CityBeat Blogs - Reagan <![CDATA[Voters First Sues Over Republican Claims]]>

Voters First Ohio is not letting Republicans get away with any dishonesty on Issue 2. In a complaint filed to the Ohio Elections Commission yesterday, the pro-redistricting reform group claimed a recent mailer from Republicans contained three incorrect statements.

“In an effort to affect the outcome of the election and defeat State Issue 2, Republicans have knowingly, or with reckless disregard of the truth, made false statements in printed campaign material disseminated to registered voters,” the complaint said.

If approved by voters in November, Issue 2 will place the responsibility of redistricting in the hands of an independent citizens commission. Currently, politicians handle the process, which they use to redraw district boundaries in politically advantageous ways in a process known as “gerrymandering.” Ohio’s First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, was redrawn by the Republican-controlled process to include Warren County, which contains more rural voters that tend to vote Republican, and less of Cincinnati, which contains more urban voters that tend to vote Democrat.

The Voters First complaint outlines three allegedly false statements made by the Republican mailer. The first claim is “Some of the members will be chosen in secret.” As the complaint points out, this is false. The redistricting amendment on the November ballot will require nine of twelve members to be chosen in public, and then those nine members will pick the three final members. All of this has to be done in the public eye, according to the amendment: “All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public.”

The second disputed claim is that the amendment will provide a “blank check to spend our money” for the commission. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled against that claim on Sept. 12 when it ruled against Secretary of State Jon Husted’s proposed ballot language for Issue 2: “The actual text of the proposed amendment does not state that the redistricting amendment would have — as the ballot board’s language indicates — a blank check for all funds as determined by the commission.”

The mailer also claims that, in the redistricting amendment, “There’s no process for removing these bureaucrats, even if they commit a felony.” But the amendment says commissioners must be electors, and when an elector is convicted of a felony, that status is lost. The complaint says commissioners can also be removed “by a judge under a petition process that applies to public officials generally for exercising power not authorized by law, refusing or neglecting to perform a duty imposed by law, gross neglect of duty, gross immorality, drunkenness, misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance.”

The Ohio Elections Commission will take up the complaint Thursday morning. The full complaint can be read here.

Matthew Henderson, spokesperson for the Ohio Republican Party, called the complaint a "distraction”: “It’s a cheap shot. It’s up to the Ohio Elections Commission, and they’ll likely throw it out. It’s essentially a distraction from the real issues. The bottom line is that Issue 2 is going to create a panel of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, and they’ll have influence over our elections.”

He added, “Ohio voters will be able to decide for themselves this fall whether they want to pay for these commissioners or not.”

When pressed about whether or not the Ohio Republican Party is sticking to the claims found in the mailer, he said that’s up to the Ohio Elections Commission to decide.

It is true the independent citizens commission created by Voters First is unelected, but that’s the entire point. The current problem with the system, as argued by Voters First, is elected officials are too vested in reelection to place the district boundary needs of the public above electoral needs. That’s why districts like Ohio’s First Congressional District are redrawn in a way that includes Cincinnati and Warren County — two regions that are vastly different.

CityBeat previously covered the redistricting issue when Husted’s ballot language lost in court and when We Are Ohio threw its support behind Voters First.

While current Republicans oppose redistricting reform in Ohio, some Republicans of the past advocated for it. Ronald Reagan was one such advocate:

<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Let’s start the morning roundup with a truly radical idea: How about using Paul Brown Stadium as a homeless shelter during the roughly 340 nights a year when the Bengals aren’t using it?

That’s just what might happen with the new Marlins ballpark or the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Field in Florida
if two state lawmakers have their way. They want to enforce an obscure 1988 Florida law that allows any ballpark or stadium that receives taxpayer money to serve as a homeless shelter on the dates that it is not in use. Sounds like a great idea to us.---

The 19th Republican presidential debate of the campaign season was held last night in Jacksonville, Fla. There wasn’t much new said by the candidates,
despite what the pundits will try to convince you, but viewers did see Rick Santorum and Ron Paul make what will probably their last desperate bid for the spotlight.

