Wednesday, December 15, 2010
What we found is that Cincinnati is already getting amazing “bang for our bucks” when compared to other cities.
The top chart shows our fire service offers the second highest ratio of first responders to population. We are very well protected indeed.
Some other cities elect not to maintain such a high staffing ratio. Those cities use overtime instead to compensate for lack of permanent staff. Unfortunately, this skews their budgets higher.
The bottom chart shows that Cincinnati is 4th lowest in terms of the amount of money we spend per firefighter. These figures are total budget divided by firefighters, including taxes, benefits, training, and department issued gear. Take home pay is much less.
Berding & Council spent the last 2 years buying new windows for City Hall for $5 million, radio recycle bins for $6 million, and “streetcar preparations” for $2.8 million.
Jeff Berding likes to spend your tax money. And he thinks your safety is more frivolous than those things. Tell Jeff to slither back to “the real world.”
Monday, December 13, 2010
The Enquirer reports that “A majority of Cincinnati City Council members say they’ll stop the layoffs of 275 police officers and firefighters if both unions agree to a total of $20 million in concessions.
$20,000,000 in concessions divided by approximately 1700 people means each and every cop and firefighter would give back about $12,000 a year or $1,000 a month. That's an awfully steep price to pay for a streetcar. Would you take that large a pay cut to keep your current job? Or would you move away for a better job?
The same Enquirer article said Council members “talked about it being time for unions to understand their contracts are too lucrative…” Councilmember Bortz said it was time for the unions “to join the real world.”
Is this true? Are we paying our safety personnel too much?
COAST decided to find out.
Using data from The Enquirer, it’s easy to see that Cincinnati’s cost per officer is the lowest of comparable cities. The lowest by far. More than $10,000 lower per officer. We’re already getting a bargain, and if the layoffs stand, our loss is liable to be these other cities’ gain.
Berding & Council have known about the current budget situation for the better part of a year, and maybe two. Yet they spent $5 million on new windows for City Hall, $6 million on radio recycle bins, and $2.8 million on streetcar preparations.
Jeff Berding likes to spend your tax money. And he thinks your safety is more frivolous than those things. Let’s send Jeff back to “the real world.”
Already announced as guests for the event are Ohio Auditor-Elect David Yost, County GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou, Commissioner-elect Chris Monzel, and Dr. Brad Wenstrup. They join this year's event co-sponsors: Cincinnati Tea Party, Ohio Liberty Council, Americans for Prosperity (Ohio), the Center-Right Southwest Ohio, and numerous dignitaries and elected officials.
We will kick off the event with lite appetizers. 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. 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!
When: Thursday, December 16th at 6:30 PM
Where: The Great American Sports Café
8740 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236
Friday, December 10, 2010
The overriding message in Jeff Berding's campaign materials and video appearances (like the one above) is that citizen safety comes first. And for a while he actually voted that way.
So what changed? Why is he now selling-out public safety and the same police and firefighters who fought for his election in favor of a streetcar that nobody needs and only a few people want?
FOP President Kathy Harrell asked him during a recent closed-door meeting specifically why he became the fifth vote for the streetcar after promising in his endorsement interview not to unless the project was completely funded by federal grants. He answered that Mayor Mallory strong-armed him into committing local dollars to the streetcar in exchange for bringing Berding's Port Authority give-away to a vote.
There you have it. Berding agreed to support Mallory's boondoggle, if Mallory would agree to support Berding's boondoggle. Berding auctioned of his principles, and financed the sale with your tax money.
Let Councilmember Berding know your safety isn't worth trading for a streetcar. Write him at Jeff.Berding@Cincinnati-OH.gov or call his office at 352-3283 or his city-paid cell phone at 378-0245.
Every City elected official has, at some point in their career, sought a higher office outside the city. Therefore it is important for all you county and suburban residents to weigh-in on this matter too. You can't vote against Jeff now, but you will have to someday. You might as well inform him of his future prospects while he can still rectify his mistakes.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
COAST was invited last week to join a broad, unique and re-vigorated coalition to stop the wasteful Cincinnati Trolley. Coalition members are the NAACP, the Baptist Ministers Conference, the Homeless Coalition of Greater Cincinnati, Westwood Concern, and three municipal labor unions: The FOP Local 69, the Fire Fighters Local 48, and CODE. The umbrella organization for the group is called C.A.S.S - Citizens Against Streetcar Swindle, whose chairman is County Auditor Dusty Rhodes and whose treasurer is former Congressman Tom Luken.
At the first meeting of the alliance, the leaders of several groups reported that Jeff Berding promised to them during the 2009 Council election that he would oppose streetcar funding. This year, with his vote for a $64 million bond issue for the trolley, Berding broke those promises.
As a result, the group decided to target Berding -- the needed 5th vote for wasteful trolley funding -- and to disclose his treachery in flip-flopping on the issue. As a result, Tuesday, we launched this tabloid-sized brochure:
Wednesday evening, representatives of the nine organizaitons received this threatening letter from Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, the attorneys for Jeff Berding, threatening them with legal action for what they claimed were the allied organizations "unlawful behavior." (Incidently the Taft firm is also the law firm for the Cincinnati Bengals, and negotiated the boondoggle stadium lease. One might suggest they are "official legal counsel for Cincinnati boondoggles.")
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
COAST and the NAACP pursued a ballot initiative in 2009 that would have stopped the trolley dead in its tracks by requiring a public vote on it. Voters rejected that initiative, but the fight against wasteful spending continues.
Copies of the "Not ONE MORE CENT" brochure are available here (front) and here (back).
See also a letter written by a broad spectrum of community leaders imploring City Hall to stop their wastfull streetcar spending here.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Must Consider Chapter 9 Bankruptcy
Yesterday the Hamilton County Commissioners unanimously agreed to support a property tax increase to provide more taxpayer money to the stadium fund. The property tax rollback was promised to the voters as a condition for passing the 1996 Stadium Sales Tax increase, but the Commission has stated they will break this promise when they meet tomorrow. Not only is COAST extremely disappointed by this development, but The Cincinnati Enquirer has also condemned the plan, stating that, "It is poor policy that has the effect of raising property taxes on homeowners during a tough economy - not to mention reneging on the promise the county made to voters in order to get the stadium deal passed in 1996."
Part of the Commissioners' stadium plan relies on the teams accepting a ticket surcharge - their approval is required under terms of their lease agreements with the county. The Bengals have made it clear they will not approve such a charge. The Commissioners stubbornly proclaim confidence that the teams will ultimately agree to it regardless, prompting The Enquirer editorial to ask, "In which parallel universe exactly?" This lack of cooperation will burden taxpayers greatly. The less money the teams contribute to the stadium shortfall, the more that the Commissioners will raise our taxes.
COAST is disappointed that the Commission has chosen to hit the easy button and raise property taxes instead of fully investigating all options to modify a lease agreement that is extremely abusive to the taxpayers. The lease provides $8.5 million/year to the Bengals for football operations, charges the Bengals no rent, guarantees a certain amount of ticket sales, requires a payment of nearly $11 million/year to the Cincinnati Public Schools, and as noted earlier, requires team approval for ticket surcharges. In addition, any money that would be earned from naming rights would go to the Bengals.
The lease was negotiated by an effete group of former Commissioners Bob Bedinghaus, John Dowlin, and Tom Neyer. The lead negotiator was Bedinghaus, who now happens to be employed.......by the Bengals. It can be argued that the Bengals occupied both sides of the negotiation. If this lease was negotiated at fair market terms, we would be facing, at most, a small stadium fund deficit, if one at all. The current Commission would rather raise taxes than take the steps necessary to reform this crooked lease.
Hamilton County can declare a Chapter 9 Municipal Bankruptcy, which can be used to significantly modify or possibly even end the lease agreement that is the source of our financial troubles. The purpose of this section of the bankruptcy code is to allow financially-distressed municipalities to reorganize and adjust its debts and other obligations, so as to spare the taxpayers and local economy from the significant harm that is caused by higher taxes and/or big service cuts that would be required to repay these obligations.
In order for Chapter 9 to help our county, it would have to be able to include the Bengals lease agreement in the filing. Based on the information in the government's Chapter 9 bankruptcy site, it is rather clear that not just debts, but other agreements are allowed to be included: "The municipal debtor has broad powers to use its property, raise taxes, and make expenditures as it sees fit. It is also permitted to adjust burdensome non-debt contractual relationships under the power to reject executory contracts and unexpired leases, subject to court approval, and it has the same avoiding powers as other debtors. Municipalities may also reject collective bargaining agreements and retiree benefit plans without going through the usual procedures required in chapter 11 cases."
The bankruptcy plans are subject to court approval, but it is also stated in multiple points of the Chapter 9 website that the court plays a minimal role in the process. "Due to statutory limitations placed upon the power of the court in a municipal debt adjustment proceeding, the court is far less involved in the conduct of a municipal bankruptcy case (and in the operation of the municipal entity) while the debtor's financial affairs are undergoing reorganization."
