I was sabotaged! Thank you very much

The morning before Election Day I eagerly go to my computer to post my newest and last blog regarding the fight against SB 5. Computer is working fine, I do some last-minute polishing of a piece I have been working on for several days and then press the button to post it to my blog—NOTHING!

I access my internet home page and the Columbus Dispatch but then it slows to a crawl and then a stop. I cannot access my blog and then I suddenly have no internet connection. Strangely, when I check my modem connection it shows 5 green bars but then there is an orange circle over it. I call my internet provider and am told they can’t send a technician for 3 days. Curiously, I find I can get back on the internet an hour before the polls close on Election Day.

Did someone deliberately block my internet connection? The internet technician came out today, three days after the event, and tested all necessary items. Bright green bars flashed across the screen. He tells me there is no problem with my internet or modem. In fact, very strong signals are coming my way. I ask him about the possibility of sabotage and he politely repeats that there is nothing wrong with my internet connections. He explains that many things can be done to create interference—even someone from China could have created the problem. Somehow I doubt that anyone in China could give a rat’s ass about Ohio politics, my writings and my blog.

Am I frustrated? Yes! Am I angry? No. I am not angry and in fact I have many things to be thankful for. So, I am taking this time to extend my thanks to the malicious culprit who tried to silence me:

  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to run several scans on my computer. Everything checked out OK with no viruses so I guess my firewall is working.
  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reboot my computer and internet several times. I needed the extra exercise of crawling under my desk. I also found a few extra pens while I was down there.
  • ·         Thank you for the opportunity to talk with the lovely tech support people in India. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting their dialect mixed in with the background noise of a hundred other tech support people.
  • ·         Thank you for the extra glass of wine at the end of that day.
  • ·         Thank you for freeing up my time and allowing me to take advantage of a beautiful Indian Summer day and go for an impromptu drive through the back roads with my husband. It was a lovely day.
  • ·         Thank you for confirming that people are reading my blog. The events are too coincidental for make me to think it was anything else but objections to my blog. In addition, there is also the time you or your friends reported my blog to the Facebook people as being “abusive”. I must have made my points well.
  • ·         Thank you for including me in the list of those who were censored. That list includes: George Orwell’s 1984; Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer;  Adolph Huxley’s Brave New World; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Joseph Heller’s Catch 22; J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass; John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter; and many, many more. That is a pretty impressive list and I feel honored to join it.
  • ·         Thank you for showing your true, sadistic colors.

Although this was done anonymously, I know who you are. Your politics are different from mine so you are leaning to the right of the scale. You are obviously a fan of Gov. Kasich and feel he can do no wrong or you would not have found my words so offensive. You are a bully and a control freak; otherwise you would not stoop so low. You would, instead, wait until my blog is posted and then engage in debate under the comments section.

Unlike many other blogs found on the web, I have tried to maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism. I have not resorted to profanity or name calling which is found in many others. There is nothing “abusive” in my content other than a different point of view than your own. True followers of Notes from the Pond know that I encourage healthy debates and discussions. That has been one of my points during the SB 5 campaign—people deserve the right to come together to discuss the problems and work them out together. It is only through open minds and honest discussions can we find the answers to the many problems our state and nation are facing.

We need to be able to come together as one family around the table to look at our many needs and then find a workable solution that benefits everybody. This will never happen as long as there are some people so interested in their own self-serving needs that they feel they must stoop so low as to change the words of a grandmother as in Grandma Quinn or to try to silence a lowly blogger.

Finally, thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes.

The People of Ohio Speak Up for the Middle Class


The people of Ohio stood up and said to Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled legislature in a loud and clear voice, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” The referendum on SB 5 was defeated across party lines by 61% to 39%.

The fight over Issue 2, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights from many hard-working middle class people, proved to be a battle ground for rights and dignity for the Ohio workers. It was a battle that was far more than just Republicans versus Democrats, or union versus non-union, or even the haves versus the have-nots; it was a battle for the right to be heard. Ohioans and the American people in general are fair, intelligent and reasonable when treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in problem solving sessions.

Gov. Kasich’s bus finds a roadblock

When Gov. Kasich rode into office a year ago he came with an arrogant attitude that said it is my way or the highway. He literally told a gathering of reporters and lobbyists that if you aren’t on his bus he is going to run you over. What he didn’t consider is—if you get enough people surrounding the bus then it isn’t going anywhere. Some tried to get on his bus but found the doors closed and others began looking for another mode of transportation. Now the people have found their own bus and are driving it straight toward Kasich and his buddies.

At his concession speech Gov. Kasich said he will take some time to listen but then defiantly announced that local governments should not expect a state bailout. People don’t want bailouts. They want to work. They want the opportunity to bring management and workers to the table to discuss among themselves their problems and work out a solution benefitting all. It is called negotiating and compromise.

Ohioans won’t tolerate disrespect

Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland noted how state workers took 20 furlough days and pay freezes to help him balance the budget. “The impression that was given to the public was that public employees aren’t willing to participate. I think they have been and will continue to be,” Strickland said. “But they are not going to take disrespect, and they aren’t going to tolerate name-calling. If this administration understands that, then I think there could be the ability to work together.”

Bill Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association said, “There has always been room to talk. That’s what collective bargaining is about. You bring adults around a table to talk about serious issues.

Support crosses party lines

These issues were important to more than just the people directly affected by SB 5. We Are Ohio, the organization behind voting no on Issue 2, raised $30 million, four times that of the Republican Building a Better Ohio. In addition, more people voted against Issue 2—about 2.1 million—than voted Kasich into office in 2010—1.89 million. In a Quinnipiac Poll two weeks before the election, 32% of Republicans were opposed to SB 5.

Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying, “By standing with teachers and firefighters and cops, Ohio has sent a loud and clear message that will be heard all across the country: The middle class will no longer be trampled on.”

Grandma Quinn—“We showed him!”

But Grandma Quinn, the great-grandmother who unwilling became the face of the campaign, said it best when she said, “That showed (Kasich). We showed him.” Short, sweet, and to the point. I like that Grandma Quinn.

Yes, Ohio’s voice regarding treatment of the middle class was clear last night and loud enough to be heard across the nation, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!”





Opponents of “Vote No on Issue 2” stoop to new low

Gov. Kasich and his political arm, Building a Better Ohio, whose goal is to squash public employees, teachers, firefighters, and nurses’ rights have stooped to an all-time low. Their deceitful actions should be enough to convince all voters that their intentions are not honorable.

Recently the Vote No on Issue 2 organization ran an emotional ad featuring a great-grandmother praising the actions of her local fire department for saving the life of her grandson and great-granddaughter, Zoey. In the ad she expresses gratitude for their quick response and urges Ohio voters to vote against Issue 2 so firefighters could continue to negotiate for proper staffing levels.

To her surprise she found her image and words were then used by the opposing team. Building a Better Ohio used her words and phrases and spliced them together with a female narrator saying that failing to pass Issue 2 will force firefighter layoffs, which threatens safety because communities have to pay for excessive benefits of public workers. The ad ends with Grandma Marlene Quinn’s statement about life or death.

“That’s the kind of stuff you just don’t do,” Jack Reall, president of the Columbus firefighters union, said of the ad. “This is a group that wants us to believe our politicians are going to do the right thing when it comes to safety, staffing, training. Then you turn around and make a decision like this.”

Running this blog I try to stay current of political events and therefore I have my name on various PAC lists to receive email updates. The first I heard of this development was a couple of days ago when I received an email from Quinn with the heading, “They’re lying”. She goes on to say, “I’ve lived a long time and seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen a group of people sink so low. I think it’s dishonest and downright deceitful that they would use footage of me to try to play tricks and fool voters.”

Quinn adds, “’I’m outraged they are using my face and my words to push their harmful agenda. They certainly did not ask my permission. I feel violated.                                                                          

“These dishonest people support Senate Bill 5 and Issue 2. They want to take away collective bargaining rights from firefighters, police officers, teachers, nurses and other public employees. And they know that Issue 2 will make it illegal for firefighters to collectively bargain for safe staffing levels and harder for them to negotiate for safety equipment—which will lead to slower response times for the very crews that came out to save my Zoey.

“And in case it’s not already clear, I want to stop Senate Bill 5. Everyone should vote No on Issue 2. Marlene Quinn, Cincinnati Resident and Great-Grandmother.”

Jason Mauk, spokesman for Building a Better Ohio, said in defense of changing the Grandma Quinn’s ad, “Opponents of Issue 2 chose to use a personal story to make a political argument, but the same story makes an even more-powerful case for supporting the reasonable reforms we’re asking of our government employees,” he said. “Without Issue 2, our communities will continue to lay off police officers and firefighters because they can’t afford to pay them.”

Shockingly, when Kasich was asked about the ad he said it is fine. After a speech to the Independent Insurance Agents of Ohio Kasich told reporters, “Controlling your costs allows you to get it right, so I think we’ve been pretty factual about it,” Kasich continued. “The problem with the campaign – they’ve been emotional and we’ve been factual. And in campaigns, emotion usually wins. That’s kind of where we are.”

