Thursday, September 27, 2007

Party Time. Excellent.

My alma mater is playing my wife's alma mater this weekend. I may have helped give our daughter a purple mohawk last week, but Charlotte needs to put that in the past, now, and get back behind Da's team.

After our game (which I must watch, as usual, in hiding) , and before the kickoff of everyone else's, is the first candidate-hosted party I've been invited to: the Robyn Jones Tailgate Party. That's at 6:30pm on Saturday the 29th at her South Bexley residence, 825 Vernon Ave. I'm not special. All Bexley's invited, and I'm sure the rest of y'all would be welcome.

Then on Sunday the 30th, while my (legitimately shameful) pro team is getting thrashed by my wife's pro team, Travis Irvine will be holding the second such party I've been invited to. The "Social" will take place from 1-4pm at his family's South Bexley residence, 729 College Ave. Mr. Irvine's campaign is asking for RSVPs at but I would doubt that spontaneous attendance decisions will be dealt with harshly.

Interestingly (at least to me) both candidates have explicitly used the sectional qualifier in their campaign materials. For those of you outside the area, a friend of mine who's lived on the east side much longer slipped the other day and referred to South Bexley as the "poor part of Bexley*." When I laughed at that, she explained that that was how her acquaintances in Bexley thought of South Bexley. Then she paused, amused, and stated that none of them lived in Bexley nowadays anyway.

That series of statements fits pretty well with my impressions and intuitions. I do feel some SoBe solidarity, and I have a bit of a tendency toward class agitation, so the candidates are probably gaining some small amount of ground with me by self-identifying. But does it help overall? I'm curious, and I guess we shall see.

*A rough look at real estate listings yields a current median asking price for single-family homes of about $499k in Central Bexley and about $209k in South Bexley. A considerable and noticeable difference, to be sure, but for someone who has lived in a wide range of circumstances over the lifecourse, it's funny** to me to think of a place like South Bexley as "poor," even in a relative sense.

** In case you were wondering, that's sometimes funny in the sense of 'ha-ha', but other times funny in the sense of 'strange', and under the right circumstances, funny in the sense of 'seething with righteous indignation at the complete lack of understanding of actual poverty.' Given the context, this time was actually just funny-ha-ha, mixed with funny-strange.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Credit Where Due

I said I was going to be paying attention to Pat Tiberi's vote on the extension and expansion of SCHIP, the popular governmental health insurance program that seeks to make sure lower income kids have access to health insurance. Mr. Tiberi's primary stated objections had been addressed as the bill was modified in the Senate, but I admit I was dubious that it would make a difference. Local and state media had been mentioning three 'moderate' Ohio Republicans who were considered likely to vote for the compromise bill, and not too surprisingly, Tiberi wasn't one of them.

In the end, however, six Ohio Republicans were among the 45 GOP house members to vote for the bill. Pat Tiberi was one of the six. Bush's opposition will keep the expansion from happening for now, but it was the right vote to make. For this day, as a constituent, I've got one thing to say:


We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finally, a name in OH-12

Jerid at BSB is reporting that Columbus City Councilman Kevin Boyce is being encouraged to run against Pat Tiberi next year in the 12th district race. Interestingly, Jerid is not saying that Mr. Boyce has expressed any interest in the race. He's not saying that anyone has spoken directly with Mr. Boyce about running. As a matter of fact, Jerid says that a) the Dems have been looking for a candidate in the 12th, and that b) Dems like 12th-district resident Boyce's future, leaving the reader to connect some dots.

I like Kevin Boyce. I would certainly support his run were he to undertake one. But I don't think he can win in 2008. People keep saying, and they are correct, that the right candidate, running the right campaign, in the right context, would have a better than even shot at knocking off Pat T. Unfortunately, my idea of the right candidate, as I've said repeatedly, is a suburban female, someone like Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher or a (carpet-bagging) Paula Brooks. A big chunk of the 12th sits in urban Franklin County. The Dem candidate always wins that part of the district. A candidate like Ed Brown with no money and a Libertarian-style platform still pulls better than 33% when he runs because of straight ticket urban and inner ring voters. A candidate like Bob Shamansky, with 1000 times the financing gets less than 45% of the vote, because of Delaware and Western Licking County straight ticket R voters. The only way to win the district, as it is currently drawn, is to win over at least some independents in Delaware and Licking, and unfortunately being a male Columbus City Councilman is about the worst bio one can have if that's your objective.

Jerid says that there is a long line of potential candidates in the 12th. It's certainly possible. The DCCC has never returned any of my emails, and none of the people I have cornered have ever admitted knowing of any names under consideration for recruitment. People tell Jerid things, though, so I'll trust him. The thing is, I'm a bit worried that we are giving up on '08 and even '10 here in the 12th, and waiting for redistricting to split Delaware off from eastern Franklin County, at which point a still very young Boyce would make an ideal candidate.

