Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quotes of the Day - Supreme Court

Considering that the U.S. Supreme Court justices have completed their hearings on Obamacare are in now in the process of writing their decision, I thought these quotes from Chief Justices were especially relevant.  And here's a bit a trivia for you:  the title is Chief Justice of the United States, not Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

"The power of the state to impose restraints and burdens upon persons and property in conservation and promotion of the public health, good order, and prosperity is a power originally and always belonging to the states, not surrendered to them by the general government, nor directly restrained by the constitution of the United States, and essentially exclusive."  ~  Justice Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of the United States (1888-1910)

"State inspection laws, health laws, and laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c. are not within the power granted to Congress. ... Inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c., are component parts of this mass. No direct general power over these objects is granted to Congress, and, consequently, they remain subject to State legislation."  ~  Justice John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States (1801–1835)

"To hold that Congress has general police power would be to hold that it may accomplish objects not intrusted to the general government, and to defeat the operation of the 10th Amendment, declaring that 'the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.' "  ~  Justice Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of the United States (1888-1910)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Government logic: we have savings - now how do we spend it?

From WSPD News:


Now that a TPPA contract is finalized, city leaders are looking into using savings derived from the deal to beef up Toledo's police force. Contract concessions will save the city four million dollars per year. The police union president is asking that money be used for more cops, to not only replace retiring officers, but add to police ranks.
So the goal of reducing the costs to the city and the taxpayers was realized in the new union contract with the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, but now 'city leaders' want the city to spend those savings adding more police officers?

What's the point of 'savings' if you're just going to spend them again?

This is faulty logic.

There isn't enough money to meet the current budget.  The city has planned to take another $12 million out of the Capital Improvements Program Fund (CIP) in order to balance the 2012 general fund which pays for everyday expenses.  If they transfer the full amount as planned, they will have diverted over $62 million out of CIP over the last several years.

For those of you who don't do math, this means that the city is $62 million OVER BUDGET for those years - spending money they didn't have and often on things that are *wanted* rather than *needed*.

This would be the equivalent of you creating a savings account to pay for the new roof you need because your current one is leaking and then raiding that fund to pay for your new boat.

Now along comes some idiot who wants the city to spend the savings from their new contract increasing the overall cost of government by adding new police officers.

Can you say "stuck on stupid"?

Don't get me wrong...I think we probably need new officers.  But the problem is that council spends so much money elsewhere they don't have the funds for the necessities like police officers.

I suppose I shouldn't worry, though.  The last time the city found 'additional' money, they spent it rather than reducing the amount they planned to raid from the CIP.  And they didn't spend it on necessities:

  • they hired extra staff that a department didn't want, but a councilwoman did;
  • they bought themselves a new filing system and temp to fill it for them;
  • they hired a consultant to create a historic preservation plan; and
  • they hired an executive director for a previously-eliminted Youth Commission.

My expectation is that they'll do the same types of things this time around.

Sorry, TPPA, I believe that money is already spent - and it isn't on you.

Obama's budget, hypocrisy and 'out of the mouths of babes'

As regular readers of my blog know, hypocrisy and double standards are things I abhor.  Sadly, there are too many examples of these two things in the political and media world.

President Barack Obama's budget was recently introduced to Congress and, for the second time received not a single vote.

Despite both Obama and the media blaming the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for the failure, no Democrat cast a 'yes' vote.  And, again, this was the second time his budget got no votes.

Can you imagine the indignant claims of incompetence from the other side of the political aisle if this had been a Republican president who couldn't get even one vote from his own party for his budget?!?

Could you imagine what the media would be doing? 

Every newscast and the top and bottom of every hour would be proclaiming that, for the second time, the Republican President had failed in his budget.  There would be a line of people waiting to issue statements, go on talk shows and shout to the world that any president incapable of getting even one vote from his own party for his budget needed to go.

But we have a biased media who are clearly rooting for Obama, so you hear nothing ... or a mimicking of the spin from the White House.

To me, the issue isn't just the abysmal failure of the President (that's well-documented for anyone who cares to look at his record with an eye to the Constitution), it's the double standard of allowing/condoning/excusing something from your own party while protesting/criticizing/objecting when it is done by your opponent.

Don't get me wrong, Republicans do it, too.  It's human nature, I suppose, but it's wrong and we should all object.

Additionally, it's the media bias.  I don't mind - and, in fact, greatly appreciate - liberal and conservative opinions.  A respectful and fact-based (rather than emotional) discussion of a point from opposite perspectives is educational and allows all of us to learn and understand an issue more completely - even when the result is an agreement to disagree.

But today's media claims to be objective when they are not. 

The left criticizes people like Rush Limbaugh as an example of media bias.  But Limbaugh isn't a newscaster.  He's a talk radio host and makes no qualms about his conservative bias.  I would never use Ed Schultz as an example of media bias for the same reason - he's a talk show host.  But when the bias comes from Katie Couric or in the news sections of your local paper, that's hypocrisy because that is where it's supposed to be not just the facts, but a complete and fair/accurate reporting of both sides of the issue.

There is hope, though, which leads me to the second portion of my headline 'out of the mouths of babes.'

My friend Jason is 14 years old.  He's a tennis aficionado, as his brand new business cards explain.  At the age of two, he informed his mother (and anyone else who would listen) that he wanted to take tennis lessons.  She made him wait until he was five, thinking the interest would quickly turn to something else (or multiple other things) by then.  But on his fifth birthday, he asked if he could finally start tennis lessons.  And he did.

I'm definitely biased, but not so much as to be able to recognized that he is truly skilled in this sport.  And he loves it.  I believe he's even ranked in the boys - 14 & under group.

Jason is not just a good tennis player, he's also a good person, both on and off the court.  He's a stickler for the rules and  exhibits a true Corinthian spirit in his chosen sport.  (Corinthian - someone who plays sport with the highest possible principles, way exceeding normal sportsmanship.)

He recently decided to start a tennis blog, writing about the sport he loves.  JJ's Tennis View is well written and Jason has a good - and unique - perspective on the sport.  He recently predicted an upset in a women's match, and was correct (something he was especially proud of, being 13 at the time, because no one else did).

Jason and his mom are going to her home town of Charleston for spring break where he will be attending the Family Circle Cup.  He plans to write about the matches, but, being 14, wants to support one of his favorite players, get his t-shirt signed by others and generally be a kid.  Good for him!

His mom researched media credentials for him, thinking that might give him better access to the players for his blog.  He would definitely qualify under the guidelines issued by the Family Circle Cup - but Jason declined.

Now why, you might wonder, would a tennis fan like Jason decline special access to his favorite players?

I just thought it would be unprofessional if I was jumping up and down with signs and shirts for players as a media worker. There's already enough media bias!!!
Indeed.

But if a 14-year-old can understand this, why can't the main stream media?


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Legislation to teach founding documents in Ohio schools goes to governor

Senate Bill 165 has passed and is going to Governor John Kasich for his signature.  The bill requires the teaching of the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, the U.S. Constitution and the Ohio Constitution to students in grades 4 to 12.

Press Release:


COLUMBUS—House Majority Whip John Adams (R-Sidney) has announced that the Ohio House of Representatives concurred on the conference committee report on Senate Bill 165, legislation that will incorporate the study of historically significant government documents into the educational curriculum of Ohio students.

Specifically, S.B. 165 requires that the social studies curriculum for elementary and secondary students in grades 4 to 12 includes the study of the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, the Constitution of the United States, and Ohio Constitution.

“It is important to ensure that the next generation of Ohio’s leaders has a firm grasp on Ohio and American history,” said Representative Adams, who sponsored the companion legislation House Bill 211. “This legislation will give them a greater appreciation for how far we have come as a nation and as a state. I’m happy that the legislature was able to work out an agreement on this bill and make it into something that we can all be happy with and will benefit all of Ohio’s students.”

The study of these founding documents has recently been diminished in the standards and curricula developed by the Ohio Department of Education during the previous administration. If passed, the State Board of Education would be required to revise the standards and curricula to include the additional content.

S.B. 165 will now be sent to Governor Kasich for his signature.


-30-


Irony Alert on Occupy Wall Street

Rusty Weiss, who writes at The Mental Recession, has this post about the latest Occupy Wall Street stunt:

The Mental Recession: Irony Alert - Occupy Wall Street Stages Subway Fare Strike, Demands Free Ride:

Isn't that what Occupy Wall Street is all about, a free ride? What most average Americans would refer to this as 'theft of services', the Occupy slugs and their union counterparts staged a subway fare strike in New York City this morning.
Apparently, they're mad about rising costs and decreased services, along with crime on the New York City subway, the MTA.  As Rusty writes:

So union workers are threatening the MTA to bow to their demands, or they and OWS will continue letting people ride for free? Isn't that like a store worker asking a manager for a raise, and letting customers take items for free until the manager agrees?

