Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Reach out now

Reports indicate the destruction down south is worse than expected.... Do what you can to help.

Catholic Charities USA

Red Cross

New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper

Keep them all in your prayers.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Council Primary

I didn't know The Blade was polling on At-Large Council candidates in their survey, though I'm glad they did. NOTE: The respondents were read all 16 names in rotation and asked for their top pick, according to The Blade political writer Jim Tankersley.

1. Betty Shultz..........(R)..........14.5%
2. Bob McCloskey.....(D)..........11
3. Phil Copeland.......(D)..........10.3
4. George Sarantou...(R)..........8.6
5. Frank Szollosi.......(D)..........5.6
6. Mitch Balonek....(Green)......5.4
7. Mark Sobczak......(D)...........3.8
8. Dave Schulz...........(R)..........3.7
9. Karyn McConnell Hancock...3.6
10. Bob Vasquez.......(D)..........3.5
11. Terry Shankland..(D)..........2.7
12. Karen Shanahan...(D).........2.3
13. Ernie Berry.........(I)...........2.1
14. Tom Meineke......(D)..........1.6
15. Jason Schreiner...(D)..........1.1
16. Bob Tilton...........(I)............0.8

My initial reaction is that, of course, name identification plays the major role in these results. And that we should take these numbers with a grain of salt as primary turnout will be higher in the central city than a survey can suggest.

Shultz & McCloskey have been on the ballot and in the news these past 15 years - they know their way around municipal government, and have helped a lot of folks with city issues over the years. Its interesting that Betty's Noe problem and Bob's court case hasn't apparently hurt them in this survey.

Copeland benefits from good name ID as well, with his late uncle Bill's success as a Lucas County Commissioner in '93, '96 and '00, not to mention his time as Recorder and long city council career before that. Phil has been active in Toledo for over 30 years - he truly is a great guy, and he has an amazing number of supporters.

Betty, George and Dave all benefit from being the only Republicans in the primary field. Sarantou, again, has great name ID, having been elected to council in 2001 and getting a boost from his position as Chair of the Finance Committee. George is smart.

My standing? All along, if anyone asked, I said I'd be happy to finish in the top six. I've been on council now 2 and a half years. In 2003 there were four on the ballot, I finished second. I've tried to make contributions on the budget task force, forcefully working against both the Escobar-led garbage tax increase and the police, fire and municipal employee layoffs. Sure, the city's grass should be cut, but why layoff police & fire and keep millions in the budget for seasonal employees? I've only recently become chairman of a council committee that sees alot of legislation, the Economic Development Committee. Since then I've worked on the Jeep expansion, Marina/Arena projects, Southwyck, Westgate, and a few small business items. Earlier this year I met with the displaced businesses at Northtowne, and with the Ford Administration's help, some of the entrepreneurs moved into the Erie St. Market. I saw to it that city policy protects prevailing wage, and am working with colleagues now to defend local contractors and tradespeople from out-of-town outfits that don't pay local taxes. I remain proud of our work to protect public health and a safe workplace with the clean air ordinance. I'm grateful to those who are directly helping my campaign, and to those citizens who support me.

Mitch Balonek could be the next Mike Ferner. A Green, he has campaigned energetically and has some mainstream, displaced Democratic support. An ally of his, Dave Ball, is seeking the Council District seat to be vacated by Wade Kapszukiewicz next week. Balonek is one to watch.

Sobczak and Schulz, first time candidates, are both campaigning actively, and either could come on strong yet.

My friend and colleague Karyn McConnell Hancock's standing is stronger than it appears. She ran first in 2003, has a solid base, and I predict will overcome her recent spate of bad publicity. She has alot of friends, a great family, and knows how to win.

Our two councilmatic running mates, Bob Vasquez and Karen Shanahan also have shots with the right combination of support and message. They are working in traditional Democratic precincts that, again, will turnout in larger percentages than a random survey can reflect. Their strength on September 13 will surprise you.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Primary

The Blade's Tom Troy does an excellent piece this morning profiling the 16 candidates for the 12 At-Large Toledo City Council seats up for grabs on September 13th. For more information on Vasquez, Shanahan, Copeland, McConnell Hancock, and yours truly, visit LucasCountyDemocrats.org

And there is the Blade Poll and story by Jim Tankersley. Mayor Ford is in a tough but winnable race. He hasn't touted his accomplishments, which are significant and real, as well as he should have - but he's got the resources to do that and win. Besides, I remember well the 64% Finkbeiner carried in the 1997 primary only to come within a couple thousand votes from defeat, barely earning 50% in the '97 general. And don't forget, Ford was down serious double digits for most of the '01 race as well, even into October.

More analysis later, gotta go to a service. Expect your analysis when I return...and if you have an opinion, be a mensch and use your name.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Friday Night Lights

A great evening out last night. First, the opening ceremonies of the German-American Festival at Oak Shade Grove, complete with ice cold Spaten Lager hoisted for the toast, Marines marching under Old Glory, the actual Budweiser Clydesdale horse team, and about a thousand people under a tent singing the Swiss, German and American national anthems. As a native of the east side, the GAF serves as an unofficial yearly reunion for a lot of people I grew up with, not to mention signaling the last weeks of summer.

Later, I bought a ticket and watched the second half of the St. Francis-Columbus DeSales football game at Waite. Rough. Not a St. Francis grad, but enjoyed meeting some folks I knew and the atmosphere at Mollenkopf Field. It's a stately old bowl that has seen incredible football over the decades. When my grandfather played for Waite, he was sent out to a CCC Camp in Utah to bulk up while earning a little money during the Great Depression.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Carty & the Kest Gang: Last Stab



As noted over the past year, the arrogance and connections between Carty and the old Kest gang couldn't be stronger. Both Carty & Kest copped guilty pleas, somewhat like Taft, (no contest!) to ethics charges - and all 3 have courted Tom Noe. Though Kest/Carty have relied on the same (crumbling) base of support, the Kest '01 contributors aren't buying stock this year in Finkbeiner's last run for office. Do the citizens of Toledo really want the Kest gang running municipal government? Or our elections, for that matter?

Today's Blade story confirms suspicion: longtime Kest/Carty operative Domenic Montalto - less than three weeks before Finkbeiner is on the ballot - will replace an able, talented professional in the Lucas County Board of Elections. Just the kind of arrogant backroom deal that left Lucas County without a popularly elected Treasurer for almost a year. Will he now double dip? Taking the salary at the BoE along with a modest county retirement benefit?

With no activity or efforts to win elections at the ballot box coming out of Democratic Headquarters, perhaps Carty & the Kest gang trust old pol Domenic will simply rely on an old fashioned way: stealing elections. After all, Carty's races have always been painfully close. Throw out a few boxes of absentees from the central city - surging into the BoE for Mayor Ford, by the way - and it could throw the race.

A double shot of C&TKG arrogance today: Finkbeiner dodges his second debate of the campaign, up at a cottage in Michigan, "enjoying the healthy air," said Kest ganger and Carty spokesman Bob Reinbolt. (why not enjoy the air at Delaney's Finkbeiner? Oh, I'm sorry, you and the Kest gang worked to keep unhealthy air here in Toledo last year. Hiding from the press over your old friend Montalto, Carty?)

Irish, Montalto, Finkbeiner - the waning days of this campaign are nothing more than a greedy, selfish last stab for Carty & the Kest gang. Domenic always had a knack for standing up and making eloquent cases for Democratic loyalty and solidarity - all forgotten in he and fellow Kest gangers subterfuge of Mayor Ford the past two years. Where's the loyalty and respect to our base, Dom?

More Toledo Good News

Check out the plans for a new & improved Westgate.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another Reason To Vote Ford

CareNet Official Site

Twice in the last week, says a Ford staffer, Mayor Ford has been approached by citizens who've credited him with saving their lives.

That's got to mean more to him than the awards he and the CareNet partners have received:

Ohio Hospital Association's Award

American Hospital Association's NOVA Award

You gotta love it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How Mayor Ford Creates Jobs

Here's but one brief example...

The federal Environmental Protection Agency had the City of Toledo tied up in a lawsuit for over a decade involving our wastewater system's dumping of untreated sewage into the Maumee River after heavy rain. Instead of doing the right thing for our community, our river and lake, Finkbeiner devoted the resources of the city's law department to fight the Clinton Administration.

Jack Ford, after being elected Mayor, worked out a consent decree with the EPA, settled the lawsuit, and got on with the business of restoring our environment through a $450 million jobs investment called the Toledo Waterways Initiative - securing state and federal dollars to leverage city funds that has put hundreds of people in Toledo to work with great engineering and building & construction trades jobs. Read here about the project being on time and on budget.

Finkbeiner's attorney's were always busy defending the City over Carty's irresponsible behavior and ethics problems, anyway.

Bottom line: Half-baked gimmicks and cheap nostalgia are no substitutes for responsible leadership.

I love it...

The Hamilton County Young Dem's have set up a blog to promote a statewide tour - visiting Young Dems across Ohio at a time of great responsibility for our party.