Of course, I'd be more than happy to retrospectively mock my stupidity 14 months from now.

My apologies, one way or the other...

I tried to embed the campaign video from Bill Minckler's website here. I have not been able to stop the video from auto-playing, and more importantly, something about the video or the way I embedded it crashes Blogger's Post Editor, so I can't even just remove the video and replace it with a link. I could have recreated the text of the post by cutting/pasting and just a link to the video, but that occurred to me after I got frustrated and deleted the whole thing, so I would have had to start from scratch.

So... The first web video of the 2007 mayoral campaign is available at Bill Minckler's website,

p.s. I also mused about web vs. traditional campaigning, etc., etc. If it had been that brilliant, trust me, I would have found a way to salvage it.

More on the FCDP Endorsement of Jones

I received an email from Suzanne Goldsmith-Hirsch today with a more detailed announcement of the party's endorsement of Robyn Jones. If this were any other race, my self-appointed role would involve pushing the Jones candidacy at this point. That's not my current agenda, but I figured that it should be noted.

In the meantime, add Ms. Jones to the list of candidates with websites. Like Blue Bexley, there are multiple URL's that can get you there, but for simplicity's sake I'm replacing them all with the easier-to-remember - even in the letter below (w/permission):

Dear Precinct and Block Captains, and other interested Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters,

The Franklin County Democratic Party voted last Wednesday to endorse candidate Robyn Jones for Mayor of Bexley. Their vote was based on the unanimous recommendation of a committee which included me and the other ward leaders (Cynthia Ruccia, David Neubauer and Marc Fishel) as well as four party representatives from various sectors.

We interviewed the three candidates (out of a field of 8) who sought party endorsement: Robyn, Bill Minckler and Bill Harvey. Frankly, all three seemed to be intelligent and thoughtful candidates but it was our assessment that Robyn has the most relevant experience, from her time on the City Council, the best track record of getting out in the community and talking with people about what's going on in Bexley, a strong history of working with the party (she is one of the few candidates in recent memory to run explicitly as a Democrat for City Council) and most importantly, a demonstrated ability to campaign hard and win. It was our assessment that that will be very important in such a splintered field.

Robyn also has a unique and relevant set of skills and background: she is a former public school teacher (14 years) as well as a lawyer with 13 years' experience at the Ohio Dept. of Taxation. She is well-versed in the issues surrounding real estate taxes, tax abatement and development. Here's a link to her website:

Why does party affiliation or endorsement matter in the Mayoral election? Our municipal elections are non-partisan, after all. I think it matters because

a) It is a strong indicator of a candidate who shares some of our most essential values, such as compassion, the role of government in strengthening communities, and the importance of equal opportunity for all, and

b) Electing strong Democrats at the local level strengthens our party's ability to field, support and elect Democrats at the state and national level. In some cases, municipal office is the first step to higher office. In others, these local office-holders can bring leadership and momentum to our local organizing efforts.

I don't think we should inject national politics into a local mayor's race. But I do think that party affiliation (and endorsement) is an important factor to consider when choosing a mayor or city councillor.

Robyn is hosting a "tailgate party" at her house, 825 Vernon Road, at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, September 29. I encourage you to attend and find out more about Robyn. Further, please consider hosting a coffee or other casual gathering where your friends and neighbors can meet Robyn and get a sense of her candidacy. If you agree that Robyn deserves your support, then let's try to put the organization we have been building to work on her behalf!
Thanks for your time,

Note to other candidates: I will publicize any and all campaign events including fundraisers like Ms. Jones' tailgate. Just send me the info.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Other Updates

1) After missing the meeting on Wednesday, I just got word that the Franklin County Democratic Party endorsed Robyn Jones for mayor. I will hopefully have more on that anon.

2) Two of the three newsweeklies have relatively new Bexley beat reporters. I noted earlier that Bonnie Butcher had taken over the beat for ThisWeek, but I've been a bit behind in noting that Sara Johnson had taken over from David Cross at SNP's Bexley News. I first heard about the switch from someone who had spoken with her at a city council meeting, and folks seem impressed with her. One of the only conversations I had with her predecessor was about the SNP website, and I was told that a major upgrade was coming at the end of this summer. Well, it's here, and it makes a decent first impression.

3) I've been getting a little overly mayor-focused. I'll try to have Council and School-Board updates this week.

4) I'll be watching Pat Tiberi on the SCHIP (child and family health insurance) issue. He made a really big deal about not wanting to cut benefits for seniors to pay for expansion. Now that that's gone, will he vote with the overwhelming majority, or with the declining few who won't vote against W on anything?