Friday, July 3, 2009

Newspaper Interests Strike Again: Oppose Reforms That Would Save County Jobs/Services

A couple weeks back, I wrote about how the newspaper lobbyists were working hard to defeat some common sense proposals to help Counties save taxpayer dollars and get through the economic and budget crises we're in. If successful, these media interests could cost a County like our's hundreds of thousands of dollars, and far more long-term. That translates into jobs and services saved.

Well, they've struck again.

The Columbus Dispatch, echoing the Enquirer, and both echoing their lobbyist's distributed talking points, wrote a scare tactic editorial that seeks to stop even a "pilot" approach that would allow us to analyze if the online advertising concept can work in Ohio as it does in other communities.

These newspapers continue to raise the spectre of conflicts of interest with all sorts of nefarious scenarios, even though, when done elsewhere in the country, very clear rules are put in place forbidding online advertisers from having any sort of direct business with or before the relevant County. End of conflict.

And while they wage war on the very concept, they don't seem to be at all troubled by the fact that this happens all the time--such as public transportation agencies putting advertisements every day on public buses. If it weren't for those ads, bus fares would no doubt he higher, or services reduced. (Of course, bus ads aren't competing with newspaper advertising either).

It's interesting to see the same newspapers who routinely call for government to do more with less so adamantly opposed to letting us even explore common sense options to do exactly that.

At least they're honest enough to acknowledge that they have a clear conflict of interest on this issue (ie. their own revenue).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Great Triumph for Foster Care

I have devoted a number of posts on this blog to the many challenges for foster kids, particularly those who "age out" of the system without ever being permanently adopted.

Which is why today's story in the Enquirer on a young woman who emerged from the foster system and is on the path to great success is so inspiring and heart-warming. Thanks to all those who supported her every step of the way.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good News: Resolution Opposing Blast Mining Passes

Good news. As the Enquirer is reporting, Commissioner Hartmann and myself voted today (2-0, Todd Portune abstained) to support the resolution opposing the Martin Marietta proposal to conduct blast mining in Anderson Township, nearby numerous other communities such as Newtown, Terrace Park, Indian Hill and Mariemont.

Our resolution will now join all the other jurisdictions that have weighed in on the proposal as part of the public input process. In my judgment, it's a common sense decision: the risks and costs of the activity far outweighed any projected benefit, economic or otherwise, to the community.

Some key terms from the resolution were (link to the full resolution here):

WHEREAS, the following surrounding entities have all enacted resolutions in opposition to the mining proposal, concluding that the proposal would undermine the quality of life, property values, safety and health of their respective communities and residents:
· Village of Terrace Park
· Village of Newtown
· Village of Indian Hill
· Village of Mariemont
· Columbia Township
· Union Township
· Mariemont School District, and
· Milford School District.

WHEREAS, the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners represents citizens from communities throughout the County, including those in Anderson Township and the surrounding communities concerned by the proposal, and

WHEREAS, underground blasting would take place at least once each workday and would be permitted to occur as close as 50 feet from the property line of businesses, 250 feet from the property line of residences, and 50 feet from public rights of way; and

WHEREAS, the Martin Marietta property is in close proximity to several public and semi-public recreation areas; and

WHEREAS, expert witnesses presented evidence that the proposed mine presents risks of noise, light, dust, air pollution, heavy truck traffic, perceptible vibration, and lost value to surrounding properties and communities, and surrounding jurisdictions have expressed opposition based upon all of these factors; and

WHEREAS, the Anderson Township Comprehensive Plan calls for the Martin Marietta property and surrounding area to be used for office and light industrial development; and

WHEREAS, the presence of an underground mine as proposed might deter other types of job-creating and revenue-creating businesses, both office and light industrial, from locating on the surface in areas above or near the location of the mine; and

WHEREAS, along with all the jurisdictions that have expressed their viewpoint, the County Commission believes that the potential risks and costs, economic and otherwise, to the communities near this site, by all the above factors, far outweigh any economic benefits to the Township, surrounding communities and the County as a whole;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, responding to the BZA’s request for public input as it deliberates on this decision, expresses its opposition to the proposed mining operation.

Thanks to all those who weighed in on this. And feel free to weigh in here, or at the Enquirer's comment section.
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