by Andy Brownfield
Ohio Dems wear carnations in solidarity with Michigan workers
In light of Michigan’s progress in passing a so-called
“right-to-work” law, Ohioans are both worried about and pushing for a
similar law allowing workers to opt-out of paying union dues at
businesses where workers are represented by a union.
Tea party activists are working to gather the 380,000
signatures needed to get the Ohio Workplace Freedom Act on the ballot.
They have until July 3.
The Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday passed
the first of two right-to-work bills, both of which were passed by the
state Senate last week. Gov. Rick Snyder has told multiple media outlets
that he could sign the bills as early as Wednesday.
Michigan would be the 24th right-to-work state in the
nation and the second in the Midwest. Indiana passed a similar law
earlier this year.
Members of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus wore red
carnations — Ohio’s state flower and a symbol of the labor movement — at
the Statehouse Tuesday to show support for Michigan workers.
“Put simply, so called ‘right to work’ is wrong.
Statistics show states with this anti-working family legislation have
lower wages and higher poverty rates,” Ohio state Rep. Connie Pillich,
D-Montgomery, wrote in an emailed statement.
“We will continue to stand together and fight against these unfair attacks on workers in Ohio, Michigan and across the country.”
Despite the effort to put a right-to-work law on the
ballot next year — a similar effort was unsuccessful in 2012 — it
doesn’t seem like Ohio is in any rush to join Michigan and Indiana.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Gov. John Kasich has higher priorities than passing a right-to-work law. The newspaper reports that Ohio added 127,000 jobs in the
past two years and ranks fourth nationally and first in the Midwest in
terms of job creation.
Kasich said the agenda for the last two years of his first
term include tax cuts, an education overhaul and infrastructure
improvement to keep the state competitive.
“I have an agenda that I think is going to benefit the
state of Ohio,” Kasich told the newspaper. “We’re doing very well
vis-a-vis the rest of the country now, and I think if we continue to
pursue the agenda I have and the legislature has, I think we’ll continue
to be successful.”FUN FACT: Michigan's right-to-work bill will be signed into law in the Romney Building. George Romney, former Michigan governor and father of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was an opponent of right-to-work laws.
by Bill Sloat
State Rep. Alicia Reece only local legislator listed as co-sponsor
of Ohio House Democrats wants Congress to move quickly and grant
statehood to Puerto Rico, which has been a U.S. possession since the
Spanish-American War ended in 1898. The
Ohioans do not say where the star should go on a redesigned American
flag, but they said statehood would “respect the rights of
self-governance through consent of the governed of our fellow United
States citizens residing in Puerto Rico.”
sponsor of the resolution, H.C.R. 57, is State Rep. Dan Ramos of Lorain,
a northern Ohio city where about 25 percent of the 64,000 residents are
Hispanic. Lorain is considered the most Hispanic city in Ohio, and nearly 20 percent of its population claims Puerto Rican descent. The resolution urging statehood was introduced this week in the Ohio House where it likely faces an uncertain future. The current term of the legislature is scheduled to end in December, and it has no Republican co-sponsors. The GOP controls the House, which means that Democratic proposals often get bottled up or receive short shrift.Earlier this month, a slight majority of Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood for the Caribbean Island. It was the first time a statehood referendum has won there,
and the non-binding vote was seen as signaling that many Puerto Ricans
appear ready to end the island’s status as a U.S. commonwealth. The move by the Ohio House Democrats also appears aimed at cementing the party’s support among Hispanic voters. Some
70 percent of Hispanics backed the Democrats and President Obama on Election
Day, and Hispanics are emerging as a key bloc with increasing power at
the ballot box.
exception of State Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat, all of the
other House Democrats backing the statehood resolution are from Columbus
or further north in Ohio. The resolution urges Congress to take swift action “towards admitting the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to the Union as a State.” Statehood decisions are up to Congress. The
Ohio resolution points out that Puerto Ricans are already U.S. citizens
(although they cannot vote in presidential elections), and that many
serve in the U.S. military. A 1917 law granted residents U.S. citizenship.
There is a historical footnote involving Cincinnati in Puerto Rico’s fate. Former
GOP President William Howard Taft, a Cincinnatian who went on to serve
as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1920s, delivered a major
legal decision in 1922 that helped keep Puerto Rico separate. Taft
said the congressional act that conferred citizenship on the islanders
did not contemplate that they would be incorporated into the Union. He ruled the U.S. possession had never been designated for statehood. Taft gave the island a unique status that has been described as a commonwealth, or as it is said in Spanish, “Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico.”
Are Ohioans ready to recognize my gay marriage?
4 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
In 2004, while most Democrats around me
reeled from the defeat of John Kerry, I had other post-election
problems: Gay marriage and same-sex
civil unions had been officially banned in Ohio. I was devastated. I was 14 back then. If I had been 14 in 2013, it’s
increasingly looking like my story of that age would have been very
by Danny Cross
We didn’t mean to help re-elect a socialist
During the past year CityBeat has spent a lot of
energy reporting on countless Republican screw-ups, from typical
shortsighted policies to legislation that is straight-up offensive to women,
minorities, gay people and the poor and working class. But we didn’t
realize that by pointing out how offensive and irrelevant the country’s
GOP leaders were acting, that we were inadvertently killing America.
That's why we would like to formally apologize to the Lebanon tea party in Warren County. The email you sent to The Enquirer today hit us
pretty hard — the fact that you’re literally wearing black and mourning
America because “socialists, welfare and unions took over this country”
is super sad. In our haste to ask questions of elected leaders, fact
check their statements and put their beliefs and policies into perspective over the
past few months, we forgot how badly people in Warren County wish America
could be like the 1950s again, when women knew their place and black
people had to operate the elevators and never say anything whites didn’t
want to hear. Mad Men is a great show.
We didn’t mean to be tricked by President Obama’s stimulus
bill — we (stupidly) believed the economists who said it staved off a
depression caused by under-regulation of the housing and financial
industries (we tried to believe Mitt Romney’s concept of further
reducing regulations so the job-creators can stimulate the economy in
the private sector thus giving our wealth back to us, but it was maybe
too complicated for us to understand?).
Some people we know kept their jobs when the president
didn’t allow the American car companies to go broke even though they’re
the ones that decided to max out profits on SUVs with truck beds on the
back. Other people we know spent time last year without health care, and
this country’s health care costs are somewhere around twice as much as
any other country’s so we were like, “Yea, reforming that system sounds
about right.” But we admit that we don’t know what it’s going to be like
for the 15 percent of this country living in poverty to all of the
sudden have access to preventative care. Someone in Cincinnati died of a
tooth problem last year, and we don’t even know if that’s covered.
We realize that it wasn’t Mitt Romney who used the term
“legitimate rape,” but it made us want to throw up, which slowed down
productivity that might have allowed us to figure out that Don’t Ask
Don’t Tell was the only thing keeping our country’s military from
turning Afghanistan into a European-style gay disco.
We thought it was kind of gross when the president killed
Osama bin Laden, but everyone was really happy about it so we focused
our attention on the results of the president’s home buying and
refinancing programs that helped stimulate the economy and saved
people’s houses, even though we’re all a bunch of renters who don’t even
know how to use a level.
So we’re clearly at fault for your expectation of the
downfall of this country, and we realize that you’re upset and probably
right about America becoming a socialist nation within months. We messed
up bad this time, but we want you to know that we’re not blind to it —
your press release has put our actions into a perspective that we wish
we had yesterday or, even better, several years ago before we learned
how to do our jobs the right way.
At least you have the local daily newspaper to publish
your emotional reactions to historical election results and to continue
endorsing GOP candidates no matter how ill qualified and misguided they are.
Please don’t mourn long — there’s still hope for the type of social
regression you’re looking for, especially in Warren County.
Former Oregonians produce award-winning wines in Ripley, Ohio
1 Comment · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The leaves and temperatures are falling in
mid-October, and red grapes varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon are ripe
for the picking.
by Andy Brownfield
"Nuns on the Bus" tour to encourage voters to pick candidates that will provide for poor
A group of Catholic nuns kicked off a 1,000-mile, six-day
tour across Ohio on Wednesday, during which they plan on telling voters to
elect candidates who will do the most for the state’s poor.
“In democracy, the role of government is to represent all
of us and show us how we work together,” said Sister Simone Campbell, a
Catholic nun and executive director of Catholic lobbying group NETWORK.
“So that when some politicians want to tell us that there
is no role for government, that government is only there to let
individuals take care of their individualistic selves, I want to say,
‘that’s not democracy. That’s not our Constitution, and that’s not our
The “Nuns on the Bus” tour started Wednesday in Cincinnati
and will travel through Dayton, Lima, Columbus, Toledo, Fremont,
Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Athens and Marietta before ending back in
Cincinnati on Oct. 15.
The trip features Catholic nuns from across Ohio who will
be urging Ohio voters to examine what the Bible says about caring for
the poor. Dominican Sister of Hope Monica McGloin said voters should
choose the candidate who would best embody those teachings.
McGloin said the tour would not support any political party or candidate.
“We certainly don’t want to be partisan, because that’s
not what we’re about,” she said. “The fact is, neither candidate is
talking about the poor.”
While the bus tour kickoff was nonpartisan – speakers
avoided mentioning either candidate by name – a number of attendees had
their jackets or cars adorned with buttons or bumper stickers supporting
president Barack Obama.
McGloin said she had a list of things she’d like to see
from the next president: access to health care for all Americans, more
jobs, a focus on education and programs that help people meet their
basic needs, like housing.
This isn’t the first bus tour for Campbell, who planned on heading to work in Washington, D.C. after the first Cincinnati stop. She organized the original nine-state
“Nuns on the Bus” tour over the summer. The earlier tour was in protest
over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul
Ryan, himself a Catholic. Ryan’s budget would gut many social programs
relied on by the poor.
by Andy Brownfield
Priebus tells Ohio reporters GOP ground game will "crush" Democrats in Ohio
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus held
a conference call with Ohio reporters Wednesday morning in response to
Tuesday comments by Democratic Vice President Joe Biden that the middle
class had been “buried” in the last four years.
“Obama and Biden have buried the middle class, and now they want to bury them some more,” Priebus told reporters.
“I mean, just imagine what Barack Obama would do. He
buried us economically in this country knowing that he would have to
face re-election. Just imagine what he would do with nothing but
daylight in front of him. Just imagine where this economy would go.”
Biden made his comments before an audience of about 1,000
in Charlotte on Tuesday. He said Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney’s tax cuts for millionaires would raise taxes for the middle
“How can they justify raising classes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years?” Biden said.
Biden tried to clarify that he meant they had been buried by policies supported by Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.
Republicans, however, jumped on the comment immediately,
with Romney tweeting, “the middle class has been buried the last 4
years, which is why we need a change in November.”
Priebus said despite polling showing Obama pulling ahead
of Romney in Ohio that the state would be very close. He said
Republicans have a better ground game and would “crush” Democrats.
“I think we’re going to crush the Democrats on the ground,” Priebus said.
“I just don’t think they’ve got a very good ground game. I’ve looked through it, I’ve seen it. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”
Priebus said if Romney were to lose Ohio, he was still optimistic about Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
“We’ve got it all on the table. Ohio is, of course,
extremely important. It’s nothing new, but I also see avenues to 270
(electoral votes) opening up for Mitt Romney in places that weren’t
there in ’08.”
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: Humor
at 01:05 PM | Permalink
Senatorial candidate holds PolitiFact Ohio record for most statements rated "Pants on Fire"
Happy birthday to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel! The
treasurer and GOP candidate for U.S. Senate turns 35 today, and the Ohio
Democratic Party celebrated the occasion by delivering a new pair of
pants to the treasurer’s office.
“If anyone needs a new pair of pants for his birthday it’s
Josh Mandel, who has earned more ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings from
Politifact Ohio than any politician in state history — hopefully he will
get some use out of these before his next lie about (Democratic U.S.
Sen.) Sherrod (Brown),” Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker
wrote in a statement.
Mandel has earned six “Pants on Fire” ratings — the
signifier given to an outright lie by the fact-checking agency run by
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, PolitiFact Ohio. Mandel holds the most
“Pants on Fire” rulings of any politician reviewed by the group.
Mandel doesn’t have a monopoly on lies: In a Wednesday
fact check, PolitiFact Ohio ruled a Brown campaign advertisement that
claimed Ohio’s investment fund has not improved under Mandel was
Zucker told CityBeat Mandel’s staff seemed
surprised by the gift (American Apparel trousers size 34) and promised
to deliver it, but said the treasurer wasn’t in the office.
The pants were folded and tied with ribbon. They contained
a note reading, “Josh — So many of your pants have caught fire from
Politifact’s ratings that we thought you could use a new pair. They’ll
look great for your next fundraising trip to the Bahamas! Happy
Birthday, The Ohio Democratic Party.”
Mandel’s press secretary has not responded to CityBeat’s call and email for comment as of this posting. This blog will be updated if we hear back.
by Andy Brownfield
Group of Democratic state lawmakers wants Ohio governor to face legislative Q&As
Some Democratic lawmakers want answers from Republican Gov. John Kasich.
A group of Democratic state representatives has put forth
a bill that would require Kasich — and every governor after him — to
come before the Ohio House of Representatives 10 times per year for
45-minute question and answer sessions where the governor would have to
take at least five questions from each side of the aisle.
Rep. Mike Foley, D-Cleveland, is the bill’s sponsor. He did not return CityBeat’s call for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
Cincinnati Democratic Rep. Denise Driehaus is one of the
bill’s co-sponsors. She said Foley had the idea while visiting Canada,
where their parliament has a similar procedure.
