Elections that matter- and those that don’t

If the money spent on the Dee Gillis vs. Bill Beagle race were spent on a public works project, or hiring another (or 10) police officers in a rough neighborhood it would matter a lot. Instead, campaigns run by twenty somethings who have no idea about advertising has, or should embarrass both candidates, has been bombarding voters. In the grand scheme of things- one more Democrat in a gerrymandered house of Republicans won’t make a bit of difference. I’ll say this though- when I wrote 4 years ago to vote for Beagle because he wasn’t a career politician like Fred Strahorn- I made a mistake. Beagle is an empty suit, totally incapable of saying where he stands on the tough questions, and doing the repressive parties’ work perfectly.

He doesn’t deserve re-election, no matter how many mailers, TV ads, radio ads, etc., he runs. Strahorn on the other hand, humbled by his defeat, seems to be fully engaged and recognizing that to be a representative isn’t a union job where you can’t get fired for doing the minimum. He’s a way better candidate than the oddballs running against him for the house seat he inherited when Clayton Luckie went off to jail.

I consider myself lucky this election cycle. Due to an abundance of work, I’ve not seen much TV. I never watch our local news which is so negative and worthless I’m surprised we don’t have “breaking news” causing suicides every day. I did happen to catch the Foley ad attacking Mike Nolan which made me wonder why Foley, another life-long politician who thinks it’s his birthright to be elected, felt the need to run it? Polling must be telling his people that his career of smiling and wearing a suit is wearing on people- and that people are just tired of supporting the Royalty of Montgomery County. The good news here is that people can vote for a really good guy who would shake things up- former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell, who actually does have the capability to have an original thought- and isn’t having his seat bought for him by the local puppet masters behind the curtain (take a look at Foley’s campaign donations if you want to know who they are.) Full disclosure- Leitzell buys his printing and web hosting from me.

The most important race in the state- for governor was botched by the Ohio Democratic Party with their absolute failure in vetting their candidate. The rest of the Dem ticket fully deserves your support- because with the inevitable Republican landslide due to gerrymandering in the House and Senate (which is one elected body too much for our state) we’re doomed to more bull like “Jobs Ohio” which is just a political slush fund to hand out tax dollars to big business as if it’s play money.

For the top spot- I’m voting Green Party. Although they have no chance of winning, if they get over 2% of the vote, a major obstacle for their party goes away statewide- the requirements of getting way more signatures than the major parties to run. This would provide ballot access to many and give us a sliver of a chance of having a real choice at election time instead of the lesser of two evils.

Speaking of vetting- the race between two veterans for Ohio 41 is another case of party failure- although Wayne Small is a really nice guy, as is Jim Butler, Small has basically run a non-existent campaign, and may not be capable of handling the job if elected.  Not that he has a chance against the machine in the first place. Full disclosure- I printed signs and used to host Small’s site when he ran for Riverside council, and I’ve printed some things for the Butler campaign.

The only race where you can really send a message is the Oh-10 congressional race, where Mike Turner has gotten way too comfy doing whatever he pleases. Much like the Eric Cantor race upset, sending school teacher Robert Klepinger to represent us would be a shot heard across the nation- and give our country a chance at not being totally taken over by corporate and special interest money. Turner may be the only one in the country who still thinks nuclear weapons are a great idea- and while claiming to “work for WPAFB” so many times he sounds like a guy with a string you pull out of his back- and out comes the same dogma- he voted to shut the base down. We could have some integrity in office in a place it matters by just saying no to the bum in office. Full disclosure I printed bumper stickers for Klepinger.

The sad thing is that even if we “throw the bums out,” our system is being so co-opted by money, parties run like fraternities, and the glacial speed of change by government- that very few seats matter much, no matter how many ads they run. The only people who are benefiting from our woefully inadequate system of choosing figureheads only benefits the major media- who without this huge cash infusion would be struggling like the rest of us.

Hail to the losers and the victors for keeping broadcast TV, newspapers and the US Mail in business.
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We’re all screwed until we take the money out of politics and put the emphasis back on statesmanship.

Kasich appoints A.J. Wagner to State School Board

Just in:

A.J. Wagner of Dayton (Montgomery Co.) has been appointed to represent District 3 on the State Board of Education. He will assume the seat on August 4, 2014, and must run in November 2014 to retain the seat for the unexpired term ending December 31, 2017. Wagner is replacing Jeffery J. Mims, Jr., who resigned.

The State School Board is woefully short on people who have common sense and really care about our kids. A.J. will be a good addition.

As far as I know, there were no other candidates running in the November election.

Ohio 42 battle heating up: Johnson withdraws

West Carrollton Council member Democrat Patrick Merris has just expressed interest in running vs. Republican Niraj Antani for the seat vacated by Terry Blair in Ohio 42. Leonard Johnson, who was the Dem candidate has turned in a letter saying he’s withdrawing.

If Merris wins, there will be a vacancy on the West Carrolton council. Merris has been a commenter on this site.

Term Expires: 12/31/17

Education: Sinclair Community College, Associate’s Applied Sciences Paralegal Studies. Professional Accomplishments: Navy and Army Veteran, Citizens Police Academy Graduate 2011, Parks and Recreation Board, West Carrollton Historical Society Member & Trustee. Statement to citizens: I have been and continue to be an aggressive advocate for all residents and businesses in West Carrollton. My belief is ‘Progress Through Cooperation and Transparency for West Carrollton.’ I need constructive input from everyone to be able to serve to the best of my ability.

via Patrick Merris.

While Merris is newly elected, Antani is seen as beatable, whereas Blair was not.

Expect money to flow into this race, and possibly other candidates now that Johnson has withdrawn. A meeting of the party next week will finalize this change of candidates.

The Republican party had to go through 4 rounds of voting to select Antani. It will be interesting how much money the parties choose to throw into this last-minute street fight.

Why having the sheriff as a political party chair is a bad idea in Montgomery County

When Robert Scott stepped down as chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party last October, the party machinery didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to. Typically, there is an order of ascendency, and the vice chairmen would become chairman. However, vice-chairman Nick Brusky stepped down too, and next on the pecking order was Dave Landon who should have been made party chair- but since he was already on the County Patronage Payroll at the Board of Elections and couldn’t be party chair and get paid, so he abdicated as well.

[update] Apr 23 see comment below- Co-chair was Kate Burch, who stepped down, leaving Landon, who couldn’t and then second vice-chairman, Nick Brusky, who should, technically be leading the party[/update]

There should have been an election, with a quorum of the Precinct Captains voting. A quorum is 50 percent plus one of the central committee. That meeting/election never took place. For a very short period, Landon was representing himself as acting party chair. See this PDF of the filing with the Ohio Elections Commission case about the “endorsement” by the party of a candidate, even though the party wasn’t actually functioning at the time: Landon at Ohio Elections Commission

Screen shot of Ohio Republican Party site showing Phil Plummer as party chair

Here is a screen grab from the Ohio Republican Party Site showing Plummer as chair

Somewhere along the line, Landon realized he could lose his high-dollar job, and then Montgomery County Sheriff, Phil Plummer anointed himself  chair. Never mind the election wasn’t held, thereby breaking state law, but it is highly unlikely that Plummer would be able to get the votes, since Scott took over the party by getting a majority of the precinct captains elected who supported his brand of Republicanism. It was a message that the good-ole boy days were over, and yet, that’s exactly who is back in power now.

While the equally dysfunctional Democratic party in town can laugh about all this, there is one major problem with having the sheriff as the head of one political party in Ohio- he’s the guy you call when you have an election day problem. Yep, the person who is to enforce order on election day, the one you call if someone is within 100 feet of the polls doing electioneering, the one who oversees the safe transportation of the ballots- is the sheriff in Ohio.

You need to read this Memo from Secretary of State Jon Husted  of October 22, 2013, outlining the Special Powers and Responsibilities of Sheriffs on Election Day via http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/memos/2013/2013-10-22.pdf

“Election officials are charged with preventing violence and disorder at the polls and may call upon the sheriff or other peace officers to aid them in enforcing the law, including the arrest of violators.
The sheriff has a statutory duty to respond immediately to such a request.

“At least one policeman shall be assigned to duty in each precinct on each day of an election, when requested by the board or the secretary of state. Such police officer shall have access at all times to the polling place, and he shall promptly place under arrest any person found violating any provisions of Title XXXV [35] of the Revised Code.”

Mixing politics with his elected duties is not only a very large potential conflict of interest, it also opens a big can of worms if something ends up in court. Plummer should resign as party chair, or as sheriff immediately.

