Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Business Courier recognizes wisdom of Regenold. Capell

COASTers Dan Regenold and Jeff Capell fought a lonely fight against some of the richest and most powerful Cincnnatians during the "icon tax" battle earlier this year, ultimately putting forth a plan that gave significant new capital funding for Union Terminal, but not Music Hall.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ohio Supreme Court Red Light and Speeding Camera decision is simply...embarrassing

OK, it's a confusing week on Red Light and Speeding Cameras in Ohio, as on Friday, Governor John Kasich signed in to law a somewhat confusing bill "regulating" the devices; if things go according to plan with the Courts, "regulating" them out of existence.  One day earlier, the Ohio Supreme Court fumbled another case on municipal authority -- this one addressing Red Light and Speeding Cameras.  So pay attention if you really want to know what's going on.

Sad tale of the attempted Democrat takeover of the Cincinnati NAACP

As our loyal readers know, for the past seven years, COAST and the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP have partnered on issue after issue to effectuate progress for the working men and women of Cincinnati:

Governor Kasich signs bill outlawing Red Light and Speeding Cameras in Ohio

With COAST attorney Chris Finney present, along with Representatives Ron Maag and Dale Mallory, Senator Bill Seitz and Cincinnati attorney Mike Allen who is challenging the devices in a series of actions throughout the State, Governor Kasich signs a bill outlawing red light and speeding cameras.

Thank you Senator Seitz, and Representatives Maag and Mallory, as well as Governor Kasich, for this great decision for liberty!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Governor Kasich to sign bill banning Red Light Cameras

Maggie Thurber and has the story here: Governor Kasich commits to sign bill effectively banning Red Light Cameras.

Attorney, WXIX help expose fraud in North College Hill

COAST's legal team has been monitoring and helping whistleblowers in the City of North College Hill to stop fraud and abuse by its City fathers, the Mayor and City Manager.  Their conduct is truly abusive.  We are glad it is getting attention:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Battle of 2015: SORTA tax

The signals are all clear: SORTA intends to seek a massive sales tax increase in 2015 to fund the losses on the Cincinnati Streetcar.  We know this will be our battleground this coming year.

COAST stands ready to expose the commitment of SORTA to fund the Cincinnati Streetrcar losses and to oppose its cash grab.

Note: This will be the battleground in 2015.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stunning: Judge finds probable cause national NAACP suppressing vote, manipulating election!

It is as stunning as it is sad: Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin today found probable cause that the nation's preeminent civil rights organization, the NAACP, is suppressing the vote of its own members in the upcoming election for NAACP Cincinnati Chapter Presidency and Board members.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sad tale of voter suppression by national branch of NAACP

It is sad to see the national NAACP aggressively seeking voter suppression of its own members in a local branch election.

As our loyal readers know, this fiscally conservative organization (COAST) has proudly partnered with the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP to achieve progress in our community, reaching across racial and political boundaries to form a ground-breaking coalition on the Jail Tax, Red Light Cameras, the sale of the Cincinnati Water Works, the Parking Plot and other fulcrum issues for our community.

We are shocked, shocked that the Streetcar budget was "cooked"

In the manner that Captain Renault recited his alarm about gambling in the movie Casablanca, we are shocked, shocked we say that the Streetcar budget was cooked by Mayor Mallory and Finance Committee Chairman Roxanne Qualls all along.

Today, Mayor John Cranley was pointed in his criticism of the project and its fraudulent handling by the prior administration, calling the books "cooked."

Read the latest sad news, one of dozens of bad news stories to roll out before the launch of the boondoggle, right here.

COAST's six-year battle against Red Light Cameras ends with State ban

In 2008, COAST continued its historic coalition with the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP and others in the WeDemandAVote.Com alliance by placing before Cincinnati voters a ban on Red Light Cameras in the City of Cincinnati, one of the first such citizen initiatives in the nation against the pernicious devices.  We won that battle and since then we have continued the fight throughout Ohio.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

SORTA Surveys crosstabs available

Our loyal readers may recall that the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency conducted a public opinion survey using tax dollars, but refused to release the results to the public.  Well, after COAST applied pressure and they feared litigation, they released the results publicly about a month later.

COAST then demanded the cross-tabs -- the detail of those results -- and they were provided.  They are linked here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Streetcar price goes up by $15 Million; also, entire contingency is used up only 1/2 way through construction

It's truly sad to see Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley saddled with the construction and implementation of the Cincinnati Streetcar project, when it was Mayor Mark Mallory and Finance Committee Chairman Roxanne Qualls who designed and approved a plan that was destined to fail.  And it was a new Council of Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young, David Mann, Kevin Flynn and P.G. Sittenfeld who voted to force the project to proceed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Red Light Camera fight takes new turn

The evil Empire Strikes Back, doesn't it?

With the citizens of Cleveland and Maple Heights less than two weeks ago voting 77% to ban Red Light Cameras in their cities, and a chorus of voters from Cincinnati to South Euclid banning the pernicious devices over the past seven years, you would think our legislators, the servants of the people would get the message: Keep them out of Ohio.

