Ross county HB 194 signings

The Ross County Movement Builders, OEA, & AFL-CIO IBEW 575, are hosting HB194 petition signing events in Chillicothe and Richmond Dale. Volunteers are collecting signatures as part of the effort to put this bill on the ballot for a citizen’s veto in 2012.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

8 AM to Noon Ross County Service Center at both entrances of parking lot near Farmer’s Market
475 Western Avenue, Chillicothe, Ohio

Sunday, September 11, 211

10AM to 4PM Salt Creek Festival
Richmond Dale, Ohio

September 1 to September 27, Monday through Friday

9AM to 4PM IBEW Local 575 Hall, 35 North Bridge Street next to Domino’s Pizza

Clintonville/Franklin County repeal HB 194 petition locations this weekend

What better way to honor 9/11 than to sign a petition to protect voting rights and our democracy? "They hate us for our freedoms," George Bush? Then why are your party compatriots fighting so hard to take our freedoms away?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9 AM - 12 Noon
accross from the Clintonville Farmer's Market
in front of Cover to Cover Books
3560 N. High Street
(please do not park in the bookstore parking lot)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2PM - 6PM
Cornerstone Deli
3296 N. High Street
(corner of Longview and High St., 2 blocks South of N. Broadway)

Rolling Stone reports on the Republican’s war on voting rights

Rolling Stone wrote a great article detailing the Republican’s war on voting rights. In a blog post the author of the article, Ari Berman, writes:

”In the current issue of Rolling Stone, I examine how Republican officials in a dozen states have passed new laws this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process. It's a widespread, deliberate effort that could prevent millions of mostly Democratic voters, including students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly, from casting ballots in 2012. Congress is, belatedly, starting to pay attention, and yesterday afternoon Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?"

Notice the "widespread, deliberate effort" part.

Creepy, hugh?

The legislation to restrict voting rights in America comes from the far right organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). They produced this “model” legislation as well as hundreds of other pre-written bills for Republican cog legislators who mindless introduce them at different levels of government doing the bidding of their corporate masters.

While Ohio Senate staff gets raises, the rest of us not so much

The rest of us are losing ground.

Apparently, Tom Niehaus' argument that Senate staff need luxurious raises because otherwise they'd decamp for the private sector where jobs are going begging and riches abound is hooey (seriously, who could have predicted!)

According to Policy Matters Ohio, ten states saw incomes decline between 2000 and 2010 — and Ohio leads the list.

Says PMO:
"As federal and state policymakers obsess about deficits, lowering taxes, and slashing the public sector, it is clear that they are missing the point. What Ohio really needs is a much stronger job creation agenda." Duh.

Their report offers some concrete suggestions which Governor Kasich and his wingmen Niehaus and Bill Bachelder are unlikely to pay attention to. But, to paraphrase what they have been saying about other, lower-paid public-sector employees like teachers and police officers, when the incomes of the taxpayers are going down, it's inappropriate to give your own staff generous raises paid for by the taxpayers.

And it's absurd to think that these already well-paid employees — most of whom got their jobs via insider connections — are going to depart into a difficult job market where they don't have the same leg up if they don't have their salaries padded. And frankly, who cares if they do? Ohio is loaded with talented people who could fill these jobs — and they are spinning their wheels or losing ground in terms of income growth.

Mainstream media picks up state Senate pay raise story

and pretty much bungle it with the usual false equivalency.

Columbus' Fox28 says "both Republicans and Democrats" got pay raises but provided no details as to how many and how much, comparatively.

Columbus' TV10 added more details including state senate leader Tom Niehaus' lame and hypocritical excuse for the raises after all the handwringing about other public sector workers enriching themselves at taxpayer expense. They said 19 staffers got increases, but doesn't break down how many of each party and how big the respective raises were, probably because it would have wrecked the case that this was bipartisan greed.

Said Niehaus, “Whenever you're going through difficult economic times, if you're not the person getting an increase, it's not going to seem fair. My responsibility is managing the Senate and making sure we have the best people available and they're fairly compensated.”