Right now, Plummer has one of his officers, a “Detective of Special Investigations” J.M. Clymer, out doing the Ohio Democratic Party’s dirty work. Although the Board of Elections has already accepted the required number of signatures on petitions submitted for Larry Ealy, the long-shot Dem candidate for governor in the upcoming primary, Plummer’s pogue is out trying to harass Ealy’s circulators with the threat of felony charges for submitting questionable petitions. Considering that current Dayton City Commissioners have turned in petitions with as many as 40% failing signatures, why these circulators are being harassed is questionable, and the credibility of Plummer’s office in the case is nil. You can’t be a political party chair and the criminal investigator for election law at the same time.

The Dayton Daily news has written about this investigation twice- even trying to infer that one of the circulators had a previous case for election fraud- stemming from a questionably legal eminent domain case in Moraine and his attempt to vote once he was made homeless. Here is what they published on Feb 18:

Petitions to run for governor submitted by Trotwood resident Larry Ealy were forwarded to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for investigation of possible fraudulent signatures, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the office had not yet received the complaint, but would ask the local board to do the formal investigation in conjunction with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office. Harsman said election falsification is a fifth-degree felony. The maximum penalty for a fifth-degree felony in Ohio is 12 months in prison.

via Fraud probe launched in candidate’s run for governor | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

My only question is who is going to investigate Plummer- our illegitimate Republican Party Chair/Sheriff who has illegally elected himself? Shouldn’t that be a fifth-degree felony as well?

 

 

Dayton Daily news writer Laura Bischoff – pretends to be a journalist

In today’s Dayton Daily news- “reporter” Laura Bischoff questions State Representative Jim Butler’s official bio:

In his official Ohio House biography, state Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, tells the public that he “served in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot, flying the F-14 Tomcat. ”Butler trained on the F-14 but received a medical discharge from the Navy before he ever landed one on an aircraft carrier or received an assignment to a fleet. So does that still make him a ‘fighter pilot?’ ”

via Lawmaker’s military claims questioned | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

She goes on to cite a Retired Navy Capt. Jack Kennedy- claiming that Butler is “exaggerating his military experience.”

My question is if Mr. Butler had crashed his F-14, would the story have said he wasn’t a fighter pilot? The difference between being a fighter pilot and not being a fighter pilot- is one of them has actually flown a fighter. There are plenty of Naval Captains that never were Captain of a ship- does that still make them a captain (if you want to go totally stupid Capt. Kennedy). In the military, you are assigned a vocation, MOS, which is what you are trained to do, you are also assigned a unit- which may or may not use your vocation. What unit the military assigns you to has nothing to do with your skill set, or what you put on your résumé.

To be clear, there is no 2-pilot seat version of the F-14. If you’re in it- either you are a pilot- a back seat RIO or a jackass VIP getting a chance to shit yourself. The Navy doesn’t let people sit in the front seat and take their $38 million planes for a joyride for giggles.

Unfortunately- they’ll let any fool sit down in front of a computer at the Dayton Daily news and write crap. No lives are at stake, and if you make a mistake, no one dies and you don’t crash $38 million worth of avionics and propulsion systems.

Jim Butler served his country as a jet jockey after graduating from the Naval Academy. There aren’t that many people that get to do that. He now serves as our elected State Representative. Is Bischoff’s next article going to question if he really is a State Rep. because he didn’t sponsor enough bills?

The only thing that needs questioning is why did she write this bullshit article and why did it appear in the newspaper?
Frankly, if you want to talk about dishonor- questioning this naval officer’s résumé in public, when there is no legitimate basis- is the true dishonor.

The editors of the Dayton Daily News owe Mr. Butler a public apology.

Looking for tax revenue in all the wrong places: Kasich

The changes to taxes and distribution under the Kasich administration has had devastating effect on local governments. Most are scrambling to replace revenue that used to come from the “local government fund” and the windfalls of the inheritance tax used to prop up some communities that wouldn’t exist had it not been for wealthy residents kicking the bucket and consequently kicking in millions to the general fund:

That unpredictability has been most palpable in Elizabeth Twp. The Miami County township received $16.1 million in 1999 and $20.7 million in 2002 in estate tax revenues, both linked to the estate of Yellow Pages magnate John W. Berry.

That immense revenue is in stark contrast to other years – 2003, 2006 and 2009, for example – in which Elizabeth Twp. received no estate tax revenue.

via Communities find losing estate tax money painful.

