Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Playland for Cincinnati's Rich Draws Near

The city-county panel charged with selecting a master developer for the long-stalled Banks project on Cincinnati's downtown riverfront hopes to have a signed preliminary agreement with one of the remaining candidates by Sept. 15.

That's when the five-member Banks Working Group has tentatively scheduled its next public meeting, chairman Bob Castellini said Tuesday.

Castellini said three teams are under consideration for the proposed $600 million commercial and residential development. Members of the panel earlier this month visited an Atlanta project being developed by one of the teams, AIG/Carter. The other teams are composed largely of Cincinnati-area developers who haven't worked on joint projects before, he said.

(From Cincinnati Enquirer)

25% of Cincinnati residents fall below the poverty line and they believe that taxpayers hard earned money going into a project for the rich will help us out of that. Who are they kidding?

Census: Area closer to poverty

Poverty increased in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky between 1999 and 2005, while median incomes rose at less than the national average in all but two local counties, new Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday show.

It's another bad economic sign for the region, which has seen its jobless rate exceed the nation's since 2005.


(From Cincinnati Enquirer)

Hamilton County finds money for jails, stadiums, apartments and rich condos for Reds owner Bob Castellini... And yet it finds nothing for job growth. The Enquirer should had asked Heimlich what he thought!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Numbers Fudgeing Haunts Heimlich

Heimlich Blaming Everyone Else for Mistakes on Jail Tax Numbers

After reading in an Enquirer today that Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich blasted Auditor Dusty Rhodes (left) for "inaccurate" information in the past, Rhodes fired off a nasty letter to Heimlich.

Read more about it here... (Enquirer Blog)

Dusty Rhodes Explains

In response to this request and the concern of “Adovocate (sic) Michael Earl Patton”, rest assured that Dusty Rhodes has not “forgotten to balance the books in Hamilton County”.

We have been unable to release Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) for Hamilton County – for the first time since I became County Auditor for 2004 and 2005 - because of the ongoing and yet-to-be-completed and disclosed special state audit of the Welfare Department. There is no way to issue a CAFR with the potential of a large, unknown liability outstanding.

I have expressed my concern about the pace of this audit directly to the State Auditor and her staff on several occasions over the past year. This has not been a secret and is not a matter of “recent revelations”.

For the record, Hamilton County never issued a CAFR prior to my becoming County Auditor. Thank you for your interest.



---Dusty Rhodes---

Thank you Mr. Rhodes for your prompt response. And for any wondering what Mr. Rhodes is refering to when he says, "state audit of the Welfare Department."
(Click here) Hint: It's something that even the Cincinnati Enquirer for some reason likes to keep hush-.hush

Forecloser Rates Skyrocketing

Our region of Hamilton County is experiencing one of the highest forecloser rates in the nation. In fact, Hamilton County has an 88 percent increase in foreclosers from 2002 to 2005. 2,575 homes were foreclosed on in 2005. There are many reasons for this, but a significant cause is unscrupulous lending practices by mortgage companies, also known as preditory lending.

A local community organization called WIN Action Organizing Project (WINAOP) is working to address this alarming problem. Funded in part through the Catholic Campaign for Human Developement, WINAOP provides financial literacy services and has won agreements with major financial institutions to prevent foreclosers and preserve home ownership.

You can help by encouraging homeowners in financial difficulty, with preditory loans, or in danger of forecloser to contact the WIN Action Organizing Project at 541-4109 to get more information.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Homeland Security Living in Lap of Luxury

Recently, TOAST recieved news that the Department of Homeland Security was living in the lap of luxury last March at the Cincinnatian Hotel at $250 per night per person. This week the Department of Homeland Security is in town again and so I called Washington D.C. DHS Department of Grants and Funding for verification if this did in fact happen on the dates of March 8th and 9th of 2006 and if DHS is going to be living in the lap of luxury again when they come to town this week.

I was forwarded to Tracy Trautman. I guess she is the person that oversees all funding for DHS in the United States. I wanted to inquirer and thought it best that all be done through email. That's when she hung up on me.