Leaving aside Newt Gingrich’s personality quirks and temper, do you really think there would be much policy difference between his administration and one managed by Mitt Romney? What a dog and pony show.

John Hinckley, the man who tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981,
wants to expand his conditional release privileges from the psychiatric hospital in Virginia where he’s been confined for the past 30 years. Since 2009, Hinckley has received 10 days of freedom each month to visit his mother, but his attorneys want that expanded to 24 days, essentially freeing him. Hinckley’s psychiatrist told a judge Thursday the request should be denied because Hinckley still routinely lies about his activities and poses a threat to society.

Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, told
BBC World News that people like him should pay more taxes and the higher amount that should be paid by America's super-wealthy is "just justice.” Take that, Mr. Romney.

A day after making the statement, Gates and his wife, Melinda,
donated $750 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The world could use more people like that couple.

An Italian TV news show,
The Untouchables, announced Thursday that it had uncovered confidential Vatican documents that reveal a former top church official was transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts. The official sent several letters about the corruption to Pope Benedict, who ignored them but approved the transfer.

Although Transportation Security Administration employees said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) became “irate” Monday after he refused a pat-down search at Nashville International Airport,
some video footage of the incident indicates otherwise. The Tennessean pulled security camera footage that shows Paul standing in a glass cubicle while being watched by authorities, calmly making calls.

more than 20 construction workers were injured this morning when a deck collapsed at the Horseshoe Casino. The gaming palace is being built on downtown’s eastern edge for a planned spring 2013 opening.

Here’s something that frequent travellers in the area probably already know: The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
had the nation’s highest average airfare for 2011’s third quarter. The average fare was $488.20. No wonder so many people drive to Dayton and Columbus to catch flights.

In other airport news,
DHL Express plans a $46.9 million expansion there if Boone County officials approve $1.5 million in tax incentives, which is likely. If approved, about 120 full-time and 163 part-time workers would be hired.


<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Bryan Fischer, radio host and Christian group American Family Association affiliate, has been trying to prove a point since last month: that gay activists are the “number one perpetrators of hate crimes in America.”

Today a video was posted of Fischer pooping out of his mouth something about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Fischer said “You’re going to have the homosexual lobby committing one hate crime after another against servicemen. This is going to be virtual genocide … for people of faith.”

Sarah Palin, who is undecided about running for president, will accidentally collide with Mitt Romney when she wheels her “One Nation” tour into New Hampshire today. Romney, who has announced his intention to run for president, is scheduled to deliver a speech in Stratham, N.H., and Palin said, “Maybe we’ll run into him.” Palin, in an interview with CNN said that New Hampshire voters aren’t particularly special and that it’s a coincidence that she and Romney are in New Hampshire at the same time. "I guess that’s that nonpolitician in me not looking at a New Hampshire voter any differently just because they have, you know, an earlier primary than somebody else,” Palin said.

Left-leaning blog reports that the Weinergate scandal has been closed because the format of the pee pee picture Anthony Weiner allegedly sent to coed Gennette Cordova was resized and reformatted, meaning the New York congressman sent the photo.


Don’t act like you’re not impressed.”

Eileen Heuwetter is pissed her late aunt left the majority of her estate — around $300,000 — to Family Radio, the group that predicted the world would end on May 21. Though she knew her aunt Doris Schmitt loved the radio station and its batshit crazy owner, Harold Camping, she never guessed that she’d be one of the poor souls to contribute so much to Family Radio, which made $18 million in 2009 alone.

"This was not a woman who had anything. She literally had Family Radio on day and night — she went to bed with it and woke up to it," said Heuwetter. "That was all she had." That and about $300,000. "She would have been devastated," Heuwetter said. "Listening to him say things would be better in paradise made her feel better — she totally believed she would leave this world on May 21, and she needed to believe that." Unfortunately, Scmitt died alone at the age of 78 on May 2, 2010 in her small home in Queens, New York.

Camping, who forgot to mention that his prediction that the world would end extends to October —factoring in leap year and all that — assures everyone who gave him money that they will die happy deaths later this year and anyone who hasn’t given him money can still make a donation to the Family Radio website.

But please don’t actually do that.

Holy shit. Reagan? Really?