Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What The Blade didn't tell its readers about their 'gang map' public records lawsuit

Ohio's Sixth District Court of Appeals
Yesterday I wrote an explanation of why the Toledo Police Department's 'gang map' is NOT a public record, despite what the Toledo Blade wrote in their editorial signed by John Robinson Block.

One of the things the paper said was that they were engaged in a legal battle over the issue. Ohio allows individuals (and media) to file a request for mandamus with a court to force the release of public records.

Interestingly, the Blade didn't explain any details of the lawsuit, so I decided to look it up.

Case number CL-2012-01183 was filed with the Sixth District Court of Apeals on July 11, 2012.

Here's a summary of the mandamus request:

* Reporter Taylor Dungien was told on three occasions that TPD maintains a gang map or "gang territories map" on a wall and electronically in the computer.

* She asked to view the map.

* Sgt. Heffernan, the individual responsible for handling public records requests, told her no because it is an "intelligence piece and we're using it to do our enforcement; it's actively being used."

* She made another request and the city's law director told her it was exempt from Ohio's public records law because it was a confidential law enforcement investigatory record.

(this is exactly the point I made in my post yesterday)

* The Blade maintains that it is a public record because it's a "compilation based on ongoing monitoring of of gang activity in the city" (yes, a lot of typos in the filing...) Accordingly, they claim, it can't be a 'investigatory' record.

* They claim the release of the map will not endanger an officer, victim, witness or informant - nor will it disclose the identity of a suspect.

* They also claim it won't reveal any "specific confidential investigatory techniques or specific investigatory work product."

(Interestingly, this claim that it isn't a work product directly contradicts their story about how long it took them to create their own map and how hard it was to do so, considering the lack of openness the gangs displayed.)

* They also claim that if portions of the map are exempt, the map should be redacted to give them the portions that aren't.

* They finally make the normal arguments that it's in the public interest and request compensation under the public records law.

The Court ordered the city to either release the map or show cause why they didn't have to.

Not surprisingly, the City responded and denied the Blade's claims, stating their original position that the map is exempt. They did admit to not offering a redacted version because it was "not capable of being redacted without becoming completely meaningless."

They also state that, to the point there is a public interest in the map, the "interest favors the effective pursuit of criminal investigations without interference" from the Blade.

The case followed the normal rules of Civil Procedure so after the initial filings, the discovery process would begin. However, on Sept. 20, the paper and the city filed a joint request for a pre-hearing conference because they couldn't agree upon discovery issues.

The court agreed to have them submit the issue - and their respective positions on the issue - to the court. This is where it gets interesting....

The Blade proposed that their attorney be allowed to view the map in confidence, agreeing not to reveal anything of it to the paper, so he could understand the legal basis for the refusal to release it. The city said no. Depositions began.

The paper again requested that the attorney be allowed to view the map under a protective order. The city again said no.

But as the deposition proceeded, the Blade attorney again asked to see it and promised not to reveal any part of it to his client. The city again refused and they agreed to go to the court for resolution of this dispute.

To recap: Having failed to get the map released, the Blade's attorney asked to view it and promised not to tell the paper anything about it. The city, maintained it was not a public record but a confidential record and not subject to discovery. And who could blame them?

You can't insist that an item be revealed in discovery when the item is the very subject of the mandamus action. But the city agreed that the court (judge) could view the document under seal and that they would make it available to the court.

Three judges signed the decision that said the law provided for no "hybrid" form of disclosure that would allow "attorneys eyes only" for the viewing of the map. The judges ruled that either the map was a public record subject to release and viewable by all, or it wasn't. They agreed with the city's position that the court should view the document, consistent with case law. That was December of 2012.

Following extensions of time and depositions, the Blade asked for a summary judgment in their favor, the reasons they believed they proved the record was a public one and asked for the order to release the map.

The city filed their request for summary judgment in their favor, setting out further arguments that supported their position that the map was a confidential law enforcement investigatory record (CLEIR). They also provided a copy of the map to the court.

Following that, the city filed a response objecting to the paper's request for summary judgment. In that response, they reveal various items of information from the deposition: that the map has been actively used as part of criminal investigations and some court cases are pending; the map was compiled for a specific investigatory purpose, but has since been maintained as an investigatory tool and nothing in Ohio law says a CLEIR can only be used once; revealing the map would tip off gangs and reveal the scope of TPD's knowledge about them; and (I love this one) that what other cities do with their crime maps has no relevance whatsoever to what Toledo is doing with theirs.

In accordance with the rules of civil procedure, the paper filed their objection to the city's motion for summary judgment. They claim that the map doesn't show specific crimes, just geography; it doesn't reveal specific techniques, just boundaries; release of the map wouldn't disclose specific houses or locations of suspected gang activity; that the law favors disclosure and that the burden of proof limiting disclosure lies on the part of the city; it doesn't relate to a "specific" investigation and doesn't reveal any specific technique, both of which are required in order to maintain an exemption under the law.

Those objections to the summary judgment were filed on April 18th.

Now it is up to the court to read the positions and arguments and make their decision.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Author Deneen Borelli - Talking to Toledo on May 21

The Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition will host a dinner May 21 featuring Deneen Borelli and her husband Dr. Tom Borelli as the guest speaker.

From the notice, here is her background:

Borelli is the author of “Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation.”

She is also the Director of Outreach with FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization that educates, trains and mobilizes volunteer activists to fight for limited government; a contributor with Fox News; and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Fox and Friends,” and “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”

Borelli is a columnist with The Blaze.com, The Daily Caller.com, Newsmax Insider, and Fox News Opinion and her commentaries on the importance of freedom and limited government have been published by newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner and Washington Times.

Deneen is a frequent speaker at Tea Party rallies and political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. that drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people.

You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

I've had the pleasure of hearing her speaker on several occasions and I've read her book. The American Spectator called her "America's new Rosa Parks."

She is an energetic and inspiring woman and I hope you'll join NWOCC for this event.

The event is at Holy Trinity Cathedral Banquet Hall (park on Summit St. side) which is at 802 N. Superior St. It begins at 6:30 with dinner at 7 and Borelli speaking at 8:15. Tickets are $35 each or $320 for a table of 10. You can register and purchase tickets here.

Why The Blade is wrong about Toledo's 'gang map'

The Toledo Blade is doing a series on gangs in the city, which is a good public-interest story and certainly relevant news. It's called "Battle lines; Gangs of Toledo."

But they're not happy with the Toledo Police Department or Mayor Mike Bell because they won't release the map they have showing the territories of the various gangs.

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief John Robinson Block took the unusual action of writing - and signing - an editorial titled "On gang map, Mayor Bell ignores the public's right to know."

He writes:

The people of Toledo have a right to know about gang activity in this city. They have a right to know where it is. They are entitled to see the “gang map” that tells where gang activity is most dangerous and intense.

Many months ago, The Blade asked for that map, which is a public document under Ohio law. The mayor refused to release it. He has persisted in this refusal, even in the abse
nce of legal authority. This refusal is illegal and unjustified.

Except, the refusal is legal.

Ohio Revised Code 149.43 details the state's law about open records, access and penalties for failure to comply. It's one of the best public records laws in the country, generously favoring the public's right to know.

But there are numerous exemptions - items specifically designated as NOT a public record. Section (1) defines what a public record is and also says "Public record" does not mean any of the following: The following list includes this exemption

(h) Confidential law enforcement investigatory records;

The only way the Blade can maintain that the release of the gang map is a public record is to claim that it is not a confidential law enforcement investigatory record. That's also the only way the Mayor can maintain its secrecy.

