House Bill 136 Threatens Avon Schools

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 10-28-11, By Rebecca Turman

    Proposed school voucher program could cost district millions

    AVON -- If it becomes law, House Bill 136 has the potential to become a financial burden for the Avon Local School District.

    District Treasurer Kent Zeman provided some background on the legislation for Avon Board of Education members at its Oct. 18 [2011] meeting. He said the bill 'creates an additional voucher program' for students.

    The state already offers a charter school voucher program, a voucher program for Cleveland students and a program that allows students who attend 'failing' school districts to apply for a voucher to be used at a private school, Zeman told the board.

    The Ohio House of Representatives website states HB 136 'establishes a new program, entitled the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship (PACT) Program, to award scholarships based on family income for students to attend private schools (chartered nonpublic schools or other 'approved' nonpublic schools) instead of the schools of their resident school districts. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, the new program will operate on a statewide basis.'

    To qualify for the scholarship, 'A family of four would have to make less than $95,000,' Zeman said. 'Anyone below that (income) gets the full scholarship.'

    'The PACT program permits students already attending NONPUBLIC schools to receive first-time scholarships,' the Ohio House website indicates ...

    If the PACT Program is put in place, Zeman said it would mean if an Avon student decides to attend a private school, all of the tax dollars would follow that student to the private school, and the district would lose out on that money.

    'The full $5,783 per pupil would follow that student,' he said, adding at least 700 students in Avon attend private schools.

    'We are getting $779 (from the state) per student, but if the student were to leave, we'd lose $5,783,' Board President Kevin Romanchok reiterated.

    Board Vice President Scott Radcliffe expressed concern the number of students who attend private schools may increase if the PACT Program is put in place, costing the district even more. Ultimately, if it becomes a law, assuming 50 percent of Avon students qualify for the voucher program, HB 136 would have a big impact on the school district's five-year forecast, Zeman said.

    Without the bill, the five-year forecast shows a balance of $8.99 million as of June 30, 2016, according to Zeman's calculations. Passage of the bill would result in a balance of $1.78 million ...

    Board member John Weigman called the House bill's ramifications 'a disaster' and suggested the district offer information on the website to help residents get in touch with their representative about the bill ...

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-10-11, By Aaron Marshall

    Right-to-work amendment may be headed to Ohio ballot

    Ohio voters might see another ballot issue from the group that supported the health care amendment that passed [on 11-8-11].

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The group of conservatives and Tea Party activists that won a landslide victory on Tuesday with Ohio's "healthcare freedom" amendment wants to come back to voters with a new proposal -- a "right-to-work" [amendment to the State constitution].

    Dubbed the "Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment," the issue would place into the Ohio Constitution a ban on requiring Ohioans to join a union as a condition of employment.

    The proposal also follows the decisive defeat in Tuesday's election of another measure aimed at unions, Issue 2, which was a referendum on Senate Bill 5, the law that aimed to sharply restrict collective bargaining for public employees ...

    Chris Redfern, head of the Ohio Democratic Party, said during a Statehouse news conference that the amendment would have "draconian impacts on working families" and cause wages to drop.

    Supporters of the amendment dropped off petitions Thursday containing 1,621 signatures with the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office. If 1,000 of those signatures are valid, the group would get the green light to begin gathering the 386,000 signatures needed to bring the issue to the ballot ...

    The proposed amendment is similar to the right-to-work legislation that Republicans brought to the Ohio ballot in 1958, which was defeated by a 63 percent-to-37 percent margin.

    "Right to work doesn't guarantee rights to the workers nor does it protect the access that women and minorities have had," said Rep. Tracy Heard, a Columbus Democrat. "What we have protects workers, protects their wages, it protects them physically on the job," she said. " Lower wages don't make for better employees." ...

    The ballot in 2012 could be a crowded place. Democrats are gathering signatures to get a repeal of an election reform bill on the ballot as well as a possible repeal of a congressional map they think is too favorable to Republicans. Meanwhile, social conservatives who oppose abortion hope to get a "personhood" amendment on the ballot that defines life as beginning at conception.


    COLUMN from The Plain Dealer, 11-12-11, By Thomas Suddes

    The people of Ohio spoke on Senate Bill 5, but Gov. John Kasich isn't a listener: ...

    The overwhelming veto by Ohioans of Senate Bill 5, a GOP plan to crush public-employee unions, was a massive defeat not only for Kasich but also for the blind partisanship of General Assembly Republicans ...

