MITCH MCCONNELL: The Republican Senate leader from Louisville recently criticized President Obama’s plans for reducing carbon emissions by stating it would cost every household about $3,100 a year. Nevermind that Democrats pledge to include tax rebates in the plan, especially for the poor, and aim the measure mostly at large polluters.
No, we suspect McConnell’s opposition has nothing to do with taxes on everyday Americans. Rather, it might be because he's accepted $474,658 from oil companies in the 2000-08 period, making him a leading recipient of oil money, according to Source Watch.
CITY RESIDENTS: An excellent article in the Feb. 14 Enquirer revealed how Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. is using a state program to receive an almost $1 million lump-sum payment when he retires. Under Ohio’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), police and firefighters can build large nest eggs in return for reduced pensions if they agree to work for at least 25 years on the job.
The program’s goal was to keep more experienced officers on the job longer. As in Streicher’s case, though, DROP has actually led to low-motivated personnel sticking around and hampering improvements.
INVEST IN NEIGHBORHOODS: Neighborhood activists succeeded last year in getting City Council to pull a $112,800 contract with Invest In Neighborhoods Inc. (IIN) for administering the Neighborhood Support Program. IIN had such contracts for nearly 30 years, during which it doled out city cash for projects it approved. That ended when activists alleged IIN routinely violated its bylaws and awarded allies. As a result, city staffers took control of the program with mixed results.
Now the contract is back with IIN, but with new board members Greg Harris, Bernadette Watson and Amy Murray. All three lost election to council in November but have considerable expertise. Maybe they'll get IIN’s house in order.
STAN CHESLEY: The one-man case study who provides a good example of why tort reform might be needed (and I’m generally against such reform) filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Toyota last week, hoping to profit from motorists who have had problems with their vehicles. In his suit, Chesley alleges Toyota concealed the problems for years.
He’s seeking an undetermined amount of damages as well as asking the company to cease collecting lease or purchase payments from his clients. That seems unlikely.
As my good friend Melinda always says, “Keep your eyes focused on what you reasonably deserve and don’t get greedy.”