Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bexley in the Dispatch

I recently wondered aloud who would apply for the vacancy on the Bexley Board of Education. Even though there are more than 230,000 daily readers of the Dispatch (a fact I looked up in one of those piques where you end up defending something you would never defend if it weren't for the principle of the situation... perhaps other sons-in-law might understand), I sometimes feel like the CD listens to me personally. Not only did they tell me who got the job (something I expected to find only in one of the weeklies), they listed all of the applicants and their major work experience. Thanks.

One of the things I usually don't like about the Dispatch is the commentary by Mike Harden. Normally I wouldn't throw stones from my glass house, but I wanted to highlight my appreciation for today's piece on Woodland Meadows. I've talked about Mr. Newbery, the City, the neighbors, etc. I may have mentioned the creditors. But not like Mr. Harden did. So thanks.

Finally, in what I think is a completely unrelated development, the state has approved a tax-abatement zone (purple) within the city of Bexley (blue border). Depending on what does get done with Woodland Meadows (red), investment in north Bexley might soon be somewhat more attractive.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Post Holiday Catching Up

Loose Blog Ends:

  • My liberal in-laws and conservative parents shared the house for three days, with only one moderately big political dust-up. All was settled and nice was made, but the most interesting thing was something my wonderful-even-though-she's-a-Fox-News-aficionado mother said: "Colin Powell should come back and run. I'd like to vote for him." My jaw dropped. I replied that he'd probably win in a walk. That there was nobody more perfectly poised to capture 60% of the vote after his opposition to the war planning and execution, but support of the President. I don't think he will run, and I wouldn't vote for him if he did. But mine won't be the last house where his name comes up before '08.

  • Bev Campbell commented publicly here a couple of times about family and Christmas, and I'd like to thank her and I hope she was able to enjoy her holiday at home. According to the pro media, she was saying yesterday that unlike Squire, she had not yet decided whether or not to formally challenge the results.

  • Also over the holiday, another commenter here strongly urged her to push forward with the challenge, and performed the awkward task of simultaneously rebutting an argument made on another blog about another race, and the applicability of said argument as applied to Bev's race. I know a lot of people would like to see a more transparent election process, and they have a pretty good idea that it won't happen without some direct pressure from a candidate with standing to demand it. I sympathize. But my opinion on this particular situation is that: if there's a reasonable shot of taking office by challenging, then challenge. If there is tangible evidence that the results are unreliable, and the only way to bring these to light is to challenge, then challenge. If there is only circumstantial evidence of irregularities, and challenging the election results based on that evidence has no realistic chance of getting Bev into the General Assembly, then say so, loudly. Explain why the official challenge was not worth doing, then build on that. 2008 will be here before you know it.

    Of course, that's only my opinion. And I'm in no position to speculate on how tangible the evidence is and how realistic overturning the results based on that evidence is. Nor have I been in the position of pouring everything I've got into a campaign. It's easy for me to say "if x, y, and, z then walk away and fight another day." Other opinions certainly exist and are welcome here.

  • Speaking of which, I promised a comment thread where folks could talk about Brian Eastman. Who is Brian Eastman? According to one anonymous commenter, he's a potential Strickland appointee who plays both sides of the partisan fence. According to everyone else... Well, Google searches on his appointment are pulling up my anonymous commenter's opinion as the first relevant hit. I know this because I've been getting traffic from those Googlings. My searches indicate that he's held a couple of positions in state government, and sat on a management/labor council on the management side (amongst a small group including Maryellen O'Shaughnessy and Mary Jo Kilroy). He has not contributed significant cash to any candidate or committee that I can find...

    So who cares? Seriously, I want to know who cares and why. It's possible that this guy Eastman actually is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's also possible that someone is trying to get my help in performing a baseless hit job on a perfectly well-qualified job applicant. Anyone with any info either way, please leave a comment (and please use a name or pseudonym, using 'anonymous' is considered bad form by your host).

Electioneering Accountability

There's an article about the Ohio Elections Commission in the Dispatch today, highlighting their total lack of power to do anything about the complaints they receive. It's a companion piece to the story of the six years it took to find the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and it's advocacy arm Citizens for a Strong Ohio guilty of violating election law, resulting in a $1,100 fine. While I'm not really surprised that campaigns can often get away with lying, I am surprised that they can steal with impunity.

What I mean by this is that the Ohio Channel owns the copyright to the footage it provides of government activities. It maintains this copyright so that the footage isn't used in campaign ads. Supposedly.

See, as I summed up here, the Republican party distributed a web ad featuring a context-free statement by Barbara Sykes that made it appear that she was supporting a tax-hike. Forget the fact that the ad was intentionally misleading, it was a copyright violation, and the Ohio Channel told them to stop distributing it.

The ad was removed from YouTube, then mass-mailed, then the GOP said that they had capitulated and pulled the ad. By the time the article appeared in the Dispatch with the quotes confirming that Republicans had agreed to stop stealing copyrighted footage, they had already gone back on this statement, and put the ad up on their website.

Shortly thereafter, Progress Ohio made a video combining the song "The Way we Were" with footage of Tom Noe personally praising almost every Republican on the 2006 ballot during a swearing-in ceremony.

The Ohio Channel cried foul and asserted their ownership of the footage, causing Progress Ohio to pull the clip.

I made a web ad featuring a speech by David Goodman, in which he argued that candidates should be able to take unlimited contributions, because politicians aren't really influenced by campaign money.

It lasted a few hours on YouTube before the OhioChannel informed YouTube that they owned the copyright to the video footage and wanted the clip pulled, which YouTube did.

As The Ohio Channel was busy shutting down any and all liberal web clips using their footage, the Republican Party continued to host the anti-Sykes ad that had brought the copyright issue into the news in the first place. The GOP maintained that they had the right to do so, and refused to recognize the copyright protections claimed by the Ohio Channel.

The Ohio Channel hinted that they might pursue legal action. That was the last mention of the issue in the Dispatch. If legal action has been pursued, it hasn't made the papers.

And the Ohio Republican Party continues to have the ad hosted on their website ('Tax Hike Sykes...'). So it would at least appear that either the GOP was right, and the footage is in the public domain (in at least some situations), or they are wrong, but the Ohio Channel isn't actually interested in protecting their copyright.

What good are election laws if nobody actually follows them? Why would anyone follow them if their opponents don't do so, and they aren't enforced? Copyright law is of course far broader than the realm of political ads, but in this context, are election-related copyright laws being selectively enforced, or does our side just comply with requests to respect property rights? The most recent Dispatch article mentions a ruling against a Democratic candidate, but also mentions that the offending language was voluntarily removed from the ad during its run before the election. I'm starting to feel like conservatives believe that campaign laws are for suckers. Worse yet, I'm starting to fear that they've got a point.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Have a Holly Jolly 12/25

Whatever holidays you celebrate, you probably have Monday off. Enjoy it. If you dont't have Monday off, you are probably providing an indispensible service, so accept my gratitude along with my pity.

I'll be celebrating Christmas. My Mom will be visiting. She recently told me that she finally felt that someone truly understood her political point of view after reading O'Reilly's 'Culture Warrior.' I have to admit that part of me wants to put up a banner saying "Support Our Troops in the War on Christmas"

But I won't. Some things are bigger than politics, even bigger than my snarcissism. It's my daughter's first Christmas, and the family is gathering here. May your days be merry and bright. I'll be back after the weekend.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

OH-12 Questions and Speculation

So with a little distance and some time to kill waiting on an update from Bev Campbell (she was meeting with folks yesterday to determine options), my thoughts are drifting to 2008. When most folks think of 2008, they're thinking about the White House. Me, I'm wondering about OH-12.

