First Montgomery County countywide citizen initiated referendum in the works

Reliable sources have informed Esrati.com that former Republican Party chairmen, Greg Gantt and Rob Scott are working together to write a referendum and collect the necessary 14,583 voter signatures to put the recently approved sales tax increase to the test on the November ballot.

The .25% sales tax increase was rushed through the county commission in a closely choreographed series of hearings where everyone and their mother who sucks at the county teat, got up and spoke in support of raising the sales tax.

The County Clerk of Courts Russ Joseph said we need it. He didn’t bother to mention that the stupid system of multiple municipal courts with their own clerks, staff and websites is a giant waste of money in Montgomery County– nor did he suggest ways to streamline government and save money.

The people from the “PreSchool Promise” came out in support also. An organization with ZERO public oversight, huge ad budgets, that exists to give public tax dollars to private companies running glorified day cares in many cases.

The list goes on.

The task of getting that many valid signatures stops most referendums on issues like this, as does the difficulty of writing acceptable ballot language. This is why we have so much overlap and duplication in government in Montgomery County.

Once the language is approved, petitions have to be circulated and then turned in at least 90 days before the November 6, 2018 election.

The tax increase is currently scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. No word on if the petitions are submitted that the hike would be delayed. The cost to retailers of having to implement the new rate should be considered by the County- and they should delay their action until after the issue has been decided once the petitions are approved.

This country was founded because of taxation without representation. To put this tax hike to the voters is the correct action.

The friends and family plan GOP style in Montgomery County

Today’s Dayton Daily news has a front page article predicting a shakeup in the Montgomery County Republican Party. Considering the paper doesn’t have a steady reporter covering the party- the story was planted. Nothing in the local GOP is organized, even when wunderkind Jeff Jacobsen was running the party like a private fiefdom.

It’s almost laughable that one of the key issues seems to be the lack of a bricks and mortar building for the party- in the age of the virtual campaign:

“I am very proud that I ran the party on a shoestring because our purpose is to elect Republicans, not to have shiny headquarters and nice computers,” current party chair Rob Scott said.

(Sheriff) Plummer and (county party precinct captain Danny) Hamilton declined comment. (Former GOP chair Patrick) Flanagan denied he is trying to unseat (current party chair Rob) Scott and said his efforts are focused on replacing the Washington Twp. headquarters  Scott closed when he took over the party. The party now uses office space in the building where Scott has his Clayton law office. It no longer has a paid executive director or bookkeeper.

“We’re going to build a headquarters one way or another and then we are going to rebuild the party,” Flanagan said.

The party has split into three factions: the old guard, new guard and the Tea Party, said party supporter Linda Coombe of Centerville.

via County GOP shakeup in the works | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

Unfortunately- the true underlying issue is that without people in elected office, the party can’t give enough patronage jobs to supporters, because that’s how parties really fund themselves. The Dems force their patronage job people to tithe to the party by buying tickets to their fundraisers like the “Jackass Classic” (the Dems’ golf outing) or the “Frolic for funds” (their main fundraiser). Republicans lately have been fighting over who gets what in the Board of Elections office- where new Director Jan Kelly is being paid less than former director Betty Smith so they “could make room in the budget” to overpay a voter registration clerk.

Typically voter registration clerks make between $25K and $40K a year- but, last month, former Montgomery County GOP central committee chair, David Landon, was hired in at $70K a year, or about double what the position should pay. It’s possible that he promised to push back part of his pay into the coup, as he’s part of the old guard that wants to see current party chair, Rob Scott, gone. Scott on the other hand, as part of his deal to get in office, didn’t take the customary “job” on the Board of Elections which pays $20K a year for 2 meetings a month. Former party Chair Greg Gantt got to keep that perk, and Kay Wick still get those plum jobs- as the counterparts of newly appointed Dems Rhine McLin and John Doll, who were appointed when Dennis Lieberman (former Montgomery County Dem Party head) and Tom Ritchie (AFSCME Regional director) were ousted in a fight with the Secretary of State over early voting in the last presidential election.

Needless to say, the entire Montgomery County BOE is a rat hole of overpaid and underqualified political stoolies with a few professional exceptions. The fact that the directors make more than the County Commissioners should be telling.

Noticeably missing for a quote in the DDn “story” is a quote from the local GOP’s only formidable candidate, Congressman Mike Turner. Considering his fundraising ability, and his ability to consistently win, despite a fractured party, not including him in the article points to the lameness of it.

Until both parties end the practice of putting patronage over politics, don’t expect much.

 

The fall of the Montgomery County Republican Party?

