Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is your electric Bill going up in that NOPEC Community? The Effects of Big Gov't Meddling.

It's cold out there!  We told you earlier in the year the disservice The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) has done its member communities by caving into pressure exerted by the electric utilizes' lobbyists. Click here to see if you are in a NOPEC community.

Utilities are more or less under the the thumb of State of Ohio Government via the Public Utilities Commision (PUCO).

Enter the politics!!!!

By the PUCO's own admissions, they are very very powerful (see here):
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) affects just about every household in Ohio. That's because the PUCO regulates providers of all kinds of utility services, including electric and natural gas companies, local and long distance telephone companies, water and wastewater companies, and rail and trucking companies. The PUCO was created to assure Ohioans adequate, safe, and reliable public utility services at a fair price. More recently, the PUCO gained responsibility for facilitating competitive utility choices for Ohio consumers. The PUCO Agency Overview outlines the duties and responsibilities of the PUCO.
The key word in the quote from the PUCO's website is REGULATE.

Let's not get into theory of the PUCO...its impact on your life...the effect(s) of BIG GOV'T meddling...YET!  A place to start off is with something we can all relate to: your monthly electric bill.  We will approach our discussion of how Big Gov't and its regulation of utilities from the ground up.

 Let's first get a handle on those electric bills!  Took a look below.

Electric Bill Explanation

Friday, January 29, 2010

OH-House 98th District Confirmed: Not going to Tim Grendell!

The News-Herald is a couple of weeks behind on a story your faithful blog told you a while ago.  The House Seat for the 98th House District will NOT be given to Tim Grendell---not matter how much Grendell begs!

Grendell did this to himself.  Grendell has ticked off so many people the House Republican Caucus is not appointing him.  Instead, Richard Hollingtion, for State Rep., will be appointed.  Previsouly we told you that Hollington would only be a place Batchelder, the House Caucus Chairman said: "Whether or not Dick runs for the seat or serves as interim is up to him."

Not so fast Tim Grendell!!!  The seat may still not be yours!


In the past month we started dissecting U.S. Rep. Steve Latourette's Appropriations Requests; this important work will continue.

In addition to that project your faithful blog will start studying the candidate committee campaign finance filings.  In other words, we will analyze, report to you the faithful reader, and discuss these public documents (i.e. the filings).

This work will be done by a new contributor, LakeCountyLaundry.  That's right...we have a new team member!

Let's welcome LakeCountyLaundry's work.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

And So It Begins.....

Its about time we follow money trails in Lake County. We think its important to find out who is backing who. It will tell you a lot about the decision making process of the elected official. Its freedom of speech to contribute to a candidate, we don't disagree with that. But, we also know many times contributions come with a catch. The average voter, within the voting district, supporting with $25 or $50 bucks normally wants their candidate to win, to follow through with good intentions for the public. Other contributors who live no where near the district, that contribute hundreds and thousands of dollars to a candidate normally wants more then a win, they want a place at the table. They want the elected official to think of them when they vote on legislation, sometimes they want the candidate to craft legislation on their behalf, not the behalf of the people the official was hired to serve. Now, these contributors are not evil, they are just exercising their rights. So lets join them, and exercise our rights....lets connect the dots if you will.

We will be beginning the process of posting campaign contributions. If a State Rep sits on the Health Committee in Columbus, and receives contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, you should know about it. If elected Republicans are giving contributions to Democrats you should know about it. Who gives to who? How could the contribution effect you? Position by position, from Lake County Commissioner to State Representative. From our judges to our mayors. This should be fun.....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Steve Latourette, Roads, and the Stimulus Package

I have read the linked article written about a smattering of comments made by Rep. Steve Latourette many, many times this week-end: I have no idea what he said, what he thinks, or in some instances what he is even talking about.

Note: I will be dissecting Rep. Latourette's FY 2010 Appropriations requests and the implications they have on Lake County AND North East Ohio (It's not lookn' to good!).
The congressman spoke with a bipartisan tone and said passing a federal highway bill should be a top priority, but as of now legislation is going nowhere.
Has Rep. Latourette or his staff looked around North East Ohio lately, in particular, Lake County?  Let's see...I-271 South was repaved from I-480 to I-90.  Route 2 is being widened from Route 91 to Route 44...over pass bridges on route 2 between the aforementioned routes are being widened...sigh.

