Saturday, March 15, 2008

Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan

During the mayoral race, the question of alcohol at Jeffrey Mansion came up repeatedly. You might be forgiven if you were under the impression that allowing alcohol was the biggest change on the table.

Not by a long shot.

After a year and a half, including two meetings with community input, the Jeffrey Mansion Commission will be presenting a Master Plan Proposal to the City Council at Tuesday's 7pm meeting. My thanks to the reader who sent me a copy of the proposal, which is also available on Bexley's website. Having read the proposal, but not followed its evolution very closely, a few things pop out:

1) The plan projects yearly expenses that are, down to the dollar, exactly the same as the projected yearly revenues: $788,550. What are the odds? I'm hoping that the revenues were estimated first, and expenses capped at projected revenues, but this is still a little scary.

2) The report goes out of its way to pre-emptively deal with the objections presented by the dissenting commission member (Ann Brennan) at the end of the report. With only the proposal as a guide, I have to say that the parking reconfiguration seems to be adequately sensitive to the need to retain natural features in the park. I wouldn't mind hearing from folks who think the case hasn't been made.

3) The plan absolutely depends on private sector donations. As is noted:

Note: The City will be responsible for payment of the general obligation debt as it comes due, thus, if fundraising or other planned sources of revenue ultimately prove insufficient to pay the debt, the City will be liable to make up the shortfall.

On the one hand, I would never bet against the generosity of Bexleyites. On the other hand, we're looking at a possible (probable) recession creating more demand and less supply for philanthropical cash. It might be nice to see some aggressive benchmarks regarding pledged donations that would need to be met prior to issuing bonds.

Other than that, it looks impressive to me.

Favorite Female Bloggers

A short while back, I got an email about a site where you could nominate your favorite female blogger in a competition designed to highlight the contributions of such folks. Because it was sent as an email, and not posted on her excellent blog, I figured I would read between the lines and I quietly went to the site and simply nominated the sender of the email*.

She has since posted about the contest, and it also seems that multiple nominations are okay, so I'll go ahead and post, pushing some names publicly forward:

Jill - Writes Like She Talks
Sarah - Neutral Zone Trap
Lisa Renee - Glass City Jungle

There are some national bloggers worthy of recognition, which they'll probably get without our help. If you want to make sure the left is well represented, you'll probably want to give a nod to Jane Hamsher and/or Digby. As long as I'm throwing out names, Megan McCardle's brand of libertarianism (lacking almost all of the pompous, the selfish, the mean-spirited, the shallow, and/or the plain crazy that for some reason tend to co-occur with people claiming the philosophy) is very engaging, and makes her the blogger least likely to pre-emptively get the "mark as read" treatment in my overflowing RSS reader. I'm sure you've got others. Feel free to lobby in the comments.

*I am, of course, kidding about my interpretation of intent.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update on Goodwin Quotes in OH-12

A source close to the Goodwin campaign got in touch with me today to clarify that it was NOT the Robinson campaign being referred to as having engaged in objectionable campaign behaviors. My source was more detailed, but I have no more urge than anybody else to pick a distracting fight after the fact. As far as I'm concerned, I'm satisfied, and looking forward to writing positive stories about the race in OH-12.

Interactive Housekeeping

Now that I'm posting again, it's time to freshen up the place. I've started by doing some of the obvious things, but I could certainly use the help of readers (even those for whom subscription has meant you haven't been to in months).

1) Links. I've taken down a bunch of dead links. I've replaced some links that got lost in various shuffles. I need some more links. If you know of left-of-center political blogs from and about Ohio, that post fairly regularly with original content, let me know. If you know of non-partisan aggregator or old media blogs that would interest Central Ohio readers, let me know. If you know of a great blog on any topic from Central Ohio, let me know. If you know of any website with regular updates (blog, newsletter, etc.) by or for Bexley residents, let me know.

I may or may not link to them, but odds are pretty high that if you ask, I will.

Speaking of links and asking... I've had a policy of not directly asking other sites to link here, unless they solicited links in the way I've just done above. I've been pretty proud when links to BB go up without my direct involvement. I'm about to make a one-time partial deviation from that policy...

If you maintain a site that links to Blue Bexley, would you consider taking a moment and updating the link to "" ? The old blogspot address leads to a redirect that gets people where they need to go, which is the important thing, but... BB has a current Technorati authority of 8... I shouldn't care, but... updating the link would remedy that.

2) Ads. Sometimes people ask me if I make a lot of money blogging. For those of you who have not yet spit your coffee or been convulsed with giggles, here is the scoop: I've been allowing Google to post ads on the site since 11/14/2006, or 16 months. These ads have generated $17.06, which works out to 3.5 cents/day. Unfortunately, Google will not cut a check until a publisher has generated $100.00 in revenue. At this rate, I will get my check at the end of December 2015. If you are or know of a local entity that would like to publish ads on BB, my traffic data is public (click on the Sitemeter icon on the bottom of the page), and the pricing negotiations, well... I just told you that a buck a month would double my current ad revenue. And it would certainly beat the McCain and Ron Paul ads that have been showing up recently (although it amuses me that if people click on those ads, those campaigns have to pay me).

3) Fundraising. I've removed the widget that directly raises funds for the Bexley Education Foundation. had a great idea with the generic fundraising widget, but it wasn't right for this site. I still enthusiastically support donating to Candidates through my ActBlue page, and that link will keep its prominent position. I've updated the candidate list, but it currently only allows donations to the Dem presidential nominee (funds that will be transferred when it becomes apparent who that is), and to David Robinson. Act Blue provides fundraising capabilities for Statehouse candidates, but the Garland campaign has not yet taken advantage of this. If/when they do, I'd appreciate a heads-up and I'll add them to the page.

4) Format. As these things go up and come down, things will get shifted and shunted. This might entail futzing with the column layout and even the color scheme. If something looks particularly pleasing or nauseating, let me know. If something looks just plain wrong, let me know that, but also what browser you're using.

Thank you, and please pardon the virtual dust.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Obama takes bluer urban precincts, no correlation in burbs

I'm still puzzling through the interpretation of this, but I thought it worth sharing...

The graph shows the percentage of ballots in each Franklin County precinct that were cast in the Dem primary on the X-axis, and the percentage of votes in the Dem Primary in each precinct that went to Obama on the Y-axis.

The blue diamonds are precincts within the city of Columbus. The orange squares are precincts located in suburbs or townships in Franklin county.

Looking at the orange (suburban) squares, there is absolutely no relationship between the "bluenesss" of a precinct and the level of support for Obama. Looking at the blue (City) diamonds, there is a clear and striking relationship between the "blueness" of the precinct and the level of Obama support. In fact, 57% of the variance between urban precincts in support for Obama can be statistically explained by the percentage of voters participating in the Dem primary.

How Bexley Voted

Turnout was high in Bexley (4951 votes, 49%), comparable to the 2006 general election and 15-20% higher than last fall's municipal election. For an extensive discussion on interpreting turnout numbers, along with Bexley precinct maps and turnout history, please see this post and the associated links it contains.

The Franklin County BOE has precinct level information for all races on all ballots in a big unwieldy html document, and I've created a workbook that has the data from each Bexley Precinct for the races of interest, as well as individual spreadsheets (see links/tabs along the bottom of workbook) for overall turnout and each of the races.

The quick and dirty summaries:
Obama - 2014, 53%, 10/12 precincts
Clinton - 1735, 46%, 2/12 precincts (1-c, 3-c)
Others - 25, 0%, 0/12 precincts
Undervotes (blank)- 7

Dagres - 238, 11%, 0/12 precincts
Goodwin, 854, 40%, 1/12 precincts (1-C)
Robinson, 1036, 49%, 11/12 precincts
Undervotes (Blank), 1653, more blanks than votes for winner in 12/12 precincts

Campbell - 904, 39%, 0/12 precincts
Garland - 1395, 61%, 12/12 precincts
Undervotes - 1481, more blanks than votes for winner in 7/12 precincts

Lazarus - 1948, 61%, 12/12 precincts
O'Grady - 1226, 39%, 0/12 precincts
Undervotes - 605, more blanks than votes in 0/12 districts

I must admit, that last one has me at a loss. More than 1000 voters who couldn't muster a vote in the congressional primary voted in the County Commissioner primary, and they did so overwhelmingly for Cindy Lazarus, who lost the election countywide. I hate to say it, but this certainly looks like ammo for the conspiracy theorists. Ms. Lazarus had a good deal of support from local GOP officials, and the winner of this race was destined to be the overwhelming favorite in November. At least some of the discrepancy here is bound to be due to Republican-leaning voters pulling Democratic ballots*.

*Obviously, this does not explain everything, nor does it mean that all of those cross-votes were mischief makers. It should be noted, in this regard, that Lazarus actually received more votes in Bexley than Hillary Clinton did.