Sunday, March 29, 2015

We just watch in awe

OK. Let's start with a question:
Is there a capital project or an "economic development" project you are so in love with that the cost-benefit analysis is utterly irrelevant? 
Of course not.  We are not talking about saving lives or Western Civilization.  We are addressing the expenditure of scarce tax dollars to leverage a greater level of development for jobs and yet other capital projects.

So, the careful analysis of the ROI for each capital dollar spent should be the yardstick for approving those expenditures.  Should be.

Thus, we watch in awe as today it is reported that the utility relocation costs associated with the "next mile" of Cincinnati Streetcar track and yet Streetcar supporters are massing for yet another public hearing demanding that City Council continue the spending to expand the Streetcar route into Uptown.

Now, all of this is entirely predictable: All of the cost estimates, warning bells, overruns, alarms, headlines and data from other jurisdictions were unheeded as they plowed forward with Streetcar Phases 1 and 1A.  And, even Council supporters conceded when the Downtown route was approved that there was no reason to build the Riverfront-to-Findlay Market leg unless we intended to run the Streetcar to and around uptown.

We are blessed, however, that consistently Mayor John Cranley has been throwing cold water on these unfunded pipe dreams.  He, the voice of reason at City Hall, has consistently opposed Streetcar funding.

So, read today's latest from the Enquirer on the Streetcar.  We watch in awe as the out-of-touch tax and spenders try to plow forward in fiscal irresponsibility.

It is a sight to behold!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eric Holder, Libertarian?

The groundbreaking WeDemandAVote.Com coalition that was launched in 2007 among the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP, COAST, Ohio Libertarians, the Ohio Green Party and others had many political pundits scratching their heads:

How could this diverse group come to agreement on anything?

However, as time has marched on, many in our community have developed a deep understanding as to how conservatives, progressives, Libertarians and Greens could unite:

Government has simply become too big, too intrusive, too oppressive 
for the good of the people it supposedly serves.  

A bigger jail, red light cameras, a trash tax, higher parking fees...the citizenry can only take so much, and in Cincinnati working men and women had had enough.  The unifying theme was: Leave us alone!

Now, one would have thought that the other end of that political spectrum were President Obama and his hand-picked Attorney General Eric Holder, who seem to have devoted their professional existence to the expansion of government into every nook and cranny of our lives, and an increase in taxation and spending to accompany that.

Thus, color us shocked that in his last official act as U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder issued an utterly remarkable report, here, that decries the abuse of power by the City of Ferguson in a myriad of ways, primarily in harassing citizens with oppressive traffic laws, a rapacious enforcement system, and a biased Court system.  Holder systematically explains how unchecked local government causes untold hardship on the very citizens who need help, not harassment by government.

Is Eric Holder, after all, a libertarian? 

The real story behind the Holder report is that we can choose to have a system of limited government, where our elected and appointed officials live inside tight bounds of power defined by the Constitution and an activist citizenry, or we can live as vassals of our elected and appointed officials, cowering in fear of their next capricious act.

In this February article New York Times reporter Shaila Dewan connected these dots, and noted the COAST/NAACP alliance as one of several developments throughout the nation where historic divides have been bridged to fight oppressive and unjust local government.

This incredible Washington Post article from September of last year, How municipalities in St. Louis County, MO, profit from poverty, explains in excruciating but necessary detail how self-serving government officials either intentionally or thoughtlessly create endless misery for citizens living on the margins of society.

This choice is clear from the Holder report, and the preference of the Department of Justice toward constrained governance is equally clear.  It is a remarkable end to his tenure as U.S. Attorney General.

COAST exists, in great part, to check the nature of man and government to oppress the citizenry.  We are as a State and a nation blessed to have had founders and visionary elected officials that have put in place over the centuries and decades constitutional and statutory constraints on the power of government officials.  We gladly use these tools -- lawsuits, ballot issues, election campaigns -- to keep government in check.

We welcome the recent attention to the outrageous conduct across the criminal justice system in Missouri, but note that the petty indignities that ultimately ignited months of riots in suburban St. Louis exist throughout the nation.  Left and right, black and white, rich and poor, can and should unite to reaffirm the principles of limited government that have made America the greatest country on earth.  It is an endless battle to keep the powerful in check.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

COAST attorney argues ObamaCare case at the US Supreme Court

2014 was a rush, for sure.

In that year, COAST ascended to oral argument before the US Supreme Court in its battle before the Ohio Elections Commission.  And we won 9-0 in a Clarence Thomas-authored opinion.  

That case was skillfully shepherded to victory -- in intensely sophisticated ways -- through the maze that is the US Supreme Court appellate process, by Jones Day partner Michael A. Carvin.  Carvin is an experienced Federal appellate advocate that specializes in Supreme Court work.

Thus, COAST was quite proud today when Mr. Carvin argued for the Plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, the last best hope of conservatives to overturn the devastatingly bad piece of socialist engineering for America that is ObamaCare.

Read about his appearance in virtually any media outlet.  

We told you, we told you , we told you

The drip, drip, drip of bad news on the Cincinnati Streetcar project continues.

We don't wish bad for Cincinnati.  We really don't.  Indeed, we tried our hardest, we did, to stop our out-of-control City Fathers and Mothers from making this epic mistake of debt and deficits.  They did not listen and they did not heed the reality of mathematics.

But today's Business Courier story on the Streetcar is just part of more to come.  It's simple:

  1. Cost overruns on the construction of the project, meaning either that the monies must come from the City's operating funds or more debt.
  2. The operations of the Streetcar will cost more than the income, and indeed more than City leaders and Streetcar boosters have told us.  By definition, this means either high taxes and fees, or it means a reduction in critical services such as Police and Fire protection.
Note that the latest Streetcar bad news is reported by relentless Streetcar boosters at the Cincinnati Business Courier.  Read it here.

So, we wish it were't so.  We wish we were wrong all along.

But we were not.  And Cincinnati taxpayers will pay the price.