    In 1958, 16 counties backed a union-busting right-to-work initiative pushed by GOP industrialists to cripple private-sector unions. Only two right-to-work counties -- Delaware, again, and Holmes, Ohio's Amish heartland -- voted for Senate Bill 5. Statewide, only 39 percent of those voting Tuesday said "yes" on Senate Bill 5 ...

    House Speaker William Batchelder, a conservative Medina Republican, lamented on election night that ballot-box legislating -- California-style government -- may be where Ohio's headed ...

    But consider why Ohio adopted the referendum and initiative in 1912:

    Reason One: Lobbyists, especially utility lobbyists, owned the General Assembly.

    Reason Two: "Apportionment" -- how Ohio drew legislative districts -- unfairly skewed Ohio's Statehouse agenda away from pressing statewide needs and toward special-interest giveaways.

    In the 99 years since, just what has changed on Capitol Square? In 2011 as in 1912, woe to the Ohio legislator who bucks Big Business lobbies.

    As for fair "apportionment" (or "districting" of congressional seats), Ohioans may be saddled with two primary elections in 2012 (extra cost to taxpayers: $15 million) so Statehouse Republicans can carve Ohio congressional districts to please Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, of suburban Cincinnati.

    From Tuesday's stats, ... voters will strive to draw political lessons from the repudiation of Senate Bill 5.

    On history as a teacher, a great historian, Gordon S. Wood, once wrote this: "History has no lessons except one: that nothing ever quite works out as the participants quite intended or expected. In other words, if history teaches anything, it teaches humility." With this Ohio governor, and those General Assembly majorities, good luck with that ...


    [For more on the triumphs of the thieves, see

    Cooking up a tea party

    Liars, Thieves, and shovel-ready Jobs

    Debt Default Deadline

    The Bush Legacy, Avon, Ohio

    Are Kasich's true colors those of a cossack bandit?]


    Commentator 1 wrote:

    Should Social Security benefits be cut because the thieves do not want to pay back what they took?

    Apparently, Archie Bunker voted for the thieves in 2010 because he hates Obama. Now the thieves are crawling all over him like flies on poop. Does Archie have any idea what is really going on? Or does he think he is now the Lord of the Flies?


    Commentator 2 wrote on 12-31-08:

    In an effort to paralyze the U. S. federal government, just three presidents, Reagan and the Bushes, have incurred most of our current [2008] $11 trillion national debt -- this was not accident or stupidity; it was deliberate policy.

    Paying interest on this debt as it continues to grow should be repugnant to all of us -- what a waste of our tax dollars. So, here is a proposal in the tradition of President Abraham Lincoln:

    Immediately pay off the entire U. S. debt with electronic (and printed when necessary) U. S. Treasury bills, "electronic greenbacks." These treasury notes will pay no interest; and will be "stored" in the U. S. Treasury until the debt-holders give the U. S. Treasury their account numbers for "electronic greenback" direct deposit. All interest payments on notes issued by the Federal Reserve will be banned by law and immediately cease.

    The new greenbacks will be legal tender in the U. S. and must be accepted abroad by U. S. agencies, contractors, and banks chartered in the U. S. no matter where they are operating.


    [The stakes for the kleptocracy are higher than ever -- the Kazakh oil of central Asia, and the chance to make Afghanistan another Congo. For more on the U. S. invasion of Afghanistan and the Unocal pipeline, see]

    A revealing commentary on the current "Banana Wars' (Oil Wars) was written by U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who saw action in Honduras in 1903, served in Nicaragua enforcing American policy from 1909 to 1912, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in Veracruz in 1914, and a second Medal of Honor for bravery while "crush(ing) the Caco resistance" in Haiti in 1915. In 1935, Butler wrote in his famous book "War Is a Racket":

    "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914.

    I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.

    I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

    I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.

    I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916.

    I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903.

    In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.

    Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."


    LETTER to The Sun-Sentinel, 3-10-11:

    ``During last fall's frenzied election process, American citizens were exposed to the cries of Tea Party members who wanted their country back from big government.

    I too want my country back ... from the Supreme Court of the United States ...

    The conservative majority, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, in the Citizens United case, ruled to allow corporations ... to [secretly] donate unlimited amounts ...

    The big spenders did not wish to be identified. Republicans in the Senate successfully filibustered the Disclose Act which would have required lavish contributors to [publicly] identify themselves.

    Common Cause has alerted us ... Justice Clarence Thomas, although required, failed to reveal his wife's income of over $680,000 from the Heritage Foundation ...

    Has the integrity of the Court been challenged when the billionaire Koch brothers, Tea Party supporters, issue invitations to Justices Scalia and Thomas to attend their confidential meetings?

    May I have my country back?''

    Celine E. Riedel, Avon Lake


    LETTER to The Sun-Sentinel, 4-11-11:

    Kasich takes from middle class to help out Ohio's wealthy

    William Shakespeare, in 'As You Like It,' compared the world to a stage where all the men and women are merely players.

    One of the prominent players is our very own governor, John Kasich, who has set his stage in Ohio. He struts the boards posing as Robin Hood, while reversing Robin Hood's role: stealing from the middle class and giving to the wealthy. He zealously promotes his budget proposals aimed at privatization wherever possible and the elimination of unions' right to collectively bargain.

    Kasich facilitated his union-busting career while working as managing director of the Columbus banking division of Lehman Brothers. When Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, thanks to the manipulations of Kasich, the state pension fund lost an investment of $480 million.

    It is possible that Kasich's next appearance on stage may be as a presidential candidate in the 2012 election. He can count on the billionaire Koch Brothers to have his back financially.

    If Kasich succeeds in becoming the chosen Republican candidate in the election, Americans will have to decide if they wish to appear on the world's stage as a democracy or a corporation.

    Celine E. Riedel, Avon Lake


    LETTER to The Plain Dealer, 3-8-11:

    Kasich's and Lehman Brothers' hard sell of bad securities worsened Ohio pension funds' woes

    It's bad enough that our governor would try to balance the state budget by taking collective bargaining rights from public unions (Senate Bill 5) or via the newly proposed curtailing of overtime compensation for private workers (House Bill 61), but consider that the former Lehman Brothers executive helped to cause this same budget shortfall through the public pension's loss of $457 million.

    A recent public records request shows that Gov. John Kasich was pivotal in pitching toxic assets to OPERS, STRS and the OP&F pension funds, and made direct contact with the state pension fund managers, despite statements made to the contrary.

    The documents indicate that not only was Kasich pitching to the state funds, but that his colleagues at Lehman Brothers, whom Kasich had introduced to OPERS, STRS and OP&F, were trying to sell the pension funds these worthless securities as late as Aug. 25, 2008 -- only 21 days before the collapse of Lehman.

    The governor clearly has some explaining to do ...

    It's clear now that the public workers and all of the middle class were the mark in an elaborate con that ... strains the finances of our state.

    Miles R. Heilman Lorain


    LETTER to The Sun-Sentinel, 4-2-11:

    Under Governor Kasich's reign, corporations winning, middle class losing

    After three short months of Gov. Kasich's reign, a clear picture emerges. It is not a pretty picture. It is a picture of winners and losers.

    The big winners are Kasich's billionaire friends and multi-national corporations. He privatized jobs creation and formed JobsOhio. He plans on selling or leasing the lottery, prisons and the turnpike. Corporations will be getting our tax money instead of Ohioans.

    Kasich would rather send our taxes to out-of-state corporations than help keep Ohioans employed in good-paying jobs. He is helping corporations feed at the state trough of money. He does not seem to care that this money will be going out of Ohio.

    The big losers are the middle class, the poor and handicapped. He is cutting help for the mentally handicapped. He is trying to dismantle the Office of Consumer Counsel, which helps consumers with problems concerning big business. He is trying to ram through Senate Bill 5 [SB5], which would hurt many Ohio workers.

    He derailed the 3C Corridor project, which would have given us a choice for travel, with looming high gas prices. Leasing or selling state entities would subject employees to job loss or substantial pay and benefit cuts. He is denying federal funds for transit projects, which are 'pass-thru' funds. He is cutting aid to cities and schools, pushing them to the brink. Cities and schools will have to seek local tax increases ...

    In Kasich's perfect Ohio, we will be a minimum-wage, right-to-work state where corporations can pillage and plunder the state at will. This is not the Ohio we the people want, nor need!

    Geza John Vamos, Cleveland

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    No Upside to Greed


    MORGAN: ... I want to turn now to a man who undoubtedly will have a lot to say about what's happening at Wall Street. In fact he has a lot to say about just about everything.

    Jesse Ventura is a former governor of Minnesota and the author of "63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read" and "American Conspiracies," and he joins me exclusively now.

    Jesse, how are you?

    VENTURA: Hi, Piers. How are you doing tonight?

    MORGAN: Good. I'd imagine although there are lots of angry people down at "Occupy Wall Street," I would imagine you are even more angry. You normally are.

    VENTURA: Well, I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed. I'm very disappointed that many of the attitudes out there. Because these are simply people exercising their First Amendment rights, and they state that no law shall be passed to inhibit those rights.

    And it seems that they give local precedence to little local ordinances that seem to have more power than the First Amendment does, the right to gather and the right to protest your government in a in a peaceful manner.

    MORGAN: ... There's a clear divide going on now between the kind of people turning up to protest ... and the people who work in Wall Street ... There's a huge disconnect, isn't there now, between the two?

    VENTURA: Well, yes. I think the original message was to send one that Wall Street owns our politicians. That it doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican. Their allegiance is to Wall Street, the corporations and big business. And I think these are the people that are rising up to say, wait a minute, we're the people of America, and you should be working for us, not for corporations.

    Because, ... as you know, the loose definition of fascism is when corporations take over governments. And I think here in the United States we're right on the brink of that if we're not already there right now.

    MORGAN: ... What has gone fundamentally wrong with America to cause what is going on now at Wall Street and other cities?

    VENTURA: Well, the fact that the Democrats and Republicans, and both of them are equally guilty. They're responsible. They've been in charge for over 100 years, Piers. They've created a system based upon bribery. That he who has the most money and pays them off with their campaign donations and the dirty elections ...

    MORGAN: And I've seen interviews with some of the protesters today. And they're quite keen to express that this is not anti- capitalism argument per se ...

    VENTURA: No. They're not opposed to capitalism. They're not trying to make us communist or socialist. They're just saying stop ... Wall Street [from] buying the allegiance of our politicians; and hopefully these demonstrations will wake people up ...

    MORGAN: ... the Republican race.

    What is your take of the various contenders? It's been going up and down like a yo-yo, the leader board. Who do you like? Who don't you like?

    VENTURA: Well, there's only one person that I like at all of them. That's Ron Paul. He's the only one that I agree with. That we need to audit the Federal Reserve, that we need to shut down these wars and bring our young men and women home immediately. Shut down all these bases throughout the world. And let's start concentrating on jobs at home and job creation here ...

    MORGAN: ... Ron Paul is unlikely the way the polls are looking to win. Mitt Romney is the favored candidate at the moment. And if not him, then Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich ...

    VENTURA: Well, Newt Gingrich ... he got part of the payoff of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. I heard they paid him millions of dollars as a consultant. What would they need to consult about? So he got -- he got part of the bailout money, and we're going to make him president? ...

    MORGAN: But what would you think of Obama's performance as president? The reason I ask you is I want to play you a clip before I get your answer. Because we had a very interesting debate last time about what would happen if the CIA or any American intelligence officials track down bin Laden or Gadhafi. Let me play you our discussion over this ...


    MORGAN: Isn't that exactly what Navy SEALs do all the time?

    VENTURA: No, when in war. War is different.

    MORGAN: We're at war with Osama bin Laden.

    VENTURA: We are?


    MORGAN: I mean, very pressing discussion there, Jesse, because since that interview a few months ago, obviously both bin Laden and Gadhafi were killed. And in bin Laden's case by Navy SEALS ...

    VENTURA: ... What I question is this, were we told the truth? I mean they lied about the murder of Pat Tillman. They lied about the rescue of Jessica Lynch. They lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They lied about ties to al Qaeda with Saddam Hussein ...

    MORGAN: Well, let me ask you a direct question. Do you believe bin Laden is dead?

    VENTURA: Yes. I think he's -- he may have been dead for 10 years for all we know. I mean, he had a disease where most doctors said it was fatal within a couple of years. How did this guy manage to live eight? [Did] you know he was going around needing dialysis treatment when 9/11 happened? ...

    MORGAN: But I'm all for conspiracy theories, Jesse, but obviously the Navy SEALs themselves who said that they found bin Laden alive and killed him ...

    VENTURA: Well, how do you know that? ... None of us know the guys that were on this mission. None of us will. And who's to say that helicopter that killed those 18 guys from Team 6 didn't have all the guys on it that got bin Laden? How do we know? ...

    MORGAN: Jesse, finally, who are you going to vote for in the next election? Have you decided yet?

    VENTURA: Well, I will vote absolutely for Ron Paul if he -- if he runs as an independent. You know, obviously even though he's doing phenomenally well in straw polls in Iowa and California that the media doesn't like the report on him. If he does not get the Republican nominations and he switches to, say, the Libertarian Party or at any other third party, Ron Paul will absolutely get my vote ...

    MORGAN: Tonight Chelsea Handler joins -- can you stop that please? Don't start.

    HANDLER: You can't control yourself already.

    MORGAN: You know, forget -- I was going to say something nice about you. Forget it ...

    MORGAN: What is your view of the political climate in America right now?

    HANDLER: The political landscape?

    MORGAN: Yes.

    HANDLER: Well, where shall we start?

    MORGAN: Let's start with Republicans.

    HANDLER: Let's start with Herman Cain.

    MORGAN: Yes. What do we make of Herman Cain?

    HANDLER: Well, I --

    MORGAN: He's engaging, isn't he?

    HANDLER: Well, I think the whole point now in politics is to kind of get yourself out there. Not necessarily to try and win an actual election but to get famous enough to get your own realty show based out of Alaska ...

    MORGAN: He actually came out yesterday and said I'm not expected and I shouldn't have to be expected to know anything about foreign policy. This is the guy who wants to be president of the United States.

    CHANDLER: Did you see the video of him when they asked about Libya and Obama?

    MORGAN: He didn't seem to know what Libya was.

    CHANDLER: He didn't know Libya was a country. He didn't know where, what -- he thought it was like a town in California. He didn't understand what was happening ...

    MORGAN: Why don't you go into politics?

    CHANDLER: Well, let me tell you why. Because I was sitting backstage and I was watching you. Well, I was watching CNN, and -- only because I was stuck in this building. And I was watching it, and I was thinking, gosh, this is so depressing.

    I mean, every story, whether it's Sandusky or it's the Occupy Wall Street, or it's just -- the repetition ... kind of takes the juice out of you ... The repetition of talking about boys being molested -- I wouldn't have the energy or the capability to be able to deal with it ...

    MORGAN: It's the very debate that's going on on Wall Street, which is it's not actually anti-capitalism. It's anti-the abuse of capitalism. It's people being just overtly greedy at a time when a lot of people are suffering ...

    MORGAN: You want to pay more tax?

    CHANDLER: Yes ...

    MORGAN: People criticize Warren Buffett and said, yeah, it's all right for him. He is worth billions, and actually he could just write a check ...

    CHANDLER: Where are you supposed to write the check to?

    MORGAN: Exactly. But I think the point is that he was creating a mood, which is, come on, rich guys in America. There's no real evidence historically that if the rich -- very rich pay more tax, it affects their ability to create more jobs. There's no evidence of that. It's a myth ...

    CHANDLER: There's no -- there's no upside to having people uneducated or having people out of work or having people on the streets and being homeless. There's no upside to that.

    The whole idea is to build your community, to have a community that that has strength, that has funding ... When you are more fortunate, your responsibility is to help less fortunate ...

    MORGAN: Chelsea, thank you.


    Herman Cain's Koch Connections

    By Ted Mann, The Atlantic Wire, 10-17-11

    The Associated Press [AP] delved into Herman Cain's history with Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who for years have helped to bankroll conservative political organizations and rallies, stiffening the spine of the movement that would become the Tea Party. Turns out they go back a long way.

    Cain, who has been steadily rising in Republican primary polls, worked with Americans for Prosperity, the political committee founded by the Koch brothers to advocate lower taxes and spending cuts. Cain traveled the country as the group's chief spokesman in 2005 and 2006, the AP says, working alongside Mark Block, the Republican operative who is now Cain's campaign manager.

    And a friend from the Americans for Prosperity days, Rich Lowrie, inspired Cain's "9-9-9" plan ...

    Cain's close ties to the Koch brothers seem unlikely to hurt him with Republican primary voters. Those voters certainly have not been eager to turn on the Kochs ...

    Should Cain make it to a general election, there is one attack about Koch connections that is surely in every opposition research dossier: Having friends who do business ... with Iran doesn't seem like it'll play well with any section of the electorate.

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