In fact, according to this MTA report for 2010, the MTA received a total of $8,904,281,373 in one year alone.  Note - that's nearly $9 BILLION. Yes, billion.

If $9 billion isn't enough for the "Occupy slugs and their union counterparts," what is?

As Rusty points out, at least one Occupier gets it:

A real "fare strike" would be people walking to their destinations, not stealing rides. Yes, it is theft of services, and it's exactly the kind of thing that feeds the anti-OWS lunatics -- strikes me as a bad idea.
A bad idea, indeed ... and all of us 'anti-OWS lunatics' will have a field day with the irony.

The worst part about all this is that the MTA is already heavily subsidized, like most public transportation, so even though they're complaining about rising costs, they're not paying anywhere near the actual cost of the service.

Toledo City Council Meeting - March 27, 2010

Notes from Sherry:

In attendance: Councilwomen Webb, Hicks-Hudson, Councilmen Ludeman, Waniewski, McNamara, Craig, Steel, Sarantou, Martinez, Collins, Copeland, Riley, Deputy Mayor Cruthers, Mayor Bell.



Item 134 – Appointment – Director of Inspection - 1st Reading.

Item 135 – Appointment – Executive Director of Youth Commission – Webb – I had a discussion with the Mayor – he makes an appointment – moving to put together Youth Commission – each Council person to appoint a person – names have been submitted – should be a voting member of the board. McNamara – yes, Steel's Committee. Riley – agrees with Webb, same questions – wait to address this at a later date. Steel – good – meeting in May. Webb - constraints. Collins – no resume. Waniewski – none provided. Cruthers – will be provided. To Youth, Parks & Recreation Committee.


Item 147 – Zone change at4340 Heatherdowns Blvd. (Approved 5 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.


Item 121 – MJCTC for Magna Modular Systems in North Cross, $7M expansion, 124 jobs, 40% tax credit, 8 years – Martinez – this has my full support – 700K from budget? Cruthers – not correct. Martinez – how much is it? Cruthers – take care to move this forward. (No answer to Martinez's question. SZ) Ludeman – agrees with Mr. Cruthers – expand. Passed – all voting yes.


Item 127 – Expenditure to TMACOG for 2012 membership dues, $55,980 General Fund – passed – all voting yes.


Item 136 – Accept surplus funds from natural gas aggregation program, deposit into interest bearing escrow account – passed – all voting yes.


Item 137 – Lease for Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center at Aurora Gonzalez Community Center, 5 years + 2 options, $1/per year – passed – all voting yes.


Item 138 – Disappropriate unspent 33-35 Year CDBG funds & reappropriate for 37th Year CDBG Fund, $927,694 – Craig – Thanks for the support on this – it will help with activities – passed – all voting yes.


Item 139 – Appropriation for paved access drive to sludge lagoons for Water Treatment, $90,000 Water Bond Fund – Steel – At Agenda Review, pointed out that this needed implementation – to be addressed – there was no response. D. Welch - It is in the Master Plan, should have asked for more. Steel – When? D. Welch – at the end - 1st Reading.


Item 140 – Appropriation for 1,000' water main for loop at Collins Park Water Treatment Plant , $85,000 Water Bond - 1st Reading.


Item 141 – Appropriation for trucks, vans, backhoes and trailers for Water Distribution, $1,500,000 Water Replacement - 1st Reading.


Item 142 – Appropriation for drainage improvement projects at various locations, $390,000 Storm Water Fund - 1st Reading.


Item 143 – Agreement with County, Metroparks, and Sylvania Recreation for University Parks Trail, $40,000 match CIP – passed – all voting yes.


Item 144 – Informal bids for demolition of balance of Acme Building in Marina District, option by Dashing Pacific – Craig – Amended – down to 35K – removes threshold for nonformal bid – proposal to the people that worked there – takes away Municipal Code. Collins – Bidding situation. Craig – give it to the people who have already done this. Webb – Point of Order legal question - (McNamara – Mr. Collins has the floor.) Administration – there is a section in the Charter that compiles bids to be taken – 40K is the break off point - Amendment is before you with the legal way to engage a contractor. Collins – Are we holding the 35KM number? Administration – No. Collins – Held at 35K, OK – this should go back to Council. Hicks-Hudson – Why do we have an amended amount? Is it going through the back door? D. Welch – Please drop down (amendment). Hicks-Hudson – Shouldn't we be locked into a certain group of folks? Steel – Can we have copies of documentation for the City etc.? Administration – We respect the prevailing wage. Sarantou – Bid – two months? Administration – Yes – get building down. Sarantou – Urgency. Administration – Maritime Museum to go in place of the Acme Building. Slow Roll - No – Webb, Copeland, rest yes – amendment passed (35K). Craig – move to 1st Reading. Steel – hold for two weeks. Slow Roll – Yes – Steel, Webb, Copeland – no – Riley, Waniewski, Martinez, Craig, Ludeman, McNamara, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Collins. Motion failed. Passed – no - Steel, Webb, Copeland – yes – Riley, Waniewski, Martinez, Craig, Ludeman, McNamara, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Collins.


Item 145 – Accept JAG for Toledo CIRV (Community Initiative to Reduce Violence) reduce gun violence, $50,000 – Webb – Why are we taking this out of Committee? Collins – issue of correction – not enforcement – goes through UT. Webb – Responsibility is your position – I've been told, Grant dollars coming your way – don't hold it up. Collins – he hasn't received reports on the study - see what money is being spent on. Martinez – Agrees with Webb – moving for suspension. Steel – Slow roll. Copeland – Is there a reason why we haven't received a report? Mayor Bell – not a lot of liability. Representative from the Police Department – Boston model gang violence – following closely why particily substantiate it – provide some of this project – approve use of dollars, support ordinance. Collins – he goes along with engineering passage – we need to know what this entails – 50K isn't all for software - Representative from the Police Department – No, administration fees tied to this – tied to the gang unit. Cruthers – Done when he wasn't Deputy Mayor. Steel – part of getting ten year is attracting dollars. Representative from the Police Department – Getting the most out of the money (gangs). Steel – Slow roll with drawl. Passed – all voting yes.


Item 146 – Contract with Lott Industries for seasonal and temporary positions for Parks & Recreation, 1 year + options – passed – all voting yes.


Item 148 – SUP for additional gasoline sales to existing convenience store at 1049 Western Ave. (Approved 5 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.


Item 149 – Zone change at 5720 Secor Road for Washington Local Schools (Approved 6 – 0) – Waniewski – school lot has been reduced in size. Passed – all voting yes.


Item 150 – Amend SUP for scrap and salvage operation at 5270 N. Detroit Ave. for Omnisource (w/o Recommendation 6 -0) – Webb – feels Omnisource has done a decent deal. Passed – all voting yes.


Item 151 – Resolution – Vacate alley bounded by Page, Peck,Walnut, and Cherry – adopted – all voting yes.


Item 126 -Approve 2012 – 2016 CIP Plan, transfer $11,949,054 to General Fund, appropriate $6,310,237 projects – Waniewski – amend, change two things – 1) 450K to 400K 2) District Sylvania Ave. program, 50K – small business, neighborhoods in back of businesses – makes a nice corridor. Cruthers – Supports amendment. Webb – worked on this along with Councilman Riley – our needs are different. Steel – Tell me the boundary on Sylvania. Waniewski – to Shrater Tire/Upton Ave./CSX tracks – would not go East of Jackman. Riley – Make Sylvania Ave. what it was. Collins – his amendment will hold the CIP dollars for 6 months - what are the positive and negative information for good decisions – too many unknown facts - preserve CIP, then go forward. Cruthers – Money is approved, but not spent. Collins – Doesn't support Chief Diggs – finds this disingenuous – shouldn't monitor video 24/7 – check hot spots when crimes occur - we have a have tool to use. Webb – go all the way or halfway – support Cruthers and the Police Department. Ludeman – Supports Chief – move forward – but thinks like Collins – high profile incident in FL – tapes could be helpful – get moving. Cruthers – Two mobile units? Representative from the Police Department – Yes. Martinez – Likes concept (compares to automated trash cans) – too new, too much money – supports Chief. Sarantou – We've had two meetings about the cameras – offers the Police Department a tool – we are safer when it works – technology in other places in the Country – move forward. Steel – compares system to LITF – adds to cameras – right for the City – this program needs to succeed – needed expenditure – 6 more months would only extend this further. Copeland – people are scared about this – safety issue – slow them down a little bit. Waniewski amendment – yes, support – no, don't support – No, Collins, rest yes. Motion passed. Collins amendment – yes – Riley, Steel, Collins -no – Waniewski, Martinez, Craig, Ludeman, McNamara, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Copeland, Webb – motion failed. Vote -passed – all voting yes.


