Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pink slips to teachers is just the surface damage inflicted by Kasich.......there's more!

From John Curry, April 23, 2011
News Release April 21, 2011
Contact: Wendy Patton 614-221-4505 or 614-582-0048
47,291 public and private jobs to be lost from cuts to education sectors in Ohio
The $2 billion in cuts to Ohio’s primary, secondary and higher education proposed in House Bill 153, the biennial budget bill for fiscal years 2012-13, may be expected to eliminate 47,291 jobs across the public and private sector as the economic impact sweeps through suppliers and local businesses.
Policy Matters Ohio commissioned a study of the direct, indirect and induced impact of the cuts to education that are proposed in Ohio’s biennial budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Public schools are labor intensive, so spending cuts go directly to payroll. The proposed cut of $1.821 billion to primary and secondary education (as compared to funding levels of 2011) will result in the loss of 29,133 direct jobs. As schools cut purchases from suppliers, another 1,835 jobs will be lost. As laid-off workers spend less on household purchases, 12,387 more jobs will vanish from grocery stores, day care centers and restaurants. In total, the economic impact of the proposed spending cuts to K-12 education will destroy 43,355 jobs. This is in addition to drastic quality reductions to one of the most critical services society provides for the next generation.
Higher education is not as labor intensive as K-12, but there will be significant impacts in college towns as a result of cuts to colleges and universities in the next biennium. A total of 3,936 direct, indirect and induced jobs may be expected to vanish as a result of the cuts: 2,413 within colleges and universities, 398 in suppliers and 1,124 in local businesses.
"Ohio became a great state because we invested in services, especially education, increasing the skills and smarts of our citizens and workers" said Wendy Patton, the report’s author. "A balanced approach that includes revenue would help the economy as well."
Studies have found that raising revenues is less harmful to the economy than spending cuts because the impact is generalized across the economy. Private sector activities are not nearly as labor-intensive as schools and private entities spend some of their tax reductions outside of Ohio and save some of their reductions. A balanced approach to the budget, which would address the fiscal crisis on both sides of the ledger, would cost fewer jobs and leave the economy in better shape.
"The job loss from proposed cuts to the education sector alone is dangerous, especially considering how weak the economy is," Patton said. "No one wants to see the proposed budget turn out to be a ‘Job Loss’ budget. A public job is a good job; we need to protect good jobs whenever and wherever we can."
[Note from's the entire report. Click on this link below.]

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Koch Brothers

On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.

The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State—which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.

Legal experts interviewed for this story called the blatant corporate politicking highly unusual, although no longer skirting the edge of legality, thanks to last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which granted free speech rights to corporations.

“Before Citizens United, federal election law allowed a company like Koch Industries to talk to officers and shareholders about whom to vote for, but not to talk with employees about whom to vote for,” explains Paul M. Secunda, associate professor of law at Marquette University. But according to Secunda, who recently wrote in The Yale Law Journal Online about the effects of Citizens United on political coercion in the workplace, the decision knocked down those regulations. “Now, companies like Koch Industries are free to send out newsletters persuading their employees how to vote. They can even intimidate their employees into voting for their candidates.” Secunda adds, “It’s a very troubling situation.”

The Kochs were major supporters of the Citizens United case; they were also chief sponsors of the Tea Party and major backers of the anti-“Obamacare” campaign. Through their network of libertarian think tanks and policy institutes, they have been major drivers of unionbusting campaigns in Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere.

“This sort of election propaganda seems like a new development,” says UCLA law professor Katherine Stone, who specializes in labor law and who reviewed the Koch Industries election packet for The Nation. “Until Citizens United, this sort of political propaganda was probably not permitted. But after the Citizens United decision, I can imagine it’ll be a lot more common, with restrictions on corporations now lifted.”

The election packet starts with a letter from Robertson dated October 4, 2010. It read: “As Koch company employees, we have a lot at stake in the upcoming election. Each of us is likely to be affected by the outcome on Nov. 2. That is why, for the first time ever, we are mailing our newest edition of Discovery and several other helpful items to the home address of every U.S. employee” [emphasis added].

For most Koch employees, the “helpful items” included a list of Koch-approved candidates, which was presented on a separate page labeled “Elect to Prosper.” A brief introduction to the list reads: “The following candidates in your state are supported by Koch companies and KOCHPAC, the political action committee for Koch companies. We believe these candidates will best advance policies supporting economic freedom.”

What the Kochs mean by “economic freedom” is explained on the next page. As the mailer makes clear, Koch Industries tailored its election propaganda to the state level, rather than focusing on national elections. Of the nineteen candidates that Koch Industries recommended in its Washington State list, sixteen were Republicans. The three Democratic candidates approved by the Kochs included two members of the “Roadkill Caucus,” Washington’s version of the conservative Blue Dogs.

Only two of the nineteen races on the list were for national office, and in both cases Koch Industries backed Tea Party–friendly Republicans: Dino Rossi, an antilabor candidate, who lost to incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray; and Jaime Herrera-Beutler, who ran in the Republican primary as a moderate, but who came out recently as a Tea Party radical, much to her constituency’s surprise.

