Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ohio declares State of Emergency, requests federal aid

Gov. John Kasich has declared a State of Emergency for Ohio and requested federal assistance in providing generators, power generation teams and water.

Details from the request to Pres. Obama:

* There are still nearly 1 million customer outages (as of 1 p.m. on June 30th).
* Full power restoration is not expected for 5-7 days.
* Power outages are disrupting communications across the state - Multi-Agency Regional Communication Systems (MARCS) towers are out in 10 counties and several 911 centers and sheriff's offices are running on generators.
* Ohio National Guard has been activated.
* Generator supplies are being exhausted and the state has no generator supply
* Water commodities will decrease as power continues to be out.
* Neighboring states were also affected, increasing the likelihood of reduced resources.

The letter specifically requests a 54 pack of generators with a Type 3 Emergency Response Package and enough water for 500,000 people for five days. The estimated cost of the assistance is $5 million.

Press Release on State of Emergency:


Power Outages for One Million Homes, Businesses and Looming Heat Wave Mandate Immediate Statewide Response

COLUMBUS – Today Governor John R. Kasich declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Ohio after severe storms and high winds knocked out power for approximately one million power company customers across two-thirds of the state. The widespread outages could take up to a week to fully restore and, together with the current severe heat wave, could create crisis situations for the elderly, young children and those with sensitive medical conditions.

The governor’s declaration authorizes state agencies to take any necessary actions to assist local government authorities anywhere in Ohio to help respond, cleanup and recovery efforts and coordinate activities.

“I’m very concerned with the problems created by the combination of power outages and severe heat, and so I’ve declared an emergency for all of Ohio so that state resources and personnel can help local governments meet the needs and challenges that they face. Ohioans in affected areas should, if possible, stay tuned to their radios or TVs for information on where they can go for assistance. Those without power can call their local 211 numbers for information on where to turn for help. Folks should also knock on their neighbors’ doors to make sure they’re ok and look out for those who they know might need some extra help. Together we’ll get through this,” said Kasich.

Kasich has directed Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Nancy Dragani to open the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Columbus to coordinate state and local resources. Officials from all state agencies, volunteer organizations such as Citizen Corps and the American Red Cross are converging at the Emergency Operations Center to monitor response and recovery efforts within the affected areas. The state has already been in contact with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and will request federal assistance if it is needed.

State agencies supporting the response efforts include the, Ohio Departments of Transportation, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Health, Public Safety, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Link to State of Emergency Proclamation

Press Release on Federal Aid Request:


Response to Power Outages, Storm Damage May Exceed State Resources

COLUMBUS – In the wake of Friday’s severe storms and massive power outages across Ohio, Governor John R. Kasich today asked the President for an Emergency Declaration for Direct Federal Assistance so that Ohio could begin receiving badly-needed generators and water from the federal government. The governor spoke to the President today to make the request, and also spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate.

“I shared my concerns with the President that we have a serious situation and will need extra federal help. Massive power outages combined with severe heat create dangerous conditions, especially for the elderly and those with medical needs. The state has been working closely with local emergency management officials to meet immediate needs and going forward we need to make sure we have every available asset to protect Ohioans,” said Kasich.

Earlier in the day the governor declared a statewide emergency so that Ohio resources could begin flowing to local officials and aid their efforts to help Ohioans respond to and recover from the storms.

The governor’s request for federal assistance can be viewed here.


* June 30: Gov. Kasich spoke to the President and requested federal assistance to respond to the storm. He also spoke with utility company CEOs and local elected officials to make state resources available to expedite recovery activities.
* June 30: Gov. Kasich declared an emergency for the entire state of Ohio so state agencies can assist local government response and recovery efforts. The National Guard was activated to help deliver needed supplies and conduct door-to-door checks in select areas to identify vulnerable Ohioans threatened by the severe heat.
* June 29: Ohio’s Emergency Operations Center in Columbus was activated to coordinate state and local storm recovery efforts. The state contacted Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to let them know federal assistance may be needed.
* June 29: Severe storms and high winds during evening rush hour knocked out power for approximately one million homes and businesses across two-thirds of the state.

Residents without power can call their local 211 numbers for information and assistance, or 911 in an emergency. Information is also available online at and on Twitter at #OHwx and #severeweather.

Email from Gov. John Kasich:

Today I declared a state emergency and asked President Obama for federal assistance with the hundreds of thousands of people experiencing power outages. Friday's storm came at a time when we were already experiencing tremendous heat and we are doing everything we can to get help to those who need it.

I am calling on people to help their neighbors, especially seniors and those with medical situations. Knocking on someone's door and asking if they need a hand just might save a life.

If you have a local, non-emergency situation please contact your local EMA or dial 211.

Remember to stay away from downed power lines, drink lots of water, and help your neighbor.


John Kasich
Governor of Ohio

As a side note - they need to think about gasoline supplies. We were in Columbus for the We The People Convention and had trouble locating a gas station that had power - or that could process a credit card transaction. In fact, the closest we found for our route (which we changed from normal due to the traffic from power outages) was in Carey, shortly before I-23 meets up with I-75.

Have you adjusted your clocks for the leap second today?

We're getting a leap second today, according to the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) in Paris who are known as the "grand arbiters of time."

As this article explains:

At the chime of midnight on June 30th it will take two seconds to transition into July instead of one.

You and I probably won't even notice the extra second - I doubt most people will even realize it's happened. But people who work on strict time tables, like air traffic controllers, traffic schedulers, and telecommunications and GPS coordinators will have to put time back in sync.

You learn something new every day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Join me to Read the Declaration July 4, 2012

UPDATE: This reading has been moved and will now join the "Re-Declaration of Independence" event Tuesday, July 3, at 5:30 p.m. at Hood Park.

Hillsdale College is sponsoring a Read the Declaration Day on July 4, 2012, and I hope you'll join me at Friendship Park at 9 a.m. to hear the words that gave birth to our nation.

As Hillsdale explains:

On July 4, Americans gather to celebrate our nation’s Independence at family gatherings, backyard barbecues, and firework displays. Often we do this without thinking of the meaning of this uniquely American holiday. For too long – from our classrooms to the halls of Congress - our Founders, the Declaration, and our Constitution have been forgotten or even willfully ignored.

But 2012 must be different. This year, join with Hillsdale College in a simple – yet powerful – symbol of support for the principles of liberty.

This 4th of July, Hillsdale College wants you to join with your friends, family, and neighbors - and actually read the Declaration of Independence. This can be the largest-ever public reading of the Declaration in American history! We want hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Americans setting aside a few minutes to remember the legacy of liberty our Founders entrusted to us.

We'll gather at the flag pole at Friendship Park (behind the Senior Center) to read the document which put words to the reason our nation was formed. I hope you and your family will be able to join me!

View Larger Map

The reading should not take more than 30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deconstructing The Blade's drug-pusher mentality on changing county government

Like a drug pusher trying to get you to get you hooked, The Blade is out with another editorial touting the benefits of bigger government and their 'revised' version of uni-gov. They've already sewn up the Toledo market (strong-mayor form of government they pushed) so now they want to expand into the county as a whole.

Like this effort, they pushed a strong-mayor form of government for Toledo telling us, in numerous 'news' articles and editorials, that a bigger city council with both district and at-large members along with a strong mayor who would appoint professionals to run Toledo would be a good thing.

Along with help from the Lucas County Democratic Party (who saw the inevitable outcome being more elected Democrats), they convinced a majority of Toledo voters and we were rewarded with the same 'stuck-on-stupid' thinking we've always had, except now from a larger, more costly government.

Oh - and we also had to suffer through two terms of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, one term of Mayor Jack Ford, and another term of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner before getting a reasonable person, current Mayor Mike Bell, to hold that office. In case you're mathematically challenged, that's 16 years of two politicians from the same party with a council also dominated by Democrats, despite districts being drawn to supposedly provide for 'balanced' representation.

And how did all that work out? Well, they don't call us 'little Detroit' for nothing....

But if that's not enough to make your want to run screaming away from the county charter petitioners, let's take a look at what the unsigned editorial says about this proposal:

If you haven't yet endorsed the petition, you have every reason to do so.

