Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote of the Day - government prejudice

"The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quotes of the Day - redistribution

"It was self-serving politicians who convinced recent generations of Americans that we could all stand in a circle with our hands in each other’s pockets and somehow get rich." ~ Paul Harvey

"Today, of course, the redistributive powers of Congress are everywhere -- except in the Constitution. The result is the feeding frenzy that is modern Washington, the Hobbesian war of all against all as each tries to get his share and more of the common pot the tax system fills. ... It is unseemly and wrong. More than that, it is unconstitutional, whatever the slim and cowed majority on the New Deal Court may have said." ~ Roger Pilon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

UPDATED: Does Libbey HS deal violate state law?

***Updated with Steve Herwat interview on WSPD - see the bottom of the post***

On Tuesday at the Toledo City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat told the council that the deal to purchase the Libbey High School field house, skill center and football stadium contained a deed restriction: the property could not be used for a charter school.

According to state law, school buildings need to be offered to public schools - including charter schools - before they are torn down. According to Toledo Public School Board member Lisa Sobecki in this news article, they did so:

Before proceeding with demolition, the OSFC requires the district to offer the facility to charter schools for 60 days. Twenty-six charter schools have been contacted; none have shown any interest as of Jan. 31, Sobecki said.

The charter schools have until March 3 to respond. If no charter school is interested in the facility, the district will proceed with requesting proposals for abatement and demolition of the school, Sobecki said.

But the school board reached an agreement with the City of Toledo to preserve part of the property which included a provision to restrict future owners from allowing the property to be used as a charter school - and that's what got the Cincinnati School District into trouble.

On March 11, the First District Court of Appeals ruled against a similar deed restriction the Cincinnati Public Schools had created. From the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law which sued CPS:

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

The Court of Appeals decision, authored by Judge Sundermann, states:

“We conclude that the trial court properly determined that the facilitation of community schools having access to classroom space was clear Ohio public policy. And the deed restriction that sought to prevent the use of the property for educational purposes was void as against this clear policy.”

“The Court’s decision upholds a landmark ruling in favor of school choice in Ohio, and against adversarial school districts who attempt to block alternative schools’ right to exist,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “Deed restrictions like the one struck down in this case were devised simply to stop new charter schools from opening in Cincinnati, so that CPS could retain students and protect its state funds. In its brief, CPS compares itself to a ‘gas station’ or ‘hotel’ that has a right to use hardball tactics against its competition. It seems to have forgotten that it’s a public school that exists to educate children, rather than amass revenue.”

The Court further stated: “[w]e are not persuaded by CPS’s argument that the property was not ‘suitable’ for classroom use. This argument is belied by the deed restriction itself, which allows the possibility that the restriction would not apply should CPS itself decide to use the property for school purposes in the future.”

This additional ruling exposing CPS to the loss of millions of dollars in funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC), which requires that school districts follow all state rules related to charter schools, including heeding charter schools’ right of first refusal to purchase all property “suitable for use as classroom space,” in order to be eligible for OSFC funding. The fate of this funding is still in dispute, in a second case brought by the 1851 Center and the Ohio Coalition for Quality Education, pending before Judge Ruehlman in Hamilton County.

So - if the Libbey deal goes forward (and I hope it does not as I don't believe the City of Toledo should be purchasing the property in the first place), members of council had better make sure no deed restrictions on charter schools are part of the agreement.

UPDATED - THURSDAY: In a 7:45 a.m. interview with Brian Wilson on WSPD, Herwat stated that the Libbey agreement will not be in violation of the law, that the city attorneys will make sure that the agreement has no illegalities. He said, "The Bell Administration does not violate the law." He further explained that if the deed restriction was illegal, it wouldn't be in the agreement.

But he didn't say why he originally told council there would be a deed restriction. He then complained that people are talking about what can't be done in the building rather than the 'positive' idea they have for the property. He also said 'there's never enough recreational facilities for kids' and that if the city doesn't take advantage of this opportunity, it will be a pile of rubble and the kids of the community will lose out on the experience of having a positive relationship with adults by use of the site.

Um...sorry, Steve, kids can have positive relationships with adults without the city spending $1 million that it doesn't have.

Stuck on stupid: Toledo City Council and Libbey High School

The news over the weekend and as of the Toledo Public School Board and Toledo City Council meetings this week is that a 'deal' has been worked out to preserve part of the Libbey High School campus.

As part of the efforts of the TPS board to reduce their costs along with the new school building project, the decision was made to close and demolish Libbey High School. Several people, including some alumni, have fought the effort citing various reasons including the historic nature of the building and the potential harm the empty space would do to the neighborhood.

Over the past year or so, these individuals have formed a group and tried to get TPS board members to change their mind. Having no success in that regard, they then began looking elsewhere for 'help,' going all the way to the federal government by way of Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

The basic problem they've faced is that there is plenty of want and desire for doing something with the school building, but no money. Surprise!

But now it appears that TPS has found a win in the agreement to turn over part of the campus - the field house, skill center and football stadium - to the City of Toledo .... for only $1 million. What a bargain!

According to news reports, TPS would go ahead with tearing down the school building, construct a wall to separate the empty lot from the property to be sold to the city and then front the money for a heating/cooling system for the buildings to be sold. Currently, the field house and skill center share the heating/cooling system with school building, so a new one would have be constructed if those two buildings are to be of any use.

The deed would also contain a prohibition on charter schools in the purchased building.

Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat told city council that this was a 'much needed' facility.

Really??? Did you know there was a huge need for the city to have a field house, skill center and football stadium? I didn't - and I'll bet most of the residents of the city didn't either.

Apparently, though, the city runs a winter basketball program and would like to have a dedicated facility for that program. Do they not remember "The Hoop" project that failed miserably???

In case you only remotely remember this venture, let me remind you. In 2000, a private developer broke ground on a 43,000 square foot facility designed to provide 24-hour access to basketball. It also included a fitness facility and was located on Manhattan Boulevard near Colony in the north side of town. The city leased the property to the private developer for $500 - and then provided various tax breaks for the development.

In return for building the facility, the developer claimed that the city was supposed to house its recreation programs there, but that never happened and, by 2003, the owners were threatening to close it.

Over the years, others did step in and try to make a go of the venture, but they, too, failed. I don't know if there is anything operating in the building today, but the city does still own the land and currently owes about $39,000 in taxes on the property.

So the question I'd ask City Council about their grandiose plans to purchase part of the Libbey campus is this: why would you purchase these buildings when you already own land that has a similar type of building on it?

