Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why is Lucas County early vote center in one of the highest crime neighborhoods in Toledo?

There was much to-do between Republicans and Democrats on the Lucas County Board of Elections when it came to selecting a location for the early voting center.

They finally decided on an area in the old Riverside Hospital building at the corner of Summit and Bush streets in downtown Toledo, despite the fact that the geographical center of the county was closer to the Village of Holland while the center of population is somewhere around the University of Toledo.

Democrats wanted the center to be in the central city area of Toledo. Republicans wanted it to be in the county Rec Center, despite the fact that the Rec Center was already under a lease agreement.

Democrats emphasized that it needed to be on a bus line, and I think that was probably a good idea. Republicans wanted it to be a relatively inexpensive place and I think that was probably a good idea as well.

But in all the discussions about where to locate the early vote center, did anyone bother to think about safety?!?

I guess not, because the Lucas County early vote center is located in one of the highest crime areas of the city. provides a crime map for various jurisdictions and it shows that the area bounded by Summit Street, I-280, the Buckeye Basin Greenbelt Parkway and Elm Street is one of the highest crime areas, as are two of the four sections that border it.

Not content with just the website information, I contacted the Toledo Police Department. They provided me with January to June 2012 crime statistics in their Beat #220 Areas 358, 359. The beat includes the same area as above, but goes all the way to the back of Point Place, over to Cherry St. and then to 1-75. The areas match the ones from

Here's what the crime data looks like on a map:

View TPD Crime - Beat 220, area 358 Jan 2012 to Jun 2012 in a larger map

And where is the early vote center? Right on the corner of Bush and North Superior - the edge of all this crime.

And these aren't traffic violations.

The offenses include robbery, burglary, theft, larceny, car theft, sex offenses, family and child offenses, narcotics, intoxication, conveying contraband, and assault - both felony and misdemeanor. And they occurred at all times - including many in the middle of the afternoon.

This is not minor. The BOE placed the early vote center next to a half-mile area that is riddled with crime. I was shocked when I mapped it all.

But is it one of the highest crime areas in the city? says it is, but just to be sure, I asked for a comparison from TPD of the other beats they have. They sent me another 60 pages of data and it will take me a long time to map all of it, but the area just to the north of the early vote center (about the size as the area already mapped) had about 200 reports of crime between January and June this year - more than already mapped.

But that's not all. Not only is the area riddled with crime, it's quite a distance for some voters in the county.

It will take some voters in the Providence Township area 45 minutes just to get there - that's an hour-and-a-half round trip to vote. Here I thought we were all about making it easy to vote.

Oh - and the preferred route Google Maps recommends is via the turnpike because it's the shortest in terms of time - and that would require a toll!

Where are the Democrat cries about poll taxes for that?!?

Democrats in Cleveland think a billboard that warns against voter fraud is intimidating. Isn't it more intimidating and closer to voter suppression to expect voters to travel through one of the highest crime neighborhoods in the city just to cast a ballot? Especially at night in the dark?

In their effort to not disenfranchise some, the Lucas County Board of Elections will disenfranchise others and place all who go to the early vote center in a really bad crime area of the city.

So much for a fair and balanced approach to running our elections.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aquatic facilities - just what Toledo needs (NOT!)

First we're told that the City of Toledo just doesn't have enough money to cover the costs of the parks and recreation, so we must have a brand new, 10-year 1 mill levy, despite the fact that the city budgets $900,000 a year for parks and they promised that revenue from additional red-light cameras would go to parks.

Then, we're told that the city is going to have a $900,000 carry-over so there is plenty of money for Mayor Mike Bell to give raises totaling $295,000 (not counting benefits and taxes) to 55 of his administrators.

Now we learn that the city wants to build a water park - if their levy, Issue 5, passes.

So much for not having enough money to handle current expenses.

Here is the press notice for today:

Mayor, Council members announce plan for aquatic facilities

Funding for proposal would be contingent on passage of Issue 5

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and members of Toledo City Council will announce a proposal for city aquatic facilities at a press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30. The proposal would include a centralized water park featuring waterfalls and slides as well as a secondary facility for senior aquatic activities, to be located at on of the city’s existing senior centers. Funding for the proposal in the capital budget would be contingent on the passage of Issue 5 on the November ballot.

We already have plenty of aquatic facilities in the YMCAs and the Boys and Girls Club. And what about the Master Plan the city is spending $25,000 in a no-bid contract to develop? How can they announce a water park without first having the master plan?

Clearly this is meant to convince seniors they need to raise their taxes by saying yes to the levy, otherwise, why announce a possibility?

Toledo has decimated the Capital Improvements Plan Fund (CIP) to the tune of $50 million, depriving residents of needed funds to handle road improvements and other infrastructure needs. The 2012 budget called for stealing another $12 million from the CIP. This is all to cover yearly costs that are considerably more than income.

Rather than cut out unnecessary spending (it's ALL necessary, don't you know), they decided to ask for even more money - raising taxes on the poor and middle class.

And this parks and rec levy isn't the end. Since the levy is for ADDITIONAL items, not just to sustain existing ones (hello water park), there will be additional costs in the future to maintain all the new things they want to do - just like with the MetroParks. Can you say "stuck on stupid"?

But pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...these are not the droids you're looking for...let us bribe you into passing a brand new tax to 'improve your quality of life.'

As I've said before, my quality of life would be much better if they'd stop taking money from me to improve my quality of life.

Don't be fooled by this. Say NO to Issue 5 - and the other six levies that are on the ballot.

Quote of the Day - truth

"It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it." ~ A. A. Hodge

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dana considering layoffs as Obamacare costs mount

Dana Holding Corp., recently announced their third quarter results, reporting a 12% decrease in sales and net income of $56 million, compared to with $110 million for the same period in 2011.

The global auto parts manufacturer properly characterized their earnings as solid, and several media outlets covered the details.

Most of the news reports also mentioned the letter President and CEO Roger Wood sent to employees that called for continued vigilance in light of falling commercial vehicle demand in North America and continued economic uncertainty.

The uncertain global economic environment continues to put pressure on production in Europe, China, and Brazil. In North America, as evidenced not only by our earnings release, but by many other companies as well, there is a looming concern in the economy. The threats of a fiscal cliff, along with increasing taxes on small businesses, are holding down job creation and optimism for growth in the United States. These economic factors affect Dana in that we must always be sure that we are keeping our costs in line with our revenue changes.

But that's where most media coverage stopped. The next paragraph in the letter told the real story:

We must also offset increased costs that are placed on us through new laws and regulations. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is expected to cost Dana approximately $24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses. This is a cost that our customers are not willing to cover, mandating that we reduce our overhead expenses to cover them.

Yes, you read that correctly: $24 million over the next six years. And they can't pass that along to their customers, so they have to reduce their overhead.

That means layoffs, because there's really no other way for a company to cover that much expense, especially in a recession.

In June, Dana employed 25,500 in 47 countries. By September, they'd shed 1,000 jobs, some of them from planned actions like their divestiture of their Fredericktown, Ohio, facility; the planned closures of their Longview, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio, facilities; and the consolidation of their Rochester Hills, Mich., and Milwaukee, Wisc., plants into other facilities.

But last Friday they laid off seven white collar staff at corporate offices here in the Toledo area. I've been told by company insiders that more are being considered.

So while President Barack Obama is campaigning on his auto bailout and the jobs it supposedly saved, his Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - is going to cost jobs ... in that same automotive industry.

Dana may be able to survive the increased costs of "affordable" care, but not without consequences for some of their employees. Other small businesses and their workers won't be so lucky.

Where will the jobs be then?