It further states, "Indeed, due to the severe limitations placed upon the power of the bankruptcy court in chapter 9 cases (required by the Tenth Amendment and the Supreme Court's decisions in cases upholding municipal bankruptcy legislation), the bankruptcy court generally is not as active in managing a municipal bankruptcy case as it is in corporate reorganizations under chapter 11. The functions of the bankruptcy court in chapter 9 cases are generally limited to approving the petition (if the debtor is eligible), confirming a plan of debt adjustment, and ensuring implementation of the plan."
Chapter 9 Bankruptcy gives Hamilton County its only option of fixing its stadium fund deficit and crooked lease agreement without raising taxes on Hamilton County residents. As of last week, the Commission has not as much as consulted with an attorney who is a Chapter 9 expert. It is shocking to us that the Commission would refuse to fully investigate this option to solve our county's financial problems. We do not dispute that Chapter 9 bankruptcy carries its own problems, but how can the Commission reject an idea without properly investigating it?
COAST calls on the Hamilton County Commissioners to fully investigate the possibility of a Chapter 9 Bankruptcy filing. To do this, the county needs to consult an attorney who has performed this work in the past. While this would incur the expense of hiring a good attorney for several hours of consulting, it's a small and worthwhile expense compared to the $700 million of higher taxes that we face otherwise.
Considering the size of the stadium fund shortfall, Hamilton County Commissioners owe it to their constituents to leave no stone unturned. They must fully investigate all options that spare us another Stadium Tax increase. The County does not necessarily have to file Chapter 9 to make it work for them. By issuing a credible threat to declare Chapter 9 and end the lease, the teams would then have strong incentive to negotiate with the county and try to preserve some of the sweetheart provisions they currently enjoy. Otherwise, the teams have no incentive to compromise. COAST strongly encourages the current and incoming County Commissioners to put the taxpayers first for once and fully investigate all options to fix the stadium fund deficit.
Monday, November 22, 2010
History shows that when Congress gets more revenue, the pols spend it.
In the late 1980s, one of us, Richard Vedder, and Lowell Gallaway of Ohio University co-authored a often-cited research paper for the congressional Joint Economic Committee (known as the $1.58 study) that found that every new dollar of new taxes led to more than one dollar of new spending by Congress. Subsequent revisions of the study over the next decade found similar results.
We've updated the research. Using standard statistical analyses that introduce variables to control for business-cycle fluctuations, wars and inflation, we found that over the entire post World War II era through 2009 each dollar of new tax revenue was associated with $1.17 of new spending. Politicians spend the money as fast as it comes in—and a little bit more.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
-- Lame duck County Commission --
~ COASTers need to call TODAY
to stop yet another sales tax hike ~
(We do not at this time have any indication of which way David Pepper is leaning on the issue, we just know how he has voted int he past. Commissioner Hartmann has already stated his firm opposition.)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Please join Center-Right, Cincinnati Tea Party, Ohio Liberty Council, Americans For Prosperity and COAST for a "Celebratory Affair." We will kick off the event with lite appetizers.
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: Thursday, December 16th at 6:30 PM
Where: The Great American Sports Cafe
8740 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236
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, November 2, 2010
WIN-US Senator - Rob Portman
WIN-US Congress, 1st District - Steve Chabot (New ad linked here)
LOSS-US Congress, 2nd District - Marc Johnston
WIN-Ohio Governor - John Kasich
WIN-Ohio Attorney General - Mike DeWine (New ad linked here)
WIN-Ohio Auditor - Dave Yost
LOSS-Ohio Secretary of State - Charlie Earl
WIN-Ohio Treasurer - Josh Mandel
WIN-Ohio 7th Senate District - Shannon Jones
???-Ohio 28th House District - Mike Wilson
WIN-Ohio 30th House District - Bob Mecklenborg
LOSS-Ohio 31st House District - Mike Robison
LOSS-Ohio 32nd House District - Erik Nebergall
LOSS-Ohio 33rd House District - Jim Stith
WIN-Ohio 35th House District - Ron Maag
LOSS-Ohio 54th House District - Arnold Engel
LOSS-Ohio Board of Education, District 3 - Mark Haverkos
WIN-Ohio Board of Education, District 4 - Debe Terhar
WIN-Hamilton County Commissioner - Chris Monzel
LOSS-Hamilton County Auditor - Tom Brinkman
LOSS-Oppose Sycamore School Tax
Monday, November 1, 2010
Spending your way out of a deficit is like eating yourself out of obesity. Kasich gets this and wants to cut the pork. If elected, he promises to kill the 3C Snail Rail Boondoggle.
Robert Samuelson says:
"Somehow, it's become fashionable to think that high-speed trains connecting major cities will help "save the planet." They won't. They're a perfect example of wasteful spending masquerading as a respectable social cause. They would further burden already overburdened governments and drain dollars from worthier programs -- schools, defense, research."
"President Obama calls high-speed rail essential "infrastructure" when it's actually old-fashioned "pork barrel." The interesting question is why it retains its intellectual respectability. The answer, it seems, is willful ignorance. People prefer fashionable make-believe to distasteful realities. They imagine public benefits that don't exist and ignore costs that do."
"The absurdity is apparent. High-speed rail would subsidize a tiny group of travelers and do little else. If states want these projects, they should pay all costs because there are no meaningful national gains. The administration's championing and subsidies -- with money that worsens long-term budget deficits -- represent shortsighted, thoughtless government at its worst. It's a triumph of politically expedient fiction over logic and evidence. With governments everywhere pressed for funds, how can anyone justify a program whose main effect will simply be to make matters worse?"How indeed. It's time to make matters better. To change the outcome, we need to change the governor. Elect John Kasich and Mary Taylor.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As of Monday, the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers has resumed mis-using school property and personnel for partisan political purposes, aimed at securing the election of liberal democrats Congressman Steve Driehaus and Governor Ted Strickland.
COAST is sending a letter to Steve Driehaus and Governor Strickland today asking that they demand the electioneering inside Cincinnati Public Schools on their behalf cease immediately.
Many folks have commented to COAST that the CPS voting scandal is so outrageous that they would not believe the facts if COAST's attorneys had not established an iron-clad case in Court. After all, why would largely honest public servants allow this abuse of tax resources to be used for political purposes?
Thus, imagine COAST's surprise Tuesday morning when CPS's attorney announced to COAST about new campaign activities of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers using the property of Cincinnati Public Schools:
We learned that the CFT through its building representative placed in the mailboxes of its members at Western Hills High School the attached material that you may regard as a political advertisement within the scope of the 2002 Agreement. We are told that the material is paid for and prepared by AFT/OFT/CFT.
COAST attorneys then inquired whether the abuse of school property for political purposes was going to spread to all CPS schools. CPS' attorney responded:
CFT counsel confirms today that the materials at Western Hills Engineering were to be delivered by CFT building reps to all CPS schools for distribution to teachers through the mailbox. While we have not polled every school, we have no reason at this time to think that is not the case. Let me know if your client would like to reciprocate.
We know COASTers are speechless in reading this. We were speechless when our attorneys forwarded us these messages as well. After a week of withering criticism in the media and from the public about the ice-cream-for-votes scandal, CFT and CPS are again shamelessly mis-using government property for partisan political purposes. And the center of that political activity seems to be Congressman Steve Driehaus.
There appears to be no way to stop the use of CPS property before the election for political purposes. Rather than educate our children, CPS appears hopelessly dedicated to advancing the agenda of the ideological left -- and to use our tax dollars in doing so.
Monday, October 25, 2010
What CPS did is an absolute outrage and a violation of the trust the public places in the district to educate children, not indoctrinate them.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.
COAST and its founder Tom Brinkman, Jr. on Monday sued Cincinnati Public Schools for violating a 2002 Agreement with COAST in which Cincinnati Public Schools promised to stop using school property and personnel to advance one-sided political agendas. That agreement had arisen from 2002 mis-deeds in which CPS used school property and personnel to campaign in favor of a $1 billion bond issue for the schools.
"The forced political indoctrination of school children exposed by COAST in this instance is downright creepy," said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. "We have exposed only the tip of the iceberg of the abuse of our CPS tax dollars to advance the ends of the Democrats and Labor Unions."
The COAST suit brought to a halt the collusion of CPS High Schools and paid personnel from the Democrat National Committee to turn out CPS students to prop up the democrat ticket in November. Steve Johnson, a COASTer working daily in front of the Board of Elections met the Church vans carting Hughes High School Students last Wednesday and learned theirs was the first of five high schools the democrats intended to bring en masse to vote during school hours.
The COAST action brought immediate national attention to the democrat-labor brainwashing and abuse of tax dollars to try to reverse the revolution that is sweeping America to stop their tax-and-spending agenda, with appearances on The Drudge Report, Fox News, mentions on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity the Savage Nation and links on a host of other blogs and web sites. Read the Enquirer stories linked here, here and here.
COAST intends to pursue the litigation in front of Judge Beth Myers to expose the culture of abuse of children for political purposes ingrained in the CPS administration and to put a stop to it once and for all.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"
"You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"
Read all of COAST's fall 2010 endorsements here.
2010-10-21 13:31 Update: COAST thanks WCPO 9 News for their excellent coverage of this story.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
David Yost is COAST-endorsed candidate for State Auditor
- Yost is COAST-endorsed, the seal of approval for advocates for limited government. Read all the COAST endorsements here.
- Yost also has been endorsed by the Ohio Society of Certified Professional Accountants for this important role "in large part due to his past experience and future priorities."
- Yost is a former County Auditor and County prosecutor, with real experience in rooting out corruption and inefficency in government. He has exposed corruption by a coronor, a sheriff and a clerk of courts.
- Yost has taken the ATR pledge against raising taxes. His opponent refuses to take the pledge.
- The State Auditor seat is one of the State's "Apportionment Board" seats, meaning that the winner of this contest will play an important role in re-drawing legislative districts. That's why labor unions have poured more than $500,000 into the campaign of his liberal democrat opponent -- they want to control that process!
- Yost won the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting four times from the Government Finance Officers Association.
- And, most importantly, Yost is running for State Auditor against big-spending democrat David Pepper who recklessly has tried to raise taxes and fees repeatedly on Hamilton County residents.
Read all of COAST's fall 2010 endorsements here.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Beginning this week, the Hamilton County Board of Elections will be open for early voting on Sunday, thanks to an unprecedented partisan ruling by Jennifer Brunner. The Democrats in Ohio are obviously trying to recreate the havoc of the 2008 elections, where accusations of voter fraud due to early voting ran rampant.
To counter this bald-faced attempt to influence our elections, Hamilton County Republicans are holding a Sunday voting rally downtown. Conservative voters from across the County are being asked to join Steve Chabot at 11:00 am on Sunday morning for a rally and a march to the Board of Elections. Those interested in protecting the integrity of our election system and promoting Conservative values can join together at the Verdin Bell Center (444 Reading Road) at 11:00 am Sunday morning. Please rsvp by contacting the Chabot for Congress office at (513)481-9998.
Read all of COAST's fall 2010 endorsements here.
2010-10-14 10:11am UPDATE:
One COASTER wrote in with a very good question that bears repeating.
Q. Please tell me how expanding voting hours influences the election? How does it hijack the election? I don't sense many Democrats will be coming out to vote this cycle.
A. The answer is that this is not being done evenly in every county. Only counties with high concentrations of Democrat voters are expanding voting hours. More opportunities for Democrats to vote than for Republicans can sway the election.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Rob Portman has won over Ohio
as he did
Ohio's 2nd Congressional District
Sunday, Washington Post columnist David Broder named Rob Portman "a man to watch" and "conceivably ... the Republican presidential nominee in 2016. "
Eastern Hamilton County, and Warren and Clermont Counties were fortunate to have a Representative such as Portman for 12 years, before that seat was assumed by the disgraceful Jean Schmidt.
COAST wrote earlier this year about Portman's conservative bona fides, especialy on the tax and spending front. Suffice it to say that he distinguished himself at a time when Congress and the White House were doing precisely the opposite.
Thus, COAST has enthusiastically endorsed Portman in his Senate race against Democrat Lee Fischer, a conspirator of the failed vangard of old-line labor-democrat leaders in Ohio. It's not even a close call.
Fortunately, it looks like the voters share that perspective, with the latest polls giving Portman a 14- to 19-point advantage. Now, we just need to bring that win home on November 2.
The COAST endorsement is made with the greatest hope that Portman will go to Washington committed to fundamental change America needs -- and employ his impressive skills of persuasion to win over his recalictrant Republicans to that cause.
Best wishes, Rob!
Read all of COAST's fall 2010 endorsements here.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Liberal columnist Arianna Huffington didn't want Jon Stewart to embarass himself with an empty "Rally to Restore Sanity." So she offered to transport participants from New York City to Washington, DC.
So far she has arranged 100 motor coaches at a cost of about $250,000. Each bus seats an average of 50 people, making the complimentary round trip fare worth about $50 a head.
Rail service is plentiful between NYC and DC. The northeast corridor carries 1/3 of all rail passengers in the whole country. Why not take the train? For a round trip bewtween Penn Station & Union Station departing 10/29/10 and retunring 10/31/10, Amtrak's cheapest fare is about $100. That's regular snail rail, which takes about 3-1/2 hours each way, not the 80MPH (average speed) Acela, which is $270 round trip.
But the important thing to remember is that, at those fares, the bus company is MAKING money, while Amtrak is LOSING money.
When planning your travel, make the the fiscally responsible choice, like Arianna did. Ditch the rail and look for a bus. Or if you're fortunate enough to still have a job, and can't spare the time away for a travel day, drive.
Mike Wilson -- founder of the movement