A Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (aka "Puke-O") press release notes that the temporary moratorium on utility disconnections for non-payment will end on March 18.
Which is interesting given that we are STILL getting pounded by brutal winter weather. Nevertheless, on March 19, utility companies, especially the inferior Centerior electric companies will have people working overtime to shut off consumers' power supplies.
Consumers have to remember that the moratorium was on disconnections, not on your bill continuing to mount ever upwards.
Besides the resources mentioned in the PUCO presser, there are also local programs that can help. For example, here in Wood County the PRC program at the Department of Jobs and Families services can provide up to $750 in assistance for low to moderate income households IF there are children living in the household. Their contact info is here but they have not updated their own website about this program. In fact, they do such a lousy job of public information that there have been years when this program ended with funds left over.
One serious barrier to economic development in Ohio is our astronomical electric rates. Basically, whenever the GOP "reforms" or "deregulates" a vital public service, what they are really doing is giving these businesses a license to print money and screw over our citizens.(Think: healthcare, banking, energy, internet and cable access... notice a trend?)
PUCO is currently holding public hearings on rate increases that if adopted would be a multi-million dollar windfall to the Centerior electric companies. Basically, the GOP stranglehold on the General Assembly resulted in a "deregulation" plan based on supply competition that DOESN'T EXIST.
Yet the neocon noise machine continues to prattle on about how "market forces" are the savior of consumers.
To me, these are the kind of "kitchen table" issues that Democrats must tackle in order to fight off the reactionary scare tactics of "wedge" issues.
Pepper Pike Municipal Code 1486.02 restricts residents to posting only one political yard sign (pertinent part bold and italicized):
As used in this chapter:
(a) "Commercial sign" means any sign which proposes a commercial transaction or a product or service.
(b) "Sign" means any identification, description, illustration or device which is affixed to or integrated into a building, structure or land, or otherwise situated on a lot, and which is intended to direct or attract attention to or announce or promote a product, place, activity, person, idea, institution or business by means of letters, words, designs, colors, symbols, banners, fixtures, images or illustrations. "Sign" shall not include religious and other holiday lights and decorations containing no commercial message.
(c) "Sign structure" means the sign face and all members necessary to support the sign face or, in the case of a two-sided sign, both sign faces.
(Ord. 1994-41. Passed 9-28-94.)
1486.02 PERMITTED SIGNS IN RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICTS
(a) In a residential zoning district, only the following signs are permitted:
(1) One nameplate, of two-square feet in area per dwelling unit, indicating only the name and address of the person(s) occupying the lot.
(2) One sign, not more than one-square foot in area containing a brief statement directly relating to the physical safety and security of the premises, its occupants or visitors thereon (e.g. “beware of dog,” “protected by electronic security system” and “block watch”). Such a sign may identify a particular security system by name and/or logo for the purpose of deterrence of potential intruders and to inform safety forces and emergency medical personnel of a contact for important information relating to the premises or its occupant(s).
There may be no more commuting to Columbus for term-limited state representatives John Hagan (R-Alliance), Jon Peterson (R-Delaware), and Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster), nor for Rep. John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls) who isn't term limited but decided not to take his chances on seeking re-election after losing his off-year bid for Clerk of Municipal Courts.
All of them won primary races for county office yesterday. Hagan is a GOP nominee for county commissioner in Stark County, Peterson will run unopposed for county treasurer in Delaware County, Carmichael is unopposed in his bid for county commissioner in Wayne County, and Widowfield unseated Summit County Council member Louise Heydorn (R). Widowfield faces Paul Colavecchio (D-Cuyahoga Falls), who gave him a stiff challenge for the statehouse in 2004, in the general election.
ODP Chair Chris Redfern has sent out an email message hailing the amazing Democratic turnout in yesterday's primary:
The 2008 Ohio Democratic Party primary shattered turnout records and left Republicans with a dramatic party registration deficit. Democratic ballot requests outnumbered Republican ballot requests in 71 of Ohio's 88 counties, including 65 counties that George Bush carried in 2004. Based on current returns, registered Ohio Democrats now outnumber registered Ohio Republicans by a ratio of more than 2:1.
Redfern goes on to write about the lackluster performance of GOP congressional candidates in OH-02, OH-16, and OH-18.
Here's another manifestation. Unheralded challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) attracted 58,122 votes in his uncontested primary yesterday, compared to 65,802 for incumbent Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana). Carroll's vote total is 88% of Jordan's total, only 7,680 votes behind.