Too many sources have been whispering in my ear to let this one go by without mention: The days of Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Greg Gantt are coming to an end with a coming takeover by the Tea Party – led by Rob Scott. The party offices are to be no more- at least not in the Sherry Oakes/Design Homes building with subsidized rent (Oakes is still looking through rose-colored glasses about the FBI investigation into her maze of companies and their questionable minority contracting status). Money is so tight that Gantt borrowed $20K from Sheriff Phil Plummer earlier this year- and now has no way to pay it back.

Not only has the party been ineffective in raising money, somehow, its star, Congressman Mike Turner is now facing a primary after the statehouse Republicans took orders from House Speaker, John Boehner, who used to have part of his district in the county.

Rumors are also flying about a shake-up at the Board of Elections, with top Republicans about to be shifted out.

Montgomery County, as with most counties with a large urban core in Ohio has traditionally voted Democratic, but with the giant sucking sound of people leaving Dayton, the county can no longer be counted as a solid Dem win. The Montgomery County Democrats, under Chairman Mark Owens, aren’t in a whole lot better shape. Still smarting from the underdog victory of Mayor Leitzell over the incumbent party-favored daughter, Rhine McLin, the Dems are now facing challenges for county offices – something that used to get worked out in a back room.

The monarchy of Montgomery County is still hanging onto the last vestiges of the patronage system as long as possible- the recent embarrassment of having a Republican Judge’s son shoot someone five times outside Therapy Cafe on East Third Street- especially ironic because he was in a patronage position for another Republican judge where his job was to assist domestic violence victims in filling out their paperwork and helping them through the system.

To be fair, all of this was standard operating procedure for years, while the local version of the Fourth Estate, the Dayton Daily News, refused to do any kind of investigative reporting, instead believing that they were part of the secret society that ran this town. Now that they have jettisoned the flotsam and buckled down to attempt real reporting- it won’t be long before the entire org chart of both Dayton and Montgomery County gets cross referenced with a genealogical database and all the relationships come to light.

Even with the loss of population, Ohio will still be a key state for the presidential campaign and there will be a lot of money flowing through the party offices. The real question will be if the locals can be trusted, or will outsiders be brought in to try to steer the sinking ships in one last battle royale.

 

 

BOE pointing fingers and contradicting themselves

The latest salvo in the Montgomery County Board of Elections mayhem is that the directors can’t defend themselves because the evidence of their incompetence is missing.

Sort of like the class slacker saying “it’s not my fault because the dog ate my homework.” Read on from a story that was on the DDN homepage but seems to be missing today:

A search through 11 years of Montgomery County elections records failed to turn up the original hand-written report presented as proof that more than 600 provisional voters in the November 2006 election weren’t given full ballots, elections officials said Wednesday.

“It was either illegally removed or it’s not authentic,” county elections Director Steve Harsman said….

…a copy of a “post election ballot inventory” county officials use to verify used and unused ballots. Administrative documents such as this are locked away at board offices, and the keys are in the possession of a Democrat and a Republican, Harsman said.

The document would be considered a public record and anyone could request a copy, but Harsman said the office has no request on file.

“These are allegations about our key staff. They can’t defend themselves, because the records are missing,” said Greg Gantt, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. “My concern is, now we have stolen records removed from the board somebody is in possession of. We know they’re in possession of them, because they sent a copy out with the letter.”

The four-member board has called for an independent investigation. Assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor John Cumming confirmed “there will be an investigation,” but would not comment further.

via Supposed ‘proof’ of unfair balloting called fake.

There are questions about why the Secretary of State isn’t investigating as the chief, and only elected, elections officer.

But, let’s be honest- this isn’t the first problem at the Board of Elections- we already know about hiring family members, convicted of rape without a job application.

But, let’s go dig up some really old news: June 18, 2004, the Dayton Daily News reported this:

DAYTON – A former Montgomery County Board of Elections employee has accused the board’s Republican director of violating her federal rights when he reneged on a promise to promote her, then sought her dismissal.

An attorney for former board staffer Jeanette Fenton claims Fenton was fired from her $30,000-a-year job because she was suspected of supporting an effort by challengers to county Republican Chairman John White. Fenton worked as the Republican staffer in the campaign finance office at the board’s downtown location. She also claimed that when she told board Director Chris Heizer she needed to go on maternity leave, Heizer asked if she was going to return to work after the leave was over.

“When she told him that she would, Mr. Heizer told her `Good. Don’t pull any of that [FMLA expletive] with me,’  Fenton’s attorney, Terry W. Posey, wrote this month in a letter to the county board of elections.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to give employees up to 12 weeks unpaid leave following the birth of a child.

Posey has threatened to file a lawsuit unless the board rehires Fenton with back pay and be awarded $100,000 in damages. Fenton was fired by a unanimous vote of the board of elections April 19. Posey did not return a call seeking comment. Board officials declined comment. Fenton’s situation sheds light on the unique situation created by both political parties at boards of election throughout Ohio. Almost all board employees are political appointees who are given jobs based on their work for the Democratic or Republican parties.

