The unbelievable audacity of John Kasich continues. This time, his staff is trying to impose strict rules about how journalists can cover tomorrow’s budget briefing. According to the Governor’s Office, there can be no video recording and audio can only be used to verify facts for print stories.
I sincerely hope that journalists will refuse to abide by this order. If someone does happen to get some forbidden coverage of Kasich’s briefing they don’t want to be publicly associated with, I pledge to publish it anonymously, no questions asked.
Should the Governor’s Office have any complaints, I know exactly where they can file them.
In his struggle to stay even borderline relevant, Ken Blackwell is up to his same old dirty tricks. Normally I wouldn’t bother, but I just want to make sure you're warned about just how crazy he is next time you pass him on the street.
Blackwell has posted his latest column, and it has the rather inflammatory title “Terrorists With Union Cards?” (Google it, I’m not linking.)
So what link between unions and terrorist did Blackwell uncover? Well, none. He just used to painfully obvious juxtaposition to try and slyly vilify the working class.
It's as if this administration requires that any assailant be a certified, indisputably confirmed member of Al Qaeda. If they are not clearly linked to, and trained by Al Qaeda, the Obama administration is unwilling to call them terrorists.
Do they have to have a Terrorists Union card? The Obama administration seems to be unaware of the new world of the Internet. Nidal Hasan exchanged emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Muslim cleric holed up in Yemen. So far as we know, Hasan never visited Awlaki (although they had attended the same Northern Virginia mosque, apparently.)
So remember this the next time you see Ken Blackwell walking down the street: Don’t make eye contact, and contact the authorities as soon as it’s safe.
A new Ohio Poll shows Governor John Kasich’s approval ratings are already dropping, even though the worst is yet to come.
Specifically, 47% disapprove of Kasich so far and 40% approve. With independents, a whopping 52% disapprove. Only 30% of independents approve of him.
Another bad sign for Kasich? A vast majority support using tax increases as well as spending cuts to balance the state budget, something Kasich has vowed not to do.
It seems that Secretary of State Jon Husted is giving up all pretense of living in the Kettering home he once used to hold his State Senate seat. He's decided to rent out the house and establish residency in Columbus.
There’s some interesting items in David Pepper’s Twitter stream this afternoon. In fact it seems Auditor of State Dave Yost is at war... with himself.
Here’s Auditor candidate Dave Yost on collective bargaining to the Fraternal Order of Police during his campaign:
Public safety is different. It’s the first role of government. Our system of collective bargaining for public safety focus has worked well for decades, ensuring that a disagreement between labor and management does not spill over into that prime function. Let’s not change what is working.
Make no mistake about it: there will be debates about next year about public pensions and collective bargaining. Because of my unique understanding of what we do together, I can and will be an effective, articulate advocate for the FOP, laying out the arguments about why public safety should be off limits
And here’s Auditor of State Dave Yost speaking at a GOP dinner a few days ago:
Yost singled out State Sen. Jimmy Stewart, R-Meigs, also at the dinner, supporting him on his recent vote to pass the controversial Senate Bill 5 through the Ohio Senate. SB 5 deals with collective bargaining rights of public employees. Stewart’s vote to pass SB 5 received applause from the audience.
“Politicians in Ohio have been making promises for decades knowing they can’t deliver,” Yost said, explaining those promises have been made to unions and entitlement programs without proper funding. To sum it up, Yost said, politicians had been making promises with tomorrow’s money that they couldn’t keep.
Think any Republicans will be trying to march in Labor Day Parades this Fall?
I got a hold of the latest constituent email being sent out from State Senator Jimmy Stewart’s office today, and boy is it... something.
You can read it for yourself below, but it’s clear that Stewart is either ignorant of or purposely ignoring the tenuous position he’s put his political career in. For example, he actually references his election pledge to support workers rights, and claims he hasn’t violated it. He also claims the House will probably further modify the bill, which he has to know is highly unlikely.
Thank you for your e-mail regarding Senate Bill 5. Let me start by also thanking you for your patience if you have contacted my office or called my cell phone over the past few weeks. While I have tried to contact as many people as possible, the volume of calls that I have received has prevented me from personally calling every person back.
I recognize that many of my constituents in the 20th District are opposed to Senate Bill 5, and I have been reminded several times of the pledge I signed in 2006 which affirms my support of worker's rights. I do not believe my support for the bill violates that pledge. In fact, I fought to ensure that Senate Bill 5 continues to allow collective bargaining for our public employees under reasonable and necessary reforms.