Monday, November 17, 2014

COAST's Cleveland Red Light Camera Win featured on Autoblog

Well, COAST has gotten press far and wide for its work, but even we were surprised at the lengthy piece on the Autoblog, here, discussing our work on Red Light Cameras in Cleveland-- a 77% win!

We are hopeful the Ohio legislature will address the cameras in the coming lame duck session.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

King v. Burwell before U.S. Supreme Court could devastate ObamaCare

When the democrat Congress enacted ObamaCare, it wanted to force reluctant Governors to set up their own healthcare exchange.  Thus, they included language within the bill that persons are eligible for subsidies for healthcare coverage only if they are in “an exchange established by the state.”  The alternative to “an exchange established by the state” is that for those states that fail to enact an exchange, individuals are relegated to the federal exchange.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

COAST crushes Red Light Cameras in Northeast Ohio

COAST sponsored two ballot initiatives in 2014, red light camera bans in the City of Cleveland and the City of Maple Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.  They were, respectively, Issues 35 and 99 on the Cuyahoga County ballot.  Both issues were placed on the ballot by a coalition of black-white, republican-democrat activists, similar to those that banned the cameras in Cincinnati.

One of the most remarkable developments of an utterly remarkable night -- Governorships

It was a night even the most optimistic observers did not anticipate, November 4, 2014:  A potential 10-seat pickup and control of the U.S. Senate and a 13-seat picket-up (so far) for the already lopsided U.S. House.

But the most remarkable, and entirely unexpected, outcome of November 2014 was the pickup of new governorships in left-leaning states and fending off tough challenges of Republican incumbents:

Barack Obama, Ideologue

Now comes the dangerous part, Barack Obama, unleashed.

We hate to rain on the parade, and what a parade it was!

But America has created an imperial Presidency never envisioned by our founding fathers in three ways: (i) a Congress (Republicans and Democrats) that passes open-ended legislation that gives wide berth to the Executive branch to write regulations and implement legislation broadly, (ii) Courts that refuse to enforce the Constitutional and statutory lints on the powers of the Executive, and (iii) great liberties taken in successive administrations with the powers given to them.  We are decidedly not, in this entry, placing the blame for any of these factors on Democrats exclusively of the Obama Administration specifically, although they are the latest and greatest abuser of these factors.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our founder, our hero, Tom Brinkman, Jr. never flinched, never wavered

COAST watches with some amusement with politicians and community leaders bobbing to the left and twisting to the right, trying to determine which way the wind is blowing before deciding how to vote on an issue.

Down to the wire or blow out?

The surveys, the pundits, the talking heads, the spinners, the numbers!

The issue, the real issue, Tuesday is control of the US Senate: Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell in charge.  A sub-issue is the governorships up for grabs.  These contests will set the stage for 2016.

The predictions are all over the board, and the GOP had serious ground to make up in the Senate contests to seize control, but the general consensus is that we have a fighting chance.

And for COAST, that's all we ask: a fighting chance.  We'll take those odds.

Friday, October 31, 2014

We won't be fooled again

The stadium tax campaign, the Bengals lease, the Paul Brown Stadium cost overruns, and the lying. cheating and stealing that went with all of it, was awful for our region and its taxpayers.  But it was also one of the best things that happened for the tax movement in greater Cincinnati.  It birthed COAST and gave us a rallying cry that lasted for more than a decade.  Thereafter, Hamilton County voters became infinitely more skeptical, more circumspect, more realistic about levies on the ballot and big public works projects birthed by politicians and business leaders.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

COAST's work featured preventing tax dollars from being used for campaigning

This article from highlights COAST's good work in stopping the use of tax dollars for campaign purposes.  Read it here.

Democrats begin to turn on one another

Oh, the smell of defeat is pungent, and the wolves of the Democrat Party have begun to devour each other.  It's fun to watch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cuyahoga County Red Light ban organizer says cameras are pure cash grab

"The sole purpose of photo-automated Red Light and Speeding cameras in Cleveland is to generate cash for the Red Light Camera company and the City of Cleveland," according to Jason Sonenshein, the Chairman of the local effort to ban the pernicious devices.  Sonenshein declares that the claimed public safety benefits are entirely illusory.

COAST encourages Cuyahoga County residents in Cleveland (Issue 35) and Maple Heights (Issue 99) to vote "Yes" on these issues on election day.

COAST encourages Cuyahoga County voters to kill Red Light Cameras

COAST is pleased to remind our friends and readers from the north part of the state that we have an active contingent of COASTers in Cleveland and surrounding areas.  There, our volunteers placed on the ballot not one but two initiatives this year to ban red light cameras in both the City of Cleveland (Issue 35) and the City of Maple Heights (Issue 99).

Thanks to our strong local team, and please remind your friends in these cities to vote "Yes."

