Saturday, August 30, 2014

#Dream14: be kind and show grace to win the hearts of others

I’ve attended various blogger and center-right conferences for a number of years now and, among other things, they were focused on ‘how-to’ and engaging those of similar thinking to promote core principles of free markets, the Constitution and the ideals of our Founding Fathers.

While there is plenty of that at the Americans for Prosperity Defending the American Dream Summit in Dallas, the new message is that preaching to the choir isn’t going to advance the message or persuade those who either disagree or are uninformed and whose hearts and minds we need to win.

In fact, overwhelmingly, the discussion in sessions and speeches is that techniques that work on conservatives are likely to backfire when talking to those who are receptive to conservative principles but are predisposed to reject the buzzwords usually associated with them.

The Leadership Institute hosted a media training session where they helped people who have never been on camera – or those who are finding themselves being asked to speak to the media – understand how to better communicate their points.

They gave some instructions, video tapped attendees in an interview, then shared the recording and offered critiques. A key point was to be genuine, smile and let people get to know you because likability is more important than talking points.

But another thing participants were told is to avoid catch phrases with general audiences and tailor the choice of words so the people who are seeing the interview don’t immediately tune out. For instance, “big government” is fine with conservative audiences, but “bureaucrats in Washington” is probably better for general audiences.

Guy Benson, second from the left
In one of the general sessions on building your brand, Guy Benson, senior political editor at, said to work hard and “be nice.” Attendees were also told that they should be the same person online as they are in person and to allow people to see more about them than just their political opinions.

In another social media session about finding followers, Dana Loesch said to act with grace. She warned the standing room only crowd not to become what they hate.

“Social media is a form of journalism,” she said. “Journalism is a practice. Anyone can do it. But even though we are not burdened by the same constraints as traditional media, we still have a responsibility to do it right.”
Standing room only crowd at one breakout session.

She said showing grace to others in our interactions is the pathway to winning the hearts of those who are persuadable.

Loesch also emphasized that citizen journalism is not a gated community, no matter how much the main stream media and certain politicians believe. “Citizen media is the new minuteman,” she said. “The person you convert is one more person you don’t have to fight,” she added, saying you can still disagree politely and plant the seeds of change.

And she noted it was especially important to show grace to those on the same side, even when none is given.
But, she warned, “Don’t mistake finding common ground with compromise. You don’t compromise the truth.”

Dr. Melissa Clouthier instructed attendees to remember what they’re fighting for. “Remember the big picture,” she said, “and be sure your actions move you toward the right ends. We’re not fighting each other. We’re fighting an ideology that is absolutely destructive, not just in the U.S., but everywhere.”

Panelists Carol Wehe, Erik Telford, Dr. Melissa Clouthier
and Dana Loesch (seated left to right)
She said the time is ripe to persuade others.

“There is a deep sense of abiding shame across America because they voted for Obama – twice,” she said. This presents a real opportunity to reach people with a message that resonates, especially through pop culture.

She said politics is downstream from culture so understanding and knowing today’s culture is a great way to start a conversation with someone who might not otherwise be receptive to what is traditionally a political message. The new movie “The Giver” is a great example of something many are enjoying and it can be discussed with anyone, regardless of their politics. And since it has a great conservative message, it can be used to introduce conservative principles outside the political realm.

Even Arthur Brooks, president of American Enterprise Institute and one of the keynote speakers during the genera session, followed the same theme.

He said an Associated Press poll showed that only 16 percent of Americans think the Republican Party is compassionate – and that’s a problem.

He noted that a majority of people voted for Obama because they thought he cared about people like them. “You can’t win when think you don’t care about them,” he said.

Arthur Brooks during his stop at
the Blogger Lounge before his
address during the general session.
“I’m a conservative because I believe in lifting people up,” Brooks said. “Conservative values are the only values that give people dignity. Capitalism has lifted millions of people across the world out of poverty.”

But he said, conservative are good at explaining what they’re fighting against.

“The trouble is,” he said, “people don’t want to know what you’re fighting against, they want to know who you are fighting for. Until we convince them we’re fighting for them, we’ll lose.”

He said it was a moral obligation to fight for those who have been left behind.

