Friday, June 26, 2009

Challenger Amy Murray Signs No Tax Pledge

Republican Council challenger Amy Murray has signed COAST's pledge against raising taxes and against new fees during the coming Council term, bringing to five the number of signers of the pledge. Please e-mail Amy to thank her for taking the Pledge.

Amy Murray joins Chris Monzel, Leslie Ghiz, Charlie Winburn and George Zamary in promising not to raise taxes during the coming Council term.

As COAST reports here, City Council has dug itself a huge budgetary hole exceeding $40 million per year starting in 2010. Council member Bortz said Council's budgetary gimmicks last week are "a clear signal that Council fully intends to levy new fees and taxes to fill a projected $40M deficit "

However, to date Bortz has not signed the Pledge. COASTers are encouraged to e-mail him to demand he sign the Pledge.

COAST thanks Amy Murray for her leadership in taking the Pledge and her fellow Council candidates who have previously so committed.

COAST again asks its members to call or write the other seven Council members and the Mayor asking that they sign too (click name to email).

Mark MalloryMayor(513) 352-3250
David CrowleyVice Mayor(513) 352-2453
Jeff BerdingCouncil Member(513) 352-3283
Chris BortzCouncil Member(513) 352-3255
Y. Laketa ColeCouncil Member(513) 352-3466
Greg HarrisCouncil Member(513) 352-5303
Roxanne QuallsCouncil Member(513) 352-3604
Cecil ThomasCouncil Member(513) 352-3499

The text of the pledge is:

2009 Cincinnati Mayoral and Council Candidate
Taxpayer Protection Pledge

I, Amy Murray, pledge to the taxpayers of the City of Cincinnati and all of the people of this City that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes and create new fees during the 2010-2011 term of Cincinnati City Council. This includes without limitation, any increase in the City earnings tax or property tax, and the imposition of new fees such as a garbage collection fee.

/s/Amy Murray___________June 24, 2009____________

Cincinnati's Spending Addiction Continues

This week's failure to cut spending assures 2010 drive for higher taxes
Faced with a $20 million deficit this year and a $40 million deficit in 2010, Cincinnati City Council did what it always does on Wednesday -- it elected on Wednesday of this week to continue its irresponsible spending. As the Enquirer story explains, Council's $20 million in "cuts" are anything but, including furlough days the unions must approve (an unlikely $4.2 million of the "savings") and uses $6.4 million in surplus from prior year income tax collections.

Thus, because more than half of the claimed savings are not cuts at all, the deficit that Council faces in 2010 is now closer to $60 million.

"As COAST has explained before," said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd, "Council's persistent practice of whistling past the tax-and-spend graveyard is merely postponing the imminent fall for the taxpayers. We are being set up for a massive tax increase in 2010."

Even more odious, Council violated its own rules against spending surplus monies in the spending vote this week.

To bring attention to the plan this election year, and to stave off the drive for higher taxes, COAST has issued a Pledge against tax increases to all 2009 Mayoral and Council Candidates. To date, Ghiz, Monzel, Winburn and Zamary have signed the Pledge.

Below is a statement issued by Council member Chris Bortz on this week's spending spree by Council. Note the last paragraph of the Bortz statement, which confirms the COAST position. Seems like he is thinking right (on the issue of the City Budget). We encourage COASTers to call or email Chris Bortz' office (352-3255) to thank him for speaking out on the budget, and also ask that he sign the COAST Pledge.

"Today the Mayor and five members of Council violated the Rules of Council to pass a mid-year budget correction that, despite City Manager Dohoney's warning of, "inevitable layoffs in December," spends more money to create new positions (2 lawyers and a census coordinator); spends the City savings; risks public safety; and has even more accounting gimmicks such as counting on savings from furloughs that have not been agreed to by any union, counting on savings from forcing police to shut their cars down for 1 hour per shift, and shifting over $1M in rent to another account).

The Rules of Council are adopted by City Council under the authority of the Charter. There has never been a willful and flagrant violation of these rules by any Council. The rule which requires six votes to spend the City's reserve accounts was specifically agreed to by Council in order to provide a measure of spending restraint outside of the annual budget appropriation. While I have often disagreed with members of City Council on fiscal policies, I have never witnessed such a breach in integrity. Council Rule 9.6 states,

'Council shall pass no Ordinance providing for an expenditure of City funds except as a part of the approved annual City budget unless the Ordinance at the same time provides for a specific offsetting expenditure reductions or revenue increases. In the absence of the declaration of a genuine emergency by the City Manager, offsetting expenditure reductions shall not include funds taken from the Reserve for Contingencies, from any surplus, or from the previous year's Carryover Balance.'
The rule was written to prevent exactly what was done today. In reference to this item, the City Solicitor, in a written opinion, states, "Passage of such an ordinance would therefore violate Council Rule 9.6...." Mayor Mallory has made Council decorum a central principle of his tenure. The move today shows that to be only a principle of convenience, discarded when politically expedient.

The failure to get support of six members of Council for such a crucial vote is a failure of leadership, shows unwillingness to compromise, and signals to the public that the long-term stability of the public coffers takes a back seat to election year politics.

