Japanese store shelves tell the tale: The time to hoard is long before the calamity strikes

I’m hopping back up on my soapbox again.  I’ve been blogging about preparing your family for catastrophes since 2008.  I’ve racked my brain to pinpoint of a number of ways in which your family can prepare, and put those thoughts on my blog, too.  I’m blogging again to remind everyone that the time to prepare for catastrophe is sooner rather than later.

AP business writer Yuri Kageyama produced this report about consumers throughout Japan, not just in the earthquake/tsunami ravaged zone of northeast Honshu island, descending on stores to buy up all products with any shelf life that could have some use in an emergency. (Hint: Just click on the above link and read the AP article. You need to take a look at it. Got that?)

The scarcity of these consumer goods throughout Japan is hampering the humanitarian relief efforts.  How do you ship survival goods, such as food, water, blankets, batteries, flashlights, tents, sleeping bags, etc., to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami when the unaffected population throughout the rest of the nation has siphoned away all those supplies?  Government officials are urging the public not to hoard, but the public is panicked.

Don’t feel vulnerable in a crisis.  You should have what you need for an emergency now.  If you don’t have it now, when will you have it?  In your hour of need?  And if a natural disaster, such as a house fire or tornado, wipes out your own emergency supplies, won’t you be grateful to your neighbors if they’ve got emergency supplies on hand that they can share with you?  Wouldn’t you be glad you could help out a neighbor if the roles are reversed?  And then, when widespread disasters wipe out the emergency supplies of everyone in the community, wouldn’t you be thankful that humanitarian relief efforts aren’t starved of resources because the population beyond the disaster zone has no reason to panic, since they’re already prepared?

One more thing to keep in mind:  The world economy is fragile.  This earthquake/tsunami disaster has sent seismic waves rippling out into the rest of the world.  If our nation’s economy collapsed (and there’s so much that’s straining our economy and threatening our currency right now), what you already have on hand might be all that you can obtain . . . until an economic recovery ensues.  How long would it take before you can rely on economic recovery to lift you out of your emergency?  Who knows?

No community is immune from disaster.  Don’t bet that it won’t be your family that is calamity-stricken next.  If you haven’t already, get your family ready for emergencies ASAP.

Ballot issues & school board roles: starting points for local control of schools

It’s been awhile (nearly 2 years) since I’ve composed any wonkish blog pieces on the topic of K-12 education.  I’ve blogged about a school enterprise zone proposal to facilitate opportunities for supplemental learning.  I’ve blogged about my opposition to charter schools.  But there is so much more ground to cover on the topic of education.

The public schools are the public’s schools–the people’s schools.  The people pay taxes for them.  We have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people (or, that’s the way it’s supposed to work).  So the people’s schools are the government’s schools, and vice-versa.

If the public schools are broken, it behooves us to fix them.  Us.  As in people.

Why are we letting our government leaders, including President Obama and Governor Kasich, do an end run around getting into the nuts and bolts of fixing inadequate public schools (think charter schools, think vouchers)?

Why are the federal and state governments even involved in mandating what our schools ought and ought not to do?  What do they know about the needs of your specific community and what do they know about the desires you have for your children, the students?  Does one size fit all?  I suppose they try to meddle in school affairs because the media press them to know, during the campaign season, what their education platform consists of.  Then, because they make some promises to the media about what they will do about education, they actually stick their noses into it.  But I don’t necessarily think their noses belong there.

I would like parents and members of the community to make the important decisions about their schools.  We are grown-ups, right?  Why do we need to shirk this civic responsibility?  Why do we either put it on the shoulders of the teachers to bring about positive academic outcomes or on the shoulders of Columbus and Washington DC?  Why are we absolving ourselves of our responsibilities to ensure that our, the people’s, schools achieve the standards that we, the people, set?

Maybe we, the people, have not felt empowered to fix our local schools.  If we go to a school board meeting to voice a concern, it often seems the concern doesn’t get adequately addressed.  Sometimes, even, the superintendent and/or school board members will say that their hands are tied by mandates from Columbus and Washington DC, and that’s why our concerns cannot be addressed.

It takes the wind right out of you to attempt to make a difference and then find out you are powerless to have any input about the school right down the street from your house.  If you feel powerless, then forget about it.  You don’t bother.  Apathy sets in.  The community drops out.  The parents drop out.  And then we wonder why the students drop out.