The bill in its original form prohibited certain public employees from collectively bargaining, and I could not support it. However, I worked with the bill's sponsor, as well as the committee chairman, to reinstate the ability for state workers to negotiate on issues related to their wages and working conditions. I believe this change offers a responsible balance between the needs of our hard-working public employees and the fiscal realities of today's state and local governments.
I have seen a great deal of misinformation about Senate Bill 5 that needs to be clarified. First, government employees, including teachers, will continue to receive health insurance and pension benefits. The requirement under Senate Bill 5 is that employees must pay at least 15 percent of their health care plan, which is the percentage I currently pay as a state legislator. To help make coverage affordable, I expect future legislation to call for pooling of all Ohio school district health insurance plans, which studies show would result in at least $100 million in savings each year to school districts and reduced premiums for participants.
Second, regarding teacher pay, Senate Bill 5 removes seniority as the sole determinant for pay. Years of service may still be a factor when determining pay; however it may not be the only factor. These negotiations must consider a teacher's level of licensure, the results of the teacher's performance evaluations and other criteria as established by the board. This is a concept proposed by President Barack Obama when he announced his education plan in 2009.
Finally, Senate Bill 5 will protect jobs and allow our public employers to retain workers in a tough economy, rather than pursuing mass layoffs. Our current collective bargaining contracts often make it impossible for many employers to reassign employees or restructure their payrolls when revenues decline. As a result, they have no other choice but to cut jobs to fund basic services. This bill restores flexibility so that governments can use every tool and resource at their disposal to become solvent again.
It is no secret that our state faces an $8 billion budget deficit, jeopardizing much of the funding that sustains our local governments. We must give our school districts and city officials the ability to manage their budgets under these circumstances without pursuing mass layoffs and cutting essential programs.
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services' Office of Collective Bargaining released an analysis stating that the provisions of Senate Bill 5 would have saved the state $217 million last year, while the savings for schools and local governments would have been $1.1 billion. Those are savings we can't afford to pass up if we expect to balance our budget and restore our economy.
Senate Bill 5 now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives, where legislators may make further changes to its content. It is important to note that nothing in this legislation would take effect until an employee's current contract expires. I do believe workers should have the ability to collectively bargain, and this legislation upholds that process. I understand that you may not agree with my vote on this bill. However, I ask you to consider the reasoning behind my vote and learn as much as you can about the bill before believing everything you read or hear.
We all agree that government must do something to get its fiscal crisis under control, and that action begins with reforming our own state and local budgets. Senate Bill 5 is one step in that process. Please let me know if you have further questions regarding this bill or any other state matter.
State Senator Jimmy Stewart
Ohio Senate District 20
While the upcoming budget has been seen as the focal point of a battle that potentially could have nationwide repercussions, Governor Kasich wants to kick things off with a bang. Next Tuesday evening, he’ll be throwing a”town hall meeting” in Columbus to unveil his proposed budget.
And the best part? You’re invited!
The hot rumor on the street is that Kasich and company hope to stack the crowd with friendly or ambivalent people. It can’t be confirmed of course, but I think a little experiment is in order. If you're signing up for a ticket, why not drop me a line (anonymity guaranteed or your money back) letting me know whether or not you get a ticket.
I'm not sure what the other BSB front pagers such as David and Staff thought about Gov. Kasich's first state of the state address today. My thoughts? It was a campaign speech re-hash. Come on John, you're the governor now! Time to stop giving campaign speeches and rally the troops for what needs to be done. Not speaking from prepared remarks? That could have been good if it gave him more freedom to speak plainly about what he wants to do, but instead he just rambled through a stump speech left over from last year.
Only one mention of SB 5? Hmm, wonder why that is? Perhaps he doesn't want to call attention to the schnangens needed to pass it?
Trying another go at nursing homes after the last two governors tried and failed? I applaud the goal but the specifics were lacking.
Kasich failed to prepare the state for the shocking services cuts that are coming. He failed to give swing-district GOPers in the state legislature anything to take home to their constituents who aren't too keen on their new governor right now. And, he failed to realize that he's not campaigning anymore. He's the governor of the entire state, not just the 49% of the state that voted for him.
Overall, my assessment of this speech is:
Was Sherrod Brown's comparison of union opponents to Hitler and Stalin politically correct? Nope. Was it historically accurate? In the words of Sarah Palin, Youbetcha.
