Friday, May 02, 2008

Joining the Resignation Chorus

I haven't exactly been defending Marc Dann, but I have been arguing for focusing on aspects of the story that are relevant (this morning, ONN was including the existence of the AG's Washington liaison as an element of the "scandal") and maintaining some skepticism in the face of a sensationalist onslaught from the media (I didn't know why Jennings was suspended but I knew about Utovich's Anti-Valentine's Happy Hour).

The demands of a day job mean that even pursuing the details on my lunch hour hasn't allowed me to read the report or a transcript of Dann's press conference. But I've seen enough.

Marc Dann let his personal relationships trump his professional duties. He hired one friend to do a job he now appears to have been incredibly ill-suited for, and he hired another friend who has allegedly attempted to obstruct justice and solicit perjury to help the first friend. Now that Dann has admitted his affair with a subordinate, and the charges against Gutierrez substantiated, I think it's fair to connect some hypothetical dots. Although I do think that supervisor-subordinate romance is a really bad idea for lots of reasons, I don't believe it creates a hostile work environment in and of itself. I do believe, however, that being in that relationship necessarily compromised Dann's ability to exert the authority necessary to prevent the hostile environment from developing, and to take action once it was established (this is under a fairly generous, benefit-of-doubt reading of the facts as I've seen them).

The investigation and disciplinary action only began once employees initiated legal action and the media became involved. Marc Dann's personal judgments rendered him unwilling or unable to carry out his professional duties. Two men have been fired for the illegal things that they did. Marc Dann hasn't really done much of anything.

That's why we need a new Attorney General.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

This wrinkle in time, can't give it no credit

1) My internal party game: Mashups mocking the dissociative nature of stereotypes. "Gouda, Edam, America." "Malt Latte." etc.

2) Strickland has an unofficial 6-point-plan to improve the educational system in Ohio. At this point it is more of a 6-vague-principle-plan to improve education, but that's okay. What is not so great... none of the six points address how to equitably (and constitutionally) fund education, or to move beyond funding to reduce inequities in our schools systems. Stories like this one should be a source of shame for all of us.

3) Note to the Ohio Media - Two women have filed Sexual Harrassment claims against the Attorney General's office. Although I know their names, I do not recall their ages. That's okay, it's not relevant. On the other hand, Jessica Utovich is/was 28 years old. I know this because it seems as if it is mentioned in every story in which her name appears. I'd like an explanation of why her age is relevant. Bonus points if you use the phrase "Tabloid Hacks" in your explanation.

4) Pat Tiberi is a co-sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 322, which congratulates Israel on 60 years of statehood. I know this because he sent out a press-release touting his co-sponsorship. I have no problem with this. It's a good thing. Which made me wonder, how big of a statement was this? Checking up, I found some context that was missing from the PR... The press release didn't mention that the resolution was introduced by Nancy Pelosi. It didn't mention that the resolution has 278 other co-sponsors besides Tiberi, nor that Pat waited until the week after 122 others had already signed on before putting his name on the bill. In his defense, nobody else mentioned this in any press release. Of course, none of the other 279 lawmakers actually appears to have issued a press release about cosponsoring the bill. Also in his defense, he signed on more than a week before Dennis Kucinich signed on as co-sponsor. To paraphrase the Daily Briefing... when you're not doing much of anything, you'll take whatever excuse you can to get your name out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Entertainment Note

Thought some of y'all might be interested:


On Thursday (5/1) the popular GenWex series for young patrons continues with GenWex: Reel Politics, an evening of politically-minded conversation with two of Columbus' leading young political figures: Mike Brown, press secretary for Mayor Michael Coleman and Jim Coleman from the environmental group Ohio's Tomorrow. A screening of Sidney Lumet's Network will follow their remarks. The conversation is free, while the screening is ticketed and costs $7 general public and $5 Wexner Center members, students, and senior citizens.

The reception/conversation part starts at 5:30, with a cash bar. Movie starts at 7. I'm not sure how they define their "young patron" target demographic, but given the discounted tickets for senior citizens, I'm assuming the definition isn't very narrow. Full details here.

BTW, if you are unfamiliar, Network is a great movie about media best known for the exhortation to yell "I'm mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Garland Campaign Activity (OH House 20)

2008 Campaign Kick-Off

20th House District Candidate
Nancy Garland
With Special Guest Franklin County Commissioner
Paula Brooks

Thursday, May 8th, 2008
5:00 pm -- 7:00 pm

$50 -- Suggest Contribution

Creekside Conference
& Event Center
700 Creekside Plaza
Gahanna OH 43230

Please RSVP to Zach Roberts at (614) 266-0832

Free and Fair

The Wall Street Journal, of all outlets, is doing a good job of following the current limbo-status of the Federal Elections Commission. Right now, complying with campaign-finance rules is just about voluntary. That, of course, works well. For a bi-partisan example:

...the quorum-less FEC has been unable to issue a ruling on a new law requiring lobbyists to disclose when they “bundle” more than $15,000 a year for congressional candidates. Without a formal ruling, neither party has yet to fully comply with the intent of the law.

Fix the FEC.

Our Town

Much Love to E. Gordon Gee. I know he doesn't like bloggers much, but how shall I put this... although worlds apart in several ways, many GPS units would be unable to distinguish our offices. So please take this as merely coming from one bemused resident of Bexley about a once-and-future resident...

ThisWeek published a set of testimonials about Bexley compiled by a BHS graduate working there. It was very nicely done, and a real gift to the city. Perhaps, if you read them all, you'll get a feel for why I'm doing this post...The first testimonial is from Dr. Gee:

... "Bexley is such a wonderful community," Gee said. "It has some of the warmest, most welcoming neighbors anywhere, and they are good Buckeyes to boot! I raised my daughter here and feel a deep connection with the community," he said. "I am thrilled to return."

We're thrilled we're going to eventually have him, even though he followed that up this weekend with this gem:

Gee said it would be a "huge mistake" for Columbus and its suburbs to look at themselves as separate communities. He didn't know the OSU president's home, which he occupied during his previous tour at the university, is outside city limits. He said he thought Bexley was part of Columbus.

"The city boundaries are arbitrary at best," he said.

Our School District, our Police Department, the building on Main Street called City Hall, these didn't manage to tip him off. None of his warm, welcoming neighbors ever brought it up. The fact that he never actually got to cast a vote for mayor or city council in Columbus wasn't a clue. Perhaps his deep connection with the community led him to overlook these shallow markers of civic sovereignty and believe that the residents of Bexley are fundamentally connected by something abstract and perhaps even metaphysical, which could never be reduced to anything as arbitrary as lines on some map.

All kidding aside, Vitale's article should be the starting point for some real conversation. During the municipal campaign I talked to a lot of folks about how to work cooperatively with Columbus to benefit the East Side more generally. The reactions seemed to range from mildly confused to somewhat patronizing to dismissive. On the other hand, 10% of the commission members advising Columbus Mayor Coleman are actually Bexley residents. Most, if not all of them, paying Columbus income taxes on our earnings from our jobs in the city. And in many people's minds Bexley is defined as much by what surrounds us as by the things we ourselves find important. When I was part of a panel interviewing Mayor Coleman during the campaign last fall, I was a little sheepish about not actually being a Columbus-based blogger. This article seems to indicate that that was silly. I don't usually end post this way, but...

any thoughts?