What they're doing reminds me why I love politics, and that this year, with so many local divisions - can be followed by a great one - with new possibilities, creative ideas, and a willingness to take risks.

I don't love this...

First, black bag searches of American homes and businesses, open medical, school and library records, and other assorted infringements of the beloved Constitution - compliments of Bush, Ashcroft and the Republican Congress.

Now Governor Taft and the GOP in our General Assembly want to do the same thing here in Ohio? I wholeheartedly commend The Blade for bringing this to our attention. Read their editorial here. And contact these folks and tell them to just say no.

Monday, August 22, 2005

ACT II?

An interesting new article by the always impressive Matt Bai with The New York Times. Thanks for pointing me there, Swing State Project.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Rally Marcy

Today's DeWine story by The Blade's political writer Jim Tankersley has me feeling grumpy Sunday morning. Why won't one of our veteran Ohio Democrats stand up for the citizens of Ohio, and really the country, by fighting for the Senate?

My pick: Rep. Marcy Kaptur - 9th District Click here to send her a note of encouragement. And click here to vote for Marcy in an on-line poll at growohio.org (Note: you must scroll to bottom of that webpage to vote.)

First, she'd be an outstanding candidate for Governor. Yes, she's on the hallowed House Appropriations Committee's most powerful subcommittee, Armed Services - huge for our district. But Kaptur connects to rural voters better than Paul Hackett. She would light a fire for desperately needed reform, and as Ohio's Governor become instant Presidential timber.

Alternatively, a Senate seat means even more of our tax dollars returned to Toledo and the 9th CD. The campaign money would be there for her - national fundraisers to be hired, the DSCC, her wealth of national connections. She ran for the House in 1981 with far fewer resources at the start.

Marcy's vision of our country with:
- well paid working men and women with health care and dignified retirements,
- affordable and world-class education and research institutions,
- domestic, renewable, clean energy sources,
- a tough, humane foreign policy,
- strong defense, militarily and economically,
combined with her honesty and high ethics, fierce patriotism and a human, populist touch - all this taken together presents to the voters of Ohio a national leader, someone disillusioned Ohioans can believe in, can take hope from, can rally around.

2006 is fundamentally different than previous election cycles. How Democrats respond to Ohioans in these days after the Governor's disappointment is critical.

10:15PM LATE NOTE: I missed The Blade editorial this morning on Sherrod Brown & the Senate race. We need people willing to fight for Democratic unity and the state's progress.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Barney Quilter, 1919 - 2005

What can I add to the honored memory of Barney Quilter? He served in the Ohio House for 28 years, 20 years of which he was Speaker Pro-Tem. He and his family joined us at city council in late July when we dedicated a portion of Woodville Road as Barney Quilter Way. We exchanged stories, Council gave him a standing ovation - it was the last time we spoke.

Barney advised my mom in her race for Oregon City Council and County Auditor, and always encouraged my brother and I to enter politics and public service. His daughter, Mary Ann Flannagan, and her family lived down the street from us growing up. She and my mom worked together at Clay High School for many years.

Son, Bernie, is a credit to his father's legacy of public service . Once elected as President of Oregon City Council and now Lucas County Clerk of Courts, Bernie is young enough to follow in his father's footsteps in the Statehouse. Mary Ann was just elected to the state teachers retirement system board. They both gave their father beautiful, good grandchildren whom I know Barney loved.

His wit, loyalty, counsel, service and generosity brought hundreds of leaders from across Ohio to Good Sheperd Church in East Toledo this morning for a moving funeral mass.

Debate, poll notes

Meant to post these last night:

Mayor Ford had a larger presence on the panel and in the room. Sitting next to the Mayor, Carty looked small - all the weight he lost adds nothing to what's left of his gravitas. Remember the adage about the taller candidate having the edge?

The Mayor acknowledged he hasn't focused on touting his accomplishments as Mayor. He gave details on jobs created and the excellent CareNet effort that has given 6,000 folks access to health care.

Don Gozdowski, an "up-to-this-point" unknown candidate, responding to a question about creating jobs in central Toledo, said something like," we need to teach men to take showers, tuck in their shirts and not blow in late to work." Did I mention this forum took place at Indiana Avenue Baptist Church in central Toledo? His response and the reaction of the audience will live in infamy.

Keith Wilkowski looked and sounded as good as I've seen him on the trail this year. I like his idea of retaking neighborhoods from problem liquor stores through precinct level referendums on liquor permits. He was concise, energetic, and had some creative ideas. "A candidate of both responsibility and passion," Keith is running against both Mayor's of last 12 years. That's hard to do when you've supported Mayor Ford the last 3 1/2. On the radio, I'm told, it was tough to make him out from the other lesser well-known candidates, however.

Carty paled in comparison to Keith as well. Almost every response started, "when I was Mayor." Reminded me of the old uncle who always said stuff like, "When I was a young man we walked 15 miles through the snow to get to school." Always an exaggeration with no respect or even willingness to understand the present and future. Funny to hear Carty take credit for Bill Clinton's economy and job creation and blame Mayor Ford for President Bush's recession. Mayor Ford's effort to turnout votes for John Kerry in 2004 dwarfed Carty's non-existence in 2000.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs." Carty intoned unconvincingly. Why then is he holding press conferences and sending letters that threaten the Westgate revitalization? Perhaps his anti-jobs campaign rhetoric is catching up to him, I didn't see anyone from Dennis Duffey's or Bill Lichtenwald's locals at the debate to support him. Finkbeiner's position on Costco would keep their members unemployed.

On the other hand, Mayor Ford's aggressive partnership with DaimlerChrysler, the UAW, the Port and RGP is bringing more parts suppliers to the Stickney Jeep area. Not only is it putting building trades folks to work, its bringing back hundreds of laid off Jeep workers. The deputy director for the UAW in Ohio, the state UAW political director and dozens of UAW members were in attendance in support of Mayor Ford.

And then there is the WTOL poll. 300 random sample of "likely" primary voters creates what us Democrats call an "undercount" in central Toledo. Mayor Ford's numbers are higher than the poll suggests - which, for the primary, hurts Wilkowski. And tell everyone you know that Carty is up better than 20 points in August.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Arena Report: Downtown

Pizzuti released its Phase 2 Study and a Pro Forma on new arena construction. It appears downtown is the call. I've got decidedly mixed feelings about it. Voters endorsed an East Side location, and its where I have encouraged investors to invest - but its private money that will enable us to build the thing, and the money leads Pizzuti to its conclusion on downtown. I want to see it built and be successful with hockey and concerts and basketball - it'd be a huge shot in the arm for downtown. I also want to insure that the Marina District succeeds, that the east bank of the Maumee gets its due.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brown Won't Seek Senate

Rep. Sherrod Brown posted one hour ago on his blog GrowOhio.org that he will seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, not run for the U.S. Senate next year against Sen. Mike DeWine (R).

Interesting use of a blog to communicate with the netroots ahead of the MSM, and interesting timing considering what the Ohio GOP is grappling with today. The guys at the DSCC won't be happy.

And by the way, what's up with the Flannery for Governor mailing that hit today?

Tampering with coin machines (R.C. 2909.08)

About an hour ago I got a call from Columbus: Gov. Taft will be the first sitting Ohio Governor to be charged. It's a sad day for Ohio. We should let the justice system take its course.

Kudos to The Toledo Blade for exposing high crimes and misdemeanors here in Ohio. During the press conference - happening as I blog - a reporter asked Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien if they'd be standing there today if not for the investigation into Tom Noe, and the GOP Prosector replied, "Probably not."

Ohio needs a change.

The Senior Discount & Mobile Home Parks

Been working on something this week I think is important. Over 15 years ago the City of Toledo decided to give seniors who qualify for the Homestead Exemption a break on their water bills. It's called the Water Discount Program.

Well, a woman from Cypress Point Village over there on Consaul Street somehow tracked down my cell phone number, called, and really shocked me when she said folks have been paying $65, $85 and even over $100 in monthly water bills. She said there is likely a break in the water lines (they see standing water here and there) and the residents are getting gouged for it. And that as far as she knew none of the seniors were getting the water discount.

I did some investigating and found that most mobile home parks have but one tap & meter that the City bills from, and the park management then sends an assessment to their residents by various means. Some figure it into the monthly lease, some have private meters.

Mayor Ford's Deputy Chief of Staff, the able Bill Franklin, and Water Dept. chief Bob Williams very quickly got me up to speed on city policy regarding water and sewer at mobile home parks. The pipes belong to the owners, not the city. Technically, the seniors in the parks weren't our customers as they received no Water Dept invoices directly - though they conceded that some system could be established with park managers to include those seniors. If we have to change the law then I'm willing to propose that.

So that's what I'm seeking to do with a letter to at least 21 mobile home communities within the City of Toledo, asking them to call me and work with the Water Dept and their residents to insure that seniors who qualify do get that 20% discount. We're all getting hammered by the dramatic increases in other utility costs, not to mention gasoline prices above $2.70 a gallon, but its especially troubling to think of seniors, on fixed incomes in mobile homes, being left out of a deal that could save them precious dollars.