How crude of The Department of Homeland Security to be cutting funds in Ohio. Ohio went from 77.8 million last year to 41 million this year. Let's not forget to mention that Cincinnati Ohio had major cuts also in funding.

And now we see why... It's something that Tracy Trautman of DHS doesn't want to talk about. DHS officials sleeping at the Cincinnatian Hotel. Is it true and at $254 a night? Where are they staying this week? Are they back at the Cincinnatian Hotel? How much is this going to cost the taxpayers of Cincinnati?

Seems like these are questions that Tracey Trautman of Homeland Security doesn't want us asking in Cincinnati. Especially when it comes to funding, hotels, and sleeping at the Cincinnatian.

Heimlich and Finney Fudge the Numbers

Auditor Says County Wrong on Jail Tax Figures

In their rush to pass a sales tax proposal before this week’s deadline to qualify for the November ballot, the Hamilton County Commissioners miscalculated figures and overstated the savings for property owners, according to the county auditor.

Auditor Dusty Rhodes sent a memo Wednesday to commissioners chastising them for releasing inaccurate data about property tax reductions. Commissioners and their administrator, Patrick Thompson, should send any calculations to the auditor’s office for vetting before they are released to avoid such errors in the future, Rhodes said.

Meanwhile, an anti-tax group still hasn’t taken a public stance on the proposed sales tax increase. One of the group’s leaders, who also serves as an unofficial campaign advisor to the county commissioner who crafted the sale tax hike, previously said he had carefully reviewed all the calculations.

(Read on... City Beat)

Tax issues total $550 million

Good read from the Enquirer on how much the people from Southwest Side of Ohio are going to be spending in taxes....

Taxpayers in Southwest Ohio will be asked this November to approve about $550 million on higher local taxes.

Nearly $350 million of the new property and income tax proposals would be for expanded community services. Most of that money would be for a new jail in Hamilton County; plus tens of millions for more fire, police and trash services; senior and mental health services; even a new animal shelter for Butler County. Another $202 million would go to nine Greater Cincinnati school districts, which have placed 10 tax issues on the ballot.


(Read full article here)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Banks -- Open Meetings Law Violated!!!!!

Open Meeting Law Violated on Banks

From the Cincinnati Enquirer…

A master developer to guide construction of The Banks - the $600 million riverfront development long proposed for downtown Cincinnati - will be selected next month.

That revelation came from Hamilton County Commission President Phil Heimlich on Wednesday, just three days after he and others who will be involved in the selection returned from an unannounced trip to Atlanta, where they toured a similar development there led by AIG/Carter, one of the developers still in the running to lead The Banks.

Heimlich went on the trip with Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and a few members of the Banks Working Group - a five-member board that will recommend a master developer. That recommendation must be ratified by Hamilton County commissioners and Cincinnati City Council.


And that is where, in bold, The Banks Working Group has Violated Ohio Revised Code 121.22 Meetings of Public Bodies to be public

The Banks Working Group had a majority of their members at on the trip to Atlanta and in Castellini’s private jet plane!!!

They violated (2)(C)

(2) "Meeting" means any prearranged discussion of the public business of the public body by a majority of its members.

(C) All meetings of any public body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times. A member of a public body shall be present in person at a meeting open to the public to be considered present or to vote at the meeting and for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present at the meeting.


They violated (F)

They violated (G)(2) No Roll call vote for meeting was held

Their illegal meeting did not have any exemptions as in under (D)(1-10)

They violated what seems to be the whole darn thing!!!!

The Law is below... read it all yourself... it's been violated!


§ 121.22. Meetings of public bodies to be public; exceptions.

(A) This section shall be liberally construed to require public officials to take official action and to conduct all deliberations upon official business only in open meetings unless the subject matter is specifically excepted by law.