If we, the people, could feel like we could make a difference in we, the people’s, the public’s, the government’s, schools–wouldn’t it be more likely that our involvement would increase?  If our community invests themselves in education, if parents invest themselves in education, do you think the students would invest themselves in education?  I think so.

Empowerment.  Empowerment is the key.  One size DOES NOT fit all.  The power over the schools needs to be decentralized.  It needs to be wrested away from Washington DC, first, and Columbus, next.

Where do we start?  How about we transform the role of the school board?  As it stands, school administration, led by the superintendent, often sets the agenda for the school board meetings.  The school board then either decides to ratify the agenda items put forward by the superintendent, or not to ratify them.  If the school board is too often dissatisfied with the superintendent’s agenda, withholding ratification seems not to be making much difference.  The recourse, at that point, is for the school board to get a new superintendent.  They either decide not to renew the superintendent’s contract, buy out the superintendent’s contract, or sever the superintendent’s contract (which will likely result in a lawsuit initiated by the dismissed superintendent, which only goes to show that the superintendent was never really an ally to the schools, after all).

At the local level, it should be the school board who sets the agenda, not the superintendent.  At other levels of government, the legislative branch prescribes what is to be done and the executive branch carries it out.  Why should it be any different in a school district?  A role-reversal is needed.  This prescriptive legislative role is the empowering role for the school board.

And what empowering the rest of the members of the community?  How do we bring an end to the powerlessness that they feel?

Voting.  The ballot box.

As it stands, a school board can only put two kinds of issues on the ballot:  bonds and tax levies.  Whoop-de-doo.  We don’t get much say in how the schools are run, but we’re charged with the responsibility to figure out how we’ll pay for them.  That seems kind of unfair, doesn’t it?

We, the people, need to be allowed to vote on issues beyond just bonds and levies.  When a contentious issue arises in the school district and the school board is in a quandary . . . and then when very vocal proponents and very vocal proponents show up at the school board meeting and school board members don’t really know which camp is more representative of the wishes of the community . . . why can’t  either the proponents or opponents file to put the issue before the people?  I don’t think the school board, themselves, ought to have to pony up the money out of the school treasury to put the issue before the voters.  Are the proponents or opponents ready to put their money where there mouth is?  Are they ready to launch an election campaign concerning this issue?  If neither camp is, then the public should live with the school board’s decision, whatever it may be.  The public would have to absolve the school board of blame if its decision didn’t win everyone over.  But if a committee of citizens really truly felt strongly enough about an issue, why should that committee be handcuffed by state law?  Why should the issue be forbidden from appearing on the ballot?

Here’s a real-life example of an issue that citizens might have wanted on the ballot:  Oberlin High School sports teams, for decades, had been known as the Oberlin Indians.  There were two very vocal camps:  Those who had deep affection for the Oberlin Indian legacy (usually long-time residents who were alumni of the high school themselves) and wanted to retain the name; and those (usually those with ties to the college who are transplants in the Oberlin community) who took a stand against the name because of politically incorrect insensitivity toward the various Nations of the Native Americans–descendants of those who lived in the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.  Both groups were very vocal, and the school board was caught in the middle of this tug of war.  I spoke recently with a former member of the school board, a school board member who said such a vote by the school district’s electorate would have been very helpful in resolving the issue.  The school board voted in favor of the latter group, and the sports teams are now known as the Oberlin Phoenix.

Another example from Oberlin:  A group of parents thought it would be appropriate for the students to begin the day with a recitation of the pledge of allegiance.  Others thought it would be inappropriate to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in the public schools.  The school board sided with the latter group.  Would it have been so bad if those in favor of the Pledge of Allegiance had been allowed to collect signatures and to file petitions in order for the issue to appear on the ballot?

