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Judging Judges

Filed Under Elections, Law, Ohio, Voting | Comments Off

Wow – that is one of those words that if you say it or spell it too many times, it’s not even a word anymore.  Here’s a snippet from my latest Civic Commons blog post – stick til the end at the full post for the twist:

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, “Thirty-nine states elect at least some of their judges, and the vast majority of cases in the United States are heard by elective courts.” But the experience and results of this year’s judicial races in Ohio’s general election demand that we ask: Is it time for Ohio to join the eleven states that don’t elect judges?

The first question: Why is the selection method even an issue? Let us count the ways in which our current manner – partisan primaries followed by nominally non-partisan general elections – can be attacked:

Yeah, you’ll have to go read the full post for the analysis. And I really wanted to make the title something that played off Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them but I couldn’t quite figure out the words. Judges and the Judging Voters Who Judge Them? Nah…

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:37 am November 12th, 2012 in Elections, Law, Ohio, Voting | Comments Off 

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Because I have not seen enough or many women-oriented sites covering this. I’m not sure what’s up with that, and it’s absent from all along the political spectrum.

From the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN – looks like a really excellent site): SWAN on the Lackland AFB Scandal

From NPR: Military under pressure to crack down on sex abuse

From Minnesota Public Radio which seems to be covering it well: Sexual Assault in the US Military

HuffPo: Tailhook whistleblower demands Congress investigate Lackland Sexual Assaults

The Daily Beast: Lackland Rape Scandal Shines Spotlight On Military Failure

By Jill Miller Zimon at 3:04 pm July 17th, 2012 in Courage, Ethics, Gender, Law, leadership, Military, Scandal, Sexism, Women | Comments Off 

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It was difficult for me to focus on this evening’s work session in City Council because less than an hour before the meeting began, I learned that Juvenile Court Judge Peter Sikora had died earlier in the day. You can read what has been posted so far here.

I moved to Cleveland for graduate school – that joint degree in law and social work which I thought would lead me to juvenile court, truly. That’s what I wanted to be – a juvenile court judge. And so when I landed a clerk position in juvenile court after my first year of law school but before my first year of social work school, I felt like the luckiest person.  I was placed in the courtroom of a brand new judge in the late spring of 1989, the courtroom of Peter Sikora.

How many people know or recall that he was in the courtroom in Playhouse Square? Yup. That’s where I went – I took the bus. Every day. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:41 pm April 18th, 2012 in Cleveland+, CuyahogaCounty, Law, Ohio, RIP, Youth | Comments Off 

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WARNING: Expletives used.

Here in Northeast Ohio, Monday morning shattered when news of a high school junior shooting several of his schoolmates started streaming into my inbox via news alerts.

At 8:18 a.m., I read: Breaking News: Report: Geauga County Sheriff’s Department and OSHP heading to Chardon High School (the original item isn’t even there anymore, there’ve been so many updates)

I didn’t have to read another word before saying the trifecta out loud to an empty house, “G-ddamnit. Shit. Fuck.”

Even as I write this, my stomach cramps up, my lower lids fill up and I bite my lip drawing in a huge sigh.

I thought that the first thing I’d write about in this post would be about what we know. But ha. Really — just ha. Because I also think about all that we don’t know. And what of either category simply doesn’t matter?

For anyone wanting to keep up or catch up, so far, the best source for information has been the Cleveland Plain Dealer and you can find all their reports on the Chardon shooting here. I’ve heard multiple news outlets congratulate them throughout the week, and I’d say they’re deserving.

Read my full post here. Many thanks to BlogHer.com for letting me contribute there.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:46 pm March 2nd, 2012 in Cleveland+, Courage, Education, Illness, Law, leadership, Ohio, Parenting, Social Issues, Youth | Comments Off 

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I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens next summer. I’m interested to learn what process will be used to identify the voters who should receive the applications and the timeline to be deployed to make sure that the vote by mail applications are received by the voters with more than enough time for the 88 counties to mail out the ballots and get them back. What is the agreement regarding who will pay the return postage on the application itself? You get the idea of the questions to be answered.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:   John Kohlstrand: (216) 698-2099 or jkohlstrand@cuyahogacounty.us
                                Nicole Dailey Jones: (216) 263-4602, (216)338-0863 or ndjones@cuyahogacounty.us

OHIO VOTERS WILL BENEFIT FROM AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN
ED FITZGERALD AND OHIO  SECRETARY OF STATE

All Ohio voters to receive application to vote by mail in 2012 presidential election

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today that he has reached an agreement with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and state legislative leaders to have voters in all 88 Ohio counties sent an application to vote by mail next year.

The deal was reached Thursday after a meeting between FitzGerald, Husted, senior staff of both leaders, and Cuyahoga County Councilman Mike Gallagher, a Strongsville Republican. It ends a standoff between the chief executive of Ohio’s largest county and the state’s chief elections officer.

“We went to bat for our constituents here in Cuyahoga County, and we ended up making voting more convenient for millions of Ohioans,” FitzGerald said today. “This is great news for anyone who believes public officials should try to keep voting simple.”

In the agreement:

n  Husted has agreed to have his office send an application to vote by mail to voters in all 88 Ohio counties in advance of next year’s presidential election.

n  In return, FitzGerald will freeze a county plan to send all active voters in Cuyahoga County an application to vote by mail this fall. The mailing will be replaced by an public outreach effort to make sure Cuyahoga County voters understand how to vote early this fall.

FitzGerald said he has spoken with House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus. Both are publicly committing their support.

“This agreement represents one of the largest steps forward in access to the ballot in years,” FitzGerald said. “

# # #

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:26 am September 2nd, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, democracy, Elections, Ethics, Executive, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Voting | 1 Comment 

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I don’t get a good feeling from this – but let’s hear from Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald. Very curious to know what his calculation was in agreeing to this, if Ohio SOS Jon Husted’s statement accurately reflects Fitzgerald’s understanding of the agreement. Here it is – I’ve highlighted the pertinent part:

Secretary Of State Husted Statement On Absentee Ballot Applications And Uniformity Of Ohio Elections

9/2/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 2, 2011

SECRETARY OF STATE HUSTED STATEMENT ON ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS AND UNIFORMITY OF OHIO ELECTIONS

COLUMBUS – The following may be attributed in whole, or in part, to Secretary of State Jon Husted regarding the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot request forms and maintaining uniformity in how elections are administered in Ohio:

“Yesterday I met with Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Councilman Michael Gallagher to gain a better understanding of our mutual concerns regarding the distribution of unsolicited absentee ballot request forms.

“Through a productive exchange of ideas, we were able to develop a plan and achieve consensus to preserve the uniform standards I have sought statewide.

“Cuyahoga County officials have agreed not to send out unsolicited mailings for the 2011 General Election and the Secretary of State’s office will distribute absentee ballot request forms to voters in all 88 counties for the 2012 Presidential Election – so that each Ohio voter has uniform and equal access to their ballots.

“Leaders in the General Assembly, House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus, have graciously agreed to support this plan and will appropriate the necessary resources from existing and available federal Help America Vote Act funds.

“I am glad we have been able to work out our differences but ultimately it will be the voters who benefit from this agreement. This will help reduce the chance of long lines at the polls during the Presidential Election and voters in smaller counties will have the same conveniences as voters in larger counties.”

-30-

For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at 614-995-2168 or mmcclellan@ohiosecretaryofstate.gov.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:54 am September 2nd, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, Elections, Ethics, Executive, Government, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting, WH2012, White House 2012, Whitehouse09 | Comments Off 

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As prolific a blogger as I’ve been over the years, well-known for tenacity, this issue is one that I’m going to have to keep up with on the sly while taking care of other business.  After a few random thoughts, I’ve provided a few must-read or must-listen links.

1. This is about the voters, as Republican County Council member Mike Gallagher has said.

2. Voting is a constitutional fundamental right.

3. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is not a lawyer, though State Auditor Dave Yost is.

4. Husted’s threat to not process vote by mail applications was petty, mean-spirited and a personal attack on County Executive Ed Fitzgerald’s plans for how to keep our county’s voting system from sinking back into the morass it was under Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.  It shows the gut level at which Jon Husted is viewing this issue, rather than at the independent level of securing all the rights of all the voters to the best of our abilities.  And frankly empathizing with the way in which the large counties’ boards of elections have prioritized spending on making sure that vote by mail is utilized more and more so that the day-of voting problems for voters, as well as the costs and resources, can be reduced.

5. The state auditor’s suggestion that the public spending to be done by the County may in some way be contrary to law and therefore actionable is likewise petty, mean-spirited and a personal attack on the county executive.

6. Has it occurred to these fellas that maybe it’s Husted’s directive that bans county boards of elections from mailing out vote by mail applications that is the unconstitutional step because, despite how many time he uses the word “uniformity,” the reality is that his ban disparately affects voters’ rights which include access.

7. Finally, I will again point out that Husted knows exactly what it means to not abridge voters’ rights and we know he knows this because of his recently announced plans related to military voters.  In other words, Husted, through his actions, has demonstrated an appreciation for the reality that uniformity of process is not the highest priority when it comes to voters rights.  And in the case of military voters, he has decided to provide them with mechanisms that other voters will not get.

Voters in large counties, as law experts cited in today’s Plain Dealer confirm, likewise need mechanisms that other voters may or may not get in order to safeguard their voting rights.

The side on which Husted should be erring is on the side of the voters. This is a ridiculous fight for him to be picking – now or at any time. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:16 am August 30th, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, Elections, Executive, Government, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting | Comments Off 

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This is really all you need to get started on thinking about our mission as women and voters (major hattip to Kathy Groob of ElectWomen.com):

But for additional, worthy reflections on today:

A great post about what it is.

Two takes, here and here, on what to tell our daughters about it.

Three ways not to celebrate it.

A forward perspective that looks back at several key women.

A call to action from a sitting U.S. Senator who embodies what it means to bring other women along and be pro-woman (do not settle for any substitutes).

The launch of a campaign to make the vote we have count.

And last the lyrics:

We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats
And dauntless crusaders for woman’s votes
Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid!

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

From Kensington to Billingsgate
One hears the restless cries!
From ev’ry corner of the land:
“Womankind, arise!”
Political equality and equal rights with men!
Take heart! For Missus Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!

No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We’re fighting for our rights, militantly!
Never you fear!

So, cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done! Well done!
Well done Sister Suffragette!”

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:43 pm August 26th, 2011 in Gender, Government, Law, leadership, Politics, Voting, Women | Comments Off 

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Thank you thank you thank you.  We will remember this (we remember everything else, too – okay – let’s be honest, but this gets remembered in there also).

Read more from the Dayton Daily News and the Plain Dealer.

Hattip to none other than Jim Trakas, sincerely one of my favorite former electeds and Ohio political arena mainstays.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:38 pm July 15th, 2011 in Environment, John Kasich, Law, leadership, Ohio | Comments Off 

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I’m not in that group, but it is those who are that seem to be the most willing to ignore anything good that does derive from what seems like almost any quantity of regulation of almost anything.

Where’s this observation of mine coming from? It really became highlighted for me in a thread about clean air regulations that got consumed by the philosophical differences related to how we prioritize what is important to us. The example comes from this post at The Moderate Voice where I’ve been co-blogging for years as an example.  Just read through the comments.  (I know several of the regulars and we have acceptable online rapports that have developed over years, so you can stick to considering the content of the arguments made, as opposed to anything that might seem kind of personal.)

I don’t think that the back and forth there is atypical at all in terms of how those who are prone to see matters in a binary way apply that to the topic of government regulation.  In fact, I think it reflects that type of vision extremely well.

Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:30 pm June 24th, 2011 in Business, Energy, Environment, Ethics, Government, Illness, Law, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Youth | 3 Comments 

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Norm Roulet’s lengthy, in-depth post at REALNEO, “Happy Air Quality Awareness Week? Not in Cleveland, where air quality is poor, and awareness is worse! Meaning Modeling Matters!” is one of an abysmally few pieces of evidence that May 2 through 6 has been Air Quality Awareness Week.

Other pieces of evidence (scant themselves) that folks in Ohio would be made aware, during an effort dedicated to awareness, come from the Ohio EPA and Earth Gauge at WKYC (Channel 3).  But that’s all I could Google up – I hope I’ve missed other coverage, because these results are terribly disappointing.

Worse yet, however, is that the scant publicizing of Air Quality Awareness Week is not nearly as disappointing, or upsetting, as how bad our air quality in Ohio actually is (although the number of inhalers I see in my youngest child’s elementary school nurse’s clinic indicates backs up this assertion without the need for much else, if you ask me). Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:39 am May 5th, 2011 in Cleveland+, Government, Health Care, Law, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Research, Resources, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Women, Writing, Youth | 1 Comment 

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I don’t care whether you are for SB5 or not. I just want you to please let our State Senator, Tom Patton, know where you stand with it. Sen. Patton is an unique member of our general assembly when it comes to SB5 because he has spoken and voted in support of unions before, he is the son of a police officer and extremely tragically, his son died in the line of duty last year.

Here is his contact information:

Phone: 614-466-8056

E-mail: SD24@senate.state.oh.us

You can read more here:

Phillip Morris’ column in today’s PD

Blog post by Ohio Daily Blog

The debate about the role of unions in general and the role they play in our economy and budget is a volatile one. Please voice your opinion.

My opinion? Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:26 am February 22nd, 2011 in democracy, Ethics, Government, Law, leadership, OH24th, Ohio, Politics, Statehouse, Transparency | 4 Comments 

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First, a reminder from Emily Latella about the Eagle Rights Amendment:

Hattip to AureliaCotta of No Matter How Small for reminding me of it.

In the January 2011 edition of California Lawyer, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia explains how the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution does not protect against sex discrimination. Here is what was published, in full:

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?

Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.

Here’s the text of the 14th Amendment and below is the portion in question:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

In the 1971 case, Reed v. Reed, the Court held that the 14th Amendment’s equal protections applied to women.

Despite the 30 years of case law now in existence that unwaveringly supports that decision, and for those who know anything about Scalia, his position should not come as a surprise. He’s even voiced this very particular opinion before, ironically also in California.

Reax so far has been as we might expect – swift and plenty – except from conservative women*. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:10 pm January 6th, 2011 in Courts, Gender, Humor, Law, Politics, Sexism, Social Issues, Women | Comments Off 

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Plunderbund extrapolates from Governor-elect John Kasich’s appointment of Gary Mohr, whom PB says:

…has been a managing director of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the first, for-profit private prison company in American and has his own prison consulting business operated out of Chillicothe.

But when I google “for-profit private prisons,” here’s one of the first returns I found in the Google News, from the very excellent Idaho-based The Spokesman-Review, just over a month ago:

Violence behind bars and misconduct by guards is common, regardless of whether prisons are run by the government or private companies. CCA, which oversees some 75,000 inmates in more than 60 facilities under contracts with the federal government, 19 states and the District of Columbia, is no exception.

A year ago, CCA and another company, Dominion Correctional Services LLC, agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit in which the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission claimed male officers at a prison in Colorado forced female workers to perform sex acts to keep their jobs.

In January, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered some 400 female inmates transferred to a state-run prison after more than a dozen reports of sexual misconduct by male guards employed by CCA. Similar accusations were made in March at a CCA-run prison in Hawaii, and in May, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed CCA on probation and launched an investigation of whether a guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted women on their way to being deported.

Not to mention:

State officials have long been aware of allegations of mistreatment and poor management at the Idaho Correctional Center, the state’s largest prison. A review of hundreds of public records found in 2008 that ICC had a violence rate three times as high as other Idaho prisons.

State auditors have also found widespread problems keeping medical charts updated, excessive wait times for medical care and other problems with treatment.

Even though Idaho Department of Correction officials have increased oversight and top department leaders have spoken out about their concern over the medical issues, state lawmakers have renewed the company’s multimillion-dollar contract with Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA and added 600 beds to the prison.

When you make profitability and shareholders your top priorities, over and above the work you’re supposed to be doing and for which you’re receiving taxpayer dollars, no one should be surprised that this happens (think White Hat and all its legal problems in for-profit charter schools).

Bad bad juju.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:57 pm January 4th, 2011 in John Kasich, Law, Ohio | Comments Off 

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Two sisters are released from prison but only if one will give a kidney to the other, even though neither one has been considered dangerous for how long?

A U.S. Supreme Court Justice argues against the 14th Amendment giving equal protection to women and supports the notion that discrimination can in fact be permissibly legislated against women without violating the U.S. Constitution.

The never-ending issue about the failure of women to be adequately represented in so many industries is at least positively and roundly addressed here.

Governor-elect John Kasich’s women appointees? So far – just one, and I’m not talking Mary Taylor (can you name who it is without looking it up? or at least which position she’ll take?).

Even Republican women on Capitol Hill are fearing that John Boehner will shutdown the very frequented and used lactation suites set up by Nancy Pelosi, after being told that the rumored shutdown won’t happen.

Oh – and let’s not forget that all five of the RNC’s candidates for Chair did not hesitate one nanosecond in saying that they would defund Planned Parenthood.

2011, huh?  Not so much, yet.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:47 pm January 3rd, 2011 in democracy, Ethics, Gender, John Kasich, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics | Comments Off 

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And it’s worth every minute:

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:54 am December 13th, 2010 in Cleveland+, Humor, Law, Media, Tech | 2 Comments 

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When I heard Yvette McGee Brown for the first time, while on the trail with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland as his Lt. Gov. running mate, I was blown away.  From the Columbus Dispatch:

Former Columbus judge Yvette McGee Brown will become the first African-American woman to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Brown said today that she intends to run in November 2012 to fulfill the remaining two years on O’Connor’s current term, and then seek a full six-year term in 2014.

“I told the governor I believe I can hold the seat,” Brown said.

As noted to me by Jeremiah Arn via Twitter, this also means that the Ohio Supreme Court will be majority female.  I don’t know how many are majority female but it’s very nice to have accomplished.  Will check that out with some folks I know.

Congratulations to Yvette.  I’m very excited for her and for us.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:31 pm December 10th, 2010 in Announcements, Courts, Law, leadership, Ohio | 4 Comments 

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Dave Lange, Editor of the Chagrin Valley Times (Pepper Pike is included in its coverage area), wrote and published this scathing critique, “Government no longer of people,” related to recent behavior by Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich and State Senator Tim Grendell.

About Kasich:

The governor-elect, conveniently forgetting that he and his political appointees soon will be employed by the government and paid by the people of Ohio, attempted to keep the selection process of filling jobs in his administration a secret. He was dumbfounded to learn that the resumes submitted by those seeking to work for the state government must be open to their would-be employers, who happen to be the people.

Ignorance of the Ohio Open Records Law being a sad reflection on Mr. Kasich’s preparation for the highest office in the state and contempt for the people’s right to know being a poor excuse, he rationalized, “When a person applies for another job, it doesn’t make their current employer happy.”

Working in the administration of the governor in one of the nation’s largest states isn’t just another job, and it’s hard to imagine those applicants’ bosses holding grudges against them. Furthermore, by what sense of fairness should employers be denied the right to know when their employees are looking elsewhere? And why should employers be surprised by people’s desire for career advancement?

And about Grendell:

The people of the 98th Ohio District, which makes up one-third of Mr. Grendell’s 18th Ohio Senate District, had a right to know when they voted on Nov. 2 that he had no intention of honoring their decision. They could understand him abandoning his Senate seat because of the term limit that would force him out of that office in two years. But he took their trust and played it like a diabolical fiddle. He didn’t steal the election. He stole the democratic process.

Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:17 pm December 9th, 2010 in Cleveland+, Council, CuyahogaCounty, democracy, Government, John Kasich, Law, leadership, Media, Ohio, Politics, Statehouse, Transparency | Comments Off 

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In all the articles in the Plain Dealer about the current open meeting examination with the new County Council, I have not seen any discussion of or explanation of the open meeting requirements, period. You can see all the PD pieces here.  No sidebar links, no three or four sentence paragraph explaining them, just assertions that the rules have been broken.

I know some PD folks read this blog and if in fact I’ve missed an explanation about open meetings law that you’ve run, I would be grateful for a correction – and I offer my apologies in advance.  You know how inadequate that search function on cleveland.com is – but I could not find anything that looked like an explanation of open meetings law in relation to the County Council.

For now, here is a very simple FAQ from the Ohio Attorney General’s office about open meetings law in Ohio.

My understanding, based on my experience on a city council in addition to that FAQ and other Sunshine law information available, is that no more than five county council members can meet outside of a public meeting and without all the attendant open meeting requirements.  This is what has given rise, at least in part, to the concern over a not public meeting between more than five of the Democrats on the County Council.

Yet one key piece of information has never, from what I have seen, been mentioned in any of these articles, and I believe it’s a significant and material fact: with only three Republican members of the County Council, those three can meet anytime, anywhere and about anything including County Council business without ever telling anyone or making their conversations public.

No where has the PD written that they’ve asked those three members if they’ve communicated about county business when not in the presence of the public or not in the presence of the Democrats, one, two or more (if it’s three or more, that would violate the open meetings law again).

I’m not saying that they have – I have no knowledge.  I’m also not saying that they shouldn’t.  What I’m saying is that as far as reporting goes and the constant suggestion that all is equal in this matter, well – that’s just not a complete or accurate portrayal of how this works, based again on my knowledge and experience (and if this is wrong, again, someone chime in):

The three Republicans, as a caucus, can meet without worrying about open meetings law because there are only three of them.  The Democrats, of which there are eight, will never have that ability – because there are more than five of them. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:22 am December 9th, 2010 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, Government, Law, Media, Ohio, Politics, Transparency | 14 Comments 

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I’m glad that this is being pursued. As Huffington Post recaps:

In early August, the Democratic campaign arm accused Fox of illegally helping to raise money on behalf of incoming Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) by running a chyron featuring his website at the same time that he was soliciting donations during an interview on Bill O’Reilly’s show.

Sam Stein speculates, however, that something much bigger is at stake:

Underpinning the legal back-and-forth between the DGA and Fox is a far more interesting political saga. There is a growing acceptance among Democratic officials to treat the television network not as a news outlet but, rather, as a functioning arm of the Republican Party. The initial complaint was filed not just to question Fox’s editorial decisions but to dissuade the network from providing a favorable platform for Kasich and to even help raise money for the DGA itself.

Frankly, I think this all just makes the case for the institution of transparency and media literacy programs.  Because do we really expect that work-arounds won’t be devised, pursued or otherwise deployed?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:29 pm December 3rd, 2010 in Ethics, Law, Media, Politics | Comments Off 

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