Shifting tax burdens is never easy, and almost always, someone gets hurt more than others. In general, taxes are able to be classified as progressive- as in the tax increases on those that have more- or regressive, as the tax affects those with less more. Sales tax is considered a regressive tax by most accounts- and due to the digital divide, it has become even more regressive- many internet shoppers don’t pay a sales tax when buying from companies that don’t have operations out of Ohio (Amazon being a prime example). Now, our governor wants to “lower the sales tax” but increasing the number of things it is applied to. I remember being shocked when I moved to Georgia as a teen and finding that groceries carried a sales tax- something Ohio deems an essential and excludes.

Kasich wants to lower the state sales tax rate by half a percentage point, lower local sales tax rates by varying amounts and expand eligible goods and services to generate about $3 million over three years. Revenues from sales tax and higher taxes on oil and gas extracted from Ohio soil would fuel across-the-board income tax cuts.

via Changes to Kasich tax plan.

In my business, advertising, the only thing I charge sales tax on is the printing of business cards, letterheads and envelopes. Anything that’s considered advertising- is exempt. It has always seemed a little odd to me. However, with Kasich’s sweeping sales tax expansion, all we’re doing is shifting taxes around to be collected under a different vehicle. Instead of one kind of tax, we’re going to another. Sales tax depends on businesses to self-report and collect, whereas other taxes are collected by the government. Tracking tax liability in all cases requires monitoring and collecting and with these sweeping changes, many businesses will have added expense, complexity and be subject to fines (haircuts are pretty much a necessity, much like food and medical care, yet will no longer be excluded. When Joe Hairdresser doesn’t file properly, the state can send an estimated tax bill that would far exceed the real liability, never mind how much hair is cut on a cash basis).

Of course, since our governor is a former Wall Street banker, a very needed tax isn’t being considered- the Wall Street transaction tax. This video explaining the “Robin Hood tax” as they are calling it in the UK makes it very clear where there is room for a new tax that would have benefits of slowing down a wild Wall Street’s programmed trading and volatility that has hurt us all:

Yes, I understand this isn’t a tax that Governor Kasich can levy, but it would be a start to protecting public pensions, investments and ordinary citizens’ retirements from the fake economy created by churning fiat paper that is so weakly linked to actual company performance. Kasich has no problem taxing casino revenue- but, our country hasn’t addressed the biggest casino of them all- Wall Street. Here is a brief bit about what the transaction tax would do from the New York Times:

On this side of the Atlantic, there is a ghostly silence on a transaction tax in respectable political quarters. But that might change. This month, Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, and Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, plan to reintroduce their bill calling for just such a tax.

A transaction tax could raise a huge amount of money and cause less pain than many alternatives. It could offset the need for cuts to the social safety net or tax increases that damage consumer demand. How huge a sum? Mr. Harkin and Mr. DeFazio got an estimate from the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which scores tax plans. It’s a hearty one: $352 billion over 10 years.

The money would come from a tiny levy. The bill calls for a three-basis-point charge on most trades. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. So it amounts to 3 cents on every $100 traded.

And the bill contains some exemptions intended to make the tax more politically palatable. The first sales of stocks (initial public offerings) and bonds are exempted, so that the markets’ capital-raising function isn’t harmed. Initial investments and withdrawals from tax-protected accounts, like retirement or education funds, also have a measure of protection.

via Time to Revive the Financial Transaction Tax – NYTimes.com.

With the growing economic divide in the United States the last thing we need to increase is a regressive tax like the sales tax while leaving other areas like Wall Street virtually exempt from taxation- where even the revenue generated is taxed at a lower rate.

The one big question I have about the new Ohio sales tax reduction is: Will the counties and RTA all get a windfall from their sales tax overrides (Montgomery County and RTA currently collect an extra 1% on sales taxes) that will now extend to more goods and services? I’ve missed the details on this part- if so, local governments will probably fall in line to support it, just out of pure necessity thanks to Kasich’s other tax cuts that have devastated their financial base.

School funding in Ohio needs to address the digital divide

If you are reading this, more than likely you have internet access. In fact, you probably take it for granted. Not so in many of the homes with doors I knock on to campaign for the Dayton City Commission. Using Google to look things up, or email to communicate is as foreign to them as airplanes were to the caveman. While Dayton Public Schools was considering a “bring your technology to school” program to allow kids to bring netbooks, tablets, laptops and e-readers to school, the elephant in the room was that some kids are lucky to have shoes to wear to school.