Reform proponents need at least 14,500 signatures of registered voters, approved by the county board of elections, to advance their proposal for a new home-rule charter. Late last week, the grass-roots campaign said it had collected about 20,000 signatures. It seeks as many as 22,000 to fend off inevitable challenges by champions of business as usual.

Actually, no - you don't have 'every' reason to do so. In fact, the outcome from pushing for a similar structure for the city of Toledo should give you every reason NOT to.

Note the way they characterize people opposed to the idea: "champions of business as usual." Just because people like me - for valid reasons - do not support the proposal, it does not necessarily infer that we support the status quo. This is a logical fallacy - and someone who manages to make their way to the editorial board so as to write such attempts at persuasion ought to know that. Perhaps the author does, but expects readers not to know. What does that say about what they think of their readers?

I do want change in county governance - but I have yet to see any evidence that changing the form of the structure of our county government will give us anything different in terms of the policies, positions and actual governance of the county.

In fact, the study done by the self-appointed group that is recommending the change admits that, even under their structure, it boils down to who you elect - not the office you elect someone to. Given that admission from the study group, why are we going any further?

The reform plan would enable voters to exchange their 18th-century county government for a more-efficient structure. The new charter envisions a government that saves tax dollars, makes elected officials more accountable, and promotes economic growth and job creation.

This is the standard line from the limited supporters and it's what they've told their petitioners to tell people when they ask them to sign the petition.

But there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the new structure will save tax dollars. They've not done a financial analysis; they've not shared fiscal comparisons of the two structures; they've only used a total spending comparison between Lucas County and one of the counties that has gone to a charter form of government and concluded that Lucas spends more per person than Summit County does,

This may be true - but they didn't compare Lucas County to the other 86 counties that don't have a charter form of government to see if we spend more per person than any of them. Is it likely that successful counties, like our neighbor Wood County, have a more efficient government than Lucas does without changing their form of government?

I don't know - but I question (and so should you) that if per person costs of government are the standard, why didn't the group compare Lucas to all counties to see where we stack up? The answer is that doing so might have shown that other counties have a less-costly government without going through such a change and that wouldn't fit with the goal of the paper to achieve the uni-gov dream they've had for decades.

They claim the new structure will "make elected officials more accountable." How, they don't say. Right now, specific elected officials are accountable for the actions of their office and we get a chance, every four years, to judge them on their actions and either re-hire them (elect them) or fire them (elect someone new).

Just like with a city council - how are we to hold individual members of council accountable for the failed action of a particular department - such as the Department of Neighborhoods? We can't. We can make one or more of their votes an issue in an election, but that will not change what a bureaucratic department is doing.

Some may say we can hold the mayor accountable for a department's action and, in the case of a charter form of county government, we would hold the county executive accountable. But even that's not a good enough answer (can you say three terms of Carty Finkbeiner?) as people will often overlook one or more issues because they agree with the elected official on so many others.

Additionally, with the majority of the proposed county districts incorporating the city of Toledo, how will a suburban community like Waterville hold the body accountable when they decide to do something that benefits Toledo to their detriment?

It's much easier to hold three county commissioners accountable than it is to hold six county council members and a county executive accountable. And having the ability to judge the individual performance of people elected to the offices of treasurer, auditor, recorder and sheriff means those individuals are directly accountable for the functions of their office to the citizens - not to some other group of elected officials who can escape blame in various ways.

The Blade also claims changing our form of government "promotes economic growth and job creation." Again, they provide absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support this claim - but it sure sounds good, doesn't it? After all, job growth is what the area needs.

The hypocrisy, however, is something that cannot be overlooked. Economic development is not a function of the structure of government - it is a function of the policies the government puts in place. Elected individuals can implement policies that encourage or discourage economic development.

Sadly, too few elected individuals in Toledo and county government have any experience whatsoever in the business world so they make decisions that feel good (recreation levy) or that benefit a certain constituency (government unions and other groups that rely upon government funding for their existence) to the detriment of the business community which hurts their ability to grow, prosper and provide jobs.

The Blade did not oppose Toledo's living wage ordinance. While supporters claimed this was a good policy, it was - in effect - a mandate on employers and unnecessarily drove up the cost of contracts the taxpayer ended up paying. That's not-business-friendly and it hurt job providers. No doubt the paper will push for such a policy county-wide.

The Blade did not oppose the county's most recent plan to mandate Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on all county contracts, despite having done so when the matter was first brought up. In case you're not familiar with that, it's when the county mandates that you must have a union agreement with your workers - whether you are a union shop or not - for the project you do for the county and the county will negotiate that contract for you to be sure it's consistent with what other contracts say. But it goes further and also mandates the same thing on any sub-contractors you may use. (Background and more details are available here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Talk about increasing the cost per person of county government! Bet the committee didn't look at that aspect before concluding that our government costs more than Summit. But I digress....

In fact, many of the numerous 'not-business-friendly' policies and votes that work to the detriment of economic development and job growth have been supported by The Blade. I've heard our local daily referred to as the "single most destructive force in the county" because of its many stances in favor of things that have hurt economic development and job growth in the area.

So how, exactly, will changing the form of government help? Are we to assume that a new county council (made up of a majority of Toledo elected officials who are term-limited, I predict) will repeal such anti-business policies in order to free our job providers from unnecessary costs and mandates? (That sound in your head is called hysterical laughter.)

Here's where one of the supposed 'champions of business as usual' believes change for the better could be made - and it doesn't require a change in structure. Just repeal all these anti-business rules, quit saying yes to every tax increase that comes along, lower property taxes and sales taxes and get out of the way of the people who are actually providing jobs in the county. See???

Like the authors of the study admit, it depends upon electing the right people.

The proposal would abolish the three-member Board of County Commissioners and seven of the county's eight elected -- but largely invisible -- row offices. The current government structure encourages wasteful fragmentation and redundancy, and leaves taxpayers wondering who's responsible for what.

Again, the editor clearly thinks people in the area are stupid if we don't know who is responsible for what. As for 'encourages wasteful fragmentation and redundancy,' this is incorrect. As a former county commissioner I can tell you that any redundancy in county government is a factor of governance - not of structure. And having been in the office, there is not as much redundancy as some claim and the ability of the commissioners to control the budgets of the other elected officials means that the commissioners can insist upon elimination of duplication - if they have the will to do so. Again, it comes back to the people - not the structure.

The ballot plan calls for an elected, nonpartisan county executive who would appoint professional administrators rather than politicians to head county offices. It also would create a county council whose nine members would mostly be elected by districts rather than at large. Those elections would occur in November 2013, and the new officials would take office the following January.

"Nonpartisan county executive who would appoint professional administrators rather than politicians" ... Yeah - because that's worked out so well with Toledo and the county already. Just take a look at who the elected officials surround themselves with - partisan individuals who support the partisan or electoral efforts of the people who appointed them.

Lucas County had one of the most respected and admired county administrators in John Alexander. But when Pete Gerken was elected to the board of county commissioners, he and Tina Skeldon-Wozniak told Alexander they didn't want him anymore. Alexander graciously went away and is now benefiting Perrysburg. The county got Michael Beazley - a former Democratic Party officer - and when he left for an even higher paying position in Oregon, they hired Peter Ujvagi, former Toledo city council member and former state representative who was termed out and had, in his background, the bankruptcy of his family business. So much for 'professional administrators' - I can't wait to see who they hire next!

So do you really think that if someone like Pete Gerken gets elected the county executive that he's going to hire all professionals? Again, that sound you're hearing in your head is hysterical laughter.

A similar structure in Cuyahoga and Summit counties has cut costs of county government. It also has encouraged central cities and suburbs in these counties to cooperate in providing regional public services, thus reducing duplication, and discouraged them from raiding each other for businesses and jobs.

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that costs in Summit and Cuyahoga have been cut as a result of the change in government structure. As for cooperation in providing regional public services, The Blade forgets the cooperation and collaboration that already exists.

When Mayor Jack Ford decided to push The Blade agenda of uni-gov, then-County Administrator John Alexander made a list of everything the county and its jurisdictions cooperated on. The list was two pages long! It included everything from joint purchasing of items like office supplies and road salt, to the first-in-the-nation completely integrated criminal justice computer system. The paper isn't going to tell you about the ways the municipalities do work cooperatively because that might make you question their premise that a change in government structure is needed.

But the real kicker is this: "discouraged them from raiding each other for businesses and jobs." The Blade has long opposed what it perceives as suburban communities raiding Toledo for businesses and job - even residents. They believe Toledo needs to dominate the area and be the focus of the region.

There is a lot to be said for strong cities, but in today's world and with the technology now available to us, that concept is as antiquated as they claim our structure of county government is.

It also presumes that businesses should have no other choice but to be inside the city limits, despite the more business-friendly policies of surrounding communities and whether or not surrounding communities would better meet the needs of the business.

Since Toledo is showing it really can't compete with the surrounding communities because of the bad decisions Toledo has made (usually with the strong backing of the paper's editorial board and publisher) The Blade's solution is to make the entire county like Toledo. And note that they have no problem with Toledo raiding other communities for businesses and jobs - just the other way around.

But here's the rub: businesses who found refuge from bad Toledo policies by moving to the suburban communities can also move to Wood, Fulton or Ottawa county if those bad business policies are exported, as I expect they will be, into county government.

The businesses, if they are to survive, will find the place that provides them with the tax, fee and regulatory structure necessary to support their legitimate goals of growth and profit. The Blade will then start complaining about how the surrounding counties need to support Lucas instead of 'raiding' them. Do you see where that is going?

The reform plan would make the Lucas County executive a focused, high-profile agent of economic development in northwest Ohio.

Oh my - where to start on this one? The structure of government will not make any person a focused, high-profile agent of economic development. The only way to get someone like that, as the study authors reluctantly admit, is to elect someone who is already like that. Duh! And what if we elect someone like Carty Finkbeiner or Jack Ford? Or like the new Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald who, in his first term under a brand-new governmental structure, is already "sending strong signals" that he's interested in running for governor in 2014. I'll bet his attention is fully focused on economic development.

Advocates argue plausibly that it also would make county government more diverse and bipartisan.

"Plausibly"??? Really??? Take a look at this proposed district map and tell me how in the world we'd get a more bipartisan body.

It may be true that we'd get one Republican county council member out of six - but I'm living proof that a Republican can be elected Commissioner - one of three. So to say we'd get 'more' bipartisan representation is false. One of three is greater than one of six, so just electing a Republican in the current structure would actually be better if numbers of R's and D's are all we're looking at.

The problem is that party affiliation and skin color are immaterial to what we really need, which is a diversity of ideas and perspectives. What we'd get with proposed districts like these is Toledo-centric domination - and Toledo doesn't have a very good track record of saving tax dollars, making elected officials more accountable, and promoting economic growth and job creation.

The four months until Election Day will provide ample time for a thorough public debate on the merits of county reform. But that can't occur unless county voters give themselves the opportunity now to opt for positive change and modernized government in November. That means adding your signature to the petition drive.

Somehow I can't help but think of Rep. Nancy Pelosi's statement that "we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it."

The fallacy - again - is thinking that we should have a measure on the ballot before we have a "thorough public debate" on the merits and that such debate "can't occur" unless we sign the petitions.

What they really mean is that if the measure makes it on the ballot, they can use the 'support' of the signers as 'proof' that people want the change. They've done that before, when it suited them. If The Blade really wanted debate on the issue, they'd seek out and publish the valid arguments against the proposal and allow the people to decide, rather than demonizing those of us who oppose it.

But tell me - what news article have you seen (out of the dozens they've published on the subject), that 'focused' on any argument against this proposal? What news article have you seen that provides for any 'public debate' on the issue? I'd wait while you search, but you won't find it, so you might as well keep reading.

The problem is that what they're putting on the ballot is flawed - in original premise and, thus, in conclusions. They write:

“Simply put, we believe government must lead.”

They don't say why, they don't explain any other option, but with this as their premise, the study group obviously had no other choice but to conclude that:

Lucas County needs a single unifying leader. The absence of such an office and such a person makes reversing our condition more difficult and perpetuates a fragmented decision-making environment.

So rather than look at the decisions - or the people who make those decisions - that make our current condition a bad one, they conclude we must change our form of government so we can elect a perfect person to lead us to salvation.

So sign those petitions so ignorant people can be swayed by fallacious arguments like these to do The Blade's bidding and achieve uni-gov once and for all!

Okay - back to the facts...

The Blade and the study have 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 to just fall in line.

But fortunately, this tactic of theirs is too well known and, hopefully individuals in Lucas County will reject The Blade's belief that they know what's best for us and refuse to sign the petition.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hey Webb and Steel - whatever happened to the camera revenue that was supposed to fund recreation?

On January 24th, Finance Director Patrick McLean told Toledo City Council that 11 additional red light cameras were to be installed around Toledo to raise $320,000 to fund recreation programs.

As I wrote at the time:

Can't you just see the ads now?

* Run a red light - it's for the children!

* When you run a red light, that money goes to buy eggs for the annual Easter Egg hunt. Don't let needy children go without an egg on Easter - run a red light today!

and my favorite for which I even made a poster

* Without government recreational programs, kids will turn to crime. So run a red light ... commit a crime to keep kids from becoming criminals.

The next day, The Blade reported:

Finance Director Patrick McLean told Toledo City Council members the city wants to expand its red-light camera program to 11 additional intersections by May, adding to more than 30 already in operation. The new cameras would generate about $320,000 this year, enough to plug a shortfall for recreation in the 2012 budget, he said.

The cameras also would generate recreation program revenue into the future, the finance director indicated. He did not have information Tuesday on where the new devices would be located.

So if the revenue from the red light cameras is supposed to go to fund recreation programs, why do we need a levy???

Inquiring minds....

(For further information the levy - which will have a second reading at tonight's council meeting, you can read here and here.)

Time for a complete picture of what anti-coal rules really mean

True to it's penchant for embracing all things 'left,' The Blade did an editorial last week expounding on how the new EPA rules would be good for Ohioans.

They claim that imposing massive and costly regulations on the coal industry will save lives, based upon estimates from the EPA itself.

It's an editorial, so it's an opinion piece and certainly the unknown author is entitled to express an opinion.

But readers of the editorial should know both sides so you can form an opinion of your own.

These rules are part of Pres. Barack Obama's plan to put the coal industry out of business, despite his claim of wanting an 'all of the above' approach to energy in the nation.

As Phil Kerpen explains:

Four years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama explained his anti-coal energy policy in an editorial board meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle. Obama said: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad.” He went on to explain: “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

Indeed Obama attempted to make good on his campaign promise to bankrupt the coal industry and make electricity prices skyrocket the legitimate way – by proposing cap-and-trade legislation in Congress. It was jammed through the House but crashed and burned in the Senate, where many Democrats understood such an energy rationing plan to be political suicide.

But the day after the 2010 election President Obama said: “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

With Tuesday’s EPA action to bankrupt coal, he found his “other means” to address the “problem” of affordable electricity.

Here are some points to consider that the paper really doesn't want you to know:

* Technological progress has made coal use far cleaner than ever before. Since 1970, use of coal for power generation has shot up 183% while emissions have dropped 75%.

* Studies have shown the EPA’s approach will force power plants to close across the country, force electricity prices to spike by an average of 12% nationwide, and cost the economy well over one million jobs.

* The measure opposed in the editorial, S.J Resolution 37, proposed by Senator Inhofe, would have made sure the EPA writes sensible regulations that reduce mercury emissions but do not raise energy prices unnecessarily and destroy more jobs.

The key is balance - having sensible regulations that don't bankrupt an industry and don't raise the price we have to pay only to accomplish a minimal, barely measurable, reduction in pollution. And while they claim the measure will 'save lives,' we know the consequence will be lost jobs in the coal industry, higher costs for each of us - especially in Ohio, and loss of tax-paying businesses in the state.

We've already seen the impact with the closing of six coal-fired plants including ours in Oregon, Ohio. So much for jobs being the President's "number one priority."

I'm all for reducing pollution - but how much reduction will we really get and at what cost?

I guess I don't believe the accepted premise from the left that 'if it saves just one life' we should do it, no matter what the consequences.

Quote of the Day - juries

"If a jury have not the right to judge between the government and those who disobey its laws, the government is absolute, and the people, legally speaking, are slaves." ~ Lysander Spooner

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Newspapers lobbying legislators - who knew?

I want to share with you two posts that I did for Ohio Watchdog:

Newspapers battle against special postal rates for Valassis

This is a story about how the newspaper industry is lobbying members of congress, including Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, to oppose a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) with Valassis, a direct mail company.

Valassis worked with the U.S. Postal Service to increase the number of pieces they mail in established markets and, in return, the USPS will give them discounted rates on the increased amount. The mail pieces are circulars - like for Sears, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc.

They are the same ones you see in your Sunday papers, so obviously, the newspapers don't like the idea that a competitor might actually compete. So the newspaper industry is lobbying members of congress to oppose the NSA which is currently pending approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission which has the final say.

Brown agreed with the newspapers - surprise - and wrote a letter opposing the agreement.

The second post is an opinion piece:

It's time for the newspaper industry to come clean

The newspapers that are asking for favors from members of congress are the same newspapers that are supposed to objectively report on the actions of the very elected officials they're lobbying. They're the same entities that issue endorsements.

But they have a code of ethics that requires them to avoid conflicts of interest and to reveal them when they are unavoidable. Did you know the newspaper industry was involved in lobbying, and then editorializing about, the people they report on?

The newspaper industry has lost readers and respect, and income as those two items have resulted in less advertising revenue. Lobbying the people you write about - and not telling everyone that you're doing so - is another nail in their coffin that only serves to reinforce the bias and further undermine their credibility.

They should stop the lobbying, and refuse to endorse when the target they lobbied is a candidate.

And then, just for fun, read this opinion piece: "Don't kid yourself, daily newspapers cannot be replaced."

Be sure to read the comments - they're priceless!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kasich's severance tax increase a bad idea

I'm not sure what's up with Gov. John Kasich, but he wants to increase taxes on one segment of our state in order to provide a tax cut to other segments.

In case you're not clear, this is exactly the same line of reasoning Pres. Barack Obama has when he says he wants to 'tax the rich' to provide funds for various government give-aways.

Kasich believes that an increase in taxes paid by oil and gas drillers in the state would be enough income to cover a reduction in taxes paid by individuals. Many individuals, not versed in Economics 101, hear 'tax cut' for themselves and are ready to jump all over the provision.

But if oil and gas drillers are taxed more, they'll just add the extra taxes to the cost of their product, driving up what individuals will pay. Which means that tax cut we'd get will go right back out to pay for the increased costs of the gas and oil products.

Not smart ... but appealing to people who don't think.

Jason Hart at recently interviewed Jerry James, president of Marietta-based Artex Oil Company, about the proposal. As Hart writes, "While it may go without saying that James opposes higher taxes on oil and gas drilling, the perspective of Ohio employers should not be discounted simply because they have a financial interest at stake."

You can view the interview here.

Hart writes (emphasis added):

According to James — who currently serves as president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association — leaving the severance tax unchanged would not only benefit Ohio landowners, energy companies, and blue-collar workers, but would drive overall economic growth in eastern Ohio. James predicts this would result in greater tax revenues under the more competitive current rate.

As a supplement to his comments in the above interview, James provided a chart showing a 50% drop in drilling activity in Arkansas after that state passed a comparable tax increase early in a similar energy boom. The Arkansas example was also cited by industry spokesman Terry Fleming of the Ohio Petroleum Council when Kasich’s proposal was first being discussed this spring.

James noted that in addition to the severance tax, energy companies in Ohio pay income tax, sales tax, an “ad valorem” tax on the value of underground minerals, and the state commercial activity tax (CAT). He disputed drilling cost and output estimates from the governor’s office, pointing to the oil & gas industry’s narrow profit margins.

Kasich’s proposal, which remains delayed in the General Assembly, has been endorsed by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce on the premise that increased energy production from the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio should be leveraged for lower taxes statewide.

The combined severance tax hike/income tax rebate plan is opposed by the National Taxpayers Union, although it has been deemed compliant with the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.

The last thing Ohio needs is to duplicate Pres. Obama's mantra and politics of division by raising taxes on one industry in order to provide tax relief to others.

It's robbing Peter to pay Paul, which certainly makes it popular with Paul.

But it's bad policy and will hurt all of us in the long run.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Toledo should be cautious about May's unemployment rate

As an elected official, employment numbers were very important to me. Now that I'm out of office, they still are.

But it isn't the publicized UNemployment rate I pay attention to.

We get a better - and more accurate - picture of what is going on when we look at the employment rate and the number of people actually in the workforce.

Today's paper has an article about city revenues (more about that in a separate post) which mentions unemployment rates dropping:

Unemployment in Toledo was 8.5 percent in May, down from 10.2 percent in May, 2011.

"People are going back to work," finance committee chairman George Sarantou said.

"Not as fast as we would like but … clearly the unemployment numbers are dropping."

And yes, it is true that the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.2% in May 2011 to 8.5% this May.

But the employment numbers have barely changed!

According to Ohio's Labor Market Information web page, the number of people employed in the City of Toledo in May 2011 was 119,300. The number of people employed this May is 119,600. We have 300 more people at work this May than we did last May.

That does not equate to a near 2-point change in unemployment.

The key is the total number of people in the workforce.

There were 132,800 people in the civilian workforce in May 2011.
There are 130,600 people in the civilian workforce in May 2012.

Now, either we lost 2,200 people from our workforce or from the city itself. While I don't discount the fact that people are leaving Toledo, the more likely explanation is that the majority of those people are still here, still without a job, but just not being counted anymore.

For the sake of argument, let's add them back into the mix. If we include them in the labor force, our unemployment rate jumps to 9.9%. Still better than the 10.5% of last May, but nothing to tout.

Politicians can pat themselves on the back, give credit to others (presidents and/or governors) and use this as an indication of an improving economy.

But it's not an accurate picture - and decisions based upon the false idea that it is an accurate picture will prove very costly.

Toledo City Council Meeting - June 19, 2012

Here are Sherry's apologies for not getting this posted earlier:

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

Item 292 – Resolution – Recognize Rabbi Edward Garsek on his retirement – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 299 – Resolution – Recognize Helping Hands of St. Louis on their 30th anniversary – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 226 – Amend plan documents for City employment benefits to include domestic partners – Mayor veto's 226 – goes against the Charter (per the Law Director) – he also tells Council that they have no right for their action. Illegal attempt to super cede the Charter – this will end up costing the tax payer money.

Collins – will not dignify personal attacks by the TPPA, can't afford it – Local 92 has their own insurance, no information shared for collective bargaining – look at Council as the Board of Directors – they handle challenges themselves – this was his (the Mayor's) Union. (He was called out by name in the Mayor's letter.)

Yes vote to over ride the veto – Webb, Collins – yes, Riley, Waniewski, Martinez, Craig, Ludeman, McNamara, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Steel, Copeland – no. Motion failed.

Ludeman – Original legislation – what will it trigger if passed? Sarantou and myself sent an Amendment to impact the budget, based on a letter from Dan Waggner. A. Loux – up to Union if they want it – this opens up a can of worms – take it or leave it benefit. Sarantou – different sexes have a solution – they can get married – same sex, different story.

Webb – same rules for domestic partners? A. Loux – old contract. Webb – new insurance covers kids up till age 28 – expanding the benefit – Waggner to accept new benefits. Herwat – yes. Webb – we do need to take action.

Collins – Director Loux, if the Mayor did this on his own – can he? A. Loux – overreaching – Council not needed. Collins – network, other things associated with it – he can do it without Council.

Hicks-Hudson – Who would be responsible? A. Loux – the City. Hicks-Hudson – bogged down in labor negotiations – How is this benefit funded? A. Loux – right now each employee costs the City $11,000 – budget accordingly.

Item 319 – Resolution – Encourage Mayor to bargain with Firefighters Local 92 on health care trust for D. P. benefit - Ludeman - 1st Reading. Steel – resolution. A. Loux – not illegal. Vote for 1st Reading – passed – Ludeman – no, rest yes. Slow Roll – passed – Craig, Ludeman no – rest yes. Craig – extended by an hour – bringing in something, and then it passes (quite mad, never have seen him like this) Refer to Committee. A. Loux – look at Charter. Steel – relieve from Committee, vote yes – passed – Sarantou, Craig, Ludeman – no, rest yes. Regular vote – passed – all voting yes.

