Friday, February 26, 2010


We really need to call attention to a great blog: Inside Lake County.  Visit by here.

Author Kathy Sak, a writer and photojournalist, has an affinity for posting public documents, like us.

Kathy has called a lot of attention to the salaries of Lake County Charity administrators, here, here, and here; and Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities.  They can't be liking that!

Good Job!


The News-Herald reported today that Willoughby Hills City Council unanimously rejected the proposed income tax increase.

We applaud Mayor Weger and Willoughby Hills City Council for doing the right thing: rejecting a change in tax collection in Willouhgby Hills that would have taxed some workers more while lowering taxes for some residents.

Below, someone purporting to be a Willoughby Hills City Councilman weighs in in the comments section (next post below) and goes off on us a little bit...actually a lotta bit.  That's fine, he takes a lot of heat from the pubic, so we can take it too.

We can only assume that this is the Councilman after careful deliberation.  If it is not, please correct us in the comment section.

Political discourse...its great...not always easy or friendly.  In the end, if the people are better off, the lumps are worth it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mayor Weger has a Revelation: The Economy is Bad

Below we told you that Willoughby Hills City Council is tripling down: A third reading of the proposed income tax increase, change, whatever ... is set to happen and will be followed by a vote.

Hours before Willoughby Hills City Council's vote on whether or not to increase pay roll taxes Mayor Wegar seems to have had an relvelation.

Mayor Weger explained to the News-Herald
Weger had explained this meant people who work in other communities with a 2 percent tax or greater will actually be paying less, while those who work in Willoughby Hills but live elsewhere will be paying more to the city, increasing revenues.
Hmmmmmmm.  Sounds like a bait and switch, or a cleverly crafted plan to raise taxes.  What do we mean?  Well from the looks of the Mayor's words the legislation would lower income taxes on some residents and raise taxes on some people who work in the City; what resident would not vote YES on the proposed legislation?  Essentially Willoughby Hills City Council would bribe voters for their YES vote by giving them a lower tax rate (via a credit) and raising taxes on workers.


All of sudden we have Mayor Weger doubling back hours before the City Council meeting.  Mayor Wegar said to the News-Herald, and reported this afternoon
However, upon mulling the legislation over a bit more, he decided it wasn’t the right time for it.
Mulling over?  What?  Is this an election year?

Mayor Weger went  onto say

“The whole economic situation of the city, the county the state, everybody’s in the same situation and we’ve just gotta try to be smarter and come up with different ways to save money ... like self conservation,” he said. “The storm’s not over yet, but everybody’s going to weather it together. It’s just hard for everyone.”

Let's make a bet: Willoughby Hills City Council stalls this proposal.  Why?

Councilman-at-Large Dave Fiebig is running against the more conservative Mike Zuren for the republican party primary. would have a lot of explaining to do this fall when he faces Rep. Loraine Fende.  Now Councilman Fiebig can say he is against tax hikes...Rep Fende is a tax hiking democrat...I will lower taxes, etc.  (We are hypothesizing here, none of this has been said yet).


WILLOUGHBY HILLS TRIPLES DOWN:Third Reading of Proposed Income Tax Legislation

Tonight Willoughby Hills City Council will have a third reading of proposed legislation that will change the income tax structure in their City.
QUOTE: "...a proposed amendment to the Charter of the City providing for an increase in the rate of the municipal income tax to 2.25% and a tax credit of 100% with said credit limit to be equal to 1.85%."

That is a direct quote from the Council Meeting Agenda for tonight, posted below.
Willoughby Hills Council Agenda 02252010
The fact is that one group will be paying higher income taxes while another group will pay lower income taxes, if this is passed; the income tax, or payroll tax, the workers at Willoughby Hills businesses that work in the City but do not live in the city will pay more in payroll taxes.

Sure, some residents will pay less in taxes, which is good for the Council Members' and Mayors' constituents' pocket books--we get that.  However, businesses in North East Ohio have made it clear they will not tolerate these sort of money grabs.  That's not our opinion, ask American Greetings and the City of Brooklyn.

This is bad for business in a difficult time.

The bottom line is that Cities can not keep raising taxes on businesses.

Please do not play the fiddle for Safety Forces.  People are getting tired of that.  Case in point: Willoughby Hills Police Department makes a strong presence on I-90 known; don't you think people get tired of seeing Traffic Patrols, especially Willoughby Hills police cars parked next to one another on I-90 talking to each other and other departments?  This sort of reminds people of Lindale.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OH-62 (House District): The Field is Shrinking

Sure: Mike Zuren (R Eastlake) was a long shot.  For those of you who have not heard Mike Zuren withdrew his candidacy for Republican Party nomination for OH-62; The Lake County Board of Elections accepted his withdrawal.  That means, you guessed it, no primary! The News-Herald makes mention of here and here.  

Our interpretation is that someone or something encouraged Mike Zuren to leave the primary race.

Zuren may have seemed a distraction for Councilman Dave Fiebig, but also served to force the Councilman to the right.

All in all, despite Loraine Fende being an inept, weak, embarrassment as a legislator Fiebig needs every second and every penny to even stand a chance.  This is NOT an indictment of Councilman Fiebig, rather the hard reality that Loraine Fende is an entrenched political entity in Western Lake County who will have between $500, 000 and $800, 000 in combined resources spent to hold this seat.  Thankfuly, she is term limited out after this election, and does not stand a chance for her party's nomination when OH-18 Senate Seat becomes available (insert Dan Troy).