Block also writes:

One consolation is that The Blade’s map is almost certainly more accurate than the city’s because gang members were naturally more willing to talk with our reporters than police officers.

Well if their map is more accurate, why are they still quibbling with TPD over theirs?

Block then writes:

Our motive is not to defame anyone or to depress readers but to show what is — to tell the truth.

In the final analysis, the gang map is not a matter of the newspaper’s right to know, but the people’s right to know. The Blade is merely the surrogate and servant of the people of Toledo. For only an informed public can govern itself.

For those of you who have followed my writing over the years, you'll know that I gave up coming up with headlines on the Blade's bias and just started numbering them. The local daily has a reputation - deservedly so - for being more of the dictator than the servant and for telling people what they want the people to know - rather than the truth. To say that hysterical laughter followed when I read this sentence, first to myself and then to a group of others, would not do justice to the hysterical laughter that actually followed.

But I digress - so back to the map as a public record...

TPD probably does not have a single map, but a series of maps over time, likely showing the various gang territories and how they have changed over time. Such a map could very legitimately be a confidential investigatory record showing which gangs are expanding, which are declining, which are combining and which are new. How they interact within their territories and with/against each other based upon those territories is an investigatory tool that could help TPD monitor and predict their activities and likely conflicts.

If the maps show disputed territory, it could influence such things as where TPD is placing their (highly controversial) monitoring cameras as well as the routes of their road patrols.

Additionally, if the gangs know what it is that the police know about their territories, it could cause them to change certain behaviors, putting the public further at risk.

If I can come up with such reasons and explanations as for why the TPD gang map is not a public record, I'm certain the mayor, having all the information, can as well. In fact, that's exactly what happened and the Blade promptly sued the city over the issue.

Contrary to what the editor claims in his editorial, the issue is not clear-cut and the public's 'right to know' isn't always outweighed by the public's own safety, or the safety of our police officers, through the protection of confidential investigatory records.

For more information, check out: What The Blade didn't tell its readers about their 'gang map' public records lawsuit

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Where's the beer?

Anheuser-Busch objected to new bill .
Should brewers be able to purchase wholesale distributors in Ohio?

Shouldn't a free market allow anyone to purchase a distributorship in order to further distribute their products, especially beer?

Well, Ohio says no, according to a new law passed in a matter of hours two weeks ago.

Senate Bill 48 was introduced Feb. 20th and passed by the Senate on March 20th. It was sent to the House on March 21st.

On April 17th, the bill received a single hearing, a substitute bill was introduced and approved by the committee, then approved unanimously by the House and the Senate concurred. It was sent to the Governor on April 23rd.

On first examination, it looks like a good bill in that it sets up a two-tiered liquor licensing system that allows smaller brewers (making less than 31 million gallons a year) to sell directly to retail markets and bypass the wholesale distributors in the state.

It does a number of others things, but one aspect generated some controversy: it prohibits large brewers from owning a distributor.

And that was a problem for many, but especially Anheuser-Busch InBev which has numerous options to purchase, or determine the purchaser, of distributorships throughout the state.

So they objected to the terms of the bill - and the rapid process with which it was passed.

According to Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, the bill’s floor manager, "We want to maintain a good system that has worked so well so we don’t get into a noncompetitive situation. That’s what could happen here," he told the Columbus Dispatch.

Anheuser-Busch said they were not given any chance to comment upon the implications of the provision.

Interestingly, the Ohio Wholesale Wine and Beer Association, which is the direct beneficiary of the provision, has donated over $600,000 to various legislative and state campaigns in the past several years.

Anheuser-Busch's North American president, Luiz Edmond, met with Gov. John Kasich to see if he would veto the bill.

“This thing passed the House and the Senate unanimously,” Kasich said. “I’m not going to just veto something that has, basically, unanimous support across the board. I don’t see why I would do that," he told the Dispatch.

Scott Corbitt, Region Director for State Affairs at Anheuser-Busch, issued the following statement:

We have shared our concerns with legislators and Governor Kasich regarding the lack of transparency in the legislative process and that the legislation’s restrictions on competition and constraints on the free market will ultimately harm consumer choice. Positive assurances were given to us by policymakers to address the issues that could significantly impact our investments in the state. We are working to identify a solution that maintains consumer choice and the free market principles that make Ohio a great state to do business.

The Governor has until May 4th to sign or veto the bill, after which it will go into effect with or without his action.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Borges is new Ohio GOP chair

Gongwer reports:

Borges Elected New GOP Chair Over Tea Party Activist

Matt Borges was overwhelmingly elected as the new chairman of the Ohio Republican Party on Friday, fending off a tea party activist who warned that the party was alienating its conservative base.

The ORP’s executive director was elected by the State Central Committee 48-7 over Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County Tea Party.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Congress exempt from Obamacare? There ought to be a law!

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

You've heard the phrase and know what it means.

But Congress doesn't.

Politico is reporting:

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”
Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

But what to do about this?

Erick Erickson at RedState.com says:

If this happens, the nation needs to collectively march on Washington, DC, burn it to the ground, and spread salt over the ground.

Normally, I'm not one for calling for a new law whenever a problem exists, but clearly this is an exception.

There's already a push for a 28th Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States”.

But I'd go a step further: whenever Congress passes and the administration implements a new law, it must first be applied to members of Congress, the administration and the federal government for a period of three years before it is applied to the public at large.

Don't you think that if they had to live with the mess they create, they'd quickly repeal bad laws and provisions?

Maybe not, but it would definitely be a learning experience.

The only problem is that no such law or provision will ever be passed by people who are already discussing ways to exempt themselves from Obamacare.

Maybe Erickson is right...where's my salt?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Medicaid expansion out, ban on Internet cafes in, OH Senate President says

Gongwer is reporting:

Senate President Says Medicaid Expansion Off The Table For Budget, Promises Internet Cafe Ban

Senate President Keith Faber announced Wednesday that the Senate will not pursue an expansion of Medicaid as proposed by Gov. John Kasich for the biennial budget.

The Celina Republican also detailed his intentions for the Senate to quickly extend a moratorium on so-called Internet cafes in the state and to follow that legislation with a complete ban on the operations, which he said serve no public purpose.

His announcements came during a Statehouse news conference where Attorney General Mike DeWine and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien expressed support for the cafe prohibition, and fellow lawmakers joined the Senate leader in discussing general plans for the budget.

As The Elections Board Turns

Yes, it's a soap opera at the Lucas County Board of Elections, but unlike the TV version, this one has real-world implications for the future of the fair and impartial management of our voting system.

Let's recap some of the characters and story lines of our soap opera:

In a stunning display of brilliant community organizing, our lead character, Jon Stainbrook, manages to take over the Lucas County Republican Party. Unbeknownst to most, though, his real reason for doing so was not the election of Republicans and the advancement of Republican and conservative ideals. No, it was revenge...to exact revenge and retaliation on anybody and everybody who he ever perceived slighted him in any way. He looks the hero, but he's really the villain in this drama.

Stainbrook's sometimes girlfriend (as she has been identified in numerous news reports), Meghan Gallagher, is elected chairman of the LCRP central committee. This position is supposed to recruit and train the members of the central committee - the 'boots on the ground' portion of the party. The elected members of the central committee are supposed to represent their voting precincts and be the communicators between the party structure and the Republicans in the area. They're also the ones responsible for helping to collect signatures on petitions for candidates, going door-to-door, handing out yard signs and making sure the Republicans in their district turn out on election day.