We had a good candidate with a good staff and a bunch of cash (although not as much as the incumbent). We had one of the most consistent supporters of the President as an opponent when the President's approval rating was lower than Nixon's. We were fighting against a Republican in Ohio in a year where Republicans were associated with all manners of corruption, especially in Ohio. We had all of these things working for us in a district that saw John Kerry take 48% of the Presidential vote in '04.

Bob Shamansky lost to Pat Tiberi by 14%.
Edward S. Brown, spending about 1/10th of one percent of what the Shamansky Campaign spent, got 38% of the district vote in '04, compared to Shamansky's 43%.

So, I'm looking for some opinions. Is Tiberi beatable? If not, why were/are so many of us so mistaken about that fact? If so, what went wrong in this election, when we were running downhill? Can those things be fixed? Given the amount of time and effort Tiberi expended this go-round, is anyone interested in the partial victory of tying down resources (e.g., no Shamansky would have meant fat contributions to people like Deb Pryce)?

After answering any or all of those questions, who would you like to see run in '08?

'08 seems like it's a long way off, especially because here in the 20th State House district, the lights have not been extinguished in the 2006 election. But in 2008 the top of the ballot will be Prez, and then... Senator, gov, SOS/Treas/AG/Aud,... U.S. House.

So, these 18 races will be the #2 race on their ballots, and as such I expect them to start drawing attention early. And if it is decided that it's worth another run at PT, it might well take an 18-month effort.

So to recap: let me know if it's possible to win, if so how, and given how, who?

And if anyone knows an email address for Drew Tappan, if you could drop me a line at bluebexley AT gmail DOT com, I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Woodland Meadows one step closer to being razed.

A judge has declared Woodland Meadows a 'Public Nuisance,' and given the owners two months to bring the complex within code standards. That basically means securing the buildings and picking up trash, something the current caretakers view as a Sisyphean task.

Jorge Newbery, the owner of the complex, was a blogger for three days. He used his blog to lay out his side of the story. To paraphrase/summarize Newbery: I did my best, which was better than past owners, and would have been successful if not for repeated misfortune and the withdrawal of counted-on support. I'm willing to work with the city to salvage the situation as much as possible.

The person who wrote that letter was intelligent, perceptive, and told a plausible story. Perhaps he is not really the callous slumlord he's portrayed as being.

Y'know what? I don't really care.

Everyone, from me to the mayor, from neighbors to Newbery's own attorney, seems to agree: those 122 buildings are beyond salvaging. So I don't see the point in bringing them up to code. Knock them down. Worry about what to do with the vacant land later.

This is my best (uneducated) guess as to the overall situation: Mr. Newbery is facing financial devastation, and is holding on to every bit of negotiating power he has to wring something out of the property before he has to give it up and face his creditors. The city doesn't want to bail out someone else's failed investment to the tune of several million dollars. The city wants to take over the decision making process, without laying out $10M+, so they're making the case that Newbery can't or won't take on the responsibility. All the while, everyone waiting for Newbery to pay back loans or reimburse for services wants to be assured that they aren't going to end up eating the entire loss.

Meanwhile a 52 acre chunk of the Eastside festers.

I'm willing to listen to reasonable opinions on this, but the one I'm offering up is this: Taking on Woodland Meadows was a high-risk investment. Sometimes, high-risk investments don't work out. Actually, in the vast majority of cases, high-risk investments don't work out. That's why they're called high-risk.

Woodland Meadows didn't work out.

So, Mr. Newbery is going to have to deal with the loss. His creditors, likewise. Maybe it's a shame that this happened to a modern-day saint, or maybe it was only a matter of time before a smooth-talking slumlord's schemes caught up with him. Perhaps the Mayor and the media have been more than fair in propping things up for three years. Perhaps they are engaging in a petty personal attack.

I couldn't tell you, and let me repeat, I don't care.

Perhaps Mr. Newbery will emerge miracuously unscathed from the situation, perhaps he will be broken. It's not for me to have a preference there.

It is, as the judge declared, a Public Nuisance. Knock it down. Clean it up. Negotiate later.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Provisional Ballots

The Dispatch ran an article on the Voter ID law and provisional ballots yesterday. BSB called it a terrible article (and it was pretty bad, although in my random off-topic opinion the prize for awful article full of unexamined contradictions goes here).

Anyway, the first additional point that I think should be brought up is that the people who warned that the new law would cause a voting disaster didn't just complain, they actually did something about it.

The second is that the problems occured at the electoral pressure points:

...Franklin County election officials are concerned that the county led the state in the increase of provisional ballots this fall from 2004 — a jump from 2.7 percent to 5.1 percent.

(Franklin Co. BOE Director Matthew)Damschroder said it’s not clear why, but he speculated that one reason might be confusion about the ID requirement. For example, some voters who had a valid driver’s license with an old address were mistakenly given a provisional ballot when they should have received a regular ballot.

We've had several races in Franklin Co. that were close enough to recount, from the Campbell-McGregor race to the COTA levy, not to mention the nationally publicized OH-15. When we don't know why there were so many provisionals in Franklin Co., and we think that it may be because there was a difficulty in following the law, one loses a bit of confidence regarding whether or not the law was properly followed in counting the provisionals.

I've said it before, and I'll continue to say it - Matthew Damschroder has done a much better job this cycle than last in terms of keeping the public informed as to what's going on with the vote. I'd still like to see some stats, however, on how many provisionals were accepted and rejected by precinct, and the reasons for rejection. The info I have at this point doesn't add up, and these current statements only further pique my curiosity. While I can wish that this information would have been released when it was most useful for candidates, and hope that it is released before it is of absolutely no use to candidates (e.g. the Campbell Campaign's), I would maintain it is critical information in the ongoing process of making elections as transparent, fair and accurate as possible, so I do hope it will be released at some point in time, regardless.

Friday, December 15, 2006

20th District Race to be Certified for McGregor (R-Gahanna)

From what I've been told, the recounting of the vote raised as many questions as it has answered, but the Franklin County BOE has decided to declare McGregor as the winner over Bev Campbell.

I'll do a recap later on when I have more info

Thanks for the Reminder, Mr. Goodman

Some people have questioned both the attacks I made on David Goodman over the course of his campaign for State Senate, and the nicer things I've said since.

Well, today's Dispatch carried a nice reminder of why I worked very hard to promote his opponent's candidacy, in a story headlined "Lawmakers approve damages cap":

Before the votes, lawmakers saw a first-ever joint news release from Republican Attorney General Jim Petro and Democratic Attorney General-elect Marc Dann. It said if the bill passed, "one of the nation’s best consumer protection laws will be gutted and consumers will have little protection against unscrupulous businesses who have little incentive to comply with the weakened law."

Petro and Dann said the bill would adversely affect Ohio’s anti-predatory lending law, set to take effect in two weeks, which puts much of the home lending industry under the Consumer Sales Practices Act.

The bill says noneconomic damages, often awarded for pain, embarrassment or other suffering with no monetary value, are capped at $5,000 under the Consumer Sales Practices Act. It still allows for economic damages, which in a number of cases can be tripled by the court.

Republicans said that still leaves potentially big court damages.

"We have not gutted it," said Sen. David Goodman, R-New Albany. "We’ve done what it was originally intended to do."

I guess if Mr. Goodman and colleagues had intended to protect consumers, they would have put the word 'protection' somewhere in the title of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. The confusion is obviously on the part of the legal experts. What Mr. Goodman and colleagues apparently intended was to score political points by supporting a bill that nominally punishes predatory lenders, burnish a 'moderate' image, but not actually create any pesky responsibilities for "unscrupulous businesses who have little incentive to comply with the weakened law."

They aren't gutting a good law. They're affirming that they never intended the law to be good. As I said, thank you David, for the reminder.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fantasy Lame Ducks, Fantasy 110th

Before the election, Fantasy Congress got a lot of buzz. Then, for me at least, it got lost in the shuffle.

I have started a league that, as of now, has two members, only one of whom (me) has drafted a team yet. Anyone can join, and I encourage you to do so. The lame duck session is practice. What they've promised for the 110th is:

  • "How will the draft season work for the upcoming Congress?"
  • As you read this, we're working to add many new features to Fantasy Congress, and some of the biggest additions have to do with the drafting process. At the end of the lame duck session, before the 110th Congress starts in January, you will be able to draft the new MCs who were just elected on November 7th as they take the floor for the first time. Watch the news on the home page and this entry of the FAQ for more details in the coming weeks.
    Furthermore, league managers will also have the option of adding "exclusive draft" to their leagues when they create them. In an exclusive draft league, teams will follow a procedure to take turns choosing MCs, and each MC will only be available for draft once per league, similar to the drafting system of other fantasy sports. In other words, if one Citizen picks Nancy Pelosi on his or her turn, no other team in that league will be able to draft Pelosi.
    You'll also be able to draft more than a full team, so that instead of redrafting on weekends you can just take members off the field and replace them with members from your own bench. Furthermore, you'll be able to trade MCs with other Citizens in your league.
This is a much better set-up, but it requires a number of players, each with some non-trivial level of commitment, or it rapidly becomes no fun...

So, by all means, if you're interested, please check it out.

Spell Noel with No L and get great gift ideas

The coins may be gone, but have you been wondering what the State of Ohio is going to do with all of the other collectibles Tom Noe bought for the BWC? Well, the ones that actually exist are going to be auctioned off or sold to dealers:

That’s how the new managers have sold most of the coins that were part of the state investment, with auctioneers preparing catalogs and selling the coins at major auctions nationwide.

Brandt said there are questions about whether Noe paid fair-market value for some of the collectibles, so it’s not clear how much the state might recover until sales are held.

"We have concerns that some of these transactions were to the advantage of the seller," Brandt said. "At some point we’re going to see what the stuff is worth and get the most that we can for it."

It seems to me that one thing the state isn't counting on is the added value of having been involved in the scandal and change in Government... For instance, given the choice between two personal checks signed by Ty Cobb, I'd much rather have one that helped bring down one-party rule in Ohio. Of course, while I'd happily accept just one of the 96 Presidential Canes, I'd much rather have the 1963 Christmas Card signed by JFK, although it makes think morbid thoughts regarding the dangers of signing Christmas Cards before Thanksgiving...

Anyway, I don't know how soon these things are going up on Noe-Bay, but if you have hard-to-buy-for political junkie on your list, you can check out some of the highlights here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Says it better than I ever could have

In my post below, I try to give a contrast between the people that Central Ohio wants to attract, what is supposed to be attractive to such folks, and the ideas/realities of Central Ohio that seem to be quite counter-productive to those goals.

One of the things that I included was a quote from the Dispatch concerning Gov. Taft's supposed last-minute appointment of Intelligent Design supporters to the Board of Education, a move that simultaneously makes Ohio look anti-science, highlights the repressive elements of Ohio society, reminds people that we have the least popular governor in the country, and that he can't seem to help but lying right up until the end, as he had explicitly stated that he would use these appointments to put pro-evolution members on the board.

It fit so well with so many people's ideas. Mine. BSB's. ProgressOhio's. Most importantly, the Dispatch's. It made perfect sigh-worthy sense.

Of course, it appears to have been blatantly wrong.

So, Mr. Taft, Ohio, I'm sorry that I helped spread the story. My purpose, however, was as much about sketching the impressions as listing facts. And this little anecdote seems to make the point about impressions better than I could have hoped to.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Life, Media, Policy, Me

Life goes on, and I've been focused on other priorities, like family, this last week. But humans are great at processing patterns, and living isn't an activity that exists separately from reading and writing. For instance, on Sunday:

I went to the Blue Jackets game with my wife and daughter on Sunday. At 8 months of age, it was Charlotte's first sporting event. She loved it. She would have loved it even if the CBJ hadn't hammered the Sens 6-2, but it certainly helped her parents enjoy the game.

Now, hold that last paragraph in mind...

Impressionistically Catching up on a Long Weekend's Worth of Stories From the Dispatch (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

Columbus’ poverty rate has increased more since 1999 than in all but nine other large U.S. cities, a new report shows.

Cleveland had the nation’s biggest increase; Toledo tied for fourth place. Columbus tied for 10 th-worst with Grand Rapids, Mich.


Tamira M. Moon is young, educated and ambitious. A scholarship to Ohio State University drew her to Columbus. Pursuing a graduate degree and launching her career kept her here.

But Moon, a program specialist at the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, is looking to leave for Charlotte, N.C., or Atlanta because Columbus lacks cultural, social and entertainment offerings that appeal to her.

"It’s a town for college people," said Moon, 27, of Clintonville. "Then it jumps to a family town, especially for African-Americans. In between there is nothing for us."


"The young and talented want to know what is going on in the city after 5," she said. "They want a good job, and in a cool city you have to add that in a calculation when you are making the job offer."

They want communities with entertainment districts clustered together within walking distance, and they want ethnic diversity and a city where they feel like they belong, Ryan said.


Take the Groveport Madison school district and divide it by Rt. 33.

It’s a formula some Groveport village residents say will solve the problems of a troubled school district. Those advocating a split say it would create two smaller school districts that would be better able to serve students and give residents more control over leadership and finances.

But the southern area — the proposed new Groveport district — would have a richer and whiter student body than the northern one, according to a Dispatch analysis of the elementary and middle schools in both areas.


When Ohioans voted two years ago to outlaw same-sex marriages, they also might have stripped away defenses for unmarried partners in abusive relationships, domestic-violence attorneys will argue today in a case before the state Supreme Court.


Evolutionists say Gov. Bob Taft went back on his promise to name only pro-science appointees to the State Board of Education.

The three appointees named last week by Taft all previously voted to support teaching intelligent design in science classes, said Patricia Princehouse, a biology professor at Case Western Reserve University.


Frey said that Columbus is in a better position than many cities in the region.

"It’s a state capital with universities, high-tech jobs and an airport with connections to bigger cities," he said. "Columbus has as good a chance as any Midwestern city to pull this off."

But pulling it off is more than a campaign to be cool. It’s also about keeping an educated crop of workers who will contribute to a city’s tax base, Frey said.

"We need to make sure our employers have the work force they need so they can stay here, and make sure that they have them so other business will be attracted to come here," said Susan Merryman, spokeswoman for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.


George Zeller, an economic analyst for the Clevelandbased Center for Community Solutions, said the Columbus area has been better off than other parts of the state but the city is not immune from economic trends. And the problems impact the inner city and surrounding suburbs.

"Incomes didn’t just fall in Columbus, they fell in Upper Arlington and Bexley, too. There are lower incomes across the entire region with a few exceptions," Zeller said.


Jorge Newbery, the embattled landlord of Woodland Meadows, is facing new code violations and evictions at another East Side apartment complex.

Columbus building inspectors issued orders yesterday to move residents immediately from nine second-floor apartments at Berwick Court, 3680 E. Livingston Ave.


Bexley homeowners will have to prove that they live in the district before sending their children to its public schools, the latest move in the district’s efforts to crack down on outsiders enrolling in its top-notch schools.

In September, the school board began requiring potential pupils to show five forms of proof that they live in the city before they take a seat in Bexley classrooms. Renters were required to show a lease.


First of all, notice how all of the young professionals that can be found are associated with OSU or the State of Ohio. Second of all, notice how class, race, and school systems interact. Third, see how the city and the suburbs are sinking/swimming together. Finally, notice how conservative priorities are almost perfectly antithetical to the goals of folks like the Chambers of Commerce.

My wife and I are young professionals who are employed by public entities. We lived in what many see as the gay neighborhood in Columbus, because as in many cities, that's where the culture is. We loved being close to downtown, and being able to do things like walk to Martini and then to Nationwide.

We moved to Bexley because we wanted to own our own home, not rent. We wanted a 'top-notch' school district. We wanted short commutes and easy access to downtown. We wanted to do this without secluding ourselves on a White Anglo-Saxon island.

So when I say that my wife and daughter and I had a great time at the Blue Jackets game, it seems to me that it represents a qualified success for Columbus and an unqualified success for Central Ohio. I just thought I'd point that out.

Campbell Recount Volunteer Training, etc.

Late notice, I know, but this was in my mailbox yesterday:

The recount will start on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 9:00 AM sharp and is expected to continue all day Wednesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM each day. Don McTigue, Esq., our election law attorney, will conduct the training session on Tuesday evening, Dec. 12, at 7:00 PM at his office at 3886 North High Street, Columbus, OH. Even if you have served as a recount observer previously, it is very important to attend this training session so that you will know exactly what we are focusing upon.

Contact the Campbell Campaign for more info.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Nothing scarier than firing up Google Reader and having '100+' show up as the number of unread items, especially when there's plenty to write about that I'm not getting 'fed' ...

The Blue Jackets won. They didn't just win, they shut out their opponent. They didn't just shut out an opponent, they did it on the road. They didn't just shut out a team on the road, they shut out the Avs in Denver. The CBJ has had one prior victory (in Overtime) against the Avalanche in the 22 game history of the matchup. I haven't been excited about the team since opening week, but I'm trying to work my schedule so that I can be at Nationwide on the 10th.

As long as I'm on sports, I think it is reprehensible what the poll voters did to Michigan's football team, and I think it was entirely appropriate for Tressel to abstain. I like ethics. Crazy old me.

I'm still surprised when anyone listens to my opinion, but I've gotten two comments recently that confirm that somebody does... The first was about my transportation opinions, from someone at the local news site Columbus Underground. I think they found me via my post on Woodland Meadows, which also attracted the notice of Jorge Newbery, the owner of that complex. He is telling his side of the story on his blog.

Stories that have my attention:

Mental Health Parity
Highway Caps
Transition Team

And obviously the recount in Ohio's 20th House District, which I'll provide updates on as I get/find them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bev Campbell Officially Requests Full Recount of 20th District Race

I've received word that Bev Campbell, Democratic candidate for the Ohio House seat in the 20th District, has requested a recount of all 109 precincts in the 20th district. This decision had to be made very quickly, and as such, was made with hope and faith that supporters would continue to provide time and money for the effort.

Please contact the Campbell Campaign ASAP if you are interested in observing the recount in one of the precincts. Please contact the Campaign ASAP if you can help them pay for the recount.

Adopted precincts, at $50, make great X-mas gifts.

Also, Ohio refunds up to $50 ($100 per married couple) back in tax credits for donations to state-level campaigns. If you haven't donated to a state level campaign this year, it's my personal understanding that you can basically adopt a precinct for free. Just something to think about.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bexley has Approximately 9800 Registered Voters, and...

I'm curious how many of them will apply for the vacant interim position on the Bexley Board of Education.

Bev Campbell in Urgent Need of Recount Help

Things have progressed rapidly over the weekend. The Campbell campaign and their consultants have identified 55 precincts where they believe that they could find additional votes to close the 364 vote margin reported in the official Franklin County Abstract of Votes.

But it costs $50 a precinct to recount the votes. $2750 may not sound like a lot of money in campaign terms, but when you need it in 24 hours it certainly takes an effort. The Campbell campaign would really appreciate it if you (yes, you) would 'adopt' a precinct. The way I understand it, you can adopt a precinct by pledging the $50 now, and paying up later.

Please consider helping them out. Email the campaign at Bev AT bevcampbellforohio dot com, or contact Tom Lyons at one of the phone numbers listed on this page.

More on this at Ohio2006.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pre-Weekend Updates

  • Tiberi LTE - I referenced a blogger named RUSSKC at An Ohioan's Blog as one source for the text of Tiberi's drivel. That post on AOB also included the text of a letter Russ sent to SNP in response. I'm happy to report that it was published in this week's issue. Nicely done, RUSSKC.

  • The Franklin County BOE eventually released the official abstract. I'd like to use it to highlight places where Bev Campbell could potentially pick up votes in her recount, but I've got a few questions that need answering first.

  • The Columbus Streetcar project got a big boost this week. As I said in a discussion that took place in the comments section, I like the idea of the streetcar, but only as a piece of a broader mass transit/rail plan. I hope MORPC knows what they're doing, because the closest thing to the vision I was looking for is in their 2030 t-plan (which has already needs some serious revising), and because they're rejecting funding for a project that is very similar to the popular 670 cap connecting Downtown to the Short North.

  • Speaking of discussions in comments sections, I once told a reader that the Kreider - Goodman election wasn't a clear liberal-conservative contest, because Goodman had LGBT endorsements, and Kreider had gun-group endorsements, and I guessed that the reader and I would both be happier if those were reversed. Well, I've got my cold comfort. Goodman is on the right side of the bad concealed carry law that Taft is expected to veto (which makes me slightly less irritated that the ABJ still lists his residence as Bexley). H/T to Jill at WLST.

Vote Additions in Franklin, A Question for the Experts

Checking the now-available official numbers of votes by precinct in Franklin County against the unofficial totals released the day after the election, and the number of outstanding provisionals that were listed during the interim, one finds that adding all of the provisionals to the unofficial count still falls short of the official vote count in 30 precincts (click to view data). This means that votes materialized from sources unknown in the interim (BTW, absentees are listed as absentees, not by precinct).

There were supposedly 30 voting machines that had unreported votes on election night due to "improper shutdown." This number does not seem like a coincidence, and it would make sense that those unaccounted votes could explain these totals. The problem arises from the fact that several of these precincts are only showing one extra vote, which means in these 6 cases, the number of uncounted votes on election night was exactly one greater than the number of rejected provisionals. So far, no problem, but, if the election night uncounted votes were to exactly equal the number of rejected provisionals, there would be no 'extra' votes in this analysis, it would just look like all the provisionals had been accepted. I find it hard to believe that the shutdown error and the rejected provisional count were off by one vote in one direction in six precincts, but never matched or differed by one in the other direction in any of the precincts.