COAST wins again against Ohio Elections Commission

As our attorneys at the Finney Law Firm explain here, Federal District Court Judge Michael Barrett issued last week a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Ohio's "False Claims" statute as it relates to ballot issue campaigns.  That decision is here.  Judge Barrett has promised a more extensive ruling on the motion for permanent injunction in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 27, 2014

1851 Center Judicial Report

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has released a report connecting judicial rulings to campaign donors. Read the report here and the guide to understanding judicial records here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

COAST joins broad coalition opposed to tolls for Brent Spence Bridge

Today's Enquirer has it: COAST has joined the broad coalition on both sides of the Ohio River against tolls on the Brent Spence ridge.  Read it here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dayton Daily News Flash: People allowed to speak freely in America!

Today's article from the Dayton Daily News is the latest in a series of disappointments from the formerly vaunted Fourth Estate.

In this article, the reporters bemoan the development that Ohioans have been freed -- as a result of COAST's groundbreaking litigation accomplishment -- to speak about candidates on the ballot without fear that they will be dragged before Ohio's Ministry of Truth, the Ohio Elections Commission.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chris Finney Updates Lisa Wells on Ohio Elections Commission Case Against Cincinnatians for Jobs Now

Chris Finney has been working to uncover the details of the funding and expenditures of a dark money group "Cincinnatians for Jobs Now" that targeted Christopher Smitherman in the 2013 City Council campaign.

The Ohio Elections Commission has ordered discovery to proceed, including depositions and document production.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Really, Chris Wetterich? Really?

Oh, the Fourth Estate.  How low have they sunk?  How completely has it abandoned its role as a force to challenge the power structure in our community, and to educate the public?  

Read this blog entry and you decide.

To illuminate this issue, one need look no further than the exchange COAST had with Chris Wetterich of the Cincinnati Business Courier this evening, including his condescending, loaded questioning. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SORTA uses public funds for tax hike survey, and yet refuses to release the results to -- the taxpayers

Gosh, this is sleazy.  SORTA is seeking a tax increase, spent your tax dollars to do a public opinion survey to advance that cause, and yet refuses to release the survey results to the taxpayers who paid for it!  

Just make it stop!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ryan Messer and his urban hipsters are a funny bunch -- really!

Streetcar booster and hipster leader 
Ryan Messer has no funding plan 
for $3.8 Million Streetcar operating deficit

The bill eventually comes due, doesn't it?  Well that day is about 16 months away, maybe sooner.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ohio Democrat implosion entirely enjoyable, but let's establish a mandate for coming four years

GOP and conservative activists are downright giddy at the complete collapse of the Democrat Party in Ohio in 2014.  If things remain on their current trajectory, Governor Kasich, AG DeWine, Auditor Yost and other statewide candidates will cruise to victory, and the GOP will retain sizable majorities in the House, Senate, and Ohio Supreme Court.

So, it's time to celebrate, right?  Well, not exactly.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

FitzGerald, Neuhardt hop aboard crazy train

We have been so pre-occupied in following the foibles of Ed FitzGerald that we have missed the opportunity to analyze his crazy, liberal Cleveland Democrat positions in the race for Governor.  And that's unfortunate in that he is indeed just another crazy liberal Democrat from Cleveland.  For those of us from Cincinnati, Cleveland Democrats are a whole new level of crazy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

These guys in Maple Heights are funny!

As we reported here, late Friday afternoon, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Maple Heights City Council had to follow the Constitution of the State and place on the ballot a Charter Amendment that has been submitted to Council on a petition signed by more than 10% of the City electorate.  The Charter Amendment will effectively ban the use of red light and speeding cameras within the City.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Arrogance, stupidity combine to secure win against City of Maple Heights, OH

For the past six weeks, the Law Director and City Council of the City of Maple Heights, Ohio have refused to follow their duties under the Constitution of the State of Ohio by placing on the ballot a Charter Amendment limiting the use of red light and speeding cameras in their fair City.  The citizenry had obtained a sufficient number of signatures to secure ballot access, but the City fathers just did not seem to care.

So COAST did what COAST does, and we sued them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dispatch calls on OEC to give up the ghost

Today's Columbus Dispatch calls on the Ohio Elections Commission to end the litigation over Ohio's law banning "false statements" enforced by the Commission.  Last week, Judge Timothy Black declared the law unconstitutional and permanently enjoined its enforcement by the Commission.  The Dispatch editorial asked the Commission not to appeal that ruling, saying that an appeal "likely would fail and waste money."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Whining, Chris Seelbach tries to change the topic from his poor choice on the Streetcar

The subject of this post is a September 3, 2014 Facebook Post of Council member Chris Seelbach, and his letter to the editor in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Before we offer our commentary, we want to note that the topic of the Seelbach post is important, and certainly worthy of debate as a community priority.  We believe a thorough discussion of the reasons and cures for infant mortality and Ohio's #1 role in this scourge is entirely appropriate. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

COAST prevails in First Amendment Litigation

Four years later, COAST and Susan B. Anthony List - and all Ohioans - have their First Amendment Rights vindicated!