(B) As used in this section:

(1) "Public body" means any of the following:

(a) Any board, commission, committee, council, or similar decision-making body of a state agency, institution, or authority, and any legislative authority or board, commission, committee, council, agency, authority, or similar decision-making body of any county, township, municipal corporation, school district, or other political subdivision or local public institution;

(b) Any committee or subcommittee of a body described in division (B)(1)(a) of this section;

(2) "Meeting" means any prearranged discussion of the public business of the public body by a majority of its members.

(C) All meetings of any public body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times. A member of a public body shall be present in person at a meeting open to the public to be considered present or to vote at the meeting and for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present at the meeting.
The minutes of a regular or special meeting of any public body shall be promptly prepared, filed, and maintained and shall be open to public inspection. The minutes need only reflect the general subject matter of discussions in executive sessions authorized under division (G) or (J) of this section.

(D) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) A grand jury;

(2) An audit conference conducted by the auditor of state or independent certified public accountants with officials of the public office that is the subject of the audit;

(3) The adult parole authority when its hearings are conducted at a correctional institution for the sole purpose of interviewing inmates to determine parole or pardon;

(4) The organized crime investigations commission established under section 177.01 of the Revised Code;

(5) Meetings of a child fatality review board established under section 307.621 [307.62.1] of the Revised Code and meetings conducted pursuant to sections 5153.171 [5153.17.1] to 5153.173 [5153.17.3] of the Revised Code;

(6) The state medical board when determining whether to suspend a certificate without a prior hearing pursuant to division (G) of either section 4730.25 or 4731.22 of the Revised Code;

(7) The board of nursing when determining whether to suspend a license or certificate without a prior hearing pursuant to division (B) of section 4723.281 [4723.28.1] of the Revised Code;

(8) The state board of pharmacy when determining whether to suspend a license without a prior hearing pursuant to division (D) of section 4729.16 of the Revised Code;

(9) The state chiropractic board when determining whether to suspend a license without a hearing pursuant to section 4734.37 of the Revised Code.

(10) The executive committee of the emergency response commission when determining whether to issue an enforcement order or request that a civil action, civil penalty action, or criminal action be brought to enforce Chapter 3750. of the Revised Code.

(F) Every public body, by rule, shall establish a reasonable method whereby any person may determine the time and place of all regularly scheduled meetings and the time, place, and purpose of all special meetings. A public body shall not hold a special meeting unless it gives at least twenty-four hours' advance notice to the news media that have requested notification, except in the event of an emergency requiring immediate official action. In the event of an emergency, the member or members calling the meeting shall notify the news media that have requested notification immediately of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting.
The rule shall provide that any person, upon request and payment of a reasonable fee, may obtain reasonable advance notification of all meetings at which any specific type of public business is to be discussed. Provisions for advance notification may include, but are not limited to, mailing the agenda of meetings to all subscribers on a mailing list or mailing notices in self-addressed, stamped envelopes provided by the person.

(G) Except as provided in division (J) of this section, the members of a public body may hold an executive session only after a majority of a quorum of the public body determines, by a roll call vote, to hold an executive session and only at a regular or special meeting for the sole purpose of the consideration of any of the following matters:

(1) To consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official, or the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual, unless the public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual requests a public hearing. Except as otherwise provided by law, no public body shall hold an executive session for the discipline of an elected official for conduct related to the performance of the elected official's official duties or for the elected official's removal from office. If a public body holds an executive session pursuant to division (G)(1) of this section, the motion and vote to hold that executive session shall state which one or more of the approved purposes listed in division (G)(1) of this section are the purposes for which the executive session is to be held, but need not include the name of any person to be considered at the meeting.

(2) To consider the purchase of property for public purposes, or for the sale of property at competitive bidding, if premature disclosure of information would give an unfair competitive or bargaining advantage to a person whose personal, private interest is adverse to the general public interest. No member of a public body shall use division (G)(2) of this section as a subterfuge for providing covert information to prospective buyers or sellers. A purchase or sale of public property is void if the seller or buyer of the public property has received covert information from a member of a public body that has not been disclosed to the general public in sufficient time for other prospective buyers and sellers to prepare and submit offers.