This may be a record for the historically Republican 4th Ohio Congressional District. Carroll points out that Rick Siferd (D) got only 26,591 votes in his 2006 primary, compared to 75,174 for six Republicans including Jordan. Ben Konop got only 37,742 in 2004, compared to 65,979 for Rep. Mike Oxley (R) -- and Konop wound up making a real race out of it.
The change this year is not about Republican voters staying home, it's about more voters voting Democratic. This year's total turnout in the 4th Congressional District was more than 20,000 higher than in the 2004 or 2006 primaries.
Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard), unopposed in the Democratic primary, contacted me to report that the Knox County vote total for GOP candidate Tom Whiston (R) is shown incorrectly at the Secretary of State web site, resulting in an apparent narrow victory by Tom Whiston over Margaret Ann Ruhl (R) at 7,124 to 7,084 votes.
UPDATE: The Hannah News Service is reporting that this GOP primary is heading for a recount, based on the incorrect totals at the Secretary of State web site.
2nd UPDATE: I just checked and the SOS vote totals have been corrected. (It's about noon on March 6th.)
I'm editing my list of county office races and I come across this result:
3,107 35.44% Ray Stone (R)
3,102 35.39% Jerry Herbert (R)
2,557 29.17% Daniel "Skip" McLean III (R)
Five votes. That's 0.05%.
This is the race where three Republican challengers jumped in after the incumbent David Smith (R) was arrested for drunk driving on his way home from a sheriff's association dinner in Columbus. Smith had filed to run but later withdrew, and now apparently plans to enter a plea in the case.
It's going to take about 20 days to figure out how many of the 516 provisional ballots are valid, which obviously may change the result.
I'm trimming my candidates list, and I see this result on the Republican side of the 53rd Ohio House District:
40.94% 4,847 Tim Derickson (R)
40.63% 4,810 Paul Nenni (R)
18.42% 2,181 Terri King (R)
Those top two are only 37 votes apart! That's within 0.5%, so that race is headed for an automatic recount.
These are my favorite numbers from yesterday. With 99.99% of the precincts reporting, the Secretary of State reports these vote totals in the presidential primary:
2,226,976 (69%) Democratic
1,018,446 (31%) Republican
I realize that a certain number of GOP voters crossed over for tactical reasons, but not enough to make a big inroad on that margin. This comparison reflects a state turning blue.
UPDATE: By the way, turnout in Cuyahoga County was only 41.73%, about 5% less than the BOE expected. Weather? But what's up with Franklin County - only 38.29%!
No big surprise, given results earlier in this cycle. Survey USA had it at 54% for Clinton, 44% for Obama, and that is exactly what happened.
As for my prediction, I thought it would be a closer race, maybe 5 or 6 points.
Speaking on Cleveland public radio station WCPN just now, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern called for new nominating contests in Michigan and Florida in early June. He thinks support for doing that will increase as a result of last night's outcomes.
He pointed out that Bill Clinton didn't win the nomination until June before his first run in 1992.
I'm not thrilled with the idea, but it is a lot better than seating the delegates chosen in the outlawed contests that already took place.
UPDATE: He also said that a number of Republican elected officials (mayors, apparently) switched their party affiliation to vote a Democratic ballot yesterday. The names will be revealed in the next few days.
Redfern just said that he will think for a few days about whether to endorse in the presidential race or stay neutral. The primary vote will be a major factor, but not the only factor, in his decision.
The Plain Dealer is putting it at 71 for Clinton, 57 for Obama - a net gain of 14.
MSNBC puts it at 73 for Clinton, 62 for Obama, a net gain of 11.
Kos calculated it last night at 73 for Clinton, 68 for Obama, a net gain of five.
UPDATE: Bill Hershey of the Dayton Daily News calculates 75 for Clinton, 66 for Obama, a net gain of 9. He estimates a 48-44 split for the district-level delegates:
OH-01: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-02: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-03: Clinton 2, Obama 3
OH-04: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-05: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-06: Clinton 4, Obama 1
OH-07: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-08: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-09: Clinton 3, Obama 3
OH-10: Clinton 4, Obama 2
OH-11: Clinton 2, Obama 6
OH-12: Clinton 2, Obama 3
OH-13: Clinton 3, Obama 3
OH-14: Clinton 4, Obama 2
OH-15: Clinton 2, Obama 2
OH-16: Clinton 3, Obama 2
OH-17: Clinton 4, Obama 3
OH-18: Clinton 3, Obama 2
The 12th Court of Appeals District comprises heavily Republican Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble and Warren Counties. There hasn't been a Democrat on the bench there for at least 20 years, and there hasn't even been a Democratic candidate since 2000.