Ohio's law criminalizing false speech about a political candidate has been permanently enjoined by Judge Black.

Read more about the case, including the decision here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chris Finney discusses Red Light Camera Fight with Bill Wills on Cleveland Radio WTAM

Coast Attorney Chris Finney spoke with Bill Wills of Clevaland's WTAM to discuss the upcoming ballot initiative in Cleveland to ban unattended red light cameras and the Ohio Supreme Court fight to get a similar initiative on the ballot in Maple Heights, Ohio.

The city fathers of Maple Heights are fighting tooth and nail to keep this from going before the voters.

Monday, September 8, 2014

In face of funding failure, Flynn offers pathetic mea culpa

Kevin Flynn spent fifteen minutes with Willie Cunningham on 700 WLW last week explaining that he only violated his promise to voters to stop the Streetcar because some unnamed people mislead him. He was bamboozled by the empty promises made to him by people who promised him the operations funding ($4-$5 Million per year) were on the way.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The end appears near for the OEC's "Reign of Intimidation."

It's been a 4-year journey, but COAST is pleased to report that the reign of intimidation of the Ohio Elections Commission over political speech in Ohio appears to be coming to an end.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Deteriorating Music Hall first major victim of Cincinnati Streetcar folly

Two fundamental propositions are undeniably true:
  • Music Hall is a gem in Cincinnati, architecturally, historically, and as the home for Cincinnati's world-class symphony orchestra. 
  • Music Hall is outdated and falling into disrepair.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Voters sue Maple Heights at Ohio Supreme Court over Red Light Camera Charter Amendment

True to form of thuggish public officials, the Law Director of Maple Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) is instructing City Council members in that fine burb to ignore the mandates of the Ohio Constitution requiring ballot access for Charter Amendments upon the presentation of a sufficient number of signatures.

Friday, August 22, 2014

In contrast, the City of Maple Heights really wants to be sued

Unlike the City fathers in Cleveland who appear on a trajectory to respect the will of Cleveland voters by placing the Charter Amendment on the ballot as mandated by their petitions and the Ohio Constitution, the City of Maple Heights appears to want COAST to sue them.  Read their defiant letter here.

Well, if that's what they want....

Cleveland Red Light Camera initiative appears headed for the ballot

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this evening that petitioners there have obtained enough valid signatures to place the issue before the voters in our northern neighbor this fall.

Read it here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Roseann Sideritz nails it -- the Cult of School

Read here today's fantastic editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer about the problems in Kings School District.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

More Streetcar bad news

It seems there is no amount of bad news that would convince Streetcar fanatics about the fiscal and economic incorrectness of their support for the Cincinnati Streetcar project.  Overall cost, cost per rider, the absence of any real transportation benefits, the list of reasons not to have done the Streetcar is lengthy and valid, but the biggest reason not to have proceeded with the Streetcar is that each year, year after year, the fine citizens and taxpayers of Cincinnati will need to lay off police and firefighters, and decide between picking up trash and cleaning the streets of ice and snow, versus operating the trolley to nowhere.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

City of Maple Heights, OH tackles Red Light Cameras

It's the latest in a series of ballot issues backed by COAST to ban red light cameras in Ohio, City by City.  This time, we came to the aid of the residents of Maple Heights, Ohio in drafting a petition to amend the City Charter to ban the pernicious devices.

See 19 Action News' coverage of today's protest and the petition turn-in.  Once again, citizens take control of their own destiny.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lack of outrage for Lois Lerner's bias is frightening

The fabric of our democratic republic is woven with an underlying respect for opposing forces and for our systems of "laws not men."  Year after year, by and large, Democrats and Republicans play by the rules, and accept the outcome of elections, win or lose.  It was an underlying assumption under our Constitutional system that it hinges upon fair play so that our differences would be aired at the ballot box rather than with guns and bombs.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something we all should be able to agree upon: Setting priorities

A new Hamilton County jail.  A renovated Cincinnati Music Hall. A refurbished Cincinnati Museum Center.  Re-doing the century-old buildings at Cincinnati's Zoo. A streetcar to Clifton. Preschools for every child.  Better police and fire protection.  Fixing the long-neglected Cincinnati pension.  Lavish facilities at Ohio's Colleges and Universities. A new public arena for Cincinnati.  Improved technical and vocational educational facilities and programs at Cincinnati State.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ohio Rising Sales Tax Survey

Participate in the survey here:

 Then contact the County Commissioners here:

President Chris Monzel:  (513) 946-4409 (ph)
Vice President Greg Hartmann:  (513) 946-4406 (ph)
Commissioner Todd Portune:  (513) 946-4401 (ph)

Monday, June 23, 2014

COAST gets second win at High Court


COAST's legal dream team, lead by Chris Finney and Curt Hartman tallied two wins at the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

In both cases, the Court was deciding whether COAST had standing to challenge Ohio's political speech suppressing Political False Statements law.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Could it be possible, a second US Supreme Court win in June 2014?

