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.