Cypress Point has some additional issues - relayed to me late this afternoon by roughly 40 residents who came out to talk along Consaul: A Blockwatch Program apparently stymied by the new management. Excessive late fees for residents who get their Social Security check two days after the lease is due. And the discontinued use of the security gate fencing that has increased unease among residents. We called the President of Blockwatch in Toledo, Mike Dearth, who is going to contact the Toledo Police officers who handle East Side BW to help us re-organize the Cypress Point community. I also am going to contact tomorrow the Fair Housing Center about some of the resident-management issues brought up.

Before going over to the East Side I spoke to a park manager for a few other mobile home parks in Toledo, and he is quite reasonable and willing to lend a hand. In fact, he wants us to look into what he described as "price gouging" by an area vendor who provides various services to mobile home residents. Hopeful this can make a difference for some folks.

Monday, August 15, 2005

On the Trail - 'Fear & Loathing'

Prognosticators are amped by the competitiveness of the Mayor's race. Last week saw its own share of twists and turns:

- A great story by new Blade political writer Jim Tankersley Candidates host a tour of Toledo. What's up with Wilkowski's tour? First, more gimmicks: the run, the bus, the graveyard and whiskey. The running man gambit makes for better TV than print. Second, nowhere in his day was there a hint of his message "T. T. A." Third, the impression of a disjointed, disorganized day reflects poorly on a potential Mayor.

Carty's picture at Port Royal Cigar Store says it all. Carty is aligned with Bill Delany, Chuck Cassis and John Irish - the pro-tobacco fellows who set back public health in Toledo last year. Carty is the past, looking like anything but an elder statesman - which is what I in all sincerity hoped for him this year. Sad for a man of 66.

Rob Ludeman comes across surprisingly robust. He proudly takes credit for the Glendale Wal-Mart. He talks jobs and economic development. Of all the candidates profiled, he makes the only mention of his kids: pointing out Wixie Bakery and their Saturday morning donut tradition. If Ludeman keeps that kind of message delivery up, he'll clobber Wilkowski & Finkbeiner right out of the primary.

Mayor Ford comes across fine..."economic development that takes up 80 percent of his time." He doesn't get enough credit.

- Absentee ballots are in the mail. The BoE sent out letters to seniors earlier this year and generated an initial 5,500 absentee voting requests for the 9/13 primary. Traditionally, the absentee vote is about 10% of turnout & we expect maybe another 1500 absentees to be generated. Carty used a mailhouse to send a generation piece out, using the Lucas County Democratic Party's bulk mail permit. On it he admits that he can do nothing to change the direction of national issues. His actions indeed reflect his words as he has done almost nothing to elect Democrats at any level. One of his first political ventures was leading Democrats for Nixon, then four years later Republicans for McGovern. Loopy.

Word is out that Wilkowski's campaign missed mailing to the first wave of absentee voters. If true, he missed connecting with seniors in the 4th ward - not good. On the other hand, someone told me Keith just re-mortgaged his house to bankroll an upcoming TV ad blitz. As it stands, Mayor Ford will be on the air with better than $150,000 in the run-up to the primary. So much for Carty's supporters pre-primary chump-change. If Mayor Ford and Keith are both on TV big, Carty is toast.

Our absentee effort is pretty aggressive, and sophisticated. LucasCountyDemocrats.org are using a slate piece to connect, among other techniques. Look for Carty & the Kest gang to try and rope-in down ballot candidates endorsed by the party for something similar.

The BoE confirmed to me they already had over 8,000 requests for the 11/8 general. We could see 95,000 or 100,000 people vote in the general. Very big turnout.

- More police! Terrorists! Again Carty demonstrates he hasn't changed his ways, click here for The Blade's Tankersley article. In 1999 he worked like hell against a larger police class. As Mayor he vetoed a unanimous vote of City Council that would have doubled the police class from 15 to 30. The City was flush then, though Carty was whittling away tax dollars on things like sales kiosks and fire hydrant paint. His "bold" proposal now calls for 20. Mayor Ford in fact has a plan to put 29 more police on the street next year. Terrorists "strike fear" in people, Carty claims. Sounds like his preferred management style. Note to politicians: Don't throw the word "terrorist" around, not after 9/11. It's a very, very inappropriate word for politics.

Someone on this blog posted something about Carty now having a concealed-carry gun permit. Again, if true, this is not good. Fear, handguns, the penchant for the middle finger....paging Dr. Hunter, please return the adrenochrome - step away from the adrenal glands, Mr. Finkbeiner!

smack!? this post has been interrupted...my house just got hit by something outside the window of the room I'm typing in! Its after 1 in the morning! an egg.