Councilman Fiebig needs to get serious about his campaign, tough, unafraid to HIT Fende where it hurts, and for the love GOD drop any talk of an income tax increase in Willoughby Hills.

Councilman Fiebig: You were given a pass in the primary, please use it as an opportunity to stop any conversation about tax increases in your city, go raise a boat of cash, and make this a good election.

Fende and Schneider Voted YES on At Least 120 Fee Increases, and Counting (HB 1) and Increased your Income Tax 4.2% (HB 318)

Last year Rep. Loraine Fende and Rep. Mark Schneider voted YES on House Bill 1 (the State Budget for 2010 and 2011).  This Bill (see the Ohio Legislative Service Commission Bill Analysis) increased at least 120 fees on small businesses, big businesses, and YOU!  Increases took place on everything from the license fee ($50 -$100) to operate a meat precessing facility (page 93) TO fees on just about every license and test we take to do our jobs.  Everything from fees for securities licenses (page 193) TO fees for boiler operators (page 198) to elevator inspections fees (page 198) to Social Work and Therapist fees for tests and licenses (page 209) TO fees on real estate professionals (page 201) ..................... it goes on and on.  Seriously.  Just down load the PDF here and type "fee" in the search field.

The fee increases by businesses (like the example above) are passed onto YOU!  This is not to mention the numerous fees increased on all of us who renew car registrations, register with the State for a license or take a test.
Ohio House Bill 1 State Budget
Don't for get the 4.2% retroactive increase in income tax for 2009 and 2010 to cover the $900 million shortfall!
HB 318 Bill Analysis

Monday, February 22, 2010

Loraine Fende's Candidate Committee Filing and Some Thoughts on OH-62

Rep. Loraine Fende does not have a primary opponent this Spring, but she will have one in this Falls General Election for Ohio's 62nd House District Seat.

The House Democrat caucus MUST hold OH-62.  There is no room for a loss in OH-62.  The House Democrat cuacus will spend better than $500, 000 to defend the OH-62 seat; but, we are wondering how much Loraine Fende will bring to the table.

The January Candidate Committee filing for her Loraine Fende reported $17, 639.34 on-hand.  Not so much!  Rest assured: the $$$$$$$$$$ will start dumping into her coffers this Spring.  Fende will have a six-figure campaign committee account soon.  Here is Loraine Fende's report summary and contributions followed by the expenditures:
Fende Candidate Committee Filing

Fende Expenditures
Bottom line: Fende will raise big bucks, and the House Democrat Caucus will spend big bucks, let's sayshe raises $150, 000 and they (the caucus) spends $600, 000. That brings the total spent to $750, 000. There is no way either Dave Fiebig or Michael Zuren can raise that much cash, and using "no way" 
is generous.

Hypothetically, IF Dave Fiebig were to win this May's primary he may be able to round up $50, 000
(that is nothing to sneeze at), however the House Republican Caucus still will not come up with the rest of the money needed to win.

The problem is that Fende has won each of the last three elections by roughly 60-40 margins (note: ChrisGalloway did a little better); with these numbers in mind the House Republican Caucus will not spend 
the necessary money. The necessarry money, say $500,000 - $600,000, is need to by T.V time and
BEAT UP Fende's pro-tax record. However, we know that Dave Fiebig might have a hard time calling Loraine Fende the tax-and-spend liberal that has shown us. Sigh. Two more years of Loraine unless 
the money rains down on Dave Fiebig, when we say rain we mean dump, pour, flood. Dave Fiebig 
would also have to do anything necessary to delay an income tax increase of any sort in Willoughby 

Food for Thought: Should Everyone Continue to Subsidize Utility Costs for a Small Group?

We have talked a lot about Utility Companies, the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO), the politics of it to a lesser extent, and the controversies that have cropped up around these issues.

Sen. Tim Grendell recently sued on behalf of North East Ohio Residents claiming the Electric Utilities are breaching contract by upping the rates of all-electric customers.  Both the PUCO and Electric Utility admits that everyone else subsidizes the artificially low rats of all-electric users, those using electric furnaces more specifically.

Its also good to see that Rep. Lorraine Fende has finally showed her face to her constituents; Rep. Fende hosted a town-hall forum on utilities.

QUESTION: Should everyone else artificially keep the approximately 100, 000 customers who use electric heat electric rates low?

QUESTION: Did Sen. Grendell think about the rest of us, or is this just a bombastic attempt to grab headlines?

The real problem hear is that BOTH Sen. Grendell and Rep. Fende have sat idly by over the past year as WE, your faithful blog, started poitning these issues out.  Furthermore, both Rep. Fende AND Sen. Grendell were in the State Legislature when Gov. Strickland's so-called energy bill, S.B. 221.

S.B. 221 mandated that Utilities reduce production, which, you guessed it! decreased revenue!

Who do you think is and is going to make up for lost revenue?  Enter the failed light bulb distribution program from the fall.

Here is the so-called energy bill that both Rep. Fende and Sen. Grendell were around for
SB 221 Energy Bill
For you layman out there, us included, here is the bill analysis
SB 221 Bill Analysis

Thursday, February 18, 2010

UPDATE: FILINGS and a little bit on OH-63

The Plain Dealer, over at, extensively covers the county-wide and State Legislature filings.

Every issue and every candidate is listed.

