Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mallory blocks vote on utility hike for Streetcar relocation costs

Mayor Mark Mallory is again preventing a vote  on a matter that Christopher Smitherman wants to bring before the Council, in this case the Duke Energy rate hike to fund utility relocation for the Streetcar.

Christopher Smitherman and Brian Thomas

This morning Christopher Smitherman spoke with Brian Thomas about Medicaid expansion and the City Council vote to bully SORTA into using transit tax dollars for the Streetcar.

Council is threatening public transportation with this vote.

The SORTA discussion begins at 3:50

Listen below or click here.

Read the Ordinance here:

Michigan Dems in No Hurry to Challenge Snyder

Well, well, well. It looks as if voters respond favorably to politicians who take an aggressive, principled stand in favor of freedom.

As John Fund at National Review explains, Michigan Democrats are shying away from challenging Governor Snyder when just a few weeks ago the polls were showing him weakened by the Right to Work legislation recently enacted in Michigan.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Portman Introduces Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act

Senator Portman, a veteran of a myriad of budget battles, has proposed a plan requiring spending reductions equal to any future increases in the debt ceiling. We appreciate his serious thinking on the issue.

Southwestern Ohio has (with a 7 year exception) been proud to have serious, thoughtful representation in Congress and the Senate; Portman being among the best.

Read his press release on the proposal here.

Reason Foundation Poll Results

From The Reason Foundation:

The new Reason-Rupe poll finds 52 percent of Americans believe politicians are exploiting the Sandy Hook tragedy, 61 percent of the public favors cutting defense spending to pre-9/11 levels and 49 percent say reducing all federal spending to Clinton-era levels would help the economy. The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll of 1,000 Americans (conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates) finds:

- 52 percent of Americans believe that elected officials are exploiting the tragedy for political gain, while 41 percent feel elected officials are acting responsibly. 71 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents think the tragedy is being politicized, while just 32 percent of Democrats believe so. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Media wrap on Judge Black's decision throwing out Driehaus defamation case

Judge Black's decision this past Friday tossing Steve Driehaus' defamation suit out of federal court is an important vindication of the First Amendment.  It is appropriately getting national coverage.  The second part, ridding Ohio of the Inquisition-like Ohio Elections Commission, is pending before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Read the coverage here:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chris Monzel seeks (appropriately) to redefine County's mission

Most politicians are small thinkers and small doers.  They address issues one at a time, responding to various constituent groups, many times (usually?) in ways that benefit the politician, and promising everything to everyone.

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel today, however, showed he is not your average politician.  Instead of generally promising everything to everyone (current County policy calls for "providing the best and most responsive county government in America") he has decided to publicly declare that we must live within our limited means (proposes: "providing cost effective county government in America within our financial means").

Finally we have a politician who understands the limited role of government in our society.  Perhaps he could have a chat with Speaker Boehner.

Read it here.

Workplace Freedom for Keystone State?

An email from Ohioans for Workplace Freedom announced the latest state to heed the call of freedom.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Six GOP lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a proposal to make Pennsylvania, the “Keystone State,” the nation’s 25th right-to-work state.The legislation, which would end the longstanding practice of forcing employees to join unions as a condition of work, has stalled several times over the past decade. The bill’s sponsors say new laws in Michigan and Indiana forced the state’s hand.“The needs of our economy dictate that it must be adopted at some point in time,” said state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. “The victory of right-to-work in Michigan and Indiana certainly thrust the spotlight on it and made the General Assembly look it more seriously than the past.”

Learn more about Ohioans for Workplace Freedom here.

Letters Opposing Streetcar Tax Flooding PUCO

The PUCO has been inundated with letters, faxes and emails opposing the Duke Streetcar Tax proposal.

COAST opposes the plan because it would effectively allow Duke a taxing authority and incentivize foolish decisions by City Council - as if they need any encouragement!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Workplace Freedom Video

Ohioans for Workplace Freedom have released a new video about their project.

Learn more and sign up to help here.

h/t Clermont County Tea Party

Newsbusters and Tom Blumer have a nice piece on the Driehaus defamation case decision

Now, Newsbusters and Tom Blumer have coverage of the decision tossing from Court the Steve Driehaus defamation case against the Susan B. Anthony List.  That piece is here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Illinois continues its slide into the pit of debt

While Ohio and other states were cutting spending two years ago to deal with their budget deficits, Illinois enacted a massive tax hike, a tax hike so significant that it drove hordes of businesses and residents from the state.