Item 286 – Sale of 2328 Sylvania Ave. (Police sub-station) To Global Direct Invest, LLC, $270,000 – 7% broker fee – Waniewski – thanks to the Administration for selling off assets. There are three things that I look at for determining my attention; 1) police 2) fire 3) road paving. It is active – keep the building – Police presence.

Ludeman – agrees with Waniewski, but should sell. Went to the area and saw five Police cars in the area – the new owner wants all the square feet – no Police. Riley – property is viable – near his district – no business sense – need it. Director Green – will need to move Officers – SVU Unit, Senior Center out there.

Craig – we all want more protection – doesn't have to do with the building – doesn't matter – more Police protection does not make you safer. Collins – community based policing - things change – concepts change, but neighborhoods don't. Need to have this presence – come up with the funding now? Go with the district 5 representative. Martinez – prices of the center are different – don't have the resources – understands the need of the common good – on the fence about this.

Cruthers – this is only an asset sale. Waniewski – this station borders three districts.

Riley - $460,000 paid originally. How much money did we put into it? Administration – We'll check into it. Riley – we have put money into it – selling for $270,000 – this neighborhood is stable, don't sell.

Webb – I went to a block watch for this station many years ago – the issue was to put boots on the ground – selling an asset at fire sale rate – this station has about 1 mil into it – it will be the same as before. Martinez – (to Ms. Green) What is the intent? Green – to put Officers out of there on July 1st.

Failed – Ludeman, Martinez – yes, rest no.

Item 293 – Appropriation for 5 agencies providing homelessness services, $103,797 General Fund – to Neighborhoods Committee.

Item 294 – Resolution – Support SEIU Local I and rights of janitors – adopted – Waniewski, Ludeman – no, rest yes.

Item 295 – Resolution – Request Lucas County Auditor certify current valuation and dollar amount generated by 1 mil - 1st Reading. Steel – hearing Thursday – extend to 1st Reading (295 + 296).

Item 296 – Resolution – Submit to electors for November 6th election question of 1 mil levy for 10 years for parks & recreation - 1st Reading.

Item 297 – Expenditure to Pros. Consulting LLC to update Parks Recreation Master Plan, $25,000 Athletic Trust – passed – all voting yes. Waniewski – looks to support resolution in the community. Steel – recreation at large to parell Master Plan. Webb – we will use all avenues – public and private (to Waniewski).

Item 298 – Amend TMC Ch. 161 & 163 to combine into new Toledo Parks, Athletic & Recreation Commission – to Youth, Parks, and Recreation Committee.

Item 300 – Accept State grant for Misdemeanant Intensive Supervision (MIS) Probation for Municipal Court, $303,834 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 301 – Amend plan documents for City employment benefits to include domestic partners – passed – Sarantou, Waniewski, Collins, Ludeman – no, Riley, Martinez, Craig, McNamara, Hicks-Hudson, Steel, Copeland, Webb – yes.

Item 302 – Appropriation for 38th Year CDBG funds, $6,839,464 – to Neighborhoods Committee.

Item 303 – Expenditure for 26th Year Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), $610,343 - to Neighborhoods Committee.

Item 304 – Appropriation for chemical dust collectors at Water Treatment Plant, $320,000 Water Bond Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 305 – Re-appropriation of old CIP projects for Acme Building expenditures & sensational for Parks, $383,500 CIP – passed – all voting yes.

Item 306 – Transfer from Greenwood Park Trust to pay outstanding invoices for Blair Museum, $15,000 Trust - Steel – go to 1st Reading – no board. Go to SUP. Passed – all voting yes.

Item 307 – Accept PUCO hazardous materials training grant for Environmental Services, $11,715 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 308 – Expenditure for 2012 fee for underground storage tanks, 28 tanks @ $600 = $16,800 Risk management Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 309 – Resolution – Re-state pension pick up for AFSCME Local 2058, 2012 5%, 2013 2%, 2014 = 0% - adopted – all voting yes.

Item 310 – Sale of 3527 Twining St. at Manhattan to William Douglas for food vending, $4,500 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 311 – Agreement with Redflex for red light & speeding enforcement cameras, 5 years + 2 two-year options – Collins – Bell Administration, recognize, favorable for exaction. Passed – all voting yes.

Sherry's comments: No calibration for speed, but guns are calibrated. This is civil violation, you are guilty , no accuser. This has always been a cash cow, it is not about safety. As our former Chief stated, it was ALL about safety. A Police Officer would not sign my petition years ago for red light cameras. He told me that there wasn't enough man power to go around.)

Item 318 – Agreement with Munich RE for stop loss insurance for medical & prescription drug, $55,000 Allocation – Transfer from CIP Fund (2328 Sylvania Ave.) to North West Public Safety Trust Fund, $75,000 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 312 – Zone change at 4413 Bennett Rd. (Approved 5 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 313 – Zone change at 5344/5350 Monroe St. (Approved 5 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 314 – Amend TMC Ch. 1103 & 1112, merge Vistula Historic District Commission with Toledo City HDC – passed – all voting yes.

Item 315 – SUP for solar panel installation and parking lot at 650 Lincoln and 1828 Glenwood (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 316 – Appeal Major Site Plan Review for additional signage at 236 New Towne Square Drive (W/O Recommendation 5 – 0) – passed – McNamara – no, rest yes. Webb – supports proposal – owner understands – family business.

Item 317 - Appeal Major Site Plan Review for additional signage at 4210 W. Sylvania Ave. (W/O Recommendation 5 – 0) – passed – McNamara – no, rest yes. Waniewski – raise up sign five feet – near Mall.

Last Call:

Martinez – 6/25 meeting, rock it – bring lots of ideas.

Riley – supports pools – thanks from the kids. It was a good day (Saturday).

Steel – 1) H. S. (concerned) EOPA – emergency repair – concerned about cutting funds. 2) Webb and myself looked at Roosevelt Pool, great. Highland Park pool – damaged/disrepair – assistance made? How much? Bids/cost assessments – future? Herwat – will respond to your referral.

Waniewski – 1) 5754 Mante St., Secor (bars – didn't catch the second address) reports on the 18th and 19th of this month. 2) 3535 W. Sylvania Ave. (Notre Dame) question about light, now that school is out. 3) (didn't catch the address) yard sale every weekend, should be considered as a flea market.

Webb – 2 year old drowned (pray for family) – Point Place residents.

Collins – Botanical Gardens Art Show this weekend.

Hicks-Hudson – 1) foreclosure/vacant property – go over next meeting 2) Thanks kids at Roosevelt Pool 3) District 4 displays glass art, great thing.

Ludeman – 1) Glad to keep Police presence in district 5. What will be done after July 1st? Need to keep Police presence at this site. 2) This Thursday at 4 PM – presentation from UT – dynamic – Herzing SAP education. 3) Sunday is daughter's 29th birthday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sherrod Brown's anti-coal vote hurts Ohio

Press release from Ohio Coal Associatioon :

Brown's Vote Against Coal Hurt Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 20, 2012) – Today Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown voted against a Congressional Review Act (CRA), Senate Joint Resolution 37, that would have disapproved and nullified the EPA’s recently issued rule penalizing Ohio’s coal-fired electric power plants.

“Instead of helping Ohio families and workers still reeling from America’s economic downturn, Senator Brown chose to show his support for an EPA rule issued by President Obama that would destroy Ohio jobs and sky-rocket electricity prices for consumers,” said President of the Ohio Coal Association Mike Carey.

The CRA introduced by Senator Inhofe (R-OK) would make sure the EPA writes a sensible regulation that reduces mercury emissions but does not raise energy prices unnecessarily. Senator Brown did not support the measure when it was voted on today.

“The rules issued by the EPA are an unreasonable extension of President Obama’s war on the coal industry and Ohio electricity consumers. Ohio’s coal industry supplies the majority Ohio’s electricity and keeps rates competitive. Dramatically increasing these rates will destroy important economic sectors in Ohio, including manufacturing which needs low energy costs to compete in a global marketplace,” said Carey.

Independent research shows electricity prices could increase by as much as 300 percent in northern Ohio. UBS projects prices will increase at least 60 percent for 2015-2016.

“Ohioans are paying a high price for Senator Brown’s support for the Obama war on coal,” said Carey.


New mediation program for Ohio public records disputes

Press release:

Attorney General DeWine Announces Public Records Mediation Program

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced the start of a mediation program to resolve disputes between local governments and persons requesting public records. The Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Mediation Program will be available to governments and requesters starting today.

