Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Governor Kasich to sign bill banning Red Light Cameras

Maggie Thurber and OhioWatchdog.org has the story here: Governor Kasich commits to sign bill effectively banning Red Light Cameras.

Attorney, WXIX help expose fraud in North College Hill

COAST's legal team has been monitoring and helping whistleblowers in the City of North College Hill to stop fraud and abuse by its City fathers, the Mayor and City Manager.  Their conduct is truly abusive.  We are glad it is getting attention:

  • The City Manager and his wife, as economic development director, combined their salaries to pump up the retirement benefits of the husband.  It simply is cheating the State retirement system.  Judge Ruehlman warns the conduct could be criminal fraud.
  • Then, the City Manager awarded his friend a $65 per hour contract after City Council rejected the same contract 6-2 because it was not competitively bid.
Channel 19 covers it here.

The County Prosecutor and the State Retirement Board need to act on the matters.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Battle of 2015: SORTA tax

The signals are all clear: SORTA intends to seek a massive sales tax increase in 2015 to fund the losses on the Cincinnati Streetcar.  We know this will be our battleground this coming year.

COAST stands ready to expose the commitment of SORTA to fund the Cincinnati Streetrcar losses and to oppose its cash grab.

Note: This will be the battleground in 2015.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stunning: Judge finds probable cause national NAACP suppressing vote, manipulating election!

It is as stunning as it is sad: Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin today found probable cause that the nation's preeminent civil rights organization, the NAACP, is suppressing the vote of its own members in the upcoming election for NAACP Cincinnati Chapter Presidency and Board members.

As a result of Judge Martin's findings, he enjoined the NAACP Presidency and Board election scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, December 13th.

In their attempt to grab power from the duly elected local NAACP Board, the national NAACP has engaged in the very conduct that it decries in national elections.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sad tale of voter suppression by national branch of NAACP

It is sad to see the national NAACP aggressively seeking voter suppression of its own members in a local branch election.

As our loyal readers know, this fiscally conservative organization (COAST) has proudly partnered with the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP to achieve progress in our community, reaching across racial and political boundaries to form a ground-breaking coalition on the Jail Tax, Red Light Cameras, the sale of the Cincinnati Water Works, the Parking Plot and other fulcrum issues for our community.

Ishton Morton is the incumbent President of the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP, successor to Christopher Smitherman, a visionary leader seeking true liberty for Cincinnati residents.  Rob Richardson, Sr., a local union boss, seeks to unseat Morton in an election that has been twice postponed due to interference from the national office.

The national NAACP organization, and Richardson's son, Rob Richardson, Jr., have teamed up to seize control of the Cincinnati Chapter from President Morton, changing the voting location, changing the rules, and refusing proper notice to members.  In other words, they are trying every dirty trick in the book to avoid Morton's election.

Today, the local NAACP branch sued the national and Richardson, Jr. to stop the rummied-up election scheduled for Saturday.  The hearing is tomorrow at 8:30 AM before Judge Steve Martin. Stay tuned.

You may read about the suit here.

We are shocked, shocked that the Streetcar budget was "cooked"

In the manner that Captain Renault recited his alarm about gambling in the movie Casablanca, we are shocked, shocked we say that the Streetcar budget was cooked by Mayor Mallory and Finance Committee Chairman Roxanne Qualls all along.

Today, Mayor John Cranley was pointed in his criticism of the project and its fraudulent handling by the prior administration, calling the books "cooked."

Read the latest sad news, one of dozens of bad news stories to roll out before the launch of the boondoggle, right here.

COAST's six-year battle against Red Light Cameras ends with State ban

In 2008, COAST continued its historic coalition with the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP and others in the WeDemandAVote.Com alliance by placing before Cincinnati voters a ban on Red Light Cameras in the City of Cincinnati, one of the first such citizen initiatives in the nation against the pernicious devices.  We won that battle and since then we have continued the fight throughout Ohio.

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill with only minor changes that already had been approved by the Ohio Senate to outlaw the cameras state-wide.  As the Toledo Blade reports here, the Senate is expected to pass the modified bill and the Governor is expected to sign it.  The original House Bill was sponsored by Representatives Ron Maag (R) and Dale Mallory (D).  The Senate bill was sponsored by Senator Bill Seitz (R).

COASTers have succeeded in fights against Red Light Cameras in Cincinnati, Garfield Heights, Heath, and South Euclid.  This year they achieved ballot access for Charter Amendments banning the cameras in Cleveland and Maple Heights.  The latter two Charter Amendments passed by a stunning 77% of the vote just last month, helping spur the lame duck legislative action by the House and the Senate.

So, by year's end the cameras should be banned once and for all throughout Ohio.  COAST members, take a bow. This was a hard-fought win.  And to our partners in the legislature and Governor Kasich, a rich "Thank You" is given.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

SORTA Surveys crosstabs available

Our loyal readers may recall that the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency conducted a public opinion survey using tax dollars, but refused to release the results to the public.  Well, after COAST applied pressure and they feared litigation, they released the results publicly about a month later.

COAST then demanded the cross-tabs -- the detail of those results -- and they were provided.  They are linked here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

COAST Holiday Celebration!


Please join COAST for a "Celebratory Affair."

We appreciate your efforts, so come and enjoy yourselves! There is no charge for this event, but it's buy your own food and beverages.

When:    Monday, December 15th at 6:00 PM
Where:   deSha's American Travern & Grille                                                                      
11320 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249
(513) 247-9933

Return of the COAST CHRISTMAS COOKIE CONTEST: Two categories 1. Homemade   2.Bakery Bought      

Bring at least 24 cookies for judging and sharing. Prizes for both categories.

Thank you for all that you do to help fight for limited government and lower taxes. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Streetcar price goes up by $15 Million; also, entire contingency is used up only 1/2 way through construction

It's truly sad to see Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley saddled with the construction and implementation of the Cincinnati Streetcar project, when it was Mayor Mark Mallory and Finance Committee Chairman Roxanne Qualls who designed and approved a plan that was destined to fail.  And it was a new Council of Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young, David Mann, Kevin Flynn and P.G. Sittenfeld who voted to force the project to proceed.

In the past few weeks, there have been two major negative developments about the Cincinnati Streetcar:

  1. Today, Judge Carl Stitch ruled that Cincinnati taxpayers, not Duke Energy ratepayers, must pay the $15 million in Duke's utility relocation costs for construction of the Streetcar.
  2. Less well known is that on November 18th, John Deitrich, City Project Manager, reported to the Council Transportation Committee that less than one-half way throughout he construction, the entire budgeted contingency for the project has been used up, and more unexpected problems are already arising.
We really don't hate to say "we told you so," because every failure of the Cincinnati Streetcar vindicates our warnings from Day #1: This project is a boondoggle.  It always has been and always will be.

We must admit it is funny, however, that no set of facts will impress rail fanatics to conclude that the Cincinnati Streetcar was one huge, terrible mistake.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Red Light Camera fight takes new turn

The evil Empire Strikes Back, doesn't it?

With the citizens of Cleveland and Maple Heights less than two weeks ago voting 77% to ban Red Light Cameras in their cities, and a chorus of voters from Cincinnati to South Euclid banning the pernicious devices over the past seven years, you would think our legislators, the servants of the people would get the message: Keep them out of Ohio.

But, alas, big money still has sway, at least in the Senate Chamber.

We were alerted last night to the new S.B. 388, linked here, that would expand the rights of municipalities to use Red Light Cameras.  For example, there is currently a broad challenge to the devices before the Ohio Supreme Court on the basis that the Ohio legislature has not authorized municipalities to bypass Municipal Courts, and instead essentially establish their own judiciary to hear these violations.  The bill attempts to cure that fatal defect in all pending Red Light Camera legal challenges.

Worse, there is an argument that this bill overrides local Charter Amendments banning the devices, thus voiding the ballot issues local organizers have worked to hard to place on the ballot and pass.

Please call your Senator and House Member and tell them to kill S.B. 388.  It is the essence of poor public policy in Ohio.

And remember the names of Senators Frank LaRose, Peggy Lehner, Randy Gardner and James Hughes, all Republicans, as the clueless, out-of-touch, anti-liberty Senators who have sponsored this legislation.

Monday, November 17, 2014

COAST's Cleveland Red Light Camera Win featured on Autoblog

Well, COAST has gotten press far and wide for its work, but even we were surprised at the lengthy piece on the Autoblog, here, discussing our work on Red Light Cameras in Cleveland-- a 77% win!