Lake County Filings (candidate and tax issues)

State Legislature

Ohio Court of Appeals

Right to our South and West are our friends in Geauga County

Geauga County-Wide filings (candidate and tax issues)

The State-wide ticket is finalized

The State-wide filings

Of course there are the federal filings

U.S. Congress filings

For now, all we will say is that in Lake County there are no surprises, unfortunately.  Unless something major happens we will be stuck with status quo after November. Sorry, we wish our initial reaction was different.

If you are Mark Schneider and Ron Young you can rest easy for a few days.  Why?  No primary challengers for the 63rd House District.  However, the race will be heavily contested and VERY nasty.

Mark Schenider had about $589, 000 spent by outside groups on T.V. adds compared to a paltry $116, 000...doesn't matter.  The point is the Ohio House Democrat Caucas can and WILL spend more than $600, 000 to beat up Ron Young with T.V. adds.  Ron Young will have Mark Schenider votes on tax and fee increases to beat on him with.  However, Ron Young was trounced by Lake County Treasurer recently; this fact won't matter much since Crocker has been around a long time and Young has no primary opponent.   However, if Ron Young wants to capitalize on Schneider's love for taxes, fees, and your money he MUST get his campaign moving fast and start hammering hard.   The democrats MUST hold OH-63 if they want to retain a majority.

More on the 62nd House District, the 98th House District, and other fun tonight...

Consequences of Ohio's Poor Tax Structure

Are you an elected official and thinking of raising taxes?  Are you an elected official thinking about proposing raising taxes?  Are you an elected official thinking about "letting the voters decide?"

Read the report below, and think a little longer.

Bear this quote from the following paper in mind:
At the heart of Ohio’s fiscal problems is a tax system and business climate that has been driving people out of the state for more than 15 years, resulting in a shrinking economy and a smaller tax base. At the same time, state government spending grew unchecked, resulting in a heavier tax burden on the state’s remaining citizens. Ohio taxpayers now have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. 
Fiscal Fact

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Madison Local School District's & Lake County School Financing District's Levy (Tax Increase)

Here is the Madison Local School District's Board's meeting agenda where they decided to go after more of your discretionary income.  The SPECIAL MEETIG was February 4, 2010.  The Madison Local School District AND the Lake County School Financing District are going after bond issues and levies.

The link to the meeting minutes are here.
Madison Local School District Board February 4 2010 Special Meeting

Doubling Down: 2nd Reading by Willoughby Hills City Council on Proposed Income Tax Change

The City of Willoughby Hills will have a second reading this week (a SPECIAL MEETING) of the income tax "increase" being considered.   Please note that Ordinance 2010-7 uses this precise phrase "... an increase in the rate of municipal income tax...."

To be fair Ordinance 2010-7 also proposes "...a tax credit of one hundred percent (100%) with said credit limit to be equal to one and eighty-fice hundreths percent (1.85%)...." This is an increase in the existing credit level from 1% to 1.85%.  See below the Council meeting agenda for yourself
Willoughby Hills Council Agenda 021810
The problem is that the City of Brooklyn, Ohio may have driven our American Greetings as a direct result of this same type of maneuver.  Brooklyn, Ohio also lost Hugo Boss recently.  The loss of Hugo Boss probably had less to do with the tax increase than it did with cheap labor overseas, but it did not help.

Behold David Jones' Crystal Ball

Dave Jones updated his crystal ball this week, or did he shake the 8-ball?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hard To Hide From: Schneider's and Fende's Tax Increase

Fact: Mark Schneider and Lorraine Fende voted YES on a suspension of a scheduled 4.2% income tax reduction.  Fact: prior to passing H.B. 318 our income tax was going to be 4.2% lower in 2009 and 2010.

Fende has told local news papers that H.B. 318 is not a tax increase, rather it is a "delay."  Oh.  OK.  Does that mean in two years we will get this money back? NO!

H.B. 318 is a tax increase!  Read the bill analysis by the Ohio Legislative Commision below.

HB 318 Bill Analysis

Campaign Websites: OH-62 and OH-63

A Google search of each announced candidate for OH-62 and OH-63 only turns up Councilman-at-Large Dave Fiebig as having a campaign website.

Click here to see Councilman Fiebig's Website.

Did we miss the campaign website for Mike Zuren, Lorraine Fende, Ron Young, or Mark Schneider?

We know Lorraine Fende is lazy, so we did not expect her to have one up yet.  We expect Ron Young to put one up soon.  But, Mark Schnieder missing one too?

Why announce campaigns but not have websites up?  That's poor planning.

If we missed a site, let us know!

Consequence of Raising Municipal Income Taxes: Willoughby Hills Should Pay Attention

Last year the voters of Brooklyn, Ohio were convinced by their Mayor and City Council that increasing the income tax 25% from 2.0 % to 2.25%.  American Greetings threatened to pull out of Brooklyn.

The City of Brooklyn wailed and moaned; they even called in Gov. Strickland (who raised taxes last year) to plea the City's case.

The City of Brooklyn seems to have come to its senses and is negotiating with American Greetings.  American Greetings employees pay 13% of the total revenues of Brooklyn, or $3 million.  Better believe Brooklyn will negotiate!

Does anyone think Willoughby Hills will be a good student of History?  Will Willoughby Hills raise income taxes a whopping 66% after they see companies are serious?

Lost Nation Airport Back in the News

Who knows what the fate of Lost Nation Airport will ultimately become.  Lost Nation Airport is Willoughby's Municipal Airport.