We know it all seems implausible, impossible, inconceivable, but COAST could have a second win at the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why they lost -- Eric Cantor to Jean Schmidt

The boneyard of GOP officeholders who lost in their primary elections the last two cycles and this one is getting quite crowded:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

David Pepper Embraces Obamacare Boondoggle

We here at COAST are not at all surprised to see prolific tax-hiker David A. Pepper express support for another big government disaster, but the rest of the state might be.  Yesterday, perennial candidate for office Pepper took to the airwaves to express his support for the biggest government boondoggle of our time - Obamacare.  You can hear him in his own words HERE.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why did Rick Bryan do it?

We are not trying to relive the results in Ohio's 28th House District Primary Election in which conservative Jon Dever defeated hopeless moderate Rick Bryan.  And we are not trying to gloat over the hard-fought COAST victory in which every action of the opposition and every campaign issue could have been the margin of victory.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

COAST has arrived! Watergate weasel John Dean takes off after COAST -- "big-league deeply-funded conservative Ohio PAC"

We have endured the slings and arrows of our opponents claiming that we are "toast," "irrelevant," "insignificant," and "impotent."

But today, we have finally arrived.  Today, we learned from a major national figure that we are both "big-league" and "deeply funded," whatever those terms mean.

You'll love this license plate of our friend Jack Chrisman from Warren County

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

U.S. Tax Reform Bill Proposes Increased Taxes, Weakens Investment

COAST exists to limit tax rates and spending at the federal, state and local levels. However, U.S. Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp’s (R-MI), recent tax reform proposal includes tax increases that may not appear ill-intentioned, but the long term impacts will affect business expansion and job creation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chris Finney Recaps SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus Supreme Court Oral Argument

COAST Attorney Christopher Finney discussed the Supreme Court oral argument and the twisted saga of the Ohio Elections Commission, with Brian Thomas this morning.

Listen below.

Personal commentary of COAST attorney Chris Finney on the US Supreme Court proceedings

We reprint below today's Facebook entry of COAST attorney Chris Finney on yesterday's US Supreme Court oral argument in Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. the Ohio Elections Commission.

A lot of things transpired yesterday at the US Supreme Court, all of them really good. I will share a few stories in the entries over the next couple of days.
The history of how we got there was important. For five years I have had a principle I thought important -- stopping the Ohio Elections Commission from implementing a statute in a manner that was absolutely abusive of everything I understood about the First Amendment.
In a case at the beginning of this journey, I watched bureaucrat after bureaucrat empowered by an unconstitutional statute blithely trample the First Amendment rights of those who chose to participate in the great political debates in communities throughout Ohio. 
However, in a series of cases before three different local federal District Court Judges, and all 15 Judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, not a single one seemed to appreciate the arguments we made. They either rejected or could not seem to understand the important "chilling" argument about the OEC "false claims" proceedings, and one at a a time in a series of decisions upheld the clearly unconstitutional scheme.
Our legal team lost case after case, four of them in all. Not a single Judge of 18 that looked at the issue agreed with our position. But we persisted in the relatively difficult and expensive task of bringing the case before the United States Supreme Court. They accept less than 1% of all cases brought to them -- this year only about 80 of 10,000 "cert" petitions were granted. 
Finally, yesterday, one by one, each of the nine Justices revealed in their questioning that they each had a fundamental understanding of exactly the issues we had complained of, and they held to account the state bureaucrats who trampled First Amendment rights we fought so hard -- and vainly up until now -- to vindicate. 
In my public interest practice, I have said that there is no moment so satisfying as when I force an out-of-control bureaucrat to stand before a Judge and account for his conduct.
That happened yesterday in the highest court in the land, and it was enormously just to witness. 
Even this Supreme Court case is just another step in a long, but appearing now inexorable, process to have Ohio's False Claims law declared unconstitutional. But seeing that the case will turn out eventually as it should is a great professional milestone.
It is likely that I will never pass this way again. For me, it was absolutely everything it was cracked up to be.

More Supreme Court coverage....

Washington Times
Denver Post
Columbus Dispatch (updated)
Wall Street Journal
Cincinnati Enquirer (updated)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Media wrap from today's oral argument at the US Supreme Court

It was a strong showing by Susan B. Anthony List and COAST at the US Supreme Court today.  Here is a summary of the media reports:

And the Washington Post today has a "before the argument" story explaining "Why the Supreme Court's 'right to lie' case is not really about the 'right to lie.'"  Read that important story here.    

SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus Oral Argument Transcript

Monday, April 21, 2014

Columbus Dispatch details criminal conviction for -- engaging in political speech in Ohio!

Everyone assumes it is -- as a practical matter -- beyond the reach of reason that the Ohio Elections Commission and the Courts of Ohio to actually convict and criminally punish someone for engaging in campaign speech in Ohio.  But it is not just theoretical under Ohio's pernicious statute punishing political speech.  It has happened!

