Friday, October 20, 2006


Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do, and I personally endorse Issue 2. Some folks cynically believe that Issue 2 is the left-wing response to 2004's Issue 1, widely seen as a Get Out The Vote tool for the right wing. Even if that is true, that's not what's going to carry OH-12, SS-3, or SH-20. It's a base issue in a swing region.

In 2004 I helped one of the independent progressive groups do Get Out The Vote work in the days immediately leading up to the election. If nothing else, my trip to the Driving Park Rec Ctr. well after the polls had scheduled to close will always be with me, chirping on my shoulder.

In 2004, the Dem precincts in Columbus had extremely good turnout. This shouldn't be a surprise, as every Dem-leaning precinct had four or five volunteers walking it from four or five different volunteer outfits. I know that there is only so much coordination that can legally go on, but we had overkill in the city limits and not a whole lot of folks elsewhere, at least from what I heard.
And we lost.

We are not going to get Emily Kreider or Bob Shamansky or Bev Campbell elected without Dems and Independents in the suburbs coming out to vote. I'm not so worried about Bexley, as I've met people who are working very hard to do thorough GOTV in a relatively small area since I've started this blog. So please, find out what you can do in *your* hometown. There are Dems in Gahanna, there are Dems in Westerville, there are people fed up and looking for a change in Reynoldsburg, in Delaware, in Worthington. I'm not saying that getting out the vote in Columbus, Bexley, Whitehall, etc. isn't important. I'm just saying that if you want your town to be involved, that starts with you.

I'll be watching the exciting stuff from afar. I have to fly to Minneapolis for work early on the afternoon of the 7th, meaning any volunteer work I do on election day will have to be done by 10am, and I will miss out on all of the victory parties that evening. So please, one of y'all, take my place helping out on election day. Click on one of the candidate links, or contact your County's Dem party, and if all else fails, email me and I'll find someone who could use your help. You'll have an absolute blast, you'll feel ownership in the victories, and I'll be jealous of you.

Of course, you don't have to wait until election day. This weekend's a good time to start. I know for a fact that the Kreider campaign is going out and walking neighborhoods on Saturday. I'm sure they'd love to have you.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

American Dreams

Neither of the candidates that I spend most of my time writing about are campaigning on anything like "The American Dream" as a theme. It's difficult to do so nowadays without sounding cheesy and insincere anyway. But even though Bob Shamansky and Emily Kreider are from very different generations and very different tax brackets, I was recently very struck by the parallels in the stories they tell of how their families came to Central Ohio, and how that influences what they do now.

In an oral history recorded for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society in 1993, Bob Shamansky describes the migrations of his parents' families:

"With respect to my personal history, I was born on April 18, 1927. My parents were living at 525 South Drexel Avenue in Bexley, Ohio. I was the younger son. My brother, Samuel C. Shamansky is 4 ½ years older than I.

My mother’s name was Sarah Greenberg, her father was Samuel Greenberg and her mother was Rebecca Greenberg. They came from Russia somewhere between Zhitomir and Berditchev which is west of Kiev. My mother was born in Russia but my maternal grandfather came to this country in the 1890s and I’m sure he originally came as a peddler. I don’t know whether he had a pushcart but he was a peddler and I was told that they were so poor, of course, that they lived in the "red light district" because that was the only place they could afford. That was Spring Street over by the prison and by the railroad station. They got off the train and found the cheapest place to live.

The interesting parallel to that is, my father was born in Manchester, England. My paternal grandparents were Michael Shamansky and his wife, Rachel whose maiden name had been Clayman. They were married, I believe, in Riga, which was the Russian empire but was in Latvia. They went to Manchester, England first, in 1892 where my father was born. He was the eldest of the surviving children. In 1981, I went to Manchester, England to look up his birth record. I thought he was born in 1895 but in fact, he was born in 1892 and when I went to the registry office in Manchester, I obviously have a Jewish name . . there’s a Jewish section of the library in Manchester. The public library in Manchester has a Jewish historical section.