Last Call:


Ludeman – Litter on the Trail (at 3:20, on my way in), right near the main entrance on the Trail. Congratulations to the Whitmore Panthers – tremendous season – hope the Buckeyes are champions.


Martinez – Will hold meetings next week move money, compliance with construction.


Steel – Library Village – calls about hanging tags on the doors – violations? What are they about? Get information. Cruthers – check on this, could be for work on property – at-a-boy tag?


Waniewski – Meeting of Intergovernment Committee next Thursday at 1:30. Meeting at Grace Church on this Thursday.


Webb – (To Steel) follow up letter with tags - offer assistance. Resolution for Governor Kasich to keep money from from the selling of Raceway Park in Toledo. Thursday Steering Committee meets at the YMCA at 4 PM.


McNamara – Special Meeting Thursday at 4PM, moved to 2PM.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Report: Workplace freedom enhances prosperity

The Buckeye Institute held a press conference this morning to release their new report: Ohio Right-to-Work, How the Economic Freedom of Workers Enhances Prosperity.  The conclusion of the report is that  "forced unionization has meant lower income, fewer jobs and out-migration."

I think it's important to note that the first page of the report is titled "Why This Report Matters to You" and it puts the reasoning in very specific terms:


This Buckeye Institute report looks at how a right-towork law likely would impact Ohio for the good, helping stem the outflow of people and capital that has contributed to the stagnation of the Ohio economy. At a time when resources are limited, this is a state legislative action that does not add to budget woes, and indeed helps provide the resources for future growth of both private and public needs. The bottom line is that freedom is the key to opening the door of prosperity.

Here is the Press Release:

March 28, 2012—COLUMBUS, Ohio – If Ohio had passed a Right-to-Work law in 1977 the personal income of a family of four would, on average, be as much as $12,000 higher annually according to a report released by the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions today.
"Given the actions of our neighbor Indiana, right-to-work is not a debate Ohio can avoid,” said Buckeye Institute president Kevin Holtsberry. “But Ohioans deserve a debate based on the actual history of the issue and the economic realities that underlie it – not myths and misinformation. We believe this report will serve as a basis for that debate.”


The report finds that states with right-to-work laws have much higher rates of growth in income, new jobs, wages, capital investment and in-migration of people. Ohio has suffered a growth deficit for several decades¬¬¬–growing less than the nation as a whole, and its income levels have fallen below several southern states-historically the poorest of the nation. Ohio has paid a high price for failing to avail itself of right-to-work legislation.


The lead author of the report, Dr. Richard Vedder, is Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of numerous scholarly papers in journals of economics and public policy as well as several books.


“Monopolistic practices in labor markets have been an important factor in Ohio’s economic stagnation,” said Dr. Vedder. “The bottom line is freedom is the key to opening the door of prosperity and right-to-work laws are an important step in the right direction.”


At a time when resources are limited, the report argues, making Ohio a right-to-work state does not add to its budget woes and provides an opportunity for economic growth and increased income for Ohioans.


Recent polling data indicate that a majority of Ohioans support such reform.


###


The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is Ohio’s premier free market think tank. The Buckeye Institute has provided the research and solutions to Ohio’s toughest public policy challenges in economic freedom and competitiveness, job creation and entrepreneurship, and government transparency and accountability for 18 years.
I hope you'll take the time to read the report - it's not long and it provides facts and figures to consider about this highly-emotional topic.



NOTE:  Blogger has changed its layout and I'm still getting used to it.  I apologize for any technical issues in this post.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forget logic, you're supposed to love Obamacare

Yesterday, Ohio Democratic State Rep. Teresa Fedor held a press conference to criticize Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's announcement that he would repeal Obamacare if he were elected. She strategically held the conference on the first day of U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of the law.

Of course, no Democratic press conference is complete with an appeal to emotion, so she trotted out the typical tug-at-the-heart-strings examples of what would happen if that evil Romney had his way.

The first was Jack Viren, 67, who said:

"The fact that Mitt Romney would overturn the [Affordable Care Act], which allows my wife to have health insurance, saving us close to $15,000 a year, it's unconscionable and unthinkable. We were just totally grateful to President Obama and the Congress when the Affordable Care Act was passed," Mr. Viren said.

But this isn't true. Earlier in the linked article, Viren admits that his wife had insurance:

Mr. Viren said his wife, Carol, who is 12 years younger than he, was forced by an illness to give up her practice as a lawyer and started running an online business. He said the cost of her coverage, which she obtained through a group, went from $800 a month in 2007 to $1,200 the next year. The couple said the cost would have gone to $1,600 with a $2,500 deductible in 2009, but Mrs. Viren dropped the coverage because they couldn't afford it while also paying about $1,000 a month for prescriptions.

"If she had had to go into the hospital for any period of time it could have forced us into bankruptcy," Mr. Viren said.

So what he's saying is that the costs of being without insurance were going to be less than being with insurance?!?

He then contradicts himself when saying that they chose to risk bankruptcy rather than pay for insurance.

That's liberal logic for you.

They probably supported the Ohio law that allows unmarried 'children' up to the age of 28 to stay on their parents' insurance. The minute Ohio passed this law, our own insurance jumped $1,200 per year!

The problem is that Obamacare doesn't "allow" his wife to have health insurance. She had "access" to health care and willingly chose to reject it.

Instead, they decided to live off others who are paying for Ohio's high risk insurance pool, which subsidizes a limited number of individuals with tax dollars from the rest of us.

So much for personal responsibility.

You may be wondering - what is the Ohio High Risk Pool?

The Ohio High Risk Pool is designed to give uninsured Ohioans with pre-existing conditions access to quality health insurance.

Viren's wife had insurance so the pre-existing condition issue wasn't applicable.

What Viren should have said was that he and his wife made a conscious decision to stop paying for the health insurance they had and now they're glad they can get the rest of us to subsidize the insurance they're currently getting.

We're supposed to feel sorry for this guy?

And we're supposed to want to support an unconstitutional Obamacare as a result?!?

Of course we are.

But that's not all. We're also supposed to hate the millionaires and billionaires who aren't paying their "fair share" - at least according to Sen. Fedor:

"...if more people have to pay more money, especially the millionaires and billionaires, that's part of what is necessary to have a quality nation, and it's part of their fair share of ensuring we have a viable economic future," Ms. Fedor said.

What's fair about 'rich' people paying more while nearly half the nation pays nothing at all? Talk about unfair.

But again, that's liberal logic for you.

Then we have Fran Dymarkowski, 69, who clearly doesn't think things through. Her 'tug-at-the-heart-strings' story was about Medicare:

Mrs. Dymarkowski said her husband, Paul, had a drug-resistant staph infection and that their spending on prescription drugs reached the so-called doughnut hole, a situation in which Medicare stops paying for the coverage.

She said her and her husband's cost was about $3,000 or $4,000 over a two-year period in 2009 and 2010. She said Mr. Dymarkowski's health improved and he has less need of the costly prescriptions.

"For seniors like Paul and me living on limited income through Social Security these costs were not a joke," Ms. Dymarkowski said. "Because of the Affordable Care Act, no senior will ever have to go through what Paul and I spent that year doing." The Affordable Care Act provided a rebate of $250 in the first year and will continue providing the rebate until the doughnut hole is closed in 2020.

Let's put that into perspective: taking the higher estimated (since Dymarkoski clearly didn't know exactly) amount of $4,000 over a two-year period of time, that works out to $200/month. That's not an insignificant amount when you're relying upon Social Security for your income, but it's not more or less than what others have to pay.

As I previously stated, when Ohio passed the insure-children-to-age-28 law, our insurance went up $100/month. When my husband turned 45, it went up another $100/month, strictly due to actuarial tables having nothing whatsoever to with his excellent state of health. That's $200/month in a two-year period of time - just like Dymarkowkis.

Our income is as 'fixed' as theirs - but we're paying for her rebate with our taxes, and she thinks that's okay.

"Because of the Affordable Care Act, no senior will ever have to go through what Paul and I spent that year doing."

Really? Does actually think that a $250 per year rebate will help people who see a $200 per month increase in their prescription costs? Granted, it's better than nothing, but not much - and it comes at the cost of sacrificing our Constitution.

Did she actually think about the math before she got up in front of the media?

Apparently not.

Again - we're supposed to feel sorry for her and her husband, ignoring such facts and figures, and embrace Obamacare as a result.

Dymarkowski is happy that Obamacare closed the Medicare doughnut hole, but what about the fact that Obamacare is partially funded by a $500 billion cut in Medicare?!? How does she feel about that?

The Romney campaign responded:

"President Obama is the only president to have slashed $500 billion from Medicare, and he did it to fund Obamacare. Unlike the President, Governor Romney is committed to preserving Medicare for those at or near retirement, and unlike the President he has put forward a plan that will strengthen it for future generations," said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams.

Lest you think this is just political rhetoric, the Washington Post Fact Checker agrees:

In the health care bill, the anticipated savings from Medicare were used to help offset some of the anticipated costs of expanding health care for all Americans. In reality, the money is all fungible, but Romney is on relatively solid ground when he says “Obamacare takes $500 billion out of Medicare and funds Obamacare.”

Does Dymarkowski think that settling for a doughnut hole rebate is sufficient payback for the $500 billion Medicare cut that it cost? Does she even know about the cuts that are helping to pay for her $250 rebate?

No one asked her.

I'm sick of being told by elitist politicians what I must do and how I must "feel." They can tug at the heart strings all they want, but I will not stand by while my liberty, my rights, and my personal property are sacrificed so they can appear to help 'stuck-on-stupid' individuals who can't do their own math or who want to live off others.

And I will NOT forget logic and just love Obamacare.

1851 Center: beware of back-door Obamacare in Ohio

From the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law:

Two Years Ago: Obamacare Passed

Today: The US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments to Decide if Obamacare is Constitutional


With all attention on the Supreme Court, Ohio officials could quietly impose the mandate and restrict choice in Ohio through creating a state Obamacare exchange.

Ohio left-wing and Democratic Party front groups have recently ratcheted-up pressure on state officials to create an Obamacare exchange for Ohio. Meanwhile, it's unclear whether the Kasich Administration buys rhetoric that enacting its own Obamacare exchange will give Ohio increased flexibility.

But the issue should be a non-starter: Ohioans have already fought and won this battle. The Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment prohibits Ohio from implementing Obamacare in Ohio through creating an exchange.

By creating an Obamacare exchange in Ohio, state government would be doing the following:

* indirectly compelling the forced purchase of government-defined health care insurance
* prohibiting Ohioans from choosing doctors and insurance plans of their choice
* imposing a host of new taxes and fees on Ohioans
* turning Ohio's health care markets over to the federal government
* gift-wrapping a victory for Obamacare by making it easier for the federal government to enforce in Ohio and elsewhere
* undermining the sincerity of Ohio's current Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare

"Any state that creates an Obamacare exchange is ultimately voluntarily choosing to enforce Obamacare and its mandates and restrictions on freedom of choice, while simultaneously reducing the chance that Obamacare will repealed or rewritten," according to 1851 Center Director Maurice Thompson in
Does Ohio's Health Care Freedom Amendment Prohibit it from Imposing an Obamacare Exchange? Thompson suggests that legal action would be appropriate to stop the exchange, and that the 1851 Center may take it. Read the entire report here.

More information on this important topic is available at www.StoptheExchange.com, where Ohioans can directly share their feeling on this topic with the Kasich Administration.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Obamacare lawsuit update from Mike DeWine

Received via email and sharing:

I was in the U.S. Supreme Court today as arguments began on Obamacare. Twenty-six states, including Ohio, are joined in the lawsuit challenging the act's constitutionality. As you will recall, the first thing I did after taking office as Attorney General was to authorize Ohio to join this lawsuit.

Today's arguments dealt with whether the case was ready to be decided, which we believe it is. Judging by the questions that the justices asked, it would appear they believe that, as well.

There were large crowds outside the Supreme Court, with a ton of media. Inside, while the normal routine was followed, there was a sense that we were witnessing a historic moment.

Tomorrow, the Court will hear arguments on the most contentious issue -- the constitutionality of the individual mandate. We do not expect a decision until June. I will keep you updated as things progress.

A look at the campaign finances in Ohio's CD-9

We were having a discussion the other day about the upcoming November election pitting incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur against Republican Samuel 'Joe the Plumber' Wurzelbacher and Libertarian Sean Stipe in Ohio's newly-drawn 9th Congressional District.

Eventually the discussion boiled down to money. The group had few expectations of Stipe, but questions about Wurzelbacher and Kaptur.

Will Wurzelbacher be able to compete financially with Kaptur?

The general consensus was no.

Will Wurzelbacher's celebrity status as 'Joe the Plumber' lead to more contributions - or will his status be enough to overcome Kaptur's fundraising?

Again, the consensus of the group was no. In fact, with the district leaning even more Democratic as a result of the redrawing, the bigger question of the group was who would be Kaptur's replacement.

But I wondered ... just how much of an advantage would Kaptur have financially? So I decided to look at the campaign finance reports for the three. The most recent reports are the pre-primary filings which went through Feb. 15th.

Marcy Kaptur, Kaptur for Congress

Since Ohio lost congressional seats, two Republican and two Democrat districts were combined, so Kaptur faced long-time Cleveland-area incumbent Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary. Her fundraising and expenditures clearly reflect that this was her most costly primary challenge.

She started 2012 with just over $700,000 cash on hand. As of the end of 2011, for this election cycle, she'd raised $277,553.01. Not surprisingly, $216,000 of that was from political action committees (PACs) and other candidates.

When a candidate receives a contribution that is more than $200, they must itemized the donation and include the contributor, address, employer and occupation. As of her year-end report, Kaptur had received just under $14,000 in non-itemized contributions. That means that her reported $52,600 in individual contributions were all over $200. Not surprisingly, there are a number of individual contributions from lawyers, union employees as well as employees of companies impacted by her work on the all-powerful Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees of defense, agriculture and transportation/housing.

Her pre-primary report shows her raising another $89,002 but spending $372,684, clearly reflecting the television advertising she purchased.

As of the pre-primary, she'd raised $366,555.01 and spent $479,993.42 this election cycle, leaving her with $422,910.87 on hand.

Another requirement of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is that donations of $1,000 or more received after the pre-primary filing but before the election must be reported within 48 hours of receipt. This is called the 48-Hour Notice Report. Between Feb. 21 and March 5, Kaptur reported another $104,300 in donations via these reports. And remember, that was just contributions over $1,000.

The only unusual donation listed, at least to those of us in the Toledo area, is a $500 contribution from a Clear Channel government affairs employee in Washington, DC. This is unusual only because of her long-time refusal to come on the local Clear Channel talk radio station 1370 WSPD.

Her expenditures were routine for a campaign - postage, phone, campaign fundraising expenses, printing, yard signs, etc. She spent just under $275,000 to a single firm for 'campaign advertising' which is probably the television buys, though it could include other types of ads (radio, newspaper) as well.

Kaptur did hire 10 campaign field workers throughout the new district and, as of the pre-primary report, had paid out $26,000 to them at a stipend of $2,500/month.

Samuel Wurzelbacher, Joe for Congress 2012

Not surprisingly, Samuel 'Joe the Plumber' Wurzelbacher didn't raise anywhere near the amounts that Kaptur did. This is partly due to his status as a first-time candidate versus hers as an incumbent, as well as his lack of a high-profile primary race.

Wurzelbacher's campaign is Joe for Congress 2012. As of the end of the year, he'd raised just over $50,000. Unlike Kaptur, the majority of his donations - 76% - come from donors giving under $200. He had only one itemized donation from within the district but did receive $2,000 from the Frost for Congress campaign (Westlake, OH) and $2,500 from the Move America Forward PAC.

As of the pre-primary, Wurzelbacher raised another $11,219.40, with 51% of that being from itemized donations (over $200), but most of that was the result of a single $2,500 donation from Herman Cain. The Western Representation PAC also donated $2,500. Wurzelbacher did not file any 48-Hour Notice reports.

Wurzelbacher's campaign finance filings do show some internal issues, perhaps due to his first-time candidacy status. Wurzelbacher was originally listed as the campaign treasurer. On December 14, the campaign filed to name Nick Marvet the treasurer. But on Feb. 24th, the FEC sent a 'failure to file' notice because the campaign had not filed the pre-primary report by the deadline. On Feb. 28th, the campaign filed again naming Wurzelbacher the treasurer.

