Why the sales tax hike isn’t the answer

taxes graphicI’m one of the people stirred up about the sales tax hike. I’ve already known for years that if I do my shopping in Greene county, I can save .5% on sales tax that funds the RTA- a Montgomery County Service that actually goes to Greene county on my dime (WSU and the Greene).

I was also the lone voice against giving Sinclair a second tax levy- a school which taxes Montgomery County to death, yet provides services in Greene, Preble and Warren Counties- all without them paying a lick of taxes.

And when it comes to economic development in the last 30 years, I look at the whole Fairfield Mall area- which was part cow pasture when I came to Wright State, I look at the Greene, which was forest, and I look at Cornerstone of whatever they call it- where Costco and others are- and I realize that all three are as close to Montgomery County as possible but NOT IN IT- I see the effects of our incompetent county leadership.

So when Debbie Lieberman says something stupid like:

“All the people out there getting petitions and getting stirred up over $36 a year, they definitely have a right to do that, but it’s very disappointing,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commission president. “We are getting cut by the state – our state Legislature and our governor.”

In June, the three Democrats on the county commission passed a 0.25 percent sales tax increase that works out to about $36 a year for every man, woman and child in Montgomery County….

If the tax increase is derailed, Lieberman said the county will be forced to scuttle a number of programs focused on the arts, economic development and criminal justice. The money is also earmarked for planned upgrades to the Montgomery County Jail, the focus of nearly a dozen civil rights lawsuits costing the county more than $1 million in recent years.

“If that (tax increase repeal) happens, every office in the county will be slashed. It could mean jobs, ” she said. “It certainly will not include the new officers we were going to provide the sheriff and all the programs to make the jail safer for our employees and inmates. All off that is off the table. It just can’t happen. There’s no way.”

Source: Deadline looms for tax-hike foes – Dayton Daily News

Let’s see, when the jail started having issue after issue, did you step in and remove the leadership that was costing us millions in settlements and allowing our citizens to get death sentences for just being there? Nope.

When I look at the Salem Mall and Hara Arena, I see that you were totally inept at managing and maintaining the resources we had in Montgomery County. You, who live in Clayton, one of the newest unnecessary fiefdoms of uselessness in Montgomery County.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Debbie Lieberman, and I think that Doug Barry, who has self-appointed himself leader of the anti-sales tax hike movement,  is totally unfit for office (he’s running for Dan Foley’s seat on the County Commission. However, this sales tax increase isn’t the answer for the county and here’s why: it will continue down the road of placing the burden of government on the those the least able to pay, it’s a regressive tax pure and simple, in other words, those with the least will be hit as a percentage of their income the most.

Now, why is Doug Barry just as criminal? Austin Landing. The only place in Ohio that I know of where a two tiered income tax system is in existence and he, as a Miami Township Trustee is fine with that. Through a JEDD (a Joint Economic Development District) Miami Township, which is banned from collecting an income tax- manages to share in an illegal income tax that is only levied on the little people- those who work in retail jobs at the development. People like State Rep Jim Butler, who works in a “tall office building” get exempted from the 2% income tax. This is the most unfair tax in existence and Barry, has never said a thing against it.

The problems in Montgomery County will never be solved with more taxes, what will solve them is the elimination of insane duplication and the reduction of the number of governments. I’ve started a 501(c)(4) non-profit, Reconstructing Dayton, to study and clarify the wastes in Montgomery County that need to be eliminated. Something our County Government seems incapable of addressing.

Case in point- the number of municipal courts, their inadequate websites that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and still don’t allow online filing of cases.

And while Debbie lives in Clayton- a totally unnecessary micro-government, with its own slew of overpaid bureaucrats, my favorite waste of a community is Moraine, where 6000 people pay $25 per person, per year, just to have a City Manager who is paid $145,000 a year. Do they really need their own police department? We’re working on building a visual dashboard of this kind of data– so that voters can see how much of their tax burden is for pompous politicians seat at the taxpayer financed feeding trough.

Why Moraine isn’t forced to join Kettering which already runs their schools is a mystery- about as big as why we need a sales tax increase right before the feds have mandated that all online retailers start charging sales taxes which should bring a windfall to the county.

Maybe we really don’t need a Pre-school Promise with its unregulated additional school board that spends a huge amount on advertising- and we should just start sending little kids books each month? The Dolly Parton Imagination Learning Library has proven to increase reading scores- the “Preschool Promise” hasn’t even managed to significantly  increase enrollment in a program where your tax dollars are funneled back to private businesses running sub-standard day cares now calling themselves pre-schools.

It’s funny, when circulating the petition I’ve only had three people say no to signing to put this on the ballot. One was a former arts administrator, who sucked at the teat of tax financed support of the arts, and two lawyers, who receive subsidized day care for their kids- and are big supporters of a co-op grocery for the “poor people of West Dayton” who will be most impacted by this regressive tax. The county has said if this tax increase on all goes down, they won’t have any money to support this single grocery store.

