Blogs > Northern Ohio Local Politics

Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Animal Planet, deja vu?

Down in Columbus, word was out today (Wednesday) that the Humane Society, Gov. Ted Strickland agricultrual leaders reached an agreement for HS not to go onto the fall ballot with its farm animal cruelty bill.
Hmm. Itemizing in this writer’s Sunday column: “Some say both sides still talk of some kind of agreement to cancel the ballot fight in favor of some agreement on curbing cruelty to farm animals in small cages in Ohio.”

--David W. Jones

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cordray steps up for gun rights

The U.S. Supreme Courts 5-4 decision on Monday reaffirming the right to own firearms - including handguns - had hardly been spoken before Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray issued an e-mail press release that (correctly) crowed how he and a majority of other state attorneys general had a hand in the decision.

The attorneys general wrote a friend of the court brief on behalf of Second Amendment rights; that this is a collective right to be enjoyed by all law-abiding Americans instead of a right only as it applies to the federal government.

Their brief was even used in arguments before the court, which looked at Cordray's and the others opinion.

Ever since Cordray first burst on the statewide scene he's made every effort to describe himself as being pro-Second Amendment.

That could very well go a long way to helping the Democrat beat back his Republican challenger. Even among conservative gun owners who traditionally look to "Rs" to advance their cause rather than to "Ds."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Bill Cox is frustrated. His family-owned mini golf business, Chip’s Clubhouse, in Chardon was hurt by the poor economy last season and now has to contend with a construction project at his doorstep, on Fifth Avenue.

"A lot of people don’t know businesses are open if they can’t easily get to them. It hurts my business, Heinen’s ... it’s just been pretty confusing," he said. "You’ve got to let people know these businesses need to be patronized."

He lamented business being down up to 35 percent from even last year and has heard customers say they don't want to deal with the construction.

"Unless you’re a regular, some people will give up," he said.

The city has allowed him to post special signs at the detours to let people know he is open. Still, one wonders what can be done for the struggling small businessman in such circumstances.

Any government grants that can be awarded on a case-by-case basis specifically for construction-related business decline?

--Betsy Scott,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Whatever happened to--

Camilo Villa, once an officer in College Democrats chapters at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland and Baldwin Wallace College, where he got his bachelor's degree in political science?

Right. Same Villa who was an activist in the nonprofit HOLA (Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula, or Organized Hispanic Women of Lake and Ashtabula).

Right. Villa is now Latino Caucus Director with the Ohio Democratic Party.

--David W. Jones

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You betcha!

Let’s see.

Is Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor, the fiscal watchdog who’s running for lieutenant governor, now a wild card?

Didn't she announce and announce and announce a special performance audit of the Ohio Lottery Commission--then suddenly postpone or cancel plans to announce the results?

Or something.

But, wait, if that’s a trumor in Wednesday stories, what about Friday this week?

Isn’t Friday the day the Lottery Commission, which includes Northeast Ohio members, called for a special meeting?

For what?

To see the audit results at a public meeting?

--David W. Jones

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Animal cruelty next issue?

So will this area be watching as the Humane Society strives to upgrade what the Ohio Farm Bureau and Ag Department Director Bob Boggs (of Rock Creek in Ashtabula County) already got started with voter approval to watch farm animals?

As of last look, the Humane Society might be close to having its required 400,000-plus voter signatures to file petitions by nest Wednesday deadline (June 30) for getting on the ballot in November.

But some say both sides still talk of some kind of agreement to cancel the ballot fight in favor of some agreement on curbing cruelty to farm animals in small cages in Ohio.

--David W. Jones

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

See how they run

David W. Jones

Victor S. Voinovich Sr., of Valley View, for Cuyahoga County chief executive?

Yep. He’s got the candidacy petitions and definitely plans to run countywide as a Republican.

His name’s already known a businessman and of the famous Voinovich family. He’s also got a versatile background, having lived most of his life in Cuyahoga but also 28 years in Willoughby Hills in Lake County.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ready, Aim--

David W. Jones

As the Associated Press reports, the National Rifle Association endorses Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland for re-election in November.

Which must mean that the NRA will also be announcing its other Ohio favorites.

Let’s see. U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, is up for re-election. The NRA endorsed him last year over Geauga Democrat Bill O’Neill, who’s running again this year.

In April this year, LaTourette got an A-minus from Gun Owners of America. The NRA this year?

In 2008 races the National Rifle Association endorsed such as state Rep. Lorraine Fende, D-Willowick, and state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township.

And this year?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Judges made benchmarks

David W. Jones

So after all those various city and county Bar Association ratings for judicial candidates for Ohio Supreme Court before the May 4 primary, the statewide association didn’t announce its preferences.

With the November election the next stop ahead, Ohio State Bar Association peers do say who their favorites are for two benches on the Ohio Supreme Court.