***Dana is a world-leading supplier of driveline, sealing, and thermal-management technologies that improve the efficiency and performance of passenger, commercial, and off-highway vehicles with both conventional and alternative-energy powertrains. The company's global network of engineering, manufacturing, and distribution facilities provides original-equipment and aftermarket customers with local product and service support. Based in Maumee, Ohio, Dana employs approximately 24,500 people in 27 countries and reported 2011 sales of $7.6 billion. For more information, please visit

Here is the full text of the letter, confirmed as accurate and complete by Dana:

October 26, 2012

Dear colleague:

Today we announced earnings for the third quarter of 2012, and I want to thank all of you for your hard work in achieving solid results. We have seen volatility throughout the entire year, but in the third quarter we saw a rapid softening of demand in some of our key markets. Most significant was the decline in our North American commercial vehicle market, where production rates are now below those of last year.

Looking forward we see opportunity, and also continued headwinds. The uncertain global economic environment continues to put pressure on production in Europe, China, and Brazil. In North America, as evidenced not only by our earnings release, but by many other companies as well, there is a looming concern in the economy. The threats of a fiscal cliff, along with increasing taxes on small businesses, are holding down job creation and optimism for growth in the United States. These economic factors affect Dana in that we must always be sure that we are keeping our costs in line with our revenue changes.

We must also offset increased costs that are placed on us through new laws and regulations. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is expected to cost Dana approximately $24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses. This is a cost that our customers are not willing to cover, mandating that we reduce our overhead expenses to cover them. On a positive note, we have made the decision to increase the investment in our global engineering spending to facilitate our growth plan. And we are committed to not allowing this increase to become an excuse for the earnings performance of our company. These challenges require all of us to be innovative and focused to meet the increased cost burdens with creative ways to accomplish our current performance expectations and future growth objectives.

To counter some of the challenges ahead, we have and are taking aggressive steps to manage costs in each and every aspect of the business. These actions include reducing material costs, taking the complexity out of our products and processes, and reducing our conversion and overhead costs. It is most difficult when our colleagues are affected, but we must take action now, with the outlook as we see it, to ensure that we are competitive in the future.

When I joined Dana 18 months ago, I saw the great potential of this company to move from a survival mode story to a profitable growth trajectory. We have made great strides in our vision to become the global technology leader in efficient power conveyance and energy management solutions. We are on our way to this vision, with a solid plan in place to get there. Working together as One Dana, we are becoming a lean, efficient, results-driven organization with a renewed sense of urgency. We are also investing in technology that supports our growth strategy.

This new Dana requires all of our ongoing diligence in reducing cost and complexity, which is essential to fueling our growth and mitigating mandated costs. Even amid volatile market conditions and increased cost mandates that are placed on our business, I am confident that continued discipline and flexibility will help Dana to remain strong. Consistent with our culture and operating model, I encourage each of you to bring forward your ideas to improve efficiency, eliminate waste, and move us forward.

Thank you for your cooperation, and I look forward to working with you as we meet these challenges together.


Roger J. Wood
President and CEO

FreePAC Illinois shows freedom still a concept that defines America

It's a beautiful day in Chicago - clear, sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-50s, and it's Friday. What are you going to do? How about FreePAC?

What? Yes, that's exactly what about a thousand activists did this past weekend as FreedomWorks brought speakers and trainers to Schaumburg Convention Center for FreePAC Illinois.

It was energizing and inspiring to see so many people dedicated to and passionate about freedom - and willing to fight the battles necessary to protect it. They were also there to hear terrific speakers including former President of Poland and Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa.

The first hour was a training session focused on principled community action, including information on why voter contact is so important and best practices for effective get-out-the-vote efforts including door knocking and phone banking.

After a short break, the program began with Judge Andrew Napolitano offering an enthusiastic reminder of why freedom is so important. He mentioned Walesa who, unlike other speakers waiting behind the stage, was sitting up front in the audience. Napolitano said it was "great to be in the presence of one of the greatest defenders of liberty, Lech Walesa."

Not surprisingly, Walesa received the first of many standing ovations.

Napolitano started with a lesson on natural law, bringing up questions Thomas Moore asked when he was on trial in England: "Can a king decree a flat earth round? Can a parliament legislate a round earth flat? No."

Natural law exists and freedom is part of that, he explained. "Our freedom comes from the Creator, not our government," he said. "And we fought a war over this principle."

He talked about the straw that broke the camel's back - the Stamp Act. The King of England declared that every piece of paper in the colonies (not England, just the colonies) had to have his image on it. He tasked his soldiers with enforcing it. The soldiers could write their own warrants to search a house to inspect and enforce the law.

He likened that authority to those in the Patriot Act and asked how we could come so far only to find ourselves back where our founders were?

He told a story about a Maryland mayor indicted and brought to trial under the Alien and Sedition Act and how, in finding him not guilty, the jury gave us the first example of jury nullification.

"Why do we elected nanny-staters and do-gooders who want to make our decisions for us," Napolitano asked. "Why don't we elect people who want to defend our freedoms and leave us the hell alone?"

He concluded with this (paraphrased):

We are here for a very serious reason. We are here because we were created by all-knowing and all-loving God with free will - the ability to do good or do evil. When government makes decisions for us, they are separating us from God by preventing our free will.

Free will must be perfectly free. We must restrain ourselves - not be restrained by government - but restrain ourselves. We must elect people who believe this, too.

The Patriot Act lets soldiers write their own warrants...the act was delivered 15 minutes before it was voted on. Many in congress did not know that they voted in favor of something that our founders fought a revolution over.

The government works for us...we don't work for the government. The people are entitled to a government that stays within the confines of the Constitution. The Constitution was written to keep the government off the peoples' back.

On Oct. 26, 2012, freedom loving patriots gathered in a hotel in Chicago to celebrate freedom. 20 years, 10 years, 4 years from now, will that same freedom still be here?

It lies in our hearts, but like every muscle, it must be exercised. We must not shrink from the responsibility of protecting it.

The next speaker, Dana Loesch, had a lot to say about "women's issues" and the so-called 'war on women,' beginning with "I'm more interested in job than birth control."

She said one aspect of the real war on women was the federalization of our schools and removing the ability of a woman to choose where to send her kids to school.

"I'm so sick of the war on women," she said. "The Democrats are about to get a war FROM women this November. (We're going to tell them ) we're fed up and we're done with your fear mongering. That's the hope and change."

John Fund was up next, reminding the audience that "we can no longer leave politics to the politicians."

He also warned that the threat of voter fraud is very real. "The left says 'there is no voter fraud.' Those aren't the droids your'e looking for; pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." But, he detailed, in Iowa, non-citizens were sent to jail for illegally voting; in Arkansas, a police official and mayor went to jail for voter fraud; a congressional candidate has been caught voting in Florida and Maryland for the same election; and James O'Keefe has documented multiple instances of voter fraud, including his most recent expose of Patrick Moran.

"Patrick Moran is under criminal investigation for something that doesn't exist," Fund said. "But there's no voter fraud."

Adam Andrzejewski, founder of For the Good of Illinois, was next to talk about some state-specific issues, including some successes they've had in terms of exposing fraud in various levels of government.

"Illinois is systemically corrupt. We're told we can't fight city hall, can't fight corruption and win," he said. "If Lech Walesa can end communism in Poland, we can bring a new day to Illinois."

Lech Walesa was then introduced and received a standing ovation upon taking the stage. Speaking through an interpreter, he said, "I usually get applause when I finish, not when I start."

He talked about freedom and how to gauge freedom and democracy in a country. He asked, "how come we need to keep fighting for freedom against the governments?

"Rights to freedom and liberties, both countries have them, but the fault is in the sphere of responsibility: the responsibility we embrace vs. the responsibility the politicians embrace, " he said. "We must take on more responsibility ourselves and make the politicians responsible for what they are supposed to do."

He warned that we are close to losing our position as a superpower.

"In light of the responsibility this superpower holds, we hope you will make wise decisions this election and will again begin to lead the world," he said. "The world lacks leadership and we must do everything we can for the United States to regain its leadership position."

"And," he concluded, "In case you don't wish to continue being the superpower and leader, share the position with Poland. We will know what to do with it."

Probably the only person who could follow such a heart-felt address was Rev. CL Bryant, the producer of the "Runaway Slave" movie, and only because he has the southern Baptist preacher approach to public speaking.