“They might not vote like us or like us – it doesn’t matter,” Brooks said. “Patriots and leaders fight for everyone no matter how they vote. Stop fighting against things. Fight for people.”

As a result of this training, I expect that many of the grass roots will change their tactics, focusing more on the ‘how’ than the ‘what’ and engaging all people with a refined message that will actually begin to win their hearts – and their minds.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tons of potholes and this is how Toledo spends our road repair money

Around 8:30 a.m. I heard the sound of loud truck backing up. When I investigated, I found it was a city tar truck. It was having problems and around 9-ish a supervisor showed up and managed to get it working.

Probably sounds like a typical day in the City of Toledo Division of Streets, Harbors and Bridges.

Except the street they were getting ready to work on was a dead-end street in Point Place, used by only 1 household that has a driveway on it.

117th Street as it dead ends at Maumee Bay.
By 9:30, they were finished tarring and putting gravel across this small stretch of road work - and I'd been on the phone with numerous people to complain.

Finished work - isn't it pretty?

It started three years ago when they did the same thing.

I am supposed to be notified by a leaflet or paper at my home. That didn't happen then or now. I was told it was only done every five years. Wrong again.

One problem is that I have to pay for this. The cost is assessed against my property taxes and I have no say in the matter.

My neighbors across the street are great, but they're the only ones who use this "paper street" (according to the city). They pay 1/3 of what I do because their address is on 307th, even though there is no access to their property from that street. Technically, it's frontage for me and a side street for them, which means I pay 2/3 of the cost of the treatment.

My neighbor's "front" yard at the corner of 307th and 117th.

But the worst part about all this is the complete waste of resources.

The work crew, not including an
engineering intern, the crew supervisor
and the tar truck.

The city has no money - it can't balance the operating budget without raiding, over the past several years, nearly $1 million from the capital improvements budget.

The capital budget is strapped because of this and, with the extremely harsh winter, we still have major potholes and roads that are in serious need of attention.

With all that, the street resources - equipment, time, personnel - are being used for the dead-end portion of my street to benefit one home.

Wouldn't a better use have been to fix Ottawa River Road (at Suder) between the BP and Sunoco gas stations? Or if that wasn't in the same budgetary fund, any road that you find a nightmare to drive upon?

This is sheer stupidity. We're not called "Little Detroit" for nothing....

And yes, this definitely qualifies for "stuck on stupid" designation.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Ohio extends EdChoice Scholarship deadline

By Maggie Thurber | Franklin Center School Choice Fellow

It’s good news for Ohio parents. The Ohio Department of Education extended the deadline for the EdChoice Scholarship Program until Sept. 5, so there’s still time to apply.

The extension is so the state can recalculate report cards for districts that manipulated student data.

Schools in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and several other districts throughout the state incorrectly removed some students with absences and low test scores from their required report card calculations. This resulted in better grades for the school’s academic standing.

Following the two-year investigation, the state decided to add back the deleted students and recalculate the report cards for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school year.

This means that some schools that appeared to be performing well might have grades that would allow students to qualify for EdChoice Scholarships. The program provides vouchers to students from underperforming public schools so they can attend participating private schools.

To be eligible, students must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Currently attend an underperforming public school in the district where they reside
  • Currently attend a public school in the district where they reside and be assigned to an underperforming school for the upcoming year
  • Currently attend a charter or community school in lieu of attending the underperforming school where they would normally be assigned
  • Be 5 years old by January 1, 2015 and eligible to enter kindergarten at an underperforming school
  • Be a first-time Ohio school student who would be assigned to one of the underperforming schools.

Additionally, some children may be eligible for the EdChoice expansion scholarship if they are going to enter kindergarten or first grant in Fall 2014 and has a family household income that is at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Children in the Cleveland Municipal School District are not eligible.

The state expects to issue 60,000 scholarships for the 2014-15 school year, not counting the approximately 4,000 expansion scholarships.

As of the end of May, 3,209 students had applied under the voucher expansion and 18,228 had applied for the EdChoice Scholarship.

The first application period was February 1 through May 9, 2014. The vouchers are $4,250 for grades K-8 and $5,000 for high school and they cover tuition only. Students must first apply at the participating private school.

Google Analytics Alternative