How about we just eliminate any city under 50,000 in population, and force all urban townships illegal, and eliminate all township government entirely, forcing low population density areas to use county services only- as a starting point?

The amount of money to fund all Debbie’s dreams would be available, and the number of micro-governments like Doug Barry’s Miami Township would disappear.

You can sign the petition at my office from 9-6 today and tomorrow – 100 Bonner St Dayton Ohio, it’s also available at Routsong Funeral Home in Centerville or Strehle’s Dry Cleaning of Kettering and I’m sure a few other businesses.

It’s time for the governments of Montgomery County to have to learn to live within their budgets just like the rest of us have for the last 10 years.

DeFries still on R primary ballot despite dropping out Mar 1

thumbnail of R primary ballot 0430 1R_Part2

Bill DeFries withdrew from the county commission race Mar 1. Why is his name still on the ballot

In just another epic example of the failure of parties endorsing in primaries, and boards of elections serving more as boards of (s)election in Ohio- Republican party favorite Bill DeFries will appear on the ballot on May 8 despite dropping out Mar 1.

It was a crowded race to begin with – former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell had thrown his hat in the ring after barely losing to Debbie Lieberman the last race. Former Miami Township Trustee Bob Matthews is running again, after losing to Judy Dodge last time. Newcomer DeFries had zero political experience yet was the party pick. Miami Township trustee Doug Barry is spending money like a house on fire to win the primary- always showing up on campaign materials with his much better half on all his campaign materials. She, btw is a democrat.

The winner of the primary will go on to face either Carolyn Rice or Walter Hickman Don Shaffer (thanks to Gary Leitzell for catching my mistake).

Full disclosure, I’ve done work for Leitzell and Matthews, through my company The Next Wave.

How DeFries name is still on the electronic or printed ballots 38 days after a withdrawal is a serious question. With print on demand solutions- there is no huge window for absentee ballot printing, and the county uses touchscreens for in person voting.

Considering the expense the BOE is willing to go to for special elections for a single candidate- usually caused by their selection processes, there is no excuse. Including DeFries name can only hurt the other newcomer to county races- Barry, which is no big loss. In my limited experience of meeting him, he’s not worthy of being elected dog catcher. His wife on the other hand is a sharp business person, running a private college turning out kids that are 100X more qualified to work than Sinclair in my field.


Why bother to have elections at all in Montgomery County?

Donald Trump won Montgomery County.

The local democratic party did nothing to win any new seats, and Debbie Lieberman came within 1% of losing to Gary Leitzell, who only spent $6000 and barely campaigned.

No seats changed hands. No republicans were replaced, no incumbents got voted out. Phil Plummer who should be in jail instead of running it- got re-elected.

Mike Turner hasn’t faced a serious opponent since his first race.

The local dems endorsed Ted Strickland from the start as well as Hillary Clinton and we see how that turned out.

We don’t really hold elections here, we just rubber stamp decisions made in back rooms on who should be allowed to run.


an hour after posting: And one other thing happened, without anyone knowing in advance, from Thomas Suddes:

Then there’s the General Assembly. In January, Republicans, led by Speaker Clifford Rosen-berger of Clinton County, will hold 66 of the Ohio House’s 99 seats. That’ll be the biggest House majority either party has held since Ohio went to a 99-member House in 1966 – 50 years ago….

It takes 66 House votes – the number that Rosenberger will have – to pass a bill as an emergency measure. That may seem like inside baseball, but for this: Voters can’t challenge emergency measures in statewide referenda. If Republicans could’ve passed union-busting Senate Bill 5 as an emergency measure, voters couldn’t have killed SB 5 (as they did, resoundingly, in a 2011 referendum).

Source: Ohio Democrats find selves in tough spot

How does labor feel about that? Some labor groups even backed Portman in this election.

In the spring election, be it in May or March (I can’t remember, because they switch it up- and the Board of Elections site is worthless) the democrats will be selecting their new precinct captains and ward leaders. It only takes 5 signatures of registered dems to get on the ballot. It’s long overdue to throw out the stacked deck of patronage job holding precinct captains that keep allowing the Monarchy of Montgomery County to continue with their lame “leadership.”

This is also the year where three seats will come up on the Dayton City Commission- Mayor Whaley, Joey Williams and Jeff Mims. The question is who will really try to challenge them. Whaley raised half a million last time so she could raise your taxes, charge you for street lights, and raise your water and trash bill, while buying empty buildings and giving away Garden Station for $10. Williams has repeatedly won more votes than any other candidate, yet has done little but go with the flow. Mims, despite being a former educator, local and state school board educator- has zero problems allowing more tax abatement shortchange Dayton Public Schools.

