which require carriers to send a text message to subscribers who are racking up roaming charges or getting close to their plan's roaming limit.

The Federal Communications Commission proposal also considers whether carriers should send real-time alerts to subscribers who are exceeding their monthly voice, data or text messaging limits.

Wow - our Congress wanting to adopt the socialistic tendencies of the EU - what a concept!

And the reason why Congress is meddling in the customer service relationship between a consumer and a provider?

"We've gotten hundreds of complaints about bill shock," said Joel Gurin, head of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, in a statement.

Um - let me get this straight. People sign up for cell phone service and they select a particular plan for minutes and access. At the time they make these decisions, they are notified how much it will cost them if they go over their planned usage. They then exceed what they've contracted for and get charged accordingly. And their reaction is to call the government and complain when their bills are so high?????

And government then thinks it needs to force companies to be even more responsible for their customers' stupidity???

I know - I know...asking questions that have no real answers.

What is wrong with these people who cannot take responsibility for themselves? Are we really building a nation of people completely dependent upon the government for such simple tasks as using a cell phone? I think it's even scarier that these same people who cannot keep track of their cell phone usage probably have children ... and vote!

My husband and I just recently upgraded our phones. Yes, we've entered the world of apps and cameras and texting and all kinds of extras that we've never had before on a phone. As part of the process, the clerk reviewed our prior usage and suggested a plan for minutes that was just a bit higher than what we'd had previously. This was a good suggestion that made sense to us, so we upgraded our plan. He also recommended that since we'd never had texting before, we should go with a mid-range number and then monitor the usage on line.

Oh - did you read that correctly? We can monitor our usage on line!!!! We could even use our phones to connect to the Internet and upgrade our text limit if we get close to our maximum number.

But that would require us to be responsible for ourselves and our own usage and actually do it.

But some people didn't pay attention so along comes a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians who think that's just too much to ask of individuals so they want to create a LAW to force companies to perform this task for us. They call it a regulation, but it is enforced like a law with penalties for non-conformance.

Now, would this be a good customer relations tool for a company to offer? Absolutely! Would I like it if my cell phone provider did this for me? Probably. Would I even pay for such a service? Maybe - I might not at first, but if I got a bill much higher than expected because I wasn't paying attention, I might decide it was worth a small amount of money every month to help me from facing sticker shock...

But should Congress or the federal government require it? NO!!!!

Government needs to just stop. Stop trying to solve every individual's problem with one-size-fits-all rules and regulations that do nothing but add to everyone's costs. Stop trying to create enough rules that people are 'saved' from the consequences of bad decisions. Stop making people dependent upon Washington for basic life skills. Stop creating ways to absolve people of personal responsibility.

If they don't we will end up like the people in Idiocracy. Unless we're already there....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quotes of the Day

It's such a beautiful day, I'm going to enjoy it. Here are two quotes to put things into perspective:

"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." ~ W. E. B. Du Bois

"Liberty is not merely a privilege to be conferred; it is a habit to be acquired." ~ David Lloyd George

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Quotes of the Day

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. ... Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." ~ Ayn Rand

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Post-primary thoughts

I've been a bit busy the last several days and haven't had time to do a post, so my apologies to those who sent me a message asking if things were okay. Yes, they are - just busy with clients who actually pay me. :)

So our primary is over and the political parties have their representatives for the general election.

Several things stand out in this election, so let's get right to them:

Lucas County Commissioner Race:

* George Sarantou's name recognition was clearly an advantage over his two competitors for the Republican nomination for Lucas County Commissioner. I did a dawn patrol (putting out candidate signs prior to the polls opening) and saw that he had most - if not all - the polling locations covered. Dan Steingraber had signs at the polls, but George had signs at all the entrances to the locations. There is something to be said for 'local' knowledge. I did not see any Andy Glenn signs, but that could have just been a timing issue. I guess endorsements from The Blade and Joe the Plumber didn't count for much among Republican voters.

* Carol Contrada's win on the Democrat side surprised quite a few people, considering how strongly The Blade pushed Ben Krompak. Carol is well-respected and has a good reputation, even among Republicans who disagree with her philosophy of government and some of her votes. Perhaps after witnessing Ben Konop's performance in office, Democrats decided to reject a similar type of individual and go with something a bit more 'proven'? I don't know - not being a Democrat - but I expect the race between Carol and George to be less 'exciting' than one between any Republican and Krompak. I also expect the race will focus more on issues than personality and I'm curious to see how Carol will use the 'not from Toledo' advantage against George who will use the 'not a Democrat' one.