Wurzelbacher's expenses show some interesting items. His campaign hired and paid several different fundraising firms a 15% fee for the donations they garnered on his behalf. This is a standard amount for political fundraising.

He also paid a campaign manager $9,500, less than what Kaptur spent on her field reps.

Wurzelbacher's largest expense on his reports is his own salary - roughly a third of his total expenditures so far. He's paying himself $3,842 bi-weekly (after taxes) for a total expended as of the pre-primary of $20,210. As this is a salary, he's also paying taxes and unemployment insurance on himself.

While this is certainly permissible, it is unusual and many donors tend to think twice about contributing to candidates who are paying themselves a salary from the campaign funds.

There was one other filing item that was of interest. On March 9th, the FEC requested more information from the campaign. The first financial report showed a starting balance of $7,000. The FEC requested the documentation for that amount. The Joe for Congress 2012 campaign was given until April 13th to respond with the information.

On Saturday, as I was doing the research, I did send an email to the Wurzelbacher campaign to ask about the change in treasurer as well as the salary. Again, it is certainly permissible for a candidate to pay himself a salary, but I wanted to know if donors were being told about the salary when, or prior to, their donating.

I had planned to publish this post Sunday morning. However, I received a note back from the campaign on Saturday afternoon telling me they'd forwarded my request for more information to the right party.

I understand how campaigns are, so I waited and on Sunday morning, I received a reply from a gentleman indicating he was the general consultant for the campaign, telling me that "Joe has been on a missions trip lately and he does not campaign on Sunday's, so he's been tough to get a hold of recently. We will get you an approved statement first thing in the morning for your blog post."

So again I waited. At 8:53 a.m. I received the following:

Thanks for your patience on this. To clarify, the monthly salary is $3842/month.

Also, here is a statement from Joe in regards to your two questions below:

"I'm a blue-collar worker, just like the majority of voters in the 9th District. As a common working man, I don't have a bank account with millions of dollars that I can pump into a campaign. Currently, I'm campaigning full time, and the FEC has provisions in place that allow everyday Americans to run for office and be provided a reasonable salary. This monthly salary has been reported upon in the press and been approved by the FEC."

"Since before the primary, we had made the decision to revamp and relaunch our campaign. We are currently in the middle of that process and are excited about where the campaign is headed."

As I replied to the campaign, this doesn't answer the question: Are donors told that the candidate is receiving a salary from the funds raised either when, or prior to, donating?

Additionally, while the campaign states that Wurzelbacher is being paid $3,842 per month, his filings show otherwise, as I'd detailed in my email to them. The following is a list of the salary payments:

$1,000 on 11-10-11
$3,842 on 12-15-11
$3,842 on 12-31-11
$3,842 on 1-2-12
$3,842 on 1-3-12
$3,842 on 2-7-12

While the statement provided doesn't explain, it does address the issue of the treasurer and all campaigns, but especially first-time ones, go through organizational transitions.

But when your campaign finance reports show that you're paying yourself $3,842 twice each month, responding that you're taking $3,842 once a month requires further explanation.

So, I itemized the payments for them in an email and asked them to clarify. When I get a response, I'll share it here.

Sean P. Stipe, Sean Stipe for Ohio

Sean Stipe is the Libertarian candidate in OH-9. He was uncontested in his primary and did not meet the monetary threshhold for filing with the FEC.

Summary

It is not surprising that Kaptur gets higher-dollar donations, and more of them, than Wurzelbacher. She is an incumbent and sits on the appropriations committee. The question is whether or not her pre-primary support for a highly-contested primary race will carry over into the general election.

Will her supporters and donors look at the district, which is now even more favorable to a Democrat, and decide she doesn't need the money - at least, not as much as other candidates in swing, or targeted, districts?

Will they think that Wurzelbacher is a serious threat to her?

Will Wurzelbacher's celebrity status be more of a challenge than the money her last opponent, Rich Iott, brought to the race?

While Wurzelbacher didn't need a lot of money for the primary, will he be able to capitalize on his celebrity and raise anywhere near the quarter of a million that Kaptur has on hand?

Will the fact that he pays himself a salary negatively impact his fundraising?

***
SIDE NOTE:


Over the weekend, several of us were talking and I asked about the salary issue. While one person didn't have a problem, the other five did. But the one who didn't have a problem with it wanted to know if he was paying all his withholding taxes. I informed her he was - and unemployment insurance as well.

She then questioned whether or not Wurzelbacher would be able to file for unemployment after he loses.

It's a good question and one I don't have any answer to. If you know, please share.

End Side Note
***


The next filing date for the candidates is April 15th for their quarterly report ending March 31st.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

National Medal of Honor Day

Did you know that today was National Medal of Honor Day? Probably not.

In 1990, via Public Law 101-564, the United States Congress designated March 25th of each year as NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY, a day dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients.

March 25th was selected because it was the first date on which the Medal was awarded in 1863.

It's a simple act:

An Act

To designate March 25, 1991, as `National Medal of Honor Day'.

Whereas the Medal of Honor is the highest distinction that can be awarded by the President, in the name of the Congress, to members of the Armed Forces who have distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty;

Whereas only a few of the millions of men and women who have served the Nation in war, military operations, or other armed conflicts have received the Medal of Honor;

Whereas the 1st Medal of Honor awards were presented to 6 men on March 25, 1863, by the Secretary of War;

Whereas it is appropriate to honor the heroic recipients of the Medal of Honor;

Whereas public awareness of the importance of the Medal of Honor has declined in recent years; and

Whereas the designation of National Medal of Honor Day will focus the efforts of national, State, and local organizations striving to foster public appreciation and recognition of Medal of Honor recipients: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That March 25, 1991, is designated as `National Medal of Honor Day', and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.

These are the medals (from Wikipedia) and are, from left to right, Army, Coast Guard/Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force.



It is the highest military decoration and it is awarded by the President on behalf of Congress to those who perform "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."

Since 1941, more than half of the medals have been awarded posthumously. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to have received the Medal.

Here is the list of all Medal of Honor recipients. The Ohio Historical Society has a web page dedicated to MOH recipients from our state. They also have a search page that allows you to sort by county. There are 10 from Lucas County - I hope you'll read their citations which are listed on the page.

Additionally, here are some interesting facts about the Medal of Honor.

While we appreciate all our military members, Medal of Honor recipients certainly deserve their own day.

Quote of the Day - authority vs. force

"The instrument by which [government] must act are either the AUTHORITY of the laws or FORCE. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government there is an end to liberty!" ~ Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not all county chairman knew of letter demanding DeWine resignation

Conservative bloggers and Republicans across the state have been talking about the internal battle for control of the Ohio Republican Party. Following the contentious primary election for seats on the state central committee, ORP Chairman Kevin DeWine announced he would not seek re-election. After that announcement, seven chairmen of large counties in Ohio, including Lucas, signed a letter requesting that DeWine resign immediately.

Many of us wondered when the county central committees met to authorize their chairmen to take such action only to find out that they didn't. Others wanted to know if their county chairman had been asked to sign the letter as well.

Matt Hurley, at Weapons of Mass Discussion learned that the Butler County GOP chairman was NOT asked, and was "dismayed" by what had occurred.

I'm pretty confident that if we asked the other 80 party chairmen, they'd say the same thing.

So not only is the internal dispute now a public one, but seven of our Republican Party County Chairmen are adding to the problem by excluding the other 81 in their actions.

Some will say that not all chairmen needed to be invited to sign the resignation demand letter. But their letter purports to speak for "hundreds of thousands Republicans" so it's not as if the seven were speaking only for themselves. So why not ask the other county party chairs?

These seven party chairmen, including Lucas County's Jon Stainbrook, have not helped the ORP by this action and, despite the vast numbers of Republicans who agree that DeWine needs to go, their method of speaking without first checking with their own parties and of excluding other party chairmen leaves a lot to be desired.

TV ad in Ohio focused on Obama's failed energy policy

I'm a bit behind in posting this Press Release since the ad ran only through yesterday, but the ad is embedded below for you to see as it will be relevant throughout the 2012 campaign.

Crossroads GPS Launches New TV Ad in Ohio Focused on Obama's Failed Energy Policy

New $650,000 buy hits nationwide cable TV and Columbus media market to balance out president's energy policy tour


WASHINGTON – Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) today announced the launch of a new TV spot in Ohio focusing on President Obama's dramatic failure to keep energy prices down, while he has instead focused on untested and naive strategies that have virtually no impact on energy consumption or demand.