“I think it’s a great idea where the governor interacts
with the legislature and we have the opportunity to question him and
really engage on some of the issues and get his opinion on things,”
She said the Legislature doesn’t currently have a whole
lot of opportunity to interact with the governor, except for the State
of the State address, but even then they can’t really engage Ohio’s
The Ohio Democratic Party has recently filed suit against
Kasich for what it says is a failure to comply with open records laws
for redacting parts of his public schedules when responding to a public
The ODP has called Kasich opaque and secretive for failing to respond or only partially responding to records requests.
However, Driehaus said the bill isn’t meant to apply only
to Kasich, but would apply to every governor after him. She said she
didn’t think it was in reaction to her party’s spat with the governor.
“This is much broader and much more forward thinking than that,” Driehaus says.
by Andy Brownfield
Suit claims governor is intentionally ignoring public records requests
The Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against Gov.
John Kasich — who they claim is improperly using his office to campaign
for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — to get the
governor to release his schedule of public events.
The ODP’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Franklin County
Court of Common Pleas, contends that Kasich’s office either ignored or
only partially fulfilled the request.
“It’s unfortunate that this Governor is so opposed to
transparency and public disclosure that we have to ask the Court to
force him to follow the law,” ODP Chairman Chris Redfern said in a
“Serious questions remain regarding whether the Governor
has improperly used his office for the benefit of Mitt Romney, and it’s
deeply disappointing Kasich is so secretive he won’t even tell the
public what he’s done or where he’s gone.”
Kasich press secretary Rob Nichols said the administration
doesn’t comment on litigation, but dismissed the Ohio Democratic
“We release public records in accordance with the law, and
in fact have already publicly released the governor’s schedule six
times, including a schedule request to the ODP,” Nichols said.
“This is predictable election year politics from the same
people who were just rebuked for using public records demands to
interfere with the Auditor of State’s investigation into possible data
manipulation in some school districts.”
Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz said Kasich’s
office did respond to one of the seven requests for the schedule, but
some of the information in the records was redacted — including an
entire week that was blacked out with no explanation.
“Ohio law is very clear, and it states you have to give a specific excuse when you redact something,” Kurtz said.
According to the lawsuit and court documents, the ODP
requested on July 2 Kasich’s public schedule from that date through Aug.
According to a letter to the Ohio Democratic Party from
Mehek M. Cook — assistant chief counsel to Kasich — the information
about the governor's future plans was blacked out because that information
could put him at risk.
“The governor and his office receive threats on any given
day and the release of his whereabouts increases security issues
surrounding the governor’s safety,” Cook wrote.
Cook wrote that any information in the records used by the
Executive Protection Unit assigned to guard Kasich constitutes a
security record and was redacted.
He also wrote that some information that would reveal
confidential business meetings and trade secrets that would harm Ohio
efforts to court businesses was blacked out. Additionally, information
not relevant to the request was redacted.
Kurtz said it’s important that the public have access
those schedules because voters have a right to know what their governor
is doing on the public dime.
The schedules include where the governor is and with whom
he meets, but they also show scheduled phone calls and media interviews.
The Ohio Democratic Party worries that Kasich is
improperly campaigning for Romney while receiving a taxpayer-funded
paycheck, or using public money to have his staff do so.
The concerns stem from statements made by Kasich both in
public and on his Twitter account either praising the presumed
Republican presidential nominee or slamming President Obama.
For instance, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported that when Obama visited Ohio on Aug. 1 the governor tweeted “On
the occasion of the President's latest visit to Ohio, we have a
question for him,” with a link to a graphic asking “If the President's
policies are behind Ohio's success, why is the rest of the country
Democrats claim that Ohio’s success relative to the rest
of the country are due to efforts by President Obama, while Republicans
say Governor Kasich is behind Ohio’s faster-than-average recovery.
While the Ohio Democratic Party is suing to have Kasich
release his public schedule (Kurtz says Attorney General Mike DeWine and
Auditor Dave Yost complied with similar requests in a timely manner)
the state Republican Party has also submitted similar requests to
Democrats throughout Ohio.
Kurtz characterized the GOP requests as being sent by
Kasich’s “hand-picked lieutenants in the Ohio Republican Party,” though
Nichols told The Plain Dealer that the governor had no involvement.
Ohio GOP executive director Matt Borges told the newspaper that the requests were routine.
Still, Kurtz called Kasich’s refusal to release his own schedule “hypocritical.”
“He’s a bully and the only way you can deal with a bully is fighting back.”