Today's Columbus Dispatch details a criminal conviction in Ohio for engaging in an act dangerous to society -- political speech!

Because the State courts and the federal courts -- until now -- refuse to reel in the out-of-control Ohio Elections Commission, tomorrow's Supreme Court oral argument is our first real shot at striking down this unconstitutional enforcement scheme.

Read it here.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

It does not get any better than this

As those who follow COAST have seen, we have used all of the tools available to us that are legal, ethical, moral and possible to achieve our goal of transforming government in southwest Ohio and throughout the State to give more liberty to our citizens, and to reduce the size, reach and scope of government.

Towards that end, we have been aggressive, creative, and innovative.  We have used ballot issues, paid media, earned media, social media, traditional campaign techniques, and law suits.  We have pushed the envelope to transform our community from one bound up by big government, big unions, and big business in an all-too cozy relationship that oppresses the citizenry to one in which entrepreneurism and individual liberty prevails.  It drives the powers-that-be absolutely crazy.  And it has been by well-planned design, not happenstance.

We have killed the jail tax, red light cameras, the Water Works takeover, and the Parking Plot.  We have stopped CPS, Laure Quinlivan and the City of Cincinnati from abusing tax dollars for campaign purposes.  In short, we have upset the delicate balance of power in greater Cincinnati that for decades favored a relentless drive forward for bigger government and higher taxes.  And in response, we have stirred a hornet's nest of opposition and resentment from those who had designs on your wallet.

COAST has rained on the parade of the powers-that-were in Cincinnati.  We have had stunning political wins for a ragtag band of insurgents.  And today, as a result, we influence a broad spectrum of the political landscape in Cincinnati.  It has been a great run.

But all of this pales in contrast to COAST's latest venture -- at trip to the United States Supreme Court to kill Ohio's False Claims Statute and the pernicious (and obnoxious) enforcement of the same by the arrogant Ohio Elections Commission.  Read about it here.

An absolutely out-of-control OEC, immunized from its own outrageous conduct by the Federal District Courts, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, has abused the rights of Ohio citizens engaged in political discourse for more than three decades.  It has been a reign of terror by an out-of-control public body, a modern-day inquisition, a Star Chamber, effectively sanctioned by the very Courts who should have clipped their wings long ago.

Well, their party is about to end, and it's going to take the adults on the United States Supreme Court to do it.  We anticipate a stunning rebuke of the bizarre and abusive practices of the OEC by the nation's highest Court.

Stay tuned Tuesday, and thereafter for the end of the Kafkaesque oppression foisted on the citizens of Ohio.

We confidently predict that it will be COAST's finest hour to date when the decision is issued.

Legal team explains COAST's position on US Supreme Court case in Wall Street Journal

Our legal team before the US Supreme Court is led by two brilliant and seasoned Jones Day attorneys, Mike Carvin and Yaakov Roth.  They wrote in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, explaining as well as we possibly could, our case before the US Supreme Court Tuesday.

What is at stake is not the "right to lie" as our opponents claim, but the question of whether the citizens of will continue to empower a panel of politically-appointed bureaucrats to decide what they think is true and false in election campaigns -- holding over the heads of all Ohioans up to six months in jail if they disagree with what you may have to say.

Read it here.  It is very well said.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

COAST Endorses Dever for Ohio 28

COAST is proud to endorse conservative Jonathan Dever for State Representative in the 28th District GOP Primary.  Dever, a first time candidate, has been a fixture supporting conservative causes and Republican candidates in Hamilton County.

Dever currently owns two small businesses, and his wife owns a 3rd, that employ 15 people.  Jonathan has proven his conservative credentials in not just his words but his actions, and COAST looks forward to him representing SW Ohio in the State House.

Dever looks to defeat tax-and-spend Republican Rick Bryan, a Blue Ash Councilman.  Bryan has an extensive and disturbing record of raising taxes and wasting significant taxpayer funds on large, questionable projects.  For example, Bryan is currently building a comically wasteful $75 million park.  This will cost the equivalent of $6200 per Blue Ash resident - more than the Wall Street Bailouts and Obama Stimulus COMBINED!

Rick Bryan voted for and enthusiastically endorsed a 25% Earnings Tax hike on Blue Ash workers and residents.  He lined up behind David Pepper and Todd Portune to support a massive countywide Sales Tax increase that the voters wisely rejected.  Bryan even said we should have re-elected the incompetent Bob Bedinghaus based on his (disastrous) work on the stadiums.

Shockingly, in 2012 Bryan used his position as a Blue Ash Councilman to help fund the Cincinnati Streetcar.  Bryan happily obeyed former Mayor Mark Mallory's demand to rescind, then redo the 2007 airport land deal between the two cities in a way that allowed Cincinnati to legally spend the proceeds on their streetcar fiasco.  Bryan sold out the people of Blue Ash and Cincinnati to help fund a streetcar that most 28th District residents want no part of.