Of course, the first question that should be asked is: Why in the world would the City of Toledo even remotely consider purchasing a piece of property when it's in a concerted effort to sell off property it already owns???? There is no logic or reason or even common sense in entertaining the potential purchase of property when the city cannot afford to maintain the ones it already has and has been trying to sell them. Getting out of the property ownership business is, clearly, the correct thing for the city to do. So why would it go against what it's doing on one hand to actually do the opposite with the other hand?

Can you say stuck on stupid?

The next question is whether or not there is any money to go forward with this - and clearly that answer is no.

Yes, the city has a balanced budget for 2011, but each year we're told we're facing deficits and that money needs to be raised or diverted in order to meet our yearly obligations. The city has been spending more than it takes in for a significant number of years.

We've had our trash tax raised to where it's now $8.50 for people who recycle despite promises that it would be reduced to zero by now.

We've extended (for more than 20 years!) the temporary 3/4% payroll income tax because council didn't use it as a 'temporary' source of income, but has come to rely upon it for the yearly expenses of the city. In fact, needing even more money, council actually went to the voters to get permission to divert the portion of the tax intended for capital improvements into the general fund. So we're spending money intended for long-term needs to meet the daily obligations of the spenders that run our city.

In March, our water and sewer rates increased because there just wasn't enough money coming in.

And we've got unmet needs with no source of revenue for them - everything from our roads (which are in deplorable shape) to future contractual obligations for city unions.

If there is $1 million sitting around somewhere waiting to be spent, then how about funding a reduction in the trash tax first - that, at least, would benefit everyone and not just a few.

But the city might not actually have $1 million available. According to this news report:

Mr. Herwat pointed to the city's balanced budget, saying the city may either budget payments over three years, or float a short-term note to pay for the improvements up-front. (emphasis added)

Are you kidding me? The city may actually *borrow* money to go forward with this???

And just who, exactly, would benefit from this purchase? It certainly isn't the entire city, that's for sure.

I look through various news reports, but found none that identify how many people make up the Libbey Community Preservation Association - the group formed to keep the school. One 'save Libbey' Facebook page has 666 members; another has only 30 'likes.'

So, for the sake of argument, let's say there are 200 people actively interested in preserving the school, or parts of it. The population of the Toledo, according to the 2009 Census numbers, is 316,179. So .06% of the city could be said to be interested in this deal. Not even 1/10th of a percent of the population!!!

And for this small amount, council and the administration are considering expending $1 million???

The school board, however, certainly likes the idea. They'd get rid of a group of people who've been pestering them over their decision; they'd get rid of the property they've been spending to maintain; and they'd save political face for finding a 'solution' that just pushes the problem on to someone else. What's not to like?

There is no logic, reason or common sense in this endeavor. There is only a lack of political will to say 'no' to a small group of vocal individuals who want the public sector to do for them what they don't have the funds to do for themselves.

Council will hold a committee meeting on this next week and you need to let your opinions be known. The meeting is Tuesday, May 3, at 1:00 p.m. in city council chambers at 1 Government Center. If you cannot make the meeting, be sure to call the members of City Council (419-245-1050) or email them. Their email address is and the list of members is available here.

Don't let a loud, but tiny number of people bully the council into spending money that isn't in the best interest of the city as a whole - or that we don't have.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Toledo water bill sticker shock

Because I follow the news and because you read my blog, you know that in March, our water and sewer bills went up.

It was advertised as being 'necessary' to handle the infrastructure needs as well as the daily operational costs of the water department - along with a consent decree that was the result of a lawsuit with the EPA.

It was 'only'... they said.

Well, the result was a 71% increase in my water bill this quarter over last.

Yes, you read that correctly - 71%!

You can imagine my surprise when I opened my envelope to find that I owe $225.84 to City of Toledo, compared to the $127.46 that I owed in January. My first thought was that I had a water leak somewhere. But in looking at my usage, I found I was charged for only 2 more CCFs this quarter - so a water leak was not the issue.

There was a nice little note at the bottom of the bill (conveniently titled ***** For Your Information *****) explaining that, as of March 18, 2011, the water rates went up 9%, the sewer volume rates went up 3% and the sewer fixed rate went up 3% PLUS a sewer fixed increase to fund the EPA lawsuit consent decree. But should that result in $100 more???

I deducted the cost of the two extra CCF units in order to compare my bill and know for sure. And yep - my bill, minus those two units would have been $218.26 which is 71% more than the $127.46 than I owed in January. I did try to call the DPU, but, surprisingly, their recording said they were experiencing "extremely high call volume" and I was 30th in line.

There are just three of us in the house - can you imagine what a larger family, or one with small kids who do lots of laundry, will have to pay? Fortunately, we have the financial wherewithal to handle this with some adjustments elsewhere - but many families in Toledo don't. And even though our financial adjustments will be unwelcome and inconvenient - for others, it will be a major sacrifice.

So much for the 'it's only' ....

Thanks Toledo City Council - let's see how many more people leave because your decisions.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Toledo apportionment board sets public meetings

Press release from the city of Toledo:

City of Toledo apportionment board to solicit public input
Three public meetings provide residents opportunity to offer feedback

The city of Toledo apportionment board will hold a series of public meetings to solicit community input on the redrawing of city council districts.

Residents may choose to attend any of three meetings to be held around the city.

May 3, 2011 at 5 p.m.
Highland Park shelter house
1865 Finch St.

May 10, 2011 at 5 p.m.
Lagrange branch library
3422 Lagrange St.

May 10, 2011 at 7 p.m.
West Toledo branch library
1320 West Sylvania Ave.

The city charter provides for the reapportionment of council districts every ten years so that all council districts may be as even in population as possible. The board will use community feedback from the public meetings and data from the 2010 Census in working with the Toledo City Plan Commission to establish new, equally populated council districts. Their work must be completed by May 15, 2011.

At their April 5, 2011 meeting, city council confirmed the appointment of the board as recommended by Mayor Michael P. Bell. The city charter requires that two Democrats, two Republicans and two Independents be represented in the apportionment process. The current apportionment board is comprised of Democrats Michael Beazley and Schylar Meadows; Republicans Phil Barbosa and Timothy Pecsenye; and Independents Ken Fallows and Andrew Newby. All are Toledo residents. Members of the apportionment board are volunteers and receive no salary or stipend for their time or work.


Quotes of the Day - omnipotent state

Two quotes for today while I grapple with the insanity of the city of Toledo taking control of part of Libbey High School because an extremely small minority of people don't want the building torn down - as if the city has any money whatsoever to maintain any portion of the property while the meager group tries to find funding for keeping it ... and how, exactly, does the city acquisition of this property benefit all Toledoans? It doesn't!

"I wouldn't call it fascism exactly, but a political system nominally controlled by an irresponsible, dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political establishment can hardly be described as democracy either." ~ Edward Zehr

"The cult of the omnipotent state has millions of followers in the united States. Americans of today view their government in the same way as Christians view their God; they worship and adore the state and they render their lives and fortunes to it. Statists believe that their lives -- their very being -- are a privilege that the state has given to them. They believe that everything they do is -- and should be -- to them. They believe that everything they do is -- and should be -- dependent on the consent of the government. Thus, statists support such devices as income taxation, licensing laws, regulations, passports, trade restrictions, and the like." ~ Jacob G. Hornberger

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quotes of the Day - taxation

"If I have worked harder and built myself a good house while you have been content to live in a hovel, the tax gatherer now comes annually to make me pay a penalty for my energy and industry by taxing me more than you. If I have saved while you wasted, I am [taxed] while you are exempt. If a man built a ship, we make him pay for his temerity as though he had done injury to the state; if a railroad be opened, down comes the tax collector upon it as though were a public nuisance.... We punish with a tax the man who covers barren fields with ripening grain; we fine him who puts up machinery and him who drains a swamp. To abolish these taxes would be to lift the whole enormous weight of taxation from productive industry.... The state would say to the producer, 'Be as industrious, as thrifty, as enterprising as you choose. You shall have your full reward!' " ~ Henry George

"[D]ecade after decade, through taxes and regulations, governments at all levels took ever-increasing control over people’s lives, wealth, and property. The control grew exponentially, decade after decade. The rationale was that the control was necessary -- for society, for the poor, for the nation, even for freedom itself. Americans continued living their life of the lie: they continued believing that the more control government exercised over their lives and property, the freer they became." ~ Jacob G. Hornberger

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'Not-business-friendly' Post #20 - Toledo council still clueless

Even after all the figurative head-slapping (ala Special Agent Gibbs in NCIS) that Toledo City Council received over the last week following their stuck-on-stupid ideas for the sale of the Marina District to Dashing Pacific, they still don't get it.

Dashing Pacific Group is 'reassessing' their interest in the deal primarily because of all the strings city council members wanted to attach for their friends and supporters. Remember, Dashing Pacific was offering to purchase part of the property for $3.8 million - and wasn't asking for anything else! No tax abatements, no grants, no loans, no special terms - unlike previous developers. They wanted to actually give the city money for the property and take ownership.

But that just wouldn't do for most of city council which wanted to make sure this 'deal' benefitted friends and supporters - primarily unions. Everything from deed restrictions to dictating the unions that would work on the project to taking back ownership if Dashing Pacific wasn't where city council wanted them to be in a paltry two years. (As if having the property sit for the last 10 and maybe for another 10 before someone else might offer to buy it was any great alternative!)

Besides, insisting on a time frame for development clearly ignores the market realities of the area. Many investors purchase land when it is affordable or available and hold it until the time is right to actually develop it. To insist that something happen in a specific time allotment shows the conceit of city council members who 'obviously' know better than the buyers.

But our smug city council members just couldn't resist using the power of their positions to interfere and dictate to the potential buyers. Well, why not? They've gotten away with such nefarious and detrimental shenanigans in the past - why should this deal be any different? But it was.

Based upon what Dashing Pacific saw and heard from council - which probably appalled them, as it should - they backed out of the deal. Dashing Pacific, clearly cognizant of the political implications, was too polite to insult city council, so they termed their withdrawal 'reassessing' their interest.

Appropriately, Mayor Mike Bell asked for the ordinance on the sale to be referred back to the administration. As Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers explained to council, the ordinance was to consummate a specific deal and there no longer is a deal, so there is no need for the legislation.

But a stuck-on-stupid council wanted to hold the legislation for two weeks. At-large Councilman Joe McNamara said that holding onto the legislation would send a message that council is willing to work with the investors.

TOO LATE! McNamara's message last week was heard loud and clear and it wasn't one of 'working with' as much as one of 'dictating to.'

McNamara, still whining like a child because he didn't get introduced to the investors, had the temerity to suggest this whole thing was a misunderstanding due to cultural differences. Apparently McNamara is even more clueless than the rest of council to assume that the problem is on the part of Dashing Pacific for 'not understanding.'

I've got news for McNamara: everyone else is clear on the fact that it is council who fails to understand the business world primarily because none of them have ever run a business before. It has nothing to do with culture, unless McNamara is talking about the culture of corruption surrounding the routine use of a political office to reward his union friends by mandating their inclusion on a future development.

District 2 Councilman D. Michael Collins asked for a referral of how much money had been spent on the Marina District and the conditions under which the city accepted the money. His concern is that the City accepted grants and loans that might require repayment of the monies if certain conditions are not met. Now, it's been a decade that we've been dealing with this property and I fail to understand what difference another two or three or five might make. Collins' question is a valid one - and certainly council should know what they committed to when they accepted the grants and loans for the clean-up of the land (why they don't already is an entirely different question for another day). But if that was his concern, he certainly went about expressing it in a terrible, arrogant and condescending way last week.

Council did decide to hold the legislation, but it won't do any good. Council members have proven themselves to be the antipathy of 'business-friendly,' though many in the area already knew this to be the case. Now, our council's reputation in that regard is international.

The only way to salvage the deal - if that is even possible - would be to humbly ask Dashing Pacific if they would still like to purchase the land at the prior monetary offer and, if so, have council pass the ordinance immediately - with no changes or restrictions or mandates.

But that's not likely to happen.

I do hope Bell will be able to convince Dashing Pacific that the purchase is still a good deal for everyone involved. But I won't hold my breath that some on council won't muck it up again. Their actions and comments clearly demonstrate that they can't resist their 'not-business-friendly' antics.

***Side Note: For those of you who may be new readers of my blog, you'll notice the headline for this post is #20. I had to start numbering the 'not-business-friendly' blog posts because there were just too many of them. Fortunately, I've not had as many since Mike Bell was elected mayor, but like a leopard that can't change it's spots, I knew it wouldn't be long before the anti-business members of city council did something worthy of an additional number.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If you have CFL light bulbs, you MUST READ this!

I've previously written (here, here and here) about the ridiculous plan our state legislature has forced upon us to give us 'free' CFL light bulbs that actually cost us a fortune - and definitely more than we'd pay for them if we just bought them at a store.

