Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ohio AG files suit against two Toledo brothers operating Toledo Appliance Repair

Press release:

(TOLEDO, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against two brothers who operated Toledo Appliance Repair. Roger Sutherland and Shawn Wheeler, both of Toledo, are accused of performing shoddy work and misrepresenting their services. The Attorney General is seeking consumer restitution, an injunction to stop further violations, and civil penalties.

“These individuals came into consumers’ homes, made repairs without providing estimates, and then surprised consumers with the bill,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Because consumers filed complaints, we were able to detect a pattern of violations, and we encourage any other consumers who believe they were treated unfairly to contact our office.”

The brothers advertised on Craigslist and in the yellow pages, often using the names Toledo Appliance Repair, Toledo Appliance Guys, or Brothers Appliance.

About 15 consumers filed complaints against the business, reporting total losses of $5,844.50, including a $2,200 loss and a $1,300 loss. Consumers generally said that after the business repaired an appliance, the appliance quickly broke again, often within hours or days of the repair.

The business advertised a one-year warranty but Sutherland and Wheeler never returned to make the additional repairs. They also claimed to accept credit cards but once in a consumer’s home, they said they only accepted cash. Some consumers said they were expecting only an estimate but that the business quickly made the repair and handed the consumer a bill.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit charges the brothers with multiple violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act. Counts include shoddy work, misrepresentation, failure to inform consumers of their right to an estimate, and failure to deliver.

Attorney General DeWine encourages consumers to research a business before making any payments. Consumers can check for complaints on file with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. They also should check with the Ohio Secretary of State to determine whether the business is properly registered.

Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or

A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General's website.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quote of the Day - encroachment on the Constitution

"The nature of the encroachment upon American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer; it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole of society." ~ John Adams

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quotes of the Day - rights vs. tyranny

"Of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trial by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms...If these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny." ~ James Monroe

"The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ineptocracy - a new definition of America?

I was actually sent this in a email - it was a picture of the definition on a t-shirt, so I'm sure you can find it somewhere online if you look:

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy), n. A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy 238th Birthday U.S. Marine Corps

Today is the 238th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps - so Happy Birthday Marines!

Besides the really cool uniforms

and awesome hymn:

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

and the fact that they carry swords,

they have a time-honored tradition as they celebrate their birthday:  the cutting of their birthday cake.

Here is one version of the script for the ceremony:

The Marine Corp’s birthday cake-cutting ceremony is important to all Marines, as it is an annual renewal of each Marine’s commitment to the Corps . . . and the Corps’ commitment to our nations quest for peace and freedom worldwide.

The birthday cake is traditionally cut with the Mameluke sword, as a reminder that we are a band of warriors, committed to carrying the sword, so that our nation may live in peace. The Mameluke sword gets its name from the cross hilt and ivory grip design, similar to swords used for centuries by Ottoman warriors. The Marine Corps tradition of carrying this sword dates from Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon’s assault of Derna, Tripoli, in 1805, where he is said to have won the sword of the governor of
the city.

As is our custom, the first piece of cake will be presented to our guest of honor.

By tradition, the second piece of cake is presented to the oldest Marine present. Ladies and Gentlemen . . . the oldest Marine present is (insert name). (insert name) was born in (insert year). The third piece of cake is presented to the youngest Marine
present. Ladies and Gentlemen . . . The youngest Marine present is (insert name). (insert names) was born in (insert year).

So to the few and the proud, Happy Birthday! And thank you!

Semper Fidelis

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Mayoral transition stories hint at bad things to come

Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins 
In looking online at The Blade, I had three important observations I want to share.

The first one deals with the editorial, "Mayor Collins His challenge is to persuade jaded Toledoans that city government can be a vital, positive force in their lives"

As editorials go, it's not bad, though it is the usual Blade telling their endorsed candidate what to do, which is a really a warning should he not follow their instructions.

No, the problem is the premise in the headline that city government can - and should - be a "vital, positive force" in our lives.

Government is not supposed to be any such thing. Governments exist to protect our individual rights. We grant them the opportunity to serve us as we see fit, giving them the authority to provide essential services like road repair, sewers, police and fire which we'd have a hard time doing alone (though when it comes to police, even that is changing).

Government should be seen as a necessary evil - something that must constantly be watched and guarded against lest it becomes too powerful and infringes upon our individual rights and freedom. It should be the last option - not the first choice - when there is a need.

Sadly, both the local paper and too many citizens don't understand this concept, which is probably why the city is stuck on stupid.

The second one deals with the 3/4% payroll income tax which Mayor D. Michael Collins wants to make permanent.

Since the 1980s, Toledo voters have approved this 'temporary' tax every four years. We've granted city council the ability to divert money from the original stated purposes and now use it to fund police, fire, capital improvements ... and yearly deficits.

We like the fact that we have a say every four years for it keeps a level of accountability present in how the city uses the money. If they don't use it properly, we'll take it away from them.

But like so many other things, a temporary solution was relied upon for every-day functions and the city never really makes any attempt to live without it, threatening us with doom and gloom if we fail to continue to grant it to them.

Collins wants to reduce it slightly, but make it a permanent tax. He said "growth in the economy would offset the loss and that Toledo would benefit from the positive signal the reduction would send to the business community." This just demonstrates his ignorance of the business community - and the economy.

Most people won't notice a reduction from 2.25% to 2.2% and business owners know that. The tax isn't paid by the businesses, but by the employees they hire and pay. And he has not mentioned, as far as I can tell, the impact that H.B.5, a revamp of municipal income taxes pending in the House, might have on the city or his plan.

Think about it: we're talking a $15 reduction for a $30,000 salary or a $12.50 reduction on a $25,000 salary. That's not a lot of economic growth when prices are rising.

But Toledoans will probably fall for it. Yes, stuck-on-stupid comes to mind.

The last thing is this quote from the same article:

“I plan to reach out to Dashing Pacific Group through the Regional Growth Partnership and help them develop a plan for the Marina District,” Mr. Collins said.

Did he not see the TV ads? Put out by a Toledoans for Working Families with a Columbus contact - not the Collins campaign - they portrayed a Chinese flag and said “Mike Bell cares more about creating jobs in China than he does here in Toledo.” They also said he sold the Marina District to Chinese investor Dashing Pacific Group Ltd. “for chump change.”

The ad was a direct attack on Dashing Pacific, something that the Chinese culture does not take kindly to. And since Collins refused to repudiate the ads, it's likely he will be seen as complicit.

If this were you, how receptive would you be to any outreach?

Then there is the arrogance - something Collins is well-known for. He wants to help them develop a plan for the property. How does he know there isn't one already or that he is better qualified than them to do so?

These three items are just a mere indication of what is to come - and it doesn't bode well for Toledo.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Toledo election results - stuck on stupid

Has Toledo fallen into a sink hole
from which we will never recover?
I cannot express how disappointed I am in Toledo's election results. We've put back into office the same names, same philosophies and the same stagnation that has us wishing for the 'good ol' days' only to be disappointed - again and again and again.

You know the definition of insanity? Toledo exemplifies it.

The unions and the Blade didn't want Mike Bell to be mayor again, primarily because they couldn't control him. But they fail to realize that he was actually doing good things in the city.

D. Michael Collins ran ads excoriating Bell for his economic development trips to China and for selling the Marina District to business developers who - eek! - don't look like us. What Collins and his supporters failed to realize is that doing so turned the District into a revenue-producing asset (primarily through the property taxes paid) instead of a drain on the city requiring constant upkeep.

No, it's not yet been developed as everyone, including the owners, would like, but at least it's not an albatross hanging around the city's neck like it had been under the previous mayors.

Collins is now between a rock and a hard place. Does he really think the owners of the Marina District are going to want to work with him to actually develop the property? Or will they wait it out until the next election? Or perhaps, like so many other business owners, leave the city altogether?

How will a mayor who criticized the outreach now reach out to those who have the ability to bring companies and jobs to the city?

Did anyone stop to think about that when they were jumping on the bandwagon?

And then there is city council which, except for Sandy Spang (the only bright hope of the night) is nothing but a repeat of old, tired names we've had all along.