While many elections come down to the lesser of two evils, we are pleased that this race isn't one of them.  Conservative Jonathan Dever is a significantly better choice than Tax Hikin' Rick Bryan and has earned our support. 
Learn more about Jonathan Dever here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A media wrap as we pack our bags for D.C.

COASTers are packing their bags for their big trips this weekend to our nation's capital to prepare for their appearance before the nine fine Justices of the United States Supreme Court.  And as we do, we thought, you might want to enjoy the board range of stories from all over America on the hornet's nest we have stirred up once again.

Just click on the links below.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Associated Press
Digital Journal
Gnomes National News Service
Roll Call
Wall Street Journal

Today's SCOTUS Blog covers COAST's Supreme Court case

There is a blog devoted to extensive coverage of the United States Supreme Court -- the SCOTUS blog.  Its objective, in-depth and scholarly writing draws positive reviews from court watchers.

Today it has an extensive blog post on our case that is being heard next Tuesday before the United States Supreme Court.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

COAST goes to Heritage Foundation

Today, COAST went to the Heritage Foundation 
for "moot court" preparations for its 
U.S. Supreme Court oral argument next week 

Today, the Heritage Foundation hosted a "moot court" dry run through for next week's oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Present was our lead counsel, and more than a dozen of the top conservative attorneys in the country, who peppered him with questions.

COAST was represented by Cincinnati attorneys Chris Finney and Curt Hartman at the event.

It is a big week as we build up for next Tuesday's oral argument.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SCOTUS Blog features two DeWine briefs and U.S. Solicitor General's brief

Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. Ohio Elections Commission continues to generate considerable attention from Supreme Court watchers. 

The widely-read SCOTUS blog today features commentary about the two briefs from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Solicitor General's brief.

Read it here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Amici score: 67-0 for the Good Guys!

It is decidedly not the way the United States Supreme Court makes decisions: looking at the number of amici filing briefs on each side of a case.  Indeed, we would want them to decide cases based upon the law, and not on some sort of popularity contest.

Still, the lop-sided nature of the amici score, and the vast array of Amici in support of COAST's position, in the case of Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. the Ohio Elections Commission tells you something about the nature of the issues before the Court.

67 Amici have filed 22 briefs in favor of COAST's position before the U.S. Supreme Court.  They include a broad spectrum amici such as the the Ohio Attorney General, the ACLU, the United States of America, and Citizens United, the Republican National Committee, the American Booksellers Association and the Alliance Defense Fund.  (Several commentators have noted that it takes a malevolent complainant [former Congressman Steve Driehaus] and a pernicious statute to unite such a diverse army against the State of Ohio.)

On the other hand, ZERO briefs have been filed in support of the position of the State of Ohio.  Not a single one.

That may tell us a little something about this oppressive regime that exists in Ohio, that no one but the Elections Commission itself thought it was worth defending.

The oral argument is April 22.  Several COASTers are planning a sojourn to D.C. to watch the historic events unfold, the beginning of the restoration of our free speech rights in Ohio.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus - State of Ohio Respondent's Brief

Defending the indefensible free speech chilling political speech regulation, comes now the State of Ohio in its Respondent's Brief before the United States Supreme Court.

We must give them credit, the Ohio Elections Commission is not going down without a fight!

The Legacy of Mark Mallory and Roxanne Qualls: City's bond rating lowered

For eight long years, Cincinnati's media and business leaders watched month after month and year after year as the City made one irresponsible fiscal decision after another, and the City sank into fiscal despair.  And they did nothing.

COAST, along with a few Council members -- Smitherman, Murray, Lippert, and eventually Bortz and Berding -- rang the alarm bells.  But Mayor Mark Mallory insisted on driving the train of municipal finances into a brick wall.

As sure as a housing crisis cooked up by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the chickens have come home to roost: yesterday Cincinnati's bond rating was again lowered.

Mayor Cranley has it right.  Of the twin effects of higher interest rates and loss of Cincinnati's reputation of being fiscally responsible, the latter is the far greater loss.

Of course, the new Council, drunk with their new power, went on a spending spree from Day #1 with the Cincinnati Streetcar and its annual $5-$10 million in operating expenses.  So Mayor Cranley has to do battle daily with a cabal bent on the same destructive policies that brought us to this place.

Read it in the Enquirer here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eastside Candidates Night - Thursday Night at Clark Montessori School

COAST's case at the US Supreme Court makes today's New York Times

Adam Liptak of the New York Times, who last year covered Mark Miller's "Tweets" free speech case, today covers the COAST/Susan B. Anthony List case heard by the US Supreme Court on April 22.

It is a well-written piece that covers the highlights.  He is skeptical that the Cato Institute's brief humor will have the desired effect.

Read it here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Financial Times has an interesting analysis of the resurgent GOP

The Financial Times has an interesting article on the resurgent GOP, a GOP whose death has been repeatedly predicted.