The budget passed today is a clear signal that Council fully intends to levy new fees and taxes to fill a projected $40M deficit. By utilizing reserves and accounting gimmicks, Council has ducked the hard choices until after the coming election. Those hard choices are now even harder.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Winburn, Ghiz, Zamary sign pledge

COASTers: Call others to demand they sign
Cincinnati City Council Candidate George Zamary
signs COAST's no-tax pledge

Three more Council candidates have signed the COAST pledge against raising taxes to solve Cincinnati's budget problems in the coming Council term -- incumbent Leslie Ghiz, and challengers Charlie Winburn and George Zamary.

Council's seemingly incurable addiction to spending has created a $20 million deficit for the second half of 2009 and a huge $40 million deficit in 2010. In addition, years of stealing from the City's pension fund to pay for out-of-control general fund expenses has left an enormous hole in the City's pension system.

To make matters worse, bungling City bureaucrats projected a revenue increase in a year of recession and hardship for the nation. As a result, City revenue projections this year were nearly 12% off actual receipts.

COAST thanks Winburn, Ghiz and Zamary for their commitment against higher taxes and spending.

Currently, two Council incumbents have signed the Pledge -- Chris Monzel and Ghiz. COAST asks its members to call or write the other seven Council members and the Mayor asking that they sign as well (click name to send email):

Mark MalloryMayor(513) 352-3250
David CrowleyVice Mayor(513) 352-2453
Jeff BerdingCouncil Member(513) 352-3283
Chris BortzCouncil Member(513) 352-3255
Y. Laketa ColeCouncil Member(513) 352-3466
Greg HarrisCouncil Member(513) 352-5303
Roxanne QuallsCouncil Member(513) 352-3604
Cecil ThomasCouncil Member(513) 352-3499

The text of the pledge is:

2009 Cincinnati Mayoral and Council Candidate
Taxpayer Protection Pledge

I, __________________________________, pledge to the taxpayers of the City of Cincinnati and all of the people of this City that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes and create new fees during the 2010-2011 term of Cincinnati City Council. This includes without limitation, any increase in the City earnings tax or property tax, and the imposition of new fees such as a garbage collection fee.


Winburn calls for heads to roll at City Hall over budget mess

COASTers have been closely following dual scandals at City Hall,
  1. the scandal over lazy and incompetent workers in the City's Pension Department, who have been on paid leave for more than six months and
  2. the City Budget officials' foolish projections that Cincinnati would have 3% revenue growth in the midst of a recession -- in fact an 8% revenue decline materialized. They were only off by 11%!
It so happens that the same people at City Hall is responsible for both messes!

Today, Council Candidate and former Republican Council Member Charles Winburn called for heads to roll over the dual embarassments. The full text of his press release is below.

COASTers are urged to call Winburn at 884-7832 or e-mail him at to thank him for his leadership!
Cincinnati, Ohio - Former Cincinnati City Council member Charlie Winburn is calling upon city officials to resign because of inaccurate city budget projections, failure to fully fund the Cincinnati retirement system, all contributing to fiscal chaos at City Hall.

Accepting resignations of top city officials is about facts, it’s about holding our city leaders accountable and keeping the trust of the taxpayers, and it’s about Cincinnati's future,” said Winburn.

Fact 1 Failure of the City Administration and Finance Director to make accurate financial budget projections in December 2008 for years 2009 and 2010 resulted in a projected a $20 million deficit for 2009 and $40 million dollar deficit for 2010. A $60 million budget deficit is unacceptable. The Finance Director's budget guessing is not based on facts. This will undoubtedly undermine the quality of city services for all citizens and may result in police, fire, and sanitation workers being laid off.

Fact 2 Failure of City Council in December 2008 to demand that the City Manager and Finance Director provide them with accurate budget projections for 2009 and 2010 during budget discussions and planning. Council should have known at this time that there would be a significant decline in future city income tax revenues. The City Council, City Manager, and Finance Director should have factored in the major economic decline warning signs that occurred in the last six months of 2008 and made the appropriate budget adjustments. Instead, they ignored the economic indicators and continued to rapidly spend taxpayer dollars at a time of shrinking city revenues.

Fact 3 Failure of the City Administration, Finance Director and City Council, especially over the last two years, to adequately fund the Cincinnati Retirement System (CRS). CRS funding levels were less than half of the approximately $51 million required each year. The city administration and Finance Director failed to insist that City Council fully fund CRS. The latest report now indicates these shortfalls will require nearly $125 million per year just to catch up.

Fact 4 Failure of the Finance Director to adequately manage his department, resulting in the lack of accountability and financial controls in the retirement system. The finance director failed to present to the Mayor and City Council a plan to make certain that CRS cannot be further compromised by city employees who have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the financial integrity of the city’s retirement system.

Fact 5 Failure of the City Council to provide clear budget policy directions and priorities to the City Manager, which has resulted in the fiscal chaos the city now faces.

Fact 6 Failure of the City Administration and Finance Director to create a workable plan to make the CRS solvent. The City Administration should stand up and take full responsibility by holding those responsible for what they have and have not done.

CONCLUSIONThese facts can lead to no other conclusions,” Winburn said. “The City Manager should immediately conduct a self-analysis of his management and administration structure. Resignations from top to bottom, especially in the retirement division, would begin the process of returning order to city government and regaining public trust. Something has to change at City Hall and we cannot continue down a path of fiscal irresponsibility, wasteful government spending, and no accountability at Cincinnati City Hall.

Safety vs. Streetcar

A study released Sunday shows that the northern region of the proposed streetcar route (blue line above) runs through "the most dangerous neighborhood" in America. Several local apologists have already bashed the study as being intellectually dishonest, outdated, "crap."

There's no indication the study group had any animosity toward OTR, or that their methods were somehow faulty. They simply sought to identify the worst crime pockets in the country by dividing the number of violent crimes by population for each sub-neighborhood in the nation. For crime data, they used stats routinely gathered by law enforcement; no indication of bias there. For population data, they used figures generated by the Census Bureau; no reason to suspect them of subversion either. The highlighted area above is Cincinnati's census tract #16, which when they did the math, happened to have the highest ratio of violent crimes per head count in the USA.

So what does that tell us? Nothing we didn't already know really. That particular area of Over the Rhine has had a crime problem for a long time. Sheriff Leis even went out of his way to send special patrols there to augment city forces two years ago. Those patrols were widely praised at the time for a significant reduction in crime. The study range, incidently, encompasses the patrol period, which leaves one wondering how much worse it was beforehand. But then again, it's hard to beat #1. Clearly we have a long way to go.

The larger question is the city's response. Faced with this enormous long term problem, our Mayor's answer is not to step-up prevention or enforcement, but to build a streetcar. Now that might be a reasonable answer to a pressing transportation problem. It might even slightly boost economic development efforts. But nobody's stupid enough to see a streetcar as a recommended remedy to such crime levels.

As we've been saying all along...focus on the basics first. Clean up the crime, fix up the buildings, and then if city officials want to dabble in luxuries like streetcars, they can ask the people who pay the bills if they want it. Until then, the streetcar remains a grossly irresponsible proposal.

School Board Candidate Discourages Levy

This statement was delivered by School Board Candidate John Banner before yesterday's school board meeting.
"I urge this Board not to place the planned renewal levy on this November's ballot. To do so now would guarantee its defeat in the absence of demonstrated cost-cutting measures by the District. Revenues are in a free fall for state and local gevernments. A reduction in state aid to public schools in Ohio is not out of the realm of possibility.

To avoid layoffs fo certified personnel, reduced programs, and salary cuts, you must act now to demonstrate your responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Therefore, I am proposing that the following be considered for implementation:
  • An immediate salary freeze for all non-certified personnel.
  • An immediate hiring freezr for all non-certified personnel.
  • A promise of firm, but fair, contract negotiations with the CFT to reflect current economic realities.
  • A revisiting of retirement inentives for teachers with 25 years or more of service, which would permit the employment of beginning teachers hired at significant savings to the District.
  • Implementation of cost-cutting measures at every service level in the District."
Asking the taxpayers to vote for a renewal levy a year ahead of time is inappropriate and ill-advised in the absence of demonstrated cost-cutting measures by the District. The taxpayes of the District appreciate your consideration of these points and your continued dedication to our students.
-John Banner, Candidate for School Board

Friday, June 19, 2009

Monzel Signs Tax Pledge 1st

COASTers urged to thank him
Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Monzel becomes first candidate to sign COAST's no-tax pledge.

Within hours of COAST issuing its demand for a pledge against raising taxes to solve Cincinnati's budget problems in the coming Council term, Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Monzel became the first to sign the pledge.

Council Member Chris Monzel consistently has been a voice and vote against higher taxes and wasteful spending while on Council. For the past five, years Monzel has sponsored the resolution to roll back property tax rates to assure that increasing valuations did not result in a windfall tax increase for the City.

With the City of Cincinnati facing a $40 million deficit in 2010, and an enormous hole in its pension system on top of that, and with City bureaucrats exacerbating the financial crisis by badly bungling tax income projections, COAST has predicted a 2010 push for higher earnings and property taxes. It has issued the Pledge to stop the drive for higher taxes.

Monzel previosuly endorsed COAST's opposition to the Pepper-Portune Super-Sized Jail tax and the campaign against Red Light Cameras. This year, Monzel is Honorary Vice Chairman of the campaign against the wasteful Trolley and has announced his opposition to the sale of the Cincinnati Water Works.

"I am honored to sign this pledge today reaffirming my belief that the very last thing we should be doing during tough economic times is raise taxes," said Monzel. "Americans across the board are overtaxed. It's time government reforms itself and stops spending money on pet projects and starts focusing on providing core services in the most efficient manner."

COAST thanks Chris Monzel for his consistent leadership against higher taxes and spending, and for taking the Pledge this campaign season.

Please call Council Member Monzel's office at 513-352-3640 or e-mail him and thank him for his leadership.

