Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Chicago Way comes to Cincinnati



The Chicago Way comes to Cincinnati

We would like to think the recent attempted shakedown of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital by community groups would be the exception of the way business is done in Cincinnati, but if City Council and the Mayor’s office are taken over by politicians doing the bidding of shakedown artists expect it soon and perhaps permanently to become the “Cincinnati Way.”

Here’s how the shakedown works: Either self-appointed “community organizers,” or – worse – those leading non-profits already funded with tax dollars claim historic oppression of their community, their constituency, that can only be remedied with huge infusions of cash from developers otherwise trying to grow the tax base, bring jobs, and bring a new or expanded business to town. They make similar demands of cash from the City and County governments themselves.

Thus, these community organizers use their political clout to extract cash from elected leaders and to block the needed governmental cooperation to achieve the progress such as a zone change, a building permit or a street improvement.  In the past, in a professionally-run city like Cincinnati, these things were largely “ministerial” matters handled by bureaucrats on a routine, non-political basis.  But under this new way of doing business, the elected political leaders, and their now hyper-political administrative appointees, block the needed governmental approvals until their extortionate demands are met.    

Simple zone changes become pitched political battles, or silent means of killing projects for developers who have not paid off the right people.

For more than 50 years, they have done business like this in Chicago and the locals know it is wrong, but they laughingly call it the “Chicago Way.”  In order to get anything done you must make a political contribution to your alderman and payoff powerful community groups.

We read with some amazement that the Obama Presidential Library is the focus of one such shakedown right now (read here).  President Obama has committed to bringing this economic development windfall to Chicago’s economically-troubled south side.  (This article claims that the Bill Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock bought a $1 billion real estate boom, and the George W. Bush library is worth $50 million per year to the Dallas area.)

But rather than thanking President Obama for bringing this important development that any community would welcome with open arms, community organizers are demanding a “community benefits agreement” from the Library organizers to allow the project to go forward.  They want a commitment of “jobs” and a commitment of cash to “permit” him to bring his official papers into their neighborhood.

Even more amazingly, the community organizer-in-chief has declined their offer and stood up to the new generation of community organizer bullies.  He said “no.”

The exact same “community benefits agreement” is what powerful political leaders were demanding from Children’s here in Cincinnati.  And lest we think Cincinnati dodged a bullet when a narrow majority of Council and Mayor Cranley rejected the extortion, the same shakedown artist – former Cincinnati Mayor Dwight Tillery – happens to be one of the largest donors to Denise Driehaus and Todd Portune, the democrats that are the new majority on the County Commission.

Read here how Tillery’s “Closing the Health Gap” has accomplished precious little for the enormous infusion of tax dollars it has received from City Hall for years.

But just last month – outside of the counsel from their official advisors on the Hamilton County Tax Levy Review Committee and the Elderly Services Advisory Committee – the new democrat majority on the County Commission jacked the Senior Services Levy up 37% and tucked in there a little gift for Dwight Tillery’s nonprofit.

Of course, the Senior Services levy is a favorite with voters – who would not want to help Cincinnati’s elderly?  But for Portune and Driehaus to give such a gift to their key political supporters, on top of the same shakedown artists demanding millions from the Children’s Hospital development signals a new and dangerous direction for our City and County – the new “Cincinnati Way.”

Issue 5 – the 37% higher Senior Services levy – and the Children’s Hospital shakedown are two sides of the same coin: a new way of doing business in Cincinnati.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

COAST Christmas Party - Dec 12th

Mark your calendars!  Don't you dare miss the "see and be seen" event of the year as COAST celebrates Christmas and the end of 2016 with good friends, good food and good cheer!

Monday, December 12th, 6-9pm, DeSha's Tavern at Harpers Point.

Click on the flyer below for more details.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

VOTE NO ON ISSUE 14 – Kings Local School District, Warren County



VOTE NO ON ISSUE 14 – NOV 8
COAST – Stands for limiting the rate of taxes and spending and stopping the abuse of power by Government officials
COAST Response to Kings:
Superintendent claims of outside group spreading misleading information - - NOT TRUE!
Kings community members are with COAST, so this effort is not being driven by an outside group

1)     TRUE – COAST was correct this levy will be a continuing levy, as are all of Kings current levies, which will increase taxes $217 per $100,000 of home value.
2)     TRUE – COAST was correct according to KINGS own documents, KINGS total revenues grew from $34.2M (2010) to $41.5M (2016).                 
COAST defines flat funding as a 0% increase.  Yet with the state funding and TPP (tangible personal property tax) reimbursement KINGS funding increased by 1%, not flat and they don’t talk about the reimbursement for the TPP, they only claim they lost money!
3)     TRUE – COAST was correct.  The 2016 cash balance by fund report dated 6/29/2016 shows a cash balance of $13.5M.  KINGS finance Summary Report and Kings Current Bank Reconciliation for month ending Sept 16, 2016 shows a beginning general fund balance of $9.4M with current available balance of $14.2 M with a grand total of all funds of $21.6M
The unreserved cash balances on June 30 listed are just projections beyond 2016.  KING’S                  practice has been to paint the worst case scenario because of conservative revenue projections in the October 2016 forecast, current cash reserves won’t be depleted until 2019.  Why does Kings need a levy now?
4)     TRUE – COAST was correct according to the Ohio Department of Education current 2015 district profile Report, KINGS has more Administration expenditure per pupil than similar districts.  KINGS recent actions don’t paint a picture of “Tightening the Belt”.  KINGS recently made the Public Relations person full time and replaced the business manager, these positions have full administration benefits and salaries which includes 100% of their retirement paid by the taxpayers, which equals 24% of their salary and 95% of their healthcare costs.
5)     TRUE – KINGS voted against adopting the Ohio Checkbook without ever seeing a demonstration of the Nations #1 ranked transparency program and again denied a demonstration after a formal request from the Treasurer’s office.  WHY?  The OHIO checkbook program has set new transparency standards, which provide interactive tools to search and compare spending data and empowers taxpayers to follow the money.  It’s a key to open government so KINGS claims of transparency don’t ring true.  Board docs, while a good tool, it’s just a program to post documents.  Why does KINGS refuse this transparency?  The Ohio School Board Association, the Ohio Association of School Business officials, and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators have all endorsed the Ohio Checkbook.com.

6)     TRUE – COAST questions, the concern for the abuse of special needs students,  with district’s claims, this horrible ordeal only cost taxpayers $5,000.  What about the $80,000 payout and glowing recommendation for the teacher involved??   What about the legal costs for the 9 depositions, and most importantly, where’s the district’s compassion and remorse for what happened to our most vulnerable children, those without a voice, who endured this treatment.  We still don’t know who knew what and when. 
7)     TRUE and SAD, again no concern or remorse for allowing an environment, where the former Board President stated, that he was threatened, intimidated and subject to harassing criticism.  How sad, he had to ask for the school resource officer to attend meetings.

8)     TRUE – current enrollment projections in KINGS for October 2016, 5 year forecast shows 2016 enrollment at 4,211 and growing to 4,506 by 2021, adding 295, these are the district’s numbers.   The latest propaganda from The Kings Citizens for Quality Education get a 23% by 2020?????  Where did this number come from?

9)     TRUE – According to the Warren County Auditors school district Rates, KINGS current school taxes on $100,000 home value are the highest in Warren County.  $1,348.65 School taxes on $100,000 home value.  If the Levy passes the millage will go from 36.7 to 42.9, a 17% increase forever.  The total taxes will be $231.81 higher than MASON.  KINGS general operating millage will be 42.9 mills, 8.3 mills higher than MASON.

10)  TO THE KINGS BOARD – What have you done to tighten your belt?  When most districts understand, given the current economy, not having funding cuts is the most they can hope for, and work hard not only to control spending but wait as long as they can before raising taxes on families and Senior citizens.  NOT KINGS!  They went to levy with almost $8 Million in their checkbook in 2010 and here they go again!!!  Only worried about the districts checkbook and forgetting about taxpayers, who are struggling!  The district has continued to hire at the top while threatening to cut Teachers and Programs for students, while you are sitting on a cash surplus of +$9 Million. This is wrong!!!

VOTE NO ON ISSUE 14 – NOV 8


Click here to see top 10 reasons to Vote No

Friday, October 21, 2016

COAST Endorsements for the 2016 Election

The following individuals and issues have been endorsed by COAST in next month's election.

COAST urges you to remember these fine patriots & issue positions when you cast your ballot on November 8th!


Hamilton County Commission
Hamilton County Recorder
Hamilton County Treasurer
Ohio State Representative
Cincinnati Public Schools levy - Issue 44
  • NO!
Kings Local School District levy - Issue 14
  • NO!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to VOTE NO on the Kings School Levy

Before you cast your vote on the Kings School Levy, please note the TOP TEN REASONS you should VOTE NO!   (click below to enlarge)