Wanna hear something funny? Remember when looney tunes State Rep. Lynn Watchmann had a fetus testifying in favor of his "heartbeat" anti-abortion bill via a live sonogram? Apparently NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio had asked to have an opponent of Watchmann's bill testify via videotape because she is the mother of a severely disabled child who requires around the clock care. Watchmann said no because the "technical difficulties were too challenging."
Ah yes. On the technical difficulty scale, somehow a live sonogram is less complicated than playing videotaped testimony.
This is behavior by Rep. Watchmann is simply un-American given that our constitution guranatees our right to "petition the government for a redress of griveances." He should be ashamed of himself.
Plunderbund has done a good job of giving us all a blow by blow of what happened with the 17-16 vote in the Ohio Senate that passed SB 5, so rather than re-hash that story, I wanted to analyze which state senators may have particuarly helped or hurt themselves with their votes and overall performance abou the issue:
WINNER: State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield)
Sen. Schiavoni, who represents the Youngstown-area 33rd Senate District, really made a name for himself with his work on SB 5. His office put out a detailed analysis of SB 5 that debunks many of the GOP's claims about the bill's potential cost savings, and his office responded quickly to citizen questions about the bill even from people who don't live in his district. I had the privilege of touring the Youngstown Business Incubator with Sen. Schiavoni shortly after his appointment to the seat, and his leadership in this matter has cemented my view that, at only 31 years old, Sen. Schiavoni has to be considered amongst the rising stars of the Ohio Democratic Party.
LOSER: State Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Akron)
I honestly believe that State Sen. LaRose did not want to vote for this bill. Given that his people tried three different times to reach the Plundercrew and tell them that he wasn't supporting the bill, I believe LaRose was on the fence until the very last minute. But in the end, LaRose is a Summit County GOPer, and therefore must answer to the Devil Incarnate himself, Alex Arshinkoff. Arshinkoff was one of the earliest and most fervent supporters of Gov. Kasich. Arshinkoff just got himself a cushy job lobbying Gov. Kasich on behalf of the University of Akron ($10,000 a month? I'd take that gig). Bottom line, Arshinkoff was not going to let someone from his back yard screw this up for Kasich. Period end. LaRose may well lose re-election, but Arshinkoff will make sure he gets a well funded shot at re-election and a new gig if he loses. He had to do it.
LOSER: State Sen. Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens)
Just read what David wrote. This guy's ass is grass.
WINNER: State Sen. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville)
Sen. Patton's No vote on SB 5 adds to his somewhat undeserved reputation as a moderate Cuyahoga County GOPer. With the Congressional pencils sharepend right now to re-draw Ohio's district lines, I wouldn't be surprised if the Ohio GOP re-draws Dennis Kucinich's district in such a way as to put this guy in position to win. Sure, the Tea Partiers won't like him, but the Tea Party can't win in Cuyahoga.
I know it seems like I have an obsession with Jimmy Stewart, and that’s because I kind of do. I live in his district, and I try to keep my ear a little closer to the ground when it comes to developments relating to it. Not to mention that Sen. Stewart really got on my nerves back in the ‘08 election.
Anyway, there’s a lot of talk going on after Stewart voted for S.B. 5 yesterday, and I wanted to throw in my two cents.
To begin with, the word that got to some of the teachers at the last minute was that Jimmy Stewart had planned to abstain on S.B. 5. I haven’t tracked down the source of this information, so it’s possible it was just a wild rumor. If it wasn’t, however, that implies one of two things:
- Stewart or his staff tried to purposely mislead people.
- Or the more interesting possibility, someone else switched their vote at the last minute.
And now on to the second matter, next years 20th District Senate election.
I’ve had my eye on one person to make a run against Stewart (and even to run against Joy Padgett at one point) for a while now, and Modern nailed it: Jennifer Garrison.
There’s just one major catch, I’m not sure she plans to reenter politics after her run for Secretary of State.
The last time I saw Garrison, at a Democratic dinner late last summer, I actually asked her about making a run against Jimmy Stewart. I didn’t sense much enthusiasm.
But I’ll say this, I really hope she does run. To my neighbors and I she’s not the woman that wrote some stupid letter to the editor, she’s the woman who saved our school district.
Finally, Follow this. Please. That's me, working for teachers. Until Steve Jobs figures out a way for you to download an iTeacher from the app store - this is the next best thing! In 2005 and 2006, this community and millions around the state joined together to make a difference. Looks like we have to do it again. Let's go! ps. Feel free to email me, or say hi in the comments.