Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ohio Supreme Court orders Ballot Board to certify health care freedom amendment language

This just in via email (great news!):

For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Supreme Court: Health Care Freedom Amendment to Move Forward

Ohio Supreme Court Orders Ballot Board to Certify Amendment Language

Columbus - The Ohio Supreme Court today unanimously ruled Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board abused their discretion and violated Ohio law in rejecting ballot language for the proposed Ohio Health Care Freedom Constitutional Amendment. The ruling is a significant victory for constitutional initiative rights, Ohio's grass-roots liberty movement, and health care freedom in Ohio. The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a non-profit constitutional rights advocacy firm, argued the case on behalf of amendment sponsors the Ohio Liberty Council.

The court ordered Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board to immediately certify the language and allow the petitioners to begin collecting signatures to qualify the issue for the November ballot. A copy of the court ruling is available here.

"Today's Supreme Court decision upheld the constitutionally-granted rights of citizens to petition their government even when the arbitrary and self-serving decisions of Secretary Brunner and the ballot board attempt to block them," said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson, who also drafted the amendment. "Secretary Brunner and the ballot board tried to use their purely administrative powers to destroy a citizen-initiated amendment with which they disagreed. Thankfully, the court checked this abuse, and Ohioans will have the opportunity to put the preservation of their health care freedom to a vote."

In the decision, the justices wrote, "the ballot board abused its discretion and clearly disregarded R.C. 3505.62." Further, the court upheld the special protections contained in the Ohio Constitution granting citizens the right to petition government.

On April 9, the ballot board rejected the proposed Health Care Freedom Constitutional Amendment. It ordered the Ohio Liberty Council to resubmit the measure as two separate amendments. The ballot board's ruling would have required the group to rewrite its constitutional amendment, and gather two sets of 402,276 signatures for two separate amendments by June 30. However, the 1851 Center argued the amendment addressed only one subject and should move forward as one constitutional amendment. The Supreme Court agreed.

Further, the court wrote, "the ballot board has a clear legal duty to liberally construe the right of initiative, and as long as the citizen-initiated proposed amendment bears some reasonable relationship to a single general object or purpose, the board must certify its approval of the amendment as written without dividing it into multiple petitions."

The amendment provides that:

* In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system;
* In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; and
* In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

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


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I did NOT endorse Dan Steingraber

I was just emailed a photo of a flyer being sent out by Lucas County Commissioner Candidate Dan Steingraber and I want to be sure everyone knows that the claim that I have endorsed him is completely false and, I believe, intentionally misleading.

Here is the flyer:

You can clearly see my name underneath the "Endorsed" heading. He has a quote from my blog post, The questionable value of a Blade endorsement, right underneath a quote from the Blade's own editorial endorsement of him.

This is clearly meant to imply that I have endorsed his candidacy. Nothing could be further from the truth and I call on him to stop using this flyer in his campaign.

I did NOT endorse Dan Steingraber and am appalled and outraged that he took a sentence from my blog post out of context to imply that I had. While my words are quoted accurately, it was not an endorsement of him nor his campaign.

Here is the entire quote:

Please don't misunderstand my statements which follow. I believe Steingraber is a solid fiscal conservative, a good businessman and I'm glad to have him as a choice on my own Republican ballot. He's certainly not disappointed me like fellow candidate Toledo Councilman George Sarantou has when it comes to votes on increasing government and raising taxes.

But as a Republican who will be casting a vote for one of the three candidates (the third being Springfield Township Trustee Andy Glenn) for this position on May 4th, the Blade's endorsement is not reassuring. ...

I have not endorsed for the primary for Lucas County Commissioner and did not intend to.

However, as a result of this action, I can clearly say that Steingraber is NOT my choice and will NOT receive my vote.

Failed logic on Issue 5 from Toledo politicians

I just received a press release from Mayor Mike Bell:

Bell To Urge Support for Issue 5
Ballot Initiative Will Help Reduce Garbage Fee

Mayor Michael P. Bell will hold a press conference this afternoon, Tuesday, April 27 at 3:30 p.m. outside of Council Chambers encouraging voters to support Issue 5 on the May ballot. He will also announce the 2010 capital program which includes 87 lane miles of street resurfacing.

What: Mayor Bell Urges Support for Issue 5

When: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
3:30 p.m.

Where: One Government Center
Outside Council Chambers


This is the second time a Toledo politician has said that voters should support a transfer of capital funds (CIP) into the daily operating (general) fund in order to reduce the garbage tax.

What the politicians fail to point out is that they just raised the garbage tax!

My trash tax went from $1 per month to $15 per month. That's a 1400% increase!

So they've raised our taxes and then tell us that if we allow them to take money away from our long-term needs (like roads and infrastructure), they'll reduce that tax. Now, they'll only reduce it to $8.50 per month for people like me who recycle. That's still a 750% increase, but I'm supposed to be so grateful that I'll make a decision to sacrifice my long-term needs for a short-term reduction.

Of course, there's no promise whatsoever that after they deplete the CIP account they won't turn again to the garbage tax to provide income to cover their daily operating costs.

In fact, much of the money they'll move into the general fund if Issue 5 passes will go directly to the unions for the 'concessions' they made. Under the terms of the concessions, if Issue 5 passes, the unions will get reimbursed for the items they gave up.

I cannot be more clear about our situation: it is unsustainable! We have costs that far outweigh the income and these 'temporary' solutions do not solve the problem - merely postpone it.

It is short-sighted and we need to tell them all NO! on Issue 5. Our elected officials need to make the same difficult decisions we're all making in our daily lives and start cutting out non-mandatory things. Then they need to go through the Toledo Municipal Code and start repealing ordinances that present a drain on the city finances. If they instituted a board or commission by ordinance and then funded it, they can repeal the ordinance and de-fund it.

I cannot afford $180 a year which is what we're currently paying. I also cannot afford $102 a year (if Issue 5 passes) AND the yearly costs of re-aligning two vehicles because our roads are so bad, not to mention paying so that employees of the city can get their portion of their pension contribution covered by me. That money should be going into my own personal 401(k) which doesn't have an 'employer' portion since I'm self-employed.

I suspect many of you can't afford this either.

Government has got to get its costs in line - and they won't do that if we keep giving them money to continue their current practices.

Monday, April 26, 2010

How did GM get my email address?