But, consider everyone in the country who said Congress was broken, worthless and gridlocked, how many seats changed hands?

Case closed.

Election questions that need answers

The “primary” election on May 7th for the Dayton Mayor and City Commission positions isn’t a primary- it’s a run-off election, to narrow the field to two candidates for Mayor and four candidates for two city commission seats. This means one candidate from each race will be left out.

Typically, primaries are held for political parties to select their representative- and this is where you declare your party affiliation in the State of Ohio, by asking for a particular party ballot. There is no “independent” status- but you can ask for an “issues only” ballot at elections where there are levies and primaries going on. Dayton hasn’t had a “run-off election” in so long, since the Board of Elections manages to stop most candidates from getting on the ballot- thanks to the Dayton City Charter requirements for 500 signatures and a form that only the IRS could love.

The Dayton Charter calls for “non-partisan elections”- no party affiliation shows up with the candidates’ names. The charter also calls for the city to run the election, but they sub-contract it to the Board of Elections- which is a very partisan organization. Things get confusing to most voters when they hear  about the Board of Elections, because most of them never come into contact with them other than when getting mailings telling you your polling place has changed (again).

There are 4 people on the Board of Elections- two Democrats and two Republicans. They are paid $20,000 each a year to attend 2 meetings a month, to oversee the actions of the “Board of Elections” staff- which consists of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans- where there are one of each for every position so as to have a “check and balance.” However, all of these jobs are reserved for “friends of the party”- they are patronage jobs, pure and simple, where relatives of our elected representatives get well paying jobs just for who they know. We’ve even hired convicted rapists without a job application.

These are the people we trust to run “fair and impartial and honest” elections.

Recently, the Democrats on the Board of Elections, Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie got fired by the Secretary of State over protests of his limiting of early voting hours. The Democratic party convened, and appointed John Doll and Rhine McLin to the board.

Yes, former Mayor of Dayton, Rhine McLin, who lost to Gary Leitzell by less than 1,000 votes, despite outspending him 6 to 1. She also was part of the team that conspired to keep William Pace off the ballot, despite having 650+ valid signatures, by holding the validation meeting after hours, on the day of the deadline, for him to sign a single form to accept his candidacy. Steve Harsman, who is the Dem director for the BOE- who is paid in excess of $110,000 a year, also sits on the Montgomery County Democratic Party Screening Committee- where one of the questions of all candidates is always “If we don’t endorse you, will you run against our endorsed candidate?” Remember, the purpose of a “primary” is for the party to pick a candidate, not just the party elite.

So when William Pace pointed something very obvious to me out today, I, like you, should wonder what kind of fair and honest election can we count on in this primary? The reason:

Screen grab from AJ Wagner for Mayor tv spot with him and BOE Director Rhine McLin

Screen grab from AJ Wagner for Mayor tv spot with him and BOE Director Rhine McLin

How can Rhine McLin be expected to provide nonpartisan, unbiased, supervision of an election in which she appears in ads to support a candidate? Is this a “nonpartisan” election anymore?

Also appearing in A.J.’s ad are County Commissioners Debbie Lieberman (wife of former Dem Party Chair and BOE board member Dennis Lieberman) and County Commissioner Judy Dodge (who has relatives working in the Board of Elections).

I’ve called for an elected “Chief Ethics Officer” in the county, if we have to elect a coroner and a county engineer, why not? If we had one, this would be a case worthy of investigation. If I was Gary Leitzell, I’d be asking for oversight on this election from outside this county, with the huge amounts of money A.J. and Nan have raised and spent, what’s stopping them from buying off some election officials?

Apparently, it’s not OK to ask about a County Commissioners taxes

The local Republican Party chief and Board of Elections member, Rob Scott is sending out a letter/Press Release about the taping of the “debate” between County Commission candidates that was taped last night.

September 28, 2012

Ms. Susan Hesselgesser
Executive Director
League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton Area
131 N. Ludlow St., Suite 1208
Dayton, OH 45402-1703

RE: Montgomery County Commission Candidate’s Ashley Webb and Debbie Lieberman

Ms. Hessellgesser,

Greetings. This letter is regarding the recently taped League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton Area forum that was taped by the Miami Valley Cable Council yesterday.

Accordingly, it has been brought to my attention that the League is thinking about not airing the forum between Montgomery County Commission candidates Ashley Webb and Debbie Lieberman. I understand the reasoning is due to Mr. Webb bringing to light the issue of Ms. Lieberman’s back taxes owed to the Federal government during an answer to a question.

Also, it has been brought to my attention that your organization is allowing Ms. Lieberman and/or by her campaign to review the taped comments from the forum for her or their approval.