Other issues that citizens might want to put on the ballot:

  • Dress code:  The primary purpose of the schools is to educate.  If a student’s attire detracts from the learning that is to take place at school, it’s reasonable that it be addressed in the dress code.  What detracts from the learning environment and what doesn’t?  Well, community standards play a role in what’s acceptable and what’s not.  Some communities would demand more modesty than others.  One size does not fit all.  If the community were to actually vote on a dress code, then a judge wouldn’t have much difficulty in upholding the dress code if a student took the matter to court.
  • Contraceptive distribution:  There are some schools that supplied students with contraceptives with no questions asked.  It has even caught some communities by surprise, as the school administrators had quietly made their own unilateral decision on the matter without the input of the school board, let alone the community.  Would it be so wrong to have this issue on the ballot to see if the community supported the distribution of contraceptives in the school or not?
  • Sexuality:  How early in life should youngsters be introduced to concepts of sexuality by their teachers, such as the differentiation between homosexuality and heterosexuality?  Is education on sexuality even a role that the schools should undertake?  Would it be wrong to allow this issue to appear on the ballot?  Or do we let individual classroom teachers make this decision unilaterally?
  • School closures:  Dropping enrollment (an all-too-frequent phenomenon in Ohio) and saving money are the two primary causes for mothballing a school somewhere in a school district.  It’s just that no one wants the school in their neighborhood be the one that closes.  Instead of appealing a school’s closure to the courts (as sometimes happens), would it be so wrong to appeal to the electorate, instead?
  • Censorship:  When students contribute material that appears in school publications (yearbook, newspaper, etc.), should it be subject to censorship?  It’s kind of like the dress code . . . what standard should be applied?
  • Public access to the classroom:  Is it permissible for a parent or other local citizen to be a silent observer in a classroom while school is in session?
  • Cell phones:  Are students restricted during certain times and in certain places from using their cell phones?  What restrictions should apply?
  • Politicians taking the stage at student assemblies:  Should politicians be featured speakers at school assemblies?  Only if they visit in their official capacity as elected officeholders?  During election season?  Equal time for the political opponent?  Photo ops at the school to appear in the media or in campaign literature?  Or only visiting the school as a private citizen?
  • Raffles and other fundraisers:  Are raffles permitted to be used as a means of fundraising?  Or are raffles off-limits, recognized by the community as a form of gambling?  Who can raise funds on school property?  Any student group?  For any purpose?  By any means?  What about community groups?  Charities?  Political parties and candidates?  Commercial vendors?

The school board can make these decisions, but if the public wants to have a referendum, why not?  It sends a message that you can make a difference.  You can have input.  You are empowered.  You can be involved.  You care.

With the school board directing the superintendent (rather than voting to ratify the superintendents agenda), and with citizens able to put school district issues on the ballot (rather than voting to ratify bonds and levies only) we, the people, can begin to fix our, the people’s, the public’s, schools.

Partial listing of 2011 Lincoln Day Dinners in Ohio counties

I’ve noticed that recent traffic to my website came as a result of searches for the term “Lincoln Day Dinner.” The problem is that the search yields a list from last year. I consulted the website of the Ohio Republican Party to cull what information I could find about Lincoln Day Dinners being held this year. The ones I found listings for show only dates in February and March, thus, for April and beyond, I guess your best bet is to search this county-by-county directory of Republican Party chairs (sometimes showing links to the county’s GOP website) so that you can contact your county’s party chair directly. Even if your county’s Lincoln Day Dinner appears on the February-March calendar, you should contact county party leaders anyway because dates, places, and times for these events can (and sometimes do) change, even as the listed date fast approaches. In addition, many of the listings have incomplete information, so, by all means, contact the county chair or someone in the county party leadership that will keep you informed about these events.

Holmes County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Monday 2/14/2011 6 pm
  • Carlisle Village Inn, 4949 Walnut St, Walnut Creek
  • Contact:  Rob Hovis

Knox County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Saturday 2/19/2011 5:30 pm reception and 6:30 pm dinner
  • Dan Emmett Conference Center, 160 Howard St, Mt. Vernon
  • Contact:  Chip McConville
  • Guest Speaker:  Ohio Auditor Dave Yost

Hancock County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Monday 2/21/2011 5:30 pm
  • Senior Center, 339 E. Melrose Ave, Findlay
  • Contact:  Mark Miller

Hamilton County Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner

  • Wednesday 2/23/2011 5 pm
  • Duke Energy Center, 525 Elm St, Cincinnati
  • Contact:  Maggie Nuellmer
  • Guest Speaker:  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Clinton County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Monday 2/28/2011 6:30 pm
  • Expo Center at the Fairgrounds, Wilmington
  • Contact:  Geoff Phillips
  • Guest Speaker:  Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus

Muskingum County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Monday 2/28/2011 6 pm reception and 7 pm dinner
  • Prophets Park Amrou Grotto, 2560 Old River Rd, Zanesville
  • Contact:  Pat Hennessey

Ashtabula County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Saturday 3/5/2011 5 pm reception and 6 pm dinner
  • Dorset Community Center, 2681 State Route 193, Dorset
  • Contact:  Charlie Frye
  • Guest Speaker: State Rep. Casey Kozlowski

Athens County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Thursday 3/10/2011 5:30 pm reception and 6:30 pm dinner
  • American Legion, 520 W. Union St, Athens
  • Contact:  Pete Couladis
  • Guest Speaker:  Ohio Auditor Dave Yost

Morrow County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Saturday 3/12/2011 6 pm reception and 6:30 pm dinner
  • Trinity United Methodist Church, Mt. Gilead
  • Cost:  $15 per person
  • Contact:  Tom Wiston (419) 560-1595
  • Guest Speaker:  Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted

Washington County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Friday 3/18/2011 5:30 pm reception and 6:30 pm dinner
  • Shrine Building, 249 Pennsylvania Ave, Marietta
  • Contact:  Marilyn Ashcraft
  • Guest Speaker:  U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson

Monroe County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Saturday 3/19/2011 6:30 pm
  • Midway Community & Senior Citizens Center, 37358 State Route 800, Sardis
  • Contact:  Roger Claus

Lorain County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Saturday 3/26/2011
  • DeLuca’s Place In the Park, 6075 Middle Ridge Rd, Lorain
  • Contact:  Helen Hurst
  • Guest Speaker:  Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder

Scioto County Lincoln Day Dinner

  • Tuesday 3/29/2011 6 pm
  • Friends Center, 1202 18th St, Portsmouth
  • Contact:: Kay Reynolds

Phil Van Treuren press release: More election candidates needed

Editor’s note: Phil Van Treuren is a current member of Amherst City Council, occupying one of the 3 At-Large seats on that council.  He has filed petitions to run for re-election this year.  Democracy works best when voters have a choice of candidates on the ballot, hence this press release issued 2/4/2011.  For municipalities with partisan election races, the field is already set for the May 3rd primary elections (unless one wants to run as a write-in candidate for party nomination in the primary, in which case the filing deadline is 4pm, February 22nd).  Independent candidates don’t appear on primary ballots, as they aren’t competing for a political party’s nomination, thus they proceed directly to the general election and won’t appear on the ballot until then.  If one wishes to run as an independent candidate in a municipality with partisan elections, the deadline for filing petitions at the county’s Board of Elections office is 4 pm, Monday, May 2nd.  For candidates wishing to run for municipal office in municipalities that hold non-partisan elections, those wishing to run for school boards, and those wishing to run for township offices, the petition filing deadline for the general election is 4 pm on August 10th.  To get more information about running for office, feel free to visit the county Board of Elections office.  One may also wish to consult the webpage for the Ohio Secretary of State.  There’s a page there where you can access the 2011 Election Calendar.  The general election will be held on November 8th.

VAN TREUREN ENCOURAGES INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES TO ENTER AMHERST AT-LARGE COUNCIL RACE

Amherst Councilman Phil Van Treuren is encouraging Independent candidates to enter the 2011 council at-large race and challenge him and two others who have already filed to run.

Van Treuren said that he was “very disappointed” to see that Councilman At-Large Terry Traster, a Democrat, did not file for re-election this year. Both Van Treuren, a Republican, and Frank Janik, a Democrat, have filed to run again for their current council at-large seats. Another Democrat, Steven Mihalcik, has also filed to run for a council at-large seat.

That means that there are only three candidates on the ballot for three council at-large seats, which Van Treuren said isn’t fair to Amherst voters.

“The three of us shouldn’t be able to just waltz right into office without any kind of challenge,” Van Treuren said. “Even if it means that I get voted out, I think the people of Amherst deserve to have more candidates on the ballot in November so they can actually make a choice.”

Van Treuren said that he wants to draw attention to the fact that registered Amherst voters are still allowed to file for office as Independents, as long as they turn their petitions in before the May 3 primary deadline.

“The City of Amherst has plenty of dedicated, involved residents who would make great candidates for elected office,” Van Treuren said. “We should never have a situation where there are only three candidates on the ballot for three at-large seats.”