The issue ad, entitled "Deflect", will run in a $650,000 buy on national cable and broadcast networks in Columbus, as well as in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas. The Columbus buy begins today and will run through March 23.



The ad urges viewers to contact the White House and Congress to advocate for the passage of a true "all of the above," market-driven energy policy free of government subsidies or interference.

"Instead of a promoting practical energy policy with a focus on making energy more affordable, Obama has delivered an ideological and naive policy that will hurt Ohioans at the pump and as they pay their utility bills," said Crossroads GPS president Steven Law. "There are plenty of supply-boosting policies Obama could sign into law immediately, but he is instead focused on impractical sideshows like algae."

Since taking office, President Obama has taken a number of aggressive steps to limit energy production, which include blocking offshore oil exploration, restricting the development of American oil shale, and personally lobbying against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Crossroads GPS is a policy and grassroots advocacy organization that is committed to educating, equipping and mobilizing millions of American citizens to take action on the critical economic and legislative issues that will shape our nation’s future in the years ahead.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wood County - State of the County

From Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown:

A written annual report to the citizens of Wood County is being distributed throughout the county next week. If you would like an early look at our written report – just click on the link below and it will take you to the county website where you can read the report online.

Wood County Annual Report – click here

Quote of the day - collectives

"Individual rights must take a back-seat to the collective." ~ Harvey Rubin, Vice-chair of International Committee for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) for implementing UN Agenda 21 in American local communities

This is what the UN wants for us....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Third annual Toledo Sister Cities International Festival

Press Release:

Third annual international festival planned for Toledo

Event features the culture of Toledo’s sister cities


The third annual Toledo Sister Cities International Festival will be held Saturday, March 24, 2012 in the Civic Center Promenade at the Erie Street Market. A full range of cultures and performances is planned from 12 noon until 8:00 pm. The opening ceremony will include a Parade of Nations.

The afternoon and early evening event will feature food, dancing, music and other performances by participants celebrating cultures from around the world. Toledo is privileged to have sister city relationships with Spain, China, Hungary, Poland, Japan, Tanzania, Germany, Lebanon, India, and Pakistan, and additional sister cities are in the works. The festival will feature both sister cities and local community groups. Over 20 performance groups are scheduled to entertain and delight. Local ethnic restaurants will serve international fare. World beers will be available at a pavilion, and vendors will be on hand to offer crafts and other goods.

A special language corner will help you learn basic phrases from a wide choice of languages. Activities are planned for children to enjoy; children under 10 will be free. Come see, hear, or eat samplings from different cultures and join together in this celebration of international diversity!

Tickets are $5.00 and available through sister city organizations, at the door, or in advance by calling Elaine at 419 206-0975. More information about the festival and upcoming performances is available on Facebook at Toledo Sister Cities International Festival and at toledosci.org.

###

Refiners face EPA fines for failing to use product that doesn't exist

A lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency certainly isn't news. People and companies sue the agency regularly - primarily because they have invaded every aspect of our lives in the guise of 'protecting' us. But this latest lawsuit should be a no-brainer, even for liberal judges.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to determine the mandated volume of cellulosic biofuels each year at "the projected volume available." EPA's 2012 rule requires that refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel must use 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels.

The EPA's 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires refiners to pay fees if they are unable to blend the mandated amount of cellulosic biofuels into their gasoline.

So far, this sounds pretty typical of the EPA.

But - and this is a HUGE 'but' - there is currently no commercial supply of cellulosic biofuels in the U.S., so it's impossible for refiners to meet this demand.

Of course, the EPA will probably say that at least this is less than the 250 million gallons that was required in 2007, though it is higher than than the 6.6 million gallons required in 2011.

But when the product doesn't exist, it doesn't make much difference how much is required - and it defies logic to raise a mandate for a product that isn't available.

The end result is that the companies cannot meet the mandate so they will pay fees - actually, a fine. And we all know that when companies have to pay 'fees' (actually TAXES) to the federal government, they'll just tack on that cost to the price we pay for the product. So you and I will end up paying the 'fee' at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing.

In 2011, the fine totaled about $6.8 million. The 2012 fines are expected to be higher. Perhaps the fine is the point. Perhaps the entire purpose is collect monies by mandating use of something that technology cannot provide.

Which is why the American Petroleum Institute has filed suit in Washington Circuit Court.

"EPA's standard is divorced from reality and forces refiners to purchase credits for cellulosic fuels that do not exist," said API Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco. "EPA's unrealistic mandate is effectively a tax on manufacturers of gasoline that could ultimately burden consumers."

"Divorced from reality" is being kind. When it takes four years just to get 'permission' to challenge the EPA, you know you've got an agency that is out of control.

Surely any judge will see that it is wrong to penalize a company for failing to achieve the impossible.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wood County News & Update

From Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown:

State of the County Report

This Thursday morning, March 22, 2012 the Wood County Commissioners will present a “State of the County” report to interested citizens. The address is free and open to the public and will take place at the Wood County Courthouse Atrium, One Courthouse Sq., Bowling Green. The event begins at 8:00 a.m. and is being sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. Additional details can be obtained by contacting their office at (419)353-7945.

GrowNow – Ohio Small Business Assistance Program

This program is administered through Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office and enables small business owners to receive an interest rate reduction of 3% on new or existing small business loans. The program is a partnership between the Ohio Treasury and eligible banks. A small business owner must commit to the retention or creation of at least one full-time job or two part-time jobs in the state of Ohio for every $50,000 borrowed, up to $400,000. The GrowNow program broadly serves as a catalyst for Ohio’s economic development by supporting the small businesses that drive it. Eligible business owners must meet the following criteria:

• MUST be able to save or create 1 full-time or 2 part-time jobs in Ohio for every $50,000 borrowed.

• MUST have headquarters in Ohio.

• MUST have less than 150 employees.

• MUST have a majority of employees be Ohio residents.

• MUST be organized for profit.

• MUST maintain offices and operating facilities in Ohio.
Additional questions about the program can be directed to the Ohio Treasurer’s office at 1-800-228-1102, ext. 3 or www.GrowNow.ohio.gov

More questions on Stainbrook filings are raised

Lucas County Republican Party chairman Jon Stainbrook has now come to the attention of my fellow Ohio blogger, Justin Higgins - and he doesn't like what he's found.

On behalf of all Republicans in Lucas County (despite no meeting of the party to actually decide the issue), Stainbrook signed a letter urging current Ohio Republican Party chairman Kevin DeWine to resign immediately.

This follows his election in the primary as a member of the state central committee in which he defeated incumbent Johnathan Binkley and an unknown, never-before-registered-Republican, Sean Binkley.

Higgins takes a look at the filings in that race and correctly labels it "dirty dealings."

The battle for control of the Ohio Republican Party turned ugly a while ago, but in no place has it been uglier than Lucas County. Jon Stainbrook, the embattled party chairman, won the election for the 11th District State Central Committee (Male) seat. He didn’t do it cleanly. Facing up against a pro-DeWine candidate in Jonathon Binkley, Stainbrook resorted to qualifying a third candidate for the ballot, a Sean Binkley. I requested the candidate filing petitions from the Lucas County Board of Elections, and the results are interesting.

...

Stainbrook allies ran Sean Binkley for the sole reason that his last name would confuse voters intending to vote for Jonathon Binkley. Meghan Gallagher (who appears with Bensman on Sean Binkley’s petition) is also a Stainbrook ally who is featured in a photo with Bensman in the “close associate” article above. Multiple signatories of Sean Binkley’s appeared on Stainbrook’s petition. The pro-Kasich side has been chanting “the voters have spoken” since the Ohio primary, but did they even know who they were voting for in Lucas County?

...

Finally, I’m not a handwriting expert and will make no claims I can’t back up, but look at the candidate handwriting in the two full petitions. Awfully similar. If the same person filled both out however, that would be election fraud. You make the call.

To this, add my previous information about the back-room deal to eliminate contested races in Lucas County for the GOP state central committee.

Oh - and this isn't the first time that signatures on filings from Stainbrook and the LCRP have been called into question.

Not surprisingly, Higgins comes to a correct conclusion about Stainbrook:

Operatives like Stainbrook should be viewed with scrutiny and disdain, not touted as influentials calling for DeWine to get out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When did the LCRP decide to demand DeWine's resignation?

According to Bytor at Third Base Politics, the Republican chairmen of the seven largest counties have signed a letter to Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine demanding that he resign now.