This was in my in box yesterday:

From: "Your GM Team"
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2010 4:57 PM
Subject: Important Announcement from General Motors Company

Dear Maggie,

We are proud to announce we have repaid our government loan – in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule. We realize we still have more to do. Our goal is to exceed every expectation you've set for us. We're designing, building and selling the best cars and trucks in the world. Like the award-winning Chevy Malibu, the all-new Buick LaCrosse, the versatile Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon and the innovative GMC Terrain, just to name a few. We invite you to learn more about the new GM and join our community, by visiting

Susan E. Docherty
Vice President, U.S. Marketing

This is an e-mail advertisement.
If you prefer not to receive any unsolicited marketing e-mails regarding GM products and services, please click here.
To view our privacy statement, click here. We cannot reply to all responses to this e-mail.
©2010 General Motors | 100 Renaissance Center | 482.A00.MAR | Detroit, MI 48265

Now, I know that the only reason they paid off their loan was because they had TARP money. So they borrowed money from the government to repay a loan made by the government and are thinking people will be glad about this, as if it's some sort of major accomplishment?

That works so well for people with credit cards, so why shouldn't GM try the same thing? (sarcasm)

But to be so blatant as to advertise this fact in commercials and unsolicited emails is pretty brazen. Do they not realize how many people actually know the truth? Or are they just betting on the ignorance of the public to believe what they hear and not investigate.

Sorry - I know the answer to that question.

However, I do wonder how I got on their mailing list, considering that I've not signed up for anything from them. Conspiracy theorists would probably have a field day with this, being 'government motors' and all...

Oh - and my next vehicle will not be a car from GM, no matter how many emails they send me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Should taxpayers subsidize underwater homeowners?

That's the question asked in a very comprehensive column by Keith Hennessey:

Buying a house is a big deal. So is getting a mortgage. As with any investment, when you buy a house and a mortgage you assume both upside and downside risk. You are responsible for both sides of that bet, not someone else.

Hennessey looks at the proposals from the Obama Administration and some of the terms, as well as scenarios that are indicative of the situation some homeowners face.

One of his conclusions:

I would not use tax dollars to subsidize homeowners with fixed rate mortgages. It’s unfair to the taxpayers, those who rent, and those who might want to buy a home. It also slows down painful but inevitable housing market adjustments. I would treat a loss on a home’s value the same way I would treat an investment loss in the stock market. Both are private responsibilities of the investor.

I hope you'll read the entire article and educate yourself about the issue.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Round-Up 4-23-10

There are just too many issues I'd like to blog about and not enough time in the day, so here's a round-up:

* George Sarantou, a sitting Toledo city councilman and candidate for Lucas County commissioner, is urging people to approve Issue 5 on the May ballot which would divert monies from our Capital Improvement Fund to the General Fund. Oh - and he's a registered Republican.

Sarantou has been chairman of council Finance Committee for quite a while now, during which time the city has had increasing yearly deficits. He says that allowing the money to be diverted from our long-term needs like roads and major improvements, will allow the city to reduce the new trash tax of $15 that he supported. Yes - he voted to increase our taxes.

However, approval of Issue 5 will only reduce the new tax to $8.50 per month for people who recycle. However, that's still an increase over the $1 per month we're currently paying. So he's supporting a tax increase. And, he supporting diverting money into the general fund because they (the city council) is still spending more money than they take in! It's just a shell game, moving money around because they will not do what is necessary to bring spending in line.

* Exigent Circumstances. It's a term Toledoans have learned over the last several months. Having the city declare 'exigent circumstances' allows it to impose cuts in wages/benefits/pension contributions outside of the collective bargaining process. City Council voted in favor of exigent circumstances and set some criteria for those cuts.

Since then, several of the city unions have agreed to voluntary concessions, though some of those concessions are only for the remainder of the year and some of them will be restored if Issue 5, discussed above, is passed by voters.

It appears that 'exigent circumstances' was a very clever bargaining tool to get the unions back to the table and agree to cuts. However, now that these unions have done so (only the police unions - patrolmen and command officers - have voted down the proposals), the exigent circumstances have been removed and the new agreements approved by council.

The problem is that the financial deficits of the city have not be fully addressed. We have unsustainable obligations and not enough money and many of those obligations will be back up to the high levels as of January 1, 2011. This is part of the reason Sarantou and other members of council want to take money out of the CIP budget...

If exigent circumstances was used only as a negotiating tool, it cannot be used again. The unions have now seen that card played and will not make the same mistake in 2011. If, however, Mayor Mike Bell uses the rest of the year to truly bring the contracts into line with available funding, it will have been a card well-played.

We'll see what happens between now and December 31.

* There's something wrong with the people supporting Ohio's state Issue 1. The proponent radio ads are promoting this as 'people' and not 'government.' However, this is a government program, so I guess perhaps I'm just too logical to 'get it.'

Issue 1 would allow the state to issue bonds - read: borrow money - to offer to businesses for certain types of 'economic development.' The borrowed money has to be repaid, including interest. This means that the state's general fund dollars - our tax dollars - must be used at some point in time to make those payments. While this may not be a 'new' tax, it is still a program that relies upon limited and declining tax dollars to fund it.

It also means that government - whether by an appointed board or by elected officials - will determine who gets the money from the account. Government will be picking winners and losers in terms of the funding. This is not the role of government.

Instead of taxing Ohioans to pay for borrowing and interest in order to give money to selected organizations or companies, why not just lower the overall tax rate so everyone benefits? That would certainly do more to promote economic growth and jobs than anything else. And it wouldn't put government in the position of deciding who gets to succeed thanks to help from the government - and who doesn't.

Even in you believe Issue 1 is a good idea that should be supported, you must agree that commercials saying it's people and not government doing this are wrong and intentionally contradictory to the truth.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, so I thought this passage from the book of Genesis in the Bible was very appropriate:

Genesis 1

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

I do not know the method by which God created this magnificent planet on which we live, but I do not need to know that in order to appreciate the unique nature of a world with atmosphere, water, temperature and everything else that allows us to live and survive here.

I believe the spectacular beauty evident everywhere we look, from a flower to a sunrise, is more than just a random confluence of circumstances and that a higher power had to have in role in creating and guiding the Earth's development.

As a conservative, I believe in conservation of resources and good stewardship of the wonder that is Earth. But unlike some who promote this day, I do not believe that man is subservient to nature or that we must elevate nature over the needs of man.