Well, Mr Niehaus, let me remind you what didn't seem fair to you when you were talking about teachers and police officers. You said that it wasn't right that they were making generous salaries — about a third of what your chief of staff makes — at taxpayer expense when things weren't going so well for the taxpayers. You didn't seem concerned that we needed to pay more to get "the best people" to teach in our schools — you think this can somehow magically be accomplished by meaningless retesting. That's a joke. Maybe try respect instead.

TV10's piece also said, "[Niehaus] said he was worried he would lose key staffers to other state agencies or private businesses if he did not pay them more."

Republican brazenness, part 367,405,399,200 (or something like that)

If you've got your scorecard of the antics of drunk Ohio Republican legislators handy, look up Rep. Jarrod Martin of the greater Dayton area. Martin is the one who was nabbed by police in July after swerving all over the road and cited for drunk driving and child endangerment (he had a couple of kids in the car).

After that it came out that the previous year, he had also been a participant in a rowdy bachelor party where he and his friends were so drunk his parents (!) had to come pick them up. And THEN it came out that he had been discovered in the garage of a government office building, passed out on Rep. Bill Bachelder's car.

Relive the golden moments:

Today the media is reporting that Martin has been stripped of his chairmanship of the veterans affairs committee.

And to their credit, Republican leadership HAS asked him to resign, just like his colleague Bob Mecklenborg finally did after his little episode in Indiana with the booze and the Viagra and the woman half his age not his wife.

So what does Martin say? Well, according to the Dayton Daily News,

"The Republican from southwest Ohio has said he plans to vindicate himself in court."

Of course.

We Are Ohio responds to the launch of pro-SB5 commercials

We Are Ohio issued a strong statement in response to two pro-SB5 commercials that were launched today.

”Columbus- Today supporters of Issue 2 launched two television ads attacking the rights of middle class workers in Ohio.”

"As supporters of Issue 2 continue attacking worker rights with two politicians in television ads, We Are Ohio remains focused on what this bill will really do, hurt middle class families and put the safety of Ohio communities at risk," said Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio. "The politicians behind Issue 2 want us to do what they say, not what they do. They blame firefighters, nurses and teachers for the budget problems they created by giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to their corporate campaign contributors, while at the same time cutting funding to local communities for safety services. At the same time politicians also left a gaping loophole which exempts them from Senate Bill 5. While claiming we all need to share in the sacrifices, politicians gave their staff members and upper management big pay increases and bonuses. Their actions continue to show who is important to them, their special interest friends who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help get them elected, not the hardworking Ohioans who serve and protect our families and communities. The hypocrisy never seems to end with these guys. Today Ohioans are left with one simple question, who do you trust more, hypocritical politicians who support this unsafe and unfair law or firefighters who risk their lives to serve and protect us?"

Republicans are creating policies that they themselves cannot live within. Is that fair at all?

Link to statement:

A few more words about Niehaus and his team of tax mooches

I find myself unable to shake thoughts about the shameful hypocrisy and selfishness of state Senate leader Tom Niehaus and his living-high-on-the-taxpayers' dime staff. There are so many levels of hypocrisy here it's positively labyrinthian.

The most obvious, and the one we've already touched on, is demanding that public servants like teachers and police officers make sacrifices while he pays even low-level staff members almost double what a teacher or police officer makes — pays them, that is, with OUR money.

Niehaus contact info:
Phone: (614) 466-8082

Now, I am sure some rightie out there is insisting that Niehaus is paying for the superior experience and credentials of these individuals — and for all I know, they may have that experience and those credentials. But, you see, it doesn't matter — Niehaus has already said so. He has demanded that teachers give up seniority pay — pay for their superior experience and credentials — and go to a "merit pay" system, which is entirely subjective. So he has no leg to stand on saying that he is rewarding more experienced aides. At least not until we can develop a test that proves they are competent and can tie their salaries into that test.

These are the same people who believe that Teach for America amateurs can replace the experienced teachers who have been laid off. If so, then Niehaus can replace his staff with low-paid interns. It shouldn't make any difference.

Niehaus contact info:
Phone: (614) 466-8082

State Senate leader Tom Niehaus' brazen theft from taxpayers. Need you to take action!