Is Rep. Latourette serious?

O.K.  I will be fair...all of th work mentioned was already budgeted and funded...but, c'mon Latourette...its alright if the Federal Highway Trust Fund runs lean for a few moments...I am sure it will get filled back up in next year's budget!

Latourette cites 10.9 % unemployment in Ohio...he left out that unemployment in Lake County is under 8%, but goes on to say unemployment in heavy construction is 30%  Wow!  Who is doing all that work on Route 2 and the ancillary infrastructure?!

Latourette goes on to mention that he believes jobs saved or created by President Obama's "Stimulus Package," which is H.R. 1The American Recovery and Revestment Act (ARRA), is closer to 1.5 million rather than the 3 million cited by PResident Obama.  Where do President Obama an Rep. Latourette get their numbers?  There is no proof either is correct.

The bottom line is the ARRA has done little to nothing to stimulate Lake County and North East Ohio.  unemployment has gone up.  Also, from the looks of the Appropriations requested by Rep. Latourette (that we are examining) that he has done little to bring federal funds back in a meaningful way.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Steve Latourette: FY 2010 Appropriation Requests

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we would be taking a close look at U.S. Rep. Steve Latourette's Appropriations requests.  Here we go!

Rep. Latourette's Appropriations requests are broken up into several types.  A full list can be found on his official website.

The first of of nine types of requests is for "Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies."  Rep. Latourette made only one request of this type.

Here it is:

Title: The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Studies 

Address: 100 N. Agricultural Administration Building 2120 Fyfe Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Amount: $200,000

Purpose: Funds will be used for the Center for Farmland Policy Innovation in carrying out its work with local communities to develop locally-driven farmland protection policy demonstrations. This project will continue to develop policies and initiatives throughout the State of Ohio, including the valuable nursery and farmland areas in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties. 

What the heck does a "Center for Farmland Policy Innovation do?" My knee jerk reaction is that this is ridiculous:  a waste of money.  From what I can tell this $200, 000 is going to fund an agricultural think tank.

Hypothetically, if Rep Latourette requested funds in this category of appropriation for a study on something useful, say,

1) research on the prevention of the emerald ashbore, an insect decimating ash trees in his Congressional District, or

2)research to figure out the best crop to be used for carbon sequestration (plants sucking up carbon dioxide) so it can be used for a biomass fuel, or

3)research to figure out what other crops can be grown in our climate, or get the drift.

Instead, Rep. Latourette spent $200, 000 on n agricultural think tank.

Oink Oink Oink!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ohio House Races in Lake County: OH-62 and OH-63 (more minor edits)

First the speculation:  former State Rep. Jamie Callendar WILL run against Rep. "Liberal" Loraine Fende for the OH-62 State House Race.  Former Rep. Callendar has pulled petitions according to staff at Lake County's BOE; confirmed by telephone.  Callender told a source that he "has this one in the bag."

The question is, does Callender have the roughly $100, 000 it will take to beat "liberal" Loraine the entrenched Western Lake County do nothing?

Not yet.

Both candidates have their problems.  First, Liberal Lorraine is  "the accidental politician."  Liberal Lorraine was plucked from her Red Cross job, making coffee at blood drives, and placed on Willowick City Council by her then Willowwick Police Chief Dad.  After ten years of haning out on City Council, Liberal Lorraine, was elected Mayor with no oppostion.  Ten years of taking up space in the Willowwick Mayor's Office gave Liberal Loraine 20 years of elected service in Western Lake County.  To top it off: Liberal Loraine has been "dating" Willoughby Munipcal Court Judge Larry Allen.  Of course, Judge Allen uses the fear his judgeship puts in people's hearts to get his bed fellow re-elected year-after-year.