God gave us - charged us - with dominion over all He made, so we must take the responsibility for guardianship seriously by using our resources wisely. And that is a good thing to remember on "Earth Day."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am not a child!

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." ~ George Bernard Shaw

I was reading through headlines today and came across this article about the plans for the Food and Drug Administration to begin regulating salt.

Apparently, according to the article, we're just too stupid to know what's good for us and continue to do things in our private lives that the government and 'experts' just don't approve of.

"Until now, the government has pushed the food industry to voluntarily reduce salt and tried to educate consumers about the dangers of excessive sodium. But in a study to be released Wednesday, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine concludes that those measures have failed. The panel will recommend that the government take action, according to sources familiar with the findings."

See? They've tried to tell us that salt is bad but we just don't listen.

They've tried to get companies to reduce salt in their food products, but apparently, we, as consumers, don't happen to like those kinds of changes and won't purchase those reduced-salt products in enough volume to make them profitable.

But the arrogance of these 'experts' continues to astound me.

"We can't just rely on the individual to do something," said Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who served on the Institute of Medicine committee.

You cannot be trusted to behave in a manner that someone else thinks is right, so you must be forced into conformity through government regulations on suppliers.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as this is the standard route for 'advocates' to take. Failing to win the 'hearts and minds' of the individuals they seek to influence, groups turn to government to force their opinions/beliefs on others through laws and regulations.

But these 'experts' and the government know they can't just outlaw salt because there would be significant backlash. So they're going to gradually modify our behavior.

"This is a 10-year program," one source said. "This is not rolling off a log. We're talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient. We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people."

I cannot help but be reminded of the boiling frog scenario.

I used to love McDonald's french fries. I know they aren't good for me, but I didn't eat them every day. However, between the changes in the types of oils they use for frying them and the reduction in salt they put on them, I don't like them anymore. Even putting extra salt on them to make up for what they no longer use isn't enough. So I don't eat them at all anymore.

The consumer is smarter than the government and the experts.

Is salt bad for you? Not always. Too much salt can cause health problems in some people. A lack of salt in your system can also cause health problems. Government's one-size-fits-all approach certainly doesn't work for everyone and each of us should be responsible for our own bodies and our own health.

But that's not government's idea of how things should go. They obviously believe they exist to keep us from making bad decisions. They justify such action by saying that government incurs the cost for the consequences of poor health choices. But that's easily solved by having government STOP such actions that absolve the individual from the consequences of their decisions.

But just like with the bailouts, government uses the funding they've provided to dictate the terms and behaviors. Our government is telling companies what type of products to make because they own a significant stake in the company. And now that government health care is the law (for the time being, hopefully) why should we expect anything less than control over what we eat, how much we exercise and other behaviors that might result in health issues the government (actually taxpayers) will be paying for? They'll justify this with the phrase of the 'common good.' As everyone is paying for your health care, it's in everyone's best interest that you be forced to behave in a way that leads to your own good health.

Sounds like communist China to me. Though the government stops short of regulating food purchases of people who receive food stamps, even though many of those individuals are the very ones most in need of 'education' about healthy eating choices. But government, in its warped sense of fairness, can't let some people make their own choices because they make good ones while seeking to control the decisions of people who make bad choices - so everyone must be regulated.

These people who seek to control us know that they really can't control our eating or our choices. So, in the plan detailed in the article, they're going to control the products we purchase by regulating what food manufacturers can and cannot do within the free market.

I know how I'll respond: I won't purchase those products. And if all product choices have new regulations that cut out something I like, I'll just add it after the fact.

I am not a child whose eating habits need to be regulated by people who think they know better than me. I have a doctor whose opinion I trust infinitely more than some bureaucrat in Washington - or some epidemiologist who gets appointed to serve on some panel.

I am a free individual - or so I thought - who is responsible for myself and willing to abide by the consequences if I choose to eat salt - or any other product some do-gooders think I should avoid.

And this sentiment of freedom - liberty to live a life of one's own choosing - is what led our founders to establish this great nation. I cannot help but believe they would be appalled at what we have become.

"In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs." ~ Walter Lippmann

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bankrupt unemployment fund means serious trouble for Ohio

On Friday I received a press release from the Republican members of the Ohio House about the continued high unemployment rates in our state.

It was a standard position statement: we've got ideas and we want the other party to heed them. But there was something very troubling in the last part of the release:

On January 12, 2009 Ohio ran out of money in the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, which provides cash benefits for unemployed Ohioans and is funded by employer payroll taxes. The state began borrowing from the federal government to continue making payments to unemployed Ohioans. To date, Ohio has borrowed approximately $2 billion from the federal government, which must be paid back in the future. Debt projections of this nature are expected to reach $3 billion by the end of 2010.

I remember hearing about the fund running out of money last year, but I didn't realize that it still had no money and was continuing to borrow to cover the expenses.

And I certainly don't remember any news articles about this growing debt.

So I did some research and came across a guest column issued by State Senator Karen Gillmor on September 17, 2009, wherein she details the problem with the unemployment compensation fund:

Lawmakers established the Unemployment Compensation Advisory Council to recommend legislation that ensures a sound and legal unemployment compensation program for Ohio. I was honored to be appointed to this Council earlier this year.

You can imagine my surprise when I learned at my very first meeting that a July 2008 report prepared by Dr. Wayne Vroman of The Urban Institute, which makes a series of recommendations to improve the fund’s solvency, went virtually unheeded. That’s right – the Council knew the fund was in trouble, sought advice on how to head off trouble, and then failed to implement a single recommendation made by the expert they hired.

As a result, the fund became insolvent early this year for the first time since the 1980s. Beginning January 12, 2009, the State of Ohio began borrowing from the Federal government to continue making unemployment benefit payments, a sum totaling nearly $1.2 billion to date.

In April, State Auditor Mary Taylor cautioned against uncontrolled spending given our precarious economic condition. According to her projections, the state could be facing a budget shortfall of nearly $8 billion by 2013 – a problem further complicated by the state of the unemployment compensation fund.

Fortunately, the Federal stimulus bill delayed interest payments on the monies borrowed for our unemployment fund. But Ohio must begin repaying the estimated $4 billion in January 2011, when the Federal government will resume charging interest. Speculation is that the unemployment situation may not improve significantly until 2014.

So we've borrowed billions from the feds, will have to repay the money - and begin paying interest on the debt in January.

The unemployment compensation fund 'taxes' employers and puts the money collected into a separate account to pay out benefits when individuals are unemployed. The problem is that Ohio is paying out roughly $3 billion a year in benefits, but only collecting around $1 billion in employer contributions (2009 figures).

This isn't the first time Ohio has borrowed from the federal government to cover a shortage in this fund. We did so in the 1980s and it took eight years to repay the interest and principle. This time around, however, Propublica reports:

Ohio has been operating its trust fund at dangerously low levels for years, entering the recession with less than two months of reserves. The state was one of the first to begin borrowing at the beginning of 2009, and employers face a small tax increase from $266 to $270 per employee, on average, for 2010.

And with the economy the way it is, the state cannot just triple the rates on the employers who are actually still in the state. That's a sure way to push them elsewhere and discourage other companies from locating here.

Any increase in employer costs will have negative repercussions for the state's economy. Employers cannot just pass along those costs to consumers who have already cut back on spending, meaning they must be absorbed by the company (lowering any potential profits) or offset by cuts elsewhere in the company - perhaps laying off others, who then begin to collect what isn't there, thus exacerbating the problem.

So while Ohio employers did see a rate increase for 2010, there was no change in benefits distributed to out-of-work individuals.

Historically, states have relied upon boom times to build up their funds with enough money to cover the busts. Ohio's economy, however, hasn't seen the same 'boom' as other states and our 'busts' seem to last longer, too.

The state really can't do anything about unemployment as government doesn't create jobs. But state legislatures can implement business-friendly laws and tax rates that allow companies to grow. The recent phased-in tax changes were certainly a step in the right direction - until the legislature decided to halt this year's phase of cuts. You see, the politicians decided that government needed the money more than we did, which is always a problem.

In the long term, Ohio faces the same situation as the federal government - you can only borrow for so long before the bill comes due. And when it does, someone - meaning you and me - will have to pay.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It has a name: Huntington Center

Before I begin this post, let me first disclose that I bank at Huntington. Way back when, all our family and business banking was done at First National Bank. When they were taken over, they eliminated a product we'd been using, negatively impacting our banking processes. We looked for a new bank and Huntington was the only bank to work with us to address the need. So we switched the business and then the personal accounts to Huntington - and we've all been very happy with their services over the past 20 years.

So this post is NOT about Huntington Bank's banking services nor their customer service.

It is about the fact that the Lucas County arena has a new name, Huntington Center, as this bank has purchased the naming rights.

The naming rights were sold for $2.1 million.

Yes, that's right, $2.1 million. The article does say there is a separate sponsorship agreement and if the 6-year contract is renewed three times as allowed in the terms, the total could be $11 million.

So that's $11 million possible over 24 years.

We should be rejoicing, right?

Well, sort of. I'm glad they've found a name for the arena and that the total deal is greater than what was paid for the Mud Hens' 5/3 Field. However, this is short of what was budgeted.

The original budget called for $14 million in naming rights alone. That amount was dedicated to the construction of the facility and, according to the news reports, the proceeds from the agreement will got toward paying down the $90 million debt.

The arena was originally budgeted at $85 million. The final constructions costs were roughly $105 million. The sources of revenue identified were questionable in terms of actually coming in at the rate projected and now that we have the naming rights settled, we have a better picture of just how much we don't have for a facility that cost $20 million more than estimated.

So where are we short? Well, let's start with the $20 million fronted by the County Commissioners that doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar for repayment.

The commissioners counted on $12.5 million from the states' capital budget through the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission. We only got $7.7 million, so we're short $4.8 million there.

Considering the economy, I question whether or not we're making $1.5 million a year in hotel/motel taxes. The commissioners budgeted a total of $42.5 million over 30 years from that revenue source.

The commissioners also thought they'd collect money from parking. I don't know if you've heard anything about that, but I haven't see any agreements with parking lot owners on the agenda for approval by the Board of Commissioners, so that's another source of revenue not met.

So what's the bottom line? Good question. Apparently no one in the main stream media wants to know, as they're not asking the question, or if they are, they're not reporting on the answer.

But I can tell you, as I've done before, that we - the taxpayers of Lucas County - are on the hook. The commissioners have pledged the full backing of the taxing authority of the county against any shortfalls.

I hope the arena is so successful that the revenue can cover the $8 million shortfall from unrealized revenue sources in addition to the roughly $32 million the county fronted from the Capital Improvements Funds as well as the roughly $25 million in additional costs to construct the facility.

I'm hopeful - but not stupid. I expect that sooner or later, the county will have to not fund certain items in order to ensure the interest and principle on the bonds are paid. And when the county doesn't have enough money in the general fund to do everything they're already doing plus cover that debt, they'll come to us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Parties and candidate debates

I've received several notices of upcoming events, so I've compiled them for you.


* Thursday, April 15th, Hood Park, Perrysburg, 6 p.m.

* Saturday, April 17th, BGSU Clock Tower Mall, 1 p.m.

* Saturday, April 17th, Homecoming Park in Wauseon (Fulton County), 3 p.m.


* Monday, April 19th, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Maumee Branch. (501 River Rd.)

The Children of Liberty host the Democrat Primary candidates for the vacant Lucas County Commissioner seat, currently held by Mr. Ben Konop.

The following candidates were invited: Carol Contrada, Art Jones, Ben Krompak, Earl Murry, Tim Porter and Michael Zychowicz. Organizers were awaiting confirmation from all candidates.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Debate begins at 6:30 p.m. Seating capacity is 100 people.

* Tuesday, April 20th, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, West Toledo Branch (1320 Sylvania Ave., Toledo)

The Children of Liberty host the Libertarian Primary candidates for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District Representative, the seat currently held by Congresswoman Kaptur. Candidates Joseph Jaffe and Jeremy Swartz will participate.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Debate begins at 6:30 p.m. Seating capacity is 70 people

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trash tax, recycling and the city landfill

I know - not exactly what you'd like to read about, but this issue and how it's been handled is typical of the warped thinking that goes on in government.

Let's start several years ago when the City of Toledo began telling residents that we were running out of space in our landfill. I don't recall all the research I did on the issue and the specifics of the amount of time left and the options, but I do recall concluding that the city was prudent to begin looking at options to extend the life of the landfill.