It's hard to be shocked by the things today's Republicans do and say anymore. They have become so naked in revealing their real beliefs: that people are worthless and only money counts; that if you have fallen on hard times for any reason, tough shit, you deserve it; that greed, envy, power lust and selfishness are somehow "Christian" and Jesus didn't really mean all that shit about helping others, especially those less fortunate than yourself. It's really gotten to be like they can get away with virtually anything — and the media, which would be having a meltdown if Democrats tried any of this, barely blinks.

That is why in a minute I am going to be asking you to do something. Read on.

I got up early this morning to catch up after being in Pennsylvania for the weekend, and caught a post over at our friends at Plunderbund that made me slam my fist so hard on my desk that I permanently disabled the mouse pad on my laptop, which I had been having trouble with anyway. (Luckily I got an external mouse for it last week).

Every single person in the state of Ohio needs to read this:

Yes, state Senate leader Tom Niehaus has rewarded his staff with lavish raises — at the same time he has been leading the call for Ohio's OTHER public-sector workers to sacrifice to balance the budget. We've heard Republicans like Niehaus go on and on and on about how SB 5 is necessary because of those greedy public sector workers, living a life of luxury at taxpayer expense, who need to accept drastic cuts in their lifestyles because the taxpayers aren't doing that well.

More HB 194 petition signing info — Trumbull County!

Hey, Warren! Turn off that old Moody Blues record (inside joke) and get over to Niles on Wednesday evening to sign that petition to repeal the voter suppression bill. There will be a Trumbull county drive-thru signing evening from 4-6 p.m. this Wednesday, September 7 at the McMenamy’s Restaurant and Banquet Center parking lot, 325 Youngstown-Warren Rd. (rte 422) in Niles. What that means is you can head over after work and jot your name on that petition without even getting out of your car. Roll down your window, they'll hand you the clipboard, and you're on your way home for dinner in 30 seconds. For more information: Contact Kathy at

By the way, we are hearing plenty of encouraging news about how the signature gathering is going. Keep up the effort, everyone, and if you have not signed, please do not miss the opportunity! There were a ton of people out today with petitions at the 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Labor Day Parade and Picnic — I don't think anyone escaped without being asked about ten times if they had signed, so I don't think anyone was missed.

Jim DeMint gets even crazier

Jim DeMint is crazy. He’s been crazy. And just when you think he can’t get any crazier, he does.

Jim DeMint was on ABC’s This Week in which he discussed President Obama’s upcoming speech on job creation. His statement about the speech:

"I'm, frankly, very tired of speeches. I don't want to be disrespectful to the president, but what I want to see is something in writing,"

He goes on to say:

"You know, extending unemployment [insurance], cutting payroll taxes, offering tax credits when you hire someone, I haven't heard one business say things like this."

Is Jim DeMint deaf? He says he hasn’t heard one business say they want these things? Ok, if that’s the case, then why have the Republicans/Tea Party been pushing these policies for so long? Jim DeMint really doesn’t know any companies that would like a cut in payroll taxes?

Instead of these policies DeMint states:

”business want the government to oppose unions and eliminate regulations, which he said would create "certainty."

So the new job creation policies of the Republicans/Tea Party is to oppose unions and eliminate regulations.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at these two policies and see that they will create no jobs. If anything, we’ll see a loss of even more jobs. Unions have been dying a slow death for the past few decades. If getting rid of them creates jobs, should we not have seen a steady increase in jobs? And when we talk about regulations, what regulations are we talking about. Jim DeMint wants to see things in writing, well, he should put in writing what regulations he wants done away with to create this new utopia of job creation. And if all Mr. DeMint can come back with are things like doing away with the entire EPA, let’s look at other countries that are that relaxed in such policies. How about China? The air quality is great there isn’t it?

HB 194 signing locations this weekend: Franklin County/Columbus

Hey, there's a location in Westerville! That's where Kasich lives. Why don't you stop and pick him up on your way down so he can sign too? Ha ha.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Clintonville Farmers' Market
N. High St. between Orchard Lane and West Dunedin

Outside the Driving Park Library
566 East Livingston Avenue

Volunteer Home
2567 Westmont Bl.