We are hopeful the Ohio legislature will address the cameras in the coming lame duck session.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

King v. Burwell before U.S. Supreme Court could devastate ObamaCare

When the democrat Congress enacted ObamaCare, it wanted to force reluctant Governors to set up their own healthcare exchange.  Thus, they included language within the bill that persons are eligible for subsidies for healthcare coverage only if they are in “an exchange established by the state.”  The alternative to “an exchange established by the state” is that for those states that fail to enact an exchange, individuals are relegated to the federal exchange.

Now that many Governors have stood up to President Obama and failed to enact an exchange, as in Ohio, the language of the law has backfired, precluding subsidies for individuals in many states.

That issue will be decided by the US Supreme Court tho coming term.  If the Judges apply the law as plainly written, ObamaCare will turn out to be even worse than anyone initially predicted.

Read an in-depth New York Times article on the matter here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

COAST crushes Red Light Cameras in Northeast Ohio

COAST sponsored two ballot initiatives in 2014, red light camera bans in the City of Cleveland and the City of Maple Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.  They were, respectively, Issues 35 and 99 on the Cuyahoga County ballot.  Both issues were placed on the ballot by a coalition of black-white, republican-democrat activists, similar to those that banned the cameras in Cincinnati.

One of the most remarkable developments of an utterly remarkable night -- Governorships

It was a night even the most optimistic observers did not anticipate, November 4, 2014:  A potential 10-seat pickup and control of the U.S. Senate and a 13-seat picket-up (so far) for the already lopsided U.S. House.

But the most remarkable, and entirely unexpected, outcome of November 2014 was the pickup of new governorships in left-leaning states and fending off tough challenges of Republican incumbents:

Barack Obama, Ideologue

Now comes the dangerous part, Barack Obama, unleashed.

We hate to rain on the parade, and what a parade it was!

But America has created an imperial Presidency never envisioned by our founding fathers in three ways: (i) a Congress (Republicans and Democrats) that passes open-ended legislation that gives wide berth to the Executive branch to write regulations and implement legislation broadly, (ii) Courts that refuse to enforce the Constitutional and statutory lints on the powers of the Executive, and (iii) great liberties taken in successive administrations with the powers given to them.  We are decidedly not, in this entry, placing the blame for any of these factors on Democrats exclusively of the Obama Administration specifically, although they are the latest and greatest abuser of these factors.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our founder, our hero, Tom Brinkman, Jr. never flinched, never wavered

COAST watches with some amusement with politicians and community leaders bobbing to the left and twisting to the right, trying to determine which way the wind is blowing before deciding how to vote on an issue.

In contrast, we have our successful former Chairman, Tom Brinkman, Jr., this year returning to a seat in the the Ohio legislature, one he held for four consecutive terms.  In May of this year, Brinkman scored a surprising and decisive upset victory over a more cautious, moderate House member, backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Ohio House GOP caucus.

On issue after issue, Common Core, Taxes, the Parking Plot, the Jail Tax, the Streetcar, the Waterworks takeover, Brinkman has been steadfast and outspoken.

Now that he returns to Columbus as a senior statesman, and one who beat one of their own, he holds a new stature, has gained a new respect -- maybe fear -- from the "powers that be" in Columbus.  We hope he slays some dragons up there as he has done in Cincinnati, literally almost singlehandedly saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

We our proud of Tom Brinkman, Jr. and warn anyone in Columbus who trifles with him -- he is the real deal.

Down to the wire or blow out?

The surveys, the pundits, the talking heads, the spinners, the numbers!

The issue, the real issue, Tuesday is control of the US Senate: Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell in charge.  A sub-issue is the governorships up for grabs.  These contests will set the stage for 2016.

The predictions are all over the board, and the GOP had serious ground to make up in the Senate contests to seize control, but the general consensus is that we have a fighting chance.

And for COAST, that's all we ask: a fighting chance.  We'll take those odds.

Friday, October 31, 2014

We won't be fooled again

The stadium tax campaign, the Bengals lease, the Paul Brown Stadium cost overruns, and the lying. cheating and stealing that went with all of it, was awful for our region and its taxpayers.  But it was also one of the best things that happened for the tax movement in greater Cincinnati.  It birthed COAST and gave us a rallying cry that lasted for more than a decade.  Thereafter, Hamilton County voters became infinitely more skeptical, more circumspect, more realistic about levies on the ballot and big public works projects birthed by politicians and business leaders.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

COAST's work featured preventing tax dollars from being used for campaigning

This article from Watchdog.org highlights COAST's good work in stopping the use of tax dollars for campaign purposes.  Read it here.