Recycling is an obvious option that would cut down on reusable waste in the facility and would provide a 'raw material' for various industries specializing in recycled products. So recycling seemed like a good idea.

The City of Toledo had tried to get out of its curbside recycling program when I was serving as a Commissioner (2003 through 2006) because it was costing so much money. However, the entire county would have incurred much higher costs if the largest municipality (Toledo) did not have a curb-side recycling program. (thank you state and federal governments for your mandates!) So Toledo administration at the time (Jack Ford was mayor) decided not to eliminate that program.

Shortly thereafter, financial conditions in the city began to deteriorate - rapidly. So the city decided that the two factors - a need for more tax dollars and the landfill space - presented a great opportunity to tax the public. Hence the trash tax.

Karen Shanahan sued the city over the tax saying that it wasn't a 'fee' as they claimed, but was a general revenue tax that should have gone to the voters for approval. That case is still in court. But her comments - and the comments of others at the time, including my own - have been proven correct: that if the city gets away with doing this, they will turn to this tax whenever they are short on money. And that's exactly what has happened.

Since the tax was first imposed, the amount has changed. Originally, you were supposed to pay one fee for 'garbage' and a lesser one if you recycled. The lesser amount was to encourage the recycling, thus helping the landfill space issue. But because curb-side recycling was not very wide-spread, the city expected a significant yearly sum from those who were going to pay the full amount.

The tax was supposed to be reduced on a regular basis until those who recycled paid nothing. Unfortunately for the tax payers, though, the city faced further financial woes and 'suspended' the planned reduction. As of the first of 2010, the tax was $8.50/month for those who don't recycle and $1/month for those who do.

As part of the budget passed at the end of March, the city council approved a plan from Mayor Mike Bell to raise the trash tax to $15/month, regardless of recycling.

Just recently, Deputy Mayor Steve Herwatt was in the news talking about the huge increase the city has seen in recycling. I believe this is a result of the new containers and the fact that residents no longer have to separate their recyclables. As part of the original pilot trash program, I know that being able to put all my recyclable products into a single container made it much easier to recycle, though I did so prior to the arrival of the test containers. So it comes as no surprise to me that having a single, large can in which to dump all those items means that more people are actually sorting their garbage.

This is great news for our landfill, but ... the city still needs money.

So what is the city going to do? Sell space in the landfill!!!!!!

Yep, you've got that right! An item on city council's agenda tonight is this:

O-138-10 Authorizing the Mayor and the Director of Public Service to enter into a five (5)-year Agreement to accept Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generated and collected within Lucas County, Ohio from Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service (“Stevens”), at the Hoffman Road Landfill, to generate revenue of approximately $600,000 per year; authorizing the acceptance and deposit of revenues into the General Fund; and declaring an emergency.

Now, there may be very valid reasons for entering into this contract, especially for waste generated and collected within the county, but don't tell the voters they have to pay a trash tax because you're running out of landfill space if you've got space to sell!

And if the recycling is going so well as to give us more life in our landfill (the main concern that prompted all these actions), why would you want to then fill that space with trash from somewhere else? Doesn't that just put us back into the original position of running out of space sooner rather than later?

There is no logic to this decision. If we've been successful in extending the life of the landfill, we cannot then turn around and eliminate those additional years by selling the space that's been created.

Can you say stuck on stupid?

But this goes back to my opening sentences. It's warped logic that says the money generated from the sale in the short term is more important than the much more costly problem we'll face in the long term.

Toledoans have done their part to extend the life of the landfill- and paid dearly in additional taxes for the privilege of doing so - and city council is about to throw all that away for $600,000 a year.

They must see us only as a source of cash so they don't have to make the difficult decisions that are necessary to put this city back on a prudent fiscal footing.

Here's what it boils down to: if council has space in the landfill to sell, then they don't need us to worry about our individual contributions to that same landfill - and they don't need to tax us for it either. If they're going to get money from the sale of space in the landfill, then our trash tax should be reduced accordingly.

But don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen...government doesn't 'give back' money it's collected - it only knows how to keep increasing the amount of money it takes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

This quote seems to be highly appropriate as I listen to Spyro Gyra's "Morning Dance."

"No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm." ~ George Washington

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Qotes of the Day

"The more is given the less the people will work for themselves, and the less they work the more their poverty will increase." ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi

"Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril." ~ William Lloyd Garrison

Saturday, April 10, 2010

UPDATED: Disappointment over Simpson's handling of 'stolen' notebook

UPDATE: Friday Patrick Kriner called in to WSPD's Eye on Toledo and presented a much different perspective on the whole notebook issue than what we've all had.

Paraphrasing Patrick's eloquent analysis, he said that the chairman of the LCRP must have a good working relationship with The Blade. That good working relationship is key to having discussions about candidates, issues and endorsements. He said that suing the paper over something as insignificant as a notebook is not conducive to such a relationship.

Patrick also said the real issue is NOT the notebook. The real issue is the STORY. The thing everyone should focus upon is not the theft/acquisition of a bunch of notes made by Simpson, but the way the paper was going to try to make it seem like there was some big conspiracy going on because of the names and comments they found in the notebook.

Patrick is right and I'm glad he's pointed this out.

He said that Simpson was correct in trying to get ahead of the story - of letting people know that no matter what the paper publishes or opines about what they 'infer' from what was written, the notebook was nothing more than a bunch of potential ideas that anyone would generate as they embarked upon a task - in this case, the chairmanship of the LCRP.

Again, I agree with this point.

Unfortunately, if that was the message Simpson was trying to deliver, it didn't come through. What Patrick so succinctly expressed was not the impression just about everyone got from reading the press release or listening to Simpson's radio interview.

This presents both a challenge and opportunity for Simpson. A challenge in that he must overcome the negative impression made as a result of the way he handled the issue.

It's also an opportunity in that he can learn from this mistake and take steps toward improvement for future situations. There are many individuals Simpson can call upon for help in this regard, including past chairmen of the party and former elected officials. Lest anyone misunderstand, I want Jeff to be successful. I believe he has the potential to be an excellent party chairman. I hope he will take advantage of the depth of experience in messaging and PR that exists within the LCRP and use it to more effectively prepare and develop his future media communications.