The News-Herald reported today that the Lake County Port Authority uploaded report materials. A link to the Port Authority's page used to access the materials can be accessed here.
Lost Nation Study v 2

The power point presentation uploaded to the Port's site cost the tax payers $60, 000; could they not even upload the pages in sequence without scribbling?  If warranted the next phase of the study will cost us $35, 000.

On New Years Eve we were told by the News-Herald that Jim Brown resinged from the Port Board.  The Mayor of Willoughby should never have signed a fixed based operator agreement with Jim Brown's Classic Aviation knowing he was being appointment to the Port Board.  When Willoughby City Council voted on Classic Aviation's bid to become the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) how much thought went into the conflict of interest created by Jim Brown being on the Port Board, a soon-to-be business owner at the airport, and owning a hangar at the airport?

If the conflicts of interest created by Jim Brown, the City of Willoughby, and County Commisioners was not bad enough the Port Authority has been notorious for having meetings that are not properly announced,  Port Board meetings at Private Bussinesses, and incorrect information given about times and dates for meetings.  Here is an excerpt from their website regarding the upcoming meeting:
The wrong time was identified at the February 3, 2010 Lake County Port Authority Board Meeting for the Lost Nation Airport Public Meeting. The meeting will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. on Monday, February 22 at the Lost Nation Sports Park, 38630 Jet Center Place. The correct time and date was correctly listed in the public notices placed in the News Herald on January 22nd and February 5, 2010.
Rumor has it a combination of pressure (i.e. bullying and campaign contributions) by Jim Brown and Kucerca International is driving the decision makers (i.e. the County Commissioners and Port Board) to find any way they can to keep Lost Nation Airport when the City can close it down in 2016.  Jim Brown and Kucerca International want their own airport and will do anything to get their own airport.

Fende and Grendell Catch On: Someone is Finally Looking at the Plight of Utility Consumers in Ohio

It looks like Loraine Fende and Tim Grendell have been paying attention to us and has decided to take some action on issues we have been discussing for months.  Loraine Fende will have a town hall meeting to discuss electrical rates.  Tim Grendell filed a class action lawsuit in Geauga County common Pleas Court regarding the rise in electric rates for some people.

We have been discussing these issues for months, see here, for instance.
Let's digress for a moment. Everytime we try to deal with substantiave issues (e.g. utilitiy companies, the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO), etc.) a local City Council OR the Board of Commissioners OR Finance District OR a County Board try to or publicly announce tax increases or that they are thinking about tax increases.

 Then, there are political machinations about who will be which party's candidate for what.

The Democrats slate card in Lake County is set, and has been: Dan Troy is political force, like-it-or-not, and the Democrats control hold OH-62 and OH-62 House seats. Therefore, all has been quiet about which Democrat will run.  Today, Dave Fiebig announced his candidacy, against Mike Zuren, for the Republican Party nomination for the OH-62 seat.

That has left our Republican friends.
However, months ago we decided to dealve into the utilities compamies, utlity bills the Public Utilities Commission, etc. and try to point out how much legislators in Ohio, the Governor, and their political flunkies have helped the utility companies take more of your money.

We are glad to see Rep. Loraine Fende and Sen. Grendell following our lead and paying attention to these issues.

More to follow.

Belated Post: More Taxes might be on May Ballot--Lake County Financing District Levy

An astute reader pointed out in the comments section earlier today that WE missed another tax issue coming at this Spring: The Lake County Financing District is seeking a renewal of levy costing tax payers $78.98 per $100, 000 of valuation.

Thank-you to the reader that pointed this out to us; again, we admit to needing help with this stuff

Of course, the Board and Superintendent Brian Bontempo said that is not a new tax
Because the levy would be a renewal, passage would mean no new taxes; homeowners would continue to pay an annual $78.98 per $100,000 of property valuation, according to estimates pending the auditor's final figures.
Superintendent Bontempo: you make us sick.  We are sick of your hands being out, getting a levy, and then telling us "...nothing to see new taxes...."

Here is our favorite part of the article
Renewed every five years, the levy will otherwise expire in December.

Let it expire: when you first asked for it it was a temporay meausre.  Instead, the money swilling board never learned to live within its means.

The tax tally:

1)Lake County Finacing District,
2)Madison School Levy,
3)Lake County Board of Development Disabilities,
4)Income tax increase under consideration in Willoughby Hills.

Are we missing any other money grabs or proposed money grabs?

Raise Taxes Now, Really?!?

This May voters in Lake County, every one of you, will be faced with the choice of whether or not to approve a levy for the Lake County Developmental Disabilities Board; this is a proposed 3.4 mill levy that would add $58.20 per $100, 000 in property taxes.   In some communities, Madsion for instance, voters will be asked to approve a school levy; this 3.3 mill bond issue would add $115.50 per $100,000 to your property taxes.

In either case, Madison School Officials and the Board of Commissioners want to take more money out of your pocket; money that could be used to feed your kids, pay off debt, catch up on bills, etc.

 Other communities are considering "shuffling the deck" and rearranging the tax BURDEN; Willoughby Hills City Council is pondering whether or not to increase the income tax rate from 1.5% to 2.25%.  However, legislation being considered now would also increase the 100% credit from 1% to 1.85% for residents.  So, the tax burden would be shifted from many residents to the people who work in Willoughby Hills.  In any event someone may end up paying more taxes.