Here's a good excerpt:

Yet there is something deep within America’s political DNA that recycles first-generation social democrats into second-generation conservatives. For most of the 20th century, Catholic Italians and Irish were a reliable Democratic voting block. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan changed that partly by using dog whistles to play on their racial fears and partly by appealing to their upwardly mobile aspirations.

Read the entire article here.

Amicus of the Day - Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

The leading organization aimed toward protecting the individual rights of students and educators filed a blistering amicus brief, calling for the Supreme Court to unlock the courthouse door and allow SBA List and COAST to challenge the Constitutionality of Ohio's Free Speech chilling and Free Thought killing law.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rightly points out that speech chilling laws like Ohio's political speech regulation must be subject to pre-enforcement challenge lest those who seek to silence political critics will be emboldened.

COAST is humbled by the depth and breadth of legal thought that our case is attracting from FIRE and all of the Amici; and we are ever strengthened for the fight not only for our own rights, but to help insure that all Americans - no matter what their politics - are free to express themselves to the Constitutions fullest extent.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cleveland Plain Dealer blasts South Euclid and its Law Director

There seems to be a symbiosis many times between Big Media and Big Government, where the arrogance of the latter is presumed, and promoted, by the former.

However, that is not so in the case of this fantastic editorial from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the uber-thuggish Law Director of the City of South Euclid, Mike Lograsso, and his enablers, the elected officials in that burb.  He actually called local citizen activists: "lowdown scumbag piece of garbage" in a public meeting, apparently failing to take to heart the term "public servant."

Read it here.  It is a thing of beauty.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Outlook for Ohio Sunshine Week: Cloudy with a chance of showers

This week has been declared "Sunshine Week" in Ohio, dedicated to highlighting Ohio's Sunshine Laws and the performance of public officials and courts under them.

First, the positive:

  • COAST has had dramatic success in southwest Ohio in enforcing Ohio's public records laws, training public officials to promptly and properly respond to records requests.  It used public records requests in 2013 to shine a spotlight on the disastrous Parking Plot, and the Streetcar debacle.  From the aggressive use of the public records statute, through requests and litigation, we have forced a much greater degree of governmental accountability than ever before.
  • As was reported here, we also have had success under the Ohio Open Meetings laws, forcing Clearcreek's Trustees to end a practice of 26 years of illegal pre-meeting meetings, where everything was discussed, deliberated and decided behind closed doors.
  Now, the negative,

  • Courts throughout Ohio and now the Ohio Supreme Court in its South Euclid decisions have shown overt hostility to Oho's Public Records law, and in the most recent two decisions effectively repealed it.  They did so by ruling that as long as the public agency produces the records before a final judgment is rendered (even if after years of litigation), the case is "mooted" and no attorneys fees or costs are awarded.  The net effect of these decisions is that no attorney would ever accept a public records case, and thus the statute has been gutted.  Worse, the decision is cut from whole cloth, and entirely unsupportable by the language of the statute -- in other words, the Court re-wrote the law to suit its whims.
So, there is not so much Sunshine in Ohio this Sunshine Week.  The forecast for open government is cloudy at best.

American Civil Liberties Union Amicus Brief in Support of COAST and SBA List

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Amicus Curiae join the fight for the First Amendment

The nearly four years' long battle against Ohio's political speech police was recently joined by forty-six friends of the court who filed nineteen separate amicus curiae briefs in our Supreme Court case, SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus, et al. - every one of them in support of the SBA List and COAST.

The amici are a veritable who's who of free speech, limited government and civil liberties organizations (and one of America's pre-eminent humorists) including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association. It is comforting to know that no matter these groups' divergent political views, they all hold the Constitution dear.

The complete list of amici filings we have received thus far:

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
American Civil Liberties Union
1851 Center for Constitutional Law
Government Integrity Fund
Alliance Defending Freedom
American Booksellers Association
American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression,
American Library Association, Association Of American Publishers, Inc.
Comic book Legal Defense Fund
Freedom to Read Foundation
Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association
Mountain & Plains Independent Booksellers Association
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
Annie Bloom's Books, Changing Hands Bookstore, Inc.
Harvard Bookstore, Inc.
Paulina Springs Books
Powell's Bookstore, Inc.
Schuler Books & Music
Tattered Cover, Inc.
The King's English, Inc.
Weller Book Works
Village Books
Dark Horse Comics, Inc.
Student Press Law Center
United States of America
Southeastern Legal Foundation
Institute for Justice 
Reason Foundation
Individual Rights Foundation
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists
Review and Herald Publishing Association
Pacific Press Publishing Association
Christian Legal Society
National Association of Evangelicals
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Queens Federation of Churches and Institutional Religious Freedom
Citizens United
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Center for Competitive Politics
Bioethics Defense Fund
Justice and Freedom Fund
First Amendment Lawyers Association
Cato Institute
P.J. O'Rourke

COAST will be posting an "Amicus of the Day" over the next few weeks to highlight each of the arguments made in the briefs. Check out today's brief here