If all of the above is true and makes sense, then there were more than 30 machines with problems on election night, and I would kind of like to know how many. But my first question is, Can you tell me which of my assumptions is wrong or doesn't make sense?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"A menace, a war zone and the worst blight (Mayor Coleman) has seen anywhere"

The complex is called Woodland Meadows. It is almost mandatory to mention that during one of it's earlier incarnations the Columbus Police nicknamed it 'Uzi Alley.'

I've intended to make a series of posts on Woodland Meadows my first big post-election blogging project. I still might, but recent events have caused the Dispatch to start covering the story again.

The basic outline is this: Woodland Meadows is the most recent name of an apartment complex that was primarily providing subsidized low-income housing. It has never been a chic address, and it has changed hands numerous times. The most recent owner is Jorge Newbery, who paid more than double what local real estate pros thought it was worth.

After the ice storm in 2004, many apartments were damaged directly, and others became unlivable due to secondary problems caused by situations as prolonged loss of heat and burst pipes. These problems were publicized, they were not fixed, and the apartments were de-certified for housing subsidies. The complex could not operate without subsidy revenues, and very quickly was shut down.

For me, I was aware of that part of the story, but never having seen the complex in person, I didn't get it. To me, 'apartment complex' means 5, 10, 20, maybe 30 buildings. Woodland Meadows has 122 buildings. They all look pretty similar about now, and this photo from the Dispatch should give you an idea:

But when you see pictures like this, you don't understand the scope, why Michael Coleman uses the language I've quoted in the title, calls it Public Enemy #1. It covers approximately 256 50-70 acres. That's about the size of Summit County's Firestone Metropark. You really need video, and I'll try and get some soon, but for now...

Compare the size of Woodland Meadows (in the upper right, shaded red) to the Campus of Capital University (lower left, shaded blue).

Or try to take the Dispatch Picture, which shows you three buildings, and multiply it by 40:

So that's your introduction to Woodland Meadows. It is a bad situation for Columbus. It is bad for Bexley. It is bad for the people who need subsidized housing. It is bad for the property owners in the area. More to come.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Purchased Media Earning Free Media, a GoogleAds blurb

I added GoogleAds to the site as part of the ongoing post-election makeover. I was ambivalent about adding ads to the site, for a number of reasons, one of which is that I have no direct control over what does and doesn't get posted on my site, but I was curious as to how it worked.

What I didn't realize is that, because I write about what's on my mind, and Google places ads based on what I write, Google is actually doing their darnedest to target me, personally, as a consumer. This morning, they actually got it right. An alternative arts network called Available Light Theatre has an ad on the site as of this posting. I clicked on it because it looked interesting, and it was. I had no idea they were in Columbus, so it's a good thing they started advertising. On the other hand, they read and link to national progressive blogs, but few or no local or Ohio blogs. Maybe if they get some traffic they'll start.

If you click on the ad to get to their site, I may or may not make a couple of cents (You need to cross a ten dollar total revenue threshhold before they disburse your earnings, which I may do by March...), that'd be kind of neat, but if the ad is gone, or you are opposed for any other reason, they're worth checking out, and the direct link is here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tiberi Grows Comfortable in Pathetic Jerk Role

After an ugly end to the campaign, in which he accused his opponent of encouraging experimentation on live fetuses, I expected Pat Tiberi to take a long shower and lay low for a couple of months. But no.

I leave town to eat some turkey, and look what I miss... Pat Tiberi has written an LTE to the Bexley News. Well, actually to Suburban News Publications in general. They don't have the letter (from their 11/22 issue) on their website, but 'An Ohioan's Blog' has a transcription, as does Newark, OH country station WCLT:

It certainly didn’t take long. Before they’ve even been assigned offices or picked up their fresh, shiny IDs, members of the new Democrat majorities in the House and Senate were told by a top former Clinton administration official that the first thing they should do is raise taxes.

Umm, WTF do you mean, Pat, there they go being told...? If I were to write: It certainly didn't take long. Less than a month after the election, Pat Tiberi is already being told by local bloggers that the very next thing he should do is to go make sweet love to a box turtle, what does that imply about Mr. Tiberi's actual romantic endeavors?

How about going after folks for things they actually do. Try this one on: It certainly didn't take long. Less than 10 days after the Wall Street Journal printed an editorial beginning:

That was fast. A mere two days after Democrats capture Congress claiming they wouldn't raise taxes, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin tells them they should do so anyway.

"You cannot solve the nation's fiscal problems without increased revenues," declared Mr. Rubin, the Democratic Party's leading economic spokesman, in a speech last Thursday.

Pa(rro)t may have to be renamed P(lagi)a(ris)t.

“You cannot solve the nation’s fiscal problems without increased revenues,” former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin advised during a Washington speech less than 48 hours after the mid-term elections. He wasn’t just talking about letting today’s low tax rates expire in a few years as required by law, either. He suggested that taxes be increased right now.

Yes, of course, it was suggested with that suggestive wink, that knowing nod, the impish half-grin... If you've got a quote, Pat, put up or shut up. Not only do you not have a pithy quote, but a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, no liberal group, looks at that same part of Mr. Rubin's speech and declares:

The press takes all this to mean that Rubin backs tax-rate increases, an assumption that makes sense given his repeated criticism of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. Rubin also argues that tax-rate changes don’t affect economic behavior. He said recently that corporate executives work just as hard when tax rates are higher. The average taxpayer’s attitude must therefore be the same.

Still, watch what he does, not what he says. Then you begin to see that this man, who knows more about how the economy works than almost anyone, is ambivalent about raising taxes. He knows that tax increases can hurt the economy, and that voters understand that. He also knows that tax cuts can widen revenue.

Pat continues:

Forgive me, Mr. Rubin, but the American people are already providing their government with a huge increase in taxes. The government says revenues in the fiscal year that ended on September 30 were up 12% from the previous year, a trend that continued through October. In fact, the Treasury Department took in some $85.8 billion, the largest amount ever collected in a single day, on September 15.

This is that increased revenue Mr. Rubin mentioned. And it has nothing to do with keeping or repealing the tax cuts on individuals. Mr. Tiberi, try to understand, I am a person. Despite the legal definition, ExxonMobil is not. ExxonMobil is paying more in gross taxes based on obscene profits, according to the report that generated your figure:

Corporate Tax Receipts Reach Record High. "Record high U.S. corporate tax receipts in the third quarter signal stronger-than-expected corporate profits for the period and the likelihood of a smaller budget deficit than forecast for 2006 and possibly 2007, analysts said on Monday. Corporate tax receipts reached $71.8 billion in the third quarter, making Friday's gross receipts of $85.8 billion the largest in a single day in history, the Treasury Department said on Monday." (Mark Felsenthal, "Big Tax Haul Signals Strong Profits," Reuters, 9/18/06)

What about actual people, Pat?

Here’s an alternative: Instead or telling Americans they need to pay more, how about just collecting what’s already owed? Earlier this year, we were told that as much as $345 billion--that's right, billion--in taxes went uncollected in 2001. The magnitude of that number cannot be overstated. If unpaid taxes totaled a similar amount last year, it would have been more than enough to wipe out the $248 billion federal deficit reported for fiscal 2006—with plenty to spare.