In another story line, Stainbrook - desperate for the pay and PERS benefits associated with being a member of the Board of Elections - struggles to oust two extremely qualified individuals from the BOE in order to gain the seat for himself. He claims it's all about fixing the problems at the BOE, most of which are exaggerated by him and The Blade, but it sounds good to the people and makes for good articles in The Blade to prop him up as the solution to all the woes. After lawsuits and intimidation and innuendo, he succeeds in getting the appointment.

But that's not all...he names Gallagher as the Executive Director to ensure all that he wants to accomplish can be done. With his sometimes girlfriend in charge, he proceeds to get rid of people he doesn't like, firing long-time employees and installing his own crew, some of whom, it is rumored, became members of the central committee and voted for him in return for the promise of employment at the BOE.

Also hired was Gina Kaczala. Her husband Larry was County Auditor and a candidate for Congress. His tragic death in an apparent leap from a parking garage left many stunned and saddened by his loss. Widow Gina, with Stainbrook as her party chairman, ran for the County Auditor position but was defeated. Just to make things interesting, Stainbrook used to work for Larry, but was fired and then ran against him for in the primary for the County Auditor seat. You know politics makes for strange bedfellows....

Then there is Anthony DeGidio, an attorney who first entered our story as the lawyer representing Stainbrook and Gallagher on their many court challenges both against fellow Republicans and in other, unrelated cases. DeGidio was Stainbrook's choice for the second Republican seat on the BOE.

That's the major cast of characters and the general plot line of our soap opera, but it wouldn't be a soap without drama and drama seems to follow Stainbrook and his cronies wherever they go.

* lawsuits by former BOE employees
* questionable activity between Stainbrook and Gallagher in a stopped car
* theft of drugs from a hospital patient

Then there is the 'close, personal relationship' with John Robinson Block, the publisher of The Blade - a relationship Stainbrook has bragged about for years. Many speculate that the favorable media coverage Stainbrook gets is due to that relationship, but others believe it has more to do with the fact that Stainbrook must 'have something incriminating' against JRB, as he's known.

Stainbrook loved to brag that he used to 'set JRB up with girls' back in his younger days. Couple that with his known reputation for secretly recording conversations and editing the tapes to make it seem like the other party said something they didn't and you'll understand why people believe the speculation.

As any watcher of a soap opera will tell you, it's not drama without the friends becoming enemies after some event. Usually it's 'he slept with my sister' sort of thing, but with Stainbrook, it's 'he dared to disagree with me' that results in Friends of Stainbrook (FoS) becoming an enemy.

DeGidio is the latest in that long line of people.

First there was a review of the BOE by the Secretary of State who is responsible for overseeing elections in Ohio. Stainbrook's reaction to the recommendation that Gallager (and the Democrat assistant director) be fired was to keep the two of them and fire everyone else.

DeGidio disagree...and thus began Stainbrook's attempt to oust him from the board. But DeGidio knows things too...will he tell all in his defense of his seat?

Then came the legal challenge to DeGidio's residency - and the appearance of two more characters, including another 'sometimes girlfriend' Kelly Bensman. And also the professional challenge as Gallagher filed an ethics complaint against DeGidio, her attorney in a car accident lawsuit, thus preventing DeGidio from voting on firing her.

While all this is going on, Stainbrook is not raising money for the party (a primary duty of a chairman) and he's violating the bylaws by refusing to notify past chairmen of executive committee meetings. Of course, the past chairman not being notified is the same individual he tried to kick off the BOE...as you know, everyone and everything in a soap opera is interconnected.

And just yesterday, a new twist arose. John Irish, a past party chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party and new member of the BOE, introduced a new policy at the BOE meeting forbidding the unauthorized recording of conversations. ZING! Stainbrook voted against the policy - wonder why?

It was also revealed the Kazcala filed a harassment complaint against Gallagher. The board voted 3-1 to refer the investigation to the county's human resources department. Stainbrook voted no on that as well.

Enter Stainbrook's persecution complex - it's all about trying to get rid of him and Gallagher - there's nothing to any of this and it's all political.

So now you're primarily caught up on the various story lines and ready for the next episode.

Will Stainbrook manage to succeed in getting a second challenge to DeGidio's residency heard by the board?

Will Gallagher be found guilty of harassment?

Will Kaczala and DeGidio join together to write a best-selling tell-all book about their experiences with Stainbrook?

Will The Blade grow weary of this and turn on Stainbrook?

Will the Republicans manage to get an actual chairman more focused on the party than personal vendettas?

Will Gallagher be blamed for the blank audio recording of the last meeting? (that's one you didn't know about) And was there something on that audio tape that might have proved incriminating to someone?

Will the board follow the recommendations of the Secretary of State and fire Gallagher and Dan DeAngelis, the assistant director?

Will the board remember that they gave Gallagher and DeAngelis until yesterday's meeting to finalize a working organizational chart or face possible firing?

Stay tuned for the next episode of As the Election Board Turns....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Student Loan Fairness Act: America - what have you wrought?!?

I'm not a subscriber to MoveOn.org but several friends are and they forwarded me a recent email from Robert Applebaum, a MoveOn member in Staten Island, who created a petition on SignOn.org.

You've never heard of Applebaum? He's the founder of an organization called StudentDebtCrisis.org.

The complete email is below, but here are a couple of excerpts:

Student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion. Millions are buried under student debt, forced to put off major purchases and life decisions.

Put off major purchases?!? Oh, the humanity!

Let's put this in perspective: students voluntarily took on huge amounts of debt for schooling, choosing to borrow instead of working to pay for their college educations - you know, like of many of used to do.

They then graduate and have to begin paying off that debt. But, because they have financial obligations, they have to make choices and that means they can't go out and purchase a new car or a new TV, or a new anything because they're expected to cover this obligation before taking on others?

Why is that a bad thing? Isn't that called 'life' and part of being an adult?

The good news is that this week, legislation has been reintroduced in Congress that would provide student loan forgiveness to responsible borrowers drowning in debt.

How in the world can you be called a 'responsible borrower' if you are drowning in debt?

Wouldn't the fact that you are "drowning" in so much debt clearly indicate that you weren't very responsible about your borrowing in the first place?!?

The Student Loan Fairness Act would create a new "10-10" standard for student loan repayment, in which an individual would be required to make ten years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which their remaining student loan debt would be forgiven.

So if I pay 10% of my "discretionary" income toward my loan for 10 years, I won't have to pay anything else on it forever?

What a bargain!

And why in the world would any college student, educated in today's schools that teach self-gratification and dependency on government, ever pay more? Why would they make sacrifices of 'major purchases' if they know they can skate by with paying only 10% of their discretionary income?

If all they have to pay is 10%,why pay more? That would be foolish!

And only 10% of their discretionary income?

That means they can spend as much as they want on a house or apartment, food, utilities, etc... They won't be forced to balance their desire for a larger place to live with their ability to pay all their financial obligations. They won't be forced to eat hamburger instead of steak for dinner. They won't be forced to wear sweaters in the winter or go without air conditioning in the summer in order to keep their utility bills lower.

In other words, they won't be forced to make the same decisions adults have always been forced to make, learning to balance their ability to pay with their wants and desires.

Is this really the lesson we want new adults in our (supposedly) productive society to embrace?

"Further, this legislation would...allow those eligible to convert their private loan debt into federal direct loans

Why? Why would we want students who have private loans to convert them to government loans? Would the bank that issued the private loans be paid off with tax dollars? And then the tax payers would never be paid back???

And what about our huge national debt? Won't putting more college students on the government rolls negatively impact the nation's debt?