"The Ohio Public Records Act is one of the most comprehensive open government laws in the nation," said Attorney General DeWine. "The Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Mediation Program will protect the rights and interests of both Ohioans and their local officials by helping resolve disputes before parties turn to time consuming and costly litigation."

The Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Mediation Program will be open to any party in a dispute over local government public records. The mediation may be requested by the records requestor or the local government. Both parties must consent to the mediation.

The Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Mediation Program will seek to resolve disputes over public records requests that have been alleged to be improperly denied or not responded to in a reasonable period of time. The mediation will be conducted by a member of the Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Unit. The cost of the program will be free to both parties.

To be eligible for the Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Mediation Program, the party involved must be a local government entity, such as county and city governments, township boards of trustees, school boards, and village councils, among others.

"The attorneys in my office spend a considerable amount of time and energy ensuring that State entities fully comply with their public records obligations and resolve public records disputes without the need for litigation," said Attorney General DeWine. "My hope is that this Mediation Program will provide local government entities and records requesters a similar opportunity to resolve public records disputes quickly and easily and without the need for litigation."

To request mediation, parties should complete and submit an intake form online at, or contact the Ohio Attorney General's Public Records Unit at 1-888-958-5088.

To learn more about Ohio's public records laws, please review the Ohio Sunshine Laws Manual at


Ohio Watchdog post update

Sharing my latest posts on Ohio Watchdog:

News Stories:

Buckeye State ranks 5th in nation in intellectual property jobs

Court dismisses ProgressOhio v. JobsOhio lawsuit

Most Ohio representatives score low on spending cuts

* What may surprise you on this is that several Tea Party Republicans score worse than Dennis Kucinich

House OKs photo requirement for scrap metal sales

* If you want to sell any scrap metal, be prepared to have your picture taken ... yes, that's supposed to help catch criminals steal metal out of homes.

Clock may be ticking on daylight saving time

HUD issues grants to teach proper grant spending

* You won't believe this - HUD thinks it needs to spend money to teach people who got HUD grants how to spend the money.

Kasich vetoes, but will fund, biometric pilot project

Toledo council knowingly violates charter to help union


Ohio to require training to get used car dealer license

Ohio shortens time to file written contract lawsuits

Ohio House passes SharedWork plan

Ohio's SharedWork plan hits partisan snags

Is Mr. Edison going to Washington?

State auditor: Stop the biodiesel requirement, save millions

* Seriously - if the state eliminated their mandate to purchase biodiesel fuels, it would save millions!


With regulations like this, who would want to be a precious metals dealer in Ohio?

* More regulations and more barriers to entrepreneurship

Sherrod Brown's hypocritical 'war on women'

* This one earned a mention on National Review's The Corner

Why I'm keeping my plastic bags

* Everything you need to know about what's best for the environment - it may surprise you!

I shouldn't be fingerprinted in order to get a prescription

* But you will be - this is a pilot program and the details mean it WILL be used state-wide.

Now we're fingerprinting out kids - for a lunch line?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why does Ohio need so many special license plates?

I noticed a recent piece of legislation, H.B. 339, that creates seven new license plate designs for Ohio. It was passed unanimously by the Ohio House and is currently in committee in the Senate.

The bill creates the following plates:

* Ohio Legislative Black Caucus license plates include a logo and words selected by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. Money will be used to fund scholarships to students who attend Central State University or Wilberforce University.

* Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club license plates are inscribed with words selected by the club and will support the football team of Washington High School of the Massillon City School District.

* Power Squadron license plates are designed by the Mansfield Power Squadron and will help fund educational boating programs.

* Military Sacrifice license plates are inscribed with a distinctive emblem and the words “Military Sacrifice.” It is available only to immediate family members of a person who died in combat and no contribution is required.

* Birthplace of Superman license plates are inscribed with a phrase and logo. Only the BMV fee applies.

* Nationwide Children’s Hospital license plates are designed by the hospital and contributions will help fund the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation.

* Combat Action Ribbon license plates are inscribed with the words “combat action ribbon” and bear a reproduction of the ribbon. They may only be obtained by those who have been awarded the combat action ribbon.

It got me thinking - how many special designs do we actually have and how much does it cost us?

Turns out, we've got a lot of them.

According to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles website, we have:

* 27 college plates
* 9 gratis plates (which include public plates, turnpike plates and certain military plates like Congressional Medal of Honor, Disabled Veteran and Former Prisoner of War)
* 35 Military plates
* 6 professional sports plates
* 82 special interest plates ranging from sororities and fraternities to wildlife

The Legislative Service Commission reports that the cost of producing each plate is $6.37 and the BMV fee for the plate is usually $10, covering the cost of production. But some plates, like the military and public ones, do not have an additional fee.

Others, like the new Congressional Black Caucus, the college plates or wildlife plates, have an additional charge that is transmitted to a sponsoring organization for scholarships or other financial support.

Unlike the standard Ohio license plate, the additional fee is charged every year upon renewal, not just when first receiving the plate.

So there is no additional cost to the taxpayer, other than the recording-keeping and oversight of the specialty plate program, but do we really need 159 different license plates in our state?

And why is the government in the role of collecting funds for everything from Ducks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? If you wanted to make a donation to those organizations, wouldn't sending them a check be much easier that the state legislature creating a law?

Inquiring minds....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Right On Line - Closing Dinner

The 5th Annual Right on Line ended last night with as much, if not more, enthusiasm for the mission of spreading the news of the success of free markets and individual liberty as when it started.

The closing dinner is always sad for me because I know that it concludes a weekend of camaraderie and networking with people who believe as I do in the principles established by our founding fathers.

I've been fortunate to attend all five and I often refer to them as my sanity - confirming that my conservative ideals of limited government, personal liberty, individual responsibility, and low taxation are what helps make this nation the 'shining city on a hill' and a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world ... and that those ideals are shared by so many others across the country.

It gives me strength and enthusiasm to continue to fight for those principles on a local level - as well as new tools and ideas for how to do it better.

The speakers were excellent, as always. Rusty Humphries, Dana Loesch, Scott Rasmussen and Ann McElhinney.

A special video tribute to Andrew Breitbart was shown accompanied by Jon David Kahn singing his song "American Heart" live on stage.

My friend and fellow oenophile, Jon Fleischman, who does the Flash Report, was awarded the first Andrew Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Activism and Investigative Reporting.

As it was a dinner, I didn't take notes, but I did tweet comments from the speakers. You can see the complete series on my @Maggie82 twitter feed, but here are some highlights:

From Erik Telford: "When we tell the truth, we win."

From Rusty Humphries: "How can you know that bloggers matter? Because the main stream media doesn't get to decide what's important anymore."

From Dana Loesch: "Journalists should be rich in facts and poor in opinion."

From Scott Rasmussen who explained that culture/society leads politics and the tide is turning (paraphrased to fit in 140 characters): Public opinion is a deep current flowing under the surface ripples of a river. First comes opinion, then comes a catalyst and then come the politicians.

From Scott Rasmussen, clearly drawing a contrast to Pres. Barack Obama's campaign theme: "Martin Luther King didn't say America had to change. He said America had to live up to its ideals."

Also from Scott Rasmussen on how to frame the message:

"No one cares about a limited government - they care about the society that a limited government creates."

"Ask people who they trust more: individuals making their own choices or a government bureaucracy making choices for them."

When people are asked what they prefer as a solution, "Competition beats regulation every time."

From Ann McElhinney: "Andrew Breitbart called me 'pornography for conservatives.'"

"Tell the truth - because it drives them (the left) crazy."

Americans for Prosperity Foundation, sponsor of RightOnline, will have videos of all the speakers here.

This morning, as I looked over the comments and posts, I saw this one from my friend Warner Todd Huston. I think it sums up the event:

Tonight at our banquet where John Fleischman of the famed California website FlashReport won the first Andrew Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Activism and Investigative Reporting (I know, a mouthful), our waiter had something to say to our table.

As our waiter was serving us coffee, each of us around the table of ten said “please” or “no thank you” and then said “thank you” if served a coffee. As he finished attending to the last person at our table, the waiter paused and told us something that at the same time made us all laugh and feel a bit proud of our side of the aisle.