First, Pat, just because those taxes weren't collected in 2001 doesn't mean they weren't collected. We already go after it:

Late payments and other IRS enforcement and compliance efforts, including taxpayer audits and collection activities (payment arrangements, liens, levies and other legal actions) recover some of the Tax Gap. For Tax Year 2001, the IRS expects eventually to collect an additional $55 billion of the tax gap, reducing the net amount of the tax gap to between $257 billion and $298 billion.

So what about that $250-$300 Billion not collected... who has it?

Among the areas where taxpayer compliance appears to have worsened are:

Reporting of net income from flow-through entities, such as partnerships and S corporations.
Reporting of proprietor income and expenses, such as gross receipts, bad debts and vehicle expenses
Reporting of various types of deductions

So here's Pat's alternative - Fix the economy by auditing every single small business owner, and a hefty sample of those who itemize deductions.

The former Treasury Secretary was right about one thing. There are serious, long term structural problems that must be addressed, most notably with Social Security and Medicare. But it’s wrong to suggest that the only answer is to increase taxes now. First, any immediate tax hike wouldn’t be used to help Social Security or Medicare because those programs are now running surpluses and will for years to come. Does anybody seriously believe Democrats would increase taxes now, then set the money aside? They’d simply spend it, and worry about entitlement programs later.

There are problems. Nobody suggested the only answer was to increase taxes. Nobody. Let me repeat - Nobody. I've been trying (prior to this post) to be more diplomatic in the days post-election, but quite simply, P(lagi)a(ris)t is a pathetic, dishonest, partisan hack. Need more proof? He asks if anyone seriously believes Democrats... We've had an astronomical increase in the budget deficit, due not just to the revenue decreases from the irresponsible tax cuts, but to dramatically increased spending. Republicans don't spend cash, they run up the credit cards and blame Democrats for paying the bills. What did Al Gore want to do with the surplus? Put it in a lock-box (set money aside) to protect entitlement programs. So yes, I do believe that Democrats are more likely to be responsible with my money.

Further, Rubin proposed tax hikes as a rushed first response, not a last resort. There are numerous options for reform in Social Security, Medicare and all other government programs that should be considered before higher taxes are even brought to the table for discussion.

No, Rubin didn't. He didn't propose tax hikes at all. That's a bald-faced lie. Patrick J. Tiberi is lying. Not telling the truth. Fabricating. Making stuff up. Bearing False Witness.

The timing of Rubin’s let’s-raise-taxes statement was curious for another reason. He waited until after the election. He must have known that a number of Democrat candidates told voters they were against tax increases. His statement to the contrary, if offered during the campaign, would have put them in an extremely uncomfortable position. Now, of course, voters could be forgiven for wondering if they’ll be hearing the same old song from Democrats, saying one thing before election day, then doing the opposite once they get to Washington.

No, Pat, he waited until after the election to provide consultation to the Dems because the minority party is pretty impotent when it comes to setting budget policy. I'm sure you'll get used to it.

We’ll find out after they officially take over as the majority party in Congress on January third.

Yes we will, Pat. I only regret that people didn't get more of a taste of the real Rep. Tiberi a month ago, and that you'll still have a front row seat when it happens.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Campbell to Seek Recount in OH House 20th District

From Ms. Campbell:

yes we will be seeking a recount

The certified results indicate a total of 43356 votes were counted. The margin is down to 364 votes. With just .17% more of the margin, we would qualify for an automatic recount, so yes, we will be requesting one as well as seeking to see all the provisionals and absentees that were rejected and not counted. By our calculations we received nearly 70% of the provisionals which were counted.
So you can see why we are not even close to conceding at this point. When all the legitimate votes are counted - and counted fairly - then the results are final.

Updates as I get them.

Hey Matt, Justify My Love

If you've descended this deep into the blogosphere, you no doubt already know that Matthew Damschroder, Franklin County BOE Director, has announced the official vote counts for Franklin County, which have resulted in the erasing of approximately two-thirds of the margin in both the nationally watched Kilroy-Pryce race, and the locally watched OH House 20 race between Bev Campbell and Jim McGregor.

These are pretty big changes, so show me the data. I've talked about the improvements in cleanliness and transparency, and I realize that these two things are negatively correlated with speed, but please... If you're announcing the numbers to the media, you can post the numbers to the web.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So much for the "horse-race" bias

The Dispatch headline reads:

Pryce’s lead over Kilroy grows with 2 counties’ totals

The first sentence reads:

Deborah Pryce’s lead over Mary Jo Kilroy grew by 181 votes yesterday in their still-undecided congressional race, a smaller gain than expected in the Republican strongholds of Madison and Union counties. (emphasis added)

I thought the media was primarily interested in seeing competetive races. So why the headline emphasizing the numerical expansion of the gap rather than the narrowing of the predictive gap? For that matter, why does the discovery of 30 uncounted voting machines not warrant a headline?

I am, however, glad that my complaint is only with the headline writer, not the article itself nor the events described.

FWIW I, like many bloggers, have been quick to criticize Matthew Damschroder and the Franklin County BOE when I thought they've done a less-than-acceptable job. This year it should be noted that the Unofficial Abstract of Votes and the distribution of provisional ballots cast were immediately posted in Excel format and the distribution of voting machines was posted along with the formula-based guidance on machine numbers/precinct for each voting location. So far, the 2006 election looks much cleaner on paper than the 2004 election did, and the transparency added to the data reporting means I haven't had to work nearly as hard to get the data to examine that this time around.

I didn't much care for the way that M.D. verbally responded to criticism last time around, but to give credit where it's due: actions speak louder than words, and although there are some new problems, the BOE has taken visible steps to remedy every one of the complaints from last time around. That's a whole lot better than a bunch of mea culpas and the same old same old come election time.

Let's hope they keep it up through the provisional count, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Bev Campbell and MJK.

P.S. I'm kind of late to the party publicizing Marie Wilson's talk at OSU next week. I'm particularly embarrassed because I got a personal heads-up from Jill at WLST, who did a really good interview with Wilson, and because good female candidates like Emily Kreider and Bev Campbell don't grow on trees.

I can't go but I'm working on a proxy. If you plan on going, drop me a line.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Who's Been Working on the Railroad?

There's a story in Sunday's Dispatch about local stakeholders grumpily muttering about a proposed streetcar line in Columbus. Well, it's Monday morning, and I figure I can be grumpy with the best of them...

Why can we not get some real leadership on mass transit? I get really damned sick of this. Energy is arguably the #1 domestic issue nationally, and increased mass transit is always mentioned in conservation plans. Then we try to implement it locally and/or regionally and nothing happens. Some background:

in 1999, Columbus voters had the opportunity to provide funding to a local commuter rail network. They supposedly were in favor of it when they talked to pollsters. They decidedly were not when they got into the voting booths. Then, when contacted by pollsters again, Ohioans overwhelmingly supported rail.

In 2006, after years of study, the Central Ohio Transportation Authority came up with a modest light-rail proposal, a streetcar proposal, and a hi-speed bus proposal for the north corridor, linking downtown to the Short North, Campus, Clintonville, and Worthington. After a public meeting discussing the alternatives, it was determined that there wasn't enough support for any of them. They approved endorsing a plan to increase regular bus service.

Public support for increased taxes for increased bus service was lukewarm at best, with people telling the Dispatch that they would support light-rail or other new technologies, but never support increased automotive mass transit.

Regardless, the issue of a new tax levy for increased COTA bus service was on the ballot in Franklin County this election, and it passed. We think. The margin is less than 4000 votes with 20000 provisionals outstanding.