Callender has his problems as candidate....  Callender and his wife had a nasty split that caused one to walk out on the other...stories of what happened are varied.  The bigger problem is that Callender can not effectively call Liberal Loraine TAX RAISER....Callender voted for tax increases proposed by Bob Taft; in fact, sources tell us he issued a press release calling Taft's budget "courageous."

Bottom line in OH-62:  Callender and Liberal Loraine will extend their personal soap operas to the air waves and run attack adds.  However, Liberal Loraine will pull it out.

Now onto OH-63.

We all know Rep.  Mark Schnieder was elected to a district he moved into just to run for office:  Schnieder is a carpet bagger.  To make matters worse State Sen. Tim Grendell endorsed Mark Schenider, which basically cost Carrol Anne Schindel the race in 2008.  Everyone can see Mark Schnieder is a blow hard and carpet bagger; actually he looks like a used car salesman.

Enter former State Rep. Ron Young.  Ron round served in the Ohio house from 1997 - 2004, until term limits prevented him frmo running again.  Ron Young then ran for Lake County Treasurer; Ron young was defeated badly by Lake County Treasurer John Crocker.  However, this should not hurt Ron Young too badly.  That is of course, becuase he is running against Mark Schiender.

Ron Young has something important going for him:  Mark Schnieder raised your taxes.  Roun Young voted against the Bob Taft tax hike debacle.  Ron Young will HAMMER Schnieder on raising taxes.

Bottom line:  Ron Young will win a close race.  House Minority Leader Bill Batcheleder recruited Ron Young and will see that he gets the money.  Ron Young will win a close race.

Note:  Jamie Callender can not use the tax hike card too much.  Jamie Callender voted for the bob Taft tax hike debacle.  Therefore, he must be careful what he says about Liberal Loraine's tax hiking.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UPDATE: Lake County's Pending Economic Disaster: Expect tax increases

UPDATE (1/20/10 7:51 PM): This morning "Wake up, Lake County!" co-host Mike Guttierez had Lake County Commissioner Ray Sines call-in to the show. Click to go to the audio and video.  Commissioner Sines swore up and down that he or the other Commissioners WILL NOT raise taxes this year,  no matter what people are telling you!

That's right...your mighty Lake County Blog got another elected official to respond to it (the blog) in the Media.  Glad to see you read Commissioner Sines!  Stick to your word...better yet...ask Dan Troy to stick to your word.


The once raging rivers of (tax) revenue into Lake County have been dammed up.  The obstruction in the way of the flow of revenue into the County coffers is decades long policies of taxation and economic warfare on business.

Audtior Ed Zupancic gave a speech to the Lake County Development Council recently.  This speech detailed the five sources of revenue that used to fill the county coffers.  Here they are:

1) The County sales tax (6.5% = 5.5% to the State + 0.5% to County + 0.5% to Laketran).  The County received $14, 524, 183 in 2009, down from $15, 571, 740 in 2008, which represents a 6.73% decline.  Sales tax for 2007 was $15, 699 ,264 and in 2006, was $15, 438, 463.

2) The real property tax, Ohio's oldest tax (created in 1825).  The Triennial update in 2009 saw a 10% decrease county wide.  Individual communities saw decrease in the range of 8% - 12%.

3) A permissive real property tax known as the transfer tax is assessed on the purchase of property.  The General Assembly created this tax in 1967.  The Board of County Commissioners increased the transfer tax from 1% to 4% in 1990.  In, 2009, Lake County collected $2, 122, 302 in transfer tax as compared to $2, 834, 774 collected in 2008, a decrease of $712, 470.  In 2007 Lake County collected $3, 436, 951 in transfer tax and $4, 779, 306 in 2006.

4) The Local Government Fund, created on January 1, 1935.  Contributions come from the State.  The 2009 local government fund for the Lake County General fund was $1, 826, 466 as compared to $2, 121, 255 for 2008, a decrease of $294, 789.  This compares to $2, 147, 317 for 2007 and $2, 193, 995 for 2006.

