Monday, November 29, 2010

Blogging Again, But...

A year off from blogging has been good for me, but it's time to fire up the keyboard once more. The blogging, for the most part at least, won't be here at Blue Bexley, but over at Plunderbund, currently the premier Ohio political blog. I'm very excited about collaborating with those guys, and I hope you'll visit there/subscribe if you don't already do so.

All of my blogging on state and regional politics, and any other general interest topics, will be done at Plunderbund, and posted there exclusively. I have no immediate plans to start up Blue Bexley again, and if I do start it up again, it will be hyper-local (e.g. BB is pro-chicken, wants to know why the school board gets veto power on Priada's liquor license after voters have approved it, etc.). Once again, though, if you've been waiting for hyper-local Bexley blogging, you're still waiting. :)

Actually, if someone reading this has, knows of, or is planning to start a Bexley blog, send me a link.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Election Day Tomorrow. Blue Bexley Supports...

My policy here at BB is to confine myself to the candidates and issues appearing on the ballot in Bexley. You can view the Bexley ballot here, courtesy of the Franklin County Board of Elections. If you're in Franklin, and you'd like a sneak peek at your own ballot, search for yourself at this link, and then click on "sample ballot."

And so, on to the endorsements:

Franklin County Municipal Court: Mark A. Hummer. There are 7 uncontested races for FCMC Judge slots. I can accept arguments for and against voting in uncontested races. Do as you will for those 7. But in the one contested race, Hummer is the more qualified, has more non/bi-partisan support, is not the choice of the Republican Party, and is not seemingly attempting to pretend to be part of a famous Democratic family in order to weasel his way onto the bench. I'll be voting for him.

City of Bexley Auditor: Gary W. Qualmann. You'll have to write his name in, as there are no names on the ballot. For those of you who do not understand how write-in votes work (and I was well into adulthood before I was clued in), you can't just write anybody's name in and have it count as a vote. Candidates have to register as "write-in" candidates, and only write-in votes for those registered write-in candidates count (I know how silly it seems, but it kinda has to be that way...). So, your choices here are as follows: A) Leave it blank. B) Write in some random name, like your own. This is essentially the same thing as option A. C) Write in the name "Larry Heiser." Mr. Heiser, the incumbent, would have been running unopposed except for two things: His petitions did not conform to recently changed procedures, and having attempted to make the ballot left him ineligible to register as a write-in (This not only seems silly, I can't think of a good reason for it). Essentially, this yields the same result as options A or B, but seems like a more principled way of throwing away your vote. D) Write in "William G. Harvey." Mr. Harvey is currently Services Director for the city, and he really doesn't want to be auditor. He filed the paperwork to be a write-in candidate because he thought that not actually having an auditor in Bexley would be worse than being auditor. His name is still capable, however, of accruing votes. This would be a somewhat perverse vote, but for those who support the elimination of the auditor's position in favor of an external committee, this may be the best option. E) Write in "Gary W. Qualmann." Mr. Qualmann is a former city auditor here, and furthermore, actually wants the job. Good enough for me.

Bexley City Council (vote for up to 3 of 4): Jones, Lampke, and... Sharp. This race essentially asks you to vote against one candidate. I've met both Lampke and Jones due to their mayoral candidacies, and have, on balance, positive impressions of them both. I've been hemming and hawing on the Sharp/Weber choice for weeks now, but while I was half-dressed in my Scarecrow costume for Beggar's Night, Richard Sharp came to my door. I asked him "so... which of the incumbents should I vote against?" He considered the question, and I could tell he considered whether or not to actually answer it, and then proceeded to say that he'd encountered some voters who would be voting against Matt Lampke because... and some voters who would be voting against Rick Weber because... Not that he endorsed these positions, just that I had asked and such hearsay was the best he could do (half-wink). Then I told him about the blog, and he appeared a bit uncomfortable, but admitted he wasn't familiar with BB (don't worry, Richard, you're in excellent company), and recovered quickly without trying to push forward or pull back from our encounter. I admired that. So that's my slate.

Bexley Board of Education - Vote for up to 3 including Write-iN: DIANE T. PETERSON (write-in), Fey, and Snowdon. This is another election in which candidates were kicked off the ballot and prevented from becoming write-in candidates (notably, Michele Kusma, who came within a whisker of winning a seat two years ago) due to technicalities. I have positive impressions of Peterson (an incumbent) and Fey. I know less about Snowdon, but considering that she's running unopposed, we'll all have an opportunity to learn more.

State Issue 1 - Bonds for Veteran Compensation: Probably No. I'll be honest - I don't like borrowing an extra $200 million in a recession. I don't like putting a one-time funding request into the state constitution. Can you imagine a federal constitution that started something like "we the people, in order to form a more perfect union, do hereby authorize the state to issue up to two million...?" So I've got principled reasons to oppose this. But I feel a bit of unease, because I know that I personally believe that there are more compelling uses of $200 million dollars in this time of budgetary evisceration, and I wonder if my principles would be as strong if that weren't true. In 2006 or 2012 I might say yes. Tomorrow, however, is a no.

State Issue 2 - Livestock Care Standards Board: NO. NO. NO. NO!!! One of two things is true: Agribusiness wants this amendment passed because the democratically elected State House and Senate will otherwise pass overly-restrictive animal-rights protections with a veto-proof majority in opposition to the wishes of a majority of Ohio residents and to the detriment of Ohio Agriculture, OR Agribusiness wants this amendment passed because some agricultural practices are so noxious to the non-farming public (and even several farmers) that the only way to maintain them is to take away the power of the legislature and the electorate to regulate them in any way. You might guess, I find the latter more plausible.

State Issue 3 - Casinos: No. Simply put, every election year some gaming company or consortium attempts to spend millions upon millions of dollars in order to get their business plan written into the state constitution. If this issue passes, I may seriously look into a campaign to restrict "direct democracy" ballot access for Constitutional amendments. If you would like to see casinos in Ohio, and FWIW I wouldn't be opposed to casinos on principle, you should hold out for a deal that allows for maximum revenue accruing to the public and allows for local control over the casino placement process. In other words, vote No on Issue 3, and work to support HJR4, a vastly better casino plan that has been introduced in the Ohio House.

Franklin County Issue #4 - Franklin County Childrens' Services Levy: Yes. Remember how I said in regard to issue 1 that I have different priorities for limited resources? Making sure there is money to help abused and neglected children is one of them.

Bexley Issue #45 - Library Levy: Yes. There are a handful of institutions that give Bexley a true hometown feel, rather than the more urban or suburban profile one might expect. Near the top of any such list would be the Bexley Public Library. I can, and will, vote for this on purely selfish grounds: Friday is Taco and Movie Night at our house, and the movie almost always comes from the library. My daughter gets two stories before bed every night, and at least one is typically from a library book. I have read 15-20 books this calendar year - all but one were checked out from the Bexley Public Library. So it's easy to ask y'all to subsidize my family's education, enrichment, and entertainment. Is what's good for my family good for Bexley? In general, I'd hope the answer is yes, and in this specific case I hope I can get you to agree.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dispatch Slams Tiberi in Editorial, but Somehow Confuses Him with Obama !?!?

Yesterday, Blue Bexley's favorite Washington correspondent Jonathan Riskind posted the following on the Columbus Dipatch's political blog The Daily Briefing:

Rep. Pat Tiberi says the furor over no Social Security benefit increases should lead people to consider a proposal he and two other Republicans made earlier this month.

The Genoa Township Republican, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, co-authored a bill proposing that unobligated stimulus dollars be used to provide Social Security recipients and veterans with a $250 check in 2010.


President Obama and some Democrats have endorsed a second $250 payment, but reportedly are focusing on a proposal by Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Or., that would fund the payments with a new Social Security payroll tax on people with incomes between $250,000 and $395,000.


Tiberi's office acknowledges that it is waiting for his proposal to be "scored" by the Congressional Budget Office to show whether there would be enough unused stimulus money left next year to fund the $250 payments next year.

Unless that can be shown, Tiberi's proposal likely wouldn't be considered deficit-neutral and thus wouldn't have much chance of going any further.

Today's editorial in the Dispatch:

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass a bill granting Social Security recipients bonus checks for $250. This giveaway proposal, estimated to cost $13 billion to $14 billion in money that the federal government doesn't have, perfectly illustrates why government policy and fiscal common sense are so rarely seen together in public.


And so, even though seniors do not have to deal with a higher cost of living, their voting power and sense of entitlement override common sense and lead politicians to propose spending money the nation doesn't have for a benefit that shouldn't be paid because it isn't needed.

The editorial does not mention Pat Tiberi.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bexley City Schools

A couple of years ago, Bexley City Schools were accused by some parents of racial bias in the enforcement of residency requirements. This year, they're going after a wealthy white family.

The district has spent thousands of dollars on legal fees and a private investigator in an attempt to make their (pretty solid, but not airtight) case. They are now facing a lawsuit from the family, and have filed a countersuit for the cost of one the children's education over the past two years. If they win that, I wonder if the father can demand a refund of any Bexley City and Bexley City School District income taxes paid? And if not, if the City of Columbus could.

In the meantime, the contract talks (or lack thereof) between the school board and the Bexley Education Association are increasingly happening in the public domain, with Board meetings attracting hundreds of stakeholders and consequent media attention.

It would seem that the issues of the contract, legal pursuits, budget changes due to Strickland's education reform package, and the role of each of these in determining the scope and timing of the next levy request could provide fodder for some great debates as three slots on the board are up for grabs in this election. Unfortunately, due to problems filing petitions, only two names will appear on the ballot for those two slots, and only one name - incumbent Diane T. Peterson's - will be accepted as a write-in.

We will have to look elsewhere for entertainment.

Blissful Ignoramus of the Day

Michael Keenan, Dublin City Councilman.

Mr. Keenan wrote a letter to the Dispatch, in which he states

"I know (Rep. Pat) Tiberi and he is deeply concerned about the welfare of his family, his country and all of his constituents."

He offers this up in contrast to something he doesn't know:

"I don't know what is or who is a part of the organization, and probably I never will. These organizations prefer to stay out of the light of day and exist solely to tear down the good name of many who strive to simply have an honest debate about the issues important to each and every one of us."

Mr. Keenan does not know what is, despite more than a million unique Google hits, including 1,660 hits on "," and if we include the umbrella group, there are more than 1.5 million mentions on the web, 2800 of them in Keenan's hometown newspaper. The organization claims more than 5,000,000 members, 4.2 million active, approximately the number of people who live in Colorado and Kentucky, respectively (to be fair, Colorado and Kentucky have been around longer, so perhaps Keenan has heard of one or both.) Although the millions upon millions of members prefer to stay out of the light of day, I've managed to infiltrate the organization and smuggle out a slideshow and current agenda, both of which include rare photos of actual members.

Imagine Mr. Keenan's shock when he finds out there are actually two major political parties...