What about the sequester? According to President Barack Obama, there's not enough money so he had to end tours of the White House - the people's house. We don't have enough money for air traffic controllers - clearly a vital service to the nation and our economy - but we have the funds to add more people to the government student loan program only to allow them to never repay the debt?!?

In what world would this ever make sense?

And yes, this definitely qualifies for 'stuck-on-stupid' designation!

Student loan debt causes an undeniable and significant drag on the economy. The Student Loan Fairness Act directly addresses this enormous boot on the neck of the middle class and represents a glimmer of hope for millions of Americans who, with each passing day, find that the American Dream is more and more out of reach.

It may be true that having to pay student loans causes a drag on the economy. The 'logic' is that having to pay back the money borrowed means the student isn't spending elsewhere, and without that elsewhere spending, the economy suffers.

What is never mentioned is the loss to the economy when the taxpayer, the original supplier of the funds, had to pay extra money to the federal government to provide the funds to be borrowed in the first place.

I had to forgo spending and helping the economy in order to pay taxes that are higher than necessary because of the need to fund this government program.

Now 'they' want to complain that repaying that money will hurt the economy? Providing the money in the first place hurt the economy - where was the concern for the economy then?

In a normal world, a student would get a private loan. Under this process, a bank would accept deposits from people in the community, pool those resources, loan the funds for various purposes, charge an interest rate and collect repayment over time.

The bank would then turn around and pay part of that interest back to the original depositors, who would then have additional funds to spend.

The government action distorts and perverts the normal process of money movement - and this act would corrupt the process even further, if that's actually possible.

So far over 200,000 people have signed the petition supporting the bill

Of course they have! They don't want to be responsible for the meeting the obligations they've incurred.

And why would they? We've grown generations who have been trained to believe that nothing is their fault; they are the victim of some evil entity; government will take care of them so they don't have to take care of themselves.

And this doesn't even get into the choice of majors with so many graduating from college with degrees that won't help them get a job or support themselves.

Nor does it delve into the Orwellian Newspeak (control the language) efforts of naming this horribly unfair and economic perversion the "Student Loan Fairness Act."

Oh, America, what have you wrought?

Here is the complete email:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Robert Applebaum <moveon-help@list.moveon.org>
Date: Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM
Subject: Support the new Student Loan Forgiveness Act

Below is an email from Robert Applebaum, a MoveOn member in Staten Island, New York, who created a petition on SignOn.org. Robert is also the founder of the organization StudentDebtCrisis.org.

Dear MoveOn member,
Student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion. Millions are buried under student debt, forced to put off major purchases and life decisions.

In short, student loan debt has become the latest financial crisis in America. If we do absolutely nothing, the entire economy will eventually come crashing down again, just as it did when the housing bubble popped.
The good news is that this week, legislation has been reintroduced in Congress that would provide student loan forgiveness to responsible borrowers drowning in debt. So far over 200,000 people have signed the petition supporting the bill. Will you sign and share it with your friends?
The Student Loan Fairness Act would create a new "10-10" standard for student loan repayment, in which an individual would be required to make ten years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which their remaining student loan debt would be forgiven. Further, this legislation would:
  • ensure low interest rates;
  • allow those eligible to convert their private loan debt into federal direct loans;
  • reward graduates for entering public service professions;
  • provide a lifeline for student borrowers who have fallen on difficult times;
  • encourage delinquent and defaulted borrowers to re-enter repayment;
  • replace the current, ten-year "Standard Repayment Plan" for the full amount of the loan balance with the "10-10" plan as the default repayment option for borrowers entering repayment.
Student loan debt causes an undeniable and significant drag on the economy. The Student Loan Fairness Act directly addresses this enormous boot on the neck of the middle class and represents a glimmer of hope for millions of Americans who, with each passing day, find that the American Dream is more and more out of reach. 
–Robert Applebaum, StudentDebtCrisis.org

This petition was created on SignOn.org, the progressive, nonprofit petition site. SignOn.org is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. Robert Applebaum, StudentDebtCrisis.org didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Quote of the Day - we were warned about perpetual debt

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... [we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another ]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, April 20, 2013

To-Do Today: Youth Leadership Conference

Press Release:

Healthy relationship, anti-bullying and mentorship are key messages

The Toledo Youth Commission will hold the 2013 Youth Leadership Conference from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on April 20, 2013 at the Valentine Theater. Nearly 200 area youth will attend the free conference for empowerment opportunities including workshops to help young people deal with peer pressure and building healthy relationships; identifying positive role models and mentors; making good choices when things go wrong at home, and preventing bullying.

The keynote address will be offered by Oregon Police officer Angel Tucker who will reflect on his own road to empowerment and the responsibility he believes an individual has to improve themselves in order to improve the community. Other speakers will include TPS Director of Pupil Placement; Child Adjustment Services Heather Baker; peer mentor Jammal Lee; YMCA Youth Specialist Crystal Harris and Adan Madrigal, co-founder of Join the Abstinence Movement (J.A.M.).

The program agenda includes:

10 a.m. Welcome/opening remarks

10:20 a.m. Keynote Address, Officer Angel Tucker

11:10 a.m. Peer pressure: How to cope with peer pressure and build healthy relationships, Jammal Lee

11:40 a.m. Role Models – How can I be a good mentor? Adan Madrigal

12:05 p.m. Lunch break

1:05 p.m. Finding a way out: Doing the right thing when everything goes wrong at home, Crystal Harris

1:35 p.m. I am my brother’s keeper: How to prevent bullying, Heather Baker

1:55 p.m. Closing remarks


Friday, April 19, 2013

Why the need for a second DeGidio residency hearing?

Lucas County Board of Elections member, Anthony DeGidio has been disciplined by the Supreme Court for co-mingling a client's trust account with his own funds. He was given a two-year suspension of his law license which could be reduced to one year if he completes a continuing education course on the proper handling of client trust accounts.

The Blade has the full story, but what is most interesting are the last two paragraphs of the article:

Mr. DeGidio last month survived an attempt by fellow Republicans in Lucas County to remove him from the elections board, but the effort is being renewed.

Ron Rothenbuhler, chairman of the four-person elections board as well as chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party, said the board has been advised by its attorney that it must hold a second hearing on the question of whether Mr. DeGidio is a legal resident and a legal voter in Lucas County. He said the date for that second hearing will be set when the board meets on Tuesday.

I thought this was very odd considering that the license suspension has nothing to do with his residency. After some checking around I learned that John Marshall filed a second challenge to DeGidio's residency because he 'forgot' to subpoena DeGidio the first time around.

I guess I didn't know there were do-overs to such challenges because - oh, yeah, I forgot...

In case you need a re-cap,

Marshall files a challenge to DeGidio's eligibility to vote in Lucas County. He produces, according to The Blade, hundreds of pages of so-called 'proof' that DeGidio doesn't reside in Lucas County. Some of the 'proof' was before DeGidio was even on the elections board, so it was irrelevant to the challenge.

But all the so-called evidence was not enough to overcome a Supreme Court ruling about residency that says regardless of where you might stay/live on a temporary basis, it is your intent to be a voting resident of your home county that matters. (The Court said a lot more, but you get the drift.)

Accordingly, the BOE voted 2-1 against the challenge, with the two Democrats voting to dismiss it and only Stainbrook voting to uphold it. DeGidio wasn't present - and couldn't have voted anyway - though he was represented by an attorney for the hearing.

In the same post I also highlighted this hypocrisy:

In reporting on the hearing, The Blade wrote:

Attorney James Perlman, who represented Mr. DeGidio at the hearing, tried to cross-examine Mr. Marshall and the legitimacy of the documents several times, but Mr. Marshall refused to answer any of the attorney's questions. Mr. DeGidio did not attend the hearing. "I'm not going to talk to you anymore," Mr. Marshall said when asked how he obtained such things as Mr. DeGidio's insurance records.