5) Investments.  Lake County participates in the State Treasurer's Investment Pool of Ohio (STAR OHIO).  The interest income for 2009 general fund was $4, 030, 207 as compared to 6, 951, 139 for 2008, a decrease of $3, 234, 562.  This reflects a nationwide decrease in investment interest rates in 2009.  Interest income for 2007 was $8, 850, 436 and $6, 708, 080 for 2006.

The money is drying up.  Lake County has had a few layoffs (all layoffs suck).  However, it could be much much worse.  As you can see some revenue streams are off more than 50% in the past 1 - 2 years.  Lake County needs to be thankful we have not lost more jobs and services.

Friday, January 15, 2010

UPDATE (YOU HEARD IT HEAR FIRST!): Not so fast Tim Grendell! --Someone else is getting appointed!

Yesterday we IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THAT  Tim Grendell is trying to WILL abandon Lake County.  Sen. Grendell wants the House Seat for the 98th District being vacating by carpet bagger Matt Dolan.  Grendell would leave the 18th district Senate Seat because of term limits in two years.

LAST WEEK Geuaga County's Executive Committee met and heard from the following candidates that all want that 98th District house seat:

1) Tim Grendell, as mentioned,

2) Matt Lynch, Bainbridge Township Trustee (click to see his website, also Matt Lynch is former Euclid Mayor Dave Lynch's brother),

3) Kristina Port, Russel Township Trustee, and

4) some no name.

Here is the skinny:  the Ohio Senate Caucus does not want to spend the $$$$$ defend a Senate Seat vacated my Tim Grendell AND Bill Batcheleder does not want Tim Grendell.  Bill Batchelder will probablly be replacing carpet bagger Matt Dolan with an Republican Party stalwart, Richard Hollington, from Hunting Valley.

The News-Herald confirmed tonight (we reported this weeks ago):

UPDATE: TIM GRENDELL IS SAID TO NOT BE RECEIVING THE APPOINTMENT.  The appointment is going to former State Rep., Richard Hollington, a place holder who is a wealthy Geagua County Republican Party Donor; the seat warmer will not run for re-election.  Instead, Tim Grendell will duke it out with Matt Lynch in a May 4th, 2010 primary for the November 2010 General Election.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tim Grendell is trying to Leave us

State Senator Tim Grendell is lobbying Ohio House Representative Minority Leader Bill Batchelder to take the State Representative seat, in Ohio's 98th House District, vacated today by carpet bagger Matt Dolan.  Matt Dolan resigned from the Ohio House, the 98th district's seat, today in order to move to Cuyahoga County's Chagrin Falls; Dolan wants to be Cuyahoga County Executive.

Sources tells us Sen. Grendell, who represents Ohio's 18th Senate District, is lobbying Senate President Bill Harris to appoint his wife Judge Dianne Grendell to the Senate Seat he would vacate if appointed to Dolan's seat.

Why all the shell games with the Grendell's?  Well...Sen Grendell is term limited out in two years...but, if appointed to the Ohio House seat he could run for four more terms...four more terms of Tim Grendell.

Don't get me wrong...I agree with a lot of Sen. Grendell's votes and the the stands he takes...I really do.  But, does Sen. Grendell think Geauga County can't live without him?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tired of road construction and a lack of information and timelines
from ODOT? We are!

Posted with mobile bloggeron the go.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


The City of Brooklyn, in our neighbor Cuyahoga County to the West, just raised its payroll tax by 25%; from 2% to 2.5%.

The result is that American Greetings is citing the tax hike as reason for its planned relocation. See the Plain Dealer article from, here.

Lake County Commissioner Dan Troy can't raise pay roll taxes, but he can raise sales taxes; his partner in crime Commissioner Bob Aufuldish would be more than happy to support a tax hike.

However, Dan Troy is up for re-election. With Concord Township Trustee contemplating a run Troy will not raise taxes. Recall that the Commissioners passed a temporary 1st Quarter 2010 $15 million budget that must be made permanent by April 1. This is after the election filing deadline. If Galloway doesn't run Dan Troy will try to raise the sales tax.

Local City Councils and Mayors CAN raise payroll taxes. The message that the American Greetings story should send is: DON'T BE STUPID, DON'T RAISE TAXES!