If the minutes of the public body show that all meetings and deliberations of the public body have been conducted in compliance with this section, any instrument executed by the public body purporting to convey, lease, or otherwise dispose of any right, title, or interest in any public property shall be conclusively presumed to have been executed in compliance with this section insofar as title or other interest of any bona fide purchasers, lessees, or transferees of the property is concerned.

(3) Conferences with an attorney for the public body concerning disputes involving the public body that are the subject of pending or imminent court action;

(4) Preparing for, conducting, or reviewing negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees concerning their compensation or other terms and conditions of their employment;

(5) Matters required to be kept confidential by federal law or regulations or state statutes;

(6) Details relative to the security arrangements and emergency response protocols for a public body or a public office, if disclosure of the matters discussed could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the security of the public body or public office;

(7) In the case of a county hospital operated pursuant to Chapter 339. of the Revised Code, to consider trade secrets, as defined in section 1333.61 of the Revised Code.

If a public body holds an executive session to consider any of the matters listed in divisions (G)(2) to (7) of this section, the motion and vote to hold that executive session shall state which one or more of the approved matters listed in those divisions are to be considered at the executive session.

A public body specified in division (B)(1)(c) of this section shall not hold an executive session when meeting for the purposes specified in that division.

(H) A resolution, rule, or formal action of any kind is invalid unless adopted in an open meeting of the public body. A resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting that results from deliberations in a meeting not open to the public is invalid unless the deliberations were for a purpose specifically authorized in division (G) or (J) of this section and conducted at an executive session held in compliance with this section. A resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting is invalid if the public body that adopted the resolution, rule, or formal action violated division (F) of this section.

(I) (1) Any person may bring an action to enforce this section. An action under division (I)(1) of this section shall be brought within two years after the date of the alleged violation or threatened violation. Upon proof of a violation or threatened violation of this section in an action brought by any person, the court of common pleas shall issue an injunction to compel the members of the public body to comply with its provisions.

(2) (a) If the court of common pleas issues an injunction pursuant to division (I)(1) of this section, the court shall order the public body that it enjoins to pay a civil forfeiture of five hundred dollars to the party that sought the injunction and shall award to that party all court costs and, subject to reduction as described in division (I)(2) of this section, reasonable attorney's fees. The court, in its discretion, may reduce an award of attorney's fees to the party that sought the injunction or not award attorney's fees to that party if the court determines both of the following:

(i) That, based on the ordinary application of statutory law and case law as it existed at the time of violation or threatened violation that was the basis of the injunction, a well-informed public body reasonably would believe that the public body was not violating or threatening to violate this section;

(ii) That a well-informed public body reasonably would believe that the conduct or threatened conduct that was the basis of the injunction would serve the public policy that underlies the authority that is asserted as permitting that conduct or threatened conduct.

(b) If the court of common pleas does not issue an injunction pursuant to division

(I)(1) of this section and the court determines at that time that the bringing of the action was frivolous conduct, as defined in division (A) of section 2323.51 of the Revised Code, the court shall award to the public body all court costs and reasonable attorney's fees, as determined by the court.

(3) Irreparable harm and prejudice to the party that sought the injunction shall be conclusively and irrebuttably presumed upon proof of a violation or threatened violation of this section.

(4) A member of a public body who knowingly violates an injunction issued pursuant to division (I)(1) of this section may be removed from office by an action brought in the court of common pleas for that purpose by the prosecuting attorney or the attorney general.

To All:

The Open Meetings Law has been violated!!!!!! It's cut and dry. A meeting was held by the majority of the Banks Working Group with Heimlich and Mallory in tow and no public notice was given or no vote was given for approval of this meeting!!!!

If this is the case the Banks Working Group just may now be working illigally!!!! I know that the Enquirer had concerns about this and now it has come true.

