Category Archives: Ohio

Gov. John Kasich (R): A New Day and a New Way For Ohio by Gregory Hilton

Ohio's First Family

Under previous GOP Governors, Ohio had over $1 billion in a rainy day fund. When Gov. Ted Strickland (D) left office in January he not only depleted the entire fund but there was an $8 billion deficit, and the state economy was in the dumps. The liberal Strickland had been elected in 2006 by calling himself “Turnaround Ted” and promising a “jobs revival.” Continue reading

Reapportionment: Mapping The New Congressional Districts by Gregory Hilton

New York has lost two seats and it is likely there will be some combination of the districts of Democratic Reps. Joseph Crowley, Carolyn Maloney and Gary Ackerman. The last time New York had 27 House seats was in the early 1820s, when the chamber had 181 seats. The two upstate districts with the heaviest population losses are in the western part of the state and are represented by Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter. With a Democratic Governor and state Assembly and a GOP Senate, expect each party to lose a district.

Yesterday’s release of the Census Bureau data allows the 2012 Congressional reapportionment process to begin. Drawing the new maps will be the subject of considerable speculation for the next six months. The GOP will gain at least six seats, and they are practically assured of pickups in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Also, several vulnerable Republicans will see favorable territory added to their districts.
The liberal Huffingtom Post does not agree with this assessment. Their current headline article is “Reapportionment Not Necessarily Good News for Republicans” by Robert Creamer. He is the same author who wrote their analysis explaining why Democrats would keep control of the House. Continue reading

The GOP Victory: Real Change is Coming to Capitol Hill and America by Gregory Hilton

The next House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), is shown with the two most recent Speakers, Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republicans and certain to capture control of the House of Representatives today, while the battle for the Senate will be close. President Obama’s veto power will remain in effect for another two years, but real and substantial change is clearly coming to Capitol Hill and America. The days of the Democratic super majority are over, and the end of the Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Majority Leader Harry Reid era is an enormous positive step for the American people. Continue reading

Skip-a-Space: Labor Targets Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) by Gregory Hilton

A headline on today’s liberal website Daily Kos is “Thank You, Dan Maes (R-CO).” They are referring to a controversial gubernatorial candidate who will not leave the race even though he has no chance and the GOP could win without him. The Daily Kos is correct in expressing their thanks to Maes, and in a similar fashion I would like to thank the SEIU and the Change to Win labor unions. First, they spent over $10 million to defeat Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) even though she provided the final vote for the passage of Obamacare. They were upset because she was against the public option. Lincoln is now losing to her GOP opponent by 41%, and no incumbent in Senate history has ever run this poorly. Continue reading

Stunning New Poll: Get Ready for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) by Gregory Hilton

The nation’s most prominent liberal blogger, Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic Monthly, has just reprinted this chart from the Gallup Poll demonstrating that the GOP has a huge seven percent lead in the 2010 generic ballot between Republicans and Democrats. His only comment was, “This means House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)”. Yglesias reaction is not an exaggeration. This is the biggest generic ballot lead for the Republican Party in history. Continue reading

The Hypocrisy of Sen. Howard Metzenbaum and a Tax Lesson from LeBron James by Gregory Hilton

"Fighting the Unbeatable Foe" is the biography of the late Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH). Author Tom Diemer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer praises the Senator for battling major corporations and deregulation. For the tax avoiding Metzenbaum, the real foe was the Internal Revenue Service.

The late U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D) and basketball star LeBron James are both well known names in Ohio, and they have an important message for the nation on tax policy. Metzenbaum served on Capitol Hill from 1974 until 1994, and died at the age of 90 in 2008. Continue reading

Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership Targets Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) and other Liberal Democrats by Gregory Hilton

The Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership is today running a TV spot in Columbus, Ohio which sharply criticizes Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D). The 30 second ad states: Continue reading

What’s The Matter With Cleveland?: America’s Most Miserable City by Gregory Hilton

According to last month’s Forbes magazine, Cleveland, Ohio is now “the most miserable city” in America. In 1978 it became the first city to go into default since the Great Depression, and the present outlook for job growth and redevelopment is grim. Cleveland appears to be in a death spiral and is rapidly losing people, businesses and its middle class. The magazine says:

Cleveland nabbed the top spot as a result of poor ratings across the board. It was the only city that fell in the bottom half of the rankings in all nine categories. Many residents are heading for greener pastures. There has been a net migration out of the Cleveland metro area of 71,000 people over the past five years. Cleveland ranked near the bottom when looking at corruption. . . On the housing front Cleveland is dealing with thousands of abandoned homes. The city also has high unemployment, high taxes and lousy weather.

TV star Drew Carey is a Cleveland native and a home town hero. He has just completed a six part series which looks at the many problems plaguing the city. Carey is both the narrator and executive producer of the series which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation. The first installment, “Cleveland: The Decline of a Once-Great City” appeared online on March 15th.
Carey asks viewers why his home town is now known as the “Mistake On The Lake.” The city has a median household income of less than $28,000, which is far below the national average of $50,300. One out of every five homes in Cleveland stands vacant.
“As you know, I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. I love Cleveland and I based my whole career on being from the city,” Carey says in the initial episode. “And you also might know that Cleveland is going through some tough times right now. The economy is in trouble, schools are in trouble, and people have been leaving the city in droves for a long, long time.”
The actor’s ABC sitcom, “The Drew Carey Show,” was set in Cleveland and was on the air for nine years. He is today host of the game show “The Price is Right.” Carey served in the Marine Corps and could have easily walked away from the problems of a city he left long ago. Instead he lent his time and talent to an effort to make things better. Thomas Wolfe said you can not go home again, but you also never forget where you are from.
Carey emphasizes that 60 years ago, “Cleveland was a booming city full of promise, opportunity and people.” It was the sixth-largest city in 1950, and its growth rate was impressive in the decade after World War II. It had a business-friendly climate, and was home to many of the nation’s leading corporations.
Today the city’s population is less than half of what it was in its prime. The population has shrunk from almost one million to 450,000. It also ranks as one of the poorest big cities, and is now broke. Similar to many urban areas, Cleveland has had to endure corrupt politicians and inept city workers, but the problems are much deeper. Carey believes Cleveland needs less government, lower taxes and a reduction in the power of public employee unions.
What’s The Matter With Cleveland?
* The city has many problems but the most significant is that high taxes and burdensome regulations make it nearly impossible for new businesses to be established, or for existing companies to thrive. The pleas of the corporate community to cut taxes, simplify zoning laws and reduce red tape have been ignored.

* The public schools are failing and only 12% of them merit a rating of excellent or even effective by the state of Ohio. This has happened despite spending $14,000/year on every student. All parents who can afford it have been fleeing to the suburbs for decades.
The charter schools in Cleveland are booming. They are delivering quality education at a fraction of the cost of traditional public schools. “Your choice is to go to a Catholic school or get the hell out of town and raise your kids somewhere else. That’s not much of a choice at all,” says Carey. He is also fearless in taking on teachers unions, saying, “Maybe hiring teachers just based on seniority isn’t a good idea because just hanging around doesn’t make you good.”

* In an episode entitled “Privatize It,” Carey asks why should cities be in the business of running businesses ranging from convention centers to farmers markets? He asks “Why is the city in the grocery business?” Cleveland is losing money on both ventures. He urges city officials to sell off golf courses and contract out parking concessions to generate new revenue. The Cleveland Convention Center was built at a time when 40% of the convention space in America was not being used.

* Cleveland has spent billions on big-ticket urban redevelopment efforts including three heavily subsidized sports stadiums. The stadiums are for NFL, NBA and major league baseball teams, and they have failed to revitalize the city’s economy. Carey criticizes the stadiums and says the city should instead focus on bottom-up projects driven by residents and private-sector investors. This is the best way to build a vibrant city for the long haul, he maintains.
He joked that despite his desire for a championship in Cleveland, “If I had to trade, I would have every sports team in last place forever if we could have the best schools, the best business environment, and if all our kids were graduating and going to college.” He says Cleveland can have it all if it just gets government out of the way.

* Cleveland is tied with Birmingham, Alabama as the most racially segregated city in the nation.

What’s Right With Cleveland
* Cleveland is not without assets. Because of the construction of the stadiums and convention center, there has been a revival downtown with new bars and restaurants. The city has two of the best hospitals in the world, and the Cleveland Clinic is the largest employer in North East Ohio. The city has an impressive orchestra, museums and a bustling theater district. It also has respected institutions of higher education. It does not have significant traffic problems but it does have what many east coast cities lack, space.

Possible Solutions
* Many of Cleveland’s potential assets are not utilized. The city’s waterfront was once vibrant as a major shipping hub, but today there is no activity. There is considerable merit in the report developed by Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute on waterfront redevelopment. The city has to decide what to do with its harbor, and the waterfront could be a fabulous asset if the private sector would take a lead role. Baltimore Harbor should be an example for them.

* Cleveland has shrunk because its job base declined. The city does not need subsidies to attract new businesses, but it does need lower taxes. Property, personal and corporate income taxes should be cut. A low sales tax results in more sales. City leaders need to resist the urge to cut the profitability of local businesses.

* The Drew Carey series contrasts Cleveland with Houston, Texas where there are no state or local income taxes, and almost no zoning restrictions. The attitude in Houston was expressed by urban-development expert Joel Kotkin who said: “You should be able to do what you want to do, unless there’s a really good reason you shouldn’t.’’ In contrast, Cleveland businesses have to constantly fight the city. In Houston the paperwork for a new business requires an afternoon to complete, but in Cleveland the regulations require a year and a half on average.

* The city should also initiate a crackdown on crime similar to what former Mayor Rudy Guiliani did in New York City. He transformed Times Square by ticketing every infraction, including jay walking.

* Cleveland has the impressive Euclid Corridor which sits between downtown and two of the best hospitals in the world. It is lined by hundreds of empty buildings. The city should give tax incentives and other breaks to medical companies to move into those buildings. Combined with the cities low cost of living, the one industry they can feature could result in high-end jobs coming to Cleveland.

The Future
* Will the city’s future be similar to the ruins of Detroit, which is ranked 4th on the list, or the thriving economy of Dallas. Detroit has also lost half of its population since 1950 and over one-third of the city is now abandoned with boarded up houses and empty lots. If Cleveland wants to be another Dallas, it must become a business friendly dynamic city that bends over backwards to attract corporations and jobs.

The Rust Belt Deathfest by Gregory Hilton

‘Fastest Dying Cities’ Meet for a Lively Talk by Douglas Belkin, Wall Street Journal

Last year, used long-term trends of unemployment, population loss and economic output to devise a list of “America’s Fastest Dying Cities.” The cities include Cleveland, Dayton, Canton and Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit and Flint, MI; Buffalo, Scranton, Springfield, MA and Charleston, WV. They all realize manufacturing is not going to come back to save them.
These cities have natural resources, hardworking people, underutilized infrastructure, and land for expansion, but you can see the decline everywhere and the housing markets and crime are awful. What they also have in common is rejecting the obvious path to a turnaround. All of them are over-taxed and over-regulated with a one party political system which has led to heavy patronage and incompetence in local government. They all have several common denominators. Among them bad local political choices, lack of regional cooperation, and no vision to diversify 20-30 years ago. They are also controlled by unions which promoted policies destroying manufacturing jobs. Decades of anti-business policies have resulted in a migration of good jobs.
The companies that stayed in these cities saw their market share evaporate, as their ability to fend off foreign or non-union competitors waned. Union workforces became increasingly less productive as measured against hourly throughput. Now the laws of economics are holding true. Union leaders horribly failed their membership by not emphasizing productivity.
The leaders of these dying cities are meeting now but their problems have been around for a long time. For example, Detroit never recovered from its 1967 riots. I hope they will look at themselves to come up with an answer but I am skeptical.
This letter was published in Forbes: “I’ve lived in Flint, MI my entire life and I just recently began working at a GM factory. With the exception of a few people my co-workers are the laziest and most negative people I’ve ever seen. From what I’ve heard from the GM workers all my life and what I’ve recently seen first hand, the workers themselves have played NO SMALL PART in what’s happened to the automotive industry here.”
These observations were supported in a letter I received from Norina Mooney of California’s Silicon Valley; “As a member of the SEIU labor union I agree with you. Most union workers are lazy. They are complacent in their jobs but they know they will never be fired. I work for a government agency and I am the exception to the rule. Most workers do not go out of their way to do anything. I makes me so irritated but I guess I was placed there for a reason.”