I want to remind you that not airing candidates’ comments is clearly partisan politics and allowing a candidate or their campaign to review the comments is also partisan. The League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton Area has a history of claiming that the organization is nonpartisan and does not support nor oppose any candidate and/or political party.

I strongly encourage you that all candidates’ comments be aired in their entirety.


Rob Scott, Chairman
Montgomery County Republican Party

VIA: http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101255372438-189/league.letter.pdf

Considering the issue of back taxes has been covered in the Dayton Daily News- and that Debbie Lieberman is paid around $85K a year to be a commissioner and her husband, Dennis Lieberman, formerly of the Board of Elections was paid around $20K a year to be on the board, this is more than fair game. Considering candidates for office are asked to file all kinds of ridiculous financial disclosure and they are being elected to manage our tax dollars.

The League of Women Voters has no right to edit the tape, nor allow candidates to review it. This is one of the reasons I began the practice of recording all my campaign speeches and interviews and sharing them here.

Webb should be congratulated for not slipping entirely into the mud by bringing up Ms. Lieberman’s drunk driving incident- which is still available on YouTube.

Personally, I have no problem with either candidate, and believe there are much bigger issues to discuss- like the oversight of a County Administrator that ran amok for years with little oversight or accountability, or the amount of nepotism in the county building and especially, the Board of Elections.

Running for political office takes a thick skin and the ability to withstand excruciating exposure. It’s a large part of why most people aren’t willing to run. There is no reason at all not to ask the question- or to respond. Considering the amount of taxes due (reported over $100,000 at one time) and the amount of tax supported income at one time, makes this a very fair question by Mr. Webb.

Ms. Lieberman shouldn’t have any problem responding to this question- and voters should be able to hear it.


Sep 29 7:30 am My cell phone got a lot of texts last night after this story went live. From both candidates. The Dayton Daily News had the opportunity to interview the Director of the League of Women’s Voters, and also, possibly got to review the video in question. The following adds to the original story

This “forum” seems to have been missing something fundamental- there is a third candidate in this race, William Pace. Apparently he declined the opportunity to be involved- and the DDN makes no mention of his candidacy in their article.

Apparently my lack of sleep had me mixing up races – Pace is the third candidate in the Dodge/Vore race.

The forum occurred Thursday at the Miami Valley Communications Council offices and featured Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, a Democrat running for re-election, and Kettering City Councilman Ashley Webb, a Republican challenger. The forum was organized by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.

According to Susan Hesselgesser, the League’s executive director, at the end of the 10- to 12-minute segment Webb was asked about what specific project he would like to see accomplished if he were elected. She said Webb’s answer was only briefly on topic before he brought up a 2009 Dayton Daily News report about a federal tax lien totaling $132,565 that named Lieberman’s husband, attorney Dennis Lieberman, as well as Debbie Lieberman.

Hesselgesser said the response went against the league’s policy about sticking to issues and avoiding personal attacks. Webb said his answer to the question was that he would like to eliminate the perception of a lack of integrity in Montgomery County. He cited the Lieberman’s tax issues as well as an August report that county officials did not contact law enforcement when they suspected an employee theft of $5,700. instead allowing the employee to quit her job and pay back the money.

via Voter group may not air candidate forum over ugly exchange | www.daytondailynews.com.

Having taken part in other League of Women’s Voters candidates forums, I’ve been the subject of “rule changing” after the fact. In a forum, held in the former “C-space,” now “The Vault” bar, on Jefferson, I used my time to speak by moving around- at some points standing behind my opponents while I talked about them. Since no podium was provided- and the space had huge columns- and we were “assigned” seating- I not only felt it necessary to get up and move- but took advantage of the opportunity. I also believe that candidates are responsible for choices they make- outside of office. The fact that Congressman Turner’s wife was working on no-bid contracts for the regional, partially tax supported “development/lobbying” agency- the Dayton Development Coalition, as well as doing work for the Federal Government on a GSA schedule is relevant to a candidates fitness.

The Lieberman’s are tax issues shouldn’t be off limits- especially since he has an appointed position that pays $20K a year for what amounts to a 2 meeting per month job most of the time (as I said above). Webb’s claims of business acumen also need to be properly vetted- and his professional background is pertinent to his claims of competence. Part of the reason our system is failing to give us good choices at the polls is that our political system has very little in the way of job descriptions for elected office and a “hiring system” that now is more like an auction. The only qualifications that now seems to be an unquestionable preparation for office is either a law degree, trust fund or wealth or, in a few cases- be famous like Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken or former Carmel California Mayor, Clint Eastwood. Locally- having a name of a well known elected official helps too- like Foley or McLin.

There will be more to this story.

I’m also working on an early voting guide- even though for the most part, I don’t think that voting early is a good idea, since we seem to learn the most in the last days of an election- good or bad.