HO HO HO!
Best holiday wishes to all, from Yellow Dog Sammy and the "real" yellow dogs (Sam and Stella).
UPDATE: That was so much fun, I had to add some more:
News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, this blog is on a temporary hiatus. Operations will resume at OhioDailyBlog.com in January.
On a sad day for public safety and for "home rule" authority on the part of local governments, the Ohio Senate voted 21-12 to override the veto by Gov. Bob Taft (R) of House Bill 347, which makes minor adjustments to the concealed carry weapon law but also voids all local regulations of the sale and possession of guns. This came despite the release of a poll indicating that 54% of Ohioans (and 57% of Ohio Republicans) agreed with Taft that it was a "bad idea" to preempt local gun control laws.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) is in the race:
"Democrats were swept into power on Nov. 7 because of widespread voter discontent with the war in Iraq," Kucinich said. "Instead of heeding those concerns and responding with a strong and immediate change in polices and direction, the Democratic congressional leadership seems inclined to continue funding the perpetuation of the war."Unlike some, I'm very glad that he will join the field. It's not that I think he has a chance to win, it's that his hard-core anti-war stance will force the other Democratic candidates to take seriously the views of anti-war Democratic voters.
Franklin County elections officials announced this morning that the automatic recount has been completed and did not change the results of the 15th Ohio Congressional district race, with Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) narrowly defeating Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus).
Secretary of State-elect Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus) has announced key individuals who will serve under her after she takes office on January 8th:
I don't often blog about blogs, but I want to extend an enthusiastic welcome to Bill Sloat, until very recently the Cleveland Plain Dealer's man on the scene in Cincinnati, who is bloggin' up a storm at The Daily Bellwether. His first post a few days ago suggested that Sen. Mike DeWine should go ahead and resign already. Since then he's churned out about a dozen posts, all of them thoroughly researched, thoughtful, beautifully written, and often hilarious. You won't find this stuff anywhere else. Lots about court rulings and the law, along with public affairs, politics, and personalities. (Interesting blogroll, too -- it alerted me to this blog devoted to all the departures from the PD via buyouts.) As Bill notes here, "the switch to the Internet for news and information has pushed [newspapers] into a down-cycle." Will the arrival of newspaper folk in the blogosphere push it into an up-cycle, quality wise?
No phun pheeling pholorn as Pho phavors his phans with phewer of his phine phacile opherings while he's pheeling phoul.
Gov. Bob Taft (R) preserved local gun regulations under the "home rule" power of local governments (for now, anyway) by following through on his threat to veto a hastily passed amendment to Ohio's concealed carry gun law.
Ray Miller - (614) 466-5131Unfortunately, Wilson is notably pro-gun.
CJ Prentiss - (614) 466-4857
Charlie Wilson - (614) 466-6508
Marc Dann - (614) 466-7182
House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) today objected to Republican legislators rushing major policy changes to the House floor with little or no public debate in the waning days of the 126th General Assembly. She announced that the House Democratic Caucus would oppose three bills, two of which might otherwise merit serious consideration by Democrats, because they appear to be headed to the floor just days after being introduced. All are expected to be voted on in legislative committees today.
CQ Politics reports that attorney Michael Todd (D-Medina), a member of the state central Democratic committee, has notified the Federal Election Commission that he intends to run for the seat of 82-year-old veteran legislator Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) in 2008. Todd is a Medina township trustee and an army veteran.
Once again signaling their determination to push divisive partisan legislation during the lameduck session, Republican legislators revived an extreme anti-abortion law and voted it out of committee today. The bill, HB 239, has been essentially dormant since it was introduced by Rep. Michelle Schneider (R) in May.
I urge readers to sign the online petition sponsored by Democracy for America, calling for mandatory verifiable paper ballots in elections. Here is what I wrote for my message to be included with the petition:
The 13th Florida Congressional District fiasco is absolutely the last straw. Electronic voting without a verifiable paper trail is unacceptable and un-American. Our nation stands for genuine democracy, not suspect elections shielded from meaningful recounts. Public trust in elections is flagging and must be built up. Require a verifiable paper trail now!
It was a strong enough rumor for the editors of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to herald the idea, calling him a "credible envoy with bipartisan backing," but outgoing U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) says nobody has talked to him about replacing John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and in fact he is not interested.
The political blog First Read at MSNBC reports that presidential hopeful John Edwards (D-NC) will name former member of Congress David Bonior (D-MI) later today as a senior advisor for policy and politics, and hints that Bonior may serve as campaign manager should Edwards become an official candidate.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Franklin County Board of Elections will hand-count more than 19,000 ballots, 10% of the total cast, instead of 3% as required by law. This will be done in order to compare hand-count results to those produced by computers and counting machines. "It will give us a greater opportunity to test and prove the accuracy ... of our new system," said Franklin County Elections Director Matthew Damschroder.
This just in -- Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) and Republican Kim Kahlert have announced plans to wed. Kahlert is director of development for Equality Ohio, a civil rights organization, and lives in Franklin County. The pair met at a political event in Columbus in March.
Governor-elect Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) has announced leaders of 14 transition committees, who will evaluate current practices and report their findings to the new administration. The following list includes chairpeople and coordinators for particular departments or programs. These are transition leaders, not necessarily people who will assume permanent posts in the administration, but they will have important influence in shaping the new administration and their selection indicates high regard on the part of the Strickland team.
* Interesting that there are five city/state relations chairs, and only two county/state relations chairs. Simply a matter of there being more mayors to placate, or an actual emphasis on the neglected urban agenda?2nd UPDATE: The Columbus Dispatch notes that Chema, Sabety, and Levin are "Celestials," meaning people who served in the 1983-1991 administration of former Gov. Richard Celeste.
* Jim Rokakis and Peter Lawson Jones from Cuyahoga County are excellent picks. If Strickland taps Rokakis for a permanent slot it will be great for state government but a huge loss for the county.
* When I see these unsuccessful candidates for statewide office, it makes me think they're headed for high-level state positions: Barbara Sykes, Hugh Quill, John Reardon, Eric Fingerhut. (Quill and Reardon dropped out of their races for the sake of party unity, Sykes joined hers when she was asked to do so. They're all good people and they all should be rewarded. Fingerhut bucked the party, but he would be an excellent adminstrator.) Add Catherine Barrett to that list, too -- she dropped out of the race for Ohio Senate early. C.J. Prentiss is leaving the Ohio Senate this year due to term limits, but I have a hunch she is not anxious to jump into the executive branch. If she does, it will be because she was offered something she just couldn't resist.
At a press availabilty in Columbus today, House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) issued a stern warning about GOP initiatives in the lame duck session of the General Assembly that threaten to interfere with the incoming Strickland administration or are otherwise inconsistent with the mandate given to the Democratic Party by Ohio voters on November 7th. "Actions speak louder than words – and the actions of the past couple of weeks are unsettling,” said Beatty. “Recent events suggest we might be headed for a series of partisan power plays and surprises that could poison the Statehouse climate.”
* A proposal (not yet publicly announced) that could limit or eliminate lead paint manufacturers’ liability for selling products they knew for decades were dangerous to children.
* HB 695, a long bill introduced by Rep. Chuck Calvert (R) on Thursday, which would create a third system of schools in Ohio (in addition to the public schools and charter). Hearings are expected to start Tuesday in the Finance and Appropriations Committee.
* A proposal by Rep. Kevin DeWine (R) to put new limits on campaign contributions. DeWine wrote the law passed two years ago that quadrupled prior limits, so that individuals can now contribute $10,000 to a single state candidate in both the primary and the general election in one election cycle. Republicans were surprised when 2006 Democratic candidates, especially Ted Strickland, received a large number of contributions at the new $10,000 maximum level. Democrats say that any additional changes to the law should be developed in a bipartisan way, not rushed through the lame duck session on a party line vote.