Egging my house while I'm tapping out a blog? Someone must be upset. But they've got to do better....

(reprinted from the Toledo Blade, Oct. 28, 2004)
FINDLAY -Toledo city Councilman Frank Szollosi was among a group of Democrats who made the trip here to protest against the President, but Democratic spokesman John Gans said Mr. Szollosi chose to protest in the wrong spot. Standing along Sandusky Street across from the county fairgrounds where the Bush rally was staged, a homeowner who was apparently displeased with the Democrats grabbed a garden hose and gave them, including Mr. Szollosi, a good soaking.

When they refused to leave, and after police asked the man to stop, he demanded to water his lawn. Setting up his sprinkler, he continued to water them - and his grass. About 15 protestors stood there, defiantly, in the makeshift shower.


I remember that hoser in Findlay. It was hot anyway, the cool water made us feel better.

Tonight's jokers had their physical descriptions taken by a neighbor. I ran out my front door and spied their Jeep in the church parking lot on the other side of my neighbor's yard - in their hastened get-away, with their headlights off, it sounded like they hit the basketball pole back there. Passed the details onto the Toledo Police dispatcher I was on the cell phone with at the time.

The fair Doctor knew what was up.
Reprinted from Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72
There is nothing so unusual, they tell me, about coming back to your car and finding the radio aerial torn off, the windshield wipers bent up in the air like spaghetti, and all the windows smashed…. for no particular reason except to make sure you know just exactly where it's at these days. Where indeed?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

'Reform Ohio Now' Catching Fire

Reform Ohio Now is picking up steam in its efforts to put three progressive Ohio Constitutional amendments on the November 2005 ballot. On 8/9 they filed twice the number of signatures needed. The impact of Coingate couldn't be more imminent, or shocking. If these reforms pass, they could cost the GOP control of Ohio's General Assembly and the Congress (losing as many as six congressional seats in Ohio and having these reforms spread to other states.)

The first amendment reintroduces competition in state and congressional elections in Ohio by creating an independent redistricting commission - thereby keeping politicians out of the gerrymandering process.

The second would rescind the corrupt Ohio GOP campaign finance "reform" package that allows direct corporate involvement in elections for the first time, and increases to $20,000 the amount an individual can give to a state candidate per year.

The third amendment would create a bipartisan, statewide, Board of Elections, as opposed to our current system that allows a politician to put his interests and his party's interests ahead of the public interest. And, significantly, allow anyone to vote using an absentee ballot for any reason.

Pounder at GrowOhio.org has a great post on the GOP group calling themselves "OhioFirst!" (incorporated in Delaware!) that is trying (and failing) to stop the progress of Reform Ohio Now. Also credit to Ohio Blog: Hypothetically Speaking.

Jim Provance, the state reporter for our own Toledo Blade has a good summary of yesterday's developments.

Then there is David Murphy's story today in The New York Times. More national attention on Ohio politics. More urgency than ever for Democrats to stop the "Finky" in-fighting and train our energies on the real work of reforming our job-wounded, scandal-pocked state.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Carty: Ugly Sell Out of Labor, Job Seekers

"The mayor's vote received some booing from members of the audience, and applause from representatives of the local building trades unions who were in favor of the shopping center's construction for the jobs it would create." reprinted from the Toledo Blade, July 25, 2001.

In 2001 Mayor Finkbeiner broke 2 tied Council/Plan Commission votes to clear the way for Wal-Mart in residential South Toledo. Yesterday he held a press conference: "FINKBEINER REJECTS COSTCO" in favor of health food stores and tread mills. So much for the men and women of the various building & construction trade unions who are expected to see their leaders write Carty BIG campaign contributions. So much for those out-of-work men and women in Toledo, apparently Costco's record of generous salaries and benefits are a lower priority to Carty than shameless pandering to the 12th Ward.

And unlike Wal Mart (& Carty), Costco respects its employees: The Teamsters represent about 15,000 workers at 56 Costco stores in California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Click here for the source and study. Carty's two biggest supporters are Bill Lichtenwald of the Teamsters and Dennis Duffey of the Building Trades. Is Carty's position on Costco their position?

As the chairman of City Council's Economic Development Committee, I am furious that Carty would sell out the unemployed and our local construction industry by rejecting a major investor and jobs producer. Then again, the whole mess we Democrats find ourselves in is on account of Carty putting his interests first. Its ugly and shocking to see Carty put himself ahead of jobs for Toledo. Is he off the Port Authority yet?