When Mr. Rothenbuler explained that cross-examination is part of the hearing process, Mr. Marshall told him, "I'm not going to answer his questions."

Mr. Marshall did acknowledge to Mr. Perlman that he launched an investigation of Mr. DeGidio after speaking with Mr. Stainbrook and Meghan Gallagher, the Board of Elections' director.

Further down in the article, is this:

Mr. Stainbrook expressed frustration with the board's decision. He said Mr. DeGidio's absence from the hearing undermined the proceedings because Mr. Marshall couldn't question him.

So it was Stainbrook who wanted DeGidio present ... and obviously that means Marshall, an FoS (Friend of Stainbrook), files another challenge claiming 'do-over.'

Get it?

And what about those subpoenas?

According to the Ohio Revised Code, the Board (defined as the four appointed members) has the ability to issue subpoenas for the purpose of residency hearings. But do they have to actually vote on that or can they delegate that authority? If they have to vote, would all members have voted to subpoena records and information about DeGidio PRIOR to his time on the board?

I know - there I go asking good questions again....

But here's the bigger issue: the board has decided that DeGidio's intent to retain residency in Lucas County is valid and that is all that is needed under Ohio law. What's DeGidio going to say if he is subpoenaed and required to appear: "I've changed my mind"???

And if DeGidio has to answer questions, doesn't Marshall realize that he'll have to answer questions too?

That might prove to be very embarrassing if he tells the truth about how he ended up making the challenge in the first place.

And then what happens?

If the BOE again votes to uphold DeGidio's residency, will someone else come forward to challenge it? And how many more after that? Will it be a never-ending series of challenges until DeGidio throws up his hands and goes away as Stainbrook would like?

More importantly, will the two Democrat members of the BOE stand for that?

Only time will tell. Until then, we'll wait to see what happens at Tuesday's BOE meeting.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lucas County GOP - Jon Stainbrook's foolishness and dereliction of duty

The executive committee of the Lucas County Republican Party met last night at Mickey Finn's Pub to handle two agenda items:

1. Discussion of whether Anthony J. DeGidio Jr. provided false information to the Executive Committee in order to secure a recommendation to the Lucas County Board of Elections.
2. Retraction of the previous recommendation made to the Ohio Secretary of State for the appointment of Anthony J. DeGidio Jr. to the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Here is a copy of the postcard notice.

In case you're at a loss, here's a quick summary:

* DeGidio used to be an FoS (Friend of Stainbrook) until he disagreed with LCRP Chairman and fellow Board of Elections member Jon Stainbrook over a Secretary of State report that recommended firing close friend (sometimes girlfriend) of Stainbrook, Meghan Gallagher.

* Before DeGidio could actually vote on any firings, Gallagher filed an ethics complaint against him with the local bar association. DeGidio, an attorney, had represented her in an unrelated car accident case.

* With the ethics complaint pending, DeGidio was 'conflicted out' of any discussion and action.

* DeGidio, having failed to support Stainbrook, was now an enemy and the dirt started to fly with Stainbrook trying everything to see what might stick and get DeGidio removed from the board.

Last night's executive committee meeting was the most recent step in that process, though I did expect another hit piece in The Blade as a result.

If you want all the details you can read this post: "Blade bias, Board of Elections and abuse of process"

or otherwise titled:

Everything you didn't want to know about what's going on at the Lucas County Board of Elections

I'm not a member of the executive committee, so I didn't attend the meeting, but I understand that the executive committee did vote and 'unrecommended' DeGidio, though there were some who expressed their disagreement with the action.

What does the 'unrecommendation' mean?

Absolutely nothing.

The executive committee recommends individuals to the Secretary of State, who then has the sole authority to appoint them to the BOE - or not. The SoS has not always followed the recommendations of the local party. Appointees serve a four-year term, unless being appointed to fill a vacancy, then they serve until the end of the term.

Only the SoS can remove an individual from the Board. The fact that the local party chairman has a fellow board member who disagrees with him is NOT a valid reason for removal.

Ah - that's where the dirt comes in. He has a girlfriend who is much younger. He doesn't live in the county (though that issue was resolved, after a BOE hearing, in DeGidio's favor). He has an ethics complaint pending against him - though that is not yet decided.

But, but, but....he disagrees with me, Stainbrook whines. He has to go!

This is the foolishness of what remains of the Lucas County Republican Party under Stainbrook's leadership.

Interestingly, DeGidio (the accused) was not invited to the meeting to present his side of the story - not that he would have gone if he had been, I'm sure.

I reached out to him to ask for a comment. His written reply:

"This is just another example of Jon and Meghan spending their time attacking people that have evidence against them. I really wish they would spend some time doing their jobs at the BOE and the LCRP then we might have a vibrant party instead of a joke with the two jokers in charge."

Violating the LCRP Bylaws

DeGidio wasn't the only one not invited to the executive committee. I understand that several others conveniently didn't get a notice of the meeting, including former LCRP Chairman Patrick Kriner.

Now, Kriner is certainly not a FoS, especially after Stainbrook tried numerous ways to kick Kriner off the BOE when Stainbrook first became party chair. But he is a former chairman and the bylaws of the party clearly state that members of the executive committee include all "LCRP past chairmen who reside in Lucas County."

Kriner, who is also a duly elected member of the central committee, was tired of not being notified so he could attend both meetings, especially the central committee where it is his responsibility, as an elected official, to communicate back to his precinct on the activities of that body. So on Feb. 28th he wrote a letter to Stainbrook, copied Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett, and sent it certified. He wrote:

Dear Chairman Stainbrook,

This letter is written as a request to include me in any and all communications regarding the Central Committee of the Lucas County Republican Party as well as its Executive Committee. I am a duly elected representative to the County's Central Committee from the Sylvania 13 Precinct. And, according to the LCRP By Laws, as a former Chairman residing in Lucas County I am a member of the County Party's Executive Committee. Since my election to the Central Committee during the 2012 Primary Election, I have only received one notice regarding Central Committee meetings. The meeting being the organizational meeting held shortly after the Primary. Since then I have not been informed of any meetings of either the Central Committee or the Executive Committee.

This communication includes my current address, on file with the Board of Elections, and my email address for your use. Please keep me up to date on scheduled meetings.

Kriner got a follow up from Bennett:

Dear Pat,

I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I have spoke (sic) with Jon in regards to this matter and informed him that he may be in violation of the party's bylaws by not informing the entire committee of scheduled meetings.

Please let me know if he does not get in touch with you in the future.

Apparently, Stainbrook didn't heed whatever advice Bennett offered.

Dereliction of Duty

Clearly, failure to follow the party bylaws is a dereliction of his duty as chairman. But that's par for the course for Stainbrook.

However, that's not all.

Rumor has it that the delay in appointing a replacement to fill Judge James Jensen's seat on the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas is due to the failure of the local party to actually screen the applicants.

Jensen was elected in November to the Appeals Court. Six individuals applied to fill the vacancy. The normal process is that the local party screens the candidates and then makes a recommendation to the governor who then appoints the replacement. Sometimes, the party recommends several candidates. The deadline for applications was January 28th.

I was told that Stainbrook informed the candidates they would be screened following the party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner which was on Feb. 21st. This makes sense since it is a major event and primary fundraiser for the party. I can't imagine anyone being upset at letting the party focus on the dinner, though past chairmen have managed to do two things at once. But scheduling a screening after the dinner didn't cause any concern.

However, by March 14th, no screening had been scheduled and a Blade article profiling some of the applicants said:

"Applicants submitted their names to the Lucas County Republican Party, which is expected to screen candidates sometime in the next three weeks, party Chairman Jon Stainbrook said."

That was five weeks ago - and still no word on when the screening will be scheduled.

But the executive committee can meet to "unrecommend" a new enemy of Stainbrook's.

Definitely, this qualifies as a dereliction of duty, and a complete and total disservice to the residents of Lucas County who depend upon a full court to hear their issues.

Stainbrook's failure to perform the necessary duties of chairman while pursuing his own personal vendettas is not new.

He doesn't raise anywhere near the money for the party and its candidates as all previous chairmen have done. And some of the money he raised went not to local candidates, but to his own, personal race for state central committee. At least, that's what the mandatory disclosure on his campaign signs indicated when they said "paid for by the Lucas County Republican Party."

He doesn't field candidates and has said nothing about recruiting and endorsing a candidate for Toledo mayor or council - and the primary is less than five months away! That's not nearly enough time to do a proper job of running for office, I know.

He can't even keep the LCRP webpage current, for goodness sake! As of the publication of this post, it still had the Lincoln Day Dinner as the landing page. That was nearly two months ago!

He doesn't act as a spokesman for Republican principles, rarely - if ever - taking a position on issues or matters in the community. He and his executive committee (probably without many of the actual members present due to lack of notification) even endorsed tax increases!

Many are afraid to even speak privately with him for fear he is secretly recording their conversation and will edit it and use it against them in the future.

He is known for suing fellow Republicans for slights real or imagined (and most believe they are imagined). In fact, a common phrase heard among Republicans in the county is "I wish he spent as much time actually recruiting and supporting candidates as he does on going after fellow Republicans."

He uses the office of Chairman of the party for his own personal advancement and revenge on those he has perceived as enemies. He tries to execute ages-old vendettas against any and all who might have offended him in some way years ago. He definitely holds a grudge and never forgets a slight.

He needs to go, many agree.

But who is willing to stand up and face his onslaught and the vindictiveness of the Blade which continues to support Stainbrook because of his "close, personal relationship" with John Robinson Block, the publisher?

As the Bard wrote so long ago, "aye, there's the rub."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quote of the Day - legal plunder

"The war against illegal plunder has been fought since the beginning of the world. But how is... legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay ... If such a law is not abolished immediately it will spread, multiply and develop into a system." ~ Frederic Bastiat

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

AG's 'Operation Download' results in search warrant at Walbridge location

Press Release:

Attorney General DeWine Releases Details of "Operation Download"

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released information today regarding multiple search warrants served across the state as part of "Operation Download."

Agents with the Attorney General's Crimes Against Children (CAC) Initiative, which operates as a division of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), simultaneously served the search warrants this morning at homes in Hamden, Walbridge, and Mentor, Ohio.

Each location had been identified by CAC investigators as a site where child pornography was illegally possessed and downloaded. Although the criminal conduct is the same, the individual cases are not related.

"Downloading and sharing child pornography is not a victimless crime. The children in the photographs are victimized each time someone views an image," said Attorney General DeWine. "These predators need to know that we are aggressively coming after them."

One person was arrested, and charges are expected to be filed against additional suspects.

Attorney General DeWine announced the Crimes Against Children Initiative in late 2011. More than a dozen agents and staff experts focus specifically on assisting local law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting criminals who victimize children.

Since early 2012, those assigned to the CAC Initiative have assisted law enforcement in 54 counties on 170 cases including allegations of child pornography, rape, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, and sex offender registry violations.

"It is important that we do everything we can to protect our kids," said DeWine. "Every child should be able to enjoy their youth without being targeted by predators."

Investigators with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, Mentor Police Department, New Richmond Police Department, Perrysburg Township Police Department, Vinton County Sheriff's Office, Vinton County Prosecutor's Office and FBI Child Exploitation Task Force assisted in serving the search warrants.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Quote of the Day - a lesson on government vs. private charity

Perhaps Gov. John Kasich should pay attention to this, especially when he thinks expanding Medicaid is the 'charitable' thing to do...

"We are all doubtless bound to contribute a certain portion of our income to the support of charitable and other useful public institutions. But it is a part of our duty also to apply our contributions in the most effectual way we can to secure this object. The question then is whether this will not be better done by each of us appropriating our whole contribution to the institutions within our reach, under our own eye, and over which we can exercise some useful control? Or would it be better that each should divide the sum he can spare among all the institutions of his State or the United States? Reason and the interest of these institutions themselves, certainly decide in favor of the former practice." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 15, 2013

100th Tax Day

Today is the deadline for paying your income taxes and it's also the 100th tax day since the 16th Amendment creating the income tax was ratified by the states...

What were they thinking?!

You and I well know that how much income tax the government *needs* is never, ever, ever going to reach the level of "enough" ... they will continue to always need *more* ... and we'll have to pay - one way or the other.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, had this to say:

"...taxpayers should beware of “Trickle Down Taxation” the promise that today’s tax hike will be only on the rich. That is how they sold the income tax. It was a one percent tax on those earning more than $100,000 in today’s dollars and up to, hold your breath, seven percent on those earning more than $11 million dollars in today’s dollars. Now more than half of Americans are hit by this “tax on the rich” and the lowest rate of 10 percent is higher than the highest rate promised by the politicians in 1913. The Alternative Minimum Tax now hitting millions was originally targeted to hit just 155 individuals. Phone taxes were once taxes on the few who owned phones. Ditto cell phone taxes."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Introducing the New Federalist Party

Press Release:


Defending Liberty and the Constitution for All Americans

Introducing the New Federalist Party - we seek to restore our Country and our government to that which our Founding Fathers created.

• Return the Federal government to acting within its enumerated and limited powers.

• Establish a more efficient and smaller Federal Government to uphold the Constitution.

• Return the United States Senate to its original purpose as the voice of the sovereign States.

• Return to the sovereign States the powers usurped by the Federal government.

• Repeal and stand against all laws, amendments, and acts that are in conflict with the principles and ideologies of The United States of Americas’ founding; including those principles shown to exist by The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

All Citizens who love our Country, our Constitution, and the Rights, Freedoms, and Liberties enshrined in, and protected by, our Founding Documents, are hereby invited to join the New Federalist Party.

Contact: Laura Mielcarek, Public Relations




From their Facebook page:

Currently legally we are a "group" of individuals. We are currently gathering funding to file for Incorporation in the state of Florida, file 501c4 status with the IRS and upon reaching a $2000.00 donation received mark. Filing with the Federal Elections Committee as required by law.

Politically speaking we have yet to finalize our Thirty-Three Articles which will be presented before the committee for official voting and official adoption at the convention, whenever that shall be held. As the Federal Elections Committee has determined various requirements for a convention. One of which they have not is location. Being that the majority of our volunteers are in vast geographic locations through-out the country. It has been decided that the convention shall be held via web meeting and conference call. Of which any and all are invited to attend on a first come and first serve basis. Details will be announced as soon as we nail down the last few articles that remain to be polished.

This Party will fall as a subordinate to what will be legally known as The New Federalist National Committee. This is why you see a blatant name difference in the Facebook page and the Website address versus the Website Title. With all of this being addressed and spoken of. If any of you wish to donate towards our group so we can truly begin to show that the citizens are tired of Constitutional Cherry-picking and we do not want change. We want what was already ours to begin with. he link is below.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Quotes of the Day - taxes and Marxism

Tidbit: the U.S. tax code is 13 miles long.

"I don't like the income tax. Every time we talk about these taxes we get around to the idea of 'from each according to his capacity and to each according to his needs'. That's socialism. It's written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what's happening to him." ~ T. Coleman Andrews, Commissioner of Internal Revenue

"Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." ~ Karl Marx

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ohio House passes 'Shared Work' program

Press Release from the Ohio House:

“Shared Work” Program Passes Ohio House

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 37, legislation that creates the SharedWork Ohio Program.

The program allows employers to reduce the number of hours worked by employees in lieu of layoffs. It also makes it easier for employees to avoid being laid off and to receive partial unemployment benefits.

“This bill gives more flexibility to employers and employees when assessing layoffs,” Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder said. “Rather than having to decide on a zero-sum scale, through the Shared Work Ohio program workers can still have the opportunity for partial employment. At the same time, this will reduce the strain on the state’s unemployment benefits system.”

Participating employers must submit a plan to the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The plan must satisfy certain requirements and be approved by the department. Each plan takes effect on the date on which it received approval and ends at the end of the 52nd week after the plan’s effective date.

HB 37 now will go to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Smile for the emergency vehicle - or how I learned to stop worrying and love the red light camera

Ohio Senate Bill 97, introduced by Republican Jim Hughes from Franklin County, would "allow emergency personnel in public safety vehicles to report traffic law violations under certain circumstances."

Basically, if you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle, like a fire truck or rescue squad which is responding to an emergency, the personnel in that emergency vehicle can report you for this violation - along with any others you might commit at the same time - to the local police jurisdiction.

The law also says local law enforcement:

"...may conduct an investigation to attempt to determine or confirm the identity of the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. If the identity of the operator at the time of the alleged violation is established, the reporting of the license plate number of the vehicle shall establish probable cause for the law enforcement agency to issue a citation for the violation..."

And if they can't determine the operator of the car at the time of the violation?

"...if the identity of the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation cannot be established, the law enforcement agency may issue a warning to the person who owned the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation, except in the case of a leased or rented vehicle, any warning shall be issued to the person who leased or rented the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation."

This doesn't seem unreasonable but here's what I want to know: how come the same rules don't apply to red light and speed cameras?

Wouldn't it just be easier for the emergency personnel to snap a picture?

Red light and speed cameras operate on the assumption that the owner of the vehicle is guilty, even if they can prove they weren't the driver. The only way to get out of the exorbitant fine - which is just a money-grab for local municipalities - is to actually produce the guilty party.

The police are not required to investigate - the registered owner of the vehicle is guilty. There is no warning if the owner proves they weren't driving - it's a huge fine just the same. And in order to get out of all the due process rules normally inherent in any traffic violation, cities call these *civil* violations. But that is specifically so they can cite the owner, not the actual driver.

We shouldn't have double standards in the law. The General Assembly needs to either outlaw red light/speed cameras or require municipalities to adhere to the due process protections normally afforded these violations.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Quote of the Day - government's morality

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is it's justice; that is it's morality." ~ Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Toledo seeking families of fallen service members for Arbor Day tribute

Press Release:


Invites families of those killed in action to participate

As part of the 2013 Arbor Day celebration, the City of Toledo Division of Parks, Recreation and Forestry will plant trees in memoriam of Toledo residents who have lost their lives during military conflict.

The city is inviting family members of those Toledo residents who have been killed in action during military service to participate in the tree planting ceremony in memory of their loved one. Those interested in taking part are asked to complete an application providing brief biographical information about the veteran to be memorialized. Applications are available online at www.toledo.oh.gov or by contacting the Division of Parks, Recreation and Forestry at 419.245.3357. Applications must be returned by April 19, 2013.

Approximately 50 blossoming cherry trees will be planted as a Veterans Memorial Grove in the Parkside Blvd. median between Dorr Street and Mount Vernon during a ceremony to take place April 29, 2013. The city does not ordinarily plant memorial trees on behalf of individual residents; however the visually distinct tree planting is a significant way to observe the dedicated service of these men and women in uniform.

All trees will be planted in a public right of way that is maintained by the Division of Parks, Recreation and Forestry and will serve to replace trees cleared due recent utility work. The trees will be provided by the City of Toledo and the service members will be recognized in a proclamation by the Mayor recognizing April 29, 2013 as Arbor Day in Toledo.

For 32 years Toledo has been recognized as a Tree City, USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the commitment to maintain quality of life by planting trees in cemeteries, boulevards, streets, and parks, and for recognizing Arbor Day as a holiday that uniquely celebrates a living thing. Previous City of Toledo Arbor Day events have involved local school students, community and church group, the Toledo Urban Forestry Commission and various parks boards and commissions.

Denny Garvin, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry is available for interview as is Mrs. Dale Chapman, a participant who will honor her grandson at the 2013 Arbor Day ceremony. For interviews or more information the media are asked contact Jen Sorgenfrei at 419-467-1876.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Toledo City Council Meeting - April 2, 2013

My apologies for not getting this posted earlier. For some additionally commentary, check out this post regarding the proposal to raise council's pay by 18% and this post about two Republican councilmen who think Right-to-Work is an "extreme political position."

Here are the notes from Sherry:

Toledo City Council Meeting
April 2, 2013

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

Item 118 – Designate corner of Collingwood, & Acklin as Bishop Carl E. Mitchell, Sr. Way – passed – all voting yes.

Item 120 – Resolution – Support Wear Blue Day, Wednesday, April 10th, National Child Abuse Prevention Month – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 121 – Resolution – Recognize Marc Loving, Nigel Hayes, Keshyra McCarver, and Coach Ed Heintschel – Hold for 2 weeks, kids on break.

There was an award given to a group from the Cancer Society. April 16th is Cancer Prevention 3 Day.

Item 106 – Appointments – Ottawa/Jermain Park Advisory Board – Hold till April 16th.

Item 122 – Appointment – Chief of Police
  • McNamara – Chief Diggs should go – not supporting this.

Slow roll call vote: No: Martinez, Riley, Collins, Hicks-Hudson, Ludeman, Enright. Yes: McNamara, Sarantou, Steel, Waniewski, Webb, Craig. Motion failed.

  • Hicks-Hudson – Vote up or down.
  • Collins – Chief Diggs is OK – (history) Felker was the Chief of Police in Mr. Finkbiner's Administration – he was supposed to bring in new leadership (Finkbiner) - only way Felker was removed was with a hearing, legal issues – ended up costing the City money and health care. Then in 2004, in another Finkbiner Administration Chief Navarre was removed the same as Felker – replaced with Jack Smith for a few months – then back to Navarre again – Mayor can continue with Diggs –

  • Hicks-Hudson stops him, speaks – Council to confirm or not.

  • Collins – doesn't change anything – if the Mayor gets re-elected, let him come to Council.
  • Hicks-Hudson – if it wasn't for retirement, we wouldn't be looking at this.
  • Martinez – sees both sides of the fence – Officers like the Chief – Public Safety beyond politics – supporting this – retire/re-hire – bottlenecks.
  • Ludeman – confirm Diggs – liked by Officers – Mayor doing a fine job.

Vote – confirmed – McNamara, Collins voted no; rest voted yes.

Item 145 – Zone change at 801 & 1335 Front St. for K-8 school (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – Martinez abstaining, rest yes. Steel – Thanks to the Planning Committee.

Item 146 – SUP for K-8 school at 801 & 1335 Front St. (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – Martinez abstaining, rest yes.

Item 147 – Zone change at 443 & 445 South Ave. (Approved 5 – 0) – passed – all voting yes. Ludeman – immediate consideration for 150.

