Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Euclid City Council approves additional fees; avert safety service layoffs - The News-Herald News : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio

Euclid City Council approves additional fees; avert safety service layoffs - The News-Herald News : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio

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Disgusted yet?  Tired of municipal, county, state, federal AND school (board) government taking more of your money?  Do they know how to spend it better than you?

Go to meetings, send letters, make phone calls, speak up!

Anyhow, why didn't Mayor Cervenik propose to layoff parks and recreation employees first?  You know why.  Mayor Cervenik went with the usual threat, something like "...we will have to lay off police, fire, ..." in order to scare everyone thereby paving the way for tax increases.

Same old same old.

It's kinda like the school boards threatening to layoff teachers or cut bussing instead of ending school board financed supplemental pay for extracurricular activities.

Mayor Cervenik played the same old broken record.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Months ago WE warned you about the Public Utilities Commission, the consequences of the Ohio General Assembly's so-called Energy Bill, and electric rates.

This morning we pointed out that Rep. Lorraine Fende has spent her time preventing snow piles from being put in handicap spots.

Rep. Mark Schneider can not escape blame either here.  Schneider has showed he loves raising taxes, fees, and the like.  But, at least he shows us a pulse and gets out and talks to companies.

Then we have this morning Plain Dealer article bemoaning First Energy's doubling of commercial electric rates.

You can read the Plain Dealer's linked article here. Here are some scary quotes from the PD's article:
Small manufacturers, small office building owners and apartment developers say the utility's changes in commercial rates have been devastating.
John Vaught, chief executive officer of Tri-Cast Ltd., an Akron metal casting foundry about a 15-minute drive from FirstEnergy's headquarters, said he is talking to economic development officials in Tennessee, who are promising low power prices.

What FirstEnergy has done to its rates will drive others who use a lot of electricity out of the region, Vaught predicted.

What has Lorraine Fende done for us lately?  She has voted to increase taxes, raise fees and fines, and done nothing to make Ohio's commercial climate a better place to do business.

Businesses are afraid, unemployment is high, companies are threatening to leave.

What's Lorraine Fende do?  Nothing substantive.  Natta. Zip.  Maybe her and Judge Larry Allen can finally get some peace and retire in another State.


The News-Herald has edited the linked story at least three times that we can tell; both Judge Eugen "Gene" Lucci and Judge Colleen O'toole have filed elections complaints against each other.  You can read the details in the linked News-Herald Story.

Bottom line: these complaints are petty and a smoke screen meant to deter from the real issues.

The real issues are the candidates' 1) personal track record, and 2)professional track record.  The order is not necessarily a reflection of the importance.

Both Judges have an extensive and well documented track record.

You can visit Judge O'toole's website here.  You can visit Judge Lucci's website here.  These are the hompages.

Dig a little deeper: Lucci's bio and O'toole's bio.

So far, Judge O'toole has taken the high road.  According to well placed sources and observers Judge Lucci started the attack in early March with vicious letter claiming that Judge O'toole is overturned 78% of the time and that a coin flip would get cases right more often than her.  That's politics I guess.

But, has Judge O'toole pointed out that Judge Lucci is considered to have some moral misgivings by many?  Sources tell us that Judge Lucci left his wife for a Yoga instructor about half his age; we already reported this a few months ago, but in light of Judge Lucci's attacks we need to point it out again.

Who is behind the agressive campaign?  Sources tells us Trustee Chris Galloway is running Judge's Lucci's campaign, that is, Chris Galloway's Red State Strategies political consulting firm.

Anyhow, there are plenty of issues to talk about.

How about Judge Lucci's ruling in favor of property owners' rights to their land between the natural high water mark on Lake Erie and the low water line.  The News-Herald covered the fact that Ohio Supreme Court will take this issue up.

Let's get back to the issues of record here, like these rulings.

What has Lorraine Done for Us Lately?!

Before we talk about this issue let's just get the following out of the way: the weaker among us (e.g. developmentally disabled, handicapped, down trodden, etc.) need to be treated well by us as a society.  There is no doubt that we are a compassionate society and will continue to be so.

However, when you are a do-nothing, tax hiking legislative loser like Lorraine Fende we have capitalize on this opportunity. The News-Herald told us last week about House Bill (H.B.) 39 that was introduced by Lorraine Fende and approved by the Ohio House.

H.B. 39 makes it illegal to pile snow in handicap spots.  Fine.  

But, this is the only thing we here from Lorraine Fende on?  When was the last time she introduced a piece of legislation that was passed into law?  Anyone? Anyone?

Feel free to jump in!

Ohio's rate of unemployment is north of 10%, taxes are sky rocketing, so does Lorraine Fende introduce legislation to reduce taxes, make a better economic environment for Ohio?  


What has Lorraine Fende done for us lately?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blog: Laketran "numbers are not there" - The News-Herald News : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio

Blog: Laketran "numbers are not there" - The News-Herald News : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio

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Laketran's General Manager and Board of Directors are setting the stage to ask for more of your money.  If you read the linked article it is quite clear that Laketran is singing the blues in the News-Herald.

Roughly, 70% of Laketrans expenses are paid for by sales tax revenues...most of the people contributing this money don't even use the service!

How about the of Laketran cover its expenses?  Why should the average guy or gal who never sets a foot onto a Laketran bus pay for its operation?

That's philosophical.

Anyhow, you can count on Laketran asking for more money soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Latourette Flames the So-Called Jobs Bill: It's Hilarious

 Its clear we are not BIG fans of Rep. Latourette due to his checkered personal life, but he does act as a flame thrower on a lot of legislative garbage in Washington.

Rep. Latourette rips apart the so-called "jobs bill" a few days ago.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Reader Asks...

A reader/anonymous commenter asks:
Where do we signup? The only trouble I see ahead is getting the word out. I follow 3 blogs. that mention this Kathysak, Whats Happening Painesville and yours. What kind of reach into the communities do you think these three sites will have? Enough?
This comment was submitted in response to the link we posted to the News-Herald's story about the Lake County Board of Commissioners sending a levy to the May ballot for the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

To put it succinctly: the blogs you cited reach a targeted audience.  This targeted audience obsessively checks siad blogs.  How do we know?  Easy.  Server logs.

Case in point.  We very methodically covered the Willoughby Hills proposed income tax increase, change, hike...whatever they want to spin it as.  This coverage consisted of posting Willoughby Hills City Council's meeting agendas, minutes, and the use of direct quotations from the aforementioned sources.  Interspersed between the public documents and quotes we offered our views of the proposed legislation.

The result was obsessive checking of this blog by computers at Willoughby Hills City Hall, and the Willoughby Hills Police Department.  More obsessive blog checking was done by private computers using private ISP's and comments from at least two Willoughby Hills City Councilmen.

Finally, the day of the third reading the News-Herald publishes a story in which the Mayor says "...upon mull it over a bit more, ... it wasn't the right time."  Hours after this story Willoughby Hills City Council votes 7-0 to reject putting the proposed income tax increase on the ballot.

The next day the linked story back pedals and describes the punting of the hike.

We can not conclusively say that Willoughby Hills' fumbling of the tax issue was due to our work, but we can assure you that we did enough to upset the apple cart and shed some light on what was going on.

Now, you want to know how you can help?  

Write a letter to the editor!  Better yet, everywhere you go casually bring up the issue the economy and taxes.  Be it at the gym, in the grocery line, or at work...say things to people like "wow, can you believe this economy?  People are struggling, and these guys want to raise our taxes???? "  This has the effect like a pebble cast onto the glass like surface of a pond on a windless day; one small pebble ripples all the way out around it!  Then, bam!  No tax hike!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lake County commissioners send levy to ballot - The News-Herald News : News coverage for Northern Ohio

Lake County commissioners send levy to ballot - The News-Herald News : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio  This is actually a few weeks old, but we need to bring the story back up to prepare for war.

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We told a few weeks ago that the Lake County Commissioners would love to raise taxes, especially the sales taxes.  However, Commissioner Dan Troy is up for re-election so you can bet he will wait until after November to try and raise the sales tax.

The tax-hike discussed in linked article and video is a 3.4 mill replacement levy for the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities.  The levy would confiscate and additional $58.20 per $100, 000 of real property value.

As usual, Kathy Sak does a great job by posting public documents; for instance, she posted the salaries of all the Developmental Disabilities Board employees.

We are planning an all out assault on the levy: read-up, watch the video, and get ready to rumble!!!

Note to Commissioners: Our work on this blog was instrumental in defeating the proposed legislation  to raise taxes in Willoughby Hills, so you better rest assured that we will go after this one harder!

Credit is Given Where Credit is Due: Lake Metro Parks Budget

Last week we posted link to a ridiculous video of the Lake Metro Parks Board's budget hearing; the video was rediculous in the sense that it was obviously staged.

The News-Herald covers the latest on the Lake Metro Parks budget here, and we draw from the News-Herald article for quotes below.

However, we do have to point out that Lake Metro Parks is proposing and approving a zero-net increase budget.  In addition to that the Parks System is still able to move forward with infrastructure improvement projects and new vehicle purchases.
Considered a zero-net-increase request from the budget approved in 2009, this year's $13,891,473 proposed General Fund operating budget is slightly down from last year's $13,893,679 budget.
If they can achieve this with no increase in funds from last year...hey...more power to them.

One part of the article that concerns us is that a 2% pay increase for employees is tentatively budgeted, sort of....
Lake Metroparks also plans to scale back its vehicle replacement program — from 13 vehicles to 10 — and hold off on pay raises, thought it might have enough cash to offer its employees up to 2 percent at a later date, pending park board approval.
Another public employees raise while private sector employees wages are stagnant, really?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The News-Herald Video > Video-news :United Way of Lake County Super Raffle Drawing

- The News-Herald Video > Video-news : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio

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Follow the link above to watch a video of United Way of Lake County Executive Director Debrah Foley introduce a video of her sister Ellen Foley-Kessler, President of the Board of Commissioners of Lake Metro Parks, and State Rep. Mark Schneider conduct the United Way Super Raffle!

Any thoughts?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

- The News-Herald Video > Video-news : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio (Video From Lake County Metro-parks Budget Hearing)

- The News-Herald Video > Video-news : Breaking news coverage for Northern Ohio

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Click the link to see a video of the Lake Metro Park Commissioners discussing the Budget.

We thought that using "share this" from the News-Herald's website would have embedded the video; obviously not the case!

Anyhow, what's going on this video?  Is this an actual meeting?  Is it a dramatized reenactment?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Law Firm Employing Mark Schneider After More Local Money

Mark Schnieder's Law Firm at it again!

We like to connect the easy dots first.  Today's News-Herald discusses the City of Mentor's response to a lawsuit filed by Rober F. Dicelo for $5 million on behalf of the widow of a slain man.

No doubt that this situation is tough for the family that suffered a loss, the officer involved, and the City.

However, it should be noted that law firm employing State Rep. Mark Schneider, The Dicello Firm, is suing a City's in Schneider's District.

So, let's get this straight: The Dicello firm gets a million dollar settlement out of Mentor, and Mentor suffers financially.  The Dicello Law Firm makes a hefty commission, the Dicellos get paid, Mark Schneider gets paid, and contributions get made from the Dicello firm to Mark Schneider's candidate committee.

Sounds like a plan.

Monday, March 1, 2010

UPDATE: Euclid Laying Off Safety Forces

Newsnet5 reports that the City of Euclid is laying off ten police officers and six firefighters.  Furthermore,  four retiring firefighters will not be replaced.  These steps were taken in effort to combat a $3 million budget deficit.

Disclaimer: You may wonder why the talk about Ashtabula and Euclid today; we are interested in what is happening to our neighbors.

These are tough times.  Tough times call for drastic measures.

It makes us very sad to see anyone lose their job, it truly does.  However, we have to start facing the tough realties of our present time: finances are not going to get any better anytime soon.

The News-Herald has more in-depth coverage of the budget, layoff, etc. issues in the City of Euclid.

Of course, the threats from the Administration of the City of Euclid, by Mayor Cervenik, continue.  The article makes it clear that Police and fire will be laid off, even if the proposed garbage and lighting fees are OK'd by Euclid Council.  These fees include a 1.25 mill charge for street lighting and $14 fee for garbage collection ($8 if you have a homestead exemption).

Mayor Cervenik points out in the article that the cause for these budget problems is a $2.5 million decrease in City Income Tax revenue, and that the budget he presented is lower than the 2007 budget--Cervenik said  that it is just a matter of reduced revenue.

While we understand these issues the simple fact is that Government must get used to lower and declining revenue; learn to live within the means you have!

United Way of Lake County

We have been following Kathy Sak's work for several months: her website and blog have been linked on the side of this blog since last fall.

The nice thing about Kathy's work is that she includes public documents for all to see.

For instance, Kathy posted the form 990 for United Way of Lake County; what's form 990?

Form 990 is the "Compensation of Officer's, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors" filed on behalf of the United Way of Lake County, Inc.

Take a a look here:
debrah-foley-form990 This form tells us that Debrah Foley, Executive Director, made $116, 172 in 2008.  We in no way shape or from begrudge this compensation; you get what you pay for is the old saying.

However, the public has a right know these facts.

It is a good bet that the Board of Directors authorized Ms. Foley's compensation.  Here is a list of the Board Members of the United Way of Lake County:
Board of Directors of the United Way of Lake County

Slipping and Sliding in Ashtabula

The City of Ashtabula did something unprecedented over the week-end: The streets of Ashtabula went unplowed from 3:00 PM Friday until 11:00 PM Sunday.  Fox 8 in Cleveland covers the story here.

According to the story the City of Ashtabula is facing an $862,000 deficit.  In order to combat this deficit the City decided it would not allow overtime pay for snow plow drivers this past week-end.

No doubt that this decision made life difficult this week-end, and could have endangered the lives of motorists!

DISCLAIMER: We do not know the detail of Ashtabula's budget, or the steps taken to try and deal with this defict.

Its a safe bet though that the Astabula City Leaders could have found another way to deal with the deficit, safer than leaving roads unplowed though.

More than likely this may have been a political stunt used to grease the wheels of the political machine for some sort of tax increase.

Question: Why did Ashtabula City Leaders not suspend pensions fund payments instead?  Illegal you are thinking?  Maybe.  But it is a better solution than leaving roads unplowed for ambulances, fire trucks, etc.

If I lived in Ashtabula I would dig my heels in!  I would say, go ahead, cut services!  Cut more!  It's about time!