Now comes this fantastic article, "The CLF Fraud," by Edmond Contoski in American Thinker.

If you have a CFL light bulb in your house, you MUST READ this column.

It details everything from the fire potential (and there have been many) to the long-term dangers of the mercury in the bulbs, including the fact that the mercury exposure is thousands of times the allowable limits and that a vacuum cleaner and broom are insufficient tools to clean up a broken bulb. It also looks at the claims of energy efficiency and asks some rather damning questions that, when answered, prove the claims are far from complete - from energy usage to life of the bulbs, as well as unaccounted-for costs of disposal.

As the article states:

Once again, a government claiming that it knows what is best for people -- and that takes away their right to choose for themselves in the matter -- is a dismal failure. In light of the facts just presented, the federal law effectively banning incandescent light bulbs should be switched off.

I seriously doubt if any of the state legislators who mandated the use of these bulbs bothered to gather this information before voting yes on Ohio's law.

Wonder what they'll do now? Admit the error of their ways or just ignore the consequences?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Not-business-friendly' Post #19: Dashing Pacific and a clueless Toledo council

Yesterday we learned that the Dashing Pacific Group is 'reassessing' their interest in the Marina District. This certainly comes as no surprise to me, though it seems that members of Toledo City Council still don't get it.

From Mayor Mike Bell's letter to City Council:

Dashing Pacific Group has advised the City that they are reassessing their interest in purchasing the 69 acres in the Marina District. Therefore, I am requesting that Council cancel the Economic Development Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday, April 19th, and refer the Ordinance authorizing a sale agreement back to the Administration at the April 19th Council meeting.

After discussing, last Tuesday, 'draconian' (to use a frequently heard term these days) conditions for the sale of the property, city council members sent a very strong - and negative - message to all investors who might even remotely consider this area for their developments and dollars.

Does council not understand that people with millions of dollars ready for investment have a plethora of rusted-out cities and empty properties from which to choose? They can have their pick of locations and sites and, because of the economy, can usually ask for tax breaks or other 'incentives' from cities - and get them. In our case, Dashing Pacific asked for nothing except to purchase the property.

But council couldn't resist catering to special interests in a vain attempt to look important and curry the votes of certain groups. Even after learning that their 'stuck on stupid' conditions could jeopardize the deal, they're still insisting that they're doing what is 'right' for the community.

Really? Dictating to private investors what kind of employees they can have risks everything for the entire city while trying to placate the union workers who make up only about 13% of the workforce. It's certainly NOT in the best interests of all the residents to put deed restrictions on a sale that would prohibit 87% of the workforce from participating.

From the news article:

Mr. Copeland said he is pro-business — and pro-citizens of Toledo — and that he makes decisions based on “what affects the citizens of Toledo.”

The loss of the development would have a much bigger impact on the 'citizens' than any requirement for union labor at the job site. What part of that equation does union boss Phil Copeland not understand?

And then there was this from the district councilman:

Adam Martinez said, “I don’t think Toledoans have any issue with the global marketplace and competing. The mayor is certainly very focused on economic development and moving at the speed of business. I think a lot of times he gets caught up in that.”

But the mayor may not understand that council members have the responsibility to make sure “we’re protecting our tax base and citizens,” Mr. Martinez said.

Of course businesses 'move at the speed of business.' If they don't, they fail. The failure to grasp this basic concept is another big part of the problem on city council. Business shouldn't have to wait for self-important politicians to figure out how to carve our special conditions to benefit their friends just to be able to go forward with a plan - and certainly not in the economy we currently have in Toledo. Perhaps this is why businesses don't even try in this community?!?

But for Martinez to think he's "protecting our tax base and citizens" just shows how warped his perspective is. He's risking the bigger picture of overall development and a business-friendly reputation to try to guarantee favors for only a small portion of the community - his union friends.

But the arrogance and hubris of Councilman Joe McNamara takes the cake:

Councilman Joe McNamara placed the blame for the setback on the Bell administration, which he said failed to introduce the investors to council and did not prepare them for the public scrutiny the deal would face.

“The mayor had a relationship with the investors, but council did not,” he said. “There is clearly a cultural difference in how business is conducted in China and the United States and I think the Bell administration did a poor job of communicating that.”

You didn't introduce us - what a whiny, childish, unprofessional attitude! The message McNamara is sending is coming through loud and clear: you didn't cater to us, so we're not going to let you get what you want Mayor - and the investors be damned!

And to say that the Bell Administration didn't 'prepare' Dashing Pacific for the 'public scrutiny'??? International investors are most definitely cognizant of the public scrutiny - what they didn't expect is that a community so desperate for investment and potential growth would have representatives on council who were more interested in protecting a small group of friends than in doing what is best for the community as a whole - or that these same petty representatives would jeopardize a deal because of an imagined slight.

Did these people not learn anything from the Westgate fiasco and Costco? And they wonder why companies have little or no interest in doing business here.

District 6 Council member Lindsay Webb said:

“This is still on the table, in my opinion,” she said.

“I think this is an attempt to scare the public and members of council out of asking the questions that must necessarily be asked.”

Well, just because YOU think something is still viable doesn't mean Dashing Pacific agrees with you. But to state this is a scare tactic to try to prevent questions is beyond naive and further demonstrates the total disconnect between the global business world and the inane ideas of council.

If council were just asking questions, that would be one thing, but they're not. They're issuing not-so-thinly veiled threats that unless the investors cater to their small-minded demands, they won't be able to purchase the property and spend millions turning it into something profitable.

And then there was this priceless gem:

Councilman Mike Craig, whose district includes the area to be sold, said cultural differences are getting in the way of a business deal.

“They need to understand, in the United States, in a development this big, you have lots and lots of partners,” Mr. Craig said.

He said he opposed putting a restriction in the deed transfer requiring the use of union labor, as area construction unions are seeking, but said the Chinese investors should meet with the Northwestern Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council and negotiate.

Apparently Craig doesn't realize that in a free society - like we supposedly have here - the 'partners' are the ones brought into the deal voluntarily, not forced upon you by self-interested and egotistical government officials.

But that's not all. Even George Sarantou, who identifies himself as a Republican, went so far as to 'suggest' that Dashing Pacific go directly to the unions to prostrate themselves:

Councilman George Sarantou called for the Chinese investors’ representative, Mr. Prephan, to meet with the trades union representatives so they can show their involvement in other big projects, such as the Huntington Center arena.

Why? Perhaps Dashing Pacific isn't ready to meet with potential workers yet? For goodness sake - they've not even gotten ownership of the property. What a bunch of hypocrites - complaining from one side about not moving at the speed of business while insisting on the other side that the developer meet with building trades before they've even gotten their drawings of the site completed.

Are we fully cognizant yet about how 'not-business-friendly' this council truly is?

Here's some advice for council: It's certainly appropriate to ask for prior developments the individuals have worked on. It's certainly appropriate to evaluate the price they're willing to pay against the marketable value of the property. It's certainly appropriate to ensure they have the financial wherewithal to meet the purchase obligation and to actually do something with the property.

It's NOT appropriate to insist that your friends get the contracts, that your union supporters get the jobs or that the development fit your wants and desires rather than what can actually be successful and produce revenue for the owners and the city tax coffers.

And it's NOT appropriate to assume with such arrogance that you - without an iota of experience running a business - know better than they do what will and will not work.

Apologize for your stuck-on-stupid, anti-business posturing, sell the property and then get out of the way. Even if Dashing Pacific doesn't do anything with the property for the next several years, selling it for several million is better than letting it just sit waiting for something you deem to be 'more worthy' or for a developer who will cater to your trivial, small-minded and irrelevant demands.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Questions without answers

* Why do Democrats oppose turning Medicare into a voucher system when they support a voucher system for food stamps (now SNAP), the GI Bill, Section 8 Housing and others????

* Same question for schools - vouchers are okay for those other programs, why not for schools, too?

* Democrats say that the spending cuts in the Continuing Resolution to fund the government until September are 'too draconian' and 'cut too much.' But the amount of spending cuts don't even equal the interest we pay on our debt - and it's nowhere near the deficit we will have in this fiscal year - a deficit that will have to be covered by borrowing/printing more money, contributing to the problem. If this meager amount is 'too much,' how are we ever going to get our fiscal house in order?

* President Barack Obama, in his speech Wednesday, called for automatic across-the-board spending cuts in 2014. WHY WAIT 3 MORE YEARS????

* Pres. Obama's spending cuts starting in 2014 would come AFTER the spending for the last 2 years and in the next 2 have put us into even more debt. If the debt is so bad that we must cut, why wait until what he hopes will be the middle of his next term? And if he doesn't have the political spine to cut now, what makes us think he'll develop a backbone in the future?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quick thoughts on the sale of the Marina District

The good and the bad in bullet point fashion:

*** Dashing Pacific Group, the new owners of The Docks, has offered to purchase the Marina District. The price is significantly less than the 'investment' that's been made with tax dollars, but then, the 'investment' costs weren't really justified by any return-on-investment (ROI) analysis. In the end, the property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The offer is a good thing.

*** Dashing Pacific is actually offering to purchase the land - as in, give the city money for it. Unlike prior developers, they're not asking for anything other than the sale. Prior interested parties wanted the city to spend money on various things, which the city agreed to do, putting us into the position where the 'investment' was greater than the value of the property. The fact that they want to purchase without other public dollars being spent is a good thing.

*** City Council is posturing about putting demands - or conditions - on the sale: everything from Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) to a business plan to rescinding the sale if the plan doesn't progress as expected. As Mayor Mike Bell patiently tried to explain to council, these ideas scream 'anti-business' and might not sink just this deal, but future deals for economic growth in the region. Bell's understanding of this and his directness in addressing city council is a good thing. The conditions of council are definitely in the bad category.

*** City Council has never required a business plan in the past, so why now? It might be a good thing if they've learned from prior mistakes, but it's a bad thing in this case for a single critical reason: this is a purchase of property that transfers ownership to a private entity. Government has no business dictating the terms and conditions once they no longer own the property. If they don't believe the buyers have the capacity to develop the property into a thriving, profitable venture, then don't sell it. But they'd be hard pressed to make that argument after selling The Docks to the same group. So let the new private property owners do what they must to accomplish the economic growth we so desperately want and need in Toledo. That would be a good thing.

*** Additionally, Council needs to stop being hypocrites on these types of arrangements. They should require business plans whenever they accept a grant on behalf of a development or guarantee a loan (which they've done in the past and for which we are STILL paying). But while members of council might be capable of reading and understanding such plans, I doubt that even half of them have the background and experience or knowledge to adequately evaluate such plans and determine potentials for success or failure. Some have made the argument that banks require business plans - but council isn't a bank and shouldn't act like one. If the venture is worthy of a bank loan, it shouldn't need public monies to go forward. And if a bank won't loan for a project, certainly council shouldn't either. If council would follow this premise, it would be a good thing. That they don't is certainly bad.

Sell the property to Dashing Pacific and then get out of the way. That would be the BEST thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An argument against the sale of Ohio Turnpike

Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown drafted, and his colleagues joined him in signing, a letter to Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Legislature opposing the sale of the Ohio Turnpike. Below is a fact sheet he asked me to share with you which details some of the reasons for his position. You are free to use the information if you want to contact your particular representatives with your thoughts on the matter.

(As an aside, I've not taken a position on the sale or lease of the turnpike.)

NO Robin Hood approach to the Turnpike: Northern Ohioans do not want our Turnpike sold to funnel proceeds to other areas of the state or private businesses!

In 1949, the Ohio Legislature authorized creation of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. To fund the new superhighway, the Turnpike Commission issued $326 million in revenue bonds (not the State of Ohio) to build the Ohio Turnpike. In fact no State General Revenue Funds have ever been appropriated by the State of Ohio to support the Ohio Turnpike. The tolls, profits from concessions and other items sold in Turnpike shops have been the source of income to pay off the project as well as enhancements and lane expansions over the years. It is clear the Ohio Turnpike is not an asset of the State of Ohio, but is an asset bought and paid for by Northern Ohioans and other users of this Northern Ohio highway. Throughout its existence the Turnpike has been superbly maintained by self-generated income, at no cost to either state or federal budgets. The Ohio Turnpike is a tremendous asset – but it IS NOT an asset of the State of Ohio to be leased or sold so that the profits can be funneled to private business interests or other areas of the state!

Selling or leasing the Turnpike to a “profit” or “income” generating entity would ultimately impact the quality of the Ohio Turnpike. Indiana has leased their Turnpike for 75 years and many frequent drivers have complained about the road’s deterioration and the miss-functioning automated machines which have replaced personnel resulting in long lines and frustrated drivers – not to mention tolls that have nearly doubled only four years into the lease agreement! Very concerning in this economy is the prospect of tolls being increased on Northern Ohioans to satisfy a profit seeking entity. Northern Ohioans neither need nor deserve a tax increase in the form of increased tolls!

The Ohio Turnpike is an important economic lifeline bringing in untold millions of dollars to our state. There are numerous instances of businesses and industry locating at or near the Turnpike because of its reputation as a well managed and efficient highway. The Ohio Turnpike Commission itself promotes economic development by planning new projects to increase accessibility to business and industry. They have been true partners with county economic development endeavors for many years.

Under the administration of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, this 241 mile highway is the best maintained road in Ohio. Turnpike Service crews (not ODOT crews) are stationed about every 30 miles to keep the roadway in safe condition, clear of snow and ice. In 2009, cars and trucks logged over 3 billion miles of Turnpike driving, with an accident rate less than half the national average. Even the services of the Highway Patrol are fully paid for by the Turnpike.

Costs for Turnpike construction and maintenance do not come from federal taxes as they do for other major highways. The Turnpike does receive about $2.7 million a year from a portion of taxes generated by fuel sales along the Turnpike route. However the State stipulates that this money is allocated for the repair and maintenance of the State’s overpasses, bridges, on ramps and exit ramps which intersect with the Ohio Turnpike.

Please contact our officials with a simple message: Do not sell or lease the Ohio Turnpike!

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
Phone: (614) 466-3555

Director Jerry Wray
Ohio Department of Transportation
1980 West Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43223

It is vitally important that you contact your State Legislators to urge them to vote no. And tell them you want an up or down vote on this issue. Putting the legislative authority for the Governor to lease or sell the turnpike into the larger budget bill will not give this important matter the full evaluation it deserves!

The Turnpike Commission was created as stand alone legislation in 1949 and should be dealt with as stand alone legislation today.

If you live in Wood County your State Legislators are:

Hon. Mark Wagoner, State Senator
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-8060

Hon. Randy Gardner, State Representative
77 S. High Street
12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111

If you do not live in Wood County you can determine who represents you in the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives by visiting the following web site:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Random Thoughts: school lunches, EITC, election mandate

*** I hear liberals and many elected Democrats talk about 'fairness' all the time - usually in the context of "rich people" or "evil corporations" not paying their 'fair share' of taxes. But I never hear them talking about how UNfair it is for people who don't pay any taxes at all to get refunds.

Through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which politicians have publicly pushed in the past, people with lower incomes complete their tax forms, report how much they've paid in taxes and often owe no more or might get some back. But many individuals, because of the EITC, get back more than they paid in.

For instance, a low-income family might actually owe $0 in taxes after completing their tax forms. But a single parent-two child family earning around $12,000 could still get around a refund of about $5,000, according to the Piton Foundation which has been 'helping' working families get their credits for about 20 years.

Also according to Piton, that family could get $1,000 per child for the Child Tax Credit, even if they owe no income tax.

So how, exactly, is it "fair" to just give people money ... because that's what this is - a blatant, outright payment to certain people. This is not money they've paid and they're getting a portion back. In fact, since the government doesn't have anything it hasn't taken from someone else, this is money other people have paid that is then 're-distributed' to people who didn't pay anything.

How can people who advocate 'fairness' ever support such a direct taking from one to give to another? If anyone can explain this to me, I'd appreciate it.

***Too often it seems that when Democrats win, they say it's because the public has spoken and they proceed with the attitude of a 'mandate' to implement their policies and goals. But those same individuals have a different opinion when Republicans win. When the GOP gets elected, they expect 'compromise' and complain - loudly and often - that the Republicans are enacting 'extreme' agendas.

Both cannot be true.

Either you get to enact your agenda when you get elected or you don't. Either you must compromise when you get elected or you don't. Either you have a mandate or you don't. It's hypocritical to say you have a mandate when YOU get elected, but your opponent doesn't have a mandate when THEY get elected.

As President Barack Obama told the Republicans after HE took office, elections have consequences.

*** Banning bringing school lunches from home isn't just about a 'healthier' lunch. A Chicago Public School has banned students from bringing their lunch from home, making them eat the lunch provided by the cafeteria. As the article explains:

But parent Miguel Medina said he thinks the "no home lunch policy" is a good one. "The school food is very healthy," he said, "and when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food."

He gets it - it's all about control, but apparently parent Miguel Medina doesn't understand that he's just given up control over his child to a public school system. Of course, he fails to understand that he does have control over the food his child takes to school, as he could supervise the packing of the lunch, but that seems to escape him as well.

It's parents like Medina who are the biggest threat, because they willingly give up their parental right and responsibility to raise their children and turn that duty over to a bureaucracy which can do whatever it wants, so long as it can say it's for the child's own good.

Sad...very, very sad.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Buckeye Institute: Pension reform could save billions

Press Release:

Pension Reform Could Save Billions

The Buckeye Institute released an analysis of Ohio's state pension using the transition trend data from Michigan after it switched from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans for new state workers in 1997. The analysis shows that Ohio could see budget savings up to $6 billion over the next 30 years by shifting new employees to defined contribution plans, while still providing workers with decent pensions.

To view the report click here.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Quote of the Day - unsustainable

Since I'm working on gathering information for filling in on WSPD this afternoon from 3-6 p.m, I though it was a good time for this quote from Sheldon Richman, editor of "The Freeman" and (publications of the Foundation for Economic Education), on the federal fiscal situation:

"The current trajectory is unsustainable in the ruling establishment’s own terms. If nothing changes, in perhaps a little more than a decade all the central government’s revenues will be consumed by Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the burgeoning debt, which, at more than $14 trillion, is closing in on 100 percent of GDP. The central government now borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Imagine how upset the ruling elite will be when it can spend money on nothing but so-called entitlements and interest? That would leave nothing for the military-industrial complex, nothing for business and farm subsidies, nothing for all the ways that politicians buy off constituents so they can be reelected over and over. Obviously, they don’t want that to happen."

For more, see his complete article, "Had Enough Yet? Thank you, political class."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Community celebration for UT Lady Rockets' WNIT win

This in via email:

A community celebration to honor the University of Toledo Lady Rockets capturing the 2011 Women's National Invitation Tournament will be held in Savage Arena on Thursday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. Gates will open for the event at 5:00 p.m.

Fans will have an opportunity to listen to coaches and players speak about a historic postseason run that saw the Midnight Blue & Gold become the first Mid-American Conference basketball program to capture a national postseason tournament. Highlights from Toledo's six postseason victories will also be shown on Savage Arena's videoboard throughout the evening.

A limited number of championship posters will be given away at the celebration and WNIT Championship T-shirts will be available for purchase.

The Rockets' historic postseason run was capped off by a 76-68 triumph over USC in the championship game before a school and conference women's basketball record 7,301 fans. UT's victims en route to its postseason title also included Colonial Athletic Association member Delaware (March 16), SEC member Auburn (March 19), SEC member Alabama (March 22), Big East member Syracuse (March 27) and Atlantic 10 member Charlotte (March 30).

Applications being accepted for Small Business Advisory Council

Press Release:

Columbus – Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor today announced that she is accepting applications to fill five seats on the nine-member Small Business Advisory Council established in state law as part of CSI Ohio: The Common Sense Initiative.

“We are looking for individuals with a small-business background who can provide guidance to CSI Ohio as we review new rules and regulations and identify those that place adverse financial burdens on Ohio’s job creators,” Taylor said. “It is important for us to achieve the right balance of regulations that don't hinder our small business community, yet protects the health and safety of all Ohioans.”

The nine-member Small Business Advisory Council was established in Senate Bill 2 (Hughes), which Gov. John R. Kasich signed into law on March 4, 2011. The council will meet at least quarterly and is charged with advising the governor, lieutenant governor and CSI Ohio on the adverse impact government rules and regulations have on small businesses.

Taylor will appoint five members of the nine-member council, while the president of the Ohio Senate and Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives will each appoint two additional members. State law requires each of the members to possess a small business background and represent businesses of various types, sizes and geographic locations within Ohio.

Taylor urges those interested in seeking an appointment to the council to contact her office at 614-728-6717 or Applicants must also complete a boards and commissions application located here. The deadline for application submissions is May 6, 2011.

CSI Ohio was launched on January 10, 2011 by Gov. John R. Kasich to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies to help make Ohio a jobs and business-friendly state. CSI Ohio will review Ohio’s regulatory system to eliminate excessive and duplicative rules and regulations that stand in the way of job creation.

Buckeye Institute's State of the State Report

Press Release:


April 6, 2011-COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions today released its second annual State of the State report Ohio's Weak Economy Struggles to Prop Up an Oversized Government. The report shows an economic snapshot of the state and each county.

The main points of the report are:

* The average private sector salary fell while average government salaries at all levels increased.
* Median household income in Ohio has decreased nearly $3,000 to roughly $45,000.
* National median household income is about $50,000.
* All counties lost private sector jobs from 2008 to 2009.
* Ohio lost 537,500 jobs (11%) since January 2000, second to MI.
* Ohio has the 5th worst business climate, 18th highest tax burden and 6th worst population growth from 2000-2009.

"Private sector Ohioans are making less money while government employees continue to receive significant pay increases that we can't afford," Mary McCleary, Policy Analyst for the Buckeye Institute stated. "We have 537,000 fewer private sector workers supporting the same size of government we had 10 years ago, but it is more costly than ever."

The full report can be viewed at


The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is Ohio's premier free market think tank. The Buckeye Institute has provided the research and solutions to Ohio's toughest public policy challenges in economic freedom and competitiveness, job creation and entrepreneurship, and government transparency and accountability for over 21 years.

Mary McCleary is a Policy Analyst at the Buckeye Institute. She is the author of Dipped in Gold: Upper- Management Police and Fire Retirees become Public-Service Millionaires. McCleary has also been published in major newspapers around the state of Ohio and appeared on radio programs for her work.

Random thoughts on a gray day

It's a gray day in Toledo and I'm not just referring to the weather as I write this post. Yesterday, filling in on WSPD, I covered a couple of items that were before Toledo City Council for a vote. Sadly, the items passed.

The first was an ordinance to give $60,000 of Sewer Infrastructure Development Funds to United North, a community development corporation (CDC), to build a sewer on Chase Street. Now, that might not seem like a controversial item - until you read the Summary and Background on the ordinance itself:

SUMMARY & BACKGROUND: Chase St., between Buckeye St. and I-280 has no sanitary sewer. Houses on the east side of the street are served by the sanitary sewer on Erie St. The sanitary sewer laterals from these houses must traverse neighboring private property on Erie St. to connect to the sanitary sewer. While excavating for a new housing development at 1863 Erie St., United North, a nonprofit Community Development Corporation, inadvertently cut through the sanitary sewer lateral serving 1864 Chase. To re-establish proper sewer service to this property and avoid a similar problem in the future, United North proposes to construct a new sewer in the Chase St. right of way, from the alley south of Buckeye St. approximately 130 feet south to 1864 Chase St. and install a new sewer lateral to serve 1864 Chase St. This sewer will be constructed at such a depth and alignment to allow it to be extended in the future to serve houses to the south if they should experience problems with their sewer taps in the future.

So, to 'summarize,' United North is doing some work. They screw up and break the sewer lateral of a neighboring property. They don't expect the contractor (if there was one) to just fix the mistake and pay for the repair. They don't expect themselves to address the error. They go to the city and, for some inconceivable reason, the members of city council vote in favor of paying not just for the lateral, but for a whole new line on Chase Street in case someone in the future makes the same mistake.

How, in any justification, is this the 'right' thing to do? Why would the city decide that this particular situation was worthy of expenditure when they've told us that we don't have enough money in our sewer funds to meet our current needs, much less our future repairs and they raised our rates????

I'm betting that Chase Street, prior to United North's screw-up, wasn't anywhere on any list of projects to be completed with those limited dollars.

According to reports I've received, there really wasn't any discussion of this matter. No one on council questioned why the city was paying for United North's mistake. No one asked if there was a contractor who had insurance that could cover the error. No one asked why it was the responsibility of the city to build a new sewer line because of a break with one house's lateral connection. No one asked where, in the priority of sewer projects, this recent item would fall. No one asked why United North was getting the money instead of actually bidding out the construction of the new line. No one asked anything. They just voted yes.

At-Large Councilman Joe McNamara abstained from the vote. I believe he has an affiliation of some kind with the organization that would present a conflict of interest.

The second item was the vote in favor of hiring a lobbyist for $60,000 to represent the city's interests in Columbus. Now, we don't really have any extra money to spend on a lobbyist and we're supposed to have several state representations who do such work on our behalf, but apparently, those two factors were irrelevant to the majority who voted in favor of this expenditure.

Council members Rob Ludeman (R, at-large), Tom Waniewski (R, District 5), D. Michael Collins (I, District 2) and Lindsay Webb (D, District 6) voted no.

At-Large Councilman George Sarantou (R) reasoned that the money was in the budget, and other entities all have lobbyists, so he was going to support the measure. He also expressed the opinion that, since we're going to be relying more on the state for funds, we needed to be sure to get our 'fair share.' How 'fair share' is defined was unexplained.

But I think the most disturbing 'logic' in support of hiring a lobbyist came from McNamara. His issue was the Ohio Estate Tax, which has been identified by Gov. John Kasich for elimination.

You see, according to McNamara, it makes perfect sense to spend tax dollars to go to Columbus to lobby to KEEP a tax on people because 'the city' needs that income.


Yep - McNamara is in favor of spending tax money to lobby to keep in place taxes on the people he represents. He wants to spend our money to fight for continuing to take our money.

Can you say 'stuck on stupid'????

The last item was a new government program called 'Bank on Toledo.' Apparently San Francisco did a similar program and the ordinance was to authorize the mayor to enter into a contract for the use of the promotional materials developed in San Francisco. Here is the information on the ordinance:

The City of Toledo, local financial institutions and local community organizations are partnering to create a “Bank On Toledo” program. The purpose of “Bank On Toledo” is to promote starter bank accounts designed for previously unbanked or underbanked individuals and lessen their dependence on high-priced check cashing and payday lending businesses. Many people are unaware of the available free or low-cost financial programs and the protection provided through local traditional financial institutions. Specifically, “Bank On Toledo” program targets Toledo area residents who currently utilize high rate check cashing programs to learn more about free and low cost financial services available through local traditional financial institutions.

The “Bank On” program was first started in San Francisco and has been successful in the in attracting and keeping unbanked and underbanked individuals to free or low-cost financial services of the local traditional financial institutions. A key component to the success of Bank On San Francisco” program was the creation, distribution and posting of marketing materials, including posters, brochures, advertisements, window cling, referral cards, and the “Bank on San Francisco” logo. The City and County of San Francisco has offered to share and allow the modification of the Marketing Materials with cities and jurisdictions that want to implement. The Toledo local partnership would like to available themselves of these materials. But to do so requires that the City of Toledo and the City and County of San Francisco enter into a contract that provides the partnership the use of the marketing materials under certain conditions.

I'm wondering why in the world this is even a function of government. Don't banks spend a fortune of their own money advertising their services? Why does the city even need to be involved in this? Can't the banks get together and create their own promotional materials if they want to do this?

And just who are these "unbanked" and "underbanked" people? Is this some sort of new demographic that will start being used in all kinds of government programs??? And just to emphasize, even spellchecker doesn't recognize the terms!

There is more to this issue than just the program and the promotional materials, though. This is all about elitists who don't like that some people use check cashing services and pay day lending services.

These elitists don't really care if a check cashing service is a good option and a preferred option for some people - they've decided that check cashing services are evil and people shouldn't use them. They even went so far as to pass a law in Ohio to put the payday lending companies out of business, they 'hate' them so much. (For background read this post, this one, and this one.)

But that's not enough, because people are *gasp!* still using such services. Oh, the humanity!

So, whether any actual tax dollars go to this program, public resources in the form of time and staff are going to have to be expended - and it's completely unnecessary. But that didn't stop city council from going forward. They voted in favor of this brand new government program with only Waniewski and Collins voting no. Adam Martinez (D, At-Large) abstained.

These are just three items that make today a gray day. But I'm sure, given enough time, Toledo City Council will give us more.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The ugly truth behind Politico's 'what women want' article

Politico has an opinion piece by Joan Kuriansky and Celinda Lake called "What do women really want?"

The crux of the matter, they conclude, is that women want to be taken care of by government. Women want social security increased; they want more money from Community Block Grants to pay for their training; they want minimum wages, etc., etc., etc....

What they don't tell you, though, is critical to understanding why their conclusions are so totally wrong.

Their opinion piece is based upon a 2010 Lake Research Partners survey for the Center for Community Change and the Ms. Foundation for Women. The 2010 Lake Research Partners survey, is not a very good survey on which to base ideas about what women, in general, want. In fact, the Title Page of the report clearly identifies the major problem with any such conclusions.

It states:

Community Voices on the Economy
Report from a Nationwide Survey of 1,004 Adults with Oversamples of African American Women, Latinas, Low-Income Women, and Single Moms

As if that wasn't clear enough, on page 2 they explain (emphasis added):

Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey which was conducted by professional interviewers. The survey reached a total of 1,004 adults nationwide, with oversamples of 100 African American women, 100 Latinas, 100 single mothers, and 200 low-income women. Relevant cases in the base were folded into the oversamples. The survey was conducted January 19 to February 3, 2010.

Did you see the bolded text? They readily admit that they oversampled minorities, single mothers and low-income women in conducting the survey - and they are right to emphasize that bias.

Because they tell us they oversampled a targeted group of women, we know that the opinions expressed are primarily of those groups and not of a 'general' grouping of women. As a result, the only valid conclusion anyone can have is that the survey reflects primarily what THOSE groups want - not what "women" want, as the authors of the Politico piece would have you believe.

I could go into other details about the conclusions of the authors but I think I'll hold those thoughts for when I fill in tomorrow on WSPD. Be sure to tune in at 3 p.m. if you'd like to hear more - or have your own thoughts on this.

But the opinion piece is a farce to portray the survey results as "women care about kitchen-table issues — investments in public education, affordable health insurance, protecting Social Security, equal pay enforcement, minimum wage increases and job training" instead of accurately explaining that it's only "some" women - primarily recipients of such spending - who hold those opinions.

Guest hosting on WSPD

As I'll be filling in for Brian Wilson on 1370 WSPD this week, there will be light postings on my blog.

I'll be covering the afternoon show (3-6 p.m.) on Tuesday, April 5, and Friday, April 8. Because I want to be sure to have enough material for 6 hours of talk, I'll save up what I'd normally write about for the show.

I will post here any links to the topics we discuss - and maybe more commentary - after each show.

I hope you'll tune in - either locally or on the internet - and join the conversation!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Quotes of the Day - April Fool

Well, the quotes aren't about April Fools but being April 1st, I liked that as a title to this post.

I've been in a bit of a cynical mood lately, so these quotes, while pertinent and thought-provoking, should be taken with a grain a salt.

"Here in America, government began as a tool to assure freedom. It gradually turned into a hideously expensive political toy designed to redistribute your wealth and control most aspects of your business and private life." ~ Mark Skousen

"Unable to maintain their government-granted monopoly, the powerful railroad interests turned to government to do the regulating and price-fixing which they were unable to do themselves. In fact, the pressure that induced Congress to enact the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 did not come from reformers bemoaning abuses by the powerful railroad interests; it came from the railroad interests themselves, asking Congress to shield them against the harsh winds of competition." ~ Dan Smoot
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