"Why have the sons and daughters of former slaves traded one form of slavery for another? We are still divided along racial lines," he said in the movie preview shown before he spoke. "Why?"

In another outtake from the movie he said, "The size and scope and reach of government is the new plantation. The Black family that survived slavery comes apart under the welfare state."

Some of his comments, from my rough notes:

* Freedom works - works thru out world. It works for America - it always has. But if we're not careful, it will slip away - like grains of sands through our fingers it will slip away.

* Freedom means you get to make your choices.

* America's world view still intact, but we can continue down road of government slavery or throw the shackles off!

* From the land of Lincoln, the great liberator who kept the union together, we are going to send message loud and clear on Nov. 6. We have had it and we are going to have another emancipation day because this president has to go!

* But there is also a message that we need to send to DC and the elected officials we send there: we want big government off our backs, their hands out of our pockets. We're tired of their heavy hand in our lives; tired of debt, deficits, unemployment and of being lied to by the people we put in office.

* Tell us what happened in Benghazi! We need the truth: why did our people die?

* For four years, this administration has built walls between the people: walls of class envy; walls of deception and tyranny. President Reagan said 'tear down this wall.' We, the American people are going to tear down the walls this administration has built!

* We must finish the job we started in 2009. We've been called names, been through ups and downs and no one gave us a chance of surviving this far. We have started and will complete the greatest revolution since 1776. I was proud to be a tea party then and proud to be one now.

* The stakes are high. Government rewards laziness and expects us to foot the bill for it. Something has to be done. If we fail, they will thoroughly poison the minds of our young people and the nation we knew will be foreign to them.

* We've never known a day when we did not have our freedom. If we fail, in our lifetime, we may actually know a day when that may come.

* Big government is not our solution and answers will not arrive on Air Force 1 regardless of who becomes our president.

* God said we are the light of the world...a city set upon a hill cannot be hid. Enemies of our Republic like to hide and they work to destroy our self rule. We can't go back to sleep. We are awake now and we must live up and stand up to the challenges that face us. We cannot fail. We stand at the threshold of a new awakening in America - at threshold of retaking not only the White House but the Senate and hanging onto the House.

* The only way we will prevail is for us to continue to answer a question that must be answered not just from 1776, but to 2076: Is there anybody here who will stand up for the American Republic and defend our country? Stand up ...stand up ...stand up...

By this time, the entire room was on its feet, applauding.

There were several other speakers and it was fantastic to see so much energy for promoting the concept of freedom.

The event was broadcast live on the internet and they announced that 3,700 people had tuned in to watch.

If you get a chance to attend a FreePAC in your state, I hope you will - you'll be inspired to know that freedom, liberty and responsibility are still concepts that define Americans.

Friday, October 26, 2012

FreePAC Chicago notes

I was planning to live blog the event but technical issues and computer problems in the convention room are inhibiting blogging. I'll be taking notes and then will do a blog post tomorrow.

So sorry, but if you'd like to watch, you can view the event, including Lech Walesa, at

FreePAC Chicago

I'm in Chicago this afternoon to cover FreePAC Illinois - a large gathering of individuals committed to freedom. The event is sponsored by FreedomWorks.

Speakers include Lech Walesa, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Deneen Borelli, Dana Loesch, John Fund, CL Bryant (Runaway Slave movie), Joe Walsh and others.

You can watch it all, too, at

Stay tuned!

Just say NO to property tax levies - all of them!

Did you - or anyone you know - get an 85% increase in income this year?

How about a 67% increase? No?

Well, what about a paltry 45% increase?

I didn't think so. So why should public agencies?

Those are the percentage increases for three levies on the ballot November 6th.

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has a 2.0 mill levy and they want to renew that and add .9 mills. That's a 45% increase in income they're asking for - out of your pockets.

By the way - the Library's 2 mill levy gives them as much money as the county gets in property taxes. Got that? The library is already getting the same amount as county government and they want more - and they want this amount of funding each year for the next five years.

The Mental Health and Recovery Services board is asking for a new 1 mill levy. They already have a 1.5 mill levy so this is a second levy and it represents a 67% increase in income for them - coming from your wallet. This is a 10-year levy, so you wouldn't have a chance to modify it for a decade.

Children Services Board is the worst. They have a 1 mill levy and they want to increase it to 1.85 mills - an 85% increase. This is their second levy. They have a 1.4 mill levy that voters approved last year. Oh - and did you know they have $13,411,696 in their reserve fund???

Yep...sitting on millions and they want you to vote to give them 85% more than they're already getting from this levy. In this economy, that's shameful.

The MetroParks isn't any better. They are asking for a new .9 mill levy that would be in place for 10 years. Ten years ago, they asked for a .3 mill levy to purchase additional property. Voters gave them that levy, but many who opposed it, including me, said it would only lead to requests for even more money in the future because any new land purchased would need to be maintained and turned into parkland.

No, we were told, that wouldn't happen. They lied because here they are, asking for a new .9 mill operating levy to - you guessed it - pay for the administration of all the new land they now have.

Of course, these levies are only asking for 'pennies a day' compared to the City of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools, who want to add brand new levies to their income.

The city wants a 1 mill levy to fund Parks and Recreation, because they just don't have enough money and so all of you, who also don't have enough money, must pay more.

Remember back in the spring when council voted to install additional red-light and speed cameras? Do you also remember that the projected $320,000 revenue from those cameras was supposed to go to parks? You don't? Well, it's true.

But when council voted to put the levy on the ballot, no one even raised the point or questioned what happened to all that revenue money. No - they just want more, trying to justify a new tax on the poor and middle class as somehow being in our best interest because it will reduce youth violence, increase our quality of life and help our seniors. Oh - and it's "for the children."

Wouldn't your quality of life be better if you could actually keep the money you earn instead of being forced, by majority rule, to turn it over to government?

Besides, if the city has a $900,000 carryover and the mayor can afford to give raises totaling $295,000 a year (without counting pensions, taxes, etc...), do they really need a new levy that will be in place for a decade - or longer if the temporary 3/4% income tax is any example?

Then there is the TPS levy - a brand new 4.9 mill, 10-year levy. Where should I begin on that?

Let's start with reminding you that they already collect 64.39 mills!

I could remind you about their atrocious audit that no one in the main stream media covered. They were cited for 18 instances of material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, non-compliance and a finding for recovery.

Their management letter was even worse with citations for spending money without appropriating it and for appropriating money without first verifying they had any to appropriate. They failed to keep proper inventories not just of district property but of property purchased with grand funds. They also failed to follow their own reimbursement policies and reimbursed monies they shouldn't have - and without receipts. In fact, the management letter was so bad that it took me two blog posts to cover it! (you can see them here and here)

They could have done a performance audit before asking for more money, but they didn't. Other schools in the state (and many governmental jurisdictions) have found millions of yearly savings by doing performance audits. But not TPS. In August, they said there were pursuing it and an announcement would be made soon. However, emails to various board members asking for an update on their progress toward a performance audit have gone unanswered.

And in the midst of all of this, their school report card went down - with Pickett Elementary entering its 13th year in academic emergency. Every citizen should be outraged about Pickett!

Besides, with an $11.22 million carryover, they don't even need a levy this year. They could have removed the levy from the ballot, done the performance audit and, after implementing the recommendations, re-evaluated their financial needs and, if still necessary, asked for a levy then.

Instead, TPS wants a cushion so they don't have to cut their spending. Well, I'd like a cushion, too. Wouldn't you? Instead, you're looking at a giving TPS another $13.3 million a year for the next 10 years.

Imagination Station "is only" asking for renewal of their existing .17 mill levy. Voters rejected them three times and then their levy passed. A non-profit entity shouldn't be on the public dole, no matter how 'valuable' you think they are. They should be self-supporting - not taking money out of your pocket, preventing you from spending those dollars on your priorities.

These seven levies represent an increase of $45.3 million in taxation. All totaled, they take $54.6 million out of the pockets of residents.

And don't forget, money going to government really isn't economic growth, no matter what anyone tells you.