Van Treuren is encouraging any Amherst registered voter who is interested in filing to run as an Independent for council at-large to contact the Lorain County Board of Elections for information on how to obtain and file petitions.

Sean Kalin Stipe guest blog: Libertarians on the verge of something big in Lorain County

Editor’s note: Sean Kalin Stipe, Lorain resident, former (maybe future?) Libertarian candidate for Lorain City Council, finds some good news for Lorain County’s Libertarians after crunching the election numbers.  In this post, Stipe suggests the point of reaching the critical mass necessary to burst upon the scene as a major political party with many election-winning candidates may be just around the corner for the Libertarian Party.

THE NUCLEAR BOMB AND THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY

Early in the nuclear age, a test was performed on an atoll in the Pacific. Several years after the first test of a hydrogen bomb on Bikini Island in 1954, it was used for scientific study. What was being sought was the answer to the question of how soon the effects of radiation would dissipate from a virtual wasteland. A colony of monkeys were transported to the island with some limited success. The primary food source was coconuts. It was found that while the inside of the nuts were safe, there was residual radioactive material on the husks.

10 monkeys were taken away and taught how to wash the husks in the water before eating the nuts. Shortly after they were returned, twelve monkeys started washing, then fifteen, then twenty. As the numbers increased, a magical number was reached and something outstanding happened. This has been noted as “The Hundredth Monkey.” Almost instantly when the 100th monkey started washing the coconuts, nearly every one of the thousands of monkeys on the island performed the same behavior.

Our first ten “monkeys” started the Libertarian Party in 1971 in Colorado. It’s been a slow but steady process, but the party has grown in numbers. Often, when looking at election results, there is disappointment in our results. But disappointment only comes with huge expectations. If the goal is to get to the “hundredth monkey,” then we are actually quite close to achieving to goal of getting Libertarians elected on a large scale.

It might be considered short sighted to compare results from the 2006 and 2008 elections, but we are at that point where our growth can only be described as exponential. The results are not final, but Lorain County saw an increase in in people who voted Libertarian of 13 times compared to our presidential candidate of 2008. That is a growth of 1,300 percent. If we experience just the same increase, we will win the presidential election.

While the number of monkeys are few that get actively involved by asking why we wash the coconuts and how, many more are watching and learning. Many more are watching them. It’s an explosive exponential growth. We are very close to that “100th Monkey.”

Election results match up well with Buckeye RINO endorsements

Though I said in my prior post that I still wouldn’t be happy though Republicans were projected to do well in Congressional races, I have to say, looking through election results, I’m not sad either.  Their are many reasons to smile.

The candidates I endorsed did reasonably well.

In Cuyahoga County, with the new form of government, the Republican didn’t win the county executive race.  Plus, of the 11 county council winners, only three are Republicans.  I’m not sure if that will put enough distance between the county government and the scandalous rascals who will make every attempt to infiltrate it.  On the bright side, having 3 Republicans in county office is a huge improvement over zero (and it’s been zero for a long time).

The last time I checked, the Erie County Auditor race was too close to call.  There’s still a chance it could turn out the right way, in favor of Rick Jeffrey.

Unfortunately, Jeff Krabill didn’t win the 80th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.  He certainly came awfully close, though, as incumbent Dennis Murray didn’t even garner 50% in his successful re-election bid.  A Libertarian candidate, though not a winner, clearly influenced the outcome of that race.  If the Libertarians didn’t have a candidate on the ballot and it were a two person race, I don’t see how Dennis Murray would have been appealing to a Libertarian.  In a two-person race, I think Krabill would definitely have been the one who captured more than 50% of the vote.  Krabill can take solace in 3 facts: 1) He retains his seat on the Sandusky school board; 2) It took BOTH a Democrat AND a Libertarian to defeat him, as the Democrat couldn’t have done it alone; and 3) as a result of the 2010 Census and other Republican election victories, there may be a redesigned district, perhaps a more favorable one, for Krabill to run in if he chooses to take another shot at state rep in 2012.

In another race contested by more than two candidates where the winner captured less than 50% of the vote, the outcome was much more to my liking.  There was a four-way race for Lorain County Commissioner, and Joe Koziura came out on the short end of the stick. 😀  Republican Tom Williams is the new county commissioner.  Starting in January, Lorain County taxpayers will finally have an advocate working on their behalf in county offices.