“You know,” he said, “you Republicans are a lot different than the Democrats we get here. You say please and thank you and it’s so nice.”

There you go folks.

Thank you, Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation, for my sanity for another year.

I am Breitbart.

Main stream media has no right to lecture us!

There were a lot of great quotes and comments from so many people and speakers at this year's Right On Line, but I think my favorite is this one from Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit:

"When I hear a main stream media person lecture me or lecture any of us or say that we're #justablogger like Juan Williams did to Michelle Malkin this week, I want to just scream because they have no right to lecture us on decency or on the truth or on fact checking when they allow the amount of garbage they allow to go on their pages ...."

The quote occurs at the end of this video and his final words are drowned out by the applause of the attendees, but I hope you'll watch from the beginning so you get the full impact of why he is so right.

RightOnLine - Roger Hedgecock and S.E. Cupp

Notes from Roger Hedgecock:

* I now have a calendar that is BW and AW - Before Wisconsin and After Wisconsin.

* California is currently living in Obama's second term. If you want to know what things could be like if Obama is re-elected, just look at California. It has an administration that is anti-business in every way - but it's not alone. Illinois and Maryland are right there, too.

* They all seem to think that the answer to everything is to raise taxes so they can 'be fair.' And just how fair? California has a 10.3% tax on it's 'filthy rich' who make over ... $43,000.

* here's a story about California that I hope will scar you into doing more for the 2012 electioon...

* the air pollution control unit has barred bakeries from exhaling into the atmosphere the smell of baking bread. They claim it's a pollutant. Bakeries had to install scrubbers on all their exhausts to prevent the smell of the baking bread from polluting us.

* Have you had enough government yet?

* There are 10,000 Barack Obama wannabes at every level.

* we need to be committed. Old media (radio) and new media together need to 'network the crazy' out of the upcoming election. It doesn't take much and we're not asking for a revolution.

* Our founding fathers left us with a peaceful way to change our government. but not without challenges ... Florida had 83,000 dead people on their voter registration lists. I guess even dead people deserve representation.

* Need to continue to communicate with each other and our friends, families and neighbrs. Don't want a failure of communication to stop us.

* We need to contrast the fear from the other side to our righteous knowledge that if - when - we prevail, people will be much better off. Even the president can't say, "I'm better off than I was four years ago."

Notes from S.E. Cupp:

* Great to leave Manhattan and cme back to 'real America.'

* Work for one of the greatest bosses in the world - perhaps you've heard of him: Glenn Beck?

* But have you heard the world is ending? He's got me stockpiling food, ammo, ... nice to cme out to the real world.

* Social media is changing how we get our news ... making a news consumption experience - more intimate. It's a "customized experience" that we want and expect. Social media does that. It allows you to customize.

* Twitter is my news aggregator. I get who I want to hear and I don't have to listen to that I don't. It's democratizing how we consume news but it also makes it more intimate.

* Lost our small time newspapers. Lost the local information as we've become more global. We miss that. But social media is like waking up to that small-time paper every day.

* People who understand the power of this are young people. They understand how to use it as a tool for nothing less than revolution.

* Think about how rebellious a young conservative actually is. The real rebels these days are the young conservatives (especially on college campuses) who are having marches for fiscally conservative principles. They're the ones doing the revolution and they're using social media to do so.

* Things are moving so fast - the world can be intimate again - social media is making that happen and it's the key to our future. We don't know what it will become, but we can use it and make it work for free market principles.

Wood Cunty War of 1812 bicentennial ceremony

Notice from Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown:

Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Wood County will be conducting a War of 1812 bicentennial ceremony on the Courthouse steps. There will be reenactors from Fort Meigs and remarks from local historian Bob Boyd. As you know our county was named for a War of 1812 hero, Col. Eleazer D. Wood, who, as a young engineer and graduate of West Point, helped plan and construct Fort Meigs. You are welcome to join us at the ceremony.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

RightOnLine - General Session #5 Guy Benson

Guy Benson is the political editor of Here are my notes of his comments:

* in 2010 we were here in Vegas - grass roots activists recharged heading into the mid-term elections.

* we were committed to sending a clear, unambiguous message that we had had enough of the leftist policies we were getting from Congress and the White House.

* we elected 63 new Republican representatives, 6 new Republican senators and 6 new Republican governors.

* we meet again with a much larger backdrop.

* on Wednesday, got a call from a 212 area code and it was a nice young woman who asked 'pretty please' would I appear on the Ed Schultz show with Ed Schultz.

* Here's what Ed Schultz said when Obamacare was being debated: "Republicans lie. They want to see you dead. They kind of like it when that woman gets cancer."

* I pondered if I really wanted to do this and then thought - it could be really fun, so I accepted. And the called seemed actually relieved that I'd said yes. Apparently she doesn't get that kind of response from conservatives when she calls them.

* They sent me the topics: 1) Are damned Republicans intentionally sabataging the economy to hurt Barack Obama? 2) Should Obama blame Bush more? I was the only conservative guest on the show.

* Call this alternate reality TV. After multiple interruptions I finally got out that Democrats had control of Congress for 2 years under Obama and that the idea Republicans were blocking everything good in the world was nonsense.

* Also pointed out that while Obama's campaign slogan is "forward," his strategy is backwards - blaming Bush for everything.

* People didn't like that, and I must have struck a nerve based upon the Twitter comments I received. Guess what word she misspelled?

* Turned to Wisconsin, noting that they chose the fight; they insisted that the state spend $16 million for a recall election; they were the sore losers who didn't like the decisions the elected governor was making. They failed.

* Walker won with more than 200,000 more than 200,000 more votes than he'd won in 2010. The spin was that this was somehow a victory for Obama based upon flawed exit polls that showed people would vote for the president. Guess what? Polls show Romney leading Obama in Wisconsin.

* The left's myriad failures did not occur in a vacuum. Walker's free-market, limited government reforms worked. And he was rewarded by voters who have not voted for a Republican for president since before I was born.

* They were out-hussled, out-fundraised, out-worked and out-messaged by you.

* asks people to raise their hand if they were from Wi and voted for Walker; asked rest to raise their hand if they donated to Walker; then asked anyone who helped on the ground to raise their hand. Then asked, "Are you a Koch brother?" (a reference to the left's claim that the Koch brothers bought the election).

* taxxpayers are starved for financial restraint.

* Defeating the left took a mammoth and focused effort and it's up to us to follow the Wisconsin model 'forward' to victory.

* Nothing says 'productive member of society' like a furious profanity-laden tweet in all caps.

* On woman sent multiple tweets the essence of which was that I was illiterate.

RightOnLine - General Session #4 Hugh Hewitt

I picked up Hugh Hewitt partway into his comments dues to the technical issues...

He was talking about Ronal Reagan and a comment he once made relating to "help is on the way." He referred to various people involved with Reagan, Justice Roberts, Ed Meese and others who were integral to the Reagan Revolution and who continue to be loyal to the conservative cause.

He spoke about the young people and the older people here at RO12 and how we must work together and support each other. Everyday is a new day online - the barriers to entry are gone. Every one of us matters because we are all gatekeepers today.

He said that for 2012, our values will be stretched and tested. The election is about the values of the left versus the values of the right. He referenced back to the issues in 1980 and that 32 years from now, we could face the same type of issues. "We face another crisis like 1980 in 2012. Part of our obligation is that we plan for the cirsis 32 years from now. We have to plan that far ahead because there is no 'end' to history. So make sure you're committed - and not just to this fall.

He urged us to be committed to the defense of the nation in our on-line communications. He said we have to speak for those in uniformed services who cannot speak for themselves.

Reagan could make demands on the Russians because he was backed up by over 600 ships. today we have only 283. That's why he could demand "tear down this wall." He said sequestration cannot go forward - we are not reserving the military that makes us a free nation. We have to tell the story because they cannot.

He also said that what matters most is helping others. Andrew Breitbart, Juan Williams and Hewitt were in a green room before an event. Breitbart was talking about others - talking up the success of other people he knew or had heard about. The success of others is YOUR success.

He made a point of saying the he does not compete with other talk show hosts like Hannity, Rush, Ingram, Levine - "we complement each other." He said we're like Amish barn builders - we get together to build. We do NOT complete, we complement.

He said our metrics by which we judge what we do should not be page vies on a blog or twitter followers - it should be what we do for others - how we help others succeed.