After guiding employees on how they should vote, the mailer devoted the rest of the material to the sort of indoctrination one would expect from an old John Birch Society pamphlet (the Koch Brothers’ father, Fred Koch, was a founding member of the JBS). It offers an apocalyptic vision of the company’s free-market struggle for liberty against the totalitarian forces of European Union bureaucrats and deficit-spending statists.

The newsletter begins with an unsigned editorial preaching familiar Tea Party themes, repackaged as Koch Industry corporate philosophy:

For more than 40 years, Koch Industries has openly and consistently supported the principles of economic freedom and market-based policies. Unfortunately, these values and principled point of view are now being strongly opposed by many politicians (and their media allies) who favor ever-increasing government…. Even worse, recent government actions are threatening to bankrupt the country…. And the facts are that the overwhelming majority of the American people will be much worse off if government overspending is allowed to bankrupt the country.

Further into the company newsletter is an article headlined “What’s a Business to Do?” It portrays corporate titans like the Kochs as freedom-fighting underdogs, modern-day Sakharovs and Mandelas targeted for repression by Big Government statists: “Citizens who are openly critical of the European Union bureaucracy in Brussels or the out-of-control government of the United States are being shouted down by politicians, government officials and their media and other allies.”

In this scenario, Big Government wants to muzzle the Kochs before they can spread their message to the people. That message comes down to preaching the benefits of lower wages:

If the government insists that someone should be paid $50 per hour in wages and benefits, but that person only creates $30 worth of value, no one will prosper for long…. Anything that undermines the mobility of labor, such as policies that make it more expensive and difficult to change where people are employed, also increases unemployment…. Similar policies that distort the labor market—such as minimum wage laws and mandated benefits—contribute to unemployment.

Easily the strangest and most disturbing article of all comes from the head of Koch Industries himself, Charles Koch, who offers an election-season history lesson to his employees. Koch’s essay sets out to rank the best and worst US presidents in terms of their economic policies. Charles—who with his brother David is worth $44 billion, putting them fifth on the 2010 Forbes 400 list—warns his readers that his history lesson may surprise them. And to his credit, Koch doesn’t disappoint.

Koch glorifies Warren G. Harding and his successor Calvin Coolidge for producing “one of the most prosperous [eras] in U.S. history.” Koch explains that what made Harding great was his insistence on “cutting taxes, reducing the national debt and cutting the federal budget,” all policies that Congressional Republicans are proposing in today’s budget negotiations. What made Harding so great, in other words, is what made radical Republican candidates so great in November 2010.

Koch’s pick for worst president is Herbert Hoover, whom he accuses of undermining “economic freedom” and thus precipitating the Great Depression. “Under Hoover,” he writes, “federal spending roughly doubled and personal income tax rates jumped from 25 percent to 63 percent. He raised corporate taxes, too, and doubled the estate tax. Hoover also pressured business leaders to keep wages artificially high, contributing to massive unemployment.”

According to most historians, the Harding and Coolidge administrations’ free-market romp was one of the key factors that led to the Great Depression. Their time in office was marked by obscene corruption, racial violence, unionbusting, feudal wealth inequalities and, shortly thereafter, the total collapse of the American economy.

* * *

Legal experts say that this kind of corporate-sponsored propagandizing has been almost unheard-of in America since the passage of New Deal–era laws like the National Labor Relations Act, which codified restrictions on political activism and pressure in the workplace. NYU law professor Samuel Estreicher, director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law, told The Nation in an e-mail interview that such overt politicking to employees is still rare. “I am not aware of it happening with many employers,” he wrote.

According to UCLA’s Stone, although Citizens United frees Koch Industries and other corporations to propagandize their employees with their political preferences, the same doesn’t hold true for unions—at least not in the workplace. “If a union wanted to hand out political materials in the workplace not directly relevant to the workers’ interests—such as providing a list of candidates to support in the elections—the employer has the right to ban that material,” says Stone. “They could even prohibit its distribution on lunch breaks or after shifts, because by law it’s the company’s private property.”

Stone points to a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 1915, Coppage v. Kansas, which protected employers’ right to draw up contracts forbidding employees from joining unions. Justice William Day’s dissent in that case pointed out that if the state was ready to enforce the employers’ contractual bans on union activity, then it was opening the way for the state to enforce employers’ legal right to control their employees’ political and ideological activities:

Would it be beyond a legitimate exercise of the police power to provide that an employee should not be required to agree, as a condition of employment, to forgo affiliation with a particular political party, or the support of a particular candidate for office? It seems to me that these questions answer themselves.

With Citizens United, it seems, the country is heading back to the days of court-enforced corporatocracy. Already, workers at a Koch subsidiary in Portland, Oregon, are complaining about being subjected to political and ideological propaganda. Employees at Georgia-Pacific warehouses in Portland say the company encourages them to read Charles Koch’s The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company and to attend ideological seminars in which Koch management preaches their bosses’ “market-based management” philosophy.

Travis McKinney, an employee at a Portland Georgia-Pacific distribution center, says, “They drill into your head things like ‘The 10 Guiding Principles of Koch Industries.’ They even stamp the ten principles on your time card.”