Skip Lewandowski didn’t win his state rep race in the 56th District, and he would have been an excellent state rep.  Rae Lynn Brady didn’t win in the 57th, either.  On the upside, Terry Boose easily won re-election in the 58th District, Rex Damschroder prevailed in the 81st District, and the GOP recaptured the Ohio House of Representatives.

In the 13th state senate district, Gayle Manning won.

Kathleen McGervey won her election to the state school board.

The Kasich/Taylor ticket uprooted Ted Strickland from the governor’s office.

David Yost won for Ohio Auditor and Josh Mandel for Ohio Treasurer.

The GOP will lead the reapportionment process for designing new legislative district boundaries based on the new 2010 Census figures.

Maureen O’Connor and Judith Lanzinger won races for the Ohio Supreme Court.

Bob Latta won re-election.  Peter Corrigan, Rich Iott, and Tom Ganley did not win, but 5 Ohio Democrat U.S. Representative incumbents (Mary Jo Kilroy, Steve Driehaus,  John Boccieri, Zack Space, and Charlie Wilson) were defeated by Republican challengers, so, in January, the Ohio delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives will include 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  As expected, the GOP, nationwide, picked up more than 60 House seats.

Rob Portman won the race for U.S. Senate, and the GOP made nationwide gains there, with at least a net gain of six Senate seats since the special election in Massachusetts that sent Scott Brown to Washington DC.

There you have it.  Lots to smile about this time around.

Democrats that can’t win fair and square resort to cheating: Voter fraud alert–Lorain County

A voting fraud scheme in Lorain County has bubbled to the surface.  This message was forwarded from Jennifer Wasilk, of Amherst City Council (emphasis mine):

Voters in Lorain County have reported that this week they have received phone calls from unidentified callers who are posing as Board of Elections workers.  The caller tells the voter that an absentee ballot has already been sent to them and that they haven’t mailed it back. SENIOR CITIZENS APPEAR TO BE THE TARGET OF THESE PHONE CALLS. Ohio voters must request an absentee ballot be sent to them.   None of these voters requested an absentee ballot, because they plan to vote at the polls on Election Day.  Whoever is responsible may be doing this to intentionally confuse people into thinking that they may be receiving an absentee ballot and that they shouldn’t go to the polls.  The Lorain County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State do not know who is doing this.  They need to know so that this potential voter fraud can be stopped.

If you receive one of these calls:

1. Ask the caller what organization that the caller is with.  Note if the caller claims to be from the Board of Elections.  The Board of Elections does not make these calls.
2. Write down the phone number, if you have caller ID.
3. Call the Lorain County Board of Elections.  Report the information that you get from the caller, and ask if an absentee ballot has been requested in your name.  You may ask for Deputy Director Jim Kramer at 440-326-5902.

But the Democratic cheating is more widespread than this.

How does a PAC have political ads already in the can, ready for release, just 2 days after the PAC was created?  According to Ohio law, no funds can be raised or expended until after a Designation of Treasurer form is filed.  Prior to that filing, there is no PAC.  A PAC is created by filing a Designation of Treasurer form.  According to Ohio campaign finance laws, at the time of the filing of the Designation of Treasurer form, the PAC starts with a zero $ balance.  Having ads already produced indicates that there were funds available and funds expended BEFORE the PAC was formed, which is ILLEGAL.  Among those behind the PAC are a firm in the employ of House Speaker Armond Budish.  There’s also an issue of illegal coordination that needs to be explored.  Here’s a press release from Ohio House Republicans on 10/25/2010 calling for an immediate investigation (emphasis mine):

Two weeks before one of the most influential mid-term elections in a generation, an organization known as “Our Future Ohio” has surfaced in Ohio to benefit struggling Democratic candidates throughout the state.

“Ohio has a new ominous hazard that will assist the Ohio Democrats’ efforts to steal the election from voters who have had enough of their oppression,” said House Republican leader William G. Batchelder (R-Medina).  “Questions need to be answered about this threat. How did “Our Future Ohio” file on a Thursday and have fully produced political ads just two days later?

To date, the group has spent more than $2.3 million to attack leading gubernatorial candidate John Kasich and Ohio House candidates Matt Carle and Ron Young. “Our Future Ohio” has named Alan Melamed as their spokesman. Melamed is the President of Melamed Communications, and the company’s website lists the House Democratic Caucus and Speaker Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) as clients.

