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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reinventing Ohio's Lucas County Government

It's about time the citizens of Ohio's Lucas County seriously consider the possibility of changing the composition, structure, and form of local government for Lucas County. As a matter of fact, I think it is way, way overdue. Quite frankly, I have discussed this topic from time to time with many people over the past twenty-five years or so.

Almost one year ago, August 8, 2007 to be exact, I wrote the Roland Hansen Commentary Change Lucas County, Ohio Government! If you did not read it previously, I suggest you do so now. If you did read it previously it might be a good idea to read it again as a refresher.

Article X of the Ohio Constitution allows for a charter form of Ohio County Government. However, of the 88 counties in Ohio, only one, Summit County, has made the transition. A reading of the history of Summit County indicates the change came about due to a combination of factors such as an uneasy economy with the loss of local jobs totalling in the thousands, wrongdoings in some segments of county government, county residents loosing faith in their local government, and a county government mired in controversy. That is a description of Summit County in the 1970s. It sure sounds like Lucas County today to me!

When speaking with the citizens of Lucas County, whether it be in person or by proxy nowadays via the internet, there appears to be many people who express an interest in changing or reinventing Ohio's Lucas County government. However, it appears folks will talk the talk, but not walk the walk. It is unfortunate, but it seems to me that, in reality, there are insufficient numbers of people who are willing to actually take an active role and become personally involved in effectuating change. They just do not seem to want to put forth the effort and volunteer their time to bring about the result of a different county government that they express in conversation.

By golly, if there were Lucas County residents who really and truly cared to do whatever is necessary to bring about a change in the form of government for Lucas County, including an initiative referendum, I would be right there doing whatever I could to help bring about the desired result. As a matter of fact, I am willing to take a very active role if a sufficient number of people let it be known they would also be willing to spend the time and effort needed. Hey, if we started working now on bringing about a change in county government here in Lucas County, we actually might be able to vote on such a change in the election of 2009!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is This a Way to Elect a President?

Here we go again with the debate on how to elect the President of the Uhited States of America! Can you believe there are people who actually believe that the President should be chosen based on a direct vote of the people with the candidate receiving the most votes nationwide? What does that really mean? Could someone be elected with a plurality vote as opposed to a majority vote? Would a direct vote by the people be a vote by an informed electorate? Would the most populous states or a region of states decide the fate of the election for the entire country?

The Founding Fathers of the United States put much thought and deliberation into deciding the best method of selecting the President of the United States of America. While not of unanimous opinion, the majority consensus of our country's Founding Fathers was to elect the President by means of the Electoral College system. The majority of the Founding Founders ruled out the method of the House of Representatives selecting the President basically because it was thought that a President selected in such a manner would be too dependent and beholden to the legislative branch of the national government. A majority of the Founders argued against the people directly electing the President for two reasons; one, it was felt that too many of the "common" people were ill-informed and easily manipulated; and two, that a tyrannous President could very well be the result of direct popular election. Consequently, the Electoral College was devised with independent electors to be selected by the legislature of each state. The majority consensus also appeased concerns of the small states, meaning the less populous states, in devising the formula used in creating the number of Electors for the Electoral College that guaranteed states with small populations more of an equal weight in the presidential election.

You might want to read the interesting article Why was the Electoral College Created? by Marc Schulman. Another interesting reading comes from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. If you wish, go on over to read The Electoral College: The Issue: Why did the framers choose the method that they did for electing presidents? Should the Electoral College be abolished or modified?

Would an election of the President by a direct vote of the people nationwide be nothing more than a popularity contest? Turning election into popularity race is an article in the Chicago Tribune that I suggest you read.

Could the American people be hoodwinked? Or, are Americans now smarter than the perception the Founding Fathers had of their contemporaries? Tell me we're ready to make a well-informed decision in the interests of all Americans.

Ohio has long had a pivotal role in Presidential elections under the Electoral College process. Would that still be the case if we were to go to a nationwide direct election of President of the United States of America?

A tangental question: Are the proponents of direct nationwide popular election of the President also in favor of changing our state/national federalism form of government into a unitary national government and thereby eliminate state governments?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joan Kuchinski: An Underperforming School Board Member

Last night, I attended yet another meeting of the Governing Board of the Lucas County Educational Service Center. Once again, as has been her practice, Joan Kuchinski was tardy; this time, she was late by 23 minutes. And, as is her custom, Joan Kuchinski high-tailed it out of the room as soon as the meeting was adjourned. It appears to me that it is not uncommon for Joan Kuchinski to arrive after the Governing Board meeting has already begun and to be the first person to depart. I am also aware of at least one Governing Board meeting for which it had been reported that Joan Kuchinski left the meeting before the meeting had even been adjourned.

It seems another predictable behavior of Joan Kuchinski is that from time to time she opens her packet of meeting materials after the meeting has begun. The packet of meeting materials which I reference includes the meeting agenda, financial reports, communications, personnel changes requiring action, etc. The packet of meeting materials is sent to her home days in advance of the actual Governing Board meeting. Twice a year the packet includes evaluation forms of the Superintendent and the Treasurer that are to be completed prior to the actual meeting of the LCESC Governing Board. It seems there has been an occasion or two when Joan Kuchinski arrived to a meeting without the meeting materials for which she is to take official action as an elected official.

There have also been quite a few times where I have observed Joan Kuchinski having side conversation with another person while the official business meeting was underway. It appeared to me on those several occasions that Joan Kuchinski was not paying attention to the business at hand before the Board.

It seems to me that if a person is elected to a postion of public trust, as Joan Kuchinski, who is a teacher by profession, has been elected as a member of the Lucas County Educational Service Center Governing Board, then the person should devote the necessary interest, commitment, and time needed to adequately and sufficiently perform those elected duties. That includes preparing in advance for official business meetings, being prompt in arrival at meetings, being alert and paying attention at the meetings, setting aside the necessary time to attend to the duties of the elected postition, placing the elected position and its duties as a priority, etc.

Toward the end of the meeting last night, Joan Kuchinski made it a point to make some comments under the agenda item "Board Call" in which she referred to blog comments and her being late and about money she receives from "Lucas County." While Joan Kuchinski was not specific nor explicit in those comments, I believe she was alluding to a blog entry on Judy's Jewels last month about the fact that she, Joan Kuchinski, had arrived late and had been ill-prepeared for that meeting; and, I also believe she was alluding to the Roland Hansen Commentary about the money she receives from the Lucas County Educational Service Center for employment services. While that Roland Hansen Commentary was a laudatory discourse replete with accolades of Lucas County Educational Sevice Center Governing Board member Angela Zimmann, the commentary concluded with
"Now, as an aside and not related to the titled entry:
I still do not understand how there is no conflict of interest and how it is ethical and legal for Joan Kuchcinski, another member of the LCESC Board, to be receiving payments of hundreds and totaling in the thousands of dollars for professional services rendered as an individual while maintaining a position on the very same Governing Board that also authorizes those payments!!!"

On that subject of a potential conflict of interest, I have repeatedly expressed my concern over a period of time to individual LCESC Governing Board members, LCESC administrators, and others. To date, I have received insufficient responses to that legitimate concern. As I have said to those people, the County Prosecutor, who is by law the legal adviser to the Board at no cost, should be requested to either render an opinion or seek one from the State Attorney-General. I have also told those individuals that it really is best to have an opinion come from the State Attorney General's office. It is the Attorney General that issues opinions on compatibility (and non-compatibility) of public offices. Should the Lucas County ESC continue to fail to request the appropriate authoritative opinion on this issue, I fully intend to pursue whatever legal means are necessary and available to obtain such an authoritative ruling regarding Joan Kuchinski receiving monetary payments for providing professional services in an "employee" role from the Board on which she serves as an elected official.

In regards to Joan Kuchinski in her capacity as an elected official as a Member of the Governing Board of the Lucas County Educational Service Center, I give her a grade of "D" in that she seems to be an underperformer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority: Is this the Rise and Fall of James Hartung?

James Hartung, James Hartung, James Hartung. Over and over and over again. James Hartung and the goings-on at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority have been questioned time and time again, but all to no avail.
Judy's Jewels has a new entry Hartung Under Watchful Eye (July 10, 2008) in which she quotes Justin R. Kalmes of The Toledo Free Press reporting about Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner calling for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to investigate its CEO James Hartung. Judy's blog entry then links to a report by Fox Toledo on this NEWS BREAKING story.
And then, there is the Toledo Free Press article, Port Authority board to investigate Hartung. (Click on the article's title in order to go on over to read it.)
Judy also links her readers to an earlier Judy's Jewels entry from way back on October 24, 2007 in which she raised doubts about James Hartung; and, that entry contained a link to the first Roland Hansen Commentary that raised a question about the accountability, efficiency, effectiveness, and results of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
Since my first reference to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, I have made three other entries on Roland Hansen Commentary in reference to James Hartung and/or the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority. They are:
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority: Public Accountability or Not?, October 26, 2007
Toledo Lucas County Port Authority: Toledo's Own "The Price is Right" Show Hosted By James Hartung, February 11, 2008
Toledo Lucas County Port Authority and The Money Tree, March 9, 2008
As you may or may not have read in those essays, I not only raised my own concerns, I also provided thoughts and articles of others going back for years.
So, why has it taken so long to finally get an investigation underway? WHY?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland: Politician or Gambler?

I read Gov. Strickland Defends His Keno Stance to United Methodists over at Rowsey Blog with great interest.

Just as I took the heat for my comments over at Glass City Jungle, as I also wrote here at Roland Hansen Commentary on July 2, 2008 in which I opened my comments with "The law is the law is the law!", I will now accept any heat for this comment of mine: Gambling is gambling is gambling.

What part of gambling does Ohio Governor Ted Strickland not understand?

To me, whether one is in favor of gambling or not in favor of gambling is not the issue at hand. Although I will say that if one is opposed to gambling, then one is a hypocrite if one supports any form of gambling, including government sponsored lotteries of any kind, church bingo, and even charitable fund-raising raffle tickets.

Is Ohio Governor Ted Strickland being hypocritical? Or, is Ted Strickland being the stereotype of the typical politician? Wait a minute! Hold the phone. Isn't being a politician and a being a gambler one and the same thing???

Any way you cut it, I think Ohio Governor Ted Strickland should hang his head in shame for promoting gambling, if indeed he pledged during his campaign not to do so. Furthermore, if in fact, that is really for real, true, and accurate, then I would say Ted Strickland has betrayed the public trust. Pure and simple.

And, don't anyone tell me that it's just politics. That's malarkey. It's about time for the D.I.R.T. (Democrats, Independents, and Republicans Together) to come out and demand a return by all to the honorable calling of public service and of "professional" and ethical politics and politicians.

I have one final question:
Is Ohio Governor Ted Strickland The Gambler in disguise?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July: No Commentary from Roland Hansen

I am sure many American bloggers are making personal comments on their web logs about the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day.

But no, not Roland Hansen!

Rather than making my own personal commentary about the significance here in the United States of America of the Fourth of July, Independence Day, I am suggesting you read today's article of Marilou Johanek, a Blade commentary writer.

Continue on to read Pledge to win freedom from current course.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fireworks Debate Begets Fireworks

In discussing the issue of illegal fireworks on Glass City Jungle, the fireworks debate created some fireworks of its own.

My overall initial comment on the Glass City Jungle message thread on the subject of illegal usage of fireworks in its entirety is as follows:

The law is the law is the law! People who have illegal fireworks displays should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest estent (sic) allowed by law! PERIOD!!! Toledo police and fire do an absolutely terrible job of enforcement. It is unpardonable.
Those who disagree with my perspective should request the appropriate legislative bodies to enact legislation permitting those type of fireworks displays.
I say people quit being selective in which ordinances should be enforced, while condoning illegal activities you support or even in which you participate!!

It appears that some of people condone this illegal activity and believe the police have better things to do, but they are unwilling to come forward and actively seek a change in the law that would legalize the use of fireworks. It is that type of attitude that gives me the impression that those are the type of people who pick and selectively choose the laws to which they adhere. What if everyone felt that way and only adhered to those laws they supported? Would not societal chaos follow? Why then should we even have laws? Where do you draw the line and whose opinion (other than the judge) is correct when picking and choosing the appropriateness of the law?

I was especially surprised at some of the comments when it appeared as though an admitted "ex-PD" who goes by the pseudonym of GraphicsGuy gave me the impression that he or she condoned this illegal activity. OMG! If that is so, then I wonder what other illegal activities have been condoned by this "ex-PD" and by others that are responsible for law enforcement! A position of public trust is just that - a position of public trust. If I cannot trust the police to carry out their sworn oath to uphold and enforce the law --- ooohhhh my!

Some people still use the lame excuse that the illegal use of fireworks is part of the Fourth of July celebration. Even the self-professed "ex-PD" GraphicsGuy stated "... it is part of the celebration of our independence from Britain ..."
To all of them, I say: Bullfeathers!!!! Be honest, it's just another way to get your jollies. Who the heck are you trying to fool?

Then there are the non-contributing comments by the troll who flames. "Who is that" you may ask. I specifically mean the cyberbully that uses the pseudonym upgrayedd who thinks that just a response of calling someone a name or two or three is a form valid criticism and who chose not to respond to that part of my initial comment (and which bears repeating here) that "Those who disagree with my perspective should request the appropriate legislative bodies to enact legislation permitting those type of fireworks displays."

Oh, I could go on and on, and summarize it all for you. But why do that when I can can link you to the whole thing where you can read it for yourself.
Run, don't walk, and get on over to read:
My neighborhood doesn't seem to realize Fireworks are about yours?