Rob Richardson's obsession with Smitherman continues

COAST wrote yesterday about yet another broadside Rob Richardson, Jr. has launched against Christopher Smitherman since Richardson's father was resoundingly defeated in his fight to take over the NAACP, with the help of demo-party lefties and labor unions.

Today, Richardson continues the crusade against Smitherman with this blog entry.  This time, he objects to Hamilton County GOP Chairman Alex Triantifilou praising Smitherman's fiscal bona fides.  Now, note, that Smitherman has not endorsed the GOP, but rather the GOP Chairman lauds the voice of Smitherman on fiscal issues.

Judge Black tosses Steve Driehaus defamation suit against SBA list

Another solid victory for the First Amendment

Late yesterday, Judge Timothy Black issued an important ruling vindicating First Amendment rights in political campaigns in the case of Susan B. Anthony List v. Rep. Steve Driehaus.  That decision is here.

Both SBA List and COAST are parties to a separate part of that litigation in which the Ohio False claims statute, and the ability of the Ohio Elections Commission to stand in judgment of the truth or falsity of political statements, is being challenged.  That portion of the litigation presently is still pending before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Obama Appointments Unconstitutional

A three judge court of appeals panel in Washington DC announced today that President Obama acted outside his powers when he made three "recess appointments" to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was not in recess.

The ramifications of the decision are still being discovered, and an appeal is likely. At the very least, it is likely that any decisions made by the NLRB during the past year are void for lack of a quorum.  

Attacks from left continue over COAST/NAACP relationship

Today's Enquirer, here, covers a continuing effort by labor unions and big-spenders at City Hall to undermine Christopher Smitherman's Presidency of the NAACP and core to their claimed disagreement with Smitherman is his and the NAACP's Cincinnati branch's relationship with COAST.  Read the slightly paranoid and entirely conspiratorial rant here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hyde Park Community Council Conspires Against Community

A recent public records request has uncovered an attempt by Cincinnati Traffic Engineer Michael Moore and Hyde Park Community Council President Janet Buening to work secretly on the now failed "road diet" of Erie Avenue's S-Curve.

They attempted to generate support for the plan to remove capacity from Hyde Park's main road while keeping those who would oppose the plan in the dark.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's Driving Growth in Government Spending?

According to the New York Times' Nate Silver, it's entitlement spending!

PUCO schedules local public hearings for Duke Energy Ohio distribution rate cases

PUCO has announced the schedule for the public hearings on the proposed Duke Streetcar Electric Bill Tax. Cincinnati area residents will be most interested in the hearings on February 20 at 6:30 pm at the Union Township Civic Center - 4359 Aicholtz Road, Cincinnati, OH 45245 and February 28 at 12:30 pm at City Hall.

Boehner commits to balance budget over 10 years

That's an idea we can get solidly behind!  Thank you.  Read it here.

Today's WaPo has a nice piece on why it's impossible to kill even the most meaningless, unpopular programs in Washington

In the town where no spending can ever be killed, here's a detailed analysis of why that is so.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Three developments in COAST/CPS litigation regarding abuse of public resources for campaign purposes

This entry is an update on the 2012 COAST/CPS litigation relating to the latest in a series of actions by CPS abusing tax dollars for campaign purposes.

As reported here and here, COAST and its Chairman Tom Brinkman, Jr. in October of 2012 initiated its third in a series of lawsuits to eradicate the use of tax dollars by Cincinnati Public Schools for campaign purposes.  

The return of Bob Michel?

Before we make our modest critique of GOP House Republicans gambit on spending and debt negotiations, we want to make clear that we have no monopoly on knowing the wisest path to success on these matters.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wenstrup Co-Sponsors Bill to Stop Congressional Pay Raise

Congressman Wenstrup is wasting no time in staking out a clear stance in favor of the American taxpayers (present and future).

First he voted against the so called "Sandy Relief" Bill - in part because it wasn't paid for by cuts to other spending, and now we've learned that our favorite Freshman has signed on as a co-sponsor on legislation to cancel the Congressional Pay increase that President Obama is trying to force through via executive order.

We are thrilled to see Brad standing firm for the taxpayer.

Read the bill here. Contact Brad and let him know you stand with him here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barry Horstman and Christopher Smitherman Discuss Pension Problems

Barry Horstman of the Enquirer and Cincinnati Councilman Christopher Smitherman appeared on WVXU's Impact Cincinnati program this morning.  They provided wonderful insight into Cincinnati's pension hole and how the Streetcar project is exacerbating the problem.

Horstman notes that Cincinnati is alone in Ohio as the only municipality to have its own pension system rather than being part of the statewide PERS program.

Guest Post 1851 Center for Constitutional Law

Ohio Constitution Prohibits Legislators from Enacting State Insurance Mandates

Legal center advises Ohio legislators that mandating health treatments and benefits violates Ohio's Health Care Freedom Amendment

Columbus, OH - The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today emphasized to Ohio's state senators and representatives that the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, adde d to Ohio's Bill of Rights in late 2011, prohibits the state from mandating that Ohioans health insurance purchases include new previously-un-mandated benefits and services. The 1851 Center is the public interest law firm that drafted the Amendment and represents its advocates and sponsors.

The 1851 Center legal memorandum ("A Policymaker's Guide to Following the Health Care Freedom Amendment") comes in response to recent news of the Kasich Administration's purported executive action attempting to mandate that all Ohioans purchase autism-related coverage. The memorandum observes that while the Governor's action -- simply a letter to the Obama Administration recommending that it impose autism coverage on Ohioans -- may not be a forbidden "law or rule," any state legislation will indeed violate the Amendment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guest Post Campaign for Primary Accountability

Nate Silver was right.

Most members of Congress are certain to be reelected in November. The primary is the election that really matters.
Nate Silver of the New York Times detailed how there used to be over 100 swing districts in the House of Representatives – but now there are only 35 swing districts.
That’s right – out of 435 seats in Congress, only 35 are really competitive.

Riddle us this: Why does a refusal to take on more debt mean a default of existing debt?

It is amazing how the populace is consistently manipulated into "group thought" by the media, the supposedly conservative media and the liberal media, and politicians.

Start with the notion of the "fiscal cliff" to convince the lemmings to rush over the cliff of increasing taxes, without addressing spending.  From Fox News to NBC, the very vision of an approaching "cliff" of spending cuts was peddled to the public to place fear in the hearts of Americans, democrat and republican.

Treble displays of fiscal irresponsibility

We erect goals and constraints around our own behavior in order to, at least, have benchposts of responsibility.  It's not always that we attain these goals, but they serve to remind us of where we are headed, and to instruct us when we have strayed.

So, families write our household budgets, businesses set sales goals, athletes have training schedules.  No one is perfect, but at least w know the ideal.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bringing a Smile to our Faces

We've been walking around with smiles on our faces since about 11 pm on March 6, 2012. This morning our smiles got a little bigger.

Christopher Smitherman Discuss $130,000 Toilets!

Fresh off a Cincinnati budget deal that includes a $22 Million hole (to be filled by leasing off our parking assets!), Councilman Chris Seelbach is now pushing the City to buy $130,000 public toilets! Just like the ones they have in...You Guessed It...Portland! We haven't seen this many Pacific Northwest Poseurs in Cincinnati since the grunge era!

Council's voice of reason, Christopher Smitherman discussed this and Cincinnati's precarious fiscal situation with Brian Thomas this morning.  Listen below starting at 15:55

Sunday, January 13, 2013

COAST moves to force disclosure of documents showing CPS abuse of taxpayer dollars

COAST and its Chairman Tom Brinkman have moved Judge Steve Martin to force the disclosure of documents that they believe will will prove their claim of widespread abuse of tax dollars in 2012 inside Cincinnati Public Schools for campaign purposes.  That motion is here.  The discovery exchange supporting that motion are here and here.

As COAST addresses here and here, it and Brinkman have recently sued Cincinnati Public Schools for violating (for a second time) the 2002 agreement whereby CPS promised never again to abuse taxpayer dollars to advocate for or against any candidate or issue on the ballot.
The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers and Cincinnatians Active to Support Education (the pro-levy campaign committee) are working to block COAST from obtaining documents in discovery to show

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chris Finney on 550 WKRC at 7:05 AM

UPDATE - Listen to Chris Finney and Brian Thomas below.

Thursday morning COAST attorney Chris Finney will appear with Brian Thomas on 550 WKRC-AM beginning at 7:05 am.

They will discuss the Duke Streetcar Tax Proposal currently before PUCO and the current status of the Streetcar Project.

Listen live here.

Submit your comment to PUCO today. You can use PUCO's online comment form to let them know you don't want to pay for a Streetcar on your Electric Bill. Include reference Case 12-1682-EL-AIR in your comment.

Review the whole PUCO case file here.

COAST will continue to follow this case and keep you updated.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

PUCO Streetcar Tax Procedural Schedule Released

Today PUCO released the schedule for the Duke Streetcar Tax proposal. This sets forth the dates and times for various hearings and deadlines for the parties and intervenors. You can read the document below.

PUCO has not yet released the schedule for the public comment hearings. Those dates will be released in a separate document.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

PUCO Still Considering Streetcar Tax - Hearings Next

As we first reported here, Duke Energy has proposed a "Facilities Relocation Tariff" to recoup the costs associated with the Cincinnati Streetcar - known affectionately as a Streetcar Tax.

The PUCO staff report was recently released (read that here). The staff opposes the Streetcar Tax in part because it is not well defined and too open ended. Ironically, this same thing can be said for the Streetcar project itself.

Opposition to Parking Plan Rising

A recent public records request by COAST shows that while Cincinnati City Council passed a budget all but guaranteeing that our on-street parking resources would be privatized, they were being inundated with letters and emails in opposition to the plan.

While the City is dragging it's feet in actually providing all of the documents requested, letters from two of Cincinnati's most "establishment" bodies show just how wide and deep the opposition to the Mallory/Quall's agenda is.

Read the letters for yourself below:

Founder of Our Favorite SuperPAC on Holding Congress Accountable

Leo Linbeck III has an op-ed up at on the effect of increased primary voter turnout.

"If competitive elections are the backbone of our democratic republic, U.S. House elections are the snails: no vertebrae, only a hard, protective shell of their own making. More than 80 percent of members are safe within the shell of one-party districts where they’re never tested by a challenge from the opposing party, and they rarely face a serious primary challenge."

Read the rest here.

NYT provides fair coverage of contrarian at the Fed and the risks of QE to economy, inflation

In a remarkable turn, the New York Times provides well-rounded coverage of the policy of the Fed of buying bonds, and especially bonds backing mortgage securities.  There, hero Fed Governor Jeffrey M. Lackner speaks out forcefully about perhaps the most important issue on the national agenda -- the purposeful undermining of the value of the dollar in an attempt to resuscitate the US and world economies.

Mr. Lackner points out that the risks of plunging into the unknown are greater than the benefit to be achieved -- and that benefit appears to be minimal if non-existent.

It's an important read.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

John Cranley and Brian Thomas Discuss Streetcar, Mayor's Race

Cincinnati Mayoral Candidate, John Cranley, spoke with Brian Thomas this morning on 55KRC. Cranley discussed the Cincinnati Streetcar Boondoggle (he is opposed to this wasteful program), the Mayor's race and the latest fetish of our crazy council - Portland Loos - $130,000 public toilets that Chris Seelbach wants to install throughout downtown.

Listen Below:

Monday, January 7, 2013

U.S. FTC Finds Google Services Good

After a 19 month review by the Federal Trade Commission, Google services was found to be good for users and for competition, don't we all feel better now? Read what our friends at the NTU have to say about it here

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chris Finney on WLW

This afternoon COAST attorney Chris Finney spoke with Dan Carroll and his listeners on 700 WLW. They discussed the status of the Cincinnati Streetcar and how this will affect future Councils.

You can listen below.

It SOUNDS like GOP leadership is finally getting on message

They have floundered post-election, and fumbled on the rather significant "Fiscal Cliff" debate, but today, GOP Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell seems to have gotten "on message" with the folks out here in the heartland.

No more taxes.  Period.  Spending cuts.  Serious spending cuts.  Now.

Read it here.

Cranley: You don't start a major capital project without funding in place

Some voices of sanity are -- too late -- creeping in to the Streetcar debate, as just in the last few weeks the City has committed to buying the five Streetcar vehicles from a company in Spain. 

2013 Cincinnati Mayoral candidate 
John Cranley

However, in Friday's Business Courier speaking to reporter Dan Monk, former Vice Mayor of the CIty and 2013 Mayoral candidate John Cranley spoke some common sense -- that the City has no business proceeding with the Streetcar project without the funding in place

Saturday, January 5, 2013

COAST attorney Chris Finney appears with Dan Carroll on 700 WLW tomorrow (Sunday) at noon to discuss Streetcar

Oh, the Cincinnati Streetcar program, $42 million in and nothing to show for it!
COAST attorney Chris Finney

Tomorrow at noon, COAST attorney Chris Finney will provide listeners of WLW with an update on the boondoggle, and the latest foibles from City Hall on the matter, including now delaying the completion date yet

Friday, January 4, 2013

Si Leis - classless to the bitter end

It shouldn't shock anyone to learn that outgoing Sheriff Simon Leis is behaving like a classless, petulant child on his way out.  Rather than ensure a smooth transition to guarantee that the safety of Hamilton County citizens is not compromised, Leis instead prefers to make it difficult for Sheriff-Elect Jim Neil to prepare to take over.  WLWT reports:
Smiling, Neil added that Leis told him he was not to step foot in any of his facilities.

"He was sincere," Neil said. "He didn't want me upsetting the day-to-day functions of the sheriff's office operations."
It was also covered in a similar Enquirer story.  No matter, Leis has fewer than 50 hours remaining in his term.  It will be a great day when he is gone. 

Ohio AG Mike DeWine Reducing Testing Time for DNA

From Mike DeWine:

My top priority as Ohio Attorney General is to protect families. As part of that commitment, when I took office two years ago, I made it a priority of my office to significantly decrease the time it takes at our crime lab -- BCI -- to test evidence for local law enforcement. When I took office, the average turnaround time for testing DNA evidence was 125 days. The hard-working men and women at our lab have reduced that testing time now to 20 days -- and we’ve done this while seeing a 30% increase in our caseload.

Wenstrup's first spending vote is a "No" on bloated Sandy aid bill

The new 2nd District Congressman Lt. Col. Dr. Brad Wenstrup joined veteran Congressman Steve Chabot and new Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie in voting "No" on the $9.7 billion bill for Hurricane Sandy aid in Congress today.  Read about in the Enquirer here.

There were all sorts of problems with the Sandy aid bill, including the important

How to Spend $42 Million and Have Nothing to Show for It

Cincinnati's City Manager emailed us today to let us know that to date, the City has spent $42 Million on Mayor Mallory's Streetcar Boondoggle.

Left unsaid is that they have absolutely nothing to show for this wasteful spending.

Check out the email below:

Streetcar Tax PUCO Staff Report

The Public Utilities Commission has released its Staff Report on Duke's proposed Streetcar Rate Increase.

The PUCO staff does not support the "Facilities Relocation - Mass Transportation Rider" as it is called in PUCO parlance. You can read the document for yourself below.  The Streetcar Rate increase begins at page 32 of the pdf (21 of the document).

Enquirer uncovers further delays in Cincinnnati Streetcar boondoggle

Today's Enquirer has an in-depth profile on the Cincinnati Streetcar planning, now showing that the project has been delayed yet another approximately 18 months, with the first streetcar ride in 2016.

Barry Horstman does a fine job revealing the chaotic planning process at City Hall, yet fails to address the second leg: over-budget by tens of millions of dollars.  There will be more to come on that issue shortly.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Media Trackers Uncovers Explosive New Details in Job Corps scandal

Media Trackers has discovered and exposed explosive new details about the Job Corps voting scandal that COAST initially uncovered. In their story, they have drawn dots to connect the use of taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes directly to partisan democrat activists promoting the election of President Barack Obama, and confronted the US Department of Labor about the abuse. Their article is here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Choke, choke, choke

After the massive Tea Party revolution that swept America for nearly four solid years and after conservative Republicans have "taken out" moderate after liberal of our GOP brethren in primaries, the very notion that Senate President Mitch McConnell would dream of striking a deal with the dastardly Harry Reid, and President Obama, to raise taxes without a smidgen of spending cuts being part of the deal is ... breathtakingly foolish, completely unnecessary, and tremendously unwise.