(Yes - I know ... there are many who think George is a democrat, but that doesn't mean they'll pick Carol over him....)

State Issue 1:

I'm disappointed that this passed, but not surprised. The last thing Ohio needs is more debt. But with both political parties and just about 'every one who is anyone' saying it will create jobs - what did I expect?

Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog pointed out the serious problem with the numbers being touted:

QUICK UPDATE: One hears Mr. Harris brag about fuel cells. Here’s a related PR release from a year ago

Ohio Third Frontier has invested over $80 million in fuel cells through a variety of different programs, which has resulted in the creation or retention of 430 jobs with an average salary of $68,431. Overall, the Ohio Third Frontier has created, capitalized or attracted more than 600 companies, has created nearly 55,000 direct and indirect jobs and helped create $6.6 billion in economic impact in Ohio, a 9:1 return on investment.

Points relating to the bolded items:

* $80 mil for 430 jobs is $186,000 per job.
* This claim only works if you believe that 8,527 direct jobs magically create 46,473 more indirect jobs. C’mon. This is the same type of math abuse promoted by the Obama administration to claim mega-gazillion “created and saved” jobs in the bogus stimulus plan — and it’s only theoretically “valid” when unemployment is 7.5% or lower. In Ohio, it’s really 11.5%. This “created and saved” nonsense seems to have become so embarrassing that even Team Obama has been recently ramping back the hype.

I also couldn't stand the commercials and advertisements touting this as 'not government, but people.' Who are they kidding? It's obviously a government program if I'm voting on whether or not the state can borrow money to give to selected companies. Roland Hansen had quite a bit to say about this aspect, as well.

I even had a conversation with a friend who supported the issue because it has really 'helped' a group he belongs to. That's all well and good, but obviously you support a program that gives you money.

So many people succumb to the idea that government can create jobs. If they rightly reject that presumption, they still believe government can 'help' create jobs. But the right way to 'help' create jobs in Ohio is not to borrow money and distribute it to selected companies or specific industries. The right way is to have a business-friendly environment that makes it easy for ALL companies and industries to make money.

Thanks to Issue 1, my company - and my husband's, and my neighbor's - will be taxed (one way or the other) to repay the principle and interest on these bonds. However, because none of us are in a 'fad' field, we'll never see any of the monetary assistance that a select few will. That's NOT how you 'bring' jobs to the state.

But don't you feel good knowing you voted for "jobs"???

Issue 3 Toledo Public School Income Tax:

A bright spot on election day - the voters actually saying NO to a tax increase! Of course, TPS officials are threatening to cut things that matter most to parents (like transportation and athletics) but not even mentioning across-the-board spending cuts or cuts in salaries/wages/benefits.

I heard a news clip of Board President Bob Vasquez saying they just have to have 'new money.' Where in the world does he think the taxpayers are going to get the 'new money' to give to him? Obviously, voters 'get it.' But I expect this will be on the ballot again with a larger push for passage. And Toledoans have a habit of finally giving in when it comes to taxes (remember COSI that took three times on the ballot to get passed?).

Issue 5 Toledo re-allocation of the 3/4% Payroll Income Tax:

Like many others, I strongly objected to giving Toledo Council and the Administration the ability to divert money from the Capital Improvement Fund to the General Fund if they 'need' it. To me, this was short-sighted and only serves to allow them to continue spending money they really don't have.

Additionally, I despised the fact that I have to pay more in a Trash Tax to support unsustainable expenditures by the city.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that the concessions given up by the unions earlier this year are going to be 'returned' now that the measure has passed. So the unionized employees of the city won't be paying their full employee portion of their pensions and most will pay nothing at all, with us picking up both the city's portion and theirs!

But I'm paying a 750% increase per month in a trash tax so they can have this unsustainable (there's that word, again) perk.

I do believe, however, that many voters who said yes to this might be inclined to give Mayor Mike Bell the benefit of the doubt on this measure. He's said it's temporary and he's known to be a man of his word. Even though Toledoans have a serious problem with the definition of 'temporary' when it comes to taxes, they may have decided to give Bell this time to work on the overall city budget without having to scramble for millions at the last minute.

We shall see...
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