The gap is closing on the controversial Issue 2 law which brings much-needed reform to the collective bargaining process in Ohio. Issue 2 was central to almost every conversation I had with the media on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 which was heavier than usual as the school levy campaigns have begun to take off.
The Cincinnati Enquirer did a tremendous piece on the front page of its paper which explored the reason behind the rash of tax resistant school board candidates running for positions all over Cincinnati. Michael Clark had interviewed me for that article weeks ago and had put a lot of work into gathering the scope of personalities in the article. You can read that article here for reference: CLICK THE LINK.
Doc Thompson and I had one of our all-encompassing education discussions on 700 WLW the day The Enquirer article came out and much of the conversation centered on the new Quinnipiac University poll done with registered Ohio voters which also came out that very morning as a separate news story. It revealed that the people who favored repealing Issue 2 still had the majority at 51%, but showed that 38% strongly favored keeping it, leaving 13% of the voters still up in the air. In July, the numbers were 56% wanting repeal and only 32% wanting to keep it. This corresponds with what many of us who know what Issue 2 is all about and that’s when people learn how good Issue 2 is, they will want it. Issue 2 was forged out of frustration from the many failed school levies in pursuit of a long-term solution. Those tax resistance advocates of which I’m a part helped our elected representatives understand what we wanted them to do in order to solve the problems with school districts having virtually no influence over their budgets, because of the collective bargaining agreements that involve federal mediators and a very powerful union lobby, works aggressively against the taxpayers.
I have known all along that once the good people of Ohio understood that Issue 2 was greatly to their advantage, they’d begin to change their mind, which is what’s happening. Listen to the discussion with Doc and me by clicking the video below.
The public unions are losing ground because they have nothing new to say. They have no solutions to the problems they created, and virtually everything they gained over a 30 year period, they gained with violence, protests, and strikes. They collectively bullied their way into a situation where they now have wages and benefits that are 43.4% higher than the rest of us who pay their salaries in the private sector. CLICK THIS HOT LINK FOR MORE DETAIL. Over the next month, the unions will lose much more ground, because the facts in their behalf are not pretty. They are caught in their own misleading statistics. People have not forgotten what they’ve done even now that the public unions are pretending to be treated unfairly. It is the police and firefighters unions who have put themselves in front of the much more guilty teachers unions to attempt once again to push the emotional hot button hoping to keep support for repeal above 50%. But even the police unions are guilty of their share of violent intimidation of public officials, which over time has created great wages, overtime pay without any management control, and incredible abuses and double-dipping of the wages provided. Case in point is this outburst by the President of the Cincinnati FOP lashing out at Cincinnati City Council over just a PowerPoint presentation. The intent of this outbreak is to intimidate city council by preventing any discussion of cost management. This broadcast was done in December of 2010 a whole month before John Kasich took office. It is because of situations like this that many of us in the anti-tax groups all over Southern Ohio sat down with Shannon Jones, Bill Coley, Pete Beck, and Senator Cates to give us tools to help manage our costs. For me personally, after just defeating the recent Lakota Levy and needing a long-term fix to the situation it was this broadcast that convinced me something like Issue 2 was essential to a long-term fix on these public sector costs which were spiraling out-of-control. (GO AHEAD……LISTEN)
Shortly after my talk with Doc Thompson I met with Tiffany Teasley of Fox 19 for an interview about the new Lakota Levy. The Yes Lakota people were launching the first of their MOVE FORWARD seminars later that night and Tiffany wanted to know what I thought about it. You can see that interview at the link below.
I told Tiffany exactly what the Yes Lakota people would say hours before she even had the opportunity to interview them. “They’ll say that they need this levy passed so Lakota can move FORWARD. Without the money they’ll fall backwards. Yet they can’t explain to anybody why. They just ask for money to be tossed into a bottomless pit as if by burning the money, education will move forward.” I knew what would be said because it’s the same tired public union rhetoric that has been used and proven false for decades. The assumption by public unions is that taxes can always be increased to fund excessively high expectations.
Off camera, Tiffany asked me, “So how do you view your role in this levy, this time around? I remember last time they (Pro Levy Lakota) accused the No Lakota People of just saying “no,” and not offering any solutions,” Tiffany asked.
“Issue 2 is the kind of solution I had in mind, and once the election was over, I started talking to elected representatives about creating legislation that would fix the problem. That was the start of Senate Bill 5, which would become Issue 2. I was not alone in this as many others did the same thing contacting their representatives and demanding something be done. It was not created by some evil Republican conspiracy in some oppressive mountain of doom, where busting unions was the goal. It was started by people like me who asked our elected officials to provide relief from the incessant tax requests by cost overruns in the public sector. Kasich is simply doing what people like me asked him to. Shannon Jones wrote the bill listening to her constituents, who are simply sick of politics as usual and want an end to it. I know it because I know most of the people who were giving her an earful of complaints about this constant barrage of school levies year after year after year, and no matter how much money we give them, they find a way to spend a nickel more. That has to stop and Shannon listened to her constituents, at least the ones who bothered to let her know.”
Most of the people supporting a repeal of Issue 2 are people who profit from the squandering that has been going on. As I came back to my office after speaking with Tiffany, Bill Cunningham was stating that he would support a repeal of Issue 2 and that he stood with public workers. Cunningham like many of the cops and firefighters he’s defending have lived well off the government, so he really has no choice but to take a position against Issue 2. Through his legal work, and his wife who is a current Judge in Cincinnati, he has been a benefactor of public service, and cannot take a hard stand against it now, so he is part of that 50% who still support repealing Issue 2. But as the facts of the matter continue to come out, and it is realized that the public union position against Issue 2 is simply airless rhetoric, as credible as the Move Forward Campaign at Lakota, and dozens upon dozens of other schools all across Ohio, people are waking up.
None of those schools asking for another levy can justify more tax money with any facts, or figures. They cannot discuss how they have mismanaged their union contracts to arrive at the abuse that has wrecked community budgets everywhere. All they can do is ask for more money. That’s the extent of their entire plan. Tax somebody in order to feed them and when the money runs out they’ll still ask for more from someone else………TAX THE RICH!!!! THEY OWE ME SOMETHING!!
Over the next month some of those 50% will either convert their vote to a Yes for Issue 2 out of the guilt they feel deep inside, or they won’t show up to vote, unable to vote against themselves. Because good people will emerge in the final hours of Issue 2 and do the right thing. As more facts reveal the true extent of the public sector union abuse, the good among them will do the right thing and that gap will narrow even closer as the election looms near. The days where public unions rule our community budgets is over, because like I told Tiffany on the delightful autumn breeze that carried my voice during our interview, “It used to be that the school levies would just keep coming and coming and coming until they finally pass them. After all, that’s what’s happening here in Cincinnati. Well, I can say for myself, that if Issue 2 does not pass, then the public unions will see it come back again, and again and again, until it does pass, because we will not take no for an answer. Reforms of public service will occur now, or in the future, but reforms will occur.”
Is it arrogant to say such a thing? Absolutely not, I learned this attitude from the public sector unions themselves, and understand that this is the only way to deal with them. I was watching football over the weekend and thinking about how the public unions were behaving now that they’ve been caught. They looked like a lot of the players who hit a quarterback too late, or too hard, or committed a flagrant penalty which drew a flag. The caught player often becomes animated and acts as though they are innocent of any wrong doing, as if they hope to erase the crime from the minds of the referees. And that’s what I see happening with the public unions now that Issue 2 is that flag, a penalty they have to contend with. They are pretending they did nothing to deserve attention. They pretend that they have made sacrifices, but they conveniently leave out that anything they gave back to the community came out of the portion of their benefits that is already 43.4% over the rest of society, so to call it a sacrifice is insulting. Just as a football player tries to erase a 15 yard penalty so they don’t have to feel the wrath of their teammates from playing too aggressive. The public unions are guilty……….guilty as a collective whole by taking too much from the tax payer, and participating in aggressive extortion when they want more. Even the employees who sat quietly and let their union leaders do their bidding on their behalf are guilty because they knew all along that the money wasn’t free, and somebody had to sacrifice much so they could have a very comfortable job with excellent pay.
But if any doubt in your mind lingers even knowing what we know about Diana Frey, or any of the other public union debacles that we have seen in 2011, just go back and listen to that audio clip from the President of the Cincinnati FOP to hear how business was conducted by public unions before Issue 2 was even written. It is because of meetings like that when people like me said enough is enough. I’m personally done with public unions and I no longer recognize their authority. Issue 2 isn’t worded nearly hard enough for what I asked for and I am angry that Shannon Jones and John Kasich compromised as much as they did. They actually wanted to be fair to the public workers where I was ready to cut them all out to sea.
The public unions are lucky I didn’t write the bill. They should be happy that other people, with cooler tempers were a part of the process, because at least they really don’t lose anything with Issue 2. It just gives management control to elected officials in the future and takes away the ability to stop work from a public worker, which should have been done long ago. And that is a small price to pay for the terrible penalty that the public unions have committed. And it’s only a matter of time before they realize that and join those of us in favor of Issue 2.
For more information about ISSUE 2 here are additional articles that I have written about it. Feel free to read them to understand more clearly what Issue 2 will do for you and understand what is at stake, and how we arrived at this precipice in time. (THIS IS A SMALL SAMPLE I HAVE OVER 400 ARTICLES ON THIS SITE JUST LIKE THIS ONE……………….If you take the time to read these articles and watch these videos, you will know more than 90% of all the politicians and media people anywhere…….so what’s stopping you?)
For the answer to everything, CLICK THIS LINK: