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.