Governor Kasich just pulled yet another fast one in his new school funding plan. He made sure to provide a way to send public money to private schools (of course, only when those schools weren’t doing their jobs) but he didn’t take the much needed step to make sure every student has equal access to the technology (and increasingly- teach-knowlegly) that is essential to doing anything remotely resembling a job in today’s society.

Kasich proposed several new programs outside the school-funding formula, including $300 million in one-time grants for innovations that lead to cost-reductions.

The voucher program would provide $8.5 million in fiscal year 2014 and $17 million in fiscal year 2015 from a separate fund and would not be deducted from school districts. Students in households below 200 percent of federal poverty level — a family of four making $46,100 or less in 2012 — would be eligible.

Students entering kindergarten would be eligible in the first year and the program would expand to first grade and kindergarten in 2014-15. Vouchers would also be offered to students in schools that fail to pass third-graders who read at grade level.

The vouchers would be paid from a separate fund and would not be deducted from school districts.

Currently, Ohio offers private school vouchers to students attending chronically low-performing schools through the EdChoice program. EdChoice vouchers cover $4,250 for elementary and middle school students and $5,000 for high school students, a portion of what public schools receive per student.

via KASICH: MORE FUNDS WITHOUT ANY CUTS.

If the Governor really wants to see “Achievement Everywhere” it’s time to address this basic fundamental of a modern education- access to the internet and a device to take advantage of it are essential. And, while we’re at it, we also need to realize that what we consider “high-speed internet” is still woefully slow, even where people do have U-verse or FIOS, we are still virtual snails compared to what the people of South Korea are using. And when it comes to rural Ohio- where the only “high speed” option is typically a data capped cell phone connection, we’re still in the stone age.

The value of universally accessible high speed internet to Ohio’s students with devices capable of providing a rich internet experience is as essential, if not more important than teachers with Masters degrees or even current textbooks. We live in a day when those of us with an internet connection can teach ourselves anything from multiplication to string theory physics by utilizing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) taught by the leading thinkers in almost any subject. Grant the ability of every Ohio student to access these, and maybe we will find that “school funding” in the traditional sense wasn’t the real issue at all. The lawsuit demanding equal funding was caused by the inequity of taxes between rich and poor districts- which is also the difference between rich and poor homes. If we make sure the poor homes have equal access to the global repository of knowledge, we may start seeing a leveling of the educational playing field.

And before any of you start talking about how the poor kids’ parents will sell off their kids’ computers for crack, when these computers are bought in the same quantities as textbooks, we’ll have huge cost savings via purchasing power, the computers will be trackable, and lastly, they will save us potentially billions in paper, mailings, and textbook purchases very quickly. As a side benefit, you and I may actually see a huge drop in the cost of Internet access and an increase in speeds as Ohio spans the digital divide and moves into modern times.

 

The different standards for public graft and corruption in Dayton, Ohio

Full Disclosure: my business, The Next Wave, does limited amounts of graphic design work and printing for the Sidebar and Brian Higgins. His websites for both the Columbus and Dayton restaurants are on our server.

Front page, center, top of fold. Multiple photos. Even when Mayor Clay Dixon took me outside to be his punching bag, it was below the fold.

The Dayton Daily News new modus operandi is to grab onto a small story and expand it into a grand inquisition. You can almost be guaranteed that if they do one investigative story, more will follow, each bigger and more inflammatory. Ask Sherry Oakes from Design Homes, Raleigh Tramell, or the operators of Richard Allen Academies, all whom have been dragged through the trial of public opinion in the Dayton Daily of late.

Now, we have the post mortem being written for a small, seemingly successful businessman, who happens to be in the body hauling business.

Montgomery County may have violated its own contracting requirements last month when it renewed a contract with a body-hauling business that was delinquent on hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state taxes, a Dayton Daily News investigation found. The debt — more than $215,523 in past due federal and state income taxes, and workers’ compensation premiums — would appear to put the Dayton-based company GSSP Enterprise Inc. in violation of its contract with the county, which requires payment of “any and all” taxes. Owner Brian E. Higgins also never disclosed that he had a business relationship with the director of the coroner’s office – something that the owner is required to disclose in a contract.

via County renews contract with delinquent business.

As a small business man, I can tell you from first hand experience that it’s very easy to get fined and have tax liens placed on your business. The myriad of websites, forms and differing reporting deadlines- as well as the number of different payments required by the state, as well as the complexity of tax laws make mistakes almost inevitable. Couple that with the misleading business practices of Intuit, makers of Quickbooks software, who sell a product for $150 every year that requires a $200 a year subscription to be able to use the payroll/taxation functions- including the ability to print out the basic filing forms and you have a recipe for the government to make more in some cases from fines than from collections. I remember one year not having sold any printing of business cards or letterhead for the six-month period that I report sales taxes in. The state decided this is impossible, “estimated” my sales taxes due, slapped a fine on my company and then took months to fix its assumptions.

The numbers that are reported on the front page of the Dayton Daily news (lowercase N intentional) add up to under a million dollars, and include the mixing of personal and corporate debt to inflate the numbers. This would never be done in a credible news story since the two aren’t in any way related. Corporate CEO’s get divorced all the time, with big settlements, and yet it would never be included in a financial analysis of their company.

But, there is one quote the DDn did dig up:

Susan Willeke, spokeswoman for the Ohio Ethics Commission, would not directly comment on the Betz and Higgins business connection, but said, “If someone uses their public position to secure a public contract for themselves, their family or a business associate, it is a fourth-degree felony.”

Really? Esrati.com has exposed multiple instances of county employees hiring friends and family without open competition. The hiring of a convicted rapist in the Board of Elections without even a job application, the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts made sure both his wife and father-in-law had jobs for the county, and if we go back to pre-blog days, I stood up at the Dayton City Commission meeting after losing against Bootsie Neal and Dean Lovelace for a commission seat, and threatened to file for an injunction to stop the “emergency legislation” the commission was enacting to purchase the former Sears site downtown for the Riverscape fountains project.

A brief recap of the Sears project: a group of local businessmen formed an LLC to purchase the Sears building for $200,000 with a five-year option on the real estate that it was on for $1.5 million. The businessmen included: Alan Rinzler who owns the Talbot Tower and other real-estate holdings; Sandy Mendelson, owner of Mendelsons; Jason Liff, a local real estate broker and former owner of MotoScooto, and Bruce and DeNeal Feldman, owners of Economy Linen.

Full disclosure once again- after I threatened to file the suit to stop this “emergency legislation” I naively approached Mr. Mendelson to do his advertising, something he mentioned when giving me a $500 cash donation for my campaign (a donation I had to return and get as a check to satisfy the BOE- who doesn’t believe cash is legal tender for donations larger than $100). He told me to “go-to-hell” when I called- which I didn’t understand, since I didn’t realize at the time he was part of the LLC. Over lunch at Franco’s he explained his part of the deal- and told me that “nobody cares” about this, and I had a simple choice- file the suit (which at best would stall the deal and force it into a regular ordinance- taking two readings and 30 days to go into effect) and “find my body parts in different area codes” (exact words- you don’t forget threats like that from someone you barely know at the time, who wears a lot of gold jewelry) or, drop it, and have a nice little advertising account that puts money in your pocket.

For a year and a half, my firm did award winning advertising for Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet. We re-did his logo, introduced the new tagline “The first place to look for every last thing” and developed the “explorer” character in a series of TV ads. His business grew substantially. When we couldn’t agree on terms for me to close my business and come run his retail operation, including the eBay business that I had pushed him to, we parted ways. I did do a small campaign a few years ago because he had severely damaged his brand publicly by suggesting he was closing and moving to another location and his sales were down. He stiffed me for a few thousand dollars- to date, the biggest uncollected debt my business has had in 22 years.

Back to the Sears deal- if the names DeNeal and Bruce Feldman don’t ring a bell, maybe Bruce’s wife’s name does: Debbie Feldman, our county administrator, who is one of Montgomery County’s highest paid government employees (as far as I know only Steven Johnson at Sinclair is paid more and it’s a horse race between Debbie and Dayton Schools Superintendent Lori Ward for second depending on how you count their perks).

The price that the LLC got for their $200K investment and option on the Sears deal? $8.7 million.

Front page story anyone?

There are lots of people getting rich off government contracts in this community. Our Congressman’s wife got a no-bid contract from the Dayton Development Coalition to come up with “Get Midwest” – a tagline that may go down in the annals of advertising history as one of the lamest- if it had been consequential. She also had a GSA schedule to do work for the Federal government while her husband was a sitting congressman on the defense appropriations committee- no DDn story outed her for doing work for the Army Corps of Engineers after I exposed it and work for the Home Depot PAC- a convenient way to skirt campaign finance laws. I could go on.