There is a battle shaping up over Democratic economic policy in the next Congress. New York Times reporter Louis Uchitelle identified the players and stakes here, and there is an in-depth report on Alternet as well. David Sirota also weighs in, naming names in a piece that defines the battle as "The People Party" vs. "The Money Party."
Both would sponsor legislation that reduced college tuition, mainly through tax credits or lower interest rates on student loans. Both would expand the earned-income tax credit to subsidize the working poor. Both would have the government negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare’s prescription drug plan. And despite their relentless criticisms of President Bush’s tax cuts, neither the populists nor the Rubinite regulars would try to roll them back now, risking a veto that the Democrats lack the votes to override.However, on other points their ideas diverge sharply:
The populists argue that the national income has flowed disproportionately into corporate coffers and the nation’s wealthiest households, and that the imbalance has grown worse in recent years. They want to rethink America’s role in the global economy. They would intervene in markets and regulate them much more than the Rubinites would. For a start, they would declare a moratorium on new trade agreements until clauses were included that would, for example, restrict layoffs and protect incomes.This divide is likely to spill over into lobbying reform (the populists will want to reduce the influence of Wall Street and corporate interests much more sharply) and tax policy (for example, Sherrod Brown has advocated not only stopping incentives to off-shoring of jobs, but putting in new incentives to promote domestic production).
But the Rubin camp argues that regulating trade, or imposing other market restrictions, would be self-defeating. “You pay a steep economic cost when you adopt market interventions,” said Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a leader of the Rubin group. He argued, for example, that restrictions on layoffs “would impede the ability of markets to reallocate labor efficiently.” As a result, the Rubinites contend, there would be slower economic growth and less national income to distribute — equally or unequally.
[Rubin] has called for a new economic direction by balancing the federal government's budget through spending cuts and tax increases, more free-trade agreements, wage insurance for workers dislocated by globalization and restraining personal- injury lawsuits.When the new Congress gets underway, this polarization over economic policy will likely escalate, and if neither camp prevails then gridlock on economic initiatives may result. However, that is not the only potential battleground. The primaries for the 2008 presidential election are likely to feature a continuing debate about "Rubinomics" vs. populist economics. Assuming that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is involved, her association with Clinton-era free trade policy (i.e., NAFTA) will be a hot issue.
"The strategy you propose offers little, in my view, to either bolster economic growth or address the stagnating wages and living standards of American working families," Trumka wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to Rubin. "I am simply astonished that you would suggest such a politically toxic agenda for the Democratic Party."
"When the wizards of Wall Street start dictating Democratic policy, the first to be forgotten are the Democratic voters who made these election successes possible," said Rick Sloan, a spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. "We get screwed every time these guys grab the handles of power. They forget the need to create jobs. They are much more interested in Chinese growth than Cleveland's growth."
There is an important article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today that connects the dots in recent Ohio legislation and high court rulings to reach the conclusion that the so-called "home rule" provision of the Ohio constitution (article 18, section 3), which empowers local governments to enforce laws specific to their territory so long as such laws "are not in conflict with general laws," is in danger of extinction. "I think that when we look back on this 126th General Assembly," said State Sen. Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights) in the story, "the epitaph has to be the death of home rule."
"At the Statehouse, Democrats tend to support "home rule" while Republicans do not. But that is not always the case. The residency bill passed with bipartisan support."I think the partisan underpinnings are much stronger than that. Democrats control the big cities and nine out of ten of the most populous counties. Those are the local governments that are most active in passing and enforcing local laws, and they have interests that diverge from less populated areas. For example, many bigger cities and towns have gun regulations such as laws against assault weapons and against bringing guns into public parks, all of which will be erased if the current amendment to concealed carry gun law passes. I see the flood of statewide laws that intrude into areas previously legislated by local governments, and court decisions that uphold such statewide laws, as shifting the balance of power from Democratic to Republican control. Along with that shift comes a fundamental change in the underlying policy bases of the law, from more urban/inner-surburb and liberal to more rural/outer-suburb and conservative.
