Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bi-Partisan leaders endorse ban on red light cameras

The WeDemandAVote.Com coalition that last year force d the Pepper-Portune Super-Sized Jail tax to a vote, has re-grouped in 2008 to amend the Cincinnati City Charter to ban red light and speeding cameras.

Now, leaders from both the Republican and Democrat parties have endorsed the effort and joined the drive.

In June, Republican County Clerk Greg Hartman joined the coalition and has helped collect 700 of the needed signatures.

He joined the Hamilton County Republican Party in advancing the red light camera restrictions.

In July, Democratic Congressional Candidate Vic Wulsin endorsed the red drive as well.

“The days are numbered when City Council can raise revenue on the backs of Cincinnati motorists with these automated harassment machines,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. “We welcome the support of these leaders in this important drive for liberty.”

Tax and spend democrats on Commission struggle with over-spending

COAST has enjoyed watching our two liberal, tax-and-spend County Commissioners, Todd Portune and David Pepper, grapple with spending cuts at the County, cuts they have steadfastly refused to make for the past year and a half. Of course, during this same time they first imposed without a vote, and then fought in favor of, their Super-Sized ½ cent sales tax increase. All along, they insisted County government was as efficient as it could be, but concurrently refused common sense reforms.

Finally, last week the Commission adopted the first of many such reforms proposed by Commissioner DeWine – pursuing managed competition for the maintenance of the County’s fleet of 905 vehicles. Read the Enquirer article here.

However, this Commission, which has declared that safety is its first priority, continues to resist common sense reforms and continuously wastes money on non-priority items.

For example, Portune and Pepper have re-enacted the wasteful Home Improvement Program that historically has cost County tens of thousands of dollars in investment income. They have resisted efforts to re-allocate more than $3 million wasted on promoting conventions in Cincinnati and have refused to analyze $2 million in drug forfeiture assets annually.

Liberal democrat Todd Portune himself has admitted that the tight budget has finally convinced county officials to consider reforms they “would not have considered” otherwise. Thank goodness for the budget “crisis.”

“It’s the spending,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. “The reason that County spending is exceeding its revenues is simply that it continues to spend entirely too much.”

They’re baaaack . . . angling for a new “arts” tax

A year and a half ago, COAST documented actions by big-government advocates to implement yet another new tax for the “arts” in Hamilton County (read this and this ). Well, they are back again.

Liberal Commission Democrats Todd Portune and David Pepper have already voted to give your tax monies to the Film Commission, and Portune has voted in favor of wasting money on the National underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Well, in early July, a COAST member from Colerain Township received a formal survey from the Fallon Group, a notorious pro-tax public research firm, gauging support for new public funding for the “arts” in Hamilton County and a new tax levy promoting the same.
So, even in the midst of the County budget “crisis” and the misery of rising gas prices and falling home values, the plan has moved from mere talk, to surveying the voters to test their reaction to such a tax.

“COAST double dares Portune and Pepper to put the tax before the voters,” said Chairman Jason Gloyd. “Nothing could please us more than to expose their mis-placed priorities than this foolish boondoggle.”

COAST stops illegal County spending on Film Commission

More than one year after the initiation of a suit to stop the illegal expenditure of $75,000 in funds to the Film Commission, the Hamilton County Commissioners have settled the case with an agreement to revoke the wasteful allocation, and limitations on spending the convention center tax surplus going forward. Additionally, the Commission and other defendants agreed to pay $30,000 in legal fees and expenses for COASTers Mark Miller and Tom Brinkman, Jr. who brought the action.

“Once again, COAST’s legal team has succeeded in exposing and stopping wasteful and illegal spending by the democrats on the County Commission,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. “The vigilance of our lawyers has not only saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for the taxpayers, our team strikes fear in the hearts of bureaucrats and elected officials resulting in better public policy.”

Read next month in the September COAST news about how one County Commissioner used the Film Commission grant to reward a particularly cozy crony of his.