Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Days Dwindle Down ...

My dahlias, at last, are almost in full bloom. I’m finally getting around, this morning, to taking a picture, and it is raining. Just part of the continuing saga. I’m thinking that I might make a slide show of a collection of dahlia pictures, just for the fun of it, and maybe try to create a soundtrack that would include my “Sandwich With Steve” idea.

A new first for DaytonOS -- the covering and reporting a live event -- Charlie Gibson came to Dayton this week, and I, your reporter, was there representing DaytonOS.

Yesterday, I visited with a local judge in our local Common Pleas Court system, Judge Francis McGee. Judge McGee is a Democrat and was appointed to the bench by our Democratic Governor Ted Strickland over a year ago, when the sitting Common Pleas judge passed away. Now she is standing for reelection. I took some pictures of her in her robe on the bench, and I intend to write an article, under the title, something like, “Who Should We Choose To Judge Us?” I intend to interview her opponent as well. I’m busy expanding what DaytonOS is doing.

I’ve become fascinated with the blog statistics and how it is that content drives readership. There is a huge market of information seekers out there who are seeking answers, sort of like fish seeking bait. I’m imagining that there is a good sized public in Montgomery County who might be looking for information about judgeship candidates, seeking election in November. I, for one, always feel guilty when, on election day, I read the ballot and have no notion which judge to vote for. So, I’m going to try to write several posts featuring judges. If nothing else, DaytonOS is a means for me to satisfy my own nosiness. A one-man citizen journalism empire at work.

I’ve been noticing ads on local TV for Chris Widener, a Republican who is running for the State Senate in a District near Dayton. I am working today on an article that asks, “Does Widener Have A Plan To Help Those In Need?” or something to that effect and connect it to my article summarizing an Ohio budget expert’s analysis about how the recession is devastating the state’s revenues. Compounding the effects of the recession on Ohio’s revenues, is the impact of a large tax cut passed in 2005 by a Republican Assembly and Republican governor and by Republican Chris Widener, in his capacity as member of Ohio’s Assembly. (Widener is finishing his term as state Representative.) This tax cut gave 26% of the tax relief (Over $500 million each year) to incomes in excess of $340,000, about 1% of Ohio’s tax payers. It’s funny how Republican tax cuts at the state level in Ohio, mirror the Republican tax cuts and Republican thinking at the national level.

In his TV ads, Widener brags about his role in the tax cut. He makes no mention of the recession and the fact that Ohio is facing a severe revenue crises. (Just this year, the governor has announced over $1.2 billion in budget reductions) It looks like this lack of state revenue will cause a big constriction of Medicaid benefits and other support to the needy. And the number of needy is rising. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to rescind the tax cut, at least for this top 1% of incomes? The whole matter raises some important questions about “fairness,” about the purpose of taxes and government, about how to handle the widening gulf between the very rich and the very poor. There are real questions about government, the role of government, tax fairness, that should be at the center of Ohio Assembly campaigns. But these questions seem largely ignored.

I’ve spoken by phone to Widener’s Democratic opponent, Roger Tackett, and I’ve e-mailed him the links to several articles. I’ve not met him in person, yet. Tackett is an interesting man, his in a Vietnam veteran who suffered injuries in the war that left him handicapped. He is always in a wheel chair. He has managed to get elected as County Commissioner, running as a Democrat in a rural county that usually votes Republican. I’m urging him to speak the truth about the state’s financial crisis and how this crisis will impact the poor. I think he should say, flat out, that if elected, he will seek to rescind the income tax cut for the wealthy. I’m urging him to make his election campaign actually about something real. But, we’ll see. I’ll report more later. The days dwindle down ...

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