Costco is welcome in Toledo. We have a new set of design standards, especially with the joint work of the construction industry and Walk Westgate folks. Those standards would be engaged with this new development. Costco would be the catalyst to even more development across Central to the north, and across Secor to the east.

Later this month we will conduct a town hall meeting on the future development of Southwyck. I look forward to forums in West Toledo to continue the dialogue with residents and business owners on future of the Westgate area.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Honor the fallen

The City of Brook Park, Ohio, which lost 19 Marines last week in Iraq, has on its website links for those wishing to send a tribute or note of support to the families and community. Click here for City of Brook Park website, and keep them in your prayers.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Your Democratic Team For A Strong Toledo

As we approach 40 days before the September primary, I want to express appreciation to everyone with LucasCountyDemocrats.org. Our candidates have so much support from across the city. Our Mayor Jack Ford, as a result of his national reputation for commitment, innovation and achievement, has received strong financial and political support from coast-to-coast. Jobs, health care, and responsive city services - not to mention leadership that's not embarrassing or gimmicky. Our slate reflects Toledo and everything that's great about being a Democrat.

There are a few first time candidates on the September ballot that deserve your support: Karen Shanahan earned a masters degree, is a great mom, and works in the transportation industry for a company in Arrowhead Park. She and her husband Rex are recent Democratic activists, and her freshness is welcome. She asks questions and looks at things like a regular person. She wants to use her transportation experience and relationships to help maintain and attract jobs to Toledo. She should get one of your six votes.

Bob Vasquez brings decades of experience working with young people in Toledo. In fact, he and my dad worked alongside each other for the Ohio Youth Commission back in the 1970's. Bob is a good dad himself, his sons are successful young men, and are helping him with his campaign. Bob's brothers are Toledo Police officers. I just know his commitment and experience will be valuable additions to City Council. Save a vote for Vasquez.

And Phil Copeland has served our community loyally for years, often under the shadow of his uncle, the late, great Bill Copeland. His advocacy of working people in Toledo is second to none on Toledo City Council. He is strong, reliable, and just a really friendly guy. And he lives in East Toledo, which is even more reason to support him.

Karyn McConnell Hancock and I are fortunate to be running with such a strong, well balanced municipal slate. Check back to the LucasCountyDemocrats.org site for more information, and how to contact and support these fine candidates.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Still Waiting

We are checking previously filed campaign finance reports, on news that my colleague Betty Shultz has reported $5000 and $1000 checks from Tom Noe on her latest report. She could face returning close to $10,000 of suspect Noe contributions.

I called on the Republicans to give back the money way back in April. In Sen. Marc Dann's letter to prominent Republicans asking them to promptly return Noe's contributions, he notes "The Bureau has created an escrow account that will hold all returned contributions from Noe and disperse them back to the small business owners and injured workers at the appropriate time."

On The Trail - Six Weeks Out

Started on the trail this week in Clermont County, Ohio with Aaron Wozniak, a student at Xavier, realtor, and son of the President of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners. First at the HQ in Batavia where we were greeted by Sky Beckwith, daughter of Lindsay Potts and Dave Beckwith of Toledo. She had been down there for weeks working smart and hard. We then hit the Hamilton County HQ where we were dispatched for door to door canvassing in Anderson Township. I had two guys on the tailgate of my pick-up truck at points to cover ground the faster. We could sense things were hot and close in this heavily Republican neighborhood and congressional district.

Here's what a nonpartisan expert, The Hotline's Charlie Cook, had to say just before Election Day,

"Bottom line: Schmidt, the Republican, is still favored to win the election, but don't rule out the possibility of an upset, given the vagaries of August special election voter turnout and the problems unique to Ohio this year. But even assuming a GOP win tonight, the margin of victory can give us some insight into just how radioactive the governor's troubles and the "time for a change" sentiment in the state will be for other Republicans in the Buckeye State next year. If Schmidt's victory margin is in double digits, this tells us that there is not much of an anti-GOP wind in Ohio right now. If the margin is say six to nine points for Schmidt, then there is a wind, but certainly no hurricane. A Schmidt win of less than five points should be a very serious warning sign for Ohio Republicans that something is very, very wrong, while a Hackett victory would be a devastating blow to the Ohio GOP."

An important exchange between MyDD's Jerome Armstrong and DCCC ED John Lapp.

Also from today's Hotline:

"While many GOPers attributed Schmidt's "weak showing to pre-primary attacks" from the Club for Growth, one GOP strategist said "that Schmidt ran a 'stupid' race." The strategist: "Typically, in low-turnout elections, you concentrate your turnout efforts on Republican precincts. They were concentrating on fairs and festivals. You don't reach voters going to fairs and festivals." The strategist "also complained" Schmidt "ran no TV ads last Thursday and part of Friday because 'no one [with her camp] bothered to go down to the TV station and bring them a check.'"

To "historymike" who posts here and gives the edge to Finkbeiner's window dressing campaign, I repeat: "They were concentrating on fairs and festivals. You don't reach voters going to fairs and festivals." Nor will you reach them with a fundraising effort that began in February 2005 (while still an on-air commentator for 13 ABC WTVG) that raised only $11,525 in a Mayor's race with the incumbent netting another $150k, bringing his total raised in three years to $750k.

Tom Troy, the city reporter for The Blade who has also covered politics the past few months, recently wrote on the front page about Finkbeiner trying the hardest to demonstrate the widest support from across the city. It's a point I respectfully disagree with. Putting a bunch of names/"co-chairs" on a website is one thing, particularly if half of them don't live in the city of Toledo. Mayor Jack Ford has well over 500 individual contributors, hundreds of whom gave him $5, $10, and $25 checks. Sure, many of the PACs and familiar business names are there, but his donor base constitutes much greater depth and reflects rock solid commitment.

I think any politician in the state would take Ford's contributors and contributions over Carty's website. A website, by the way, recently updated with a new, second campaign manager and other shake-ups, including the re-emergence of Paulette Huber's name, and apparent demotion. Originally listed as a Finance Co-Chair alongside Pat Nicholson, then removed completely, she's now "Fundraising Events Coordinator" I know first hand Paulette what being around Carty is like, and I don't envy you.

One night last week, at a garage sale/auction/fund raiser for a Democratic women's group, supporters of Ford, Wilkowski and Finkbeiner uneasily mingled in a backyard off Kenwood Blvd. Mayor Ford himself was in San Diego accepting a national award for CareNet, which has allowed 5000 people in our community to have health care. Wilkowski was there talking people up. I brought an old, framed montage of Carty's Blade clippings from election night 93, "It's Carty Time." A relic I ended up with back in 97 which bounced around the attic. A perfect auction item, I supposed. Well, someone else had brought a book "Women in Congress," signed by the author, Rep. Marcy Kaptur. The Finkbeiner crew arrived after the framed Ode to Carty was auctioned, quickly, and sold for five dollars. I thought for sure it would go for more than that if Carty's peeps had been there. The bidding for the Kaptur book, though, was sharp from the get-go. Unlicensed, (I'd guess) but nonetheless able (we'd all agree) auctioneer Dave Beckwith was working up a sweat handling the Kaptur bids. $25, $50, $100, up and up it went. Finally, the field of bidders drew down to Megan Vahey, Ford's campaign manager, and Keith Wilkowski himself. $250. $300. $350. $400. A silence and soon cheering erupted from the three dozen folks gathered around. $450. $500. Back and forth the Ford and Wilkowski forces went. It slowed a bit. Megan and Keith realized that neither could turn back, that this was real money on real ground. I thought of the lame glass framed Carty montage I brought that sold for $5. $600 yelled Megan! "Not campaign money" yelled back Keith (they were on opposite ends of the backyard) We all looked at each other. Alex Hugulet and Dave Mann could scarcely believe their good luck in fundraising. Finally, Wilkowski countered with $650. Megan replied "Sold" again to wild cheers and disbelief. It was like one of those poker games that escalates out of control. Keith was handed the Kaptur book and said he had to go out to his car to get his checkbook. He hugged Megan. I assume she was no doubt relieved not to have to shell out $600. Carty and his peeps showed a half hour later. They immediately spied the recently purchased montage. After 15 minutes of ogling it, Carty asked someone, "What are you going to do with that, throw it in the the river?" "No, someone here just bought it during the auction." "Who, how much, we'll buy it from them." "$5" The Carty crew proceeded to negotiate with the reseller, who obliged them even without a mark-up, and one of Carty's volunteers pulled out his wallet, paid her $5, and took away the montage happy as a clam.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Report from Bush Country: 'Send In The Marine'

LIVE BLOG FROM CLERMONT COUNTY - Democrats from across Ohio continue to pour into several SW Ohio counties on behalf of Major Paul Hackett, USMC, and Democratic candidate for Congress in OH-2.

We're here to send a message: we will continue to fight for health, for jobs, for honest representatives of our state. Congress has hurt Toledo through cuts to community development grant money, they've shifted the tax burden onto middle class folks in places like Toledo. This why I'm here canvassing, cajoling and sleeping on a couch.

This congressional district is more Republican than Kaptur's is Democratic. We are in Bush Country asking voters to support the troops and send a Marine to Congress.