At the registry, when I gave my name and they looked up my father’s birth record which was 1892, he was listed as being born in Cheatham and that was where the Jewish immigrants were living at the time, having come from Russia.

I then went to the Manchester Public Library to look up the history of Cheatham, got a map and . . . lo and behold! of course, it was behind a prison near the railroad station. Whether my paternal grandparents came from Riga to Manchester, that’s where they ended up living, obviously the poorest part of town where immigrants could come. That was my maternal grandparents experience in Columbus, having come directly from Russia, as far as I know."

There's no more railroad station or prison near Spring and 3rd, and it's not a "red-light" district anymore. But there is still plenty of segregation between haves and have-nots in Central Ohio. Mr. Shamansky and I are fortunate enough to reside in Bexley, a 'desirable' suburban island surrounded by Columbus's east side. There is another 'suburban' island on the east-side, called Whitehall. According to the 2000 census, the median family income in Franklin County was $53905, in Bexley it was $83363, and in Whitehall, it was $37296. In her recent interview with Meet the Bloggers, Emily made a wistful sounding joke that I don't think the panel of bloggers really got, not being from around here. When asked if she was born and bred in the district, she replied:

"I was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but for most of my life I've lived in Central Ohio. I grew up on the East Side, in Whitehall, and graduated from Whitehall-Yearling. I arrived in Columbus via Greyhound Bus, (pause) just down the street from the Statehouse (laughs)."

The Greyhound Station is literally a 1000 feet from the Statehouse, but if you've been in both, you know the figurative distance is light-years. The shortest path definitely doesn't take you through Whitehall. It'll have taken her decades to travel those three blocks, but in less than three weeks from now, she'll have done it.

Republicans try to sell you something they call the American dream. Democrats embody it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Writing About Republican Dishonesty Gets Boring

But somebody's gotta do it. Today's example is from the Bexley News - Letters to the Editor. The letter is in the Oct. 18 print issue, but it does not appear that the Suburban News Publications website has posted this week's letters to the electronic version at this time.

Anyway, the letter goes like this:

"To the Editor-
"At a recent candidate's forum, I had the opportunity to hear from both candidates for State Senate - David Goodman and Emily Kreider. As an educator, a former PTA vice-president, and a mother of two sons who attended Westerville City Schools first through twelfth grade, I was listening carefully for their positions on how to improve our schools.

"David Goodman talks about how much of our tax dollars have already gone to our schools, but he recognizes that it isn't enough and that education needs to be an even bigger priority of the state budget. He is also concerned about property taxes and how they burden working families, particularly senior citizens. He has taken steps to help, introducing a bill to cap property taxes for seniors on a fixed income.
"From Emily Kreider, I heard a lot of rhetoric, but very few ideas on how to improve our current situation. I came to the forum with an open mind, and sincerely wanted to hear how both candidates believed they could improve the childrens' education in Ohio.
"Senator Goodman has shown that he has a plan for the future, and the expertise and drive to achieve his goals..."

blah blah Kreider's vague blah missed levy votes blah

"...To me the choice is clear in this race. I am backing David Goodman."

-Debra L Aichele

I could write about how Goodman's plan for schools is to stay the stellar course that the legislature has been on, or that the property tax cap wasn't his idea, but those things, as I said, are starting to get boring.

So I'll just say that one of those sons that Debra Aichele mentioned, Nathan Aichele, must be very proud of his mother's ability to keep an open mind, even though he works for Goodman's Ohio State Senate Republican Caucus.

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Bev Campbell Brings up an Excellent Point

From the comments:

Bev Campbell said...

Bev Campbell here. Just want to make sure that you and your readers know that I am accepting contributions through ActBlue. With three weeks left, we have learned that not only are we polling ahead of the incumbent, Jim McGregor but that "they" are scared of us. I cannot imagine why...."I just tell them the truth, and they think it is ____!"

It is now easier than ever to donate to state level candidates through ActBlue. The Blue Bexley ActBlue page now allows you to contribute directly to both Bev Campbell and Emily Kreider without having to click out to the candidates' websites. You can contribute to multiple candidates with one transaction. It's easy. I just did it. To paraphrase the great poet T.S. Geisel:

Have you donated money to a Dem Candidate?
You should.
Donating is fun,
And fun is good.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Shamansky cracks another big list - CQ Politics

After Bob Shamansky's challenge in OH-12 making the updated list of competetive house races in the National Journal, I did a celebratory post, but noted my frustration that the seat was still listed as "safe republican" in the other major publications tracking house races.
I believe my quote from 54 hours ago was:

...It has been frustrating watching two of the other publications that monitor House races, CQ and the Cook Report, continue to list this seat in that category...

One down one to go. CQ Politics has just upgraded the race from "Safe Republican" to "Republican Favored" (I know, celebrating that a race is 'Republican-Favored' may seem strange and at best fantastically over-optimistic, but it's the trend lines, the big mo that matters here), citing the ability and willingness of Bob to put his money where his mouth is.

Which reminds me, nobody's asking you to put up a million of your own dollars to take back the house, but I'm asking you to please go click to ActBlue, and give 5 or ten bucks to somebody. You'll have to click out again to get to Emily Kreider's donation form, but Bob Shamansky and most of the state office candidates from Strickland on down can take donations directly from that page. There's three weeks until election day, and there's still a lot of work to be done.

Oh, and if you read the CQ article, notice the passage:

" the latest, and one of the least likely, Democrats to elbow his way into competition this year."

Great minds think alike.

p.s. Somebody, Somewhere has to have heard about some polling in this race. Both campaigns must have their own data, but I haven't heard any leaks. If anyone else has heard rumors, or has been sampled by a poll in the field, please drop me a line. Thx.

Emily Kreider Podcasts up on MTB

Speaking of subscriptions, if I had added Meet The Bloggers to my reader before (a situation I have since rectified), I would have noticed that the podcasts from Emily Kreider's Meet The Bloggers interview had gone up over the weekend. I haven't had a chance to listen yet myself, but I'll try to post some highlights tonight.

Monday, October 16, 2006


1) "David" "Goodman" "Abortion." Apparently, if you search on these three words using Google, Blue Bexley comes up as a hit (#5 out of 386000 at post-time). I'm sure that's because of the debate wrap-up post. But whoever did that search this weekend reminded me of something: Goodman said at the debate that he has never been pro-choice, that anybody who thought so had been making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. Which makes me curious... if Ohio Republicans for Choice was jumping to conclusions when they donated money to Goodman's campaign in 1998, why didn't he clear things up before they donated money to him again in 2001?

2) There's a new aggregator in town, caled Blognetnews/Ohio. It looks kind of like LeftyBlogs, which is the source of the newswire over there on the sidebar of the main page, but it covers the entire ideological spectrum of Ohio blogs. I'm kind of ambivalent about participating, because I've been remarkably troll-free here (and the trolls I do get do a pretty good job of sticking to the script), and it seems like a good deal of the added exposure would just be as troll-bait. On the other hand, they use a strange metric of popularity (# of links to/wk) that made Blue Bexley appear to be the most influential left-side blog in Ohio last week. I'm not entirely immune to such things.

3) Finally, tying things all together: BlogNewsNet publishes my stuff automatically on their site by subscribing to my newsfeed. For those of you who don't know, there are a number of programs (readers) that will keep track of blog-postings and save them for you, or even send them to your inbox. They do this by monitoring the newsfeed, which is available for most blogs. I have put the link to my (atom) feed over there on the sidebar, for your convenience. A disadvantage to using the feed is that you might miss out on things like embedded YouTube videos (possibly depending on your reader). An advantage is that you never have to come to the site. This would disappoint me, as I'm a geek and I check the Sitemeter every night. I'm looking at what computers were on the blog each day, what they clicked to get here, what they clicked to leave. It lets me know how many of my visitors are local, which ones are from elsewhere, which headlines on LeftyBlogs catch folks' attention, and what Google Search Terms are leading folks here (see #1, above). I really enjoy the Sitemeter, primarily because it lets me know that people are reading the blog, and readership is growing each week. I don't have a good way of tracking feed subscribers, so I would miss out if everyone switched. So why am I telling you all of this? Because I respect your privacy, and I think you should know what information you are leaving here (for more details, click the little multi-colored box way down at the bottom of the page).

Why am I telling you now? because in case you haven't seen it yet, the Republican candidate for Sec. of State, Greg Hartmann, does not respect your privacy. Or perhaps your intelligence. One or the other. There's more to the story, including a lawsuit, but to me, these are the relevant portions:

By fall 2004, the Blue Ash Police Department in suburban Cincinnati told Hartmann that several suspects had told police how easily they were able to "steal" public information from the clerk's Web site to create new identities.

One man knew of arrest warrants for him so he went to Hartmann's site, looked up someone's traffic ticket and made a new fake ID, Blue Ash Police Sgt. Joe Boyatt wrote to Hartmann.

The man used the false ID to steal a car off a dealer's lot and withdraw $8,500 from another person's bank account before being arrested in Florida, Boyatt said.

Blue Ash cops told Hartmann how during a routine traffic stop they stumbled upon an identity theft ring that led back to the clerk's Web site.

Boyatt said recently 141 identities had been stolen by that ring.


Even in hindsight, Hartmann said, he would not have handled things differently.

"This is a challenging issue. You know what, I could have just pulled the whole Web site down three years ago and not provided any access, but I didn't think that was the right thing to do. I'm on the front edge of this issue in Ohio. I've tried to balance public access with the need to protect privacy," he said.

I am all for open access. Information is what excites me and motivates me. But this really should not have been anything resembling a challenging decision. You know what, Greg? Not only could you have pulled the whole site down three years ago, you had a professional, ethical, and moral responsibility to do so. I try to stay focused on the local/regional races, but this is so outrageous that I can't let it go. And if I can't, how can Republicans? How effective is it to check IDs and have watch lists if all of the next set of highjackers will have fake Cincinnati Drivers' Licenses and buy their plane tickets with brand new credit cards in our neighbors' names? How do you crack down on illegal immigration if every immigrant in Cincinnati has a Birth Certificate and Social Security card? An American frickin' Passport?!?!

Well? Greg?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I do believe. I really do.

I've been trying for two years to figure out how to convince people that a Democrat could win in Ohio's 12th Congressional District. All this time, I must not have been convinced myself, because I just had the sensation of "Oh My Sweet Et Cetera! Bob Shamansky's gonna win this thing!"

What convinced me? I saw the new Tiberi ad.

poopyhead, Poopyhead, POOPYHEAD!!!

The toothpick is officially coming out clean.

Shamansky elbows into National Journal Top 60, Bev Campbell elbows way into blogosphere

Many people are eagerly awaiting the first BCS poll, which should show the Buckeyes first in line for the national championship game in January. Many fewer people are aware that there are rankings for Congressional races. The most frequently cited is from the National Journal, and OH-12 has made its debut on the National Journal list of most competetive races, coming in at #54.

This is tremendous news. Pat Tiberi was considered to have a "safe seat," and all of the country has been watching other Ohio races, especially the 18th and the 15th. It has been frustrating watching two of the other publications that monitor House races, CQ and the Cook Report, continue to list this seat in that category, as locally the perception of the competetiveness of this race has been continuing to increase. Chris Bowers at MyDD has been including this race in his list of potential pick-ups for some time, but the National Journal is non-partisan, and MyDD is a liberal blog. I don't know what new information caused Chuck Todd to include this race, but it has to be good news for Bob Shamansky and bad news for Pat Tiberi. I'll provide more details if I can get them.

On an unrelated note, some of you may have noticed that I've added a candidate link over in the sidebar. Yellow Dog Sammy, in addition to saying some really nice things about Blue Bexley recently, also gave a very nice profile of Beverly Campbell's efforts to unseat Jim McGregor for State Representative. Ms. Campbell will represent Bexley at the statehouse, and as such should probably have received a little more attention here than she's gotten, especially since she's running a very net-friendly candidacy. I'm sure she could use some help spreading the word, so check out her website and YouTube posts.