Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Community & Hope

The always excellent Ron Fournier at AP reports on a recent Democratic gathering in Florida. These candidates need to plug into communitarian resources. Governor Bill Clinton did.

ODP Chair Forum

The Ohio Honest Elections Campaign is holding a forum for the candidates running for Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party.

When: Tuesday December 13th 2005
7:00-9:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)

Where: First Congregational Church
444 E. Broad Street
Columbus OH, 43215

Works In Progress

Patience, patience. The reports of the demise of my blog are greatly exaggerated. We are working on some cool things and will roll out sooner or later. And long put-off home improvements and time with the family have kept me plenty occupied. That said, why not an update on some items...

Council Action

We held a lively committee meeting on the Westgate development agreement. A few reasonable questions on the tax abatement for Washington Local Schools. The City of Toledo, pending Tuesday's Council vote, will be giving WLS $300,000 over 5 years in exchange for the property tax abatement as Westgate is reconstructed. In addition, the City will commit to $500,000 in Capital Improvement Program funds, mainly for sewer and water. A very good question was posed to us at the hearing - why not roll the sewer & water improvements into the work related to the consent decree, and make the improvements up and down Secor & Central to enhance future growth. I'll be calling the City's lead sewer man tomorrow on this. Some grumbling from Walk Westgate folks about extending Markway west across Secor...site questions will be fielded at a Plan Commission Meeting in January. Costco deal not yet, yet done - my position is this: support Costco & the private investment in upwards of $35 million, keep key elements of walkability & new urbanism. Mayor-elect, Councilwoman Grachek & Commissioner Wozniak off to see a Michigan Costco next week & I wish them luck.

Southwyck plans continue to mature - got to call Larry Dillin early this week.

This Tuesday's meeting will be the last for Council President Louis Escobar & Councilwoman Karyn McConnell Hancock. Joe Birmingham will be sworn in as District 6 rep. I support Dave Schulz's call for an ordinance to clarify the term limits charter vagueness. Read coverage of my ethics proposal by Russ Zimmer at The Toledo Free Press - expect the first ordinance (Council's own ethics policy) to hit maybe at the organizing meeting January 3rd. Lobbyist registration and ethics seminar for new hires to follow, hopefully.

A lot of active conversations about who should be council president. The next President will need 6 votes on 1/3/06 or 7 if we appoint in the District 3 vacancy prior to someone getting 6. The choice of several Democratic members, including me, is veteran councilwoman Wilma Brown. Experience, toughness, graciousness and, I belive, a willingness to work with the new administration and council make her the responsible choice. Others expressing interest are Sarantou, Ludeman, and Sobczak. Fine candidates.

Thank you to Chief Mike Navarre, Sheriff Jim Telb, and all the men and women who serve and protect, for the planning and action on 12/15.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair's Race continues to unfold. ODP published my old address and phone number. As one of 135 or so voters on the state executive committee I continue to have conversations with folks - most recently with House Leader Chris Redfern and Athens County Chair Susan Gwinn. She's got a decent campaign website. Redfern and I go back the farthest. He has served as Chair of my brother's campaigns the past three cycles and we've supported each other's campaigns as well. I campaigned along with Todd Portune back in the 1995 Cincinnati City Council races, and of course admire his ability to win in SE Ohio. And who can forget Bill DeMora's engineering of a successful Young Democrats of America national presidency way down in New Orleans - I remember the Fairmont well. All personal stories aside, the next chair owes it to our 2006 candidates to dramatically improve the voter file, continue the communications technology investments, and emphasize message, organization building, and, of course, record breaking fundraising.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Brunner's Urgent Action Alert

Got this from Brendan Cull with Jennifer Brunner for Ohio Secretary of State last week.

SIGN THE PETITION AND HELP STOP REPUBLICANS FROM
ADOPTING VOTER DISCRIMINATION BILL

Late in the evening on December 7, 2005, the Ohio Senate Rules Committee approved House Bill 3, which will require every Ohioan to show a form of identification before being entitled to vote a regular election ballot.

Voters without the specifically defined identification called for in the bill will have to vote a provisional ballot that is not certain to be counted. Many college students will be forced to vote provisionally, because their ID’s will not have their college address on it. Many elderly people who no longer have driver’s licenses and people in poverty who do not drive will be affected.

The bill is scheduled for a full Senate vote early next week, and the House is expected to concur with Senate amendments soon afterward. Governor Taft, a former Ohio Secretary of State, will get the bill for signature.

Please sign this petition and tell Governor Taft to VETO this bill.

If this bill becomes law, you can expect:

Longer lines at the polls on election day
Thousands of voters who will not be able to vote or their votes won’t be counted
Additional risks to the security of your most personal information
Voters who do not present acceptable identifications (as determined by election workers) will have to turn over the last four digits of their Social Security Numbers or sign an affirmation. Then they will only be able to vote a provisional ballot that may or may not be counted. THE BILL DOES NOT DEFINE OR SPECIFY WHAT IS A PROVISIONAL BALLOT. Just last year, Ken Blackwell successfully fought to prevent provisional ballots from being counted. It could happen again, and the next time, the problems could be much worse.

Click here to sign the petition and prevent this Voter Discrimination Bill from becoming law.

Jennifer Brunner is fighting against this legislation in her campaign for Ohio Secretary of State. Ohio needs a Secretary of State who will honor and protect every person’s right to vote without regard to age, race or economic means with a system that allows voters to trust the process.

CLICK to find out how to contact your State Representative and State Senator.

CLICK to read Jennifer Brunner’s testimony on House Bill 3.

CLICK to support Jennifer Brunner’s campaign for Ohio Secretary of State.