I call for a full investigation into this and a court order to stop any furthur meetings by the Banks Working Group until the matter is resolved and shown to the public that no laws have been broken.

Sincerely,

Peter Deane
President Toast

Hamilton County Audits Missing Since 2003

Adovocate, Michael Earl Patton, has been trying unsuccessfully to find if the County's books for Hamilton County have been balanced since 2003.

Did he find it?

"I couldn't as of this morning, 8/24/06. In other words, the auditor hasn't balanced the county's books since 2003."

What is this true? Has Dusty Rhodes forgotten to balance the books in Hamilton County? Is this why the County is being investigated for mis-spending 1 biliion dollars?

Letter to: Hamilton County Commissioners, Auditor, Manager,
and members of the Public Concern

Recent revalations have recently come to light that the county auditor has not balanced the book's since 2003.

Is this true?

Sincerely,

Peter Deane
President T.O.A.S.T.

Mallory Comes Clean After Letter from T.O.A.S.T.

"It's basically down to AIG and Western & Southern," Mallory said. "We're all very familiar with the projects Western & Southern has done. The working group thought it would be a good idea to take me and Phil down to see (AIG's) work. What developed there is very similar to what we want at The Banks, that sort of mix.

Read all about it here... (Enquirer: Local officials recently toured Atlanta site)

This does not sound good to the taxpayers of Cincinnati. Unannounced and secretive meetings on private jet planes. What did they talk about on the private jet plane. Is this just more secretive meetings on how our tax dollars are going to be spent? Why didn't Mallory and Heimlich announce that they were going to Atlanta to speak with potential developers? Why wasn't Portune or DeWine informed?

This is gross negligence on the part of Heimlich and Mallory... Has any rules been broken by them going down to Atlanta on a secretive trip?

Letter to: Portune, Heimlich, DeWine

Dear Commissioners,

It was recently revieled by the Enquirer that a secretive trip between Mark Mallory, Phil Heimlich, and Bob Castellini had taken place to Atlanta aboard Mr. Castellini's private jet. Have any rules been broken between the BWG and citizens of Hamilton County. Are there any rules to meetings and announcements that are not open to the public?

Sincerely,

Peter Deane
President T.O.A.S.T.

Hamilton County may have misspent $1 billion

Hamilton County residents may be in for a rude awakening this month when an audit comes out.

Investigators have uncovered nearly $1 billion in questionable spending by the Hamilton County agency serving children, the poor and unemployed, The Dispatch has learned.

If the audit’s findings stand, government sources say the alleged misuse of funds will be the largest case of misspending by a local government in Ohio history, with major ramifications for taxpayers across the state:

(Read more about it here)

The Jail Crisis

Pepper Press Release

Heimlich Finally Addresses Jail Issue
After Four Years, Thousands Released Early on His Watch

Hamilton County, Oh [August 21, 2006] Three years and eight months into his four-year term (1,326 days), and after thousands of prisoners have been released over that time, Commissioner Phil Heimlich FINALLY did something on the jail.

He didn’t build it. Construction hasn’t started. There is no location. And there is no real understanding of what it will cost, outside of guesswork. And the original financing scheme he tried to sell to the citizens over recent months has been all but abandoned after strong criticism.

But, lo and behold, 1,326 days into his term, he agreed to put a tax increase on the ballot for the voters to decide.

If the tax increase passes, it will take another four years to actually build the jail.

“I have to give him credit—he finally listened to the rest of us that something needed to be done,” said Candidate for Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper. “But the fact that four years have passed and this is all that has happened on our top priority is mind-boggling. The result of the mismanagement of this issue since 2002 is millions of dollars wasted (paying Butler County to house prisoners) and high crime.”

Having worked closely with Cincinnati Police on the issue, Pepper began demanding action on the jail years ago, and pledged to solve the problem when he announced his bid for Hamilton County Commission.

Only election-year pressure prompted Heimlich to propose any solution to the jail—an issue he had largely ignored for the past three years. (see attached timeline).