Of course, people might be more inclined to support local rail options if they provided convenient connections to regional rail networks. Like the Ohio Hub network, which would connect to the MidWest Regional Railway System. If that system ever gets built. It was proposed in 1996, and made slow progress through at least 2004. The Ohio Hub is still being discussed, but nobody seems to be talking much about MWRRS any more, although it is apparently still a living project.

Despite the efforts of conservatives who believe that passenger rail is too unpopular to ever become a reality, and that studying the issue is just low-grade pork.

So we have multiple local and regional mass transit proposals with extensive background research and support. A major part of the regional proposals involves connecting to air transport. If all were implemented we could have an incredibly convenient and efficient sytem of transport that uses less energy and creates economic opportunities. We see time and again that the public supports alternative transportation options generally.

What do we get? We get communities opposing the individual small pieces of the puzzle, and supporting the one mass transit piece that nobody really likes.

Is this inevitable? Apparently not. When we're talking about freight instead of passenger service, we can bend over backwards to get things done. The Rickenbacker intermodal facility, a partnership between local, state, federal, and private interests is moving forward without a vote by the people of central Ohio. Pushing this project is supposed what earned the three Republican Congressional Reps from Central Ohio the endorsement of the Dispatch in the November elections. It looks to increase the transfer between rail and OTR freight, with one of the benefits being reduced highway usage.

So, although Rail Transport has its advocates in Ohio, where is the coordinated leadership for local/regional/national, public/private integration of mass passenger transit? Because it needs to get done, and without a real vision to sell people, and a grand sense of shared responsibility that doesn't leave one community or neighborhood holding the bag, it won't. Connecting downtown to the Short North is a good start. Mayor Coleman has done a good job making that case. Connecting the streetcar to the Madison/Milwaukee Wisconsin Hi-Speed Rail Corridor is obviously a much tougher, but In my humble opinion, necessary job.

Doesn't anybody else want to see that case made?

Friday, November 17, 2006

I can be beaten down, but I cannot be broken.

Honestly, As In Last Tuesday's Obviously Terrific Hometown Election. Various Initiatives Couldn't Turn Ohio Red. Subsequently, Various Attempts Lacked Intelligence And Never Took Hold. And I Looked High And Immeasurably Low, Taking On Many Intrepid Conservative Hacks, Idiotic Goons, And Naysayers.

I hope y'all enjoy the weekend, but not too much.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In Extremis #1, because people like graphs

There is quite a bit of hope resting on the outstanding provisional ballots here in Franklin County. Bev Campbell is still hoping for enough votes to defeat Jim McGregor in the 20th State House District, and Mary Jo Kilroy is still hoping to take the OH-15 Race away from Deb Pryce.

Democrats tend to hold out this hope because there is a belief that Provisional Votes break for the Democrats. This is due, once again, to the increased housing instability which leads to greater rates of provisional voting, among low income urban voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. But does it really happen?

First, let me tell you why you shouldn't believe it. Each graph you see here (and most every one elsewhere) is based on Provisional Ballots cast. There is every reason to believe that Republicans will hold the same advantages in having Provisional Ballots accepted as they did in avoiding having to cast such ballots in the first place.

Now, however, I'll show you some actual data supporting that belief. Using the proportion of the vote that went to Sykes as a proxy for Dem Partisanship (see earlier post-mortems), it's obvious that as Dem partisanship increases, the proportion of ballots that are cast provisionally also increases:

What is also obvious, is that this line isn't nearly as clean as some of the others I've plotted. The relationship holds fairly well for Republican and Swing Districts, and goes totally non-linear for Dem Precincts. This brings up two points: A) It seems that Dem Leaning districts are categorically different in terms of provisional ballot usage, and B) Yes, these high-Dem precincts are the same ones that I said tended to be lower in turnout.

To look at this, I divided the precincts into D-Leaning (Sykes Vote > 50%, n=323) and R-Leaning (Sykes vote <= 50%, n=410). By percentage, 5.1% of R-leaning precinct votes were cast provisionally, as opposed to 8.4% in D-leaning precincts (more than 1.5 times the rate). By gross votes, more than 20,000 more regular votes were cast in R-precincts than in D-precincts, but 3000+ more provisional votes were cast in D-leaning precincts.

Finally, it is not unreasonable to assume that within each individual precinct, that Dem voters were more likely than R voters to vote provisionally, which would intensify the effects displayed at the precinct level. I'll do my final post-mortem after the votes are counted this weekend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Post-Mortem #2, Why We Tend to Lose

There are a lot of reasons that you always see the pattern displayed below, not the least of which is that the greater transience of folks in lower Socio-Economic brackets results in a greater number of 'abandoned' registrations in Dem precincts (this is what the folk on the right worry about in terms of fraud), leading to situations where registrations outnumber voters and perfect turnout is impossible.

But underneath it all, the effect is what it is. As Dem partisanship increases, turnout decreases. In 2004, you could see the GOTV effort in a big spike that occured when partisanship got up over 85% Dem. The rest of the line showed the old familiar negative slope.

The graph below shows Barbara Sykes's vote decreasing as turnout increases. It shows Sherrod Brown's vote decreasing at a slightly slower rate, with a fairly consistent 3 point advantage over Sykes. Strickland's line is much different. First of all, the regression line only gives us 2/3 as much information as Syke's and Brown's lines give us (meaning that the Strickland vote is less related to precinct turnout). Secondly, the slope is much less negative, meaning that as precincts display greater turnout (and Republican Partisanship), Strickland lost much less support than the other Dems shown here. So Strickland cruised by gaining more support in Republican territory, Brown won by getting smaller but more consistent increases in support across the board.

What the graph really shows, though, is that if we could get out voters in our solid neighborhoods the way the GOP does in theirs, we would win. Most every race, most every time.

Make Sure Your Vote is Counted

We're not actually done with the election yet. Lawyers are negotiating rules for counting provisional ballots, and a ton of them are still out there. The Kilroy campaign is distributing the following call to provisional voters. (They are specifically looking for help in the 15th U.S. House district, obviously, but if you happened to cast a provisional vote for Bev Campbell for State Representative, email me at and I will pass your info on to the Campbell campaign):

The election hangs in the balance and Kilroy for Congress wants every vote to count! Almost 10,000 people in OH-15 cast Provisional Ballots and may need to provide further ID to make their votes count. If you or anyone you know received a yellow paper receipt when you voted, or believe you voted provisionally, you have only until this Friday, November 17th to verify your identity in person at the Board of Elections!

PLEASE CALL (614) 267-2006 OR EMAIL
- If you or anyone you know voted provisionally
- If you need a ride to the Board of Elections (280 E. Broad St. – 43215)
- If you or anyone you know experienced problems at the polls
- If you have any questions or concerns about your voting rights

We are offering rides to and from the Board of Elections during the following times:
Tuesday – Thursday / 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Friday / 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
We will pick you up at home or work at whatever time is convenient for you, provide information and assistance at the Board of Elections, and wait outside to give you a ride home. We'll even have food and drink if you need to use your break time or lunch hour!

Monday, November 13, 2006

As Promised, post-mortem #1

First of all, thanks for your patience, those of you who have been checking back here. Second, thanks for your patience, those of you who are insisting that every vote be counted. I will keep you updated as I get info on the provisionals and absentees in House District 20.

There will be some changes coming to Blue Bexley. Some changes will be merely cosmetic, others will be more substantive. I'm happy to take suggestions, as well.

In the meantime, here's the first autopsy data on the SS-3 race:

I started with the idea that this district was split pretty evenly at the top of the ticket in '04, which means that voters were more pro-Kerry here than statewide, and that the top of the ticket went overwhelmingly blue in '06. The question then is whether the district trended rightward this go-around compared to '04, if Goodman over-achieved for a Republican, or if using the top of the ticket is simply an inaccurate measure of partisan tendencies.

So the 3rd State Senate District went for Strickland by approximately a 24% Margin (61-37), which is almost identical to the 60-37 margin being reported unofficially statewide. So Democrats at the top of the ticket apparently did very well, and just as well as they did statewide.

But the Coattails were pretty short statewide, with the Democrat Sykes losing very narrowly to Republican Taylor for State Auditor. As such, using the gubernatorial vote as an estimate of partisanship is overstating things. In line with this, Taylor received almost 5000 more votes than Sykes in SS-3. So if we assume that the Sykes vote represents the partisanship of a district more accurately, the Sykes vote makes a good basis for comparison when analyzing other Dem races.

Emily did not do as well as Sykes in the 3rd District. There were two reasons for this:

1) In general, Sykes voters were only voting for Emily about 94% of the time, meaning that Emily lost about 6% of the Dem-leaning voters, and

2) Specifically, although a few precincts primarily in Westerville and Worthington, showed a pattern of Emily outperforming Barbara Sykes, a handful of traditionally Democratic precincts split their votes heavily between mostly Dems + David Goodman. As I implied earlier, that handful of Dem precincts is an embarrassing list:
Precinct Sykes-Kreider (%)


So all in all, the Dems moved voters at the top of the ticket, did not get the coattails one would hope for, and as a result just getting the Dem-Freindly voters wouldn't have carried the district. A more balanced media approach by the party might very well have made things a rout up and down the ticket. It still would have been closer, however, if Emily had run stronger in some of the Goodman-friendly Dem precincts. Like in my hometown. As I said, changes are in store.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Blue Bexley

A few months ago, when I got started doing Blue Bexley, I believed that Dems were focusing too narrowly on certain races, that the area I lived in was too liberal to be represented by Republicans at all levels above City Council, and that even if we were looking at popular incumbents generally perceived as moderates, that making these races close would spread out the Republican defense.

Well, Bev Campbell ran a very close race, one that still has not been officially called by the Dispatch, but even on this blog she's done more to win this race than I did.

After I posted that Bob Shamansky was within the margin of error on the only independent poll, it appears that he has been defeated by a spread well outside of the margin of error on that poll.

Emily Kreider finished in between these two candidates, with approximately 45% of the vote. Most disappointing to me is that David Goodman (admittedly with a hometown advantage) ran stronger than any other Republican here in Bexley.

So even though Democrats have decisively taken the U.S. House (with the help of Ohio Dem Zachary Space), might have taken the U.S. Senate (with the help of Ohio's Sherrod Brown), taken the Governorship, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer races here in Ohio, and overwhelmingly passed an increase in the minimum wage...

And even though the Republican Party had to sink a million dollars into protecting an incumbent State Senator, an incumbent U.S. Representative had to hoard his considerable war chest and run a campaign that will permanently stain his reputation...

Even though I saw my writing and ideas have a small but noticeable effect on both the old and new media coverage of these races, as well as the campaigns themselves...

Even though I achieved all of the modest goals I laid out in late August...

Blue Bexley is still feeling like a big loser this morning.

I honestly believed that the candidates I wrote about not only deserved to win, but had come to have a legitimate chance at doing so, and I'm quite disappointed by the results. In all honesty, if there had been victories, I would have allowed myself to privately take a little credit, despite the fact that many many people put much more of themselves into the campaigns. In that spirit, however, I feel that I bear some of the blame.

So, Blue Bexley means something else this week. If you would like to bask in the glow of a resounding Dem Election night, this won't be the place. If you do visit, expect some autopsies and data runs (I'm a data geek by trade) for the next week or two. Then we start on 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'll comment when I get an answer on absentees

Right now, approximately 323000 votes are being reported by the Franklin County BOE.
As of the primary on MAy 2, there were approximately 741000 registered voters in Franklin County.

So with 4% of precincts left to report, 43% of Franklin County voters have voted, in an election that everyone predicted to hve 51%-55% turnout. So I'm curious (or pick your adjective), are the reported 100,000 absentee votes included in the running totals? If not, all of the local races are up in the air. If so, things are not looking great for Shamansky, Kreider, or Campbell, although Bev has kept it close all night.

Congrats to all the Dems From Strickland to Space who have already been called tonight. I'll post at least once more tonight again tomorrow.

Kick Some

It is time for bed. I'll be getting up in 5 hours to pass out sample ballots in the rain 101 feet from the polling place at Capital U. From there I'll be bouncing around getting ready to leave for Minnesota. If that goes really well, I may have time to post from the 2000 acre hotspot at CMH. If not, I'll probably be full duplex out of the loop until I'm in my hotel in Minneapolis around dinnertime.

For everyone who will be working for the Kreider campaign, the Shamansky campaign, the Campbell campaign, on the ground, on the phones, or at the polls, kick some elephant ass, and I hope you'll tip one back for me at your celebration tonight.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Apology To Dispatch First, Then Disbelief toward Tiberi

I wrote about Candidate Match earlier, saying that I thought it was a neat tool, but that there was a big problem with the 12th District Comparison. I said that it was almost certainly an error on the part of Dispatch Media, but I later received a response from Jon Schwentes at Dispatch Media, and I owe them an apology:

Dear Mr. Sullivan:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding our interactive CandidateMatch feature.
The Dispatch Media Group sent questionnaires to all of the gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates who earned a spot on Ohio's 2006 general-election ballot.
This year, as in 2004, Rep. Tiberi's campaign staff objected to the CandidateMatch format. As a result, this year, as in 2004, it chose to respond to each question with "Am ambivalent or have no opinion either way" -- as something of a protest, I presume.
Like you, I wish the Tiberi campaign had taken a different approach -- one that would have better served Ohioans trying to make educated decisions on Election Day.
Again, I appreciate your interest in our political coverage -- and in CandidateMatch in particular.
I'm curious -- did you find CandidateMatch helpful in the races for governor and/or U.S. Senate?
If you have any suggestions on ways we can improve the feature, please let us know.
Jon Schwantes
Corporate Director/News Convergence
The Columbus Dispatch/Dispatch Media Group

The Dispatch was not at fault, nor did they make a mistake. The system still works unfairly in Tiberi's favor for scoring purposes if the user isn't paying attention, but...

Just to be clear, if a candidate doesn't answer a particular question, it will either be marked as such ('candidate did not answer'), or an answer will be assigned based on public statements from the candidate, and clearly marked as an 'assigned' answer. The Tiberi campaign did not throw the survey away, or send it back with a statement that they refused to answer.

They actually filled in the bubbles and submitted the questionnaire.

So, when someone says, "I strongly believe that adult women should have unrestricted access to abortion, but my friend here disagrees, where does Pat Tiberi stand?" You can tell them that

Pat Tiberi is ambivalent on the question of unrestricted abortion.

Death Penalty? Pat has no opinion either way. It's not that you don't know his opinion, he simply does not have one.

Flat Tax? Ambivalent. Some days Yes, Some days No.

Is there a single issue that Pat cares about? Nope. But at least he's not lazy. He did care enough to take the time to say "I don't care" 30 separate times.