Original post from April 9, 2010:

Wednesday afternoon I received an email from Jeff Simpson - a press release about a 'stolen' notebook that a Blade reporter had acquired.

I posted the release because I thought it provided some insight into the role the paper has played in the internal struggle over the chairmanship of the Lucas County Republican Party and their support for Jon Stainbrook.

Then, yesterday morning, I heard Simpson on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD. To say I was disappointed is an understatement - and a feeling many people seem to share.

Simpson, a lawyer, just bemoaned the fact that the notebook was in the possession of the paper. He said he considered it to be his personal property and asked for its return. The reporter refused to return it, but did give him copies of it.

So what does Simpson plan to do? He said he "hopes" the reporter will eventually give it back.


Yes, he's going to wait to see if the reporter gives it back. He's not going to file a police report over the stolen property. He's not really going to do anything other than 'hope.'

And this upset callers during the rest of the morning show and into the Afternoon Drive with WSPD host Brian Wilson.

I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one anywhere, so I don't know the legalities of a newspaper acquiring property that clearly belongs to someone else and that they KNOW belongs to someone else. I just share the same common sense demonstrated by so many over the last 24 hours or so that if someone else has your property, there should be legal recourse for getting it back.

Perhaps, though, with the fact that the notebook was delivered to The Blade, there are limited legal actions that would be successful. If that's the case, Simpson should have explained that his recourse was limited and so he was trying to generate public support for the return of the stolen property. But he didn't do either of those things. And the end result was a general feeling of disappointment that he wasn't being more aggressive in defending his rights to his property.

Sadly, this episode has caused some to question what type of a party chairman he's going to be if he wins control of the party. If this is the way he reacts over a notebook that contained not only notes/ideas for the LCRP but also confidential attorney-client privileged information for a legal case he was working on, how will he address more significant issues like defending conservative principles and candidates? Will he just 'hope' the reporter does the right thing in the news article and coverage of the issue?

I hope Simpson will hear and read what people have said about this and change his behavior. It's his best 'hope' for continued support as the chairman of the party.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ballot Board attempts to block health care freedom amendment

This in via email:

For Immediate Release
Friday, April 9, 2010

Ballot Board Attempts to Block Health Care Freedom Amendment

Constitutional Rights Legal Center to File Action with Ohio Supreme Court

Columbus - Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board today ruled a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at protecting Ohioans from forthcoming health care regulations should be split into two parts. As a result, the board rejected the proposed amendment and told its sponsor, the Ohio Liberty Council, to start over.

The move places the Ohio Liberty Council in the untenable position of restarting the amendment language approval process and collecting two sets of 402,275 signatures by June 30. The group will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to block the Ballot Board's action.

"The Ohio Ballot Board got it wrong today," said Warren Edstrom of the Ohio Liberty Council. "We will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold our amendment language and correct this error."

Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, drafted the amendment language and represented the Ohio Liberty Council at today's hearing. "The Ballot Board's decision is contrary to the law and its past precedent," said Thompson. "I am at a loss to find any logical reason for the board's decision other than its own policy preferences. Board members cited concerns with the single subject rule regarding the amendment. However, if different parts of an amendment address a common purpose, the single subject rule is satisfied. And, this amendment's common purpose is to allow Ohioans the right to choose their health care."

On March 22, the Ohio Liberty Council began the process of the placing a health care freedom constitutional amendment on the November 2010 ballot. The group filed petition summary language and nearly 3,000 signatures from registered voters in 48 counties with the Ohio Attorney General, who later approved the language as truthful and accurate.

The amendment provides that:

* In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system;

* In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; and

* In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

The Ohio Liberty Council is a statewide coalition of non-partisan grass roots groups in Ohio including Central Ohio 9/12 Project, Cincinnati Tea Party, Young Americans for Liberty, Dayton Tea Party, Ohio Freedom Alliance and many more grass roots organizations. By working together, the member groups of the Ohio Liberty Council seek to achieve real results to protect and promote liberty in Ohio. More on the Ohio Liberty Council can be found at

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


Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote a post, The questionable value of a Blade endorsement, about the paper's endorsements of Ben Krompak and Dan Steingraber for the Lucas County Commissioner race.

I thought my point was clear: that the Blade has an agenda that does not represent the best interests of Republicans and conservatives (the two are NOT the same) so any endorsement they make in a primary contest is questionable.

But Dan wrote me a very angry email today, obviously misinterpreting that point. Since I didn't want any further misunderstandings, we talked over the phone. The first thing I did was remind him that no one, and especially not a candidate, should send an email written in anger. :)

Dan's interpretation was that I was trying to hurt him and his campaign with my comments. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I said in the original post, and still abide by:

I believe Steingraber is a solid fiscal conservative, a good businessman and I'm glad to have him as a choice on my own Republican ballot.

Dan believes the endorsement can be a good thing for his campaign. As I wrote yesterday:

There may be a way for Steingraber to turn the Blade endorsement into a positive. This morning on the radio he expressed hope that it might help his name recognition.

As I explained, the endorsement could increase name recognition, but there is no way to know if that is in a positive or negative way. I don't know of anyone who would recommend that Dan use the endorsement in his mailings to Republicans as they, based upon their history with the paper's philosophy, would be as likely to do the exact opposite of whatever the editorial board recommended.

But Dan is hopeful that he can use the endorsement in a positive way to help his campaign. That is certainly the approach he should take and I hope he will be successful, but it's an uphill battle and he should be prepared for that.

Dan also thought I was saying he could not win in November if he wins the primary. He thought I was trying to discourage people from supporting him because of this fact. Here's what I said:

So I have to ask myself: if Steingraber were to win the nomination, would he be able to beat Krompak, especially in light of the fact that Steinngraber's support from The Blade will certainly evaporate as they promote their chosen one?

Sadly for Dan, I believe the answer is no - but not for lack of effort on his part. Krompak will have The Blade, unions, and the infrastructure of the Democratic Party. The Republican candidate will have ... well, whatever they, themselves, bring to the table personally.

What I should have said was that, right now, I don't think any of the three Republicans in the primary can win against Krompak - for the same reasons. Krompak will have The Blade, unions and the infrastructure of the Democratic Party and the Republican candidate will have ... well, whatever they, themselves, bring to the table personally.