In Montgomery County’s case, the board of elections has 31 employees – 15 filled by Democrats and 16 by Republicans, according to deputy director Steve Harsman.

In practice, when employees have fallen out of favor with party officials, they have been quietly removed from their jobs. The board hired Fenton in 2001.

Most boards of election employees in Ohio are at-will employees of the boards and can be fired any time, according to a spokesman for Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

Fenton was paid $30,000 to go away. That money came out of the taxpayers’ pockets- for the mistakes of political hacks being given serious jobs.

No, the problems at the Board of Elections won’t go away- just like the disgruntled former worker, who had access to the storage lockers where the incriminating evidence is stored. I’m sure we’ll see plenty more come out.

I’ve heard many times, from many different people, that there were some Diebold voting machines that were sold for cash that was then funneled into political party coffers. I’ve heard about a higher than average retirement with disability from the BOE and of office affairs.

But, when you get right down to it- the problem is that we entrust jobs as important as running honest elections to the two major political parties- whose sole job it is to stop third party and independent candidates from getting on the ballot or getting elected. It’s time for a major revamping of the way we set up our elections overseers in the State of Ohio.

Voter fraud? Really?

After just spending over 60 hours going door to door, following the walking lists provided by the Montgomery County Board of Elections I feel qualified to share a little secret: the only fraud committed in voting is the actual list of registered voters.

While the BOE lists hold over 100,000+ names in Dayton of “registered voters” while the census says that we only have 108,000 people over 18 (93%), the even more fascinating statistic is that maybe 1 out of 3 homes has a voter registered. There are a lot of people who aren’t registered, don’t want to be registered and have no interest in voting. I know- I tried to register people. They gave up long ago.

Yet, according to our idiot House Speaker Pro Tem Lou Blessing we’ve got a huge problem with “people voting more than once”- so big in fact, that we now need to require our citizens to present a photo ID- as if our voter registration process isn’t already difficult enough- and our voter rolls way out of whack:

Legislation to require photo identification for voters who cast their ballots on election day or cast absentee ballots in person is expected to come up for a House committee vote on Tuesday.

Under current voter ID requirements, there have been instances of people voting more than once, said Rep. Lou Blessing, R-Cincinnati, joint sponsor of House Bill 159. Blessing also is House speaker pro tem, the House’s number two leadership post.

“Anybody and everybody will be able to get an ID that doesn’t have one at no cost,” Blessing said.

Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for the nonprofit Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Dayton, said, however, that the bill would make it harder for people to vote.“It creates an obstacle course for the 11 percent of the public that doesn’t have an ID,” said Jacobs.

via Legislation would require photo ID to vote | Ohio politics.

Does anyone in the House have the brains to ask for proof of this alleged voting fraud? And, if there is double voting going on- could it possibly be because we’ve got a system of 88 different Boards of Elections- all filled with political party patronage positions? Utilizing five different data vendors? Three different “approved” voting systems? Hmmmm….. A little room for some of that great consolidation the governor keeps talking about? Like one database for all voters- with a simple registration process- and a vote by mail system so that the ballots are all maintained by one authority? It works in Oregon.

But, the real problem isn’t being addressed at all: the reason people have lost faith in voting in the first place. Starting with the choices we’re provided. In a country where you can literally buy 300 different brands of cereal- we’ve put a system in place that only allows us to choose between the lesser evil usually presented to us as Clown number 1 and Clown number 2. Not only are we restricted in choice, but, given the system- the introduction of Clown number 3 makes you wonder if you are “throwing your vote away” by voting the way you really feel. Instant run-off balloting would solve much of this feeling of voter alienation- where at least they could vote the way they really feel- instead of playing odds.

And last but not least- while you have to pass a test to drive, and to cut hair, and to get a GED – the only people taking a citizenship test in this country are the people who really want to be here- immigrants. The average voter can barely explain how our system of representational “democracy” works- never mind the people who actually run for office.

If you need proof of how stupid you can be and get elected in the City of Dayton- I have a document a reader sent to me- written by a former member of the Dayton Public School Board, a former teacher in our schools- written to the Board of Elections to explain why she didn’t have proper records of donations:

Nellie Maclin Terrel letter to BOE

The text:

Dear Board of Election
To whom it may concern. Nellie Maclin Terrell make a reasable attemp to location date of check from contributors.
Nellie Maclin Terrell
12-9-97

She was handed the BOE stationery and told what to write. She was a Democrat- and note, Tom Ritchie Sr and Greg Gantt were both on the board back then.

Frankly, allowing people who can’t write a simple note to be on the ballot, never mind elected is the real crime in this country. Let’s give the voters who still go to the polls- a reasonable benefit of a doubt that they aren’t the ones responsible for the hapless mess we have.

Photo IDs aren’t the answer- IQ tests for politicians are.