“To have done nothing for four years while our police and citizens have cried out for action is simply not doing your job,” Pepper said. “We will be paying the price of his mismanagement and inaction for years to come.”
###

Timeline: The Jail Crisis

Even Phil Heimlich admits that we have known for years that there is insufficient space at the Hamilton County Justice Center. Early in Phil Heimlich’s term, prisoners began to be released early, or not let in the Justice Center at all. That number has now reached almost 9,000.

Despite repeated lip-service, Heimlich failed to act. Mismanaging this issue has led to more crime, and will ultimately cost the taxpayer millions (above and beyond the cost of a new jail).

The Timeline : Years of Inaction and Rhetoric as Prisoners Go Free
· 2003: Phil Heimlich is fully briefed on the need for a new jail when he becomes a County Commissioner

· 2004: First year of early releases—180 inmates released early; 2,361 undergo “process only”June 2, 2004: Heimlich states need for new jail in Cincinnati Enquirer: “There’s nothing more important than having a jail cell for someone who deserved to be locked up for committing a crime.”August 5, 2004: Sheriff is forced to release prisoners due to overcrowding; Heimlich says news jail needed.


· 2005: 266 inmates released early; 4,251 undergo “process only”June 9, 2005: More than one year after saying a new jail is needed, Heimlich votes to spend $161,000 to study if new jail space is needed. Sheriff Leis tells the Enquirer that the study is unnecessary because “we know exactly what we need—we need a jail”December 21, 2005: Not surprisingly, the study “validates what Sheriff Simon Leis and many of the judges are saying about the need for new jail space.” Cincinnati Post, December 21, 2005;

· 2006: 67 inmates released early just through March 27; 1600 undergo “process only”April 5, 2006: Heimlich repeats rhetoric from two years before: “Overcrowding at the jail has been an issue for two decades." Despite repeated promises since 2004, he announces that he needs 60 more days before coming up with jail plan. In the meantime, after doing nothing for three years, the County will begin paying millions to other counties to house Hamilton County prisoners. Of course, none of those dollars will be spent on creating a permanent solution. As The Post summarized: the County’s only solutions are “stopgaps, and rather expensive ones at that. Commissioners need to get off the dime and come up with a permanent solution.”;

· June 6, 2006: With great fanfare, Heimlich announced a 20-year tax increase to pay for jail. Unfortunately, he never informed fellow County Commissioners of his idea. No one seconds his proposal;

· August 21, 2006: Heimlich abandons his failed financing scheme after it endures months of criticism. 1,326 days into his term, he essentially agrees to second his colleague Pat DeWine’s revised tax increase.

Costs: As with the Banks, the costs of mismanagement will ultimately be astronomical:
Millions: Every year that has been wasted (at least three, and counting) will now cost millions in dollars being paid to Butler County in “rent” to house Hamilton County prisoners—and it will take at least three years to build a permanent solution. Based on initial cost projections by the County, this could ultimately reach tens of millions of dollars.

High crime: Police officials, starting with Chief Streicher, blame much of the high crime of the past several years to the “revolving door” at the Justice Center.
**Note** Figures from Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.


Bridget Doherty
Communications Director
Citizens for Pepper Committee

Brinkman's Dilemma Solved

This week, Tom “Tax Killer” Brinkman seemed caught in a dilemma when he said he never supported the Heimlich Jail Tax, and then got caught on tape saying he would vote for it. The Cincinnati Beacon engaged further dialogue with Representative Brinkman, trying to get to the bottom of the plan and his position. Long story short: Brinkman supported the twenty year sales tax because it had a substantive property tax rollback; he does not support the ten year plan that will actually be placed on the ballot. Read rest of story here...