In order to actually win this race, the Republican will have to raise and spend a significant amount of money in advertisements, direct mail, radio and TV. That's what the Democrat will do and to be competitive, the Republican will have to match and/or exceed those efforts. Raising that type of money is always difficult for Republicans, and even more so in this economy.

The state party will look at the demographics, at the previous votes and polling and won't step in with cash unless the race is so highly competitive that their influx will actually result in securing the win. Of course, that's if they have any money left over after supporting the state-wide candidates.

So I apologize to Dan for singling him out and not elaborating that my opinion on that issue would apply equally to the other two Republican candidates as well.

Dan believes he's the best candidate. And rightly he should. His primary opponents also believe that of themselves. No one should run for office if they don't believe they are the best choice.

A Blade endorsement is always a double-edged sword. If Dan can turn that endorsement to his advantage, all the more power to him.

Simpson warns of Blade story on details in 'stolen' LCRP notebook

This in via email:

April 7, 2010
Contact: Jeff Simpson


Jeff Simpson Announced that He, and Others, Have been Approached by a Blade Reporter in Possession of Simpson’s Notebook filled with Confidential Republican Information.

Jeff Simpson, the Lucas County Republican Party Chairman, announced that he regretted that names of innocent people might be published in the Toledo Blade in an upcoming story.

“It was an accumulation of some ideas I had for the Republican Party, and a list of people who might be willing to help,” said Simpson. “To say the ideas were preliminary, and the list incomplete would be a vast understatement.”

“I’m told the notebook was picked up after a Young Republican Club meeting, in February," Simpson continued, “and then anonymously delivered to Tom Troy of the Blade.”

“I have met with Mr. Troy, and asked for the notebook’s return,” added Simpson, “but, to this date, I have only been provided copies of my notes.”

Simpson has called many people who might be on that list to apologize for any embarrassment the impending publication might bring. “I am truly sorry innocent Republicans will be mentioned in a Blade story simply because their name was scribbled into a notebook that reached Mr. Troy under the most dubious of circumstances.”

Simpson further attested that the concepts outlined were never seriously implemented. “The fact that I didn’t miss the notebook for nearly two months speaks to its importance in our work,” offered Simpson. “Although, I do look forward to the eventual return of my personal property.”

Jeff Simpson is a local lawyer, a past candidate for Toledo City Council, and past President of the Toledo Area Young Republican Club, and officer of the Ohio Young Republicans. He was elected, at the December 2009 meeting of the LCRP Central Committee, to replace Jon Stainbrook as Party Chairman. Mr. Stainbrook is contesting that decision.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The questionable value of a Blade endorsement

Like many conservatives in the area, I distrust the editorial endorsements of The Blade - especially when made for partisan primary elections.

Yes, I've been the recipient of general election endorsements, but I always considered them a double-edged sword.

It used to be said that a Blade endorsement was worth about 20,000 votes - but the joke was that you never knew if those votes were for you or against you.

Last year, they did not endorse for the primary or even the general election for Toledo mayor. And they don't always endorse for partisan primaries, though they have decided to do so for this year's Lucas County Commissioner race.

Their support of Ben Krompak for the Democrat ballot certainly comes as no surprise. He is very similar in philosophy and perspective to previous Blade favorites, Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara and current Commissioner Ben Konop. In fact, about the only difference between Krompak and Konop (even their initials are the same - LOL) that I've seen in Krompak's press releases and public statements is the level of maturity he exhibits.

But from a philosophical standpoint, Krompak's positions are so similar to what we've had for a series of elections that I expect no improvement in the region should he be elected. Oh, certainly, there will be new programs and ideas, but so far they've all revolved around government doing more - not less. And we need less government - and less costly government - always, but especially in these economic times.

When it comes to the Republican endorsements, I'm also not surprised at their support of Dan Steingraber.

Please don't misunderstand my statements which follow. I believe Steingraber is a solid fiscal conservative, a good businessman and I'm glad to have him as a choice on my own Republican ballot. He's certainly not disappointed me like fellow candidate Toledo Councilman George Sarantou has when it comes to votes on increasing government and raising taxes.

But as a Republican who will be casting a vote for one of the three candidates (the third being Springfield Township Trustee Andy Glenn) for this position on May 4th, the Blade's endorsement is not reassuring. In fact, several calls to WSPD this morning reflected a similar sentiment, though Steingraber did call in to say he was rather surprised by the editorial.

My experience in this area has led me to the conclusion that The Blade does not have the best interests of the Lucas County Republican Party - and Republicans in general - at heart. Their continuing support of Jon Stainbrook as chairman is all the proof one needs, considering that Stainbrook spends more time suing and attacking Republicans than he does the negative liberal policies of the majority Democrats in office - or even Democrats in general.

So why would the editorial board take a position on this race?

Some might speculate that they hope these two candidates will produce enough differences in positions to help the sales of the paper over the coverage of the race. That may be partly true, but declining revenue and subscriptions will never be overcome by coverage of a particular race for a single office.

Believing that the paper does not have our best interests in mind, I believe they picked the individual who has the least chance of beating Krompak, their 'chosen' candidate. I believe they want Krompak to win, so they're supporting the individual who provides the least challenge in that regard.

This is not to denigrate Steingraber or his abilities. This is just a practical look at what it takes to wage and win a race for Commissioner. Having done just that, I know first-hand the amount of money that will need to be raised, the contacts one needs to have and the organization that is necessary to be successful - not to mention the additional challenge of overcoming his opponents name recognition among Republicans.

While I don't dismiss the fact that Steingraber may be able to develop those aspects for his campaign, the other two candidates have them already, which puts them ahead in the 'ability to win' column. And I do not expect the local Republican Party to be a factor in providing such support and infrastructure.

Given equal values and positions (which is not the case for this race), the ability to win often becomes the deciding factor when voting in a primary. So I have to ask myself: if Steingraber were to win the nomination, would he be able to beat Krompak, especially in light of the fact that Steinngraber's support from The Blade will certainly evaporate as they promote their chosen one?

Sadly for Dan, I believe the answer is no - but not for lack of effort on his part. Krompak will have The Blade, unions, and the infrastructure of the Democratic Party. The Republican candidate will have ... well, whatever they, themselves, bring to the table personally.

There may be a way for Steingraber to turn the Blade endorsement into a positive. This morning on the radio he expressed hope that it might help his name recognition. That could be the case, but as in the joke above, there's no way to know if it does so in a positive or negative way.