Rob Ludeman, Jack Ford, Sandy Spang, Steven Steel, Theresa M. Gabriel and either Adam Martinez or Larry Sykes will be our at-large representatives on council. But even Gabriel isn't for certain. Only 75 votes separate her from Martinez, who is only 34 votes ahead of Sykes. The results are unofficial and I'm sure there are provisional ballots which were cast so it's really to early for any of the three to be celebrating.

But for Toledoans, it doesn't really matter. They're what we already have in terms of philosophy and approach - and at least two of them are names we've seen and heard over and over and over again. I have to wonder, though, if Sykes thinks not running for re-election to the school board was a bad idea. He was pretty much assured of that seat.

We've gone back to Jack Ford - again. He was first elected to City Council in 1993, the year I was elected clerk of Toledo Municipal Court. He then served as mayor (between Carty Finkbeiner stints) and then went to the school board. I think he also did a term in the state legislature - hard to keep track of the offices he's jumped to and from. He was so bad as mayor that Finkbeiner, whom he defeated after two terms, was able to get elected again. The joke was that we were on a pendulum swinging between crazy and lazy and definitely preferred the crazy side, which is why we back to Carty.

You'd think we'd learn our lesson. Apparently not.

And Gabriel, if she is elected, is an old Finkbeiner ally having served in his cabinet, but also appears to get along well with Ford.

Rumor has it that Finkbeiner is interested in being appointed to fill the district seat Collins will vacate when he's sworn in as mayor. Can it be any worse for Toledo? These are the same people who led us to our current decline/stagnation, but they're old (both physically and in length of time in the public eye) and must be familiar. We just seem to have a disconnect between the people and the policies they advocate which keep earning us the name of 'little Detroit.'

Then there is the Toledo School School board. Bob Vasquez was the top vote-getter which is not surprising considering he was the only incumbent. I like Bob. I've always respected his service on boards and commissions, even when I might have disagreed with him - which wasn't as often as some may think. At TPS I believe he pays good attention to the financial aspects of the school district and he was an early supporter of the performance audit I pushed for. Again, we don't always agree, but I think he's better than most when it comes to an elected official.

But who fills the two vacant seats? Polly Gerken-Taylor, wife of sitting County Commissioner and former Toledo Councilman Pete Gerken and, until now, a perennial candidate ... and Chris Varwig. a long-time TPS volunteer who says she wants to be an advocate for parents and has no desire to run for city council. She may be the second bright hope - if she doesn't get railroaded by the politics inherent in the system. My hope is that she will find allies in Vasquez and fellow board member Dr. Cecelia

As for Polly (because the hyphenated name is just too much), the primary thing she has going for her is her husband's name and unions. Then there was her ridiculous campaign slogan, "now is the time." For what? For her to finally get into public office? She didn't campaign for anything other than what the board has always done. And our test scores, declining enrollment and general failure of the schools is the result. No wonder parents send their kids elsewhere.

On a good note, Josh Lanzinger was elected judge of the Toledo Municipal Court. He'd been appointed to the position and was able to keep it, primarily through the limited incumbency, but also because of the extremely familiar name (his mom is Supreme Court Justice Lanzinger with a long successful history of election in Lucas County). He'll most likely keep the seat for as long as he wants it.

But that's about all...

Let me share with you some of the comments from my Facebook friends:

"Toledoans will elect and reelect the same names and faces that have presided over Toledo's decline for decades...and then complain that it keeps getting worse."

"What's funny Maggie is people in Toledo acting like there is "change" or we will some how move out of the status quo... yes they have said that... but they keep voting the same status crap in."

"Toledo Businesses are voting,... on their way out. Is it any mystery Maggie, that we builders and developers are putting up new houses and subdivisions in the surrounding area and not into Toledo. Failing schools, failing philosophy. Who with a clue wants to live there?"

followed immediately by:

"This is why I will never expand my business to Toledo."

And then this from dear friend and fellow blogger Tim Higgins:

"Perhaps Toledo can put in for designation as a "Green City" for all of the candidate recycling that it did this election."

Maybe, but it won't help. As Sam and I have said for decades: Toledo is like a drug addict who hasn't yet hit rock bottom to know it needs to change.

"Toledo.... the future Detroit of Ohio."

Indeed. :(

btw: this DEFINITELY qualifies for 'stuck on stupid' though now I'm wondering just how stupid am I that I stay....

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