Annette Butler for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor

Do you know Bill Mason?  Since Bill Mason is the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, it might be to your advantage to know him, if you know what I mean.

I have noticed that the corruption investigations in Cuyahoga County aren’t being conducted by the law enforcement officials closest to the problems.  Isn’t it interesting that the Ohio Inspector General’s office is the one who finally catches up to some ODOT officials in Cuyahoga County after those officials had been milking the system for their own benefit for years?  I bet some people employed in local law enforcement had at least some knowledge of such behavior for quite some time, but they weren’t saying anything to anybody.  Isn’t it interesting that the FBI is investigating the Cuyahoga County Auditor and one of the Cuyahoga County Commissioners?  I bet some people employed in local law enforcement had a whiff that something was fishy, but they never followed up on it.  Maybe it helps to know Bill Mason.

I see some new Democrat candidates up for election in NEO with the blessing of the Democrat Party political machine.  Some of them claim they got some experience by working for Bill Mason.  Maybe it helps to know Bill Mason.

The friendship goes both ways.  If Bill Mason’s performance is substandard in some way, then, if you know him, you’ll offer excuses for him and keep giving him extra chances to do it right.  For example, if African-American Cleveland residents are busted for non-violent drug crimes, they are getting jail time, while the white suburban residents who are busted for non-violent drug crimes get to dry out at a rehab clinic like Betty Ford.  Now that an outside entity is making note of something that really was obvious to anyone paying attention, there are people like Regina Brett promising that Bill Mason will do a better job.

I’ve got a better idea.  Elect Annette Butler.  I think she’ll make sure to mitigate the racial discrepancies in the penalties the prosecution seeks from her first day on the job.  As she, herself, said, it’s a correction that can be made without extra money.  It’s a correction that can be made with hands-on direction.

Mason has criticized Butler’s experience as a federal prosecutor handling just civil cases.  Yet, with 24 years experience, Butler surely knows courtrooms.  Furthermore, in the corrupt environment of Cuyahoga County government where justice isn’t being served, I think it’s an appropriate time to look for someone from outside the Cuyahoga County criminal (and civil) court system to give it a much needed jolt.  I think I’m more trusting in a federal civil prosecutor these days than I am in any Cuyahoga criminal prosecutors.

Earlier this month, Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Brent Larkin  poo-poohed the county GOP’s reform proposals.  Perhaps the answer does not rest in a nine-member commission with a restructuring of the county’s executive offices.  Perhaps there are better proposals out there.  I’d be surprised if the bi-partisan task force from another part of the state had any better ideas, even if it’s backed by Governor Strickland and Speaker Husted (ha! Cleveland’s supposed to venerate Husted? oh, that’s funny!).  But there is a political dimension to the corruption that grips Cuyahoga County.  It has everything to do with the Democrat Party.  In this election, I can’t think of a better place to get started with reform than the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office with the election of Annette Butler.

Brent Larkin wrote, “Voters don’t need Republicans to tell them Democratic-run county offices operate with bloated payrolls and obscene levels of patronage.”

Oh yeah?  Well maybe they do!

Maybe it needs to be shouted from every roof top every morning, noon, and night, that responsibility for the county’s corruption rests with the DEMOCRATS!

Larkin, I’m sure, would think that such a message wouldn’t be very well received by county residents, who are overwhelmingly Democrats.  Yeah, it probably shouldn’t be well recieved.  The message should probably stick in everybody’s craw.  It ought to rub them the wrong way and it ought to just keep on bothering them every time the message enters their minds.  They ought to get really irritated with the repetition of the message and want to lash out at the messenger.  They ought to get flat out pissed off, ready to sock somebody right in the jaw.  But it’s the truth, and it ought to be dealt with.

Maybe Cuyahoga County voters need to be told that a non-partisan effort isn’t going to fix the county, because it won’t specifically address Democrats.  Maybe Cuyahoga County voters need to be told that a bipartisan effort isn’t going to fix the county, because the Democrats will have a hand in rigging it.  Maybe Cuyahoga County voters need proposals that have more than just a “partisan taint” in order to get county government reform–in fact, maybe what Cuyahoga County voters is a wholly Republican plan to reform the county, because it will specifically address the corruptions of the Democrats and will not allow the Democrats a hand in sabotaging the reform efforts.

Or maybe, instead of restructuring government to accomplish reform, just maybe, all we need to do is replace Democrats in county office by electing some Republicans in key areas of county government.  Electing Annette Butler for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor might be a good start.  Stop making excuses for Bill Mason.  Vote him out.

Nick Brusky for Lorain County Commissioner

Don’t blame me for Ted Kalo.  In 2004, I voted for Rita Canfield.  I voted for Eric Flynn for the other open commissioner spot in 2004, too.

Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo is one of Lorain’s good old boys who is joined at the hip to the Democrat party boss of Lorain, Anthony Giardini.  One can look around the deteriorating city of Lorain to see the abundant evidence that the good old boys who wield power in Lorain are definitely not authorities on how to run a town, let alone a county (Kalo can’t even run a business).  I’ve occasionally posted blog entries about the good old boys of Lorain here, here, and here.  I also wrote about Kalo at Word of Mouth, and Kalo responded.  I’ll have more to say about Kalo later in this post.

Nick Brusky is a member of city council in Amherst, a city that is one of the few bright spots in the Lorain County economy.  The jobs picture has been bleak for much of the county, but some new jobs have been created in the Amherst area that Kalo likes to take credit for, but Nick Brusky and his colleagues in Amherst city government ought to receive equal credit, while Kalo shuns taking credit for the job losses elsewhere in the county.

Nick Brusky is running on a platform of good governance.  He has issued a contract with Lorain County that he wishes to be held accountable for if he is elected.  You can listen to Brusky reading his contract with Lorain on an audio podcast of a debate with Kalo hosted by Larry Wright of WEOL radio (930 on the AM dial).  You can also read the contract for yourself at Brusky’s website.  I think it’s important enough, though, to repeat the contract here.

As a citizen seeking to become one of your County Commissioners I propose not just to change policies of the county, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.

I offer a simple agenda for renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.
This year’s election offers voters the chance to transform the way County Government works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, and too easy with the public’s money.

On the first day I take office I will immediately propose the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of County Residents in their government:

First. No general fund tax increases.

Second. All agencies seeking an additional or renewal countywide property tax levies will be required to undergo an independent performance audit before being placed on the ballot. If the audit finds that we can propose a lower millage than requested, then the lower millage will go before the voters.

Third. Select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of the County for waste, fraud or abuse.

Fourth. Increase fiscal prudence by limiting year to year budget increases to a maximum percentage accommodating for the change inflation plus population growth only.

Fifth. Let the people see how the County Commissioners spend their tax dollars by posting an “Online Checkbook” every month that lists each and every expenditure and its purpose.

Sixth. The use of Solid Waste money for billboards, handouts, and other advertising is wasteful and will be discontinued. Use Solid Waste money to fully fund recycling programs of Municipalities and Townships first. Any remaining money leftover will be given to the taxpayers in the form of rebates for purchasing items that will help them “go green.”

Seventh. Increase public participation by having our regular meetings at 7:00 pm, and televised live. Increase co-operation with more municipal and township officials by hosting Lorain County Community Alliance Meetings at night.

Respecting the judgment of my fellow citizens as I seek their mandate for reform, I hereby pledge my name to this Contract with Lorain County.


Nicholas W. Brusky

When Kalo first took office in 2005 he renovated his commissioner’s office, complete with a large plasma-screen TV.  By 2007, he was spearheading an effort by the county commissioners to raise the county sales tax to raise general fund revenues, when he clearly didn’t show much in the way of careful restraint in the way of general fund expenses at the very start of his term in office.  Perhaps this champaigne taste on a beer budget is what gets Kalo in trouble with his flooring business.  That he would increase a sales tax that he, himself, on behalf of his flooring business, experienced difficulty in remitting prior to his run for office, is incomprehensible.  He ought to have learned his lesson firsthand that sales taxes can add a wrinkle to running a business, let alone an increase in the sales tax.  Kalo is a slow learner, if he learns anything.  Also, while the presidential candidate of his political party goes to great lengths to assure that the targets of his tax increases are only the very rich, Kalo seeks to increase a tax that every individual pays, with no exemptions if one is rich or poor or a senior citizen or a child or a student or whatever the case might be.

When Kalo and the other commissioners voted for a sales tax increase in 2007, Nick Brusky and other county residents decided to circulate petitions so that the voters could have a say on the matter.  Kalo really didn’t want the voters to decide the matter.  In the November 2007 elections, the sales tax increase ballot issue went down to defeat with 80% against the measure and only 20% in support of it.  The will of the people was made known to the county commissioners, yet Kalo and the other commissioners have vowed and are already preparing another attempt at a sales tax hike, overly confident that they’ll be re-elected.  This is why it is so important to elect Nick Brusky.  Only by voting Kalo and Lori Kokoski out of office, and replacing them with Brusky and Martin O’Donnell can the county continue to avoid being railroaded into higher taxes.

Kalo is too used to pulling all the strings as one of the good old boys.  He doesn’t appreciate that voters elect commissioners to impose the will of the people upon county government.  Instead, he seeks to impose the will of the county government upon the people.  That’s exactly backwards of what our Founding Fathers intended for those who hold legislative offices.

Brusky, with his contract with Lorain County, demonstrates that he understands that the commissioner’s job is to do the will of the people and subordinate the government of the county to the will of the people.

Nick Brusky and Martin O’Donnell can restore checks and balances to county government.  County residents can expect that these two, who’ve shown that they can help Amherst and Avon Lake, respectively, prosper and flourish, can bring their expertise to bear on behalf of the county, and help it prosper and flourish.  The best way to raise revenues, after all, is to rein in taxes, promote growth, and grow the tax base.

Finally, the county needs transparency, not back-room deals that Kalo hashes out with the other good old boys.  Nick Brusky has pledged to make county government transparent with the county’s revenues and expenditures posted on the internet so that any county resident can review the records with a few clicks of the mouse.  Citizens can be involved in their government–but only if Kalo and Brusky are elected.

HOPE ON Part 9: Measure Obama and McCain by their character

The State of Ohio Blogger Alliance has undertaken the task of highlighting criticisms of the Obama ticket that the in-the-tank MSM works hard to downplay or outright ignore.  The effort has been titled “Help Ohio Prevent Electing Obama Now” (HOPE ON), and, in all, 13 installments will be rolled out for blog readers to peruse and reflect upon.

Here are my recaps of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8.

Cornell McCleary of American Experience has the scoop on Part 9.  The video link is here.  This is a reminder of Martin Luther King Jr.’s admonition that we not look upon each other according to the color of our skin, but that we look upon each other according to the content of our character.

From the Buckeye RINO perspective:

We Americans haven’t yet arrived at the point where we pay no more attention to the color of our skin.  The progress we’ve made in our nation’s history from the days of slavery and the days of Jim Crow has continued apace, but has not been completed.  I, personally, have spent much of my adult life living in non-white households and non-white neighborhoods.  I can share personal experiences that are illustrative of the progress that still needs to be made, but I don’t wish to stir the pot today.  Having said that, I will say this:  The other nations of the Earth have not made as much progress toward tolerance as America has.  We blaze the trail that other nations follow.  And while other nations may have enacted policies that they may point to as being more friendly to diversity and more respectful toward basic human rights than the United States of America, I remind you that those same nations still have a longer way to go in real life than they do on paper.  In real life, America leads.

As a Republican, I belong to the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.  Abolitionists formed the core of the party faithful when it was founded.  Abolitionists in early America were among those most likely to adhere to the principle that “all men are created equal,” as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.  Abolitionists were found in large numbers in Ohio during the state’s early years.  The shortest routes of the Underground Railroad from the antebellum South to Canada ran through Ohio.  Ohio raised the largest contingent of soldiers to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War.  I am a descendant of early Ohio’s abolitionists.  For about a decade after the war, newly emancipated slaves identified strongly with the Republican Party until Rutherford B. Hayes screwed that up by swallowing a poison pill in order to win the presidential election of 1876 that was decided by the U.S. House of Representatives when all candidates failed to garner a majority vote of the Electoral College.  The end of Reconstruction ushered in the era of Jim Crow, and no attempt was made to crush Jim Crow for an entire century, when the Civil Rights era was ushered in.  During that century, America fought two World Wars, and a number of Americans, black and white, migrated to the industrial North from the agricultural South to find work in the factories that supplied the nation with its war hardware.  Ohio’s relatively progressive views on race were smothered beginning with the Hayes administration of 1877.  By the time that Democrats took the leadership role in the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960’s, Ohio’s population and attitudes had changed a lot.  While African-Americans found themselves enfranchised anew, and large numbers of them identified with the Democrat Party, pockets of deep racism existed among whites of both major political parties.  For my part, I have endeavored to join my voice with others in my party to urge Ohio Republicans to close the rifts that separate us by race.  Though I am not pleased by the scarcity of people of color within the Republican Party’s membership, I am pleased that we’ve been able to make progress in removing the glass ceiling for Republican candidates of color to aspire to any elected office they choose to pursue.  Regarding removal of the glass ceiling, I’d venture to say that Ohio’s Republicans have outshined Ohio’s Democrats.  Many Ohio Republicans nowadays are willing to cast votes for candidates based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin.  I’ve already voted for a black U.S. President twice, during the primaries of 1996 and 2000 when I was drawn to the empowering message of Alan Keyes.  The Democrat Party’s insistence that this presidential election should be a referendum on racism by electing Barack Obama has elicited responses of puzzlement by many of my fellow conservative Ohio bloggers who were so passionately outspoken in their support for Ken Blackwell just two years ago.  For many of us, elections of candidates are already about the content of a person’s character, the vision for where a person wants to lead, the articulation of where a person stands on the issues, and not the color of a person’s skin.

Nevertheless, I have spotted instances of intolerance during this election cycle, and have even written some blog entries calling attention to some of those instances.  I think it was wrong to put Reverend Wright on parade.  Obama’s message was distinctly different than Wright’s.  I felt that Barack Obama was being persecuted for his religious observances.  I even called out Mitt Romney, the candidate I voted for in the primary, when I thought he was crossing the line.  I am familiar with liberation theology, and I see the positives that come from it, so I think that the fearmongering against it is inherently racist.  I was alarmed when it was rumored that someone shouted “Kill him,” referencing Barack Obama as the target, at a McCain rally, and I urged cooperation with the Secret Service if anyone had any evidence of such conspiracies afoot.