(Story from The Cincinnati Beacon)


We at T.O.A.S.T. would like to thank Mr. Brinkman for staying true to his beliefs. It's good to know that the fall election for County Commissioner is not having any effect on Tom Brinkman staying true to helping the citizens of Hamilton County find the truth about Heimlich's Tax Plan.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

C.O.A.S.T. Breaking the Tax Pledge

“The pledge that COAST has agreed to is that there would be no net increase beyond the rate of inflation,” said Finney, who stressed he was speaking as an individual, not as a COAST leader. “The commissioners have very deliberately found ways to reduce spending, and they’ve done that with great flourish and great relish. It gives us a way to build a new jail without increasing the net tax burden on the people of Hamilton County.” (Read full article here from City Beat)

How can Finney not speak as a member of COAST on a tax issue when this is all about a tax issue? Even his good friend Phil Heimlich has said, “We’re not denying the fact that this is a tax increase. We’re not going to sugarcoat that.”

Hey Finney, here’s the bottom line:

The tax increase would generate $325 million to pay for a new 1,800-bed jail and $30 million in property tax reductions. Under the plan, the sales tax would increase from 6.5 percent to 6.75 percent for 10 years; the property rollback would last three years. So, let's then look at those seven years without a tax rollback and include today's rate of inflation, which is at 4.5% but if we go with yearly then the rate of inflation was at 2.5% last year... I believe we must go with the yearly rate of inflation to get a good gauge.

The rollback would save the owner of the average-priced Hamilton County home $86.29 in reduced property taxes over three years.

But it would cost each Hamilton County household an estimated $154.62 in additional sales tax payments over the same three years. But for the next seven years nobody gets a property rollback. So it is the same across the board for seven years.

So, to give Mr. Finney and Mr. Brinkman some help. Is the tax going to be at or below the rate of inflation?

Let's see... After all is said and done this is a 5.8% tax increase. That is way above the 2.5% yearly rate of inflation. The cost of living rate is usually around 3.3%. As a member of C.O.A.S.T., do you support this tax? It seems to me that the pledge is broken if you support Heimlich's tax increase.

The Taxpayers are much smarter then Finney or Heimlich have ever given them credit for... but now they have been found out and their numbers aren't crunching like they want them too. They have been busted using the jail tax as a re-election tactic. Pathetic!

Brinkman Says "Never" on Jail Tax

Thomas "The Tax Killer" Brinkman has written The Beacon today saying that he will never vote yes on the tax increase.

From the Cincinnati Beacon: So we asked Brinkman about his support for the Heimlich Jail Tax. “I, Tom Brinkman, have never stated that I was going to vote for this. Never,” writes Brinkman in an email to The Cincinnati Beacon. (Full Beacon Article)

The Beacon goes on to question Brinkman's sincerity in uttering the word never to Heimlich's tax increase,The Beacon writes:

But what about the media’s record of Brinkman’s apparent support for a new tax? Even Phil Heimlich’s campaign page includes an article with this passage from Brinkman:

“This is not a sales tax increase. It’s a property-tax reduction,” said Brinkman, founder of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, or COAST. “Our goal has always been to keep (government) spending at the rate of inflation or lower - and we get a jail out of it.”

Brinkman’s response was once again straightforward: “I do not see the ‘I’ in that quote, as in ‘I support’ or ‘I will vote for.’ I do see ‘Our (COAST’s) goal has always been to keep spending at the rate of inflation of lower.’ This is a true statement of COAST’s goal and the criteria that I think (although it has changed since then) the plan met. Once again, I have NEVER voted for a tax increase. NEVER. It is my intention to utter those words until the day I die.”

From this we know three things; one Brinkman is not taking Finney's line in coast to go along with Phil Heimlich's tax hike. Two, he is a man of his word. And he is the President of COAST and has come out and said, "Never". Three, looks like Heimlich is going to have to change his campaign page... again.

P.S. The first TOAST award in this tax battle goes to Tom Brinkman, Senator, 34th District of Ohio and C.O.A.S.T. President. Cheers!

Castellini's Hidden Agenda

Castellini Stealing Home

September 17th, 2006. It’s a date that Bob Castellini is saying that a developer for the Banks will be chosen.

Who is this potential developer? Since we the taxpayers are footing the bill to the Banks Working Group, we at T.O.A.S.T. deserve a right to know.