I can’t tell you if Brian Higgins got any special tax breaks for job creation from any government or quasi-government organization for “job creation” or “economic development”- but I can tell you that everyone of those government bureaucrats who will be first to load the shells into the guns of his firing squad over these tax issues- ate at his restaurant or maybe enjoyed hors d’ouvres at a fund-raiser he hosted (I had my election night event there- Brian donated food and allowed us to use the private back room to gather and watch results). I can also tell you that the building owner, Mike Ervin (who filed an eviction notice on Friday causing a Saturday DDn article) had put several different operators in the former Pacchia space where Sidebar 410 is today- and none of them could make the menu and atmosphere work the way Higgins has. Higgins employs at least 40 to 50 people and spends his money locally- with companies like mine. Yet, he doesn’t get a 30-year tax abatement like GE. While “high-tech” jobs may pay more, we have an awful lot of people who need service jobs too.

I’d look up the performance of all the “job creation” and “economic development” deals and compare them to Higgins’ operation any day of the week, but of course, there is no required posting and reporting of tax dollar giveaways in return for promised job creation. Hmmm- I wonder why not?

In the grand scheme of things, Brian Higgins and his tax bills or his government contract are being used as smoke and mirrors to cover up for wholesale thievery of public tax dollars. I’ll once again set myself up for “you’ll never do work in this town again” by calling out the “job creating” and “tax roll enhancement” juggernaut, CareSource. A company that despite paying its CEO, Pam Morris, $3 million plus a year, getting all kinds of tax breaks- including its new HQ built with public dollars- is 100% dependent on tax dollars for income, making their CEO right up there with the CEO of Countrywide, FannieMae and FreddyMac- as criminally overpaid quasi-government bureaucrats who have zero risk and 100% upside guaranteed.

Where is the front page story hanging them up?

While I don’t doubt that the body collection contract award probably didn’t follow correct practices, I’m pretty sure that Debbie Feldman or Roy Sigritz (the head of county purchasing) won’t take a hit on this. I’ll also add, that getting paid $128 to go pick up a body anywhere in Montgomery County on 24-hour call isn’t exactly raking in big bucks for what can be some really disgusting work. I asked the owner of a tow truck company if he could make money on that price- without accounting for mileage or disposable supplies on each run (remember some of these corpses can weigh as much as 600 lbs, could be several weeks old, and can be dangerous- open wounds with bodily fluids etc- you’d want to wear a bio-hazard suit) and he said “barely.”

The real bodies that need to be moved in this county are the ones running this three-ring circus with impunity- but, that would require the newspaper to do real investigations and run the risk of alienating the friends and family of the Monarchy of Montgomery County- and they have the advantage of owning everything from elections to judges. Good luck with that.

 

Our cooked books of voter registrations in Ohio

Apparently, Jon Husted has been reading esrati.com

Ohio’s elections chief is seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss elements of federal law that he says are preventing the state from maintaining accurate voter rolls.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) says he sent a letter to Holder on Friday containing his request.

Husted says he has identified two counties in the state where U.S. Census figures identify fewer residents of eligible voting age than the number of registered voters appearing on state rolls. He says federal regulations limit Ohio’s ability to remove ineligible names from voter rolls that could increase the potential for voter fraud.

via Ohio elections chief seeks meeting with Holder.

I pointed out the problem with the voter rolls  on March 10, 2011:

According to the Board of Elections, we have 100,792 registered voters.

According to the Census we have 141,527 residents. Simple math says 71% of our residents are registered to vote. But, wait- we have residents under 18, and therefore not eligible to vote- according to the census bureau, in Ohio, 23.5% are under 18.

That means we have 108,268 residents over 18 and eligible to vote- and 100,792 registered voters- or 93% of voters are registered. How could any candidate turn in petitions, gathered using the voter registration rolls- come in under 93% correct signatures- since almost EVERYONE would be a registered voter.

via Dayton population falls while voter rolls skyrocket.

However, the fraud isn’t being committed by the voters- it’s by the people running the elections and making sure voters stay disenfranchised or disinterested in voting.

As an insurgent candidate, I can tell you that the bad data makes it more expensive for me to effectively run a campaign targeted toward those most likely to vote for me, or even vote. When you look at cost-per-voter costs, each non-voter I have to call, mail or knock on doors of is wasted effort. When you factor in that Ohio also had laws limiting the rights of third party candidates to get on the ballot and makes it incredibly hard for independents to run, you start to realize why people have lost interest in voting.