Outside Old Worthington Library
820 High Street

Columbus Metro Library Southeast Branch
3980 S. Hamilton Rd

Columbus Metro Library Gahanna Branch
310 Granville Street

Columbus Metro Library Livingston Ave
3434 Livingston Avenue

Columbus Metro Library Reynoldsburg Branch
1402 Brice Rd.

Columbus Metro Library Whitehall Branch
4371 E. Broad Street

Westerville Public Library
126 South State Street

Karl Road Library
5590 Karl Rd.

Outside MLK Library
1600 E. Long St.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
555 N. High Street

Corner of High Street and Buttles Street
High St at Buttles St

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cornerstone Cafe
3296 North High Street

2567 Westmont Bl.

Outside Parsons Library
845 Parsons Avenue

Meijer Drive between the Meijer & Target Shopping centers
8000 E Broad St

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
555 N. High Street

Scioto Mile
25 Marconi Boulevard

Monday, September 5, 2011

Northam Park
2070 Northam Rd.
Upper Arlington

Schiller Park in German Village
By the statute in the center of the park.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Ganging up on nasty hypocrites!

Following up on my previous post about state rep. Bob Hagan's bill to drug and alcohol test legislators, state officials, and JobsOhio board members, I just found out that state senator Nina Turner plans to introduce a similar bill in the senate that will require legislators to be randomly drug tested once a year in order to get their overly generous paycheck (overly generous in light of how little they have accomplished and how much anger and controversy they have provoked). The legislators would be reimbursed if they tested negative; if they tested positive, they would forfeit their pay. They would have to go through drug treatment and test negative 30 days after the first test in order to get paid. Ha!

Turner said, “If we are going to be sincere in preventing individuals from obtaining public funds while also using illegal drugs, then we should start with the people who have the greatest impact on state dollars, politicians."

Nina, toss in sanctions for alcohol abuse and I'm definitely on board. Though the way things are going on that front, we may have to start AA meetings at the statehouse.

Now THAT'S the spirit, Rep. Hagan

One of the nastier, more unchristian and more pointless efforts to beat up on those down on their luck is legislation that was passed in Florida and is being introduced in Ohio — by Republicans, of course — requiring that all recipients of public assistance be drug tested. In Florida, it has yielded very few positives and the law requires that thousands of people who tested negative be reimbursed for the tests. The law's only purpose is to humiliate and browbeat low-income people, to make them feel like worthless shit.

Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown is proposing legislation that might nab some ACTUAL worthless shit.

"COLUMBUS - State Representative Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced he will soon introduce legislation requiring drug and alcohol testing for statewide elected officials, legislators, and JobsOhio board members."

Uh-oh, state reps. Jarrod Martin and Kris Jordan.

Hagan says, "It is hypocritical to demand that the average Ohioan and working poor should be held to a higher standard than the political elite in this state. Substance abuse is substance abuse, and receiving tax dollars is receiving tax dollars. It shouldn't matter who you are."

According to Hagan's bill, the legislators and state officeholders — including members of the controversial JobsOhio's board — would have to take the test at their own expense. His bill also provides for consequences for those who test positive for illicit drugs or alcohol that could possibly include removal from office.

The Perils of Issue 3 [will appear on this November’s ballot]

Innovation Ohio released a report about Issue 3. Issue 3 is a Tea Party sponsored amendment to the Ohio constitution that would erroneously prohibit Ohio from participating in the Affordable Car Act. (which Tea Party people disrespectfully call “Obamacare”)

Apparently in their zealousness of getting Issue 3 on the November ballot they went for a classic overreach with the bill. The Columbus Dispatch (R-Columbus) reports:

”Issue 3’s author, Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, said tea party members and other backers have consistently maintained that the amendment is about more than just the federal health law or individual mandates.”

Unfortunately their overreach was very sloppy, the bill is poorly written, and if it passes, it could affect a myriad of things. Innovation Ohio reports:

”definitions and prohibitions contained in the amendment are so broadly worded that Issue 3 would also ban or freeze in place (and not allow for any future changes to) countless other laws, rules and reporting requirements designed to provide oversight of the medical and insurance professions, and to protect workers, consumers and the public health.

Among the laws, programs and policies likely to be affected are:

The Workers' Compensation System
Child Support Enforcement Orders
College and University Student Health Insurance Coverage Requirements
The Monitoring of "Pill Mills"
Abortion Notifications under the newly enacted HB 78 (and possibly the Act itself)
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Tax Levies
School Immunizations and Disease Tracking (such as smallpox, influenza and HIV)
Licensing of Health Care Providers and Insurance Agents”

John Kasich’s move to centralize municipal income tax collection

John Kasich’s administration has recently signaled an interest in creating a centralized income tax collection division. This centralized division would be run by the state government.

This proposal flies in the face of everything Republicans and the Tea Party “stand for.” It’s bigger government, more centralized control, and moves closer to a “big brother” monitoring that no American should be for.

Like many Republican proposals these days, the idea is being justified by creating a fake problem. Their argument is that this will help businesses that might have to file multiple filings in different cities they might be operating in. But what the proposal is not taking into account are tax breaks a company might be getting in a certain city and different tax policies between different cities that might advantage a business.

As I read some comments on about the proposal, there were of course, the crazy Right who think this is a great idea. At this point I’m pretty sure the Republican/Tea Party could make a proposal to lock those people up in an institution, only let them out to do menial slave wage jobs with no benefits and they would just say, “thank you wealth providing profit making Lords, what more could I ask for?”

There were some “contractors” (who knows if they're really contractors or not sitting around commenting on news sites), who stated they thought the idea was great, too. What I don’t think these "contractors" are understanding is; is that this new system can force them to pay more in taxes – not less. Again, this is a centralized long-arm agency that could have an interesting new reach into people lives.

Trumbull County > tonight > meet your congressman and sign the HB 194 petition

This evening, Thursday, September 1, from 6-8 p.m., Congressman Tim Ryan will join his friends from the Trumbull County Democratic Party at their headquarters at 3200 Ridge Road in Warren for an HB 194 petition signing event. Come on down, ink your name on one of those babies, and maybe ask Ryan if he's seen his colleague Steve LaTourette in Ohio lately (see previous post). Ryan isn't charging to be in his presence, unlike the similarly named congressman from Wisconsin. And you CAN bring your camera. Maybe someone will even take a photo of YOU signing your name to help prevent voter suppression in Ohio.

Nurses to visit Steve LaTourette (Oh-14) tomorrow

Of course, Stevie won't be there when members of National Nurses United and their friends arrive at his office at 1 Victoria Place in downtown Painesville tomorrow at 11 to ask him whether he supports Main Street or Wall Street, in keeping with their slogan "Heal Main Street, tax Wall Street." They already sent him a certified letter asking his position on holding financial institutional accountable for the havoc they have caused through a financial transaction tax which would go pay for programs to benefit the tens of millions whose jobs, homes and health care these banks put in jeopardy.

The nurses plan to meet with someone in LaTourette's office from 10:30 to 11, and then join members of the community for some street theater and to collect items for Project Hope for the Homeless.

The gathering at LaTourette's office is one of 60 that NNU is sponsoring in 21 states around the country. There is another one in Ohio – for our friends in Southwestern Ohio — at the office of Mike "Who?" Turner (Oh-03) at 120 W. Third Street in Dayton from 2-3 p.m. tomorrow.

If you'd like to know more, go here:

More places to sign the HB 194 repeal petition

Hello Clermont County!! Stronghold of Jean "Scrunchie" Schmidt. Cleanse yourselves by signing the petition to repeal vote suppression bill HB 194 this Saturday, September 3, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Clermont County Democratic Headquarter, 10 North Second Street in Batavia. Then you can go to your Labor Day festivities with a lighter heart and clear conscience. If you see Scrunchie running by in her track shoes, wave!

Wood County! (Bowling Green)
From noon to 3 p.m. daily there will be petitions at the Wood County Democratic HQ, 455 S. Main St., Bowling Green.

There will also usually be someone at Grounds for Thought at 174 S. Main Street, in Bowling Green.

And on each Thursday evening, there will be someone gathering signatures at the Perrysburg Farmers Market. He says, "I'm generally in the first, 100s, block, on the west side," so look for him.

Pike County:
Rita has a petition for this rural southern Ohio county. Email her if you or anyone you know in the county would like to sign.

Mahoning County:
The Canfield Fair kicked off today and runs through Monday. The Mahoning County Democrats will have a booth where you can sign the petition all day every day. And THEN you can go ride some rides, eat some funnel cakes, and ogle super-large pumpkins. We're also told you can enjoy county party chair David Betras' bubble machine. (Take a photo and send it to us). They will also have petitions for Trumbull County.

Ohio state legislators from Cuyahoga put AG Holder on alert about vote suppression

In light of the recent battle for democracy between Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted over absentee ballot applications, six state legislators from the greater Cleveland area have sent a letter to U.S. attorney general Eric Holder alerted him to what is going on and asked him to be vigilant about the potential for voter suppression in Ohio.

At a press conference in Cleveland, Sen. Nina Turner pointed out that the county saved $1.2 million in 2010, thanks to absentee voting — more than twice the cost of the proposed mailing — thereby swatting down the righties whining about this initiative based on cost.

Rep. Mike Foley debunked Husted's justification for trying to ban such mailings: his claim that every county, no matter how different its geography, population, and needs, must operate under the same rules for "uniformity" in voting. He said, "This repeated claim of needing uniform procedures is deceitful. These policies will actually create huge disparities on Election Day."

That's exactly right since "uniform" procedures that may make voting easier for one group of people may make it next to impossible for another.

Go to ProgressOhio to read more:

Here's their letter:

August 31, 2011

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The Empty Suit squanders tax dollars to bully public workers

In a blatant effort to promote himself as phony bastion of "transparency" (except when it comes to his OWN activities – he merely thinks OTHER people should be exposed) and an obvious partisan campaign ploy to rile people up to support SB 5, Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel has added a "tool" on his treasurer's website – it's the very first thing you see when you go there — to allow people to search for the salaries of any public employee.

This is information that is totally unnecessary and irrelevant to the function of the treasurer's office.The treasurer has no control over what people outside his own office are paid. This isn't the kind of information people would normally come to the treasurer's website to get. And he's positioned it to blot out the regular functions of the office. Not that he likely knows what they are, having spent so much of his time in this office he's unqualified for traveling around the country raising money for his maybe-I'm-running-maybe-I'm-not campaign for U.S. Senate.

But OK, I'll play along. I decided to look for the obscenely high salary of Governor Kasich's public-trough-feeding chief of staff Beth Hansen, who is being paid $47,000 a year more than Governor Strickland's chief of staff made.

What I found was that this vaunted "tool" is virtually unusable. I put in her name, chose "state salary," and clicked on "search." First, nothing happened. After multiple clicking, I got another screen that asked for "department" (luckily I knew it but many might not) and salary range — what on earth is that for? – and a whole bunch of other complicated options. Then I clicked on "2011 search." (You can also choose "historical search.")

Then I got "Your search returned zero results."

How special.

I tried "Elizabeth." I checked the spelling. I had it right. Nothing.

Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc., responds to Building a Better Ohio’s lies

Great statement from the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc., concerning Building a Better Ohio’s lies about the Mount Sterling Police Department layoffs. I especially like this part in the Fraternal Order of Police’s statement:

”What "Building a Better Ohio" should focus on is why the state made massive cuts to local government funds despite a revenue surplus.”

Exactly. What’s the point of putting almost a billion dollar surplus into a rainy day fund when there are so many needs throughout the state?

Republicans just can’t do what is fair.

Following is the complete from the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc…

August 30, 2011
Jay McDonald, President


COLUMBUS -- The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio (FOP) today expressed disappointment that some supporters of Issue 2 and Senate Bill 5 are claiming that the complete layoff of the Mt. Sterling, Ohio police department was a positive development for citizens there and for Ohioans.

"Building A Better Ohio" recently claimed that Senate Bill 5 could have prevented mass Mt. Sterling police department layoffs, giving the town the ability to restructure its operating costs.

Here are the facts: Mt. Sterling's police officers aren't a part of the Fraternal Order of Police or any other public union. That's because Ohio's current collective bargaining law doesn't apply to towns and villages with fewer than 5,000 residents.

The reality is that the mayor in Mt. Sterling reported that cuts to the local government fund, not Senate Bill 5 or unions, resulted in the layoffs. What "Building a Better Ohio" should focus on is why the state made massive cuts to local government funds despite a revenue surplus.

Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President Jay McDonald says that the legislature and governor, not the FOP, must answer for these layoffs.

Husted concedes on Cuyahoga County ballot application mailing

According to this morning's Cleveland Plain Dealer, Husted gave up his fight to figure out a way to bar boards of election from processing absentee ballot applications send out by the Cuyahoga County government. Just last night, the Cuyahoga County Council voted unanimously to approve the mailing at the request of county executive Ed FitzGerald.

Cuyahoga has been mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters since 2006. (Franklin County has a similar initiative). People have come to expect to receive their applications in the mail. And Husted issued a directive barring ANY board of election from doing this — so in Cuyahoga, FitzGerald said the county would pick up the slack. Husted had a hissy fit.

Unfortunately for Husted, telling BoEs to disallow applications received by mail seems to fly in the face of logic and practicality. These are applications, not ballots — similar to voter registration forms which are distributed all over the place. And BoEs MUST accept them and vet them to determine if the potential voter is legitimate. They can't discriminate based on where the voter got the application. Chances are attempts to disallow an absentee ballot application based on where the voter got it would face a steep court challenge — and sorting applications into acceptable one and unacceptable ones based merely on the source would have created more work for BoEs.

Good for Husted for giving up his attempt to thwart democracy, and shame on him for engaging in it to begin with. Hopefully, this will be end of the matter — and HB 194 will be repealed, axing a whole host of other voter-discouraging measures.

HB 194 petition signings

We got word that Tom Galloway will be in front of Way Public Library in Perrysburg with H.B. 194 petitions fron 10 a.m. until noon this coming Saturday, September 3. He will have petitions for Wood, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky and other NW Ohio counties.

In the Cleveland area, the North Shore AFL-CIO parade takes place Saturday September 3, from 10 a.m.-2 pm. stepping off from Snow and Clearview in Parma Heights. I expect there will be numerous petitioner there.

The Lorain County Organized Labor Festival is Sunday September 4, from noon-8 p.m. at Black Water Landing. I'm sure there will be a booth or petitioners circulating in the crowd there too.

Monday, September 5, is the 11th District Congressional Community Caucus Labor Day Parade and Picnic in Luke Easter Park. I can't find the parade step-off time but if you head down to the park at noon or 1 p.m., I'm sure you will find a booth with petitions and you can hang out and have some great food too.

The weekend following Labor Day, on Saturday September 10, there will be another drive-through signing starting at 9 a.m. at the abandoned Marathon Station at 6229 Pearl Road in Parma.

Please feel free to send us your HB 194 signing times and locations or just leave them in the comments. We want to get loads of signatures on these suckers and send a message to the legislature and governor (and secretary of state Husted) about how we feel about efforts to keep people from voting.

"We passed it. Expect a court battle."

That's the message my county council representative Julian Rogers posted a little while ago. He's referring to the request for legislation sent by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to allow the county to send absentee ballot applications to all of the county's registered voters. And it didn't just pass — it passed unanimously. The council includes three Republicans. I assume this means that, unless one was absent, they all voted for it. (Republican council representative Mike Gallagher of Strongsville was a co-sponsor).

It's nice to know there are some Republicans who get what democracy is about and understand that when people's path to the ballot is eased, everyone benefits. People feel more engaged and like they have a real stake in their government.

"Expect a court battle." That is the sad part. Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike Dewine will undoubtedly go to the wall, spending our tax dollars prolifically to defend the state's right to throw up roadblocks to voting and to make it more difficult for tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of people. They will be squandering our tax money in order to risk the very real possibility that next year once again, Ohio will become a national laughingstock like it was in 2004 — known around the world as where democracy goes to die.

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