Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker

Guest article by Edmund Adams.

Sometimes he who takes the bait also gets the hook. That could happen to First District Congressman Steve Driehaus.

Representative Driehaus signed off on the health care bill when President Obama issued an executive order that purported to prohibit the federal funding of abortions. Whether the executive order did so is a matter of intense debate. If it did not, Driehaus has armed his challenger, Republican Steve Chabot, with a campaign issue potentially more decisive than Driehaus’s vote for Obamacare generally.

Both Driehaus and Steve Chabot are avowedly pro-life. Both are Catholics who attended Catholic high schools, Driehaus Elder and Chabot LaSalle. The First Congressional District remains heavily Catholic, although gerrymandering and changing demographics have whittled down that predominance.

While the polls show the country somewhat evenly divided on the pro-life, pro-choice issue, that’s not so with respect to abortion funding. Ohio Right to Life’s polls show that a surprising 72% of Ohioans oppose taxpayer funding of elective abortions. That’s what makes the question whether Obamacare funds abortions so critical in this year’s First District race.

Having been bounced from office by Driehaus in the 2008 Democrat landslide, Chabot had no vote on the health care bill. No one doubts, though, how the conservative Republican would have voted.

Driehaus, on the other hand, held out, along with Congressman Stupak and other pro-life House members, until the 11th hour, when President Obama rode to their rescue with an executive order that purportedly nullified any abortion funding in the health care bill. As explained in Driehaus’s website:

“I worked with my Congressional colleagues and the Administration to ensure that no federal funding will be used for abortion. The President’s executive order clarifies existing law and ensures that federal subsidies will not pay for abortion services.”

The Congressman’s website statement presents two critical issues: Did the health care bill provide for abortion funding and, if so, did the President’s executive order negate that? One relevant view is what the candidates’ own bishops have to say about that. The General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a scholarly legal analysis concluded that:

• The health care bill appropriates $9.5 billion for services at Community Health Centers that may be required to be used for elective abortions.

• The bill also provides tax credits for, and therefore subsidizes, health care plans covering elective abortions.

• Because an executive order cannot amend or contradict Congressional legislation, the President did not have the power to prevent the federal funding of abortions.

With his fingers controlling the temperature knob as this campaign progresses, Chabot will have the opportunity to ratchet up the heat on Driehaus’s Congressional seat. Chabot can do so by advising a public overwhelmingly opposed to taxpayer funding of abortions that according to the candidates’ own bishops that’s precisely what Driehaus voted for when he took the President’s bait, hook, line and sinker.

Edmund Adams is a retired attorney living in Columbia-Tusculum.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

November is Coming

Driehaus' votes are bankrupting America

Please join COAST at the Americans for Prosperity BUS (not streetcar) tour to remind voters that "November is Coming" and what Steve Driehaus has done to harm us in Washington
this Saturday, July 31 at 10 AM in Winton Woods

Congressman Steve Driehaus voted with Nancy Pelosi for a government takeover of health care, the failed economic stimulus bill and the job-killing cap-and-trade bill.  These votes will bankrupt America.
Now you can join Americans for Prosperity and its November Is Coming bus tour (no rails at all) and help educate fellow citizens about Steve Driehaus's voting record on key issues.  This Saturday, July 31 at 10:00am at Cottonwood Meadow in Winton Woods join COASTers at the Cincinnati stop of the Americans for Prosperity BUS (not streetcar) tour and learn which Driehaus votes are bankrupting America and put pressure on him to stand up for taxpayers. 
What: November Is Coming BUS (not streetcar) Tour, Cincinnati
When:  Saturday, July 31, 10:00am
Where:  Cottonwood Meadow, Winton Woods, 10245 Winton Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45231 (click
here for a map of the park)
This event is free and open to the public. Click here to register. Registration is appreciated, but not required.
Bring out your family and friends for great speakers, free food, free T-shirts and the opportunity to help save your children's future from out-of-control spending and debt from trolleys and such.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Traffic camera ban may be on November ballot in Garfield Heights

Everdeen Mason, The Plain Dealer
Posted: 07/19/2010 6:28 PM

Lisa DeJong, Plain Dealer file photoFrom left, Kathy Wagner; her neice Candice Piskac, 5, and April Wagner (Kathy Wagner's daughter), all of Garfield Heights, hold signs in protest of red light cameras.

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Residents tired of giving more of their money to the city have taken matters into their own hands.

Residents turned in petitions Monday to the city's clerk of council to get two charter amendments on the November ballot. They want voters to throw out traffic cameras and garbage collection fees.

The group sees both issues as an attack on their civil liberties, as well as their pocketbooks.

"It's a money grab on the back of the tax payers," said Frank Wagner, a member of Citizens for a Greater Garfield and a former city council president.

More than 2,500 residents signed the traffic camera petition, and more than 2,000 signed the garbage fee petition. Only 875 signatures are necessary to put issues on the ballot. Groups routinely collect more signatures than required in case some are disqualified. The petitions must pass a legal review by the city before the issue is put on the ballot in November.

The garbage fee $15 for single-family homes with a discount for elderly residents, said Councilman Joseph Suster. Wagner said residents already pay for trash pickup through their property and municipal taxes. But the real hot-button issue is the traffic camera program, which was introduced in 2009 as part of a financial recovery plan initiated by former mayor Tom Longo. About 4,800 motorists were ticketed in June, the first month the city issued tickets from the cameras. The tickets are $100 and could bring in up to $312,000 in fines for the June infractions alone.

Wagner calls the cameras speed traps that take away from the average working person on a fixed income.

Mayor Vic Collova told the Plain Dealer previously that safety is a major factor of the new traffic cameras.

"My biggest thing about it is they say they want a police officer on the scene, they don't want a camera taking a picture of them," he said. "If someone's robbing a bank and the security camera takes a picture, do they think he shouldn't be arrested? I don't understand the difference."

The police department is more than enough to ensure residents drive safely, Wagner said. He said the fine and two points on the license are enough to dissuade speeders. No points are given for a camera ticket since it is a civil infraction, police Capt. Robert Sackett said.

A short civics lesson

    The Washington Post babbled again today about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush.  Amazingly enough, a lot of people swallow this nonsense.  So once more, a short civics lesson.

    Budgets do not come from the White House.  They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party.  They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011.  In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

    For FY 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office.  At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.

    And where was Barack Obama during this time?  He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.  Let's remember what the deficits looked like during that period:    (below)

    If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets.  That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending.  After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.  If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

    In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is, “I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th. 

Garfield Heights petitions against red light cameras & trash tax

Press conference 4:00 PM followed by petiton filing with the Garfield Heights Clerk of Council

For immediate release:  Monday, July 19, 2010
For more information:  
Frank Wagner, 216-799-2909 (Garfield Heights)
Christopher P. Finney, 513-720-2996 (COAST) 

Citizens for a Greater Garfield Heights will conclude their successful 2010 dual petition drive to fight Red Light Cameras and to Ban the recently imposed Rubbish Collection Tax within the City of Garfield Hts.. The citizens group with the assistance of COAST will be filing their petitions with the Garfield Hts Clerk of Council to place the two Charter amendments on the November 2010 General Election Ballot.     The details of the gathering are as follows:
The front steps of the Garfield Heights Civic Center
5407 Turney Road
Garfield Heights, OH 44125
Monday, July 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm

In 2009, at least three other cities in Ohio batted back Red Light Cameras.  Pickerington residents defeated the plan with legislative action, and voters in Chillicothe and Heath, Ohio banned the cameras with ballot initiatives.  In 2008, Cincinnati voters banned the pernicious and intrusive devices with a Charter Amendment.

The  Garfield Heights Charter Amendment proposals are modeled after Cincinnati's and will effectively ban unmanned red light and speeding cameras from being enforced in City limits. The second charter amendment will ban the Rubbish Collection Tax imposed by the City Council and the current  Administration.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ghost town or COAST town?

Remember this article about how Colorado Springs was supposedly going to become a ghost town after voting not to increase taxes? It hasn’t happened yet.

In fact, folks are stepping up, pitching in, and Colorado Springs is becoming a more tightly knit community as a result. The buses stop running at 6:15 p.m. now, and most streetlights stay dark throughout the night. Three city pools have shut down, and turf is withering in more than 100 parks.

So a local swim club has taken over some of the pools. Volunteers pick up trash in parks. Those who can afford it, pay extra to turn on the streetlights in front of their own houses. "The best thing is we have all gotten to know each other much better," one resident said. "We're going to have a big party at the end of the summer."

The government is shrinking, citizens are picking up the slack, and it's transforming Colorado Springs into a libertarian paradise.

Just seven months ago, municipal officials laid out details of a desperate financial situation. Revenues were down about $16 million. That amount, and enough to cover $8 million more in rising pension and health care costs, had to be whacked from the 2010 budget. It was the second year in a row of major shortfalls. Read more here.

FWIW, Colorado Springs’ population is  414,000 people. Their city general fund budget is $238 million. Contrast that with Cincinnati at about 330,000 people and $365 million. Overview here. They have no rail of any kind, only a tiny bus system, but they get around quite well on a network of modern highways.

What’s most fun about Colorado Springs though, is that they have a COAST-like group that is absolutely driving the government crazy. Some rich guy paid to collect more than 400,000 signatures to put 3 issues on the statewide ballot. Amendment 60 is aimed at lowering or eliminating  property taxes; Amendment 61 seeks to restrict borrowing by state and local governments; and Proposition 101, seeks to reduce the state income tax, reduce taxes and fees on motor vehicles, and end taxes and charges on telecommunications.

Now they’re thumbing their noses at the campaign finance reporting requirements, and got hit with $6000 in fines. They remain obstinate, and the issues remain on this November’s ballot. Go Colorado Springs!