Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Local issues, local candidates

I know who I'm voting for at the state level and I know how I'm voting on the statewide issues. Seven days til the election and I need to figure out the local issues and candidates.

I do know that I will vote yes for the schools and the zoo.

What else should I be voting for or against?

I'm not sure about the city council or the county council candidates. There are some Summit county issues that I need to look at before I enter the booth. Looks like I've got some homework to do. Odd how the closer it is to home, the farther removed I feel from the process.

I'm looking for local recommendations. Help me do my homework! Who's going to represent my best interest here in Kenmore? And what about the Democratic stranglehold on county and city government?

Are there any local progressive candidates around worth supporting? Who is interested in making Akron a healthier place to live? Judy Hanna is the only one I've heard campaigning on environmental issues. We need people to stand up for a greener way of living here in Akron.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why can't Kevin Coughlin speak for himself?

After weeks of anti-Judy Hanna ads implying that she is a commie red pro-Green godless liberal activist in league with Satan (I'm exaggerating, but only slightly!) I finally get a piece of mail with the name "Coughlin" attached to it. But it is not from Kevin -- it's from his lovely wife Anne . I know she is lovely because a glossy family photo of Kevin, Anne and their two charmingly blonde daughters is included in the mailing.

The pitch takes the form of a personal letter, hand-written and photocopied onto personal stationery. Anne is writing to ask me to vote for her husband. She gives me a lot of reasons, but somehow they don't seem to be quite valid.

She tells me, for example, that Kevin has "worked hard to make sure every child has a quality education" and that he has "secured billions of dollars to build new schools and put more money into the classroom." She makes it sound like Kevin did this all by himself -- no mention of working together in a bipartisan manner or even working with fellow Republicans. Whoops -- the word "Republican" does not appear anywhere in this mailing.

So every child in Ohio now has a quality education? Or did he just mean every child in Cuyahoga Falls? Every white child in Cuyahoga Falls -- maybe. How about the children in Cuyahoga county? How about the children living in poverty all over the state of Ohio who don't get enough to eat at home where they receive little in the way of mental stiumlation and emotional nurturning to prepare them for the rigors of standardized curriculum and testing.

Anne also claims that Ohio has moved from 48th in the nation in state funding for schools to 14th. She does not list a source for that statistic. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to find that statistic and failed miserably. The major problem being her statistic is not specific enough. Is she talking about state funding for school operations or building new schools or funding for literacy programs. Does she think that I'm going to accept her statistics just on her own say-so?

Evidently so, because after all this is a proud wife endorsing her husband. Since the ABJ wouldn't do it, Anne steps up to the plate!

The Village Green continues to support Judy Hanna for our state senator. We like it that she is concerned about environmental issues. We think Judy will pay attention to all the students living in her district and throughout the state. Vote for Judy Hanna, not Anne Coughlin's husband on November 7th.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sherrod Brown & Connie Schultz in Wadsworth

Sherrod Brown and Connie Schultz arrived at the Masonic Hall in Wadsworth to a standing ovation and great cheers. I was amazed at how many Democrats showed up to an event in Medina County. Sherrod commented on how many times he'd been to events at this particular hall and had never seen so many people gathered there before.

The feeling in the room was reflected in the expression on Sherrod's face -- positive, happy and yet trying very hard not to act like the race was already won. Sherrod spoke about the time 13 months ago when he and Connie were making the decision for the senate run. He said that he was told the way to win in Ohio was to take a "Republican lite" position to appeal to the Independants and the moderate Republicans (if there are any left!) -- but that was not the plan he chose to follow. He wanted to stay true to his principles and to campaign on a platform that allowed voters to make a choice.

Sherrod then went through quite a list of contrasts between his positions and DeWine's:

Brown wants to fix No Child Left Behind -- DeWine doesn't.
Brown voted against the Iraq war -- DeWine voted for it. (This item got a huge crowd response!)
Brown is for middle class tax relief -- DeWine is for cutting taxes on the top 3%.
Brown is for affordable health care -- DeWine is on the side of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Brown is for creating renewable energy sources -- DeWine is funded by the Oil and Gas industry.
Brown wants to create new jobs in Ohio -- DeWine is backed by companies that outsource jobs.