That's why judicial candidates Bruce Carter (D-Fairfield) and Laura Curliss (D-Wilmington) are very pleased this morning about their vote totals in uncontested primaries. Carter got 71,489 votes in his bid for a newly created seat against Robert Ringland (R), who got 83,759. Curliss got 72,675 votes, while Butler County Area III Judge Robert Hendrickson (R) got 57,298 votes to defeat Clinton County Common Pleas Mary McElwee (R), who got 37,892.
Those totals for the Democrats aren't larger than the GOP totals, but for this conservative district they are high, even historic. Carter's total is 85% of his GOP rival's total, and Curliss won 76% of the total votes cast on the GOP side in her race. This is very encouraging for the general election campaign for these very important judicial seats.
In one of the tightest margins of the night, Tuscarawas Township trustee and assistant law director for Jackson Township Celeste DeHoff (D-Massillon) defeated former state representative, Lawrence Township trustee, and GIS liaison for the Stark County auditor's office Mike Stevens (D-Canal Fulton) by 236 votes:
37.68% 7,594 DeHoff
36.51% 7,358 Stevens
Attorney Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown) easily defeated 19-year-old Christine Hagan (R-Alliance), daughter of term-limited incumbent John Hagan (R-Alliance), on the GOP side, 59% to 41%.
CNN and MSNBC are declaring Texas for Clinton. So she wins decisively in Ohio and by a narrow margin in Texas, and the Democratic nomination fight goes on.
With 89 of 109 precincts reporting, Nancy Garland (D) has 56.75% of the vote against repeat candidate Bev Campbell (D) in this closely watched primary.
As of about midnight, Russ Goodwin (D) had not yet called to concede to evident winner David Robinson (D).
With 72.66% of the vote counted, the Secretary of State shows State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) and County Commissioner Matt Miller (R-Ashland) almost tied at 44.86% to 44.39%. However, it appears that there are more uncounted votes from Stark County, the only one of the four counties in the district where Schuring is doing better than Miller, so the chances are that Schuring will pull out a narrow victory.
Party-endorsed Roland Winburn (D-Dayton) held off a stiff challenge from Vic Harris (D-Dayton) to earn the right to run for the seat of term-limited veteran legislator Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). With 99.1% of the vote counted, Winburn has 55.87% of the vote and Harris has 44.13%.
Montgomery County is reporting 97% of the vote and shows Jane Mitakides (D) at 55.54% over Charles Sanders (D) at 32.49% and David Esrati (D) at 11.97%. The SOS site shows Mitakides comfortably ahead in Warren and Clinton Counties as well.
In primaries that were not expected to be close, congratulations go to Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown), and Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover).
It looks like Space will be facing Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon).
Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) will fend off the primary challenge of Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) and take another shot at Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland).
Hamilton County is showing only 20.11% of the vote counted, but Wulsin is leading there 5,442 votes to 1,555. Clermont is almost all in and Wulsin leads 12,342 to 6,993. Partial results in Adams, Scioto, and Warren show Wulsin leading almost 2 to 1, and Wulsin won Brown County 3,323 to 2,501.
UPDATE: Wulsin has declared victory and Black has conceded.
2nd UPDATE: With 70% of precincts reporting, Wulsin had won 38,665 votes to 31,927 for her Republican opponent, Rep. Jean Schmidt.
Putting together results from various sources, attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) looks like a winner over repeat candidate Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek). Neuhardt is leading in Clark County with 96% of the vote counted, 8,057 to 6,831. She won Greene County 8,297 to 4,713. In Franklin County, with 72 of 77 precincts reporting, Neuhardt is ahead 4,095 to 3,185. Fayette County is basically tied in early voting. Pickaway County went for Conner by 2,714 to 1,526. Ross County went for Connor 642 to 360. They are tied in Fairfield County in early voting. Perry is too early to call, but Neuhardt has over 40% of the vote so far.
All in all, it looks like the wide margin in Greene County puts Neuhardt over the top and she cruises to a win.
With over half the vote counted, Hillary Clinton has a healthy lead of about 57% to 41%. Of course, the final margin matters a great deal, and we have a while to wait for that.
In a closely watched county officer race, party-endorsed candidate and Clerk of Courts John O'Grady (D) looks to be headed to a convincing win over Cindy Lazarus (D). WIth 681 of 854 precincts reporting, O'Grady has 54.82% of the vote, Lazarus has 45.18%.
Nurse and attorney Jan Lanier (D-Westerville) appears to be headed for a convincinb primary win over homemaker Kelly Wenzlaff (D-Powell) in the 2nd Ohio House District. With 92.37% of the vote counted in Delaware County, Lanier has 69.11% of the vote to 30.89% for Wenzlaff.