It doesn’t help that many people opt out of registering to vote because of their fear of being called to jury duty, where you are paid sub-slave wages to give up your work to do your civic duty ($12 a day is laughable).

If this state were serious about solving voting fraud issues, we’d eliminate local control by boards of elections (at least ones run by the two partisan parties) and have a statewide voter database, and vote via mail with one ballot per voter that can be more easily tracked and accounted for. The way we run elections is a joke, but, this issue of who is on the rolls is only a small part of it.

Merchandising our schools- lame attempt to help fix Ohio’s School funding problem

Sure, Ohio State makes a mint selling “officially sanctioned” merchandise. Terrelle Pryor jerseys made the school a lot of money before he tried to cash in on his fame and brought the machine down to its knees.

Now, we’re going to try to solve our pre-K-12 funding problems by allowing schools to sell merchandise instead of only the booster clubs, thanks to a new bill introduced by local State Rep. Mike Henne:

School districts in Montgomery County could become the first in Ohio to explore new revenue streams — beyond relying on taxes, state and federal aid and donations — under a new bill that would allow them to earn profits on its facilities, services and merchandise.

State Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, introduced the bill Friday that would amend current legislation and allow Montgomery County’s 16 school districts to pilot the new program. The bill would allow districts to earn profits off a variety of services, including rentals of classes to selling school merchandise, such as T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts, above costs.

“It’s not about redoing all the school funding formula,” Henne said. “It’s about giving (schools) the ability to make some additional money.”

For the next two years, operating funds for Ohio schools have been cut nearly $780 million in state funding….

Henne said the pilot plan was suggested by Vandalia-Butler City Schools and its treasurer, Dan Schall.

“Dan thinks he can fill the gaps (with this bill),” he said. “It’s how creative and how much the school system decides to use it.

“Everything they do has to be within the mission of the school system. They can’t create something like how to make a widget better or open a restaurant. Maybe they come up with an online program how to learn French, whatever it is.”

Vandalia-Butler’s current operating budget is $35 million. Schall said if the bill passes, he projects his district could eventually generate 1 percent of new revenue of its total budget.

“Dan’s one of the more progressively thinking treasurers out there,” Henne said. “He’s always trying to think outside the box.”

Under the current law, only booster clubs — such as ones for marching bands and athletic teams — and not school districts can make profits off merchandise, concessions and other activities. Henne said the updated bill would allow school districts to charge beyond what it costs them to operate a particular venue, class or service.

Schall said passage of the bill creates “an additional revenue stream for us. (Currently) we can’t sell anything. We can’t rent for profit. That doesn’t help the taxpayers.

“If we can rent that facility or sell T-shirts or give art classes, we can get a revenue stream that won’t be taxes.”

Schall said the amended bill “is something, down the road, that could replace as much as 1 percent of our budget. It’s a first step in identifying new revenue streams.”

Henne said the bill will allow schools to “sell their brand, rent space (for a profit), sell educational services and sell technology.’

via Schools may generate revenue from sales of goods, services.

So, now, in addition to little Timmy’s parents having to pay for Timmy to play basketball with an additional fee, the school can also start selling him school branded clothing at a markup to make up for the fact that our system for funding schools in Ohio was ruled unconstitutional long before little Timmy was born and the state legislature has done nothing to fix?

There used to be a couple of cool hippies who lived behind my office. They had a bumper sticker that applies to this – it was something like: “Wouldn’t it be great when schools had all the money they needed and the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

School funding in Ohio is broken. Selling merchandise may be a fun distraction for some administrator in a school district that still can afford to pay them to do something other than meet all the other state mandates while working with a lot less money, but it is far from what the students in Ohio need.

It’s time to fix our school funding problems once and for all, and to have the best schools in the nation, because, no matter what the “economic development” gurus say, the number one thing that drives a community value is the quality of the schools- and the number one thing that drives value in our new economy is a well educated workforce.

Unfortunately, in Ohio, we’ve been told that the lottery was going to provide revenue to our schools and now, that casino gambling and video slots at racetracks are going to be engines of economic growth. The only thing that grows our capacity to compete is education- and it’s time to stop nickel and diming our educators.

When our greatest threat is the economic destruction caused by a debt downgrade from a bond rating agency- maybe it’s time to have less F-35s and more A students.