"You are each other's best advocate. Promote good always. Find the good and praise it in our movement. Breitbart is here and more Breitbarts are coming. Help is on the way." And then he listed the names of various candidates and leaders in the conservative movement, including Ohio's senatorial candidate Josh Mandel.

He then introduced Guy Benson, the next speaker. You can go to my next post for Benson's comments.

RightOnLine - General Session #2

We had some technical issues with the streaming of the speakers for the general session so I decided to just listen to the live stream over my computer, but all the computers were having the same buffering issues so I resorted to manual notes from the speakers.

Here are my notes from their comments:

Michelle Malkin talked about Twitter and how conservatives are winning the war in that realm. She started Twitchy which is a twitter aggregator with commentary to document what is going on relating to various issues in the Twitter-verse.

She explained that it's all about pushing back against the false progressive narrative. "We can detail our thoughts succinctly - unlike what we get from the inarticulate progressives in the public sphere." She explained that we don't defeat the narrative by ignoring them, but by engaging them and challenging them and pushing back on the falseness of their claims.

Twitter, she explained, is an in-your-face form of communication with the left. It is more than just games, as they like to describe what we do to them - and hash tags are the key to engaging them. Think of the hash tag - # - a pound sign, as pounding right back at them.

But conservatives need to remember to keep their sense of humor. We can use the @ to talk directly to them, but they often describe that as 'harassment.'

How do we know that we're winning the war on Twitter? Think about the 'Obama eats dogs' jokes that started on line and quickly made their way into the main stream culture. She told about her hairdresser who repeated to her many of the things she'd be reading on Twitter.

She encouraged conservatives to not be afraid to join Twitter as we could and to take their memes and turn them backk - but with intelligence and facts because they just can't compete on that realm.

RightOnLIne - Opening Session #3

We are having technical issues in the bloggers lounge and I'll probably have to stop live blogging and resort to notes with posts later on.

Right On Line - Opening Session #1

Today's opening session - these are my rough notes from the speakers, so please excuse any typographical or grammatical errors. In an effort to not miss anything, I'll probably post without spell-checking.

Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity:

(lost the live stream in the blogger lounge for a bit - picking up)

* More AFP activists in Wisconsin than teacher union members.

* If bold in plan and excellent in execution, you can beat them.

* Largest opponent to prosperity - government unions. Exit polls show that over 30% of private sector unions supported Gov. Walker.

* Divide between public and private sector unions.

* It can never be about a political party or individual candidates, it has to be about principles and moving our country forward with free market principles.

* was told that 'working people appreciate AFP standing up for working folks'

* Hopefully effort in WI will continue to other states like Ohio.

* A Republican Governor (Snyder - MI) told him that 'we don't want all that confrontation' like they had in WI. But if confrontation is the result of standing up for what is right, we need to stand.


Friday, June 15, 2012

From Right On Line - Welcoming Event

Sarah Palin at Right On Line:

(notes on her comments - apologies for typos)

* expresses appreciation for all that audience does - the vanguard for the future for our country - movement that defends our Republic because the old media doesn't know how to do that work.

* new media giving voice to the people...tea party is key - another victory in Wisconsin followings victories in 2010

* We honor Andrew Breitbart tonight ... last time I was with him was in Wisconsin.

* few people were willing to wade into the mass of community organizers and we did.

* we were there to plant the flag - hold the hilltop in spite of their cowbells, drum circles and bull horns.

* Wisconsin showed America that is there no limit to what could be accomplished when you don't care who gets the credit.

* While Wisconsin was standing by reform, the permanent political class was breaking promises they never intended to keep. Walker showed them the spine they didn't have and proved that they were 'fighting like a girl.'

* new media is a force for truth - doing what the old media won't.

* doesn't do much good to complain about the lies of old media...they're still wondering who is Trig's real mother...

* is it any wonder why it's any wonder they're tough to believe and trust.

* they lie and the new media arose because old media failed to tell the truth.

* Matt Drudge - the story he wrote about a president having an affair is about more than the affair. The old media spiked the story 11 times. Why? Because they're protecting their guy.

* old media cried foul and proclaimed him persona non grata. How dare this nobody try to influence the course of the news?!?

* He spoke later to the national press club. He proved you don't need a degree from a journalism school; you just need integrity and work ethic. That's what he told them and he told them the old media's days were numbered if they didn't return to truth.

* he was right - they made their choice and it wasn't for truth. Later, Breitbart told them the same thing. Their lack of truthfulness was going to kill them.

* There are good reporters out there - I know all two of them - but there are some who are still good and still practicing actual journalism.

* Media that was so concerned about one candidate's wardrobe, couldn't care less about the other candidate's associations, votes, strange attraction to the most radical of leftist ideas.

* They didn't vet Obama who proudly sought out socialist mentors and was a member of the socialist party when he first ran for office.

* The same media who was so concerned about my husband's independent voter registration couldn't be bothered with a candidate's socialist affiliation.

* Obama doesn't understand the private sector because he doesn't believe in the private sector.

* Can you imagine a mayor saying 'in my city hall' but this president said 'in my White House' ... a WH that politicizes national security by leaking information to propp up polls.

* They're propping up his polls trying to make him sound like a tough guy...

* if they'd vetted him, we would have known of his plan to spend us into oblivion - mind-boggling deficits and stimulus jobs paid for your children and their children and their children.

* if they'd done their job we would have known about his interest in apologizing for America, bowing to dictators, etc...

* despite what he tells you, we're not drilling everything, but we are subsidizing dictors to drill. The media didn't do their job to tell us that.

* but the media probably couldn't afford to send reporters to Chicago to learn about him because they spent so much money in Wasilla...

* but they could have just read his biography - cocaine snorting, dope smoking, dog eating ...

* reading his own words would have revealed a lot, but they didn't do their job.

* you are an army of Davids against the Goliath in the freedom of the press...

* In honor of the sacrifice of our troops - thank our vets for providing us with the freedom of the press.

* Lincoln said that the people, when given the truth, with defeat any national crisis. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

* press has covered for the politicians who haven't told us the truth about the state of our union - what's going on in Greece is a proof.

* tweet - dear socilatist world, you ran out of our money cc: Margaret Thatcher

* lies, exposed, debt is due, riot is in the streets. We're the brokest nation in history...govt. telling seniors their funds are still there and they're not.

* Social Security is broke.

* promising young people debt via college loans; don't worry about the future - another lie being told.

* perpetuating deception that their degree is valuable, no matter what it's in..

* Occupy Unmasked exposes the fraud that is promoted by the Main Stream Media - it's a movement mobilized by leftist marxist anarchists who want to overthrow our system of capitalism.

* Democrat Media Complex embraced the Occupy Movement - you'll see in the preview what, exactly, they embraced while they demonized the tea party movement.

* You'll be outraged at the violence and the media for covering it all up. You'll be sad because it is a sad day when such behavior is seen in America.

* growing class of angry unemployed angry hands with heads full of Marxist lies. Who will tell them the truth? We will - we will reach theem through the media and politics and pop culture.

* Breitbart: culture is upstream of politics. Culture is influencing and leading.

* Influenc for good in culture.

* warning: no matter what happens, don't get co-opted by the mainstream press. Stay outside the machine - outside the establishment in order to hold theem accountable. Don't spin GOP failures the same way the left does for Democrats.

* make sure we don't go back - stay every vigilent holdin everyone's feet to the fire.

* be confident that you are prepared and recognize the gift you have been given at this time in our nation.

* without social media, our view would be so much more narrow...thank you for everything you do for trying to correct the untruths and share the real record.

* my family and I are so grateful for you efforts - we must continue to have each other's back. The more effective you become, the larger the target you become.

* Look at the harassment Michelle Malkin goes through - she's not going to go hide - she's going to strick out at those who would seek to destroy the america we love.

* What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - the yahoos who want to shut up Rush make him stronger...

* futile efforts to get constitutional conservatives to sit down and shut up.

* references Brett Kimberlin and his efforts to silence people who have the temerity to talk about his background as a terrorist and bomber...

* stand your ground and others will stand with you. Courage inspirers courage and victory begets victory. We will do whatever it takes to defend truth - don't retreat.

God Bless Americans for Prosperity and the United States of Ameria.

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