The worst part is that these are property taxes, which means that if you don't pay them, you can lose your home. With our high unemployment, continuing foreclosures and general economic malaise, can we really afford to tell friends, family and neighbors that they need to pay $45.3 million more???

As many Lucas County township elected officials recently asked:

“Is (any) levy so important that someone should lose their home if they cannot afford to pay it?”

None of these levies even remotely qualify.

This is not to say that they aren't good organizations doing good things. And opposition to increasing the amount of money they get doesn't mean you hate kids, hate the mentally ill, are racist, unkind, greedy, stingy, uncaring, etc... etc... etc... It just means you want them to live within their current means - just like you do.

Besides, if you really want to support the levies, there's nothing preventing you from going to the Auditor's AREIS website, looking up your own property and, under the data column, checking how much you'd pay if the levies passed and then writing a check to the organizations for that amount. Nope - nothing in the world. In fact, it's probably a better way to go.

But I bet you won't.

And that alone is another reason to vote NO on

* Issue 5 Toledo Parks and Recreation
* Issue 20 Toledo Public Schools
* Issue 21 MetroParks
* Issue 23 Library
* Issue 24 Mental Health & Recovery Services
* Issue 25 Children Services Board
* Issue 26 Imagination Station

Confusing reporting or backtracking on outsourcing Jeeps?

Fiat, the majority owner of bailed-out Chrysler, told Bloomberg that they were going to re-start production of Jeeps in China and perhaps move all Jeep production to that nation.

Here is the actual quote from Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia (emphasis added):

“The volume opportunity for us is very significant,” Manley, who is also president of the Jeep brand, said in an interview at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters. “We’re reviewing the opportunities within existing capacity” as well as “should we be localizing the entire Jeep portfolio or some of the Jeep portfolio.”

I read the Bloomberg article and thought they were saying they were considering moving "the entire Jeep portfolio" to China, and reported that here on this blog.

To be clear, I didn't think that meant they would idle all the assembly lines and the U.S. work force; my point wasn't about the loss of jobs, but the loss of the Jeep brand being 'made in America' and the campaign implications if the iconic Jeep was outsourced to China.

Apparently, that's not at all what they intended and they're now 'clarifying' after Mitt Romney mentioned the article in a speech in Defiance last night. The Detroit News reports:

The Bloomberg story, though accurate, "has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. work force. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats," Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said.

"Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It's simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."

The Bloomberg story, however, sparked the confusion in the first paragraph of the story, saying Chrysler planned to return Jeep output to China "and may eventually make all of its models in that country."

This may be a simple case of confusing reporting, but my distrust in this administration is so great that I couldn't help but wonder if someone didn't make a phone call to Chrysler to say 'hey - that's gonna hurt; make it go away.'

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jeep moving to China?

"Jeep, an Obama favorite, looks to shift production to China"

That's the Washington Examiner headline on a story that details the possibility that taxpayer bailed-out Chrysler might shift production of all Jeeps to China.

Yes, the iconic Jeep, symbol of Toledo, saying "Made in China" ...

So much for saving the auto industry in Ohio.

What possible comment could President Obama have if his campaign poster child outsources production to China???

Is this the push that moves Ohio out of 'toss-up' and into the Romney column?

The article says:

In another potential blow for the president's Ohio reelection campaign, Jeep, the rugged brand President Obama once said symbolized American freedom, is considering giving up on the United States and shifting production to China.

Such a move would crash the economy in towns like Toledo, Ohio, where Jeeps are made and supplied, and rob the community of the economic security they thought Obama's auto bailout assured them.

Obama is such a fan of Jeep that he included a picture of himself speaking at the Toledo plant in his newly released second term agenda binder. In his address to the plant in 2011, Obama said, "I just took a short tour of the plant and watched some of you putting the finishing touches on the Wrangler. Now, as somebody reminded, I need to call it the 'iconic' Wrangler. And that's appropriate because when you think about what Wrangler has always symbolized. It symbolized freedom, adventure, hitting the open road, never looking back."

Well it appears that the taxpayer bailed-out Chrysler is looking back and now considering cutting costs by shifting production of all Jeeps to China, which has a strong desire for Jeeps.


Guest Post: Voter-fraud is no laughing matter

The following is a guest post by Jen Raiffie (@jraiffie) from Colorado:

If voter fraud is not already on your radar, it should be.

As November 6th approaches, an increasing number of concerns continue to surface at early voting centers around America. Just yesterday James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, released a new shock video resulting from his latest voter fraud investigation that resulted in the resignation of Pat Moran, the field director and son of Virginia’s Democrat incumbent Congressmen James Moran, who is seeking reelection. Pat was caught on tape talking about how to create fake documents that would allow ballots to be cast in other peoples’ names.

Just hours before this story broke I was contacted online by a Colorado activist named Kathi Barry who recently founded a new video tracking group called Chicks with Cameraz. Kathi was concerned about a picture she had seen on Facebook of a van that had been photo shopped with an Obama logo. What was alarming was not so much the picture, rather the comments attached:

“OBAMA WINS COLORAO! Just rented an Enterprise van for Election Day! Going to pick up any voters pledged to Obama. I already have 53 pledged for the ride. I’ve also budgeted $1500 to distribute as $20 incentives to each rider. You can help by donating to the voting incentive militia. Just ask me how! Also we are holding an informational meeting on “how to vote twice” and “how to vote without citizenship” this Thursday at 5pm.”

My first thought was, “how stupid and brazen does one have to be to post this out in the open?” I shared it on my wall to see what kind of attention it would grab. The person responsible for the post soon engaged in the thread and posted the following:

“Do you honestly think that anybody would be so overt about actual voter shenanigans? Big Bird is driving the van please don’t forget to investigate Sesame Street. LOL”

The more I looked into this $20 Voter Incentive Militia “campaign” the more elaborate the effort appeared to be. A Google search for “voter incentive militia” returned a website that was offline.

When it was then suggested, on the thread, that the post be reported to the authorities to investigate, the evidence started to ‘disappear.’ That’s when I thought it would be worth reporting, just to be safe. My concerns were validated five hours later when the Project Veritas story was released. It’s been twenty-four hours since the discovery of the “$20 Voter Incentive Militia,” and the Facebook page where it originated has been deleted.

I am aware of at least four other current concerns around potential voter fraud (likely more) in the swing state of Colorado. Franklin Center’s has reported on twenty-four voter-fraud stories in recent months. The allegations coming from the left that voter fraud is a conspiracy theory perpetuated by “shock jocks” is clearly false and, in my opinion, a failed attempt to discredit the urgent need for stronger voter ID laws, now.

Personality traits of a cheater often amount to the guilty party accusing another of inappropriate behavior. This has played out online with the person responsible for the $20 Voter Incentive Militia. It has also recently been on display when Labor Union AFL-CIO, SEIU, and Maryland Rep. Cummings declared war on True The Vote (TTV), a Houston based grassroots non-profit headed by Catherine Engelbrecht.

When the findings of TTV, a citizen-led effort to restore truth, faith, and integrity to our elections, started resulting in criminal investigations into voter fraud, partisan unions panicked and stepped out of their realm of the “fair wage fight” to coordinated efforts to terrorize those volunteering for TTV to clean up the voter rolls. AFL-CIO and the Florida state Democrats personally threatened citizens against serving as election observers (poll watchers). What is remarkable is that none of these left wing groups voiced any concern about the evidence of voter fraud exposed by groups like Project Veritas and True The Vote. Instead, they continue to attack them in the media and in our courts.

The verdict is not yet out on $20 Voter Incentive Militia, but it is not too late to take action. People can contact their local political party chairperson (in Ohio) or your county clerk and recorder (in Colorado) and ask to become an election judge or poll watcher. True The Vote can try to connect those who register on their website, just the same. In the swing state of Colorado, two of the larger counties, Denver and Adams, are still placing calls to action for help.

It’s time to step up and take action! #TrueTheVote

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Congressman's field director conspires to commit voter fraud, forge documents

Rep. Jim Moran's (D-Va.) field director is the latest person caught by James O'Keefe and Project Veritas in their effort to expose voter fraud.

Pat Moran, son of the congressman, is filmed in a discussion about how to get away with voter fraud. He even goes so far as to discuss how to forge utility bills in Word in order to comply with new voter ID laws.

UPDATE: And Pat Moran has resigned.

Additionally, perhaps it wasn't such a good day for Rep. Moran to issue an editorial decrying ... voter fraud.

Here is the podcast of the interview I did with O'Keefe today at 3:30 on 1370 WSPD.

Here's the video:

Here are some excerpts from the transcript:

From pages 3-4:

Reporter: Do you know two people … Can you give me two names to help us with that? Two names of people who are fervent, who maybe I can trust?

Moran: I don't know. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough with the … you got to stuff that card.

Reporter: Okay. He actually double voted in 2008 and got away with it.

Moran: Did he?

Reporter: Yeah.

Moran: (Laughs) So it’s going to be with the new voter ID laws as well…

Reporter: He’s got a few in D.C. He’s got some in Maryland as well.

Moran: And I imagine he’ll be using…

Reporter: You and me.

Moran: Yeah. But like utility bills or something like that. He’ll need bills. He’ll need something with the name and their address on it.

Reporter: He’s telling me if they’re going to be hesitant to enforce it. He’s telling me it’s a law but there’s law and then there’s enforcement.

Moran: And there will be a lot of voter protection. So if they just have the utility bill or a statement (inaud.) will obviously be tough … but they can fake a utility bill with ease.

Reporter: How would you do that?

Moran: I mean I would just buy (inaud.)

Reporter: Microsoft Word and type it up.

Moran: Yeah, something like that. I don't know, but that’s tough man. I mean, like … I feel like all the energy that you’re going to be putting into this, I think it would be much better suited finding out with just the in place GOTB (ph.) stuff, because all that stuff you’re kind of getting people that haven’t voted in a long time and that energy that you’d be putting in in trying to like ensure that it went through without a hitch and the risk to your name, I feel like plug it in and going to some underperforming districts.

There’s a push down in Mount Vernon and like Prince William and places like that where OFA is trying to get it going, but they, you know, it’s largely minority population, people that just haven’t been plugged in and people that have been plugged in like Republican districts and they’re just not enthused.

From page 9-10:

Reporter: If we get some people to help us. We won’t have to go, maybe someone else will and we’ll scale up elsewhere. But he’s got name and address, that’s the best bet?

Moran: Well, no, you need … it has to be … look at the law.

Reporter: Okay.

M: But it has to be like a utility bill or something like that. So you have to forge it.

Then, he encourages them to pretend to be pollsters and call the people they're planning on voting for ahead of time. From page 14:
R: Pretend to be a pollster?

M: Yeah. Do you guys plan on voting, on November 6th? And go on from there and then depending on their answer just … if they say yes, then go through and just find out if they’re Dems or what. (Noise) (Background conversations) (Walking)

R: Call first? Call them? Okay. That can get pretty awkward if they’ve already early voted, really awkward. Be ready to run.

M: (Laughs) (Background conversations) I respect your initiative.

R: I’m glad you respect it.

No wonder Democrats and their affiliated groups don't want voter ID and are opposed to True The Vote's effort to clean up the voter rolls.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Maybe Mayor Bell doesn't want the new parks and recreation levy to pass

Perhaps Toledo Mayor Mike Bell doesn't want the new, 10-year parks and recreation levy to pass after all. If he did, why would he jeopardize the plea for a new property tax by proving the city doesn't really need the money after all?

How did he prove it?

He just gave raises to 55 of his administrators - and they total $295,000 a year!

If the city has the money to give raises of nearly a third of a million dollars, surely they don't need any more tax money from us to pay for parks and recreation - right?

And this is after Toledo City Council refused to increase the pay ranges of many of these same employee, claiming there was no need to increase the range when the individuals holding the jobs were not at the top of the existing range. At that time, Bell told council he wasn't going to be giving wholesale pay increases.

Apparently, he changed his mind. The Blade reports:

The raises include all three deputy mayors — Steve Herwat and Shirley Green, whose salaries increase from $90,002 to $92,500, and Paul Syring, whose salary increases from $85,001 to $92,500.

Not surprisingly, he blames Council for not following his lead to "comprehensively update Executive Exempt pay ranges."

The worst part is Democrat Joe McNamara's response, as reported by the paper:

Council President Joe McNamara said the mayor should concentrate on raising the “economic positions” of Toledo’s residents. The increases will cost the city $62,000 through Dec. 31.

“I think the tone of the mayor’s letter is out of touch with the lives of most Toledoans who would be thrilled to be making $92,500,” he said. “He has the authority to do it. The fact that he did it shows one of the reasons why council was so concerned about giving the latitude to do 20 percent [pay-range increases], because he pretty much maxed out everybody.”

Really? If McNamara was so worried about "raising the 'economic positions' of Toledo's residents," why did he vote to put a brand new, 10-year property tax levy on the ballot?!?

That's not going to do anything but bring DOWN the economic position of Toledo's residents.

Hypocrisy thy name is Joe McNamara!

Then there is Republican George Sarantou, chairman of the council finance committee:

Councilman George Sarantou said the Bell administration has a plan to pay for the increases this year.

“They said this has already been budgeted by virtue of the fact that it was announced [Tuesday] that they are expecting a $900,000 surplus that they will carry over to 2013,” Mr. Sarantou.

Now the city has a budget surplus? I thought they had no money to pay for parks and recreation?!?

And how did we get this surplus? Did we NOT raid the CIP fund as they planned? Did they repay the advance they took on the CIP when the casino didn't open in time?

Have they thought that maybe reimbursing the $50 million or so they previously raided from the CIP might be a bigger priority to citizens than "valuing" administrators that have better pensions, vacation time, holidays and pay than they do?

This definitely earns a "stuck-on-stupid" designation!

This is insanity and just proves that no matter how much money you give to politicians, they will spend it and continue to ask for more.

Vote NO on Toledo Issue 5!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Township officials urge 'NO' on all county levies

Here is a copy of the letter that 14 elected officials in eight of Lucas County's 11 townships have signed. I think the letter says it all, especially this point:

We believe one questions must be asked by the Commissioners prior to putting any levy on the ballot, and each individual voter prior to casting their vote on a property tax levy: “Is this levy so important that someone should lose their home if they cannot afford to pay it?

I think this also applies to city and school levies, too. Did Toledo City Council ask themselves this question before they decided they just had to have a brand new tax levy for recreation in the city?

You might not have your home, but you can have 'recreation' ... what a bargain!

Did Toledo Public School board members ask themselves this question before they decided they just had to have a brand new tax levy - on top of their multiple other levies - for a school system that has a budget carryover and health care savings that total a couple of million dollars MORE than the levy will give them in the next year?!?

As if more money will reverse their five-year trend of spending more than take in or help Pickett Elementary which has been in academic emergency for 12 years!

Here is the letter:

We, the undersigned Elected Officials in Lucas County do hereby state:

1) We believe our County Representatives are not acting like responsible leaders in placing numerous levies on the ballot.

2) We believe that the residents in our jurisdictions are becoming overburdened by the numerous “quality of life” levies that are already included in their property tax bills.

3) We believe that by placing these numerous “quality of life” levies on the ballot, the Lucas County Commissioners are jeopardizing our chances of getting any future levies passed for essential services such as Roads, Police, Fire and Schools.

4) We do not want to see our residents become financially burdened by their property taxes and potentially face losing their homes if they become unable to pay.

5) We believe that all of the levy requests that will be on the November Ballot are not “needs” for our community, but “wants” by these organizations.

6) We believe that it is irresponsible for our County Officials to allow the “wants” of these various organizations to become such a burden to the property owners of Lucas County that they can no longer afford to pay for the “needs”.

7) We believe one questions must be asked by the Commissioners prior to putting any levy on the ballot, and each individual voter prior to casting their vote on a property tax levy: “Is this levy so important that someone should lose their home if they cannot afford to pay it?”