*** Please also read the clarification I wrote on this article following a conversation with Dan Steingraber. ***

Quote of the Day

"At the heart of western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man ... is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and abiding practice of any western society." ~ Robert F. Kennedy

How different this is from today's Democratic Party elected officials who believe the 'common good' trumps the individual....

Monday, April 05, 2010

COAST tries again on red-light camera ban

This just in via email:

COAST returns to Toledo with petitions to ban Red Light Cameras

Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 6:30 PM

For immediate release:
Monday, April 5, 2010 at 8:30 AM

This Thursday, COAST returns to Toledo to help local volunteers with petitions in hand to start the 2010 drive to ban Red Light and Speeding Cameras in the City of Toledo. The details of the gathering are as follows:

Cambridge Place (in west Toledo)
1821 West Alexis (West of Jackman Road in K-Mart Plaza)

Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 6:30 PM

Phone number of hall: (419) 475-6393

Last year, local volunteers with COAST assistance pursued petitions in the Glass City and gathered enough signatures, but a technical deficiency in the petitions prevented 2009 ballot access. COAST pledged to return to help in 2010 to help local volunteers, and this visit is the launch of that effort.

In 2009, at least three other cities in Ohio batted back Red Light Cameras. Pickerington residents defeated the plan with legislative action, and voters in Chillicothe and Heath, Ohio banned the cameras with ballot initiatives. In 2008, Cincinnati voters banned the pernicious and intrusive devices with a Charter Amendment.

The Toledo proposal is modeled after Cincinnati's and will effectively ban unmanned red light and speeding cameras from being enforced in City limits.

# # #

Quote of the Day

"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws -- the first growing out of the last. ... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government." ~ Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Where's Marcy? Congresswoman fails to show for health care meeting with constitutents

I thought about calling this post, "Where in the world is Marcy Kaptur" - with apologies to Carmen Sandiego, but I realize that not everyone is familiar with the children's character.

But with recent events, it's certainly a good question to ask about our Congressional Representative.

According to numerous reports, here is what occurred:

* The week of March 22nd, President Barack Obama's Organizing for America sent out an email that Marcy Kaptur would be holding a meeting to answer questions about the health care bill. The email indicated that the meeting would be at 2 p.m. at the Toledo Lucas County Library downtown branch.

* Several members of the local tea-party-like group, Children of Liberty, who are on the email list, decided to share the notice with the group, encouraging people to show up and take advantage of the opportunity to have their questions about the bill answered.

(Side Note: many of these members have been trying to months to get answers about the health care bill from Marcy...)

* Several media outlets mentioned the meeting.

* The meeting, however, was not to be.

* Children of Liberty member John recounts his efforts to find out about the cancelled meeting:

I got word at around 8:50am that the event was canceled!!! . WWWHHHHHTT?

I called the Library at 9am, the room was reserved by Rep Kaptur, and the attendance estimate she gave to the Library when she reserved the room was 15 people.

Over the next ½ hour, I had several calls from people who were also planning on attending. They had called Rep Kaptur’s office and the Staff told them, “there wasn’t anything on the schedule and they didn’t know anything about it”.

What’s the deal?

I checked back with the Library about 9:30am, I was told that someone from Rep Kaptur’s office had just called and canceled the room (Hhmmm, I wonder if there’s a cancellation fee?)

I told the Library that we had several people coming from all around town and it would be impossible to let them know of the cancellation. I then asked if I could have the room, and we could at least continue some of the meeting without Rep Kaptur.

I indicated that I would be more than willing to pay for the room at its usual rate, and I’d be more than happy to accept the room set up for the original meeting; The Library will check into it.

An hour later (About 10:30am), I checked back with the Library, They’ll let me have the room, no problems. I indicated that I anticipated approximately 50 guests, but due to the Cancellation confusion, it could be less. (They need the guest count so they can supply the correct number of pre-paid parking passes)

At noon, when the Library opened, I meet with the Library Staff, they showed me the room (McMaster), and I signed the contract.

In reviewing the contract with the Library Staff, they made it clear that because this is a public facility, this cannot be a private meeting, and any meetings held in this room are automatically open to the public.

I arrived back at the Library at 2pm, where I found several people waiting to get in for the original 2pm Meeting that Rep Kaptur scheduled. None of these people were aware that Rep Kaptur had canceled.

I briefly explained that for some unknown reason, at 9:30 this morning, Rep Kaptur canceled the meeting and the hall.. At 10am, I reserved the room and planned on continuing the Health Care Q&A, but unless Rep Kaptur showed up, there wouldn’t be any “A” portion of the “Q&A”.

* Absent the Congresswoman, her constituents recorded the questions with the intent of sharing the video with Kaptur and getting answers to the questions.

* While she couldn't made the event she'd scheduled, a member of her staff was present and 'furiously taking notes.'

* Several reports after the fact had staff from her office claiming that the scheduled meeting was a 'private' one.

I can only wonder if this is the modus operandi for those who voted for the atrocious health care bill: meet only with people who agree with your vote while ignoring and avoiding the majority who opposed this measure.

Should the group receive any answers to the questions posed on the video, I'll report that, as well. But I'm not holding my breath!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Quotes of the Day

From LibertyQuotes:

"The liberty the citizen enjoys is to be measured not by governmental machinery he lives under, whether representative or other, but by the paucity of restraints it imposes upon him." ~ Herbert Spencer

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." ~ John Adams

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thank you, Lindsay Webb

One of the things I've always tried to do in my political career and commentary is acknowledge good ideas and promises kept, regardless of the party of the individual.

District 6 Councilwoman Lindsay Webb was not my first choice as my district representative, but when my preferred candidate did not make it through the primary, I voted for her as the better of the two candidates.

I did so because I believed her when she said she would keep her promise to not vote for an increase in the trash tax.

And despite the pressure and the criticisms, she has consistently voted against increasing the trash tax, as she did Tuesday.

She has kept that promise to her constituents and for that she should be congratulated.

Now, I know I won't always agree with Lindsay on many issues, considering our differences in political philosophy, but that's okay. Disagreements on policy issues are to be expected and I know from our prior conversations that those disagreements will continue to be respectful - on both our parts.

But when an elected official keeps a promise and is subject to criticism for doing so, we need to defend the principled stance and publicly thank them for doing so.

So thanks, Lindsay!
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