Today's shocking announcement that former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) will not run for president in 2008 had political pundits scrambling to identify equally-credible alternative candidates, including noted Ohio political blogger Yellow Dog Sammy. While Sammy has not actually formed an exploratory committee or met with political operatives in Iowa or New Hampshire, he is known to have personal friends in those states and to be fond of both corn-on-the-cob and maple syrup (although not served together).
After intensive consultation with my advisors, my spouse, and my inner canine, I have reluctantly concluded that I can best serve the nation by continuing to publish my blog about Ohio politics. Let me be perfectly clear: If nominated, I will not accept; if drafted, I will not run; if elected, I would completely redecorate the Oval Office in sage and neutral earth tones. I hate that dark-blue-and-gold-with-crimson-accents color scheme.Political insiders speculate that Sammy may be angling for the vice presidential nomination, or may simply be attempting to provoke a popular draft-Yellow Dog Sammy movement.
The adding in of absentee and provisional ballots (and some votes not counted due to e-voting machine problems) by the Franklin County Board of Elections whittled the lead of Rep. Jim McGregor (R-Gahanna) over spirited challenger Bev Campbell (D-Gahanna) in the 20th Ohio House District from 933 in the unofficial count to just 364 in the official count announced last Monday. That's just 0.84% of the votes cast, not quite close enough for an automatic recount.
We need to accomplish all of this very quickly or lose our right to a recount - and the election. The GOP is already trying to neutralize the gains we made last month, by introducing and passing HB 685 restricting Strickland's ability to use the rule making function of state agencies to effect his new policies and goals. We already gained 7 seats in the House and this 20th district House seat can make a huge difference in preventing the GOP from effectively handcuffing our new governor and thwarting the changes that the voters overwhelmingly demanded.Supporters are urged to call or email immediately. The email contact is bev-at-bevcampbellforohio-dot-com.
Lorraine Bieber of the League of Young (& Youngish) Voters posted the following as a comment to my piece on HB 685 over at BSB:
Word is Dan Stewart is working with the transition team on this & they encourage anyone who has concerns about 685 to testify and get their concerns on the record. This is moving fast... the committee hearing is this Tuesday Dec. 5, 1PM in Rm. 018 – House State Government Committee. HB 685 is the 5th of 5 bills on the schedule that day.
If you want to make calls: 1-800-282-0253 is the main switchboard. Individual phone numbers for legislators are here. The sponsors: Faber, Blasdel, DeWine, Flowers, Seitz, Carmichael, C. Evans, Peterson, Daniels, Raussen, Raga. The State Government Committee members are: Republicans: Buehrer (chair), Uecker, Blasdel, Carmichael, Flowers, Reinhard, Setzer, T. Patton. Democrats: Dan Stewart, Book, Foley, Hartnett, Mitchell.
The League of Young (& Youngish) Voters will be making calls on HB 685 this monday night during our weekly drink-n-dial, and a few of us are going to try to make it to the hearing Tuesday.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) has a piece up at Huffington Post, calling on Democrats to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq Civil War by the simple expedient of cutting off funding for military operations. He includes an interesting chart of past votes on Iraq funding, and brings up the unsuccessful lawsuit by Kucinich and others against Bill Clinton (an attempt to stop military action in Serbia as an undeclared war) for the legal point that Congressional funding equals implied consent to war.
(1) Ain't going to happen.Dennis Kucinich doesn't give a hoot for political expediency, never has. It is his great strength as a visionary, and his great liability as a politician.
(2) Kudos to Kucinich for having the audacity to demand it!
It's time to wake up the media and the public about House Bill 685, introduced last week and on the fast track to quick passage in a matter of a few weeks. Although Republican legislative leaders Sen. Bill Harris (R-Ashland) and Rep. Jon Husted (R-Kettering) have said they wouldn't take action in the lame duck session to interfere with the incoming Strickland administration, this bill does just that.