Letter to:
Todd Portune, Phil Heimlich, Pat DeWine, members of City Council, Mayor Mallory and David Pepper

Bob Catellini, owner of the Reds, and head of the Banks Working Group has recently announced that he has a potential developer. We at T.O.A.S.T. would like to know who it is that Castellini has in mind to develop the Banks.

As you know, we bought the Banks from Mr. Castellini for 32 million even though it was valued at 7 million -- this is the man that we are currently dealing with to oversee the rest of production of the Banks. From the get-go Mr. Castellini has ripped us off. We now have him overseeing the rest of development?

Please, this situation is dire. We don’t need another secret plan suddenly hitting us in the face. We don’t need another bad deal from Mr. Castellini to only place the taxpayers in Hamilton County further in the hole while Mr. Castellini’s pockets overflow with our silver and gold.

Please, send us who Mr. Castellini has in mind as a developer to be announced on September 17th. We have a right to know!

Sincerely,

Peter Deane
President T.O.A.S.T.
Taxpayers Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pepper Answers TOAST

Mr. Pepper,

I would like to know your feelings on today's jail tax being passed by the County Commissioners for the November ballot. I would also like to know if you feel this is too little too late by Mr. Heimlich. Is this whole crime, jail, tax issue coming up only because Mr. Heimlich is up for election?

Thank You,

Peter Deane

President TOAST

Reply from Mr. Pepper

Mr. Deane,

Of course. Its all a game. I do think we need more jailspace, but it should have/could have been done far sooner, and more thoughtfully, than this. Heimlich is leaving us all with a big mess.

Mr. Pepper

No Citizens in favor of Heimlich's Proposal

On the Cincinnati Beacon today, Michael Earl Patton, who is one of the most informed taxpayers in Hamilton County concerning the jail issue, reported that the County Commissioners voted today to place the 1/4 cent jail tax onto the November ballot. It was also reported that no citizen of Hamilton County came to support the new jail proposal.

To read full story and some modifications that Portune tried unsuccessfully to pass click here... href="http://www.cincinnatibeacon.com/index.php/magaddiction/comments/all_3_commissioners_vote_to_put_tax_on_ballot/#comments">Cincinnati Beacon.

Also, I recently sent a letter to the President of COAST and my District Representative, Tom Brinkman, with some questions that I believe the taxpayers of the 34th District and TOAST need answered.

To: President of COAST and Ohio Senator of 34th District

Mr. Brinkman,

Today's vote is to increase taxes for the next ten years for a jail. How do you feel about this? What do you believe is a better option; tax the citizens of the 34th district for the next ten years at 1/4 cent or 1/2 cent in one years time?

As a Senator of the 34th district in Ohio (my district) and President of COAST,
how much more money will the taxpayer in the 34th district be saving under Heimlich's plan compared to DeWine's plan? Also, Portune has also mentioned that he would like to see the money that is seized in drug raids and seizures going into the jail. Would you agree?

Thank You,

Peter Deane
President TOAST


Mr. Brinkman has yet to reply.

Message from the President

To Taxpayers of Hamilton County,

I would first like to thank the Cincinnati Beacon for getting this site up and running. It looks like TOAST will be first used to fight Phil Heimlich’s tax proposal for a new jail.

TOAST is a non-profit organization created for the purpose of keeping the taxpayers of Hamilton County informed at every level of taxation issues in Hamilton County. Our goal is to have the voters of Hamilton County go into the voting booth completely informed about any tax proposal on the ballot.

This site was also created to keep an eye on organizations that wish to pass themselves off as tax watchdog groups but are really political cronies trying to sway the voters into voting for certain politicians of any particular party.

If you would like to join TOAST, all you need to do is send an email to Peterdeane@cinci.rr.com.

Let's continue to fight the corruption in Hamilton County!

Sincerely,

Peter Deane
President T.O.A.S.T.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Introducing T.O.A.S.T