Item 150 – Resolution – Urge Federal Aviation Administration keep traffic control tower at Toledo Express open/staffed – adopted – all voting yes (Craig was absent for this vote)

Item 119 – Resolution – Recognize recipients of the LSU (Latino Student Union) scholarship – Hold for 2 weeks.

Item 102 – Appropriation to refurbish athletic facility at 1111 Manhattan Blvd. For Police Athletic League, $250,000 Parkland Replacement Fund
  • Collins –amend – from Parks Fund to Law Enforcement Fund – as of 4/1 $746,000 – what is State/Federal portion, $323,000 - $133,000 to the department for Tasers – take money out of LE Trust – we don't own the building – Council to support.
  • Ludeman – leave money in LE Fund.
  • Steel – call the Law Director to discuss.
  • Adam Loux, law director - Since the late 90's LE Trust monies for certain things – its purpose – this includes a LE purpose – it needs approval from an Ordinance and the Police Chief, both saying that this money is needed.
  • Director Green – Need to find a different source of funds.
  • Webb – not a proper use of funds (referring to Chief Diggs) – two part process – Diggs, monies not to be used for just anything – some was used for DARE Program – some of the money to be used for heating/cooling facility – old building torn down that would have provided this – concerned – City to take possession of 196 acres – Utilities Parks Fund (example, Optimist Park attached to Wait High School – spending Parks money for this – bigger things on the horizon - maybe a compromise - $125,000/$125,000 from each fund.
  • Waniewski – thanks for the opinions – isn't this supposed to keep young folks off the street? See Police Officers – Diggs – we (Council) never used it for this.
  • Craig – this is a great program – LE Fund for PAL Program – greatly reduce effort – refer back to Administration.
  • Hicks-Hudson – Hold for 2 weeks.
  • Collins – oppose funds for $50,000 to Police Museum?
  • Diggs – not aware of this.
  • Collins – to continue for Hicks-Hudson – he wasn't the Chief then.
  • Collins – would you consider appropriations from LE Trust Fund
  • Hicks-Hudson – let go, we can discuss this – on hold for 2 weeks.
  • Webb – willing to be part of a compromise.

Item 113 – Transfer funds from General Fund to Capital Replacement Fund for vehicles purchased since 2004, $437,646 – refer back to Administration.

Item 115 – Expenditure to TMACOG for 2013 membership fee, $55,658 General Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 123 – Resolution – Express opposition to Ohio “Right to Work” laws
McNamara – opposes Right to Work – won't guarantee better pay for working families
Adopted – Waniewski voted no, rest yes.

Item 124 – Amend TMC Sec. 933.02(a) to establish new water rates, 5 years 2014 – 2018 - 1st Reading. We will have night time meetings on this for feed back.

Item 125 – Extend contracts with S&L Fertilizer and Stansley for spent lime removal at Water Treatment, $950,000
  • Collins – (to Herwat) Four month change?
  • Herwat – no change.
  • Collins – amend.
Passed – all voting yes (Craig absent again)

Item 126 – Expenditure for Cal Flo Slurry for water softening chemical for Water Treatment, $50,000 Water Operation

  • Sarantou – Public Utilities water rates proposal – 3 readings.
  • Herwat – get this passed as soon as possible.

Passed – all voting yes.

Item 127 – Resolution – Notice and assessment process for 2013 Sidewalk Program

  • Riley - (to Dave Welch) Can this be broken up into smaller projects?
  • Welch – no answer tonight.
  • Riley – small businesses to do work with City.
  • Hicks-Hudson – minority businesses.

Adopted – all voting yes.

Item 128 – Resolution – Application to TMACOG Transportation Alternatives Program for financial assistance – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 129 – Expenditures for General Resurfacing and Matches & Planning for Engineering Services, $8,473,545 CIP – passed – all voting yes.

  • Item 130 – Appropriation for Executive Parkway east of Secor Rd., $340,000 CIP TIF Reserve McNamara – move to Amend.
  • Collins – economic development good.
  • Herwat – We will work with you. Fund this program from CIP. 
  • Sarantou – Private investment – thanks everyone. 

Passed – all voting yes.

Item 131 – Expenditure to extend GIS software maintenance & software support from ESRI, $105,000 Sewer Operations – passed – all voting yes.

Item 132 – Expenditure to Schumaker Bros. For Emergency sewer repair at 2250 Airport Hwy, $22,409 Sewer Operations – passed – all voting yes.

Item 133 - Lease-Purchase with PNC for 54 marked and 52 unmarked Police vehicles, 3 years, $3,480,000 CIP – passed – all voting yes.

Item 134 – Contract for on-line employee benefits administration system for Human Resources, $150,000 CIP - 1st Reading.

Item 135 – Expenditure to SeaGate Convention Center for Feb. 2014 Fire recruitment examination, $21,000 GF – passed – all voting yes.

Item 136 – Contracts for Internet access service, extend Buckeye 3 years and contract with Agile 5 years, $3,525/monthly - 1st Reading.

Item 137 – Contract with AT&T for city-wide cell phone equipment and service, 3 years + 1 year option, ICT Fund

  • Collins – Did we resolve this issue? Expense of cell phones.
  • Administration – Credit which cell phone?
  • Collins - $400.00 cell phones?
  • Administration – No, those were I-phones.
  • Collins – just commenting.
  • Administration – They will be using cell phones (smart phones) instead lap tops for inspection - voice and data – work with administration via employees.
  • Sarantou – Spoke with Director Robinson – not new toys – monitor and block certain things – AT&T doesn't work in certain parts of Council Chambers.
  • Administration – We will change this.
  • Hicks-Hudson – Update cell phones.
  • Administration – Yes.

Passed – all voting yes.

Item 138 – Technical Assistance Agreement with Global Green USA for redevelopment of Overland Industrial Park – passed – all voting yes.

Item 139 – Resolution – Amend pension pick-up plan for Teamsters Local 20 employees, 2.5%, 1%, 0 – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 140 – Re-appropriation for lease-purchase 2 Heavy Rescue Squads for Fire, 5 years, $202,000 per year, CIP – passed – all voting yes.

Item 141 – Expenditures for Fire Station Renovations, $180,000 CIP Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 142 – Sell 1990 50' aerial ladder fire engine to Penta Career Center, $1 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 143 – Resolution – Object to renewal of liquor permit at Remy's Gentlemen's Club at 707 Matzinger Rd.
Adopted – all voting yes.
Webb – thanks for the support – Moody Manor shooters went there.

Item 144 – Resolution – Object to renewal of liquor permit at 05's bar at Starr Ave. - adopted – all voting yes.

Item 148 – Providing for an annual salary of $136,000 for the Mayor effective January 2, 2014 – Committee of the Whole.

Item 149 - Providing for an annual salary of $32,500 for Council Members effective January 2, 2014 – Committee of the Whole.

Last Call:

Riley – What is the status of Darvis and Champion Spark Plug – vacant abandon sites.

Sarantou – Thanks to his great niece and daughter for being here.

Waniewski – List of used corner car lots and SUV's sold. Congrats (could be go – punchy) to the Toledo Walleye.

Webb – Point Place businesses sponsored the egg hunt. On 4/8 at 6 PM, meeting at Sylvania Library, about the library.

Collins – What does the City do about decommissioned equipment? What about old software? City provides it or destroys it.

Ludeman – Tomorrow presentation by Economic Development – Oak/Bancroft gas – supporting residents? Herwat – City cannot step in – have to get with Columbia Gas – we represent property owners. Three year old Brianna is watching us.

Hicks- Hudson – Department of Utilities to look at various projects – support minority businesses.

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