As such, we are asking the voters not just in our jurisdictions, but in all of Lucas County to vote “NO” on every county wide levy request that is on the your ballot in November. We must take a stand to get the attention of our County Commissioners. We must make them realize that we want the process to get a property tax levy on the ballot in Lucas County to be extremely difficult, not just a rubber stamp.

And that new levy review committee which I fought when I was a commissioner has 'recommended' all these levies and others in the past. Do the commissioner have nothing to fear from constituents because they hide behind individuals unaccountable to the public to decide if a levy is 'worth it'? I think so.

We'll talk about this today when I fill in for Brian Wilson on 1370 WSPD from 3-6 p.m. Eastern.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quote of the Day - free competition

"Free competition is worth more to society than it costs." ~ Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Toledo Leaf Collection and 'Come Roll With Us' program

Press Release from City of Toledo:

Got Leaves? City of Toledo to begin fall collection October 29

The City of Toledo will begin the 2012 leaf collection program on October 29 in west Toledo neighborhoods with a 43613 zip code.

While red and white signs will be posted in advance of collection in each neighborhood, residents are encouraged to begin bringing leaves to the street now for collection by city crews.

Leaves should be raked to the edge of the pavement on uncurbed streets and just over the curb on curbed streets. Residents are asked not to place leaves on any boulevard or cul-de-sac islands.

Only leaves will be collected. General yard waste including brush, sticks or bags of leaves or grass clippings will not be picked up and if mixed in with loose leaves can cause damage to city equipment resulting in delays in service.

Additionally, the Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor will again offer “Come Roll With Us”, a ride along program to offer residents a first hand experience in the city’s leaf collection operations including field observation with crews.

Updates to the leaf collection schedule will be posted regularly at, or residents may contact the Division of Streets Bridges and Harbor at 419.936.2523 with questions and to sign up for Come Roll With Us.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Mobile Meals Wine Gala 2012

Sam and I have just finished drafting the live auction program for the Mobile Meals annual Wine Gala fundraiser on November 3rd - and I think this is one of the best years yet!

Because this is the 25th annual event, there are some very special wines in the live auction of fine wines. Many of the bottles, which have been donated by wine collectors and aficionados in the area, include some wines and vintages that are no longer available on the open market.

Here is a sampling of what will be available for bidding:

Lot #5 - First Featured Lot valued at $1,200:

1990 Chateau Margaux

Lot #9 - Magnificent Mags of Cab valued at $700:

2007 Silver Oak
2007 Duckhorn Monitor Ledge
2008 Stag’s Leap Artemis
2010 Caymus

Lot #10 - Second Featured Lot with a starting bid of $1,000:

1993 Louis Jadot Le Chambertin Grand Cru
1995 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin
1996 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin
1999 Domaine Jacques Prieur Chambertin Clos de Beze
1999 Louis Jadot Corton Grand Cru
1999 Domaine Jacques Prieur Chambertin Grand Cru
1999 Louis Jadot Corton Greves Grand Cru
1999 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Les Caillerets 1er Cru
2002 Caves de la Colombe Vosne Romanee
2003 Domaine La Milliere Chateauneuf de Pape
2005 Ballot Millot Pommard Pezerolles 1er Cru
2005 Domaine Gourt de Mautens Rasteau

Lot #14 valued at $750:

2001 Chateau Mouton Rothschilde

Lot #15 - Third Featured Lot valued at $1,900:

1982 Chateau d’Angludet Margeaux
1985 Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol
1985 Chateau les Ormes de Pez Saint-Estephe
1986 Chateau Bel Air Haut-Medoc
1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac

Lot #22 valued at $500:

Four magnums of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
2003, 2004, 2007, 2008

Lot #24 valued at $1,000:

1975 Chateau Caillou Sauternes
1981 Chateau Caillou Sauternes Private Cuvee
1977 Graham’s Vintage Port
1983 Warre’s Vintage Port
1985 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port
1994 Warre’s LVB Port

Lot #25 - Fifth Featured Lot valued at $2,000:

2001 Chateau Latour
2001 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

In addition to the live auction of fine wines, there will be more than a dozen wine distributors providing attendees with tastings of their wines; an extremely generous hors d'ouevres table to complement the tastings; a full gourmet meal with wine; desserts; a silent auction of all kinds of wondrous things (wines and wine-related included); music, dancing and general fun for all.

Tickets are $150, but when you consider all the wine you get with the evening, it's actually a bargain.

And since this is a fundraising event, all proceeds benefit Mobile Meals of Toledo, one of the best charitable organizations in the city.

They serve meals to more than 600 clients daily - all via volunteers who deliver the meals directly to the client, providing in-person contact with individuals who are elderly, ill, disabled, homebound, convalescing or who need assistance with diet and meal preparation in order to remain in their own homes and retain the dignity and independence they treasure.

We're so lucky to have an organization like Mobile Meals and I hope you'll consider attending this event, donating to them if you can't, or volunteering some time to help with their events, programs or meal delivery.

You won't be disappointed!

Save the dates - filling in on WSPD

I'll be filling in again for Brian Wilson on 1370 WSPD Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct. 22-24) next week from 3-6 p.m. Eastern.

Working on some great guests right now. Hope you'll tune in!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Challenging the foundations of the Green Establishment

I've always said that conservatives don't want to destroy the environment (that whole 'conserve' portion of the description should be a clue), but that we differ from liberals and environmentalists who look at mankind as the enemy, rather than the owner, of the resources. No owner wants to completely decimate their property, whether it's water or trees or air, because then it can no longer produce that which we value.

Some - maybe many - environmentalists consider any use of nature and natural resources to be a travesty, as if a tree that continues to grow is more important than the wood it could provide to keep a family warm. What many fail to realize is that people are the most important resource, not an afterthought or a scourge upon the earth.

Can the two completely opposite views ever be reconciled? I don't know, but I think the ideas coming from the Heritage Foundation are valuable and worth considering.

That's why I'm sharing this summary from the National Center for Policy Analysis because I think it's an interesting, new - and desirable - way to look at environmental issues.

Challenging the Foundations of the Green Establishment

For too long, environmental thinking has been guided by constant bad news. Reports from the dwindling supply of natural resources to technological advances that hurt the environment have justified an increasing role of government regulation and shrinkage of personal liberty, says Robert Gordon of the Heritage Foundation.

However, many policies sought by the environmental establishment do nothing more than cost taxpayers billions with nothing to show for it. Those in the minority of environmental debates have little power to change the worldview that many people have accepted: that humans are ruining the environment and the government has the responsibility of protecting it.

Instead, a new code of ethics needs to emerge: an American Conservation Ethic that challenges the current worldview that many environmentalists hold. This would allow a formation of new ideas and policies that protect the environment without sacrificing freedoms and liberty to the government:

•People are the most important resource.
•Renewable natural resources are resilient and respond positively to wise management.
•Private property protections and free markets provide the most promising new opportunities for environmental improvement.
•Efforts to reduce, control and provide remedies for pollution should achieve real benefits.
•Use scientific, technological and artistic knowledge to get more for less.
•Management of natural resources should be conducted on a site- and situation-specific basis.
•Science should be employed as a tool to guide public policy.
•Finally, the most successful policies are rooted in liberty.

Rather than leave it to the government to infringe on the liberties and freedoms of individuals, the American Conservation Ethic can provide smart, practical solutions to environmental policy.

Source: Robert Gordon, "Individuals, Liberty, and the Environment: Challenging the Foundations of the Green Establishment," Heritage Foundation, October 10, 2012.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TPS's Pickett Elementary: I'm outraged and you should be too

For years, I've been angry about Pickett Elementary being in academic emergency. Now I'm OUTRAGED and I want to know - why aren't YOU!?!

First, let's get some facts out of the way. I'm a proud graduate of Woodward High School, Point Place Junior High (no longer in existence) and Edgewater Elementary.

I had terrific teachers, caring and competent administrators and I believe I received a good education. It wasn't the best in the world, as I found when I started college and realized that many of my classmates were ahead in their learning, but it was good and it taught me not just facts and figures, but "how" to learn. And that has served me well throughout my life so far.