The state Bar rates candidates Judith Lanzinger, Maureen O’Connor and Mary Jane Trapp as “highly recommended,” with at least 75 percent favorable votes, and candidate Eric Brown as “recommended,” with at least 65 percent favorability.

Put another way it’s appointed Ohio SUPCO Chief Justice Brown, a Democrat just a notch below the higher ranked competitor O’Connor, who’s a SUPCO justice still with a bench if she loses the bid for the higher bench.

It’s also 11th District Court of Appeals Judge Trapp, a Democrat, going for the bench of SUPCO Justice Lanzinger, a Republican, with each considered among the best.

Lake GOP chairman sounds off on Strickland's visit

After Gov. Ted Strickland's appearance Saturday in Mentor, Lake County Republican Party Chairman Dale Fellows had this to say:

"Governor Strickland needs to move out of the way and let John Kasich, a dynamic visionary, lead the state of Ohio back to the greatness it once was," Fellows said. "Strickland correctly identified the most important issues facing Ohio, economic development and job creation, however, he and his Development Director, Lee Fisher, have led our state to economic disaster with over 400,000 jobs lost, century-old businesses leaving Ohio, and increased poverty. January can’t come soon enough for Ohioans and Ohio businesses."

Strickland also talked about providing "a high quality education for our kids," Fellows said.

"This is the same Ted Strickland who basically said when he was running for Governor in 2006 that if he can’t solve school funding as Governor he shouldn't be re-elected. Well Governor, you should not be re-elected for many reasons," the GOP chairman said.

-- John Arthur Hutchison

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't want to mow your grass? City of Mentor may take care of that

High grass complaints have been numerous this year in Mentor, the city manager reported to City Council recently. Through May 26, Code Enforcement Inspectors had field-verified about 115 properties with such issues.

As of May 25, the Department of Public Works had cut grass and “cleaned up” 31 sites pursuant to code violations, with an average invoice of $160. That's nearly $5,000spent on the problem, and this is just the start of mowing season.

If the invoice isn't paid, the charges are certified to the Lake County Auditor for placement on the property owner's tax duplicate. It seems the city of Mentor - and some other municipalities in the area - have entered the landscaping business.

-- Betsy Scott,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Grendells' judgment calls

The Grendells' judgment calls

David W. Jones

Thursday’s Ohio Supreme Court decision sure backs 11th District Court of Appeals Judge Diane Grendell’s written and upheld opinions that a court case doesn’t cancel separation of powers between judges and legislators.

“To the extent that the Adams Walsh Act requires modification of first sentencing it violates the separation of powers based on finality of judicial judgments,” she wrote in one decision.

In a sense, her husband, state Sen. Tim Grendell, an attorney who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, likes the idea of legislators toughening laws.

But Judge Grendell wrote in a prior case: “The fact remains that the General Assembly cannot annul, reverse or modify a judgment of a court already rendered.”

Whether the above cases were cited or not, Judge Grendell’s opinions were twice noted in the Ohio SUPCO decision.

That’s why some say that Tim Grendell, with a smile on his face, was congratulating his spouse for her judiciary insights.

P.S. 2009 stories headlined 11th Appellate Judges Grendell and Tim Cannon: "Sex offender law ruled unconstitutional in Appeals Court"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On the House

On the House

David W. Jones

What might’ve crossed the mind of the late U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Cleveland, who once sat on the Ethics Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in D.C.?

Now the Jones successor, U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights, has introduced a resolution favored by the Congressional Black Caucus to severely restrict Ethics Committee powers to investigate any alleged wrongdoing by black members of Congress.

Former Congresswoman Jones, who was Cuyahoga County’s first black prosecutor, favored all investigations no matter what the gender, race or political party.

Agreeing and sitting on the same Ethics Committee once was U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, who is the former Lake County prosecutor. LaTourette and Jones were friends.

So far, Fudge isn't getting anywhere with her proposal.

P.S. LaTourette will be stumping in eastern Cuyahoga County on Thursday (June 3). Will he be making any comments on the ethics issue?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rumors of Wildlife Six start to fly

It is difficult enough for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources - and the Strickland Administration for that matter - to deal with the controversy involving the indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officials.

That has created something of a tempest, especially in the outdoors community.

Of concern is if this embarrassing episode will harm Strickland's reelection bid.

There are even rumors circulating that this was the work of Strickland operatives to distract from the so-called TrooperGate. That is where the Ohio State Highway Patrol was called off a sting involving prison trustees working at the Governor's residence in Columbus. It centered around the smuggling in of tobacco products for prisoners.

A top staff member was implicated in what Strickland's opponents claim was an attempt to avoid embarrassing the governor.

However, nothing could be further from the political truth. There is no relationship between the two issues of any kind. If anything, the last thing any politician wants is for an embarrassing matter to come forth, regardless of how large or small it is. Politicians won't compound one with the other.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn