Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quote of the Day - majority rule

"There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong.... In fact it is only reestablishing under another name and a more specious form, force as the measure of right...." ~ James Madison

$750,000 burning a hole in Toledo's pocket

What to do, what to do?

Toledo City Council has three quarters of a million dollars (that's $750,000 for those of you who like actual numbers) that they haven't yet spent - so of course they've decided it has to spent yet this year, one way or the other.

Mayor Mike Bell put forth a plan to spend the money to bring in some dirt and do some grading as the beginning part of an overall project to 'transform' Promenade Park into a 'destination' point in downtown Toledo. The plan calls for removing trees that block the view of the water from Summit Street, replacing them with tiers of terraces, building a stage and adding a water feature.

Perhaps they've forgotten that we already have that exact same design next to Imagination Station (the old COSI, which used to be Portside)?

But this post isn't just about how similar 'destination' points have failed to bring people into downtown Toledo. As Tom Waniewski said:

“Our image is not based on what a downtown looks like,” Mr. Waniewski chided. “Our image is how do we treat the residents who pay for these services, and paved roads is a lot bigger priority than Promenade Park.”

No, this post is primarily about the stupidity of those in Government Center who think that all available money must be spent, rather than held for higher priorities.

The gist of the matter is that some on city council (and, it appears, a significant amount of Toledoans) believe that road repair is a function of government and should be one of government's higher priorities. Or, at least, certainly higher than a new park project.

Others, including the Mayor, believe that since the money cannot be spent this year on road repair, we should spend it elsewhere. Even at-large Councilman Rob Ludeman, a Republican, voted to spend the money on the park:

But Councilman Rob Ludeman agreed with the mayor’s position and called putting the money into Promenade Park a “no brainer.” He said the park improvements could happen right away but more street repairs would have to wait until after the winter months.

“How much work can be done on street repair this year? Basically none,” Mr. Ludeman said. “My feeling is Promenade Park has been needing upgrades for a long time. Downtown is making a resilient comeback, and work can be done on that throughout the winter.”

Well, if you need a new roof on your home and you only have saved up a portion of the costs, do you decide to spend that portion on a vacation simply because you can't do the whole roof before the winter comes? Or do you decide to keep saving that money - adding to it - so you have enough to pay for the new roof when the work can be done the following spring?

That's a 'gotcha' question, in case you missed it, because common sense and general fiscal accountability say you continue to save.

Yes, "it's only" $750,000 and city staff says that will "only" pave about two miles. Well, that's okay with me. I'd rather have two miles than some dirt and grading at a park - wouldn't most people?!?

In fact, even though I don't live in the area, I'd nominate the stretch of Secor Road between Westgate and the I-475 overpass as one place to spend that 'limited' amount of money, even if they don't spend it until next spring.

But...but....but....this is economic development, the Mayor and at-large Councilmen Joe McNamara and Adam Martinez claimed:

"We're trying to create an environment here that is international, that will bring people to our city," the mayor told council. "The project at Promenade Park ... will make us money."


Mr. McNamara said the investment in Promenade Park would create a much-needed focal point in downtown Toledo that would help define the city and put it on the map. He described the disappointment he felt when he recently picked up a book about Ohio, only to find that just two or three pages mentioned Toledo.

"Investing in ourselves is a good idea," Mr. McNamara enthused. "We're trying to sell our city across the world ... I think it's important to dream and I think this is a great project."

Councilman Martinez echoed the mayor's analysis, arguing that investing in downtown would attract businesses and generate more money in private dollars from every dollar in public money spent.

Does anyone really believe that a new park and a second terraced stage area will bring in more businesses than taking care of the basic infrastructure of the city? Apparently, several city council members and the Mayor do. And how, exactly, will this park plan - not scheduled to be completed for several years, bring in money? Well, according to the supporters, businesses will want to relocate here because they can go to events on the waterfront. Yeah - right!

Businesses locate and grow in places where they can make money. They leave - or don't come in the first place - when government takes more of their money than it should and spends it on unnecessary things, that don't contribute to their ability to enhance their bottom line. Ask any owner of any successful business if they would make a decision on where to locate their business based upon a destination park that is only usable for maybe six months of the year. They'll probably laugh in your face.

As it stands right now, the Mayor exercised his line-item veto authority on the 7-4 decision by City Council to add the $750,000 to the $2.5 million already budgeted for street work. It will take nine votes to override the veto, which means that two of the councilmen who voted no (Ludeman, McNamara, Martinez and District 3 Councilman Mike Craig) need to realize the error of their ways and join with the other council members in voting for the road work. Or just one, if at-large Councilman Phil Copeland, who wasn't present for the original vote, decides roads trump parks.

The Mayor also plans to re-submit the Promenade Park spending plan to council. Even if council doesn't override the veto, they will still have to provide seven votes to spend the money on the park. If the seven who originally voted for the roads maintain their stance, the funding for Promenade Park will fail - as it should.

If you have an opinion, be sure to let the members of Toledo City Council know. Here is their contact information:

Council Office telephone number - good for all members of Council: 419-245-1020

Wilma Brown - Council President
District 1 (D)

D. Michael Collins
District 2 (Independent)

Phillip Copeland
At Large (D)

Mike Craig
District 3 (D)

Paula Hicks-Hudson
District 4 (D)

Rob Ludeman
At Large (R)

Adam J. Martinez
At Large (D)

Joe McNamara
At Large (D)

George Sarantou
At Large (R)

Steven Steel
At Large (D)

Tom Waniewski
District 5 (R)

Lindsay M. Webb
District 6 (D)

***Side Note:

I'm not sure of the original source of this money. According to some reports, the excess $750,000 is part of a loan for work at the Marina District - a loan that was supposed to have been repaid by the prior developer Larry Dillon. If this is, indeed, the case, then instead of spending the money, we should return it and not end up paying interest when we don't have to.

If this is actually borrowed money, then conversations about how to spend it should immediately cease.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ride for 9-11 group arrive in Toledo

Press Release from City of Toledo:

California firefighters ride cross-country for national observance

Toledo Fire and Rescue to host fellow firefighters along their fundraising journey

The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department will tonight host ten firefighters from southern California trekking across the country to observe the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America. Their journey, by bicycle, will also raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Leary Firefighter Foundation.

The firefighters will arrive in Toledo on Monday afternoon at the fire administration building. They will be a guest of the Toledo Mud Hens at their Monday evening game, where the firefighters have been invited to take an honor lap around the interior perimeter of 5/3 Field. Frickers Downtown has donated dinner for the group.

They will conclude their stopover in Toledo spending the night at a fire station as guests of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department. The next stop on their tour will be Kent, Ohio.

Members of the group will be available to the media at the Mud Hens game to discuss their ride and the causes they support.

For more information, visit


Hey LCRP: update your webpage!

I've seen several political signs for judges and I was curious as to who was running for which seat. So, thinking that our local party would have endorsed candidates and have a listing of the information, I went to the Lucas County Republican Party's website at

And this is what I found:

There was nothing else...nothing on the page 2 tab at the top of the website. Nothing about candidates. Nothing about any upcoming events or fundraisers. Just this ad for an event from April.

How is anyone supposed to know who our candidates are?

How is anyone supposed to know how to contact our candidates?

How is anyone supposed to know what events are coming up?

How is anyone supposed to volunteer to help out?

How is anyone supposed to give money to the party?

Obviously, this is a massive failure on behalf of our chairman, Jon Stainbrook. He can't be so busy trying to fire Republicans he doesn't like at the Board of Elections that he can't even get the party's website updated - can he?

And if you're a candidate, you've got to be sorely disappointed that the party doesn't even list you, much less provide a link to your webpage so interested individuals can learn more about you, volunteer for you and, hopefully, contribute to your campaign.

What's worse is that the LCRP's facebook page is equally out of date and, despite saying that their goal is to elect Republicans, has nothing about the candidates on it either.

Stainbrook was able to get enough people to the organizational meeting to get elected chairman, but he is failing miserably in his role as leader of our local party if the party's website can't be kept current.

How, exactly, are you supposed to elected Republicans when you can't even tell people who is on the ballot and deserving of their support?!?

This probably also qualifies for 'stuck on stupid' designation as well.

IDs needed for sandbags but not to vote?

Oh the irony!

From my friend and fellow blogger, Warner Todd Huston at PublusForum:

My friend over at Alexa Shrugged ( A great blog you should visit) made a hilarious observation about what is going on in Washington D.C. during preparations for the oncoming hurricane named Irene.

On her Twitter feed Alexa joked about a story on Fox about D.C. residents being told where and how to get sandbags for the storm.

Alexa noted this specific part:

Residents, with DC identification, may pick up sandbags (up to five per household) at RFK Stadium, Lot 7

Alexa found the whole “DC identification” thing rather amusing.

“Need ID to pick up sandbags, but not to vote,” she snarked.

Totally hilarious, no?

You need a valid ID to save your home, but you don’t need an ID to vote??

Read more.

As a side note, I can only wonder what in the world you're supposed to do with only five sandbags? Typical government solution - everyone gets a little bit of something but not enough to actually accomplish anything at all. We have to be fair, now, don't we? As a result, everyone who relies solely upon the government will fail equally in protecting their homes.

And who are those people so dependent upon government? Why - the poor, of course! Why don't the leftist politicians in D.C. want the poor to save their homes? Isn't this a type of sandbag tax - like they claim a voter ID is a poll tax?



Stuck on stupid.

You just can't make this stuff up!

The Constitution: Timeless Principles for a Nation

The Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition, the member organizations of the Northwest Ohio Patriot Coalition and Owens Community College will sponsor an educational event entitled The Constitution: Timeless Principles for a Nation on September 18th.

The educational sessions will focus on the principles of the Constitutional republic provided by the Founding Fathers and their relevance to issues of today.

There is a $25 registration fee and you can register here or by calling (567) 661-7357 or (800)-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7357. The fee covers all sessions and a box lunch.

Lunch and Learn Speakers include:

* Professor Lee Strang from the University of Toledo
* Charlie Earl, former libertarian candidate for Ohio Secretary of State and one of the hosts of Eye On Toledo on WSPD
* Gary Rathbun, President and CEO of Private Wealth Consultants
* Maurice Thompson from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law
* Brian Wilson from WSPD
* Michael Young

There will be three separate breakout sessions with presenters and round table discussions on topics such as:

* Enumerated Powers;
* History of Taxation;
* Abigail Adams Project;
* State Sovereignty;
* Religion and Morality;
* Original Intent;
* Media: The 4th Branch;
* The 10th Amendment;
* The Anti-Federalist;
* Hot Button: Labor;
* Hot Button: Healthcare;
* Hot Button: Abortion

The Closing Session will be to test your knowledge with Brian Wilson and “The Famous Constitutional Quote Game.”

The event begins at 12:30 in rooms AVCC 125-128 at Owens Community College, 30355 Oregon Road, Perrysburg, OH.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Holding Stainbrook accountable to his own standards

I've had some communications that state my prior post, "If he follows his own logic, Stainbrook should resign from BOE," might be a bit 'harsh.'

I reject that wholeheartedly and have only this to say to those who believe Stainbrook shouldn't be held to his own standards:

If Ben Marsh, Patrick Kriner or Lynn Olman had been the members of the Board of Elections when the improper certification of Lindsay Webb had been approved, do you think Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook would be saying it was the fault of the staff?!?

Of course not - he, and The Blade, would be calling for their heads on a platter!

All I'm asking for is consistency - rather than hypocrisy - in positions. Stainbrook, himself, set the standards and he needs to be held accountable to the same ones he sought to impose on others.

But as I said in my original post - I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If he follows his own logic, Stainbrook should resign from BOE

The issue of District 6 Toledo City Council member Lindsay Webb's late filing of the acceptance of her nomination for election in November has been in the news lately, especially after opponent Doug DeCamp filed a protest, also late.

Rather than go through the idiocy of Webb's failure to meet a filing deadline, her 'mis-remembering' the location where she mailed the filing or the shear lunacy of claiming that the protest against her late filing was late so it shouldn't be allowed, but her late filing should be ... let's look at where the real problem lies: the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Having worked with the Board of Elections since the early '90s as both a candidate and a Commissioner, I have a lot of respect for the individuals there. Whether asking questions as a candidate, commissioner or blogger, I've always had timely responses and, to the best of my knowledge, correct answers. I know that any office may have a couple of employees who don't meet expectations or requirements, but that is not unique to the Board of Elections.

The office has had serious challenges over the years - many the result of the personalities of the board members themselves - but over the past five years or so, I've seen significant overall improvement, despite specific problems encountered. This I attribute to the board members (Democrats Rita Clark, Gary Johnson, Ron Rothenbuler and Republicans Patrick Kriner and Lynn Olman) who focused on running an elections system.

So when issues arise like the latest debacle of the board members certifying a candidate who failed to meet a required filing deadline, it is appropriate to look at the board members themselves.

And that is where the hypocrisy comes in - and readers of this blog know how I despise hypocrisy.

It is fair to look to the past at words and actions in order to judge the present goings-on.

Shortly after Jon Stainbrook became chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, the winner of the Republican primary for a seat on the Lucas County Board of Commissioners withdrew. The party, under the leadership of Stainbrook, nominated Jan Scotland to fill the vacancy. As a result of the party's action, Stainbrook, as chairman, should have filed the nominating paperwork with the Board of Elections. He didn't - at least, not on time - and Scotland was not allowed to be on the ballot.

At that time, Stainbrook claimed, erroneously, that it was the responsibility of the Republican members of the board to make sure he did his job correctly. Lots of theories abounded about the failure of Scotland to be on the ballot, but in the end, the law prevailed and the missed filing meant Scotland did not run.

But that didn't stop the local paper from editorializing that the fault was completely with the two Republican board members. In fact, they even opined:

"If they truly had the interests of the GOP at heart, rather than an intense desire to see their adversary fail, Mr. Olman and Mr. Kriner could easily have helped to ensure that the nominating papers for Mr. Scotland were filed in time."

Stainbrook had some choice comments during the Scotland nominating failure that are important to note in light of today's Lindsay Webb issue.

* Mr. Stainbrook, then in his first few months as chairman, did not know about the deadline and said the Republicans on the elections board should have reminded him.
~ "Stainbrook says elections board staff violated law," The Blade- Friday, October 23, 2009

* During a news conference yesterday, he blamed inter-party politics for the situation.

"The job of the Lucas County Board of Elections is to get people on the ballot," Mr. Stainbrook said.

~ "Elections board chief criticized - Democratic official failed to warn of deadline, GOP says," The Blade - Thursday, August 28, 2008

And a bit more from the editorial board of The Blade in "Put Scotland on the ballot," from Friday, August 22, 2008:

As to who is responsible for this sad state of affairs, voters have only to look in the direction of Lynn Olman and Pat Kriner, the Republican members of the elections board , who have been in vendetta mode ever since Mr. Stainbrook ousted the local party establishment in June.

If they truly had the interests of the GOP at heart, rather than an intense desire to see their adversary fail, Mr. Olman and Mr. Kriner could easily have helped to ensure that the nominating papers for Mr. Scotland were filed in time.

And despite claims to the contrary, there was nothing to prevent the county elections staff from pointing out the Wednesday deadline so that it could be met. The insider skirmishing that has marred the deliberations of the elections board in recent years only serves to cast a pall of cynicism over the electoral system.

Why are these comments pertinent? Because they reflect the belief, by our local paper and Stainbrook, that it is the responsibility of the members of the board to notify candidates of deadlines and ensure that those deadlines are met.

So in the Lindsay Webb case, what position is Stainbrook going to take when it comes to responsibility for DeCamp's protest being late? Is he going to say that he, as a Republican member of the board, should have 'reminded' his candidates about the protest deadline? That's what he said in 2009:

"...the Republicans on the elections board should have reminded him."

And what position will the local paper take? Will they say that Stainbrook should have "helped to ensure" that the protest was "filed in time"? Or will they reverse their position on where the blame lies and again defend the publisher's buddy by making public excuses for him?

As for Webb, will Stainbrook and The Blade also say that it was Democrat board members Rothenbuler and Clark who are to blame for not 'reminding' her of the deadling for her acceptance filing? Somehow, I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong, my personal opinion is that Lindsay Webb never should have been certified. She missed a required filing and, as such, was not eligible for certification to the ballot.

Had I been a new member of the Board of Elections with two new directors heading the office, I would have requested, from the attorney assigned to assist the BOE, a complete list of requirements needed for each candidate and then directed the staff to prepare a checklist for the candidates for review during the meeting to certify them to the ballot. As a result of doing this, I would have known that one of the candidates failed to meet a filing deadline and the issue would have been dealt with prior to certification.

But that's me. Stainbrook is known for suing Republicans and spouting off - not for his administrative, supervisory or leadership skills. It is his failure to know what was required (despite saying that was the job of a BOE member) and ensure all requirements were met prior to voting on certification that led to the current fiasco.

And what about Stainbrook's fellow new Republican board member Anthony DeGidio? When DeGidio was appointed, it was his legal skills that were cited:

Mr. Stainbrook said Mr. DeGidio’s legal background will serve the board well.

“After you see all of the legal wranglings that happen at the board of elections you really need to have the party chairman and then there should be a lawyer,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “Tony DeGidio, with all the cases he’s done, he’s very aware of the Ohio Revised Code election law and that’s what you have to have is somebody looking out for the way things should be done. We’re lucky to have him.”

Where was DiGidio during the certification process ... and since??? If he's so aware of election law and is supposed to be looking out for the way things should be done, why didn't he know about the deadline for the nomination acceptance and ensure that all candidates had met it?

Obviously, as Stainbrook has said in the past, the problem is with the members of the board and they have failed miserably in their duties. As Stainbrook has so vehemently advocated in the past, they should resign.

But don't hold your breath.

Quote of the Day - our great nation

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass." ~ George Washington

Toledo City Council Meeting August 23, 2011

Notes on Toledo City Council's meeting from Sherry:

Toledo City Council Meeting

August 23, 2011

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

* Item 389 – Issue renewal Notes, Sidewalk Programs, $840,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 390 - Issue renewal Notes, 2004 SB&H Equipment, $370,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 391 - Issue renewal Notes, 2004 Parks Equipment, $85,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 392 - Issue renewal Notes, 2005 SB&H Equipment, $830,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 393 - Issue renewal Notes, 2005 Parks Equipment, $180,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 394 - Issue renewal Notes, 2009 Solid Waste Containers, $9,975,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 395 – Issue Notes, 2011 CIP Issue renewal Notes, Plan, $3,135,000 - 1st Reading.

* Item 396 – Encroachment into public r-o-w (8' X 58') along Jackson St. for restroom & dumpster for Manhattan's – passed – all voting yes.

* Item 397 – Extend agreement with Public Financial management for Utility rates and projections, $95,000 Water/Sewer – passed – all voting yes.

* Item 398 – Agreement with Siemens Industry for security system at Water Treatment, 5 years, $55,000/yr. Water – passed – all voting yes.

* Item 399 – Accept contribution from DTPA for reconstruction or Orange St. entrance into Vistula Garage, $50,000 – passed – all voting yes.

* Item 400 – Street Lighting – Alley bounded by Plymouth St., Navarre Ave., White St., & Idaho St. - passed – all voting yes.

* Item 388 – Resolution – Recognize Toledo PRIDE 2011 – adopted – all voting yes.

* Item 401 – SUP for day care center at 4305 Dorr St. (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

* Item 402 – Amend TMC Sec. 1104.0100, 1105.0301, 1107.0300, 1116.0204, & 1116.0218 for rentals, freight, fencing – passed – all voting yes.

* Item 387 – Appropriation for demolition/removal of abandoned/blighted houses, 2 year commitment, $350,000 CIP – passed – all voting yes. Craig – Council support will go a long way – great first step. Martinez – good use of funds.

* Item 233 – Purchase 48 acre Capital Commons Industrial Park, 5600 Angola Rd., $1,050,000 CIP over 3 years – Refer back to Administration.

* Item 136 – Amend TMC Sec. 757.01 & 757.02 to define improper solicitations – Sarantou - move to Amend – passed – all voting yes. Ludeman – (to Herwat) discussion with Mr. Thomas – downtown business community – how much has it been used? Herwat – make it a form of furlow. Ludeman – this will become law 30 days from passage. Hicks-Hudson – the purpose – to bring City into compliance. Adam Loux – it wasn't Constitutional (old law) – is now under Constitutional muster. Collins – (to Adam L.) What other Cities have done this? Adam L. - Cincinnati survived the challenge – Columbus and Dayton to a degree. Passed – all voting yes.

* Item 377 – Appropriation for expansion of VIOP phone system, various locations, $100,00 CIP Fund – refer back to Administration.

* Item 378 – Approve 2011 – 2015 CIP Plan, appropriate and authorize remaining 2011 CIP projects, $15,774,589 – Sarantou - move to amend.

McNamara – Sarantou Amendment? Gerald Dendingger – it's in front of you – amend to resurfacing – repair as many streets as possible.

McNamara – disagree with Sarantou – no focal point for Toledo – Borders is closing – my wife and I love books, we have been buying them up. Came across a book on Ohio, only had 2 – 3 pages on Toledo. We have many needs in Toledo right now – we need to invest in ourselves – we are international.

Collins – It is an important piece of Toledo – there has never been a Market Study done on this – Portside never had one done – We have done them on the Huntington Center and Fifth Third Field - resident's streets repaired are more important than moving dirt – Toledo will have more dirt tomorrow – the repair of our streets are more important – people calling about re-aligning their cars – lets fix the roads first.

Ludeman – What can $750,000 do? Herwat – 3 blocks done. Representative from Roads/Repair Dept. - It will take 3 months – stop paving at Thanksgiving time – can move dirt at Promenade Park at anytime.

Rep. From D. T. Construction – we need to eliminate trees – will open up the river – good use of that space – will look like Millennium Park in Chicago – will pull that area in – excellent use of funds.

Waniewski – address image? McNamara brought in image to the taxpayers – rather pave 3 blocks (he's going by emails he has received) – tighten your belt.

Martinez – I chuckle a little bit – (reads from book that McNamara referenced) (McNamara never said he bought it. SZ) – investment has come to the Warehouse District - help from Public investment. This is the kind of environment I want to raise my kids in.

Sarantou - $750,000 will get you 2 miles? Rep. From Roads – it would be mill and fill. Sarantou – Materials left to cover? Do additional streets? Rep. From Roads – check on contracts. Sarantou – mill and fill contracts for next year? Rep. from Roads - I don't have that information yet. Greatest repair – big construction.

Collins – In Akron, new machine that would eat up the old pavement at one end, and lay new pavement at the other end. Rather expensive? Rep. From Roads – don't know. Collins – I think it was around 3 mil – stretch our dollars – how much money needed – budget for next year.

Craig – we need to put more money into neighborhoods – by 9/1 – not going to get anything done – more streets need to be repaired.

Hicks-Hudson – What is the budget?

Brown – put the same street on the list for 5 years – still not done. Hicks-Hudson – How important – tonight? OK – don't want to wait. Herwat – CIP Funds - will stay there – F. E. Alignment – something more definitive.

Bell – money comes from taxes – tax dollars from Parks to roads – defeating ourselves – one time shot – let some hub caps/rims go.

Steel – plan for Park – if you build it they will come – What is the difference with this $750,000 this year? Rep. From Roads – get rid of the steps, bring in the dirt. Rep. From Roads – further study on stage – 5-6 mil project – grants (OH) – covered stage to come. (She is for the project at the Park – she said it as she left the podium. SZ)

Sarantou plan – work next year. Ludeman – good debate . Herwat – pay a premium for asphalt. Craig – move to call – question. Sarantou – take out side walks - $350,000 – commit program. Herwat – talked with Miss Whitney – squeezed 2 mil out of it for next year (her budget). Collins – transfer into GF - OT etc – Sarantou Amendment – put the money towards this – Is this a need or a want? (compares streets to streets) Craig – point of order. Brown – one request – one road. Rep. From Roads – what are you talking about? List of roads to be worked on.

Vote on Sarantou Amendment – No – Craig, Ludeman, Martinez, McNamara. Yes – Sarantou, Webb, Collins, Steel, Hicks-Hudson, Brown, Waniewski. Final vote on the issue – passed – all voting yes.

Final Call:

Steel – Come Saturday to the Toledo PRIDE event downtown.

Waniewski – Tomorrow meeting at UT, 6 PM, on recycling and refuse, on the 29th, Block Watch, Old Orchard neighborhood.

Collins – 10/2010 - $200,000 to LCIC – performance report – businesses created/left – Meeting tomorrow at Reynolds Garden Cafe – Muslim Association, Unity Dinner.

Martinez – just a note to Mr. Collins – LCIC's year goes from July to June 30th – don't expect them to have anything ready yet.

Brown – I think I've said enough.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rep. Chabot orders confiscation of cameras, cell phones

This is bad - very bad - and not something you'd usually expect to see from a Republican. It definitely qualifies for 'stuck on stupid' designation.

From Infowars:

A congressman from Ohio had cops grab the cameras of constituents during a town hall meeting. Steve Chabot, a Republican, had cell phones and cameras confiscated in order to “prevent an embarrassing Youtube video from making the rounds,” according to Carlos Miller, who runs a blog documenting efforts by the state to stifle the First Amendment rights of photographers.

See video of the incident below.

Police said the cameras were taken “to protect the constituents.” A local television station, however, was allowed to videotape the meeting and the brazen move by Chabot and the cops.

Click here to read more.

Laugh of the Day - blame it on Bush

picked up on Facebook:

BREAKING NEWS!! Obama has just confirmed Va. earthquake occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line, apparently known as "Bush's Fault". Secret Service & Maxine Waters continue investigation of quake's suspicious ties to Tea Party. Conservatives however have proven that it was caused by the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.>

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

State Rep silent on union-related violence but upset over anti-union phone calls

Our local paper has finally decided to mention that a recent shooting of the owner of a local electrical contracting firm, and the vandalism of his vehicle at his home, might be union related.

I previously wrote about the bias of the newspaper in failing to mention the word 'scab' being etched in John King's car, so it's nice to see that a week later, they're covering that aspect of the crime. Today, they've got an article on the reward - $70,000 from Mr. King and the local chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors.

What's disturbing, however, are the comments - or rather, lack of comments - from Matt Szollosi, a state representative who also happens to be an attorney for the local electrical union. He refused to comment on the shooting, but was glad to talk about what he described as "fiercely anti-union" phone calls and emails to Local 245, an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union hall which is located down the street from IBEW Local 8 headquarters in Rossford. The Rossford police are investigating those harassing calls.

So why couldn't this state rep make a comment renouncing the violence against King? I'm certain, considering his long years in public office, he could have found a way to say the violence was wrong and not condoned without upsetting any union member.

He could have said, "Since the suspect in the shooting has not yet been identified or caught, we do not know what his motivation for the violence is. But vandalizing private property and shooting someone is never an action that should be condoned."

See? It's easy to do.

Unfortunately, to date no elected official and no union leader has said anything on the shooting and I can't help but believe that is part of the reason individuals are making 'anti-union' phone calls and sending 'anti-union' emails to the union office.

As I originally wrote, I don't know who committed the crime, but the etching of the word 'scab' in King's vehicle along with the prior violence related to union issues at his company certainly make a union member or union sympathize a focus of the investigation. That's just logical.

What's not logical is to remain silent.

"The maxim is "Qui tacet consentire": the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented." ~ Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hey, kids - don't drink the Kool-Aid!

We've all heard the phrase, 'drink the Kool-Aid' used politically in one way or the other.

According to Wikipedia, it's origin is the Jonestown Massacre, but it means to accept wholeheartedly or blindly wihout critical examination:

"Drinking the Kool-Aid" is a metaphor, used in the United States and Canada, that means to become an unquestioning believer in some ideology, or to accept an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly or blindly without critical examination. The phrase can sometimes have a negative connotation, or can be used ironically. The basis of the term is a reference to the November 1978 Jonestown Massacre,[1][2] where members of the Peoples Temple were said to have committed suicide by drinking a "Kool-Aid"-like drink laced with cyanide.[3]
Objections notwithstanding, the phrase is commonly used in a variety of contexts to describe blind, uncritical acceptance or following, generally in a derogatory sense.

While similar, Urban Dictionary's second definition is a bit more simple: To completely buy into an idea or system, whether good or bad.

In a political sense, liberals will often say that people who align themselves with the tea-party movement are 'drinking the Kool-Aid.' And conservatives will often use the phrase for union members.

Considering the negative political connotations, you would think that a political group - like, say the Maumee Democrats (Ohio), would be 'sensitive' to the phrase, especially when it comes to handing out treats at a festival.

Apparently, the irony was lost on this group of Democrats as this is what they distributed to kids during the Maumee Summer Fair parade on Saturday:

Can you say 'stuck on stupid'???

***Thanks to my friend Friedrich VonHerrenhausen (not his real name) for sharing this with me!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Area law enforcement officers to compete in World Police & Fire Games

Press release from City of Toledo:

Local law enforcement officers head to New York for
World Police & Fire Games

Toledo men’s basketball team hopes to defend World Champion status

Representatives of multiple local law enforcement agencies will head to New York City this month to participate in the 2011 World Police & Fire Games. The Toledo Pride men’s basketball team is looking to defend their status as the basketball World Champions - an honor they earned during the last World Police & Fire Games held in Vancouver in 2009.

The team is comprised of officers from the Toledo Police Department, Maumee Police Department, Bowling Green State University Police Department, Lucas County Correctional Treatment Facility, Columbus Department of Corrections, City of Toledo Adult Probation, and Lucas County Sheriff’s Department. They practice and play in local competitions as well as around the nation against other domestic police and fire leagues. There are ten players and two non-law enforcement coaches.

Toledo Pride has received support for the trip from local sponsors and will depart August 26 for New York City. The team will play at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in Manhattan. The single elimination basketball tournament begins August 27 and concludes August 31.

The 2011 World Police & Fire Games are being held in New York City to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. The games will be held August 26 thru September 4.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ohio Apportionment Board schedules public meetings

Below is the list of the Ohio Apportionment Board hearings across the state. Note that the hearing for Toledo is Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, at the University of Toledo.


Monday, August 22, 2011

10:00AM – 12:00PM Lima
Lima Ohio State University – Lima
Life & Physical Sciences Building – Science 100
4240 Campus Drive
Lima, Ohio 45804

3:30PM – 5:30PM Toledo
University of Toledo
Scott Park Campus Auditorium
Toledo, Ohio 43606

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

9:00AM – 11:00AM Cleveland
Cleveland State University
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs Atrium
1717 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115

1:00PM – 3:00PM Akron
University of Akron
Martin University Center Ballroom
Akron, Ohio 44325

5:00PM – 7:00PM Youngstown
Youngstown State University
Kilcawley Center Chestnut Room
1 University Plaza
Youngstown, OH 44555-0002

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

9:00AM – 11:00AM Canton
Walsh University
Barrette Center – Fran Corp Conference Center
2020 Easton Street N.W.
North Canton, Ohio 44720

3:00PM – 5:00PM Marietta
Marietta College
Andrews Hall Great Room #203
215 5th Street
Marietta, OH 45750

Thursday, August 25, 2011

10:00AM – 12:00PM Dayton
University of Dayton
“1700” Auditorium (former NCR HQ)
1700 South Patterson Blvd.
Dayton, Ohio 45479

3:00PM – 5:00PM Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati
Tangeman University Center - Main Street Cinema
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221

Friday, August 26, 2011

9:00AM – 11:00AM Newark
The Ohio State University – Newark
Reese Center – Alfred Performing Arts Hall (RS110)
1179 University Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055

2:00PM – 4:00PM Columbus
Columbus State Community College
Workforce Development Center Ballroom
315 Cleveland Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Payback on Toledo's Collins Park solar panels is ... 104 years!

I've been holding off on writing about the recent unveiling of a solar field to help power the City of Toledo's Collins Park Water Treatment Plant because I was awaiting information from the city.

Jen Sorgenfrei, the mayor's public information officer, is really good about getting back with people, but answers to my questions generated more questions.

Here's what I know so far: this solar field is going to take over 100 years to recoup our investment.

Here are the details:

On August 10th, the City of Toledo - and its partners - unveiled a five acre solar field on the grounds of its Collins Park Water Treatment Plant on the city’s east side.

Begun in 2010, the total cost of $5.2 million comes from the following sources:

* $2.2 million from the federal government passed through the city via an Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy;
* $1 million long-term bond funding from the Port Authority's Northwest Ohio Bond Fund - a loan that IPS Energy Ventures will repay;
* $1.9 million from IPS Energy Ventures which includes a federal grant and private equity (specific breakdown not provided).

According to the city, the plant is 337,000 sq feet and annually consumes an average of 22M kilowatt hours at a cost of approximately $1.2M.

The city's press release states:

The solar field will provide in excess of one million kilowatt hours annually...

So, for the sake of arithmetic, the solar field will provide 1M kilowatt hours of the 22M kilowatt hours the plant uses every year. That's 4.5%.

If the plant uses the projected amount of kilowatt hours and the solar field produces the expected kilowatt hours, the city should realize a yearly savings of 4.5% of their $1.2 million costs - or $54,000 per year.

But ... (there's always a 'but')

In order to make this deal work, the city joined with IPS Energy Ventures LLC. For the next 10 years, IPS will operate and manage the solar field and sell the power generated back to the city at a cost less than what they'd normally pay for the purchase of energy from their energy provider FirstEnergy. The city told me that the expected savings for 2012 and 2013 is about $12,000.

Oh - and that $54,000 per year savings? It really won't be that much because after the 10-year contract with IPS is up, the city will have maintenance and other costs it will have to cover for the solar field, reducing the actual 'savings' expected.

Now, energy costs will rise in the future so some of the numbers may be different over time, but for the sake of this post, I'm going to talk in the static numbers already mentioned.

The question I have on the project is this: What is the ROI - return on investment? How long will it take us to recoup what we've spent via the savings we can expect?

And the answer to that question is - too long. You and I will probably be dead before that happens.

Here's how it works:

Total cost of $5.2 million - the majority of that in public tax dollars.

Total savings the first 10 years: roughly $120,000.

Subtract the first 10-year savings from the total cost and you get $5,080,000 of cost to go.

Divide that $5,080,000 by the $54,000 yearly savings after the city gets possession of the solar fields (a generous estimate since the maintenance/operational costs are not subtracted from this figure) and you get 94 years.

Total time to recoup the investment: 104 years.

While these panels have a 25-year warranty, absolutely no one expects them to last anywhere near the 104 years needed to recoup the investment. (Who knows what other options we may have over the next century!) And, their efficiency decreases over time. From Solar Panel Direct:

Just as any other electrical appliance, photovoltaic solar panels will inevitably decrease in performance, efficiency, and solar electrical output over time. Your solar panels will be exposed to the elements, carry an electrical charge, and will age accordingly. The solar radiation which produces solar electricity carries heat with it that will cause the components of your photovoltaic solar panel to become altered and less able to capture sunlight effectively. Less commonly, delamination can occur over time where the plastic layers that shield the photovoltaic cells from the elements will lose attachment.

Solar panel manufacturers provide a 25 year warranty that your solar products will be producing solar power at 80% efficiency from there initial tested solar electrical output rating. This is based on the notion that modern crystalline photovoltaic solar panels will lose function at a rate of about 0.7% per year. This is a major reason why thin film solar panel technology is not ready for mass production. Solar powered thin film silicon technologies degrade at a rate of 5% during their first few months in exposed sunlight. After this initial degradation they level off to a rate of 1% a year.

My financial calculations do not take into account the degradation and loss of efficiency, nor the maintenance costs, so the 104-year ROI is actually longer.

And the life of solar panels? Maybe 40 years at the most, though most estimates are around 30.

So... we've spent $5.2 million dollars to get maybe $1.74 million in savings.

What a bargain!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If Obama talks like a socialist, acts like a socialist and supports socialist policies, is he a socialist?

If you redeived a decent education, you probably learned about the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'solution' to the Great Depression. It failed miserably.

President Barack Obama's solution to our recent economic condition is similar to the New Deal - and has even been called the New New Deal (see here, here, here and here).

But Pres. Obama's plan - like the original one - is failing miserably. You know what they say about those who fail to learn from history...

The President doesn't it like it when people say he's a socialist or that he supports socialistic policies (see here, here, here and here).

What I found interesting in all this is a paragraph from Walter Williams latest column, Ominous Parallels, where Prof. Williams is comparing Pres. Obama's policies to those of Pres. Roosevelt:

Roosevelt's agenda was not without its international admirers. The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised "Roosevelt's adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies" and "the development toward an authoritarian state" based on the "demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest." Roosevelt himself called Benito Mussolini "admirable" and professed that he was "deeply impressed by what he (had) accomplished."

When Pres. Obama talks like a socialist, acts like a socialist, supports socialist policies, and those policies are praised by socialists, it's fair to ask if he is, indeed, a type of socialist.

And if the President doesn't want to be likened to a socialist, he should stop acting like one.

UPDATED! Ohio GOP calls for compromise on SB 5

UPDATE: See Update note at the bottom of the post. As a result of reading the actual letter from the GOP leadership and Governor, my original take on this has changed. My original post follows:

I received the following press release from the Ohio Republican Party. I don't know about you, but I've not heard any groundswell of support for 'compromise' on labor issues in Ohio. In fact, all I've heard from unions is that Senate Bill 5 needs to be repealed and business owners and conservatives saying it needs to stand.

While I can understand an interest in coming to agreement on reforms to the public union issues and the unsustainable obligations their contracts have, I can only wonder who is calling for 'compromise.' That's what we got with the debt ceiling and all that did was push the can down the road.

Perhaps the Republicans fear taking the issue to the ballot with the amount of money unions have to fight for a repeal? Perhaps Republicans fear that Ohioans will be swayed by fear tactics of the unions saying all our houses will burn down and there will be lawlessness because of no police or fire if SB 5 stands. Perhaps, the Republicans are acting too much like they have in the past, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I don't know... I just hope that this offer to talk isn't a capitulation before the fight has even begun.

Finding Common Ground In Order to Move Ohio Forward

Ohio Labor Leaders Should Accept the Invitation of Governor Kasich & State Legislative Leaders

Columbus - Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine released the following statement in response to this afternoon's press conference, where Governor John Kasich, House Speaker Bill Batchelder, and Senate President Tom Niehaus invited labor leaders to engage in discussion and compromise on reform legislation for Ohio:

"Our path forward as a state struggling under the weight of a sluggish economy begins with offering proposals to find common ground on reforms which place jobs and economic recovery before political point scoring," said Chairman DeWine.

"While the Ohio Republican Party stands solidly behind the reasonable reforms of Senate Bill 5, we urge Ohio labor leaders to join Governor John Kasich and our legislative leadership in heeding the public's calls for setting aside political differences in our shared desire to guide our state toward prosperity."

Background Information:

State Democratic officials and union leaders should listen to Ohioans' desire for compromise. That begins by offering concrete policy proposals for bipartisan consideration.

Senate Democratic leader Capri Cafaro of Hubbard said in a statement: "The time to negotiate was during the legislative process, not 197 days after Senate Bill 5 was first introduced in the Ohio Senate." (Julie Carr Smyth, "Ohio Gov Seeks to Stop Union Law Repeal Effort," AP, 8/17/11)

It's difficult to find common ground and negotiate when one side fails to offer any alternatives. Democrats failed to offer a single amendment, and one union leader said at a We Are Ohio news conference last week that they intentionally refused to do so for inherently "political" reasons:

"The Democrats were supportive of our position in its entirety," said Steve Loomis, president of the police patrolmen's union in Cleveland, during today's press conference. "The fact that they didn't offer any amendments is political in nature and they had their reasons for doing that," Loomis said. (Courtesy: Ohio Capital Blog, We Are Ohio Press Conference, 8/12/11)



I received a copy of the actual letter sent to Ohio's unions requesting them to sit down and see if there can't be some agreement on reforms to Ohio's collective bargaining laws.

The letter is from Gov. Kasich, Senate President Thomas Niehaus and Speaker of the House William Batchelder. It says:

"In a matter of days Ohioans will be thrust into a costly political battle that will likely result in lasting scars and bitter divisions at one of the most fragile moments in our state's history. Outside observers, including Ohio's two largest newspapers, have rightly asked whether that recourse is our only option. It is not. They have called on us to "look for common ground, not battlegrounds" and to make a "serious effort to determine if compromise is possible."

While we passionately believe in the reforms of Senate Bill 5 and stand ready to vigorously - and successfully - defend them, we ask you to consider this option and join us in working with determination toward a compromise for the benefit of the taxpayers we all serve.

So it appears that this is not a case of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat as I feared above, but an appeal directly to the public sector unions only to work with the Republican leadership to see where they might be able to find common ground on reforming Ohio's collective bargaining laws. The Democrats weren't invited.

It will be interesting to see where this goes - and whether or not any common ground might be discovered. The unions fall back plan would be to just let the voters decide.

Here is the actual letter:

Blade bias #10 - union violence unreported

It's been a while since I've done a Blade bias article and, quite conveniently, they provided fodder for a post.

If you listen to WSPD, you would have learned earlier this week about the vandalism and shooting at the home of the owner of one of the area's largest non-union electrical contracting companies. Details from the WSPD News department:

John King was shot in the arm last week when he surprised a man trying to slash the tires on the truck at his Lambertville home.The word "scab" was also scrawled on the side.

King says he became suspicious when he saw an outside security light outside go on.

When he stepped out of his front door, the man fired one shot and ran off.

King is the owner of the largest non-union electrical contracting company in the area.

The story has been picked up nationwide - The Blaze even provided a photo of King's vehicle with what appears to be two-foot high letters spelling SCAB scratched into its side.

But here's how our local paper reports the incident (link):

Lambertville man shot in arm after man tries to slash his tires

LAMBERTVILLE — A man was shot in the arm Wednesday night when he interrupted a suspect trying to puncture his vehicle’s tires with a knife, authorities said.

The incident happened about 11 p.m. in the 3300 block of Deepwood in Lambertville, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s department.

When confronted, the assailant shot a small caliber pistol at the victim, grazing his left upper arm. The victim was treated at the scene and was to seek medical treatment on his own, sheriff's deputies said.

The suspect was described as being in his mid-20s to early 30s, white, of medium build, and about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a dark-colored T-shirt, jeans, and a dark-colored baseball hat.

He appeared to be in his mid-20s or early 30s.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is requesting anyone with information to contact the detective bureau at 734-240-7530.

There is no mention of the the word 'SCAB'; there is no mention of the fact that the man owns a non-union company. There is nothing whatsoever to even remotely indicate that perhaps the union issue is a key component of the crime - clearly important information to helping find the culprit.

And when you read the comments following their story, you'll see people speculating that there is more to the story than just a tire-slashing event. Duh!

I'd wager that the paper only included this blurb because other news outlets were airing the story, as 'mere vandalism' just across the state line is something they don't normally cover.

Perhaps, they'd explain, there is no way to know the motivation for the act until the culprit is found and 'concluding' this was an act of union violence would be premature.

As if they've never jumped to conclusions on their own....

But there's a clear difference between jumping to conclusions and making an educated guess based upon evidence clearly present. Hint to The Blade - the word 'SCAB' is what is known to investigators as a 'clue.'

There is the history of the IBEW with this man and his company. As LaborUnionReport writes:

John King didn’t plan on being an enemy of unions. In fact, he says all he’s ever wanted to do is work at something he loves doing and be successful at it—something that most normal Americans would call ‘The American Dream.’

After high school and some college, Mr. King briefly worked for an IBEW contractor before being drafted into the military. Following his service in the early 70s, King became his own boss by going into business as the youngest electrical contractor in Toledo.

Over the years, King Electrical Services had always been a small business. However, during the Great Recession, King’s business has actually improved as his union competitors have priced themselves out of work.

Unfortunately, being a non-union electrical company, King has always been on the radar of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). In fact, in 2006, he won a significant case against the IBEW at the US Court of Appeals, after the union had improperly promised his electricians jobs on union sites if they voted the union into King’s company.

Since he’s been in business, in addition to the legal battles and verbal abuse, King’s company has been vandalized and threatened on numerous occasions.

“Back then, it was nothing to have to regularly buy a new set of tires.” King said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “The ice pick was the weapon of choice.”

Until Wednesday, the worst of the union attacks on King and his business came in the mid-eighties during the UAW strike at AP Parts. During a lull during the lengthy strike, King’s business was picketed by more than 50 IBEW picketers. This was at a time when he only had eight or nine employees. One of his employees, whose car was trashed by the union picketers, was also beaten up by IBEW thugs.

Unfortunately, the vandalism has never stopped. This year alone, he’s had to report three incidents of damage to police. This doesn’t include the incidents of stalking he and his men have to go through while they’re working.

In one incident earlier this year, rocks were thrown through the front windows of his shop, one of which had the word “kill” written on it.

When you take the prior incidences into account and the use of the word 'SCAB,' along with the act of slashing tires, it is logical to presume that the perpetrator dislikes King's non-union stance. Clearly the place to begin looking for the culprit is among IBEW and/or other union supporters. Fortunately, the police have a slug as well as the knife they believe was used to vandalize the vehicle. Obviously, there could be evidence on those items which may assist in identifying the perpetrator.

But if you read just the local paper, you wouldn't know any of this and you wouldn't even remotely suspect that there is more to this than just some nut job getting caught trying to slash someone's tires.

WSPD's Fred Lefebvre interviewed King this morning (podcast available here). King has offered a $10,000 reward. He said that this is particularly hard on his wife. I can only imagine what she must feeling and thinking when her husband is shot in their own yard by someone who got caught in the act of vandalism. Throwing a rock through a window is bad enough, but getting shot elevates it to another level entirely.

Now, the next question is: where is the IBEW? Wouldn't it be great if the leadership of the local union publicly denounces any such action as an option to its members and promises to expel the culprit if he is found to be a member of their union?

Oh - wait - considering it's a union, they'd probably pay for his legal defense....

UPDATE: As of 4:45, this story made the Drudge Report - see the middle column:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New regs are flying off Washington's printing presses like money

I wanted to share with you this latest op-ed piece by Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. My family's company was a member of the NFIB, primarily because my grandparents believed they truly were the voice of small business.

The recently launched a campaign to "Clip Washington's Regulatory Wings" and to highlight exactly how detrimental federal regulations are not just to small businesses, but to the jobs they are capable of creating.

New regs are flying off Washington's printing presses like money

By: Dan Danner

Karen Beagle had already complied with all the local Troy, Ohio, environmental regulations her small electronics business faced when along came the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with orders to scrap her existing septic system and replace it with an expensive and unnecessary sewer hookup.

Brad Muller's Charlotte, N.C., pipe and foundry companies are ensnared by the federal rule book, too, forced to spend millions of dollars each year complying with environmental regulations.

These are just two of America's millions of small and independent businesses that daily suffer new and unexpected burdens handed them by an increasingly aggressive federal bureaucracy flexing its regulatory muscle far beyond the original intent of Congress.

In the current economic climate, small businesses can no longer create the jobs and economic growth that once kept the nation's economy above water.

And hopes for a recovery of those opportunities are rapidly moving farther out of reach as President Obama ramps up the federal bureaucracy's rule-making machine.

The National Federation of Independent Business will not stand idly by while this government threatens innovators like Karen and Brad. We're fighting back with a new campaign -- Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations -- that will alert the nation to this growing danger and demand corrective action by Obama. We'll point out barriers and muster support to restrain officials who sidestep the laws as written.

Since 2005, pending federal regulations classified as "major" or "economically significant" (costing our economy more than $100 million) have soared 60 percent.

And of the more than 4,200 new regulations federal bureaucrats under Obama currently have ready to roll out, 845 have been identified as policy changes that will negatively impact small businesses.

Read more

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New home for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity

Email from Habitat for Humanity:

New Home for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity
1308 Conant St.
(Formerly Carter Lumber)

We're very excited to announce that on August 10, 2011, we closed on the purchase of 1308 Conant Street! This location, which includes a 19,000 sq. ft. building and two large out-buildings, will provide space for our headquarters, ReStore, and warehousing.

This purchase will not only allow us to fully recover from last October's fire, but also to expand our capacity in order to serve even more families and transform neighborhoods in Lucas County.

The new central location will allow us to easily commute to all our service areas and to accommodate our dedicated staff and volunteers. Having all staff, materials, and operations in one location for the first time should create greater efficiencies for our organization and all of our programs.

The ReStore will become operational first, with an opening around November 1 of this year. Offices for the rest of the staff and volunteers will be constructed after ReStore is opened.

We've been very grateful for the depth of the support we have received from the community during the past year. We would like to thank you for your continued concern for our mission and our ministries. We look forward to continuing to partner with you to help further fulfill our vision of providing everyone safe, decent, and affordable housing.

Quotes of the Day - government spending & equality

Oh to find such a president today....

"I can find no warrant for such appropriation in the Constitution." ~ Grover Cleveland, (1837-1908) 22nd & 24th US President

Source: written often during his two terms as president when he vetoed Congressional spending.

And note that it wasn't that long ago that Presidents vetoed spending as 'unauthorized' by the Constitution....

Of course, much of today's spending is presented under the guise of making things *equal* - as in compensating individuals who haven't worked with income taken from those who have. Or deciding that government is a better judge of the value of an employee in terms of pay by setting a minimum wage - negating the purchaser's (employer's) decision on what the skills, experience, etc... are worth. Or in the class warfare rhetoric of today's President who thinks that just because you have worked hard and earned more money than your neighbor, you should, for some unknown reason, pay more of that income to the government so the government can spend it providing cars and air conditioners and mortgage subsidies and fans and heating and bus tokens and all manner of things to people who are 'less fortunate.'

Perhaps these politicians would be wise to remember this:

"All men have equal rights, but not to equal things." ~ Edmund Burke

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Perseids and International Space Station.

FYI - from SpaceWeather:

METEOR SHOWER: The Perseid meteor shower is underway. International observers are now reporting more than 20 meteors per hour as Earth passes through a stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on the night of Aug. 12-13. The best time to look is during the hours before dawn on Saturday morning, August 13th, when the glaring Moon is relatively low and meteor rates are highest.

Visit for full coverage.

WATCH OUT FOR THE SPACE STATION, TOO: Consider it a cosmic coincidence. During the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, the International Space Station will fly over many US towns and cities. The behemoth spacecraft is easy to see if you know when to look. Check's Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times:

Quote of the Day - who decides

This is a quote from John Adams - I wonder how many elected officials (or their wives - lol) in Washington would agree??? And even if they *say* they agree, they certainly don't act like it or pass laws that respect it.

"We hold that each man is the best judge of his own interest." ~ John Adams

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WBGU Ohio Turnpike Update

Email from Wood County Commissioner Tim W. Brown:

Ohio Turnpike

WBGU has uploaded their program Northwest Ohio Journal, on which I had a chance to discuss the Ohio Turnpike with Governor Kasich’s Director of Transportation. Following is the link. I hope the information is helpful to you in understanding our opposition to the Governor’s plan to lease the Turnpike.

The half hour program airs at the following times: Sunday’s at 3:30 pm; Tuesday’s at 11:30 pm; Saturday’s at 3 am; or you can click here to watch the video:

As always, I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and I hope you are having an enjoyable summer.


Tim W. Brown
Wood County Commissioner

Toledo City Council Meeting August 9, 2011

Sherry's rough notes from last night's Toledo City Council meeting:

Toledo City Council Meeting

August 9, 2011

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

The next two items I wasn't present for, but I'll note.

Item 371 – Approve settlement of alleged ULP charge and outstanding grievances with Teamsters Local – passed – Waniewski – no, rest yes.

Item 372 Reject Fact-finder report for 8 supervisors of Toledo Municipal Clerk of Court – tabled.

Item 349 – Lease-purchase 555 N. Expressway Dr. to replace Albion St. Municipal Garage, $26,143 per month, 15 years – Sarantou – Herwat said this would be around 3.1 – 3.2 Mil – when is the building purchase? Rep. From Water Dept. - This will be bought in 12 – 18 months – buy out at any time – 10K of the monthly payment to go toward the principal. Amend – roll call – passed – all voting yes. Webb – Good Luck (to the Administration). Cruthers – Thank you. Webb – bad reputation – rats and holes in the ceiling. Brown – took her Son out there – bad.

Item 373 – Resolution – Support 5 Toledo branches of U. S. Post Offices scheduled to be closed – adopted – all voting yes. Brown – everyone behind it. Webb – District 2 shutting down two branches – further danger for neighborhoods – I've been accused of having a narrow minded focus – organize Community wide – determent to my community. Hicks-Hudson – need additional information to keep open. Ludeman – I'm told I'm a dinosaur – I like to get a stamp and send my bills through the mail, instead of paying them online.

Item 374 – Contribution for 2011 to Toledo Sister Cities International, $25,000 General Fund – passed – Waniewski – no, rest yes.

Item 387 – Appropriation for demolition/removal of abandoned/blighted houses, 2 years, $650,000 CIP Fund – Craig – demolition of abandoned/blighted homes – expedite. 20 – 30K have left City – improve condition of neighborhoods – shot in the arm – immediate conditions. McNamara – abandoned/blighted houses bad – promised Ludeman what priorities are – Columbia Gas – extra money for equipment . Waniewski – CIP meeting next Wednesday – Capital Commons meeting Thursday. Cruthers – lot of bad names – think we are coming out of it. Capital Commons – jobs – talk about this ordinance. Martinez – agrees with previous statements from Cruthers. Ludeman – discussion on landbanking, hearing on the 18th . Craig – huge need for Economic Development – 15,000 people were tax payers - we lost their taxes – look at people that left the City – won't solve the problem, but it helps – this City won't survive with out neighborhoods. Waniewski – I hope you were talking about District 5, also. Maintain the people that are here. Amended - roll call – passed – all voting yes. Refer to Neighborhoods, CD & Health Committee.

Item 375 – Approve 2011 – 2015 CIP Plan, appropriate and authorize remaining 2011 CIP projects, $15,774,589 – refer to HR & Finance Committee.

Item 376 – Appropriation for equipment and professional services for ICT, $355,507 CIP Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 377 - Appropriation for expansion of VIOP phone system, various locations, $100,000 CIP Fund - refer to HR & Finance Committee.

Item 378 – Contract with Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group (DPSG) for vending services, accept $1,500+, Recreation Trust – passed – all voting yes.

Item 379 – Amend Ordinance 88-11 regarding U.S. EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan, $1,500,000 Grants – passed – all voting yes.

Item 380 – Dedicate City-owned land as public right-of-way at sw corner East Broadway & Starr – passed – all voting yes.

Item 381 – Repeal Ordinance 574-07 for sale of 616 East Broadway to Marvin Dabish, $32,000 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 382 – Sale of parking lot at 128 Platt St. to Weber block, LLC, $20,000 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 383 – Proceed with energy improvements to City buildings/facilities, authorize assessments, 15 years, $2,755,452 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 384 – Appropriation for mowers, trucks, and speed loader for Parks & Forestry, $418,800 Capital Replacement Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item – 385 – Purchase security system from Guardian Burglar Alarm for Water Distribution . Erie, $13,915 Water – passed – all voting yes. Cruthers – small expenditure will expand our water distribution – 4 pumps shut off this weekend – cooling water malfunction – we had back up – seal failure – we called on our skilled tradesmen – manual restart plant – the 9% - thank you – should help with delayed maintenance. The situation was avoided - could have been a boil advisory for 1 year till system was back – this was on a Friday evening – thanks to everyone as issues arise. Ludeman – please give us a call about the situation. Cruthers – we will do that in the future. Collins – under pressure on the Administration – could have been devastating – what are we doing? Rep. From Water Dept. - plan up and running. Collins – lesson to be learned – trouble shooting. Rep. From Water Dept. - we've have been working on the plan for six months. Collins – great job. Copeland – what did I learn – you can't put a price on it. Rep. From Water Dept. - this is just an overview.

Item 386 – Continue agreement with UT for Pavement management Information System (PMIS), $71,904 SCM&R – passed – all voting yes.

Last Call:

Sarantou – Reading of the City Journal, those excused. Wishing friend's a Happy 70th Anniversary (not there for the wedding).

Waniewski – Representative from Columbia Gas at a meeting – get all the details in my news letter (email).

Webb – Thursday the 11th, Circus at Friendship Park.

Collins – February 2010 LCIC – Doller-Jarvis – 200K spent – how successful? Blarney – Irish Fest – Friday.

Ludeman – email – designate someone to get it done – I was a judge at “Ribs on the River”, winner was from Swanton.

Brown – District 1 – recycling/dump – Saturday 1:00 – corner of Oben (?) and Bancroft.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Obama's credit downgrade speech misses the mark in too many ways

I don't actually watch or listen to any of President Barack Obama's speeches, but I do read each one of them on the White House web page.

I happen to find his speech pattern - specifically the decline/drop of his voice at the end of each sentence - particularly annoying and find that if I listen to him, I pay more attention to that pattern than to what he is actually saying. And that's not a good thing.

It's not just him - I didn't like George H.W. Bush's speech patterns either, though I seemed to enjoy listening to George W. Bush and his odd pronunciation of nuclear. Anyway - it's not a partisan thing, though my opinion about what is being said could certainly be construed as such.

Actually, I don't think my perspectives are as much 'partisan' as they are just common sense. And that goes for Pres. Obama's comments yesterday about our nation's credit downgrade.

He starts with this:

On Friday, we learned that the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies -- not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions, but because after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act. The markets, on the other hand, continue to believe our credit status is AAA. In fact, Warren Buffett, who knows a thing or two about good investments, said, “If there were a quadruple-A rating, I’d give the United States that.” I, and most of the world’s investors, agree.

Actually, the downgrade wasn't just because of the wrangling. Their report actually states:

The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics. what they're saying is that 'it's the spending, stupid.' They do say that the differences between the parties contributes to their concern - not because of the fact that they disagree, but because the compromises don't yield solutions to the debt problem.

They also say:

The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to 'AA' within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.

So they warn that continued failure to reduce spending or increased interest rates or other factors that raise the debt higher than their projections will result in further downgrades. This is a common sense conclusion and certainly predictable.

But if the President thinks the main problem is the lack of agreement by politicians, then he's starting with an incorrect premise - and that will lead to incorrect conclusions. Agreement between elected officials won't mean much if the agreement is just a panacea or something designed to give cover to incumbents without actually making the tough decisions that need to be made by a broke nation.

The President then says that the markets continue to believe we have a AAA rating. Um...not sure what 'markets' he's referring to but if he's talking about selling U.S. bonds, then I'm not sure we'd know that until the next sale. If he's talking about Wall Street, well, he's delusional.

He then says:

The fact is, we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction. That was true last week. That was true last year. That was true the day I took office.

Well, if that's the case, why didn't you do something about it already, Mr. President? In 2008, you said the need to raise the debt limit was a sign of poor leadership. But once you found yourself in the same situation you changed your mind. Your budgets have proposed increased spending and increased debt - more than the record amount you've already added. If deficit reduction has been a problem you've known about since becoming president, why haven't you done more to address it?

We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling -- a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip -- could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s.

This is where I had to stop reading. If Pres. Obama knew - as he clearly admits - that using the threat of default as a bargaining chip could do enormous damage to our economy, why did he use it?!?

He is clearly admitting that the threat of default was a political ploy and he willingly used it in the discussions. If he knew it would do "enormous damage" and then he deliberately used it, is he admitting he intentionally caused "enormous damage" to our economy?!? Why would he say such a thing?

