Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cranley held firm

We want to be clear that in the great Streetcar debate, John Cranley Christopher Smitherman, Amy Murray and Charlie Winburn held firm, and fulfilled their campaign promises.

We say this because there was all sorts of flip-flopping and back-stabbing on the Streetcar issue in the weeks since the election, but these four were steadfast in their opposition to this boondoggle.

After the Council vote on Thursday, Mayor Cranley was simply recognizing reality when he said "there will be a streetcar," and he did not choose to veto the 6-3 veto-proof vote.  But he did what he promised to do not he campaign trail -- to consistently oppose this wasteful spending.

We thank these four elected officials for remaining steadfast in an aggressive political environment.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

City council to vote on MSD Responsible Bidder

Tuesday, December 18, 2013

The Responsible Bidder ordinance passed on May 1, 2013 is bad public policy.  City Council is attempting to direct the Hamilton County Commissioners to require the implementation of an unconstitutional policy on the construction project managed by MSD.  The MSD project is valued at $3.5 billion.  The majority of MSD work has been haulted by all three County Commissioners.  The Responsible Bidder ordinance that was passed May 1st is unconstitutional.  All costs related to the Responsible Bidder ordinance will be passed on to all rate payers.  "The streetcar debate is important but the Responsible Bidder ordinance is eight times the value of the streetcar. The ordinance will be challenged in court and the City Council will illustrate again its unwilllingness to have a good relationship with our county partners," Smitherman said.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How do you think that private fundraising for Streetcar operations is going?

Last week, Mayor John Cranley, flanked by new Council member Kevin Flynn and representatives of the City’s labor unions, and with the announced support of new Council member David Mann, announced that he was considering supporting the Streetcar project if the operating costs for thirty years could be raised from private funds.

It’s a reasonable proposition, because – on the one hand – without such commitments, City taxpayers invariably will be saddled with these expenses that will eat into available funds for police, fire and road maintenance.  On the other hand, if they can in fact raise the funds, the economics of streetcar operations are significantly improved from the taxpayer perspective – at least as it relates to Phase I of the project.

Cranley estimated the costs would be $80 million for that 30-year stretch.  COAST believes that number is low.  But let’s assume it is correct.  What is the track record of private industry supporting the Streetcar project with their own checkbooks?  Not good; not good at all.

COASTers may remember that back in 2009, we exposed the folly and fiction of claimed massive private support for the Streetcar. Read here and here.

When the Streetcar project was first announced in 2007, we were told the City’s share of the capital expense for Phase 1 would be $32 million, and every nickel of it would come from private contributions (sound familiar?).  Thus, voters and the Council were initially lulled into pursuing the Streetcar on the promise of a shiny new toy that was absolutely without local budgetary consequence.

Then, Mayor Mallory and Milton Dohoney set about with marketing materials, and City staff, for an entire year.  They sent mailings and set personal meetings with corporate titans in Cincinnati.  And these powerful men put their entire credibility behind fundraising for the project.

And after an entire year of beating the bushes they raised how much?  Nada, Nothing.  Goose egg. Zilch.  Zip.

Shortly after the close of the year, a young couple asked their wedding guests to donate to the Streetcar instead of giving the gifts, raising a whopping $2,935.  In addition, the City sold their light fixtures to Duke Energy, generating a few million dollars more.  Other than these contributions, the City fundraising failed entirely.

So, comparing this experience to the present circumstances, wherein we need $80 million raised in a week, it looks shall, we say, unlikely that private funds will be raised to pay for the failed dream of Roxanne Qualls and her departed ilk.

We shall see in just a few days!   

Rob and Lauren Hudson promote capitalism (yes, that dreaded "C" word)

COASTer Rob Hudson and budding COASTer Lauren Hudson
Team up to teach Capitalism to America
in exciting new book

COAST Member Rob Hudson and his 13 year old daughter Lauren have authored a new book for students entitled Our Best Tomorrow – Students Teaching Capitalism to America.  It recently became an Amazon #1 Bestseller for Current Affairs books and for Free Enterprise books.  The book has been featured on The Stossel Show, Fox and Friends, Stuart Varney & Company, and Money with Melissa Francis.  As the book succeeds, the Hudsons intend to use it as a platform to further public school education on free enterprise.  For more information, here is a link to the book’s Amazon page.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Detroit People Mover Still Serves as “a Rich Folks’ Roller Coaster”

A poor city subsidizes 20 years of failure

. . . and the lessons Cincinnati can learn before it's too late!

From Michigan Capitol Confidential:
The Detroit People Mover, a light rail transportation system, celebrated its 20th birthday in July. More than a year before People Mover opened in 1987, Time magazine printed an unflattering preview of the coming attraction titled "Horizontal Elevator to Nowhere." Estimating the project to be a year late and 50 percent over budget, Time detailed numerous defects and problems, with the most notable mistake being the decision to build it at all. One Detroit resident was quoted as saying that it was "a rich folks’ roller coaster," and a Reagan administration transit chief predicted that it could become "the least cost-effective transit project in the last 20 years." The People Mover has repeatedly revisited these themes as if they were stations on its tiny circuit.
It looks like Cincinnati is on the verge of doing the right thing in canceling the Streetcar project. Let's hope we don't insist on repeating Detroit's Folly!

Read the entire article here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Parsons Brinkerhoff Closes Election with $1000 to Wendell Young...

According to filings with the FEC and Ohio Secretary of State, Streetcar Developer Parsons Brinkerhoff contributed to exactly one campaign in the State of Ohio in November.

Wendell Young received $1000 in the day before the election. 

This follows up on the $250 contributions to Greg Landsman and Michelle Dillingham in October and the $1000 contribution to Roxanne Qualls on September 11.

See Parson's Ohio filings here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thank you to Cincinnati Council

The voters of Cincinnati spoke loud and clear in November.

Unfortunately, all too often, elected officials prefer to ignore the will of the people. Not so with Cincinnati's Mayor and City Council.

COAST believes it is important to hold politicians accountable, and that it is equally important to thank them when they do the right thing.

No doubt over the next four years we will find plenty of reasons to disagree with City Council. But today, we are grateful for their leadership and integrity.

In that vein. We encourage you to use the links below to email Mayor Cranley, Vice Mayor Mann and council members Flynn, Murray, Smitherman and Winburn to thank them for standing firm and coming through on their commitment to stop the streetcar.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stop the Streetcar! - Contact Council Now

Council's third reading of the Ordinances to Stop the Streetcar will begin at 2 pm today. Get to City Hall and show your support for the City.

If you can't make it there in person, click the links below to email or call the Mayor and Council and let them know it's time to stop the Streetcar!


What Did P.G. Know about the Memo and When did he Know It?

Councilman Sittenfeld did his best gymnastic trick yet last week when he suddenly flip flopped on the Streetcar.

We wonder: Did P.G. know the contents of the memo last week? Did he just hope it would never come out?

Now that we all know that the first phase will cost at least $15 Million more than projected, Is he ready to flip back?

Email P.G. now and ask him if he was in on the coverup!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

End the Federal Wind Production Tax Credit, Stop picking winners and losers!

With the end of the year fast approaching, one of the issues on the agenda for Congress is tax reform and how to whittle down unnecessary government spending.  For us Ohioans, the federal wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) is the perfect example of the kind of expensive, wasteful policy that lawmakers need to end once and for all.  The PTC should expire at the end of 2013 as scheduled.
The PTC is a 2.3 cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit that was originally created as part of the 1992 Energy Policy Act to make wind a viable and competitive energy source.  Given that wind currently produces 43 times more electricity than it did in 1990, and that there is over 60,000 MW of wind capacity in 38 states—enough to power over 13 million homes—it seems pretty clear to us that the PTC has done its job.
In addition, a recent analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that extending the PTC for a single year would cost taxpayers a whopping $6 billion.  And even if it were to expire at the end of this year, taxpayers are still stuck paying $12 billion for its 2013 extension.  At a time where the federal government is struggling to pay its bills and facing record deficits, it’s clear that Americans and Ohioans should no longer have to foot the bill for this outdated subsidy. 
Not to mention, Ohio has one of the largest renewable portfolio standards in the country, requiring that 12.5% of the state’s electricity needs be met with renewable resources.  These standards are already driving the growth of renewable energy in the state, and will continue to do so regardless of the PTC.
To add insult to injury, wind energy is distorting power markets all over the country.  The PTC motivates wind developers to build wind farms with no regard for market demand.  As long as they’re selling power, they’re collecting the subsidy.  And alarmingly, the PTC is creating an incentive for wind producers to actually pay the market to take their generation when it’s not needed.  Because the PTC is worth more per MWh than the average wholesale price of power, wind generators will pay their customers to take their power in order to collect the subsidy.  This creates a phenomenon called “negative pricing” which hurts conventional generators that have to keep the lights on without the benefit of an exorbitant subsidy. 

The bottom line is that it’s time for the government to stop picking energy winners and losers.  Congress should allow the PTC to expire at the end of the year once and for all.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chris Finney on WLW with Dan Carroll

This morning COAST attorney Chris Finney talked Streetcar Finance and the incoming City Council with Dan Carroll on 700 WLW.

Listen online here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ohio Legislature Leads Nation Toward a U.S. Balanced Budget Amendment

From the Balanced Budget Task Force

LEESBURG, Virginia (November 20, 2013) - Today, the Ohio General Assembly answered Governor John Kasich's call to action by passing a resolution, with bipartisan support, demanding that Congress set the time and place for a Convention of the States to draft a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Article V of the Constitution provides both Congress and the states with equal authority to propose an amendment. Under Article V. of the U.S. Constitution thirty-four states need to pass a similar resolution to initiate a convention for the sole purpose of drafting a balanced budget amendment.

The total U.S. debt has increased every year since 1957. Now, only 12 countries out of world's 196 have a higher debt to G.D.P. ratio than does the U.S. (102%). Among these are Greece - 157%, Zimbabwe-151%, Jamaica-146%, Italy-127% and Portugal -124%.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen stated, "I've said many times that I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt."

Read more here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

You're Invited to the COAST Christmas Party

As is our annual tradition, we invite all COASTers and non-COASTers alike to join us to celebrate Christmas on Monday, December 16th at DeSha's in Montgomery.

Last year's event featured city council members, township trustees, county commissioners, state representatives and senators and the newest member of of Congressional Delegation, Lt. Col. Dr. (and now new father) Congressman Brad Wenstrup. We hope for an equally star-studded crowd this year as well.

Please join us as we celebrate the season and recount our successes of the year now nearly gone.

All are welcome.

Directions available here.

RSVP online below. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Christopher Smitherman and Willie!

Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman discussed killing the streetcar with WLW's Bill Cunningham this afternoon.

Listen below.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

COAST Kicks it at Polls

A quick rundown of our electoral successes:

Warren County: 
COASTer Kim Grant cruised to victory and a seat on the Kings Schools Board of Education;

COAST endorsed David Wallace took the top spot in the Hamilton Township Trustee race;

Hamilton County:
COAST endorsed candidates Josh Gerth and Andrew Pappas prevailed in the Anderson Township trustee race;

Amy Murray, Charlie Winburn and Christopher Smitherman will be on Cincinnati Council for the next four years (Great thinking Laure!);

Roxanne Qualls loses BIGTIME!

Laure Quinlivan heading to the unemployment line!

While we may have lost the battle on the Parking Plot, we definitely won the war as Roxie and LQ were saddled with their support of the parking deal and streetcar.

The power of ideas

So many times politics is dominated by money.  Other times it is driven by powerful forces like union organizers or racial politics.  And still others, it is driven by the politics of personal destruction.

But in some years, reason triumphs over all of these.  Such was the case in 2013.

As much as Roxanne Qualls tried to ignore both, the Mayoral election election was decided by two issues: the Cincinnati Streetcar and an epic political and policy disaster -- the Parking Plot. And Laure Quinlivan and Pamula Thomas joined her in driving their political careers into the ground on the twin pillars of policy folly.

All year long, COASTers asked: How much pain can they endure?  How tone deaf can they be?  We even wondered if our political instincts might be askew as these experienced politicians persisted in pursuing the most politically reckless strategies in event memory.  Then, in the closing days of the campaign, they rubbed salt in the wounds they first opened with the voters by installing streetcar lines and pushing forward the parking bond deal, forcing both unpopular issues into the headlines at just the right time for the challengers.

More than ever before in COAST's memory, a Mayoral race and a Council race were about issues that defined the candidates, defined their character, defined their hubris, defined their refusal to listen to their own voters and defined their political philosophies.  The Streetcar and Parking Plot were on the lips of common voters, businessmen and opinion leaders.  Across the City, voters asked the candidates and one another: Why won't you listen to us?  Candidates, like Qualls and Quinlivan, who enjoyed significant levels of personal popularity saw their support evaporate as they relentlessly and senselessly pursued these unpopular policies.

COAST is grateful that the issues of the day dominated the election.  So, in addition to just having better personnel in the Mayor's office and on Council, those elected have a mandate to rein in reckless spending at City Hall, starting with killing the Streetcar and the Parking Plot.

Cincinnati, a bight new day has dawned.  Let's now move forward together.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Amy Murray Leading in the City Council Endorsement Race

According to a review of endorsements over at the enjoyment and contemplation blog, Amy Murray leads city council candidates and John Cranley leads in the mayors race for most endorsements.

Murray is supported by eight groups: Republican Party, Charter Committee, Green Party, Chamber of Commerce, the Homebuilders Association, Board of Realtors, Fraternal Order of Police and Save Cincinnati.

Cranley enjoys the support of the Green Party, Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters and Save Cincinnati. While Qualls has only one endorsement listed.

Also, though not noted by the blog, Murray and Cranley were both endorsed by the Enquirer.

The seven candidates with the most endorsements all oppose the streetcar, and the top eight all oppose the Parking Plot. Makes you think the reason all those incumbents are avoiding talking about their records is because they know the voters hate those records.

We look forward to comparing the endorsement rankings to to final results tomorrow night.

Smitherman subjected to withering attack on African American radio

The Empire does strike back, doesn't it?

Our loyal COAST blog readers will remember that earlier this year, union goons, establishment Democrats and other members of the far left column attempted to mount a coup to remove Christopher Smitherman as President of the Cincinnati NAACP.

That effort was a dramatic failure in part because of Smitherman's powerful grass roots organizing skills, and in part because Smitherman's credentials in advancing the cause of African Americans in Cincinnati was indisputable.

That effort was led by Rob Richardson, Sr. and Rob Richardson, Jr., the latter of which hosts a talk show on Cincinnati's WDBZ radio station and is the attorney for Cincinnati's Labor Council that is behind the Qualified Bidder ordinance that has brought MSD projects to a screeching halt.

Well, Richardson and his union thugs have now cooked up campaign literature and radio commercials aimed at the African American Community.  With huge radio buys, accentuated by talk show hosts with malevolent intentions, Smitherman has endured a withering set of attacks since the middle of last week, which will endure through election day, tomorrow.

COAST thanks Smitherman for his leadership, courage and hard work in advancing a fiscally conservative agenda on Cincinnati City Council.  We are confident he will once again survive this attack on his integrity and record.

See here how Christopher Smitherman exposes the persons behind the ad.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forbes: The International Monetary Fund Lays The Groundwork For Global Wealth Confiscation

Forbes reports that the International Monetary Fund is laying the groundwork for a global 10% Wealth Tax. Not an income tax...A Wealth Tax. 

Own property? Savings accounts? IRAs 401(k)s?

If you were foolish enough to save and invest for your retirement well... Hello Sucker!

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) quietly dropped a bomb in its October Fiscal Monitor Report. Titled “Taxing Times,” the report paints a dire picture for advanced economies with high debts that fail to aggressively “mobilize domestic revenue.” It goes on to build a case for drastic measures and recommends a series of escalating income and consumption tax increases culminating in the direct confiscation of assets.
Note three takeaways. First, IMF economists know there are not enough rich people to fund today’s governments even if 100 percent of the assets of the 1 percent were expropriated. That means that all households with positive net wealth—everyone with retirement savings or home equity—would have their assets plundered under the IMF’s formulation.
Second, such a repudiation of private property will not pay off Western governments’ debts or fund budgets going forward. It will merely “restore debt sustainability,” allowing free-spending sovereigns to keep tapping the bond markets until the next crisis comes along—for which stronger measures will be required, of course.
Third, should politicians fail to muster the courage to engage in this kind of wholesale robbery, the only alternative scenario the IMF posits is public debt repudiation and hyperinflation. Structural reform proposals for the Ponzi-scheme entitlement programs that are bankrupting us are nowhere to be seen. 

Read the rest at

That's All You Got?

As President Obama himself noted, "If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters, If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from."

We think that is the perfect explanation for Roxanne's latest mailer.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kevin Osborne Uncovers Qualls Streetcar Profiteering

WCPO's Kevin Osborne uncovers questions regarding Roxanne Qualls' work as a real estate agent, specifically selling properties along the Streetcar route allowing her to profit from her votes on Council.

Recall that when John Cranley and Chris Bortz faced conflicts between their public duties and their private businesses, they requested Ethics Opinions from the Ohio Elections Commission. Thus far, Roxanne has not requested an opinion on the Ethics or legality of her actions.

Osborne discussed the issue with Brian Thomas on 55 KRC this morning, listen below.

As Brian Thomas said this morning:

"It is a reflection of character that you don't go ahead and do the right thing and ask for an ethics opinion upfront."

COAST Endorses Kim Grant for Kings Schools

Rarely does a candidate's experience, skills and passion directly align with the office sought. We are excited to announce that Kim Grant is perfectly suited for a position on the Kings School Board.

Kim Grant has been a tireless advocate for children as a teacher, mother and activist.

Kim's dedication to excellence in education with a commitment to taxpayer value means that parents in the Kings Schools will know that their children will enter an school environment of learning and safety.

Taxpayers will be certain that Kim will keep an eagle eye on the budget and will sound the alarm at the first sight of misplaced priorities and budget irregularities.

We heartily endorse Kim Grant for Kings Schools and invite district voters to learn more about Kim Grant here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anderson Democrat leader threatens local business owner for displaying republican signs

On Monday, October 14th, the following email (pasted below) was sent to a business owner on Beechmont Ave by the President of the Anderson Newtown Democratic Party President, Bonnie Dunkelman. This business owner made a choice to support Josh Gerth & Andrew Pappas for Trustee and when a John Piehowicz sign showed up twice, the owner sent a note to John asking that he refrain from placing any signs at their location. Below is the email that was sent shortly after that email exchange.

The Anderson Township Republican Club strongly objects to this threatening behavior to Anderson businesses.  We support all businesses in Anderson Township including those that may choose to show support for opponents of our Republican candidates.  The Anderson Township Republican Club will not threaten our neighbors and we reject these type of tactics against our local business community.

Mike Jordan
Vice President
Anderson Township Republican Club

Message from Bonnie Dunkelman:
From: Bonnie Dunkelman
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:39 AM
To: Redacted to protect business owner from further exposure
Subject: A concern regarding your property
 am writing with a concern. This is in regard to your request
 that Dr. John
 Piehowicz refrain from placing signs on the property you
 manage in Anderson. I
 just want to check with you to be certain that you contact
 all candidates that
 have signs on all of your properties. If there is a company
 wide policy that no
 signs are permitted on any property owned by your company,
 that is fine.
 I actually wish all businesses would adopt such a policy.
 Please be aware
 that this sign was placed without Dr. Piehowicz's
 if you continue to permit signs favoring the other
 candidates to be on display,
 you leave me no choice but to ask the 300 Anderson residents
 on my email
 distribution lists to kindly boycott any business located in
 a plaza or
 shopping center owned or managed by XXXXXX. In fairness to
 those businesses, we will contact their
 owners to explain why they are being boycotted. I was
 actually planning to get
 a XXXXXX this
 at the XXXXXX in
 plaza you manage. Fortunately, there are many other XXXXXX in Anderson I
 can choose to visit. 

 you for understanding the importance of having a policy that
 respects everybody
 on an equal basis. For future consideration, you should be
 aware that 37% of
 Anderson Twp voted for President Obama in 2012. 

 Anderson Newtown Democratic Club
 Team Leader, Obama for America, Anderson 2012

Monday, October 14, 2013

COAST Endorses in Township and School Board Races

COAST seeks out and supports candidates who fight for limited and open government and lower taxes.

Thus we are pleased to announce our support for the following candidates:

Andrew Pappas and Josh Gerth for Anderson Township Trustee. This race is for two seats and we heartily encourage all Anderson Township voters to support Pappas and Gerth. You can contribute to the Pappas and Gerth campaigns here and here.

Michael Harlow for Northwest Schools. We encourage the voters of Colerain, Green, Ross and Springfield Townships to vote Harlow for School Board. Contribute to Michael's campaign here.

Justin Binik-Thomas for Deer Park Schools. Justin, running for an open seat on the Deer Park School Board, has a long history of conservative activism. He will be a welcome addition to Deer Park's Schools.

 COAST will release endorsements in Cincinnati Council and other races in the coming days.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Is change in the air?

There are two competing theories as to how Cincinnati's fall Mayoral and Council election will play out this year.

One line of thinking holds that the City has elected the current Mayor and Council, and indeed shored up the liberal wing of Council with the 2011 elections, and thus the 2013 elections will be more of the same.  Add to that thesis the fact that with added resources and name identification, most incumbents will be returned to office.

The other line of thinking holds that 2013 will be a year of change for Council and the Mayorship. This is so for several reasons, including the fact that Mayor Mallory is term-limited and there is one open seat on Council.  But, mostly, the compelling issues of the Cincinnati Streetcar and the Parking Plot, seem to be motivating voters to look for new candidates.  Add to that the insolvency of the Cincinnati pension the annually structurally-imbalanced budgets.  Finally, there are uniquely-qualified non-incumbents with good name identification and strong campaigns underway, including Amy Murray, Kevin Flynn, Melissa Wegman and David Mann.  Together, these factors present a unique and compelling formulation for change.

The reality will likely end up somewhere in between these two views.  One, two or three non-incumbents will make it on Council, but the views of those non-incumbents on the Streetcar and Parking Plot, and the view of the new Mayor on those same issues, will color the direction of Cincinnati for the coming four to eight years.  It would be a stunning rebuke of Mayor Mallory, for example, if an anti-Streetcar Mayor and just two anti-Streetcar non-incumbents ascended to Council.

Instructive in this debate will be the endorsements emanating from the Enquirer, the unions, COAST and others.  For example, the post below reciting the 2013 Green Party endorsements is telling.  That certainly left-leaning group endorsed Cranley for Mayor, and reformer incumbent Christopher Smitherman.  They endorsed Republicans Amy Murray and Melissa Wegman, and Charterite Kevin Flynn.  The Fraternal Order of Police and Cincinnati Firefighter unions have similarly endorsed reform slates.

Ultimately, of course, it is up to the voters and with that subject to the composition and size of the turnout what direction Cincinnati will take, but as for us we read the tea leaves as trending in 2013 towards much-needed change at City Hall.