The text of the letter:

Dear Chairman DeWine:

As the Chairmen of seven of the largest county Republican Party organizations in the State of Ohio, we represent hundreds of thousands of loyal Republican activists, elected officials, candidates, donors and voters in Ohio. In fact, our seven counties represent nearly half of Ohio’s voting population, and our organizations, together with the Ohio Republican Party, must be focused on reaching those voters in order to win the important elections that are at stake this year.

For the past few months it has been apparent that the contentious relationship between top ORP leadership and the party’s elected officials is untenable and irreconcilable. For reasons unknown to us, you have been either unable or unwilling to find common ground to facilitate an effective and trusting relationship with our elected officials.

Your recent announcement that you will not seek re-election as ORP Chairman is an acknowledgement that new party leadership is needed, and we recognize how difficult a decision this must have been for you. Although we respect your current decision on this matter, we believe that it does not provide the necessary resolution to the situation.

You have admitted that the situation is unsustainable, yet you ask to sustain the status quo for 10 more months in a critical year for this party, state, and nation. We believe that it is fruitless to continue the finger pointing and unnecessary public airing of differences that has occurred.

Since the Primary Election earlier this month, it has become objectively clear to us that a majority of the incoming State Central Committee is intent upon new leadership at the state party. Now is the time for the party to unite under party leadership that can work with all of our elected officials and nominees; however, a majority of your Committee does not believe that you have the capacity to provide that unified leadership.

Therefore, it is with deep regret that we ask you to resign as chairman of the Ohio Republican Party immediately. It is our hope that, as you have already done with your announcement this past weekend, you will continue to demonstrate your commitment to the Republican Party and do what is right for the institution for which you have such great respect.

And it is signed by Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook.

So when, exactly, did the Lucas County Republican Party vote or decide to demand DeWine's resignation?

Was there a central committee meeting wherein the question was put to the party representatives?

Did Stainbrook speak to every elected Republican official in the county and get their permission to speak on their behalf? Did he contact local donors to the ORP? (doubtful considering how most of them are shunning the local party.)

How, exactly, did Stainbrook decide that a majority of Republicans in the county want DeWine to go?

It's clear that Stainbrook did NOT ask the sense of the local Republicans before signing his name to this document which purports to speak for all Republicans in the county - and that's wrong.

Personally, I'm not that big a fan of DeWine, but before he steps aside, I'd want to know who Gov. John Kasich would want instead. Republicans may decide that DeWine isn't the chairman we want, but that he'd be better than Kasich's pick.

And a party chairman should know that.

If Stainbrook was speaking for himself, that would be one thing. But he's saying he's speaking for "hundreds of thousands of loyal Republican activists, elected officials, candidates, donors and voters in Ohio." It was wrong of him to purport to speak for the LCRP when the LCRP has not taken a position on the internal conflict between Kasick and DeWine.

And if the other chairman didn't first go to their parties before signing, they are in the wrong as well.

Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion has some thoughts on the letter, including an observation that the letter signers are all from Democrat-dominated counties. He also asks a very critical question: Who do these chairman support as a replacement to "the devil we know"?

Rep. Latta to host cybersecurity seminar

Press Release:

BOWLING GREEN - Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) will host a cybersecurity seminar in conjunction with the FBI's Counterintelligence Division and the Federal Communications Commission on Friday, March 30, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Owens Community College in Perrysburg. The seminar will inform businesses about current cyber threats and how to best protect their networks and intellectual property.

“As a member of the House Republican Cybersecurity Task Force and the bipartisan Communications and Technology Cybersecurity Working Group, I know the importance of this issue and want to make sure that businesses in northern Ohio are informed and well-equipped to deal with cyber attacks,” said Latta.

The FBI estimates the global costs of cyber crime at nearly $400 billion a year, and found that there are more than one million victims of cyber crime every day.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony stated, “The cyber threat is a top FBI priority and it is critical that law enforcement, businesses and citizens understand these types of threats and be prepared to combat them.”

Where the Lucas County Republican Party gets its money

Yesterday, I looked at how the Lucas County Republican Party was spending its money - primarily for the personal benefit of chairman Jon Stainbrook.

Today, I want to share with you where the LCRP gets those funds.

I looked at the campaign finance reports on file with the Lucas County Board of Elections for 2009 to present.

The party has four separate funds: Judicial Fund, Building Fund, Candidate Fund and General Fund. The first three are restricted in how the funds can be used. The general fund pays for regular party expenses.

The Judicial Fund had $872.91 in it according to the filing of July 31, 2009. As of the last filing on January 31, 2012, there is $2.91 in that account. Interestingly, none of the reports show any expenditures to account for where the $870 went.

The Candidate Fund had $225.92 in it on July 31, 2009. As of the January 31, 2012 filing, it has only $.92. Again, there is no report that shows any expenditures from this fund so there is no accounting for the $225 discrepancy.

The Building Fund, as of the January 31, 2012 filing, has $63,663.19. There have been no expenditures from this fund - but no contributions either. The only income has been from interest paid on the fund account by the bank.

In yesterday's post I also included the following information regarding the general fund:

Interestingly, their 2011 Semi-Annual Report filed on July 29, 2011, doesn't add up.

It lists the following:

$25,034.50 total funds available

$19,797.03 total expenses

$ 2,940.68 on hand

However, when you subtract expenses from total available, you get $5,237.47 - not the $2,940.68 that they have on the form.

There has been no correction filed as of this posting.

According to the last filing for the general fund on December 16, 2011, the party has $64.75 on hand.

So Stainbrook has not raised any money for the Building Fund, the Candidate Fund nor the Judicial Fund since becoming chairman.

So where is the money he's spending coming from?

Well, primarily, from regular fundraising events like election night parties and the Lincoln Day Dinner.

The largest individual contributors over the 2009-2011 period are:

* $3,000.00 from Allan Block of Buckeye Cablesystem in 2010

* $3,000.00 from Citizens for Sarantou in 2011 (probably to help cover costs of his legal challenge to the outcome of the Lucas County Commissioner race)

* $3,500.00 from Jim Brennan Jr. of Brennan Industrial Truck in 2010

* $3,134.98 from the Ohio Republican Party in 2009

* $1,000.00 from Gina Kaczala in 2010

* $1,809.33 from the Kaczala Campaign Committee in 2010

* $1,000.00 from John Eldred in 2010

Jim Brennan Jr. also made a $10,000 loan to the party in January of 2011 and has received a repayment of $4,000 with a balance of $6,000 still due.

There are other donations of less than $500, but few of the donors are repeated. It appears that they gave small amounts and usually only on one occasion. There is an entry for $200 in donations of less than $25 amounts, though how many people that represents is not required on the form.

The total number of itemized donors, not counting the above list, is 10.

That's all.

Just 14 people have made a decision to donate more than $25 to the LCRP since 2009. And only 2 people donated in 2011.

Let that sink in for a minute.

By contrast, the 2006 pre-general report for the general fund had well over 50 individual donors, though several were under the $25 amount and a couple were repeat donors. But that is just for the pre-general report, not the entire year.

Stainbrook's Lincoln Day dinners have been somewhat successful. According to the reports, these events have raised a net of $32,222.57 over the last three years. This averages just under $10,750.00/year. But the amount raised by Stainbrook at these events is less than what other chairmen raised. For example, the 2005 Lincoln Day dinner netted over $17,000.

The lack of other donations shows that Republicans are willing to come to an event to hear special speakers and guests, but are not willing to make a direct contribution to the party. Clearly, Stainbrook is not seeing anywhere near the financial support that other party chairman have been able to attain. And big-dollar donors who routinely gave in the past have not given since he became chairman.

Stainbrook will probably say that these absent donors are 'old-guard' Republicans or make other excuses as to why he has been a failure at fundraising. But despite issues the past, previous party chairmen have raised the monies necessary to support the candidates they recruited.

The primary role of a local party chairman is to get local Republicans elected. This is accomplished in several steps:

1) Recruit good candidates. Sadly, the lack of names on the 2012 Republican primary ballot shows he's not been able to recruit any candidates for most offices, much less good ones.

2) Raise money. The funds will support campaign literature, signs, wires, advertising, slate cards and get-out-the-vote efforts. Again, Stainbrook has failed to do this.

3) Provide a support system for the candidates: helping with parades, festivals and events, phone banking, putting together mailers and absentee voter communications, emails, keeping track of events and providing experienced advice. I don't know what the party has done in this respect, but the track record of candidate failures speaks for itself.