This is just outrageous and I cannot believe, even with the main stream media carrying water for him, that no one bothered to ask such an obvious question.

He says the problem is solvable - with his solution:

What we need to do now is combine those spending cuts with two additional steps: tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share and modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.

Again, he talks about 'those who can afford it' paying their 'fair share.' Of course, he never defines 'fair share' and it would be hard to do so since the top 1% of income tax payers already are paying 38% of the taxes.

In fact, for tax year 2008, the most recent for which I could find figures, those making more than $159,619 (significantly less than the $250,000 figure always cited by the president) pay 58.72% of the taxes.

Hmm...let's repeat that. The top 5% of wage earners (those making more than $159,619) pay more than half the taxes collected. How, exactly, is that fair?!? It's not - but it falls into the President's penchant for class warfare - and it certainly sounds good to people who are paying nothing.

And what about 'modest adjustments' to Medicare? It is the President's own party and supporters who create commercials of Republicans tossing granny off the cliff at the mere mention that perhaps maybe we could just *look* at Medicare to see what savings we might be able to *consider.*

Does anyone really think that this President is going to propose any concrete changes to Medicare - or that Democrats and/or Republicans in Congress are going to pass them? He knows there isn't the political will for such things - and he even says so.

So it’s not a lack of plans or policies that’s the problem here. It’s a lack of political will in Washington. It’s the insistence on drawing lines in the sand, a refusal to put what’s best for the country ahead of self-interest or party or ideology. And that’s what we need to change.

The problem is that he is the one doing exactly what he's criticizing. He's the one drawing lines in the sand saying that tax increases have to be a part of the deal. But he never actually presented a plan to be voted up or down. And the lack of transparency on this and other items is the butt of jokes - even from liberals.

But don't fear - he has a plan:

I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed.

I guess I'm wondering why he doesn't already have his recommendations ready?

And the good news here is that by coming together to deal with the long-term debt challenge, we would have more room to implement key proposals that can get the economy to grow faster. Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible, so that workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers next year.

This I just don't get. He and his fellow Democrats say the problem isn't the spending - it's that the government isn't collecting enough 'revenue' (meaning taxes). And yet, he wants to continue a tax cut. Now, I happen to believe that lowering taxes is a good thing for an economy, but the President can't have it both ways. He can't say he needs more revenue while at the same time saying he wants to lower payroll taxes. The positions are contradictory and in conflict.

But the worst part about this is that idea doesn't do what it's intended. Tax rebates do not stimulate the economy because people usually save the money - especially in down economic times. Unlike the government, they don't go out and spend it just because they have it.

And a consideration which seems to elude this president, his administration and members of Congress is that even if there is a slight uptick in economic activity as a result, companies are not going to hire new people or build additional plants just because of a one-time boost.

We should continue to make sure that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s out there looking for a job, you can get the unemployment insurance that your tax dollars contributed to. That will also put money in people’s pockets and more customers in stores.

Here he is continuing in a failed program - extensions of unemployment payments have not done anything to 'stimulate' the economy. Too many individuals are getting more from unemployment than they can earn (in today's economy) by working. So they are staying on unemployment instead of accepting a position. This is clearly not all individuals, but there are a significant number of anecdotal reports (and I know several people personally) that lead me to believe the number is higher than most might want to admit.

Additionally, since the federal government is borrowing money to hand out to people in unemployment extensions, etc..., the long-term cost of the short-term benefit is extremely high and much more detrimental to the nation than any blip the economy might see from the temporary extension he's suggesting.

We should also help companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports, so that thousands of construction workers who’ve been without a job for the last few years can get a paycheck again. That will also help to spur economic growth.

Here we go again with the failed 'stimulus' thinking. It didn't work the first time around and, in fact, the administration's own numbers show that the economy would have been better off without it, as this quote demonstrates:

"According to this study, the unemployment rate with the stimulus plan in the third quarter of 2011 was supposed to be 6.5 percent, instead of the current 9.1 percent. Doing nothing would have yielded 7.7 percent unemployment. Even by their own economic estimates, doing nothing would have been better for America than what the Democrats did."

And if infrastructure spending is such a good idea for a stimulus, why did only 3% of the last stimulus go to such projects?!? Remember those shovel-ready jobs? Even the President admitted they weren't as 'shovel-ready' as he expected, as Jonah Goldberg explains:

After all, Obama has pretty much said the same thing several times. In a New York Times Magazine profile last October, the president admitted he had to learn the hard way that there’s “no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

This is a staggering indictment of the president, the team he assembled, and the journalists who accepted this administration’s arrogant assertions that they knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and what would happen as a result.

So what makes him think this time around will be any different? The President is being stupid - and insane. You all know the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Another stimulus plan, which is what he's talking about, fits that definition.

These aren’t Democratic proposals. These aren’t big government proposals. These are all ideas that traditionally Republicans have agreed to, have agreed to countless times in the past. There’s no reason we shouldn’t act on them now. None.

Here he is definitely wrong. While I will agree that Republicans and Democrats have supported such ideas in the past, they are clearly a big-government proposal. They are based upon the idea that government is better at spending money than the private sector. They *assume* that government taking taxes out of the economy and spending those dollars on specific projects will have a higher return on investment than leaving in the economy in the first place. They are from the concept that more government spending (and borrowing or taxing to pay for the spending) is a viable substitute for market activity.

It didn't work in the New Deal, it didn't work in the last stimulus and it won't work now. And just in case you doubt me on this - just look at Greece.

The President did try to be reassuring. Reading the words, I'm not sure he was successful in this. But even in his reassuring/rallying call to the American people, he fails to grasp a basic understanding of the majority of this country - and the principles on which this nation was founded; principles which made us so great to begin with.

First, he continually calls us a 'democracy.' We're not a democracy, we're a republic - and there is a significant difference between the two (look it up if you don't already know). That he constantly gets this wrong concerns me. Then he says:

The American people have been through so much over the last few years, dealing with the worst recession, the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s, and they’ve done it with grace. And they’re working so hard to raise their families, and all they ask is that we work just as hard, here in this town, to make their lives a little easier. That’s not too much to ask.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

The American people don't want government to make our lives easier - we want government to leave us the hell alone! My life would be so much easier if I didn't have government thinking it knows better then me how to spend my money, what kind of car to purchase, how many miles per gallon I should get from that car, how many gallons of water my toilet can use to flush, what kind of light bulbs I can purchase, what kind of washing machine I can buy, what the energy efficiency on my refrigerator needs to be, what kind of food I can eat or what kinds of warnings companies must put on their food packaging when I have the temerity to eat stuff the government has decided is 'bad' for me, and on and on and on.

Most people don't get up in the morning and wonder, 'how can government make my life easier?" They usually wake up and just hope and pray government won't find some new way to intrude.

This is clearly a conservative vs. liberal perspective, though not necessarily a Republican vs. Democrat one. Maybe there are some liberals out there who think the proper of role of government is to make their lives easier. That might explain a lot of things. But that is clearly not what our founders were looking for when they left British rule and established these colonies and then an independent nation. In fact, it's just the opposite.

How does a president of the United States get something so completely wrong?

The Washington Times has a great editorial on the speech which hits on a couple of points I don't. And I think, considering their conclusion, I'll leave you with it:

The president refuses to admit that he is part of the problem. “There will always be economic factors that we can’t control,” he said. “Earthquakes, spikes in oil prices, slowdowns in other parts of the world,” seemingly arguing that these factors have something to do with the current crisis, which they do not. He chose not to mention his limitless appetite for spreading around borrowed money. Federal non-defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product averaged 15.6 percent from 1975 to the advent of the Obama presidency. Since then it has zoomed to an average of 19.6 percent and is headed up. Even the prospective future budget “cuts” in the debt ceiling agreement still institutionalize $7 trillion in spending beyond the government’s means over the next ten years. This is the problem, not earthquakes.

Mr. Obama said he had great faith in the country, but he has a funny way of showing it. In justifying the U.S. credit rating downgrade Standard and Poor’s Managing Director John Chambers quoted Mr. Obama saying that the U.S. political system was “dysfunctional.” Who would invest in a corporation whose chief executive describes the company’s management in such terms? Never fear, Mr. Obama said Americans have always risen to the challenge with entrepreneurship, innovation and hard work. Given Mr. Obama’s insistence on increasing the number of costly government regulation, his blame-the-rich approach to economics, and burdensome, job-killing health care plan, no president has done more damage to this spirit of enterprise. Mr. Obama said that “this is the United States of America… We always have been and always will be a Triple-A country.” If only we had a Triple-A leader.
Google Analytics Alternative