So this is not a criticism of public schools, but of a public school system that so completely and totally fails in its mission to educate kids.

Back to Pickett...

Here is a link to their 2010-2011 school report card, the most recent available at the Ohio Department of Education website.

It shows some very scary statistics, especially when you consider we're talking about children.

For instance, the 4th and 5th grade scores actually decreased in both reading and math compared to the 2009-10 school year.

And this is despite paying Susan Koester, principal, $87,893.00 - the 11th highest paid employee in the entire school district!

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2001, there were supposed to be consequences when schools did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards, as Wikipedia explains:

* Schools that miss AYP for a second consecutive year are publicly labeled as being "in need of improvement" and are required to develop a two-year improvement plan for the subject that the school is not teaching well. Students are given the option to transfer to a better school within the school district, if any exists.
* Missing AYP in the third year forces the school to offer free tutoring and other supplemental education services to struggling students.
* If a school misses its AYP target for a fourth consecutive year, the school is labelled as requiring "corrective action," which might involve wholesale replacement of staff, introduction of a new curriculum, or extending the amount of time students spend in class.
* A fifth year of failure results in planning to restructure the entire school; the plan is implemented if the school fails to hit its AYP targets for the sixth year in a row. Common options include closing the school, turning the school into a charter school, hiring a private company to run the school, or asking the state office of education to run the school directly.

Koester was part of the replacement of the staff required under NCLB, rather than the other options of reopening as a charter school, contracting with someone else to run the school, or allowing the state to take over.

But note that this wholesale change should have happened after four years of failing to meet AYP.

The Toledo Public School Board waiting until eight years had passed before they made this change!

Eight years!

So Koester took over in the 2008-09 school year and while the school did meet the AYP 'participation' indicators, they did not meet their 'proficiency' indicators.

Basically, they got credit for showing up.

Here's what she had to say just before she started in her position as principal:

"I'm tired of people saying it can't be done," said Susan Koester, Pickett's new principal, who sought the job. "Wherever they are when they come here, we're going to get them where they need to be."

Apparently not.

In most of the tested categories, reading and math for third, fourth and fifth grades, only 1/3 of the students are testing proficient.


In the 2010-11 tests, 59.6% of third graders managed to score proficient in math. That's great for the individual student, but that's still a failing grade overall. At least, it was when I was in school where a 60% was definitely an F.

The preliminary data for the 2011-12 is no better.

It shows that Picket AGAIN! failed to meet AYP and met zero of the performance indicators.

That's right: zero, zilch, nada!

This is not just unbelievable - it's a tragedy and a disgrace!

Are you outraged yet???

Somewhere along the way, the name of the school was changed to Pickett Academy and Koester is out and Martha Jude is in. The school has also been included in the new United Way Community Hub initiative.

The hub concept bring together multiple types of services - not just for kids - at the schools, including such things as

* Activities before and after school
* Tutoring and mentoring
* Medical, dental, and mental health services
* College-prep, GED, and adult education
* Free tax preparation
* Budgeting and saving classes
* Employment and housing resources

depending on the needs and desires of the community.

But is this enough to help the current students achieve success?

And what about the last 12 years of kids they've sent on to Scott High School, which only met the performance indicators in four of 10 tested areas (reading and writing in the 10th and 11th grade Ohio Graduation Test) in the 2010-11 school year.

For 2011-12, Jesup W. Scott High School met zero performance indicators and failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress.

It's no wonder when the high school is getting kids from Pickett!

To it's credit, the Toledo Federation of Teachers had offered to try a new type of education plan at Pickett. It would have been a teacher-led school, but the board had to reject it because there wouldn't have been a principal in the school structure and that would have violated the contract TPS has with the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel, the union representing principals. (And why do the principals even need a union?!?)

I have no idea if it would have worked or not, but it seems like a pretty lame excuse to let kids continue to fail. (Tell me again how politicians and unions are all about helping the kids and not themselves?)

This is not the fault of the kids. And it's probably not entirely the fault of the teachers and parents, though I'm sure there is some blame for them to share.

This is the fault of the system, the administration, the unions, and the elected school board members, all five of whom are Democrats.

It's also the fault of people like our Toledo City Council and the editorial board at The Blade who continually push school levies, including the new 4.9 mill, 10-year levy that is on the November ballot, in spite of the gross and sickening failure of Pickett to actually provide an education to an entire generation of kids.

And yes, the community bears some blame as well for allowing this to continue.

Well, you have a chance on November 6th to make a difference. Tell TPS 'NO' on their levy request. Tell them you want to see significant improvement at Pickett and all the other schools before they get any more money.

In this case, it really is 'for the children.'

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Husted sets early voting hours for 3 days before election

In light of the Supreme Court's rejection of his early voting appeal, Secretary of State Jon Husted has issued a directive to all Ohio Boards of Election setting uniform early voting hours for the weekend before the Nov. 6th election.

The hours are:

* Saturday, November 3, 2012 – 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

* Sunday, November 4, 2012 – 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m

* Monday, November 5, 2012 – 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Had he not issued the directive, boards of elections would have been able to set their own hours, resulting in no uniformity across the state.

The director also reminds boards that "any voter in line when that day’s hours for in-person absentee voting ends, may remain in line to apply for and receive an absentee ballot in person."

BREAKING: US Supreme Court rejects Husted appeal on early voting weekend hours

Gongwer Ohio is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Secretary of State Jon Husted's request for stay of a decision regarding in-person voting during the three days before the Nov. 6th election.

The decision means that individual county boards of elections will be able to decide whether or not to open early vote centers those days.

This also means that there could be no uniformity of voting hours in Ohio if individual boards decide make different decisions regarding those hours of operation.

The decision of some counties to open their early vote centers while others were closed those three days is part of what sparked the lawsuit in the first place. Democrats claimed that Republican-leaning county BOEs voted to be open while Democratic-leaning counties were not. Obama for America, the National Democratic Party and the Ohio Democratic Party filed the suit against Husted.

Looks like we're back where we started....

Quote of the Day - the 'cult of the individual'

I'm working on a detailed post about the Toledo Public School finances (yes, another one with new information). The post is critical in light of the recent Blade editorial supporting their request for a new, additional 4.9 mill levy for 10 years.

I couldn't believe it when I read that TPS will have to cut $22 million out of the budget if they don't get $13 million in new taxes each year.

So I'm looking at the financial data directly from the TPS website to see what they've projected. I've already learned enough to debunk the claim, but I want to be sure all the data is current and accurate, so it may take me a day or two to do all the checking.

In the meantime, here's a great quote to remember, especially in light of the trends toward collectivism that we see so often today:

"Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all." ~ Nikita S. Khrushchev

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hey Ohio, Obama IS waging a war on coal; billboard campaign begins

Yes, the President, his administration, his bureaucrats and his party are all waging a war on coal, as these new billboards demonstrate.

These words, from Barack Obama, V.P. Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu prove it - no matter what Sen. Sherrod Brown claims.

“There is no war on coal. Period,” Brown said during a debate Monday with Republican rival Josh Mandel sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland, the first of three scheduled over the next two weeks.

I can't help but wonder what Brown has been smoking to make such a claim! Or is he just that stupid? Perhaps he's just that partisan!

I'm sure he'd rather ignore the comments and pleas of Ohio coal miners who Friday called on Pres. Obama to stop his false ads about them and the war on coal. You, know, the same miners who, in this video, called Brown a "job killer."

Here is the Press Release from the Ohio Coal Association:

Coalition Launches Billboard Campaign in Ohio After Biden, Obama, Chu Comments

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Coal Association joined today with four other state coal associations to launch a billboard campaign highlighting the anti-coal positions of the Obama Administration. These billboards contain actual quotes from Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu regarding their disdain for American coal.

“The Ohio Coal Association wants people in the Buckeye State to know the truth about President Obama and his war on coal, which is undermining low-cost electricity and destroying tens of thousands of jobs.” said Mike Carey, Chair of the Ohio Coal Association.

“This billboard initiative is supported by the state coal associations of Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania,and West Virginia, and is funded by the Ohio Coal Association. These coal-producing states have felt firsthand the economic damage that this Administration has caused. It is time to stand up and stop the war on coal."

Images of the three billboards can be found by visiting and below.

15 AGs join Ohio to fight federal court interference in state election laws

Press Release from the Jon Husted, Ohio Secretary of State:


Columbus - Attorneys general from 15 different states today joined Secretary of State Jon Husted (R-Ohio) in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and preserve the authority of the states to run state elections.

The attorneys general filed a joint amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court this evening in support of Secretary Husted's recent appeal of a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Obama v. Husted. States signing on include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

"If allowed to stand, the precedent set by this decision in the state of Ohio will have far reaching consequences for all 50, whether they are 'red,' 'blue,' or 'swing' states," Secretary Husted said. "Each of these 15 states has different voting rules and elections systems, but the one principle we all stand on is that state legislatures and not the federal courts should run elections."

In addition to the attorneys general, a group of military advocacy organizations joined Ohio in the appeal this evening. They continue to argue that when states adopt special accommodations to help military voters participate in elections, it does not constitute an equal protection violation as the Obama plaintiffs have argued.

Military intervenors include the National Guard Association of the United States, Association of the U.S. Army, Association of the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps League, the Military Officers Association of America, the Reserve Officers Association, the National Association for Uniformed Services, the Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA, the Army Reserve Association, the Fleet Reserve Association, the Special Forces Association, U.S. Army Ranger Association, Inc., AMVETS, the National Defense Committee and the Military Order of the World Wars.


An excerpt from the attorneys general brief: "The general trend for election processes has been an expansion of opportunities for voters to exercise their rights. Indeed, Ohio has been one of the leaders in this area. All states have an intense interest in the Sixth Circuit's injunction of Ohio election law and the court's rejection of state sovereignty in the area of election processes. And the questions presented raise issues of national jurisprudential significance: whether there is an unconstitutional burden placed on voters who have more than ample opportunities to vote, and whether the unique status of our men and women serving in the military justifies special voting opportunities. The states have a vital interest in these issues."

Coal miners fight back against Obama lies

President Barack Obama has earned the wrath of Ohio coal miners who don't like it when his campaign lies about them.

I count at least 100 miners in this video, but the spokesman said more would have been present if not for the fact that they were still (for the time being) working.

Watch the entire's worth it!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy belated birthday, U.S. Navy!

I fell badly that I didn't get this posted yesterday, the actual date, but Happy Birthday U.S. Navy!

From the Naval History and Heritage website:

The Chief of Naval Operations has stated that the Navy Birthday is one of the two Navy-wide dates to be celebrated annually.

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.

In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navys birthday. In contrast to Navy Day, the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees, and dependents. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service."

So to all sailors, past and present, including my dad, brother and father-in-law, thank you for your service - and Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quote of the Day - auto bailout and drunk drivers

The bolded sections are my own emphasis:

‎Calling the bailouts “successful” is to whitewash the diversion of funds from the Troubled Assets Relief Program by two administrations for purposes unauthorized by Congress; the looting and redistribution of claims against GM’s and Chrysler’s assets from shareholders and debt-holders to pensioners; the use of questionable tactics to bully stakeholders into accepting terms to facilitate politically desirable outcomes; the unprecedented encroachment by the executive branch into the finest details of the bankruptcy process to orchestrate what bankruptcy law experts describe as “Sham” sales of Old Chrysler to New Chrysler and Old GM to New GM; the costs of denying Ford and the other more deserving automakers the spoils of competition; the costs of insulating irresponsible actors, such as the United Autoworkers, from the outcomes of an apolitical bankruptcy proceeding; the diminution of U.S. moral authority to counsel foreign governments against similar market interventions; and the lingering uncertainty about the direction of policy under the current administration that pervades the business environment to this very day.

In addition to the above, there is the fact that taxpayers are still short tens of billions of dollars on account of the GM bailout without serious prospects for ever being made whole. Thus, acceptance of the administration’s pronouncement of auto bailout success demands profound gullibility or willful ignorance. Sure, GM has experienced recent profits and Chrysler has repaid much of its debt to the Treasury. But if proper judgment is to be passed, then all of the bailout’s costs and benefits must be considered. Otherwise, calling the bailout a success is like applauding the recovery of a drunken driver after an accident, while ignoring the condition of the family he severely maimed.' ~ Dan Ikenson's testimony to Congress

Friday, October 12, 2012

Difference between Rs and Ds on charity in 4 lines

The striking difference between Republicans and Democrats (or conservatives and liberals, if you prefer) when it comes to charity was on display last night in the Vice Presidential debate between V.P. Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan.

As the discussion on unemployment, jobs and the economy progressed, Biden brought up the 47% comment Romney made at a fundraising event.

In response, Ryan tells a touching story about Mitt Romney designed to show Romney's compassion, kindness and how he lives the principles of his faith in caring for others. It is also a perfect set-up for Ryan's zinger on the 47% comment.

Here is the transcript:

RYAN: He talks about Detroit. Mitt Romney’s a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northbourough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed. The Romneys didn’t know them. They went to the same church; they never met before.

Mitt asked if he could come over on Christmas. He brought his boys, his wife, and gifts. Later on, he said, “I know you’re struggling, Mark. Don’t worry about their college. I’ll pay for it.”

When Mark told me this story, because, you know what, Mitt Romney doesn’t tell these stories. The Nixons told this story. When he told me this story, he said it wasn’t the help, the cash help. It’s that he gave his time, and he has consistently.

This is a man who gave 30% of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined. Mitt Romney’s a good man. He cares about 100% of Americans in this country. And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.


Biden's response:

BIDEN: The idea — if you heard that — that little soliloquy on 47% and you think he just made a mistake, then I think you’re — I — I think — I got a bridge to sell you.

Look, I don’t doubt his personal generosity. And I understand what it’s like. When I was a little younger than the congressman, my wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived. I have sat in the homes of many people who’ve gone through what I get through, because the one thing you can give people solace is to know if they know you’ve been through it, that they can make it. So I don’t doubt his personal commitment to individuals. But you know what? I know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. He just — he said, let it go bankrupt, period. Let it drop out. All this talk — we saved a million jobs. Two hundred thousand people are working today.

And I’ve never met two guys who’re more down on America across the board. We’re told everything’s going bad. There are 5.2 million new jobs, private-sector jobs. We need more, but 5.2 million — if they’d get out of the way, if they’d get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they get out of the way and pass the — pass the jobs bill, if they get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside down, but they never missed a mortgage payment, just get out of the way.

Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility.

There was some more and GM did go bankrupt, but never mind that fact...

It is the last four sentences that really struck me and it perfectly epitomizes the difference between the parties and their two philosophical positions.

Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility.

Biden thinks that charity should be a government policy.

He also thinks charity should be seen, preferably in a law or bill.

He obviously believes that something you do individually should be transported into government doing it too - or instead. He seems to be saying that unless you make your personal commitment to charity (or caring for others) into a government policy, it doesn't mean anything.

He's completely wrong, but too many people seem to agree with him.

As I always say when people challenge me and others on government charity, in my Christian faith, Jesus commanded each of us to care for the poor. He didn't tell us to pay taxes so the government could care for the poor instead. He gave the instruction to us as individuals.

And He certainly didn't tell us to force other people to be charitable, which is what results when such thinkers impose taxes on all to pay for the charity they personally believe is needed or desired.

Additionally, Jesus teaches us that our charity is not something to be done in public and bragged about. In Matthew 6: 1-4 He says:

"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."

This is exactly opposite of what politicians do. They take our money and then brag about all the 'good' they're doing and all the help they're giving to the poor, underserved and needy.

That's not charity.

And people who believe the Democratic position - or advocate it, as some preachers today are doing - are not only abdicating their obligation to care for others, they're expecting you to do the same.

I don't believe God is pleased by this.

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