The text of the pledge follows:

2009 Cincinnati Mayoral and Council Candidate
Taxpayer Protection Pledge

I, Chris Monzel, pledge to the taxpayers of the City of Cincinnati and all of the people of this City that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes and create new fees during the 2010-2011 term of Cincinnati City Council. This includes without limitation, any increase in the City earnings tax or property tax, and the imposition of new fees such as a garbage collection fee.

/s/ Chris Monzel__________6/18/09__________________

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brent Spence vs. Streetcar

Streetcar proponents are often furious that highway projects don't generate the same public hostility that mass transit projects do. Highways are used by cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, taxis, fire engines and campers. Routes and schedules are at the sole discretion of the traveller. Everybody uses and everybody pays, making our paved network the most universally democratic means of transportation ever invented.

Everybody pays for mass transit too, but it's used by only a small number of people going to a small number of places on somebody else's schedule. When asked to justify such a lopsided arrangement, "expert studies" are cited trying to convince people who can never use it that they should still pay for it.

So how will streetcar enthusiasts react to this recent study which shows that Brent Spence Bridge replacement delivers lower per-trip costs and two and a half times the return on investent as their beloved streetcar boondoggle?

Brent SpenceStreetcar
Capital Cost

$ 2,500,000,000

$ 102,000,000

Daily Usage

230,000 vehicles

6,400 riders

Capital Cost/Use*




$ 18,900,000,000

$ 315,100,000

Benefit : Cost

7.56 : 1

3.09 : 1

*=Capital Cost/(Daily usage x 35 year assumed life x 365 days/yr)

So much for mass transit being more economical.

Cincinnati tax increase?

COAST issues pledge

Cincinnati headlines are filled with news of the Cincinnati budget crisis due to the over-spending habits of Cincinnati City Council, and horrible financial projections by incompetent City officials.

COAST believes that our Mayor, Manager and Council are quietly setting us up for a massive tax increase in 2010. So, we want a dialogue about this issue during the 2010 Mayoral and City Council election.

COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd today issued the pledge below to the announced Mayoral and Council candidates to "smoke them out" on the tax issue now, before we vote on their election.

This threat of a tax increase is not COAST's imagination. The Cincinnati Business Courier ran a story recently in which City Manager Milton Dohoney discussed a 25% increase in the City earnings tax, before the story was carefully edited to remove such references. Also, look just 100 miles north in Columbus, where they are facing an August 4 special election on an increase in the City's earnings tax from 2.0% to 2.5%.

COAST needs you to encourage Mayoral and Council candidates to come clean on their plans for 2010, and take the pledge now.

COAST will send out regular e-mail updates as to which candidates have taken the pledge, and which have not, and COAST members will be attending Council forums throughout the City to thank those who have taken the pledge and confront those who have not.

The text of the pledge is:

2009 Cincinnati Mayoral and Council Candidate
Taxpayer Protection Pledge

I, __________________________________, pledge to the taxpayers of the City of Cincinnati and all of the people of this City that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes and create new fees during the 2010-2011 term of Cincinnati City Council. This includes without limitation, any increase in the City earnings tax or property tax, and the imposition of new fees such as a garbage collection fee.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rand Paul Addresses KY-COAST This Sunday

Dr. Rand Paul will be speaking to a membership meeting of the Northern Kentucky Chapter of COAST this Sunday. Rand is the devoted son of Texas Congressman & recent Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, and a respected eye surgeon from Bowling Green. He has been successful in his efforts with Kentucky Taxpayers United and has been active with Take Back Kentucky for several years. He shares most of his father's views and is poised to enter the race for U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning's seat if the 77-year-old sports icon decides to retire.

When: Sunday June 21, 2009
Where: Bulldog's Roadhouse on Ky 17, Click HERE for map.
1:00 PM Order delicious food from Bulldog's fine menu (featuring a $5.00 steak dinner special)
2:00 PM Meet & greet with cash bar
2:35 PM Welcome COAST guests by Bulldog's proprietor and radio personality, Eric Deters (a former GOP 4th district chairman)
2:45 PM Introductions by COAST chairman, Jason Gloyd
3:00 PM Host Speaker, COAST co-founder Chris Finney
3:15 PM Key Note Speaker, Dr Rand Paul

The restaurant will have a full menu with a variety of inexpensive items. Bulldog's also has a very nice bar with scores of cold beer labels to choose, while you will find most of your favorite wines and cocktails available.

The public is invited to attend. There is no charge for this event.

This is a non-partisan event and elected officials and candidates from all parties will be in attendance. Any position literature or campaign material must be officially approved by northern Kentucky COAST organizers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Road Trip: Leading Referenda

Chris Finney presented with Carla Howell of the Center for Smaller Government in Taxachusetts and Robin Ficker, author and backer of some 20 Charter Amendments in Montgomery County Maryland on a panel discussing Initiatives and Referenda. Very successful presentation. Discussed the Jail Tax, the WeDemand Coailtion, Red Light Camera ban, and legal actions to counter government use of resources to campaign for higher taxes.

On to more sessions, and then lunch presentation by Ken Blackwell and Steve Moore from the Wall Street Journal. COASTer and Mason School Board Member Jennifer Miller and her husband are coming in from Cincinnati mid-day today.

Then, the Chairman and CEO of Overstock.Com is presenting this PM.

Fun stuff!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Road Trip: Ticket Toppers

Hmmm. Tonight’s cocktail Party had Congressman Tom Price (good) and Senator John McCain (OK). McCain actually made a compelling case about the out-of-control spending and impending government take-over of the healthcare industry. Indeed, COAST would be interested in some of his statistics and positioning of the issue as it hit the nail on the head as to what is going on today. Then, he got questions about his vote for TARP I and Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill. He not only fumbled both, but was downright confrontational in his defense of TARP I (although he admitted he wished it had more regulatory controls on the money) and took completely unnecessary potshots at Ron Paul, who is a good friend of COAST, and clearly a hero of many others in the room. Glad McCain's not our president. Really glad. Would have been like Bob Taft in the White House (eeek!).

COAST also talked at length with Ken Blackwell. Cincinnati has no one better connected to the conservative movement in Washington – and well-respected in D.C. He was gracious and had loads of guidance for how we can build a state-wide organization in Ohio. Very compelling. Oh, and we met with lots of conservative activists throughout the nation. Not only powerhouses, but just average citizens who want to change the debate from big-spending democrats and big-spending republicans in their communities. The story repeats itself in community after community.

Then, we dined with old friends from Cincinnati at a crab shack. Stayed up late…Chris Finney needs to prepare for his speech in the AM. And the meat of the conference is Friday.

Road Trip: Capitol Networking

We had a fruitful breakfast today with Grover Norquist, Sandra Fabry and Nathan Pick of Americans for Tax Reform. They were extraordinarily generous with their time, giving us nearly three hours to learn the ropes of the movement for limited government. All three are amazing, but Grover is a brilliant guy, and can articulate the messages and roadmap to effective leadership so well, it is a joy to hear him speak. Just a joy. They gave us loads of good information to take our COAST message state-wide. For lunch, we met with a powerful Washington attorney who has helped with our local legal fights and discussed strategy on a number of constitutional cases.

Now, we head to the NTU opening night Cocktail Party, and speeches by Rep. Tom Price, Senator Jim DeMint and Representative Marsha Blackburn. There is lots and lots of energy in the movement for limited government in D.C.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Road Trip: ATR Presentation

COAST presented its coalition-building efforts with the NAACP, Greens, and Libertarians at the Americans for Tax Reform in Washington D.C. at its regular Wednesday morning session. Grover Norquist presided; there were about 110 persons in attendance. Our ATR contact Sandra Fabry kindly shepherded us around and got us introduced. Our presentation was fourth of many, and very well-received. Grover asked some questions about the NAACP alliance from a positive perspective. We were approached by a few attendees for collaboration with their efforts, including the Liberty Coalition and Phil Kerpen from Americans for Prosperity, an old friend. We saw old friend Dimitri Kesari of Right to Work Committee and John Tsarpalas of the Sam Adams Alliance.

We were received well. Perhaps we failed to promote Red Light Camera bans forcefully enough to the group. The NTU crowd Friday should be a better audience for the Red Light Camera ban message.

It is hot and humid up here, but D.C. is full of energy, and fueled by your (ever increasing) tax dollars.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Northern Kentucky Launches COAST Chapter

An enthusiastic group of COAST volunteers is launching a new Chapter in northern Kentucky to bring the message of truly limited government to the Commonwealth.

The Chapter will hold its inaugural event on Sunday, June 21 from 1 to 5 PM at Bulldog's Roadhouse Bulldog's 2015 Declaration Drive, Independence, KY 41051. The location is just a few miles south of Covington on Madison Pike exit from I-275 at Ky 17 (3-L Highway).

We are pleased to feature Dr. Rand Paul at the event. Dr. Paul, son of Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul, is exploring a run for the United States Senate from Kentucky. Also featured at the event will be COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd.

The restaurant will have a full menu with a variety of inexpensive items. Bulldog's also has a very nice bar with scores of cold beer labels to choose, while you will find most of your favorite wines and cocktails available.

The public is invited to attend. There is no charge for this event.

This is a non-partisan event and elected officials and candidates from all parties will be in attendance. Any position literature or campaign material must be officially approved by northern Kentucky COAST organizers.

Pepper was for Sheriff's new boat before he was against it

Now he claims he is undecided

Last week, voters flooded the offices of the Hamilton County Commission with calls and e-mails after Commission President David Pepper and fellow tax-and-spend democrat Todd Portune announced that they supported spending $98,691 in tax dollars for a new boat for Sheriff Simon Leis. This proposed purchase is on top of four boats already used by the Sheriff to patrol the Ohio River (3/4 of which is in Kentucky).

The next day, Commission President David Pepper delayed the vote saying there were "a lot of personality and a lot of politics" in the issue.

Now, Pepper says he is undecided until he gets important questions answered about the purchase.

Pepper is an announced candidate for Ohio Treasurer but COAST is certain that the "personality and politics" at play on the issue of the Sheriff's new boat has nothing to do with his career ambitions.COAST thanks Commissioner Greg Hartmann for his consistent stand against wasting tax dollars on the Sheriff's new toy.

2009-06-16 UPDATE: Commission Democrats say "What budget problem?" and vote to give Leis his new yacht. Deputies wonder how many more will be laid off to fuel, staff & service it.

COAST calls for Cincinnati to stop paying lazy workers

Last week, COAST reported on this story about two Cincinnati Pension department workers goofing off on the job, and breaking City rules when it comes to use of money.

Amazingly, while the City is facing a $40 million annual deficit, the City has paid the salary of these employees since January, even though they have both been suspended for poor performance.

COAST today wrote a letter to Council demanding that the City change its policies to expedite the firing of lazy City employees, and to immediately stop payments to workers who have been suspended for employment-related reasons.

The Cincinnati Enquirer today wrote this story detailing how it is common practice for deceased City employees to continue receiving pension checks months and years after their deaths. The suspended employees were responsible for purging deceased employees from the system.

Here is a summary of some of the contents of the personnel files of these suspended City workers that COAST pulled from City personnel records:
  • From January 1, 2005-January 1-2009 one severely mismanaged the City of Cincinnati's Retirement System by violating and mismanaging amounts of money up to or greater than $226,966.
  • During the time Dec. 29-2008-January 27, 2009 this same employee spent 71 hours of total work time or 52.65 of his available hours on non duty related websites as documented by the Office of Internal Audits' investigation.
  • This same employee was found not to complete assignments on time and that he was not present enough to complete the required amount of work.
  • A second employee was found to have severely mismanaged the City of Cincinnati Retirement System as evidenced by violating and mismanaging amounts of money up to or greater than $108,631.
  • This second employee failed to update 142 member's records in pension system. It was found that 254 retirees who are deceased in 2008 were still "active" in the health insurance program.
  • This employee only takes calls from known numbers. Voicemail is full. She bounces calls back to front desk frequently. Her customer service does not meet the primary goal of CRS-excellent Customer Service.
"The City's refusal to reform and cut costs is hurtling us headlong into a 2010 demand for a tax increase," said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. "When they come knocking on the door for more taxes, we will remind them of their continuing and profligate waste."

Road Trip!

COASTers departed today in a car pool for D.C. to attend the National Taxpayers Conference in Washington D.C. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We left a little early to make some additional connections in our nation’s capital for COAST and maybe to have some fun. (Turns out the Reds are playing the Nationals while we are there, so we might catch a game or two.)

On the agenda are:
  • COAST General Counsel Chris Finney is speaking before the National Taxpayers Union conference on Friday as part of a panel discussion on Initiatives and Referenda. Following the COAST success (and the success of COAST’s WeDemand partners) in defeating the 2007 SuperSized Jail Tax, and against Red Light Cameras in 2008, COAST has been sought out by national groups fighting against oppressive government.
  • COASTers will present on Wednesday AM before the Americans for Tax Reform regular weekly Wednesday session attended by more than 100 leaders on Capitol Hill.
  • On Thursday AM, COASTers are having a personal breakfast with Grover Norquist and Sandra Fabry of ATR to discuss closer cooperation between the two groups.
  • COASTers have a variety of other meetings with national leaders in the movement towards more limited government.
We will report on our progress and experiences from the road. We will try to stay out of trouble in the City that specializes in making trouble for the rest of America.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Soviets Declare Ideological Victory

Pravda, the Russian propaganda ragnewspaper declares "American capitalism gone with a whimper." Read their full story here. Some excerpts:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed...

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was...

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls... First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture... Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses...

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year...America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?
Nothing is over until we decide it is. and it ain't over yet.

Proof Positive That Government is Inefficient

Pension workers story provides all the evidence we need

COAST saw this fantastic story over the Memorial Day weekend about two Cincinnati Pension Fund workers goofing off on the job, and breaking City rules when it comes to use of money. The funny (sad) thing is, despite these obvious over-the-top abuses, both have been on paid administrative leave – at taxpayer expense – since January. (How long before the City, in the midst of a budget crisis, stops paying them for not working?)

The story describes one worker as a “‘disorganized’ and ‘irresponsible’ supervisor who missed too much work, neglected his duties and failed to change his behavior despite repeated warnings.” The other was “so unresponsive that she refused to answer her office phone unless it was a number she recognized.” COAST knows there are some hard working public servants, and salutes them, but this story makes us ask: Do we really need more of them?

Is Cincinnati Setting Us Up For a Tax Increase?

Rather than cut spending, City tells voters “don’t worry, be happy”
The City of Cincinnati is facing a $40 million deficit next year. In this election year, the Mayor Mallory is telling voters not to worry about the habitual over-spending by the liberal democrat Council. Mallory claims that threatened layoffs are “premature” and assured us that "the sky's not falling.” COAST thinks we are being set up for a 2010 tax increase. Originally City leaders projected a $14 million deficit, now it looks more like $20 million.

By law, the City of Cincinnati cannot operate at a deficit. It must either raise taxes or cut its spending to balance its budget annually. So, if the Mayor is ruling out substantial budget cuts, that leaves a massive 2010 tax increase as the City’s only other option.

Compare the Mayor’s soothing assurances to Mayor Coleman’s 100 miles up the road in Columbus. In his 2008 Mayoral campaign, liberal democrat Mayor Coleman promised that a tax increase would not be needed despite the City’s historically profligate spending habits. Now, voters there are facing a massive 25% increase in the earnings tax at a special election on August 4. The same City leaders that said “don’t worry” two years ago, now are threatening catastrophe from police layoffs if the tax is not approved.

The City of Cincinnati needs to deal with its budget problems openly and promptly,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. “Otherwise, we are doomed to bad choices in 2010. Mayor Mallory needs to come clean now on the City’s budget problems.

COAST Sues Cincinnati Over Petitioner Harassment

Access to public sidewalks, Fountain Square and Findlay Market for Trolley petition are at issue

COAST has filed suit in Federal Court in Cincinnati to stop official harassment and threats of its volunteers by City officials while circulating petitions for the proposed Charter Amendment to stop the Cincinnati Trolley.

In April and May, COAST petitioners were relentlessly harassed at numerous City venues collecting signatures on petitions for a Charter Amendment to stop the Cincinnati Trolley. Scott Ross was ordered off of a public sidewalk in Mt. Lookout by a Cincinnati Police Officer. The officer even had the gall to tell Mr. Ross that in Cincinnati he needed a Solicitor’s License to collect signatures.

Dan Regenold was chased off Fountain Square by a Cincinnati Police officer and an executive with Fountain Square Manager 3CDC. Regenold and Dapper were threatened with arrest by two police officers at Findlay Market.

Many COAST volunteers have repeatedly suffered the oppression of Cincinnati officials who fail to understand the First Amendment, especially during the SuperSized Jail Tax campaign. Then, we were harassed on the Public Landing, on Fountain Square, at Findlay Market and elsewhere through the City by Cincinnati’s finest.

The COAST suit, pending before Federal Judge Dlott, seeks an injunction to stop the harassing behavior going forward.

Hamilton County Continues to Struggle with Over-spending

Nearly two years after the defeat of the Super-Sized Jail Tax, the liberal democrat County Commission continues to struggle with its habitual over-spending. In May, Commissioners got another dose of bad budget news, more declining revenues.

And, while the County struggles, Commissioner David Pepper is running for State Auditor, ignoring his obligations to Hamilton County.

NAACP Launches Charter Amendment Campaign Against Water Works Plan

Why would we buy assets we already own for $475 million?
In May, City Manager Milton Dohoney endorsed a plan to transfer the assets of the Cincinnati Water Works to a new regional water authority. From COAST’s perspective, the plan has serious problems, including:
  • forcing ratepayers to buy water district assets at a price of $475 million – assets they already own! and
  • Giving the Water District the authority to raise property taxes and to take real property by eminent domain.
Read the full COAST analysis here and here. You may read for yourself the Executive Summary of the Advisory Committee report here and the entire report here.

Now, in addition to launching the petition drive to stop Council’s Trolley Folly, Christopher Smitherman and the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP have also launched a petition to stop the Water Works plan.

COAST presently is considering endorsing the Water Works petition and helping with the signature gathering effort. E-mail COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd at with your thoughts on the NAACP Water Works petition.

Auditor Dusty Rhodes Blasts Commission Mis-spending

So often, basic governmental services are not funded properly, and we are told that only a massive tax increase will allow their continuation. Well County Auditor Dusty Rhodes has had enough and now he is speaking forcefully about the issue. Read the Rhodes statement and the Enquirer blog about it here. See Rhodes official Auditor's web site here.

COAST agrees with this sentiment. The best example of this was the Super-Sized Jail tax. County government has been so enthusiastic about providing frills and headline grabbing functions (remember the Film Commission?), that it claimed (and continues to claim), it has no money for a basic, statutorily-mandated service such as incarcerating criminals.

Are we being set up for yet another jail tax increase plan?

Rhodes argues that Commissioners are spending money on entirely optional, expensive programs rather than incarcerating dangerous criminals, a function the Ohio Revised Code requires them to perform. His admonition is instructive to all government officials:

"The easiest way to cut costs is to stop doing the things you are not required to do."

Now there's an idea. Does this bring the $185 million trolley to mind for anyone?

Here are the specific things Rhodes complains Commissioners are doing (some currently) that are taking sorely needed funds from basic government operations:
  • Government subsidy of private business at the The Banks project;
  • Two sports stadiums;
  • $12,879,783 in outside lawyers;
  • Providing free police service to selected areas; and
  • Purchasing emergency sirens for selected communities.
About the Banks project, Rhodes forcefully says, "The importance assigned to this City project [the Banks] is completely disproportionate to reality and to what the County can reasonably afford. It has become an expensive, editorial board driven obsession. It has become a desperate attempt to do what the market says should not be done."

Please write or call these four elected officials and let them know your support for Rhodes position. Thank you Dusty Rhodes!