These positions are no longer the domain of extreme left wing radicalism. They are positions that are on the minds of many citizens after years of Republican corruption and greedy self-interest. People are ready to listen to a progressive candidate and to support his actions on their behalf.

After the speech, Sherrod and Connie were each surrounded by eager well-wishers. I took the opportunity to introduce myself to Connie. I told her that this was the first political campaign I had ever worked on and that I had been a very cynical non-voter since the day George McGovern lost to Richard Nixon. She asked me why I had decided to support her husband. I said that Sherrod doesn't come across as a politician -- but rather a public servant. That seemed to please her very much. She said she agreed and could never have married a politician! She also said that the Republicans are following them around everywhere they go and trying desperately trying to find something to use against them. It must be a very trying time for her. She is going to write a book about her experiences out on the campaign trail to be called "And His Lovely Wife" -- which is how she keeps hearing herself introduced as she goes from one event to the next. I can't wait to buy it and stand in line for an autograph!

Prior to the event, I listened to a short but pungent and highly articulate speech by Tom Shaw (photo at right), currently running for congress in Medina against the old right wing hack Ralph Regula. Ralphie boy is not a public servant, but a politician of the worst kind. Tom spoke about the current "axis of corruption" in Congress and the need to vote for representatives willing to clean up the messes left behind. If you live in his district, please consider sending him some money. I do believe that too many people in Medina go to the polls and cast their votes for Regula as if they were automatons -- since they know no other name than his. But you need to encourage a fellow like Shaw. "For as Ohio goes in 2006, so goes the nation in 2008," said Sherrod Brown, quoting someone he seldom quotes -- George Will!

One other tidbit -- Capri Cafaro was in attendance, representing the Mark Dann for Attorney General campaign. Evidently her defeat in the 13th district primary was not enough to keep her out of politics for good. I think she needs to prove to the voters that she is more than a child of wealth and privilege. Working for another candidate's campaign is a good idea -- maybe she'll learn what it is to be a true progressive candidate.

The Wadsworth Masonic Temple filled with Democrats ready to hit the canvassing trail!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Local charter school support for Owens Fink

In today's ABJ, an article about state school board candidate spending reveals these very intersting facts:

Top contributors for Owens Fink include Gary L. Taylor, chairman of the telemarketing company InfoCision, $5,000, and Ann Brennan, wife of Akron entrepreneur David Brennan, $2,500. David Brennan is one of the largest operators of charter schools in the country and a major supporter of Ohio Republicans. Other notable donors include Richard Lukich of Constellation Community Schools, $250, a company that runs the charter Akron Community School; James Turner, $2,500, of the Southern Ohio energy and real estate company Duke-Cinergy; and Summit County Common Pleas Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh, $500.

Owens Fink is the state school board member who is focused on including so called "Intelligent Design" into Ohio's science curriculum. I find it very interesting that she is getting support from charter school proponents. Also, note that Gary Taylor has an "Institute for Direct Marketing" named after him and his wife at the University of Akron. He is also connected to the current sleazey Republican candidate for state auditor in a tale of Republicans rewarding Republicans.

It's not just the Republicans in office that we have to worry about. It's all their buddies on the boards of corporations, universities and corporate-run newspaper editorial boards.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brown's poll numbers go up up and away!

In a Survey USA poll released today, Sherrod Brown is polling 20 points ahead of Mike DeWine! Lots of folks chiming in at KOS today on the poll results -- many don't dare believe it. It was good to read some decent supporting posts this time with only one reference to Paul Hackett, beloved of so many over there.

Even so, the over-riding tone is of amazement and do we dare trust this poll response. How could that Lefty manage to pull off the upset? I think he is up by a considerable margin and that it is due to his tireless efforts campaigning all over the state of Ohio. Visit Sherrod's web page and read his itinerary -- he covers a lot of ground every day of the week. Hunt all over Mike DeWine's official campaign site and you won't find a single upcoming engagement listed anywhere. But you will find a page dedicated to his wife's cookbook. Doesn't look like there's anything she can cook up to help her husband win this one.

Meanwhile, Sherrod's been all over the main stream media -- MSNBC and Wolf Blitzer had him on, with Wolfe acting all tough and accusatory. Sherrod responded to the tired old "far left wing" label by laying out a list of contrasts with DeWine positions on the war, the economy and being on the side of the middle class. Check out the Wolf interview and marvel at Sherrod's cool and intelligent responses.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bluster or Real Threat?

I found this posted on the ABJ comments section in Wednesday's online edition:

Dear Friend,

There are exactly 13 days until Election Day. Ohio is, once again, a critical bellwether state and we need your financial leadership more than ever before.

Ohio Republicans have a secret weapon against the Democrats that will add between 3-5% to every candidate on the ballot. That will give us the "winning edge" in key races for the U.S. Senate, Congress and the State Legislature.

It's an 88-county grassroots machine that's inspired, well-trained, and battle-tested. Perhaps you read all about it in the October 9th issue of Time Magazine. We're ready to unleash it on the Democrats in the final 72-hours before Election Day and there's only one thing stopping us:


We must raise $20,000 in the next 48 hours and your help is more than vital, it's indispensable. Please go to [Web site deleted so that no one goes there by accident]to make your safe and secure on-line credit card contribution of $100, $250, or $500 and help us shock the Democrats by winning big on Election Day.

Don't ever think your commitment doesn't matter. It does!

Thank you for your continued hard work and generous support.

Robert T. Bennett

This looks like desperation tactics to me. Republicans don't normally beg for nickel and dime donations -- do they?

Attack of the Attack Ads

They are everywhere! Glossy fliers tumble out of the mail box. Ugly expressions interrupt my television viewing pleasure on every channel. Even Radio Free Ohio is infested with Republican attack ads.

I keep looking at the calendar, urging the days to come quicker so we can be finished with this election cycle. Can't we do it now? Let's vote today -- Sherrod Brown is up by 12 points. Important voices on the radio tell me there could very well be a Democratic landslide in Ohio! This isn't a dream, is it?

2004 election day started off so good. The buzz on the radio as I drove home for lunch was that exit polls were showing Kerry all the way. But by the time I got home from work, it was gloom descending into doom.

The waiting is killing me -- are there really people left who haven't made up their minds? Will the Republicans GOTV and Stay the Course? Tune in this weekend, as I go canvassing one more time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mike DeWine's Halloween Ad

This is the scariest political ad of the season. I wonder where the ad agency dug up this cast of attack grannies? It begins with warm grandmotherly testaments to Mike DeWine -- one has known him for over 30 years and the other says he is a decent man. Those are the only two positives given as to why one should vote for DeWine. That's all the time there is for pleasantries -- the grannies get mean and imply that Sherrod Brown does not support senior citizens. This is such a huge joke, I can't stop from laughing. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Sherrod Brown works tirelessly on behalf of seniors.

I'm trying to imagine what older Ohio women think when they view this ad. Do they identify with these nasty harpies? The tone of voice, the glint of poison in the eyes are perfect Halloween performances. I especially like the dramatic rendering of the final line:

"Sherrod Brown, I just don't trust you!"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What is scandalous?

I wasn't going to chime in on the Foley sex scandal. What hasn't been written about it -- is there any reason to dedicate more words to this sordid affair?

An article in today's Washington Post reveals Foley's techniques for "mentoring" young pages until they are of legal age. It was very easy for him to cozy up to the male pages, as most of the restrictions were focused on keeping young females away from the adult males hanging around the halls of cogress.

But as sick as all that is, we see symptoms pervasive in our government and greater society. Foley's high status as a male in Congress could be used as bait to lure in young kids. Here a page talks about the importance of maintaining a political contact over reporting Foley's behavior.

"I didn't want to piss off a member of an institution that I really revered," said a former Republican page from 2002, who said that, shortly after he finished the program, he exchanged a handful of messages with Foley over two months and that they gradually became sexual. He played along, then slowed his responses until Foley took the hint and stopped. He never considered reporting Foley to authorities. "I figured maybe someday I will want to be involved in Congress," he said. "I didn't want to make an enemy."

"There's something that really feels good about getting to hang out with people who are powerful and well known,"
said one young page. While another remembers "...him riding by in his Bimmer and talking about all the cars he got and going down to Florida to take out his yacht." Another reports that Foley offered to write him a letter of recommendation for college. These are the great temptations, offerings from a man of power that grant access to the first rungs on the ladder of success.

The debate is as old as the first acknowledged pile of material wealth -- who can we trust to run the government? The Foley scandal is not just about sex. It is about power and position. Far too many politicians are in it for themselves, not for their constituents. That is the greatest of all scandals.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fall canvass

The landscape is full of autumn colors. The natural yellows, oranges and reds of changing leaves competing with the bright plastic colors of the political yard signs sprouting everywhere.

I joined my first canvass today. Such a pleasant day for a walk! Most people were not at home or not answering their doors, but I did get to talk to quite a few friendly strangers. Only one man shooed me away without a word. He was mowing his lawn and I probably should not have even attempted to make contact. A man and his lawnmower are seldom willingly separated.

Some people told me they were voting straight Democrats. They looked very determined when they said it too! An old man in his 80s told me "we have to get rid of the cowboy." He said he didn't need a ride to vote. He was going to walk there.

Later I stopped to pick up some things at The Mustard Seed. A young woman behind the bakery counter asked me why she should vote for Sherrod Brown. She noticed my Sherrod buttons (both new -- one has a fine color photo of Sherrod and the other says "Women for Sherrod") and said she didn't know much about him. So I offered a few reasons why I am voting for him and we had quite a good conversation. (Note to self: don't take off buttons now through the election!)

Buckeye State Blog posted my favorite anti-Dewine commercial today, so I followed their lead to YouTube and post it here for everybody's continued viewing pleasure:

And from TomPaine.com, check out this article on the oil industry's ties to the ruling government and republicans in particular:

In the current election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that donations from the oil industry and its employees are running 83 percent in favor of Republicans, which is the most pronounced slant by the oil industry—and possibly the most pronounced in any industry—ever.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fringe politics

I'm watching tonight's Ohio Senate debate. In the opening salvo, DeWine accuses Sherrod Brown of operating from the fringe -- he's one of those dangerous left wing radicals. (Judy Hanna's another one of 'em -- read the ongoing debate here.) Those dangerous Lefties, those Commie Reds are lining up and ready to march into power. Fear them, scream the ads.

So what are we to be afraid of? The old definition of what it means to be "leftist" doesn't work any more.

Deficit spending is not a left-wing mode of operation. Oddly enough, deficit spending is chiefly to be found in the years of right-wing presidents Bush and Reagan.

Increased governmental control was also one of the old left-wing attributes. But it takes a right wing government to enact something as invasive of indivdual rights as the Patriot Act.

More power to the states instead of the feds is a right-wing position supposedly. Except for matters concerning medical marijuana, national education acts that mandate "no child left behind" and hosts of terrorist-prevention acts that are designed to keep the populace under constant surveillance.

The century is young enough to permit me to hope for new definitions and understandings of what is left and what is right and whether these terms are useful any more. I'm looking for people who are capable of creativing thinking about the major problems of our times. I'm also looking for action. The old stalemates are going to be the death of us.

Listening to the DeWine/Brown debate tonight, the energy in Sherrod's voice and demeanor is refreshing. Both are claiming that they work in a "bipartisan" way, but I'm only believing one of them. DeWine has had his chance and it is time for a change. DeWine accuses, "he's on the fringe of his party and he's as liberal as you can get." I'm voting for that position because it is as far from DeWine as you can get. Call it left wing, or call it rational progressive action-oriented politics -- whatever! It is what we need.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

They are out to get Judy Hanna

Who are "they"? The Ohio Republican party is desperate to hold on to Ohio's state house. As discussed a while back, I've been receiving some nasty campaign literature attacking Judy Hanna. Today I received another full color glossy piece of crapola, desperately trying to prove that Hanna is an evil left wing activist who "Doesn't Share Our Values." That's code for -- she thinks for herself!

An anonymous Coughlin supporter found my site and left more of the same. You can read it here. Mr or Ms Anonymous isn't thinking too clearly. Attempting to smear Judy Hanna's name by attaching it to the Green Party isn't going to go over well here at the Village Green. While I am not a Green Party member, I like to think "green" when making voting decisions.

Calling Judy a radical left winger isn't going to scare me either. In fact, a nice big dose of left wing radicalism might be just the cure for all the ills brought about upon our state and nation by the radical right. It's time for a swing to the left, baby -- after that long lean over a right wing cliff we've been on for 12 years here in Ohio.

So go Judy! Go Brian Williams. Let's turn Ohio around!

By the way, I have noticed a lot of Republican campaign signs posted in yards in front of empty buildings. I wonder if they belong to Slumlords for Continued Republican Rule? I'm thinking about doing a photo essay to prove my point.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Beacon Journal betrays its readers with DeWine endorsement

I could sense it coming. The overwhelming need to commit to corporate interests rather than to the working class citizens of this city and county is what drives the current ABJ ownership and editorial board. I knew it was going to happen, and yet to read it today still sickens me no end.

It does make it clear that I will never subscribe to this paper, much as I want to support my favorite hometown journalists. Maybe it is better that they find work elsewhere and let the Sun papers take over in each neighborhood. (The Sun papers have endorsed Sherrod Brown.)

The Beacon endorsement makes it clear in its closing paragraph that it is pro-globalization. The sad fact of the matter is that "globalization' is really a term for ripping off the rest of the world so Americans can grow even fatter. That's why the Beacon likes Mike. That's why they fear Brown.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cold Blows the Wind Over Akron

Snow appeared today. It didn't stick around, but the cold temps are here over night and on into the weekend. I picked the last of the green beans yesterday. Plucked the remaining green tomatoes and have wrapped them in newspaper, which is supposed to be a way to ripen them. I will report on the experiment as they either ripen or rot.

The levy campaign kicked off today in downtown Akron. Hizzoner the mayor wasn't in attendance. Important business in Columbus is the word. What that business is is anybody's guess. Our mayor travels a lot. Maybe that's why he forgets to check if the Steam Heat plant has paid its bills.

I have 26 days to make up my mind who to vote for in the local elections. I'm not happy with the local Democratic party machine. The question is, how much more unhappy would I be with a Republican machine? Which is just what the local Dems want me to think. We need fresh blood around here and some sort of vision that is more than a slogan. Akron 2025 doesn't do it for me. Lofty words about a "medical tech corridor" to be built along the route of a torn down innerbelt. Luxury lofts going up at Northside. Too little too late?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Questioning Kenmore

Dear Kenmore, my own village not so green:

What's going on here in the lead up to the election? Who are the best people to represent our interests? I keep hearing about a spruce-up along the boulevard, and a new branch library. But nothing ever happens. Such is Kenmore.

The smattering of Republican campaign signs indicate rampant anemia for the GOP cause this voting season. But where are the Democrats? I have signs up in my yard for Strickland, Espy and the school levy. The Brown and Hanna signs had not arrived at headquarters when I stopped by over a week ago. The signs are in now and I'm going to go get some. But I'm wondering if the ordinary working class Dems are just as disenchanted hearabouts.

Kenmore will vote the school levy down. I don't know why. By all accounts, there is a lot of civic pride in Kenmore HS and its fighting cardinals! The elementary schools are good places for kids to learn. Are we all so impoverished now that we can't afford to pay for quality education for all our kids? Think on the positive -- since our property rates are so low, we won't have to pay nearly as much in levy taxes as the rich folks on the west side.

How come Highland Square succeeds while Kenmore fades away? Why can't we be cool and hip yet still a relatively inexpensive place to live? Highland Square has been that way for decades. South Main had a brief glorious fling with coolness in the late 80s. Has Kenmore ever been cool? A question I should put to the Kenmore Historical Society. I see they meet next on October 30th. I will try to attend.

Kenmore remains less than an afterthought. Hiz honour the mayor comes from Kenmore. You'd think he might show a little bit of favoritism in getting things fixed up around here.

Go into the Acme on East Ave., and you'll see a huge wall mural depicting the life and career of Don Plusquellic. Kenmore hasn't forgotten him. But who is looking out for Kenmore?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We are the Village Green Preservation Society

is the Kinks song that continues to inspire me and it is the song that provides the title for my blog. I just found this clip on YouTube. It is from a 1973 BBC concert. I've heard the audio from this concert before, but didn't know there was video to go with it. Love the brass band and the flowing long locks on the boys in the band.

"God save Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety!"

Friday, October 06, 2006


Storm and the Balls new single Ladylike debuted at #5 on Billboard's Hot New Singles chart! Way to go! A new harder rocking version will be out at the end of the month, featuring Dave Navarro on guitar. Meanwhile, here's Storm rocking it on Rockstar:

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Judy Hanna for Ohio State Senate

In today's mail, I found a glossy full-color smear ad from the Ohio Republican Party:

"Lawmaker or lawbreaker? Vote No on Judy Hannah, " is written in red on the address side of the fold. The other side of the fold is an imposing photograph of the steps leading into the Ohio Assembly in Columbus with white lettering stating: IN th state Senate, We need a Lawmaker... Open the fold and we see a very ugly photograph of Judy, obviously doctored to look like a criminal ID photo. At the top in huge red letters: ...Not a Lawbreaker. Underneath her face in bright red letters: Guilty.

The rest of the inside states:

The Facts:

On September 7, 2006, the bi-partisan Ohio Elections Commission ruled that OHio Senate candidate Judy Hanna, violated Ohio election laws.

Hanna was found guilty of making false and misleading statements to voters.

Source: Ohio Elections Commission, September 7, 2006, Case #2006E-026.

How can we send Judy Hanna to be a Lawmaker when she's a proven Lawbreaker?

On November 7th, vote NO on Judy Hanna.

So what's the deal here? What heinous crime has Judy committed? I had a chance to talk to Judy over the summer. She volunteered the information that she was going to be brought up before the Ethics commission because some of her campaign literature had left out the "for" in the slogan ``Hanna, state senator, 27th district.'' It was an inadvertant mistake. When she found out that she was in error, she immediately had a new web site created and new campaign materials printed. She certainly wasn't trying to claim that she was already state senator. How absurd would that be! We all know who our current state senator is -- Kenneth Coughlin, and it is definitely time to retire him and a whole bunch of Republicans.

So anyway, Coughlin turned her into the ethics board who found her in violation but refused to fine her or press any charges. In other words, they saw no intent to fool the public. (Akron Beacon Journal report here.)

Polls show newcomer Judy in a dead heat with incumbent Republican Coughlin. Check out the committees he's on and ask yourself, how has Ohio done in these areas during the long years of Republican control:

From his web site: Senator Coughlin is Chairman of the Health, Human Services & Aging Committee. He also serves on the Energy & Public Utilities Committee and the Highways & Transportation Committee. He is also a commissioner representing Ohio on the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.

You can go to Judy's web site and check out her background and her experience. She looks like just the woman we need in politics around here. Donate a few bucks while you are at the site. The only way to take away corporate control of our elected officials is to get a bunch of the little folks to toss in what they can afford to donate. One day, we may have public funded elections, but until then -- give to the little guys so they won't be beholden to the big boys.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mid week notes from Akron

It's trash night in Kenmore. My lovely new bins are not at the curb tonight. I put out one bag of trash and one bag of recyclables. Not nearly enough trash to make it worthwhile for the truck to stop and go through its robotic moves.

There are no Democratic campaign signs that I have seen in Kenmore other than the Strickland/Fisher and Espy for Justice signs in front of my residence. There's a great big ugly Blackwell/Raga sign on East Ave, and a couple of smaller ones down by Summit Lake (the west side). There is a scattering of Kevin Coughlin signs and some Parker for Judge signs dotted around Thornton and Manchester Rd. I didn't see any Democrat signs in Firestone Park when I drove through there earlier this week, and they are usually thickets of Democratic yard support there.

I've been thinking about getting more involved locally. I'm not sure if I would be at all welcome. I'm not the the blind toadying type. The local Dems have had a stranglehold on power in city and county government for quite some time now. It looks like a good old boys network lead by the Mayor and his all Democratic city council. It's a Democratic mirror of the Republican power glut at state and federal levels and the effects are similar. Some corruption may be coming to light regarding Akron Thermal, a company that according to the ABJ has fallen far into debt and owes the city a heap of money. It gets away with it because it provides heat to the major players left in downtown Akron -- the hospitals and the university.

Meanwhile, we all wait to see if the school levy will pass. The For Sale signs are multiplying like fungus in front yards all over the city. There was a letter of complaint in the latest issue of Akron Life & Leisure from a fellow who felt that Granger township in Medina had been slighted because it was not named one of "Best Burbs" in the greater Akron area. He listed all the reasons many people move from Summit County to Granger and chief among them is because it is where the "renowed Highland High School (school of excellence) is located." Pretty darn ironic -- the magazine about Akron is really for the people who live in the suburbs. They are the ones who can afford to buy the pricey stuff found in the ads in that mag.

In Kenmore the retail trade is very small time. The boulevard could be very attractive but neglect and lack of money wash over the area, like the depressing tones found in an old and faded watercolor painting. The sort of thing you might find in a thrift store, of which there are several on the boulevard. A Dollar Store opened up a couple of years ago. It's a working class kind of place.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bill O'Neill for Ohio Supreme Court

O'Neill got the Akron Beacon Journal's endorsement today! He also received national attention in the New York Times yesterday, in an article examining Ohio Supreme court justices voting records to see how often they vote in favor of cases involving their major campaign contributers. O'Neill's opponent votes 91% of the time on behalf of his financial backers. Justice for sale is the way it plays in Ohio. From the NYT article:

An examination of the Ohio Supreme Court by The New York Times found that its justices routinely sat on cases after receiving campaign contributions from the parties involved or from groups that filed supporting briefs. On average, they voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time. Justice O’Donnell voted for his contributors 91 percent of the time, the highest rate of any justice on the court.

Judge O'Neil is taking no money from anybody for this campaign. He and his children are printing home made fliers -- they hope to distribute a million before election day. O'Neill is funding his own campaign with a budget of 4 thousand dollars! I would like to see that set as the standard for all political and judicial campaigns!

O'Neill is a multi-faceted person and has gone through tough emotional times and come out swinging and holding on to his ideals. Yellow Dog Sammy write about him here. 98% of what O'Neill is about excites me no end. But the remaining 2% is pretty "ugh." He supports teaching of both "Intelligent" Design and Evolution in the public schools. And he is anti-abortion. However, the abortion thing is evidently a personal ideology as he is pretty clear on establishing his willingness to follow the law of the land on women's reproductive choices. In YDS's blog, O'Neill kind of backs off the ID thing by saying he wants both issues to be taught so that students will be "thinkers." Problem is, ID is not about thought -- it's about faith, which has no place in a science class. I would like O'Neill to investigate the topic more thoroughly and get back to me on the ID issue. He can check out this link to Pharyngula and read about "Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal."

In the meantime, I'm encouraging everybody I know and don't know in the state of Ohio to vote for Bill O'Neill for Ohio Supreme court. The vast majority of his views -- I'm with him all the way. He's pro gay marriage and anti death penalty. Most important -- he wants the state of Ohio to follow the court's ruling on the unconstitutionality of the way public schools are funded. So I'm putting a link to his campaign here and on my blog roll. Check him out yourself. I have some of his fliers if anybody wants one. You can print them out for yourself here. Tell everybody you know. Wouldn't it be the most amazingly wonderful thing if a candidate could win a state wide election without taking money from the people he is supposed to serve?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sherrod Brown vs Mike DeWine on Meet the Press

As readers here know, I endorsed Sherrod Brown for US Senate this past week, only to read the next day that he had voted for the "compromise" detainee act. I then read a bunch of angry blog postings from around the state and wrote my own angry blog entry. The next day, I heard Brown's explanation on the Ed Schultz show, and although not completely happy about it, I have some understanding why Brown voted as he did. Reason started to prevail over emotion and it was time to move on and look forward to the Meet the Press debate between Mike DeWine and Sherrod Brown.

The debate began with Mike DeWine refusing to use "cut and run" because he doesn't know what that means. This was DeWine at his most weasel-like moment. He cleverly inserted Hilary Clinton's name into the debate, implying that even she agreed with him. This was in reference to testimony from ex-military generals who said that leaving Iraq now would be a mistake. DeWine refused to set "an artifical date" for withdrawal. I don't understand why our politicians haven't learned the lessons from Viet Nam.

Brown did not do well at first on the question of what do we do now with troops in Iraq. Has anybody anywhere answered that question and given us a practical solution? Russert showed a poll result indicating that the majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country. I side with the Iraqi people. The question of civil war is one that they must deal with.

Body armor was a bone of contention. The format of the debate did not allow Brown to respond to Mike DeWine's claim that Brown voted against funding for body armor 5 times. Brown did say that he voted against an 87 billion dollar funding bill for the troops because the money was to go to Halliburton, and other big corps who would not have any accountability. So score one for Brown here. I'd like to see some truth in advertising on this issue somewhere. They both make claims against the other and the real facts get buried under all the noise.

Brown needs to work on answering questions directly. People are fed up with politicians side-stepping and ignoring questions in order to go off on their own tracks. I know it is easy to watch and criticize and very difficult to respond the perfect way in the heat of the debate, but I would encourage Brown to practice answering directly and THEN going on to make his own points.

Brown finally did come up with a good statement about the future in Iraq -- that the Iraqi people have no incentive to overcome their differences while the US remains there. Clearly, there needs to be a concerted effort from the rest of the world, not just the US and its raggle taggle consortium of yes-countries that rode into Iraq along with Bush.

Brown made a good point about the US losing its focus because of the Iraq situation. I think that he needs to keep hammering on the fact that DeWine has been in power and has failed to protect us. He also made excellent points on funding sources and who is backing DeWine.

DeWine tried to use Brown's vote against the Patriot Act as a negative, but sorry Mike -- that's one of the biggest reasons I have to vote for Brown.

Tax cuts were brought up but it resulted in a yelling match between the two candidates. I hope the next debate gives both candidates an opportunity to speak uninterrupted about their policies.

What is the election about? Brown tells us he will vote for Ohioans not for the president. The oil companies get everything they want, HMOs get everything they want.

DeWine attempted to blast Brown's voting record -- he's on the fringe. Gasp! He's on the left! Oh no! Then DeWine tried to bring up examples of how he has voted with Democrats on various export bills for the steel industry. Brown immediately pounced on that and told us that both bills were undercut by Bush and are no longer on the books. More responses like that please, Mr Brown!

As we know, in any election appearances have an effect upon the undecided voter, maybe even more so than political positions. As an acting coach, I paid attention to the surface impressions as well as the issues. Brown clearly is more good looking than DeWine and has a big advantage in physical appearance. He speaks well with his hands. I noticed that his hands often do gestures that indicate connection and joining rather than pointing and hammering. DeWine seems stuck on one hand bouncing up and down as he tries to make a point.

Mike DeWine's smile tends to appear at the most inconvenient moments, such as when responding to Russert's questions about Congressman Foley's improprieties with congressional pages. Brown's eyes dart about as he thinks, while DeWine's eyelids flutter absurdly. Brown took notes. DeWine didn't. Brown reached for the handshake first. Brown has a much pleasanter smile. Brown is not the most fluent speaker, but once he gets over a few hics and starts, he does get rolling. Does that come across as canned reponse? For those who are used to it, no. But how does that come across to the average Ohio voter? DeWine's fluttering eyelids and gulps when tring to make his points give him a weak and shifty appearance.

Physically, DeWine is not at all appealing. He looks like a gnome and sounds peevish. Brown has that gruff working class voice, even though he isn't at all working class. Brown came across as more passionate about the issues in terms of his constinuency. He consistantly referenced communities from every corner of Ohio. DeWine never did. DeWine's passion seemed more about staying in office rather than wanting to serve Ohioans. That's how it came across to me and I sure hope that any other undecided Ohio citizens saw that as well.

The Democratic Senate campaign did Brown a great service by airing their "The More We Get Together" commercial at the start of Meet the Press today. I looked for it online but couldn't find it to link to. When I do find it, I'll post it here. It takes a DeWine commercial about "working together" and points in a new direction. DeWine works with Bush 90+% of the time. Playing underneath the factual statements showing who DeWine works with (Big Oil, Bush, etc) we hear children singing "The more we work together, together, together...) It's very catchy and hilariously straight to the point. DeWine is clearly trying to use "bipartisanship" as a major selling point. This commercial undercuts that point in a memorable fashion. Hope it airs a lot!