McKinney, a fourth-generation employee of Georgia-Pacific, says relations have sharply deteriorated since Koch Industries bought the company in late 2005. He and fellow employees at three Georgia-Pacific distribution centers are locked in a yearlong contract battle with the new Koch Industries management. Workers there, members of the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (an affiliate of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union) recently voted unanimously to reject management’s contract and voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if management continues to try to impose cuts in benefits and job security in the new contracts.

Political propagandizing is a heated issue in Oregon, which passed SB-519 in the summer of 2009, a bill placing restrictions on corporations’ ability to coerce employees to attend political meetings and vote the way the corporation tells them to vote. In late December 2009—just before SB-519 was to go into effect—the US Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit with Associated Oregon Industries to block the bill from becoming law. A similar bill in Wisconsin was struck down in November in a federal court. However, the Chamber’s lawsuit in Oregon was thrown out in May 2010 by US District Court Judge Michael Mosman on procedural grounds, leaving open the possibility that it could still be struck down.

In the meantime, workers across the country should start preparing for a future workplace environment in which political proselytizing is the new normal.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Part IV - A Tea Party Primer - Lessons in Hypocrisy - Government Regulation

A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy Part 4
By Greg on April 21, 2011

Tea Party Discovery #4: Government Regulation

The stated belief of the Tea Party is to “end burdensome government regulation.”



1. a law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority, especially to regulate conduct.

The Tea Party members in Ohio apparently forgot about their opposition to goals of “less government” and “more economic freedom” as they rallied in support of the following items from Senate Bill 5 that limit the rights of local Boards of Education, elected by local citizens (The People), as they work to employ local citizens (The People) who are educating the children of local citizens (The People):

  • Prohibits public employees from striking.
  • Expands the list of subjects that are inappropriate for collective bargaining.
  • Prohibits an existing provision of a collective bargaining agreement that was modified, renewed, or extended that does not concern wages, hours, and terms and conditions from being a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.
  • Prohibits an agreement from containing a provision that requires as a condition of employment that the nonmembers of the employee organization pay to the employee organization a fair share fee.
  • Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement entered into or renewed on or after the bill’s effective date from containing provisions limiting a public employer’s ability to privatize operations.
  • Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement entered into or renewed on or after the bill’s effective date from containing provisions for certain types of leave to accrue above listed amounts or to pay out for sick leave at a rate higher than specified amounts.
  • Eliminates the ability of the parties to submit disputes to an agreed?upon dispute resolution procedure.
  • Eliminates the final offer settlement procedure.
  • Requires any agreement determined by the legislative body to be in effect for three years.
  • Requires, if the legislative body fails to select a last best offer, the public employer’s last best offer to become the agreement between the parties.
  • Eliminates statutory salary schedules and steps.
  • Requires performance-based pay for teachers based, in part, on evaluations conducted under a policy that is based on a framework for teacher evaluations that has been recommended by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and adopted by the State Board of Education.
  • Caps vacation leave for certain public employees at 7.7 hours per biweekly pay period and limits total accrual for those public employees currently accruing 9.2 hours per pay period.
  • Reduces sick leave accrual for most public employees from 4.6 hours to 3.1 hours per biweekly pay period.
  • Limits public employer contributions toward health care benefit costs to 85%.
  • Requires boards of education to adopt policies to provide leave with pay for school employees and abolishes statutorily provided leave for those employees.
  • Abolishes continuing contracts for teachers, except for those continuing contracts in existence prior to the effective date of the bill and revises the law relating to limited contracts.
  • Prohibits a public employer from paying employee contributions to the five public employee retirement systems.
  • Requires health care benefits provided through a jointly administered trust fund to be the same as the health care benefits provided to other public employees. (

The Ohio Liberty Council, “a coalition of over 70 liberty minded organizations throughout Ohio – yes, many are tea party groups,” should have gone ballistic over this bill as it directly contradicts their principles, including “Government should not favor one individual or group over others in an attempt to achieve equality.” Yet what is their position?

February 28 – “Please join Americans for Prosperity, the Ohio Liberty Council member groups, and other liberty organizations from across Ohio this Wednesday at the Statehouse for a rally in support of Senate Bill 5″

March 2 – “The Ohio Liberty Council urges the Ohio Senate to pass Senate Bill 5″

March 28 – “The Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of over 65 liberty minded organizations across Ohio, and Americans for Prosperity . . . urge the Ohio House of Representatives to strengthen the collective bargaining reform bill”

And in case SB5 wasn’t enough to raise the ire of the Tea Party members, then Kasich’s greater emphasis in his Jobs Budget on the use of standardized tests for students should really get them riled up. The Governor will be using standardized statewide assessments to judge the performance of school districts and teachers who work in local communities, most of which actually provide the bulk of the funding. Why would a local community allow a minority stakeholder, big government, to control the education of their children?

And why, exactly, is the Tea Party cheering on Governor Kasich?


RHJones re: Hey, Ann, what is ORTA doing to protect actives' futures and our pension fund solvency re. SB 5

From RH Jones, April 21, 2011
John, Ann and all:
While tsunamis, earthquakes and tornadoes of legislation sponsored by the ultra far-right Republicans, who are out to destroy our OH STRS pension & our very modest "benefits", ORTA, indeed, is only spending our dues money on trips around the nation and state talking to one another. When the ORTA officials dine on our dime, they sure are not talking for us, in the legislature or at our STRS. They only tell those at the luncheons that which STRS has already said in STRS bulletins.
Over the years many of us have tried to change them for the good of our livelihood, but we have been soundly ridiculed, ignored, and angrily dismissed with dirty looks. I have come to believe, as CORE's Tom Curtis, already has, that there is no way to set them straight; and this has been a terrible cost in our many STRS take-aways. They sit by in silent agreement with the cuts telling us that they are necessary when, at the same time recent retirees were awarded a STRS-busting 88+%-35-yr retirement deal.
RHJones, a sad & ignored Life Member of ORTA

SB 5 Referendum Time Table

Click image TWICE to enlarge.

Contact Dave Parshall (, OEA or OFT for further information about carrying a petition.
Click image to enlarge.


RHjones re: Comments on Saving A lot of Money for STRS

From RH Jones, April 21, 2011
To all:
Public employees and private employees are taking reductions in HC/Rx all across America. STRS associates should share the burden.
Click image to enlarge.


These 4 Cleveland area Supers had the courage to point their fingers at Kasich....does your Superintendent?

From John Curry, April 21, 2011

I'll bet your answer is no, isn't it?


This time alarms were raised in Republican-leaning Rocky River, where more than 300 filled the cafeteria at Goldwood Primary Elementary School to voice their concerns.

Superintendent Michael Shoaf posed a simple question to those who attended: "I live in Rocky River and noticed that my taxes didn't go down, but our school funding did. Is that not why I pay taxes?"

In the past few weeks, superintendents in Solon, Independence and Westlake -- all high-performing schools -- have asked similar questions in community meetings with their residents and teachers. The goal seems to be to rally and mobilize parents and teachers, inform them about the looming cuts and possibly brace them for local tax increases if Kasich's proposals are adopted, which is likely to occur by June 30.

Schools rally support to fight cuts in state funds proposed by Gov. John Kasich
Plain Dealer, April 20, 2011
Patrick O'Donnell
Michael Shoaf, Rocky River's superintendent, speaks to a packed house Tuesday during a community meeting to discuss the massive budget cuts that will hit his schools.
Click image to enlarge

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- A wave of rallies about Gov. John Kasich's proposal to cut millions of dollars in state aid from school budgets continued Tuesday night.

This time alarms were raised in Republican-leaning Rocky River, where more than 300 filled the cafeteria at Goldwood Primary Elementary School to voice their concerns.

Superintendent Michael Shoaf posed a simple question to those who attended: "I live in Rocky River and noticed that my taxes didn't go down, but our school funding did. Is that not why I pay taxes?"

In the past few weeks, superintendents in Solon, Independence and Westlake -- all high-performing schools -- have asked similar questions in community meetings with their residents and teachers. The goal seems to be to rally and mobilize parents and teachers, inform them about the looming cuts and possibly brace them for local tax increases if Kasich's proposals are adopted, which is likely to occur by June 30.

Monday night, Westlake school leaders called the plan to cut from districts like theirs and give more money to a few others unacceptable.

"Other districts are not asked to do their share," Westlake Superintendent Dan Keenan said Monday night. "But they [the state] are taking our share and giving it to other districts."

They urged residents to contact legislators and push for Kasich's plan to be changed.

Keenan told the board that if the cuts aren't changed, the district would probably have to lay off 26 teachers, three administrators and 39 other staff. The district would go to state minimum required busing and plans for full-day instead of half-day kindergarten would be scrapped.

Shoaf said Rocky River will lose $6 million in state funding over the next four years if Kasich's proposal goes through.

"The state gives us the highest academic performance rating possible every year," Shoaf said, noting his district ranked third in Ohio behind Solon and Hudson. "So what will our reward be? Every dollar we send to Columbus this year, we'll get 9½ cents back."

State funding will continue to drop in over the next two years, he said. Meanwhile, some schools will get a 16 percent increase in funding.

Voters approved a property tax increase in 2008 for the schools. Shoaf said he did not want to ask for another tax increase and would rather fight these proposed cuts.

"I'd rather change the thinking down in Columbus," he said. "We play by all the rules. What do we get for it? A 76 percent cut."

Independence Superintendent David Laurenzi, who met with residents last Thursday, said voters approved a tax increase this year that was to last through 2014.

"If the budget cuts come, we can't make it to a third year," he said in an interview Tuesday.

Ohio Senator Tom Patton and Ohio Rep. Nan Baker, whose districts include Rocky River, agreed that the proposed cuts are too severe.

"The state goal is to make every student get an equal education," Patton said. "It can't happen because Chick Little County in Ohio won't be able to attract the caliber of teachers, or superintendents for that matter. The governor has wreaked havoc on my district."

Baker said she is drawing up an amendment to guarantee that no school district suffers more than a 20 percent cut, adding that Rocky River and Westlake took among the largest cuts in the state.

Plain Dealer reporter Pat Galbincea contributed to this story.

Part III - A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy
A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy Part 3
By Greg on April 20, 2011

Tea Party Discovery #3: Healthcare

The stated belief of the Tea Party is “that government should not gain more control over healthcare.”

Americans for Prosperity, known Billionaire David Koch funded astroturfer, hosted a Town Hall meeting in Marietta, Ohio, to discuss Senate Bill 5. “At one point during the meeting, Sen. Jimmy Stewart, R-Athens, talked about aspects of Senate Bill 5 and the state budget that will help local school districts cope with the cuts at the state level. He pointed out that part of SB 5 requires that all government employees pay a minimum of 15 percent of their health care premiums. Additionally, he said health care pooling is one part of the state budget, and it would require that all 600 school districts in the state have the same health care policy, resulting in $150 million savings per year across all 600 districts.”

If the state passes a law that requires all public workers to contribute a uniform percentage and also requires that they all participate in a health care pool, regardless of the desires of the local government and it’s citizens, that sounds like a government gaining “more control over healthcare.” I guess Americans for Prosperity didn’t get the memo. Tea Partiers likewise failed yet again to take up pitchfork and lantern and beat a trail to The Statehouse.

Amazing, I know.

Consider these excepts from Governor Kasich’s Budget Books:

  • “The Executive Budget ‘elevates’ to the state the financial responsibility for community behavioral health.”
  • “The combined impact . . . gives DODD (Department of Developmental Disabilities) more authority and control to design programs”

Those both sound to me like a government gaining “more control over healthcare.” So where are the Tea Party activists?

Nancy Hamant comments on STRS staff healthcare costs

John Curry to Nancy Hamant, April 21, 2011
Subject: Fw: Comments on Saving A lot of Money for STRS
Nancy...I agree. Just this week a fellow retiree talked to an STRS associate over the telephone. She did relate to him that she was obtaining medical insurance (of course she didn't tell him that dental and vision was included) from STRS for her entire family for around $200 per month. All this while we stakeholders are subsidizing the remainder of her premiums WHILE STRS SUBSIDIZES ZERO ("0") DOLLARS OF OUR SPOUSES' HEALTH INSURANCE that we worked our entire lives for!
From Nancy Hamant, April 20, 2011
Subject: Comments on Saving A lot of Money for STRS
Many STRS retirees will agree to the Conard's recommendations for reductions to STRS administrative costs which are in their email listed below. Please read it.
What the Conards have not addressed are STRS staff health care costs. Currently STRS staff and spouses receive premier health care plans for minimal monthly premiums which include vision and dental benefits.
STRS retirees receive no vision or dental benefits and pay 100% of spouse's health care premiums. In STRS's April Board newsletter it was stated that STRS benefit recipients' health care premiums would be raised to 37% by 2015 (beginning in 2012).
In addition, the STRS Board will be considering major changes in coverage, as well as in other areas, to keep the STRS health care plan solvent for longer than 2024.
Under such circumstances, can the STRS administrative costs continue to pay for STRS staff and spouses premier health care plans? STRS staffers must pay a fair share for their health care insurance also. Or better yet, STRS staffers and their spouses should be enrolled in the same plans that STRS benefit recipients and their spouses receive.
Nancy B. Hamant
[Hmm.....perhaps this would explain why Mr. Nehf did not respond to my two e-mails and certified letter on this subject back in 2009. No wonder -- those guys are living on Easy Street, and GUESS WHO'S PAYING FOR IT, FOLKS! KBB]

Jim Conard: Saving A lot of Money for STRS

Jim Conard to STRS, April 20, 2011
After much thought and deliberation I have come to the conclusion that active and retired teachers are going to take major cuts in their benefits that are unfair after paying into STRS throughout their teaching career. At one time Ohio had one of the top retirement systems in the United States. I had the privilege of working in the Department of School Finance for 17 years. Some of my figures may be off but I think they are very close. For one thing, in 2008 our investors lost $36 billion dollars, which caused a major impact in our budget. With my experience, there are only 9 windows in which an investor can invest. If you look at our last STRS Ohio News, dated October 2010 and turn to page 5, they are only investing in 6 areas. My question is why do we need 80 investors?
Therefore, I have come to several points of concern. In my opinion, the following would help our economic situation:
  1. STRS needs only 27 investors rather than the 80 present investors. The average base salary for an investor is $156,000.00 and in addition to that, they receive an average bonus of $70,000. This would total for the average investor $226,000.00 If you reduced the investors by 53, that would be a savings of $11,978,000.00 in just one year alone.
  2. Number of STRS employees should be reduced from 589 to 189. This would be a reduction of 400 employees. The savings would be approximately $20,000,000.00. I base this on the fact that 2 years ago the computers at STRS were up-graded at a cost of $63,000,000.00. Everything is on the computers, so why do we need 589 employees. Remember! STRS employees are there to benefit, preserve and/or improve the retired teacher's quality of life.
  3. There should be a benchmark for teachers when STRS assets reach $65 billion. At that point the retired teachers should have the 13th check reinstated. The benchmark should not be set up for the investment staff!
  4. There should be no bonuses for investors or any other employees at STRS.
  5. Since cuts are necessary due to the present economical problems, all areas of the STRS funding should be affected, not just active and retired teachers. The STRS staff's salaries and benefits should be cut, also. Since the fund is in a desperate situation, then everyone should be giving up something.
  6. We need more than 2 retired teachers on the STRS board. There is a need for a level playing field. We really need five!
  7. We should encourage Tim Myers to resign from the board immediately and replace the director Mike Nehf.
Other areas of concern:
  1. STRS Building - Why not rent out half of that building to business professionals, such as, lawyers, accountants, etc.? I would think this could bring in a large income.
  2. Parking Garage - Why not rent it out by the month or year? I know parking is at a premium in Columbus. This could bring in a large amount of money.
The savings from a reduction of investors and a reduction in STRS employees could be $32,000,000.00 Bob Stein has called this "miniscule". But over a period of 5,10, or more years this is a hell of alot of money.
I still say that under 3307.15, it is illegal to use investment money for bonuses.
Jim Conard, Shelby County Retired Teacher
Sidney, OH

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy Part 2

"These five examples should have the Tea Party leading the charge to institute a recall provision for the Ohio Governor based upon their stated values. At the very least, the Tea Party should be picketing John Kasich’s every move. Maybe that’s why there are flame wars on their message boards about SB5 and why their events are less and less attended. Is it possible that those who formerly stood in crowds ranting about big government have finally smelled the hypocrisy the GOP is cooking?"

A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy Part 2
by Guest Post, April 19, 2011
Note: The following post is one in a series of 5 we’ll be running this week by friend of the blog Greg Mild. Greg is an educator in Columbus and has agreed to let us publish these as guest posts this week. We think you’ll find them informative and hope they provoke some good discussion as well.

Yesterday we explored the basics of the stated Tea Party values and I made the first of many “discoveries” that point to the movement being more about opposing Democrats and less about any true ideals. We continue our look at the ways in which the Tea Party’s hypocrisy begins to show.

Tea Party Discovery #2: The Government and “Free Markets”

The stated belief of the Tea Party is that “Our current government’s interference distorts the free market” and they “oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.”

I would like to submit five items as evidence of hypocrisy:

1) Bob Evans CEO Steve Davis said the company has simply outgrown its South High Street location, and needs more room. “We seriously considered re-locating to Texas, where we own land, and where we have our food products campus,” Davis said. “We could have moved anywhere. We have the financial where withal to go anywhere, but I lived through situations where people lost jobs and that was not going to happen here.”

He said along with incentives offered by New Albany, an $11.8-million incentive package offered by the Kasich administration played a key role in the company’s decision. Kasich said that the state is bleeding jobs, and tax incentives will be necessary to keep companies like Bob Evans in the state.

PB: Are our state tax dollars going to pay to reduce Bob Evans’ CEO’s commute?

2) American Greetings Corp. has decided to keep its world headquarters in Northeast Ohio, a move that drew praise from local leaders but also touched off a potential bidding war among communities that want to attract the Fortune 1000 employer. The 105-year-old greeting card maker rejected the possibility of moving to Illinois but said Monday that it has not decided whether to remain in Brooklyn or move to another suburb. Ohio will provide a package of grants, loans and tax rebates worth a potential $93.5 million over 15 years to keep American Greetings here. Some of the incentives will come through tax reform legislation Gov. John Kasich signed into law Monday at American Greetings’ headquarters.

PB: Bob Evans/American Greetings: Is this REALLY economic development or corporate economic extortion?

3) Kasich did, however, tout his ‘Jobs Ohio’ plan as a way to bolster business and reduce unemployment. The plan would essentially privatize the Ohio Department of Development and create a new, private Economic Development Board for the state. Kasich said, “Because you get smart people in business who are talking to people in business and convincing them this is a great place to do things and can talk to them about there needs so we can respond to them.” The governor says his plan, along with incentives for new business will get Ohio where it needs to be to be more competitive with other states.


JobsOhio Legislative Analysis, Pt. 1: Transparent as Mud at Midnight

JobsOhio Legislative Analysis, Pt.2: Culture of Corruption, Inc.

JobsOhio Legislative Analysis, Pt. 3: John Kasich on the law of public records—“Trust me.”

JobsOhio Legislative Analysis, Pt. 4: At Culture of Corruption, Inc., you can lobby WHILE you work…

4) The bill that would allow Gov. John Kasich to transform the Department of Development into a private, nonprofit corporation drew plenty of questions from lawmakers yesterday about the transparency and oversight of an entity that couldhand out more than a $1 billion a year in business incentives. (

5) To better serve the people of Ohio, the legislature passed House Bill 1, creating JobsOhio, which is a nonprofit public/private partnership designed to make traditional economic development its sole focus. The bill, signed by Governor John Kasich, will remove governmental barriers and allow JobsOhio to move at the speed of business, creating a faster, more efficient entity that will create and save Ohio jobs and improve the state’s return on investment. (Book One: The Budget Book, State of Ohio)

These five examples should have the Tea Party leading the charge to institute a recall provision for the Ohio Governor based upon their stated values. At the very least, the Tea Party should be picketing John Kasich’s every move. Maybe that’s why there are flame wars on their message boards about SB5 and why their events are less and less attended. Is it possible that those who formerly stood in crowds ranting about big government have finally smelled the hypocrisy the GOP is cooking?

Maybe this is why last night on her show, Rachel Maddow all but said the Tea Party was dead: [Click here for video]

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Columbus City Schools educator (Greg Mild) exposes the Tea Party for what it is - Part I - A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy

"They're not a movement of, by, and for the people. They’re a merry band of duped citizens marching to the beat of the corporate drum."
A Tea Party Primer: Lessons in Hypocrisy
Part 1
By Guest Post On April 18, 2011 ·
Note: The following post is one in a series of 5 we’ll be running this week by friend of the blog Greg Mild. Greg is an educator in Columbus and has agreed to let us publish these as guest posts this week. We think you’ll find them informative and hope they provoke some good discussion as well.

I actually have an old friend who will still talk politics with me. We don’t see each other very often, and I think we both try to avoid it at first, but one of us inevitably opens the door for the conversation to begin. While I would classify Steve as a moderate Republican, he describes himself as and Independent. I would self-identify a moderate Democrat moving left, while Steve would probably label me as someone who needs a better filter between my brain and my mouth. I have little factual evidence to challenge him on this.

So imagine our surprise when, while discussing Senate Bill 5, we simultaneously expressed confusion over the Tea Party’s strong support. We were at a loss as to how the “small government” Tea Party rationalizes the concept of the state diminishing the authority of local governments as included in the legislation. Steve and I agreed that the bargaining restrictions contained in the bill amounted to the state exerting control over local areas; an exercise in the concept of “big government” control.

It was then that I determined that I needed to find out more about the Tea Party. I needed to understand what the rationale was behind these decisions. If I was going to be able to engage Tea Partiers in discussions, I needed to find out what they believe in and what their goals are. I went straight to the source. The Tea Party Patriots, the “Official Home of the Tea Party Movement” and FreedomWorks, “Founded in 1984, and headquartered in Washington, DC, with hundreds of thousands of grassroots volunteers nationwide.”

From what I have read, I don’t think the Tea Party members I’ve encountered in Ohio actually know what they believe. In this series of posts, I’ll be providing background on the Tea Party and exploring the many ways their groups regularly abandon their state core beliefs in order to support partisan Republican activities. Today we’ll review some background research as a basis for further exploration into the hypocrisy that is the “Tea Party”.

Tea Party Beliefs

FreedomWorks Mission: “FreedomWorks fights for lower taxes, less government and more economic freedom for all Americans.”

Chairman Dick Armey: “What should be your guide? The Constitution.”

FreedomWorks Positions


Government is too big and spends too much of our money. A strong and vibrant free market economy – free from burdensome taxation and regulation – offers the best hope for creating opportunity and improving the quality of life for every American.

The Flat Tax

The current tax code is a 60,000-page catalog of favors for special interests and a chamber of horrors for the rest of America. We want to scrap our confusing, unfair tax code and replace it with a simple flat tax of one low rate with no deductions or special interest loopholes. We also want lower taxes at the federal, state, and local levels.


We want Americans to be able to use the free market to choose the care that suits their individual needs. We believe that government should not gain more control over healthcare. Frivolous lawsuits and bureaucratic waste add to the cost of health insurance.

Red Tape, Hidden Taxes, & Regulation

We want to end burdensome government regulation and rely on the marketplace as an efficient regulator of business activity.

Tea Party Patriots Core Values

Fiscal Responsibility: Fiscal Responsibility by government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of their own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect.

Constitutionally Limited Government: We, the members of The Tea Party Patriots, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land. We believe that it is possible to know the original intent of the government our founders set forth, and stand in support of that intent. Like the founders, we support states’ rights for those powers not expressly stated in the Constitution. As the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, in all other matters we support the personal liberty of the individual, within the rule of law.

Free Markets: A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we. Our current government’s interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty. Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.

Tea Party Patriots Philosophy

Tea Party Patriots, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill Of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers.

Excerpt from The Federalist Papers #84:

The last objection of any consequence, which I at present recollect, turns upon the article of expense. If it were even true, that the adoption of the proposed Government would occasion a considerable increase of expense, it would be an objection that ought to have no weight against the plan…the question of expense must be given up; for it is impossible, with any degree of safety, to narrow the foundation upon which the system is to stand. The two branches of the Legislature are, in the first instance, to consist of only sixty-five persons, which is the same number of which congress, under the existing Confederation, may be composed. It is true, that this number is intended to be increased; but this is to keep pace with the progress of the population and resources of the country. It is evident that a less number would, even in the first instance, have been unsafe; and that a continuance of the present number would, in a more advanced stage of population, be a very inadequate representation of the People.

The result from these observations is…that a Government less expensive would be incompetent to the purposes of the Union.

Let us now see what there is to counterbalance any extra expense that may attend the establishment of the proposed Government. The first thing which presents itself is, that a great part of the business which now keeps Congress sitting through the year, will be transacted by the President.

Excerpt from The Federalist Papers #85:

The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies, must necessarily be a compound as well of the errors and prejudices, as of the good sense and wisdom of the individuals of whom they are composed. The compacts which are to embrace thirteen distinct States, in a common bond of amity and union, must as necessarily be a compromise of as many dissimilar interests and inclinations. How can perfection spring from such materials?

“To balance a large State or society,” (says he,) “whether monarchical or republican, on general laws, is a work of so great difficulty, that no human genius, however comprehensive, is able by the mere dint of reason and reflection, to effect it. The judgments of many must unite in the work; Experience must guide their labor; Time must bring it to perfection; and the feeling of inconveniences must correct the mistakes which they inevitably fall into, in their first trials and experiments.” These judicious reflections contain a lesson of moderation to all the sincere lovers of the Union, and ought to put them upon their guard againstthe military despotism of a victorious demagogue, in the pursuit of what they are not likely to obtain, but from time and experience…A Nation, without a National Government, is, in my view, an awful spectacle. The establishment of a Constitution, in time of profound peace, by the voluntary consent of a whole People, is a prodigy, to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety…I know that powerful individuals, in this and in other States, are enemies to a general National Government in every possible shape. hazarding anarchy, civil war, a perpetual alienation of the States from each other, and perhaps

Along the way in my research and pondering about the current attack on the working class and the supposed values of the Tea Party movement I made several “discoveries” that seem to point to hypocrisy. It’s no secret that there is a great deal of angst among TP members about SB5 and the attack on the working class being waged by Kasich. Throughout the week I’ll be highlighting specific areas of disconnects between their stated beliefs and their actions.

Tea Party Discovery #1: Special Interests

The stated belief of the Tea Party is they believe that “favors for special interests” should be removed from the Government. In practice, that would mean that Tea Party members could be counted on to be vocal opponents of the inclusion of Teach for America (by name) into Ohio law. The Tea Party should be even more incensed by the Governor trying to pull a fast one and add Teach for America a second time through his Jobs Budget (Reform Book, p. 5). One could also expect the party to be vocal opponents of the Governor’s expansion of the community school program and the redistribution of tax dollars to these entities that already siphon off state tax money from public (the people’s) schools.

That sound you hear is the deafening noise of silence!

During his campaign, John Kasich stated “you can’t be in a position where somebody’s your buddy so that you give them something special.” As a result, the Tea Party should be picketing the Statehouse daily over Kasich’s hiring of Jai Chabria and Mark Kvamme, two of his buddies. Jai, of course, was rewarded with an entirely made up position of “Special Assistant to the Governor” at the astounding salary of $145,000/year. That and other rewards to key Kasich staffers was something first exposed right here on Plunderbund.

One would think given the stated beliefs of these Tea Partiers that they’d be taking pitchfork and torch to the statehouse in protest of the Governor. Instead, they recently announced their intention to support the Governor after having been “asked to show support”. They're not a movement of, by, and for the people. They’re a merry band of duped citizens marching to the beat of the corporate drum.

Tomorrow: The Government and the Free Market

Hold 'em accountable, Governor!

(Click image to enlarge)
From John Curry........................................................

Mary Beth Hunter on changes in Gov. Kasich's budget bill: There will be nothing teachers can do to stop the decimation of the pensions

From Mary Beth Hunter, April 17, 2011
Subject: Kasich
Kasich seems to think that the SB5 will not be able withstand the referendum. Therefore he is making changes in the budget. This is because the budget cannot be attacked by a referendum. That is why you see this in the budget:
On April 13, Executive Director Michael Nehf submitted testimony to the House Finance and Appropriations Committee on House Bill 153, which is the state budget bill. His written remarks focused on the language in the bill that would limit the contributions for employers and employees to 12% from each. Nehf noted this change would result in the Retirement Board's proposed plan no longer meeting the 30-year funding requirement.
The board's plan maintains the current level of employer contributions at 14% and increases member contributions by 3%, from the current level of 10% to a total of 13%. The resulting decrease in revenue from the contribution scenario contained in the budget bill would require additional cuts in benefits for STRS Ohio's active members and retirees and/or even more in contributions from members. As a result, Nehf requested removal of the 12-and-12 contribution language from H.B. 153. Complete text of the testimony can be found on the STRS Ohio Web site at:
There will be nothing teachers can do to stop the decimation of the pensions.
Mary Beth Hunter much education moneys have charter schools (and vouchers) sucked away from Ohio's public schools?

From John Curry, April 19, 2011
Privatization of the education sector in Ohio
Since the mid-1990s, Ohio has been a leader in the expansion of charter schools and vouchers. The state currently has three voucher programs – the Cleveland program, the Educational Choice voucher statewide, and the autism voucher. Since the legislature passed the state’s first charter law in 1997, Ohio has seen rapid growth of charters as well, with more than 320 operating in the state during the 2009-10 school year. Funds for school vouchers and publicly funded, privately run charters are deducted from the districts where participating students live. Table 3 shows that annual increases in state funding for education have been outstripped by money deducted from state funds directed to school districts.
Source: Policy Matters Ohio, based on data from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, including Executive Budget Proposal, 2012-13. Year-to-year changes are in nominal dollars, not adjusted for inflation.
*Estimates by Policy Matters Ohio assuming half of voucher slots filled in 2012 and all 60,000 slots filled in 2013; half of special education voucher slots filled in 2012 and all slots filled in 2013; and 18 percent growth in charter school enrollment each year.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Friendly reminder.......

From John Curry, April 17, 2011

Hey, Ann...Is ORTA still working "behind the scenes" to ensure that SB 5 won't affect STRS and STRS retirees? By ORTA not taking an official stand on SB 5 makes a lot of retirees wonder what ORTA is really good for....except for maybe green beans, mashed potatoes, meatloaf and monthly social gatherings that dance around an issue that will critically affect STRS's coffers and our retirement
security.....SB 5.

(a fellow retiree)

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