What makes this incident so outrageous is that Building a Better Ohio takes a very personal and emotional story from a private citizen and twists and exploits it to reflect their personal interests. If they had done this with a candidate it would not be quite as objective because the candidate is a public figure. Once a person runs for public office it is understood that he or she loses a certain amount of privacy. A lot of what they say or do is fair game for the opposition. This practice is sometimes unpleasant but expected as part of dirty politics. But, to do this to an ordinary citizen is despicable.

It is a very emotional story.  Zoey and her family could have died in the fire if it weren’t for the quick response and professionalism of the firefighters. Kasich’s Building A Better Ohio group recognized the human pathos in the story and, knowing they could never find a similar story to support their desire to cut benefits for public servants, they decided to use the story for themselves and create confusion among the voters.

Petitions circulated among angry voters backing the Vote No on Issue 2 and pressure was put on broadcast stations to remove the ad. Currently thirty stations have removed the ad but stations in Cincinnati and Cleveland, two of Ohio’s largest markets, are still running it. All network stations in Columbus saw the light and have removed the ad.

Joe Rettof, Finance Director of We Are Ohio, said of the ad, “I’ve worked in politics for a long time, but I’ve never seen anything as deceitful and disgusting as what Building a Better Ohio did to Marlene yesterday. They stole video of her clearly speaking out against Issue 2, chopped it up, and then spat it back out in a pro-Issue 2 advertisement. Marlene’s family and her great-granddaughter Zoey were the victims of a horrible fire on Cincinnati’s North Side last year, and this experience informed her stance on Issue 2. She was thanking the firefighters who risked their lives to save her family, and our opponents changed her fundamental stance on Issue 2 and then blatantly lied about it. Even worse, they’re standing behind the manipulated advertisement and spending millions of dollars to keep it on the air.”

To be clear, Issue 2 is the same thing as Senate Bill 5 that Kasich and the Republicans pushed through the state house at the beginning of the year. I wrote about it in Teachers Get No Respect, March 26; I Stirred Up A Hornet’s Nest, March 31; and Breaking News: Governor, Legislators Agree to Teach in Public Schools, April 1. Senate Bill 5 was passed into law but a recall was quickly put on the November ballot and what was Senate Bill 5 became Issue 2.

The bill provided measures that severely hamper nurses, firefighters, police, teachers, and public servants under the guise that they receive excessive benefits, according to Kasich, that puts a strain on budgets. I am a former teacher and my husband retired from the state’s Attorney General’s Office and I can assure you we never received excessive benefits. No one goes into the field of public service to get rich. Most of the people you find in these fields are doing their jobs because they felt a calling to serve.

Proponents for Issue 2 say it is reasonable to ask public workers to pay 10% to 15% of their healthcare and pension premiums; however, all public employees are already required by law to pay 10% of their pension and all state and county workers already pay 15% or more for their health care. Ohio’s teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees have already made great sacrifices that saved the taxpayers $350 million dollars to help fix the budget crisis. In addition, proponents say public employees need to make a sacrifice to reduce the state’s projected $8 billion shortfall. The truth is that Ohio is 44th out of 50 states in per capita spending on government workers. State employees have taken a pay freeze five times in nine years and have voluntarily taken additional sacrifices that saved $250 million in the budget and an additional $100 million in health care costs.

One of the most ridiculous claims of the proponents is that public employees are overpaid and they need to be brought in line with the private sector. In fact, according to a recent Rutgers University study, Ohio’s public employees earn 6% less yearly than their peers in the private sector and they earn 3.5% less on an hourly basis. The average public school employee makes only $24,000 a year and retires with an average pension of $900 a month and they do not pay into or receive Social Security.

Finally, another absurd statement is that public employees have too much power and the public agrees and they are merely making reasonable reforms to bring public employee salaries and benefits in line with their private sector counterparts. However, according to a recent Gallup poll, 61% of the public oppose taking away some collective bargaining rights of most public employee unions. In addition, a recent Quinnipiac poll found that only 34% of the people in Ohio support this proposal.

What State Issue 2 actually does is it takes away the rights and voices of those who faithfully serve our communities and state. It unfairly shifts the balance and all the power to management and virtually leaves the workers without a voice. Let us call this bill what it really is—an attempt to break the backs of the unions and it is supported by big business and corporations here and elsewhere in this country. Recent laws have made it possible for large donations to be made to political action committees anonymously. We know Ohio is a political swing state and wields a lot of influence in the political arena. Many influential people are watching what Ohio does with this political football.

Now is the time for your voice to be heard. Let the 99% speak up so the 1% can hear us loud and clear—we will not allow them to stifle us. We will not roll over and play dead while they take advantage of us. We will not fall for their propaganda and allow big business to take our rights away from us.

Speak up Ohio for your rights and vote no on issue 2.