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.