Auditor Dusty Rhodes
(513) 946-4050 Phone
(513) 946-4043 Fax

Commission President David Pepper
(513) 946-4409 Phone
(513) 946-4407 Fax

Commissioner Todd Portune
(513) 946-4401 Phone
(513) 946-4446 Fax

Commissioner Greg Hartmann
(513) 946-4405 Phone
(513) 946-4404 Fax

COAST General Counsel Appears at NTU Conference June 12

Christopher P. Finney heads panel on
"Using Issues & Referenda to Advance the Taxpayers' Cause"

COAST General Counsel Christopher P. Finney appears at this year's Bi-Annual Conference of the National Taxpayer's Union in Arlington, Virginia on June 12, 2009.

The National Taxpayers Conference, which is held from June 11 through the 13th, will also feature the following speakers: U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, U.S. Congressman Tom Price, Governor of Missouri Matt Blunt, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Steve Moore renowned Wall Street Journal columnist.

Finney will moderate a panel discussion the first full day of the Conference, entitled "Using Issues & Referenda to Advance the Taxpayers Cause."

Finney is the author of several Amendments to the Cincinnati City Charter, including Council term limits, a limitation on the City's ticket tax, Cincinnati's ban on Red Light Cameras, a ban on using tax resources for political purposes, and this year's proposed Charter Amendment stopping the proposed $185 million Trolley.

In addition to his work for COAST, Finney recently was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP and serves as the Chair of its Legal Redress Committee. Finney was a key organizer of the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition that toppled the Super-Sized Jail Tax in 2007 and won the prestigious national "Modern Day Sam Adams Award" from the Sam Adams Alliance in Chicago. Finney was named one of eight Ohio Lawyers of the Year in 1998.

Finney is a shareholder of Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson Co., L.P.A., with 18 attorneys in two offices in the Cincinnati area. He concentrates in real estate law, general litigation and constitutional law.

In addition to working on limited government initiatives in the Cincinnati area, the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition has continued to promote the Red Light Camera ban throughout Ohio and the nation.

This is Finney's second appearance before NTU conferences. He spoke at its national conference in 2007 just after the start of the petition drive to repeal the Super-Sized Jail Tax. COASTer Dan Regenold has spoken about same campaign before both the Sam Adams Alliance and at the national CPAC Conference in February 2008,where he discussed "The Power of Principle: Conservative Victories Across the Nation in 2007."

Since it was founded 40 years ago, the National Taxpayers Union has been the Nation's leading organization advocating for limited government and lower taxes at the federal, state and local levels. The National Taxpayers Conference assembles activists from throughout the nation and world every two years to fight against the otherwise unchecked growth of government.

Proposed Senate Budget Cuts Freedom Center Funds

Republicans strip all earmarks from House Budget Bill; Call your Senator to encourage discipline
The bottomless pit of tax dollars known as
the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Finally freeing itself from the failed legacy of tax-and-spend Governor Bob Taft, the Ohio Senate has introduced an alternative to the budget from the liberal democrat House that strips all earmarks from the plan. The House Budget bill contained more than $8.6 million in earmarks, including a whopping $3.1 million for Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
After the Ohio House passed its budget, the administration announced that Ohio was facing a $3 billion deficit for the coming biennial. Of course, that means a massive tax hike!

Leaders in the Ohio Senate have assured COAST that Freedom Center funding will not be negotiated back into the bill during budget conference.

COAST encourages its members to call their Senators to encourage them to stand strong against Freedom Center funding.
State SenatorServing:Telephone
Eric KearneyCentral Hamilton County(614) 466-5980
Bill SeitzWest & North Hamilton County(614) 466-8068
Bob Schuler East Hamilton & Warren Counties(614) 466-9737
Tom Niehaus Clermont County(614) 466-8082
Gary Cates Butler County(614) 466-8072
Bill Harris Senate President(614) 466-8086

After four years of fighting against Freedom Center funding, victory appears close at hand.

WeDemandAVote.Com Announces Trolley Petition Leadership & Totals

Honorary Chairman of the Trolley petition drive
former Congressman Tom Luken

The novel coalition among the NAACP, COAST, the Libertarians and Greens continues this year with a petition drive to force a public vote on City plans for a $185 million trolley system that runs a mere four miles in downtown and Over-the-Rhine, and perhaps up the hill to Clifton, if that's possible.

At a rally on March 21, NAACP President Christopher Smitherman announced the drive was more than half way to the goal of 6,150 signatures to place the issue on the November 3, 2009 ballot with more than 3,100 valid signatures in hand.

President Smitherman also announced WeDemandAVote.Com trolley campaign leadership team of Honorary Chairman Congressman Tom Luken, Honorary Vice Chairman Councilmember Chris Monzel, Chairman Mark Miller and Steering Committee Chairman, Price Hill Activist Pete Witte.

Thanks to all COAST volunteers, the NAACP and other coalition partners for making this campaign a success. This will be the fourth successful petition drive in three years for COAST and the WeDemandaVote.Com coalition.

To volunteer to help get the trolley petition on the ballot, contact WeDemandaVote.Com Chairman Mark Miller at 513-617-2263 or at