4) Be the spokesman for Republican Party principles of limited government, individual responsibility, personal property rights and lower taxation. Other than his negative comments about other Republicans I've not seen much from this chairman where he has spoken out against government spending, taxation or in favor of conservative principles. I'll admit that I may have missed something along the way, but the lack of a consistent advocacy for conservative principles is clear.

In all the major tasks of a party chairman, Stainbrook has failed. And the inability to raise funds is a clear reflection of that fact

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Solar sold it's solar panels to itself

Yes, you read that correctly. First Solar sold its solar panels to itself - and it used taxpayer grants and loans from the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) to do so.

The Washington Examiner has the story:

After First Solar pocketed this $17.3 million in government grants and $15 million in government loans, Ex-Im entered the scene.

In September 2011, Ex-Im approved $455.7 million in loan guarantees to subsidize the sale of solar panels to two wind farms in Canada. That means if the wind farm ever defaults, the taxpayers pick up the tab, ensuring First Solar gets paid.

But the buyer, in this case, was First Solar.

A small corporation called St. Clair Solar owned the wind farm and was the Canadian company buying First Solar's panels. But St. Clair Solar was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar. So, basically, First Solar was shipping its own solar panels from Ohio to a solar farm it owned in Canada, and the U.S. taxpayers were subsidizing this "export."

You should read the entire article, as it details other instances in which the Export-Import Bank helped companies purchase from themselves. Oh - and the Export-Import Bank is up for a continuation vote in Congress. Cato Institute has a great article on why expanding the Ex-Im is a mistake.

Kevin DeWine won't seek re-election as ORP chairman

The Columbus Dispatch has the story:

DeWine announced today in an email to members of the central committee, the party’s governing body, that he will not seek re-election in an effort to stop the internecine warfare that has torn apart the party. He said he hoped the move would end the bitter dispute over the party’s leadership before the Nov. 6 general election.

“Over the past year, our state central committee has become the center of a highly charged contest for the future of the Ohio Republican Party,” DeWine wrote. “Too many members, through no fault of their own, have lost sleep, lost friends, and lost hope during this process. I believe that in order to ensure victory for 2012 this family fight must end now. To accomplish that goal, I intend to lead by example.”

DeWine continued: “Those who want to see new leadership in this party will have their chance, as I will not run for another term as your chairman in January of 2013.”

...

Preisse said Kasich has support from enough committee members to force DeWine out at the April 13 meeting. But DeWine, who was reached last night and declined to comment, indicated in his email to the central committee that he had enough support to remain chairman until his term ends. DeWine emphasized in that letter that he hoped his decision would allow the party to come together and thwart President Barack Obama’s effort to carry Ohio, a must-win swing state.

“I hope you will see this decision as an attempt to do exactly what I promised to do when I became your chairman — to put party before power and service before self,” DeWine wrote to the committee. “Following this month’s primary election, I’m confident that a strong majority of members support my continued leadership of our party. But continuing to put this party through such a process would strain the bonds among us that will be critically important as we prepare for what will be the most significant election of our lifetimes.”

Third Base Politics blog has more speculation on what would happen in terms of spending by the ORP if DeWine doesn't step down now.

Just how is the Lucas County Republican Party spending its money?

For the March primary, I received a lot of mailings regarding the Ohio Republican State Central Committee races. All but one of these were paid for by the Ohio Republican Party or an organization called Restoring Ohio (believed to be a pro Gov. John Kasich group).

The one that wasn't paid for by these two groups was actually paid for by the Lucas County Republican Party.

Now, having a mailer from the LCRP for a primary isn't an unusual thing. In the past, they've sent out slate cards and urged Republicans to vote in the primary.

This one, however, was only for LCRP Chairman Jon Stainbrook, urging Republicans to vote for him in the contested race for the state central committee.


It was billed as an 'endorsement alert' but it was the only mailer the local party sent out for the election.

They didn't send a slate card. They didn't endorse for the contested Republican judicial race. They didn't send anything on other contested races. Just this one for Jon Stainbrook.

Stainbrook also had yard signs for his state central committee campaign - also paid for by the LCRP:





Note, too, that these are the large 3x5 mini-billboards - not the regular campaign yard signs ... for a state central committee race!

Which raises a lot of questions - primarily about how Stainbrook is using party money for his own personal purposes.

In looking back through the LCRP's campaign finance reports, the last time the party spent any money designated for particular candidates was in 2009 when they paid about $2,000 for signs and wires for the primary.

They did spend $2,000 in 2011 for printing and signs though there is nothing to identify what that money was for. And they did spend over $6,600 for the lawsuit they filed on behalf of George Sarantou in his loss for Lucas County Commissioner - a suit they later dropped.

But they've spent a lot more money on items that have nothing to do with promoting the election of Republicans.

The campaign finance reports show numerous expenditures for 'food for volunteers' where the amounts are under $5.00. How many volunteers are you feeding at McDonald's or Rudy's when you spend less than $5.00?

There are 'snacks for volunteers' purchased at coffee shops and gas stations. Again, how many volunteers are you feeding when you're spending under $2.00 for snacks?

My educated guess is that these expenses are not for 'volunteers' but for Jon Stainbrook personally.

There are also car rentals totalling more than $1,000. Now why in the world would the LCRP need to rent a car on multiple occasions?

They've spent another $1,600 in legal fees - not counting the amount mentioned above - and have paid out nearly $2,900 for parliamentarian services using a parliamentarian from Cleveland and one from the Columbus area. Couldn't they find a parliamentarian in Toledo? Or even a Republican one willing to donate their services?

They've spent $550 on security, $420 on a volunteer appreciation party, but only show rent being paid in 2010. They've also reimbursed Stainbrook and his close friends Meghan Gallagher and Kelly Bensman for their expenses (though there were many questions about those reimbursements due to a lack of documentation as to what they were for).

And other than incumbents or well-known former elected official being re-elected, they've not won any elections.

But they have money to send out a full color, first-class mailer on behalf of a personal race the chairman is involved in against a fellow Republican.

Sad - but perhaps this is why they can't seem to raise any money other than at the Lincoln Day Dinner.

The purpose of the local Republican Party is to elect local Republicans to local office while supporting the state-wide and national candidates. Our local GOP and its chairman, Jon Stainbrook, are failing miserably.





***SIDE NOTE:

The Lucas County Republican Party campaign finance reports are available for viewing at the Lucas County Board of Elections website's document center.

Interestingly, their 2011 Semi-Annual Report filed on July 29, 2011, doesn't add up.

It lists the following:

$25,034.50 total funds available
$19,797.03 total expenses

$ 2,940.68 on hand

However, when you subtract expenses from total available, you get $5,237.47 - not the $2,940.68 that they have on the form.

There has been no correction filed as of this posting.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bet Toledo City Council didn't consider 'pool-mageddon' in decision to open city pools

Toledo City Council decided to open several public pools this year, but I can't help but wonder if they bothered to factor in these new costs in their decision:

The Justice Department on Thursday issued a 60-day stay of execution for hundreds of thousands of public pools which had been required to install ramps and wheelchair lifts by today or else face lawsuits over violating disability laws.

President Obama in 2010 dramatically expanded the rules for access under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the new regulations mean that every publicly accessible pool — from municipal facilities to hotels — must have two "accessible means of entry," at least one of which must be a ramp or wheelchair lift. Spas must also have either a lift or a transfer system to help the disabled enter them, under the new rules.

Under the law, non-compliant facilities can be sued — and some lawmakers feared a bonanza for lawyers eager to capitalize.

The impending situation was labeled "pool-mageddon" by opponents, who said there aren't even enough lifts available in the U.S. to make every pool accessible.

It's only a 60-day extension, though some Republicans are trying to pass a bill to repeal the mandate.

This means that Toledo will be required to modify all the pools they plan to open - at costs of around $5,000 each according to a brief Internet search of 'pool lifts for disabled.' And that doesn't include installation, maintenance, or other annual costs of the item.

It will end up costing at least another $30,000 for the six pools - but probably much more.

Of course, they're already planning to spend $277,000 to repair and open Roosevelt Pool. They haven't yet decided which other pools to open, primarily because most are in such disrepair that they cannot be opened and made functional without huge expenditures.

But that's okay - despite their abysmal financial track record - and their penchant for spending money they don't have, including transferring over $62 million out of Toledo Capital Improvement Plan fund, City Council is rejoicing over the fact that voters just renewed the temporary 3/4% payroll income tax.

So council will continue to spend.

After all, if the city doesn't provide swimming opportunities, kids will wither and die this summer - or commit crimes because they didn't have a pool to play in.
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