“This reeks of impropriety surrounded with so many questions that the public should know,” said Asst. Leader Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati). “Coordinated expenditures between a corporate-funded PAC and candidates is illegal. The facts remain; Mr. Melamed, a self-proclaimed “chief strategist” for the Speaker, House Democratic Caucus and Melamed Communications, has been paid as a vendor by the House Democratic Caucus and House Democratic campaigns.”

Batchelder further stated that the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee intends to file an elections complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against “Our Future Ohio” and the House Democratic Caucus for illegal coordination. He expressed great concern and urgency that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner institute her own investigation into this scandal.

The Democratic cheating is more widespread than this, though.

In Cincinnati, a few high school students were released during the school day to be transported in order to vote early at the Hamilton County Board of Elections.  The students were supplied with a list of the Democrat Party’s slate of candidates.  No information was supplied to the students about any candidates that were not Democrats.  Afterward, the students were rewarded for their votes with ice cream.  A former school principal (who distributed the slate cards) and a current social studies teacher (who accompanied the students while they were being transported) have been identified among those alleged to have facilitated the voting excursion.  The current Hughes High School principal also potentially faces discipline.  Here are excerpts from an article exposing both the former principal and the current teacher that was published by the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Cincinnati Public Schools will hold a disciplinary conference this week with the principal and social studies teacher who were involved in an Oct. 13 voting outing for Hughes High School students that spurred a lawsuit and public outrage . . .

. . . The lawsuit alleges three vans carrying 31 students were transported to the elections board and given only Democratic sample ballots . . .

The article then names these three adults, but stated there were other adults, volunteers, who took part.  Cincinnati Public Schools policy stipulates that such volunteers accompanying students during the school day shall have already completed satisfactory background checks, but, in this case, the current principal did not ascertain beforehand whether background checks had been conducted for the adult volunteers.

But the Democratic cheating is more widespread than that.

The Ohio Elections Commission is a bipartisan body charged with investigating electioneering complaints brought before them.  The OEC has ruled against the House Democratic Caucus Fund for ads that claim Republican state reps Barbara Sears (from the Toledo area) and Todd Snitchler (from the Canton area) voted to allow child molesters and sex offenders to work as school bus drivers.  Here’s a 10/27/2010 press release from the Ohio House Republicans:

The Ohio Elections Commission today ruled that the smear campaigns launched by the House Democratic Caucus Fund against Reps. Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Twp) and Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown) are false. The ruling discredited the Democrats’ claims that, in opposing House Bill 19, Sears and Snitchler voted to allow child molesters and sex offenders to work as school bus drivers. The House Democratic Caucus Fund agreed to a stipulation that they violated the false statement statute in lying about the voting records of Rep. Sears and Rep. Snitchler.

“The Democrats have shown that they know no bounds when it comes to their dirty gutter politics,” said Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee director Mike Dittoe. “All they’ve done is waste time by distracting from the facts.”

Sears filed the elections complaint on the grounds that the House Democratic Caucus lied in two television ads. Contrary to these ads, prior to HB 19, criminals who were convicted of molesting and abusing children were already prevented from being school bus drivers. House Bill 19 actually weakened the restrictions on convicted criminals who could pose a threat to Ohio’s schoolchildren.

“I’m pleased that the OEC cleared my and Rep. Snitchler’s names and provided the people of Ohio with accurate information,” said Sears. “As a mother, there is nothing more important than protecting our children and keeping our communities safe. Fear mongering should not have been used to try to frighten parents and sway their votes.”

Previously, the Ohio Elections Commission had ruled against House Democrats for two other claims advertised against Snitchler.  The OEC has also ruled in favor of House Republicans who advertised that Democrat state reps Ray Pryor, Connie Pillich, and Nancy Gardner voted to cut state school funding by $32 million.  The OEC ruled against the Ohio Democratic Party for ads against Pillich’s Republican challenger, Mike Wilson, alleging that he wanted to cut funding for police and safety forces.

In past election cycles, I’ve posted blog articles discussing other ways that Democrats game the system.  Examples can be found at the links here, here, here, here, and here.  So these episodes of cheating are not an anomaly this year.  This is part of the Democrat Party’s modus operandi.