Officials in Willoughby Hills still have the chance to change their minds.

Consider this:  since February of last year somewhere between 7 - 8 million people have lost jobs.  Local companies like Ink Stop, Circuit City, Linens' and Things, ..., have gone belly-up.

Do you want pile on more taxes for someone?

Monday, February 15, 2010

UPDATE: Madison School Board Put Levy on May Ballot

Earlier today we THOUGT we missed the Madison Schools Levy.  A deep dig of past posts shows we covered this on 12/30/09, see here.

We are a little belated on the vote though. About two weeks ago the Madison School Board put a levy on the May ballot (News-Herald):
In a 4-1 vote Thursday night, Madison School Board approved the final placement of a 3.33-mill bond issue on the May 4 ballot to raise $21,857,274 — or 51 percent of the cost of a new middle school and elementary school — as well as a mandatory 0.5-mill, 37-year levy for the buildings' maintenance.
Madison School Board joins the leagues of the Lake County Commissioners and Willoughby Hills City Council by trying, proposing, etc. to raise your taxes.

Hats off!

OH-62 (House District): The Field is Growing

The OH-62 race is going to be an interesting one.  As you know former State Rep. Jamie Callender was pondering a run for the Republican Party's nomination.  For a variety of reasons already discussed Mr. Callender decided not to run.

It is a forgone conclusion that Loraine Fende WILL run again.  Fende filed a few weeks ago and issued a statement.  Based on the facts we know about Fende she SHOULD be vunerable.  Fende has never seen a tax increase she did not like...well maybe she has...she could have wanted a larger tax increase last year.  Remember that Loraine Fende voted to raise your income tax 4.2% retroactive for 2009 and for 2010; Ohio H.B. 318.

Michael Zuren, an Eastlake resident, HAS filed his nominating petitions and is seeking the Republican Party's nomination.  Michael Zuren ran for City Council in Eastlake this past fall.  Mr. Zuren finished fourth on a crowded ballot of six people seeking Council-at-Large seats in Eastlake.  Based on reports Mr. Zuren is a conservative who does not care one iota about the support of the establishment.  Good for him; the establishment should take heed of the mood around the country (i.e. Scott Brown and the Governor's races AND the TEA Party movement).

Dave Fiebig, Councilman-at-Large, is circulating petitions and is expected to file.  Counilman Fiebig will be seeking the Republican Party's nomination.  Councilman Fiebig has served Willoughby Hills for two terms and is on several committees; Fiebig is the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, a member of Finance Committee and a member of the Safety Committee.  There is a lot more data on Fiebig because of his website and voting record.

Fiebig's facebook fan page describes him as having "moderate" political views.  It seems likely that Councilman Fiebig will be supporting an income tax increase this May.  Fiebig, a member of the Finance Committee, MUST have had some say in the legislation read at last week's council meeting which introduced an income tax increase on those working in Willoughby Hills.  A closer read shows that some residents may actually get an income tax decrease, though, depending on what City they work in.

Doesn't matter though.  A tax increase is a tax increase is a tax increase.

If Councilman Fiebig supports this tax increase Zuren will be able to use it to his advantage in the Republican Party Primary.  In the event, Fiebig gets the nomination of the Republican Party he will NOT be able to paint Fende as the tax loving democrat many know her as if he wrongly supports an income tax increase.

This primary will be fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hardly News: Mark Schneider Announces Petition Filing. Real News: Mark Schneider and Bob Dicello Bully Muny's in Court.

The News-Herald reports that Mark Schnieder is seeking re-election.


More exciting is the analysis of Mark Schneider contributions we have done.  Also, OH-63 needs to know about Mark Schnieder, his employer (largest contributor), and the nasty fights his employer is engaging in with local municipalities.

Mark Schneider works with the Dicello law firm.  Look at Schneider's smiling mug on the website.

The Dicello's sponsor and participate in a radio program called "Real Law Radio."  The Dicello's have frequently bragged about having Mark Schneider in their law firm.

Ever seen those annoying Tim Misny commercials?  Why does it matter?

Well, the Dicello law firm represented Misny in a zoning dispute with Waite Hill.  See here.  Misny via Dicellow caused Waite Hilled to incur $125, 000 in legal expenses: money down the drain and into Mark Schneider and Bob Dicello pockets.

Misny via Dicello intimidated Kirtland into staying out of a legal fight about similar issues.

Mark Schneider and Bob Dicello make money beating up Lake County municipalities in court...and then funnel right into Schnieder's campaign!  Dicello has given thousands to Schneider's candidate committee.

Mentor-on-the-Lake: Cuts budget by $400, 000

The News-Herald ran a story today about Mentor-on-the-Lake (MOL) cutting the budget by $400, 000.
Mentor-on-the-Lake residents this year will see almost half a million dollars less street work, at least two fewer full-time employees and no new equipment purchases as usually planned annually.
Wait a minute!  The City is cutting service!?  MOL realizes it needs to live within a budget?!

Why didn't MOL just put a levy on the ballot like Willoughby Hills!?!  Why didn't MOL just raise fees somewhere, or create fees ( like Euclid)?

Cut the budget?!?!

What?  This whole article must be a typo.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Energy Doing Well During Recession

As we mentioned earlier one of the most powerful government entities is the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO). On January 30th we started to explain how powerful PUCO and took at look at our electric bills.

We MUST turn a watchful eye back to the PUCO, its new commissioner, and our utility companies.

The Plain Dealer wrote this afternoon on their website about  First Energy's purchase of Allegheny Power.  The most interesting part of the article is the discussion of First Energy's sales, revenue, and earnings per share.

The Akron utility Thursday reported 2009 earnings of $1 billion, or $3.29 per share on total sales of $12.9 billion. That compares with $1.34 billion in profits in 2008, or $4.38 per share, on total sales of $12.1 billion.
The company's fourth quarter 2009 profits came to $238 million, or 78 cents per share, on sales of $2.95 billion. In the last quarter of 2008, the company earned $332 million, or $1.09 per share, on sales of $2.8 billion.

Interesting.  Remember a few months ago when First Energy and the PUCO went on damage control to contain the public outrage over the $23 being charge for two Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs?  Most of the this charge resulted in the lost revenue caused by the use of CFL's.  

Looks like First Energy is still doing pretty well.

More Thoughts on New Lake County Tax Increase Proposals

A few hours ago we ranted and raved about 1) Willoughby Hills proposing to hike the City Income Tax via a resolution which would place an issue on the May ballot, and 2)The Lake County Commissioners voting 3-0 to place a property tax levy on the May ballot.

Both Willoughby Hills City Council and the Board of Lake County Commissioners are comprised of both Republicans and Democrats.  The Board of Lake County Commissioners in particular has two democrats and one republican:

1) Board President Dan Troy (D),
2) Commissioner Bob Aufulidsh (D), and
3)Commissioner Ray Sines (R).

The Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 to pass the resolution.  Therefore, both republicans and democrats are conspiring to raise your taxes.

Shame needs to be heaped on both parties here.  Both parties voted on the resolution to put a levy on the ballot this May.

Looks like we have republocrats on our hands!

What will Willoughby Hills decide tonight?

When will enough be enough?  When will elected officials stop trying to mug our pay checks?

THE TAXES ARE COMING, THE TAXES ARE COMING! Willoughby Hills and Lake County Hold onto Your Wallets!

Recently we told you that The Lake County Commissioners are trying to go through the back door to raise our taxes: its' official!  The Lake County Commissioners passed a resolution today that will place a 3.4 mil levy on the ballot.

Shame on you County Commissioners...especially you Dan Troy!


The News-Herald has the story on the 3.4 mil levy here.

It gets worse.  Willoughby Hills City Council is considering a proposal tonight that will jack-up the City income tax from 1.5% to 2.25%.  The News-Herald covers the story here.  Mayor Bob Wegar and Willoughby Hills City Council just got you to approve a road levy renewal...two levies passed this fall for libraries and the City wants more of your money.

Shame on you Willoughby Hills!

Here is the Willoughby Hills City Council Agenda with the tax hiking ordinance 2010-7

Here is the offending ordinance:


One can say that at least the Lake County Commissioners and Willoughby City Council are giving the voters a chance to approve or disapprove. The Commissioners COULD have just increased the sales tax.  Not sure though how Willoughby Hills could circumvent the voters.  At least the voters will have a say.

Lee Fisher: Hypocrite

The Plain Dealer's open blog just posted a story about Lt Gov. Lee Fisher.  The premiss of the story is that Lee Fisher blabbers on and on about Ohio jobs, but is using a Seattle law firm for his legal work.  The story fails to point out that half of Lee Fisher's work as Lt Gov. was SUPPOSED to be shepherding the Ohio Department of Development.

That's right!  Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher served as Director of the ODD up until tax cheat, political appointee Mark Barbash was tapped to take over.  Mark Barbash took over the Director's job at the ODD when Fisher officially announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.  Mark Barbash resigned as ODD director when  it came to light he owed the IRS $146, 000...and that the IRS put a lien on his home.

Back to the original point.  Lee Fisher once SUPPOSEDLY spent half his time promoting jobs growth in Ohio.  However, Fisher uses a Seattle based law firm for his campaign's legal work.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How are Fende and Schneider Voting?

Curious how our State Representatives are voting?

Look at the following links for detailed voting records and "grades" based on issues (e.g. guns rights, abortion).

OH-62 Rep. Loraine Fende

OH-63 Rep. Mark Schneider

We are digesting this info.  To be honest, Loraine Fende's "grades" surprised me!  Fende got a B+ on gun rights?  What?  Fende voted 62.5% in favor of issues friendly to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce?

We are gonna have to chew on this stuff.

What do you think?

Taxes, Fees, and now Passenger Rail!

Let's say you are Loraine Fende or Mark Schneider and you have to get down to Columbus in order to cast a vote that will raise taxes and fees.  The roll call is at, let's say, 10:00 AM with a vote to follow right after.

Wait a minute...this is not hypothetical you say?  What's that?  December 17th 2009 ring a bell?  Oh yeah!  That's right...on 12/17/2009 the Ohio Senate voted to pass House Bill 318, passed earlier in 12/09, which postpones a 5% income tax decrease that Ohio tax payers were given until 2011.  IT GETS WORSE...Fende and Schnieder voted "yes" on H.B. 318 which retroactively increases State income taxes 4.2% for 2009, and raises taxes 4.2% in 2010.

Back to the original are a tax hiking Ohio House Representative needing to get down to Columbus in order to vote on a bill that will seize more of people's discretionary income.  How do you get there?

Governor Strickland and some legislators hope that they would take a train...yet to be built.  A proposed rail project is supposed to get about $400 million in "stimulus money," and would have to be subsidized by the State of Ohio (You and I) to the tune of around $20 million per year.  The approx. $20 mil per year is the projected amount that user fees would NOT make-up.

Do you take the proposed passenger rail from Cleveland to Columbus, which could be taken to Cincinnati?A Plain Dealer story in the past few weeks says that if you are going to Columbus for business for the day you would arrive at 10:30 AM and have to leave at 3:30 PM; this is about the schedule of a tax hiking do nothing like Loraine Fende.  However, business people will shun this train boon doggle.  Note: I know law makers could go a day early and stay for several days while the legislature is in session...going for effect here!

The point: after Loraine Fende and Mark Schneider voted to raise your income tax, AND just about every fee the State imposes, including late registration of vehicles.  Now, they are talking about adding another $20 million per year to support passenger rail in Ohio!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



Grendell and the Lottery

Ohio's blogs have swirled with the rumor that Judge Dianne Grendell won the lottery.  Speculation was that one of the Grendell's would run for an even higher office...perhaps Senator Grendell would run for AG...or Judge Grendell for Ohio Surpreme Court.

I will end the speculation:  Dianne Grendell won $250, 000 on September.  She will get around $150, 000 after taxes.  They are not going to blow that nice chunk of cash on a campaign.

This means Senator Grendell will go back to trying to abandon us for the OH-98 House Seat.

OH-62 (House District): Dave Fiebig is Circulating Petitions

The Lake County BOE told our sources that Councilman-at-large Dave Fiebig (R, Willoughby Hills) signed out nominating petitions which means he will be seeking the Republican Party of Lake County's endorsement for the the 62nd House District in Lake County.  This development comes about a week after former Rep. Jamie Callender decided to not run for OH-62.

Dave Fiebig is a real estate developer.

We will keep you posted.

Word has it Loraine Fende is very, very worried.  Fiebig is a credible candidate that will get the Ohio House Republican Caucus' backing (i.e. money).

Monday, February 8, 2010

UPDATED: What is Chris Galloway Up To?

Dan Troy's recent Campaign Committee filing revealed that he has around $161, 000 on hand.  Trustee Chris Galloway knows he does not have a chance of raising that kind of money.  However, Galloway was reported to have pulled petitions, but has not filed.

Our guess is Galloway WILL NOT file petitions for County Commissioner.

So, what is Galloway up to?

A likely theory is Galloway signed out nominating petitions in order to float his name "out there" for some self serving reasons.  What reason you ask?  Well Well.

It seems that Galloway wants to keep the field of republican candidates clear.  Galloway wants to keep the field clear so that he can leverage a "deal" out of Dan Troy to keep him (Galloway) out of the race.

Basically, Galloway is looking for a "payoff" to stay out of the race.  An appointment?  Some business thrown to Red State Strategies...what ever Galloway can get.

Updated thought: Chris Galloway lost the race for OH-62.  Galloway was Former State Rep. Callender's legislative aide.  Hmmm.  Galloway could not win his old boss' seat (I's really the people's...yeah yeah), against Lorraine Fende...yet, he thinks he can win county-wide?  No...I don't think Trustee Galloway thinks he can win...let alone raise the six figures it will take to win.  Our bet is still on Galloway hoping for some sort of "pay off" to stay out of the Commissioner's don't think Dan Troy wants to work at getting elected do you?

Disclaimer:  We are NOT insinuating some sort of illegal activity when we say pay off...merely...that a "better opportunity" would present itself to Galloway via Dan Troy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ANOTHER UPDATE: 11th Circuit Court of Appeals: A Primary is Brewing

As usual the News-Herald is late to the Party: here is there linked story from this morning.  Something tells me "staff report" consisted of calling the Lake County BOE and asking who pulled petitions.

Yesterday's post from us:

Two people have pulled nominating petitions for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals:

1)Colleen M. O'toole, and

2)Eugene A. Lucci.

Colleen O'toole is the Republican incumbent and Eugene Lucci a Republican who is a Lake County Common Pleas Judge.

The General Election for Judges is non-partisan.  However, the primary is partisan!  Game on!

Eugene Lucci's Latourette baggage may come into play.  More on that later.

UPDATE: RUMOR HAS IT JUDGE LUCCI'S LATOURETTE BAGGAGE HAS TO DO WITH A YOGA INSTRUCTOR 25 YEARS YOUNGER THAN HIM.  Word is the Judge left his wife for a much much younger yoga instructor.  

Also, we are hearing Trustee Chris Galloway talked Judge Lucci into running---probably to funnel himself the campaign consulting work!

Latourette has a Contender...and a New go along with Two Others!

Moments after your faithful blog told you that Local Democrats and Republicans NEED to run someone serious against Steve Latourette...the competition rears its unwelcome head!

That's right!  Get ready 14th Congressional District!  This Saturday February 6th we are told that Judge Bill O'Oneill will announce another campaign to unseat Steve Latourette.

The Plain Dealer reports here, about O'neil and his rematch.

However, don't expect Steve Latourette to go easily--despite the weak fund raising.  Apparently the Latourettes plan to stick around Washington for awhile.  Why you ask?

Well, Jennifer Latourette (17 years young than than the Rep.), the staffer turned lobbyist turned house wife formerly known as Jennifer Laptook, recently bought a house in Virginia for seven figures!

The Plain Dealer reported last week the following:

Jennifer LaTourette, the wife of Bainbridge Township GOP Rep. Steve LaTourette,  bought a six-bedroom house last fall on a cul-de-sac in the tony Washington suburb of McLean, Virginia. Public records show she paid $1.3 million. Real estate records say the house was built in 2008 and has 5.5 bathrooms. Her purchase was reported in the February 2010 edition of Washingtonian magazine.
A smaller house they previously occupied in Alexandria, VA is currently on the market for $1,195,000  -- somewhat less than the $1,240,000 Mrs. LaTourette paid for it in 2006.
Hmmm.  Latourette WILL turn on the fundraising machine and rake in the cash; and, he will go onto win.

However, the interesting questions come from the house purchase.  Was being a congressional staffer turned lobbyist that lucrative?  Guess so.  It was so lucrative she "paid" $1.3 million.  We will assume for the moment "paid" means she used a bank check; that's a lot of money.  To top it off being a former staffer and being married to a sitting congressman the Latourette's can afford two additional mortgages?  WOW!  That's right...the Latourette's according to the above article still have another house on the market AND it is well known that they have another home in Bainbridge (I will leave the address out).

Guess being a Congressman and marrying your younger staffer can pay off nicely!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Small Piggy Bank: Steve Latourette's Campaign Coffers

The federal deadline for Federal Elections Commissions filings came and went.  Search your favorite candidate here.

FEC Disclosure Form 3 for LaTourette for Congress

Steve Latourette has a paltry $447, 048 on hand.  That won't hurt him because the County Democrat parties that comprise the 14th Congressional District can not muster the strength to get some one to take him on...sad.  With only "also ran" competition Latourette could with $40.  The lion's share of the 14th Congressional District is Lake, Ashtabula, and Geagua Counties: can't the democrat parties in those counties get someone to run against Latourette?

The 14th Congressional district takes up most of North East Ohio

Ohio Congressional Map

I mean c'mon!  Steve Latourette has Jamie Callender baggage...or, maybe Callender has Latourette baggage.  Astute political observers know Steve Latourette has been less than faithful over the years.  Take, for instance, Latourette's own personal soap opera: Latourette left his wife and home in Madison to marry a former chief of staff--turned lobbyist---turned house wife.  Jennifer Laptook, 17 years younger than Latourette, carried on an extramarital affair with Latourette while she was his Chief-of-Staff.

With that said...local Democrats should be ashamed they can't get someone to run against Steve Latourette.

Wake-up local democrats...wake-up local can do better!

BOO HOO: Callender Press Release; Jamie Callender Ducks out of OH-62

Below is a press release from former State Rep. Jamie Callender; Callender indicates he will NOT run for State Rep.  Essentially, Callender is blaming someone...maybe democrats...maybe nameless bloggers dedicated to the truth for being willing to go negative on him.

Mr. Callender: If you can't be trusted by your family and/or can the public trust you?  No one, but you did what you are hiding from!  Blame yourself!

Loraine Fende is not better, Mr. better!  You know as well as us about her and Judge Larry Allen.  You know she uses her alleged "relationship" with the Judge to intimidate people into not running.  Why hasn't Judge Allen married her?

Anyways...onto the press release have no one to blame but yourself!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2009 Filing for State Rep Schneider

Let's take a look at Mark Schneider State Representative of the 63rd Ohio House District. This is Mr. Schneider's first term serving the communities of Mentor, Painesville, Madison and Eastern Lake County. Here we have the campaign committee's (Friends of Mark Schneider) 2009 filing. As you review the document you will see Individual Contributors, Non-Individual Contributors, City in which the contributor resides, the amount donated (or invested) and the contributors place of employment.

We are not to surprised by the heavy donations he's received from unions. Sadly, its to be expected from Democratic Party politicians. Mark Schneider's top two contributions were generated from The Ohio Democratic Party and The Ohio State Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. Take from this what you want, the important thing is that you do take from it. As stated before, we want to disclose contributions and provide you with the opportunity to eyeball who's supporting your candidates and elected officials. Maybe you'll see a friend's name, perhaps you'll see the name of a local republican. We believe its important to take a look at how many individuals and non individuals support Mr. Schneider from outside of Lake County. This is public information and we're bring it to the public.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Galloway Better Make-up his Mind and Get Busy...Even to be Competitive!

This fall Lake County Board of Commissioners President Dan Troy is up for re-election.  The political chattering class tells us that Concord Trustee Chris Galloway is considering a run for County Commissioner; he has pulled petitions.  What's with the delay in filing petitions...its not like your odds are improving.

Galloway better get serious if he is even to be competitive.

Simply put Dan Troy will raise big bucks.  A lot of money.  Tons of cash.

Case in point:  Bob Aufuldish had around $196, 000 on hand in April 2008 when he defeated Ray Somich in the 11/2008 General Election.  You can bet Dan Troy will raise even more money than that in order to defend his seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Let's say that Dan Troy ONLY raises 25 % more than Aufuldish.  That puts Troy at $250, 000.

Galloway will come nowhere close to that amount.

Galloway and his RedStateStrategies has struggled.  Galloway lost to Loraine Fende and has lost some key races for clients.  Let's hope more thought goes into how Galloway will compensate for a big difference in campaign bank accounts than he put into when he decided to allow Lake East's Administration Building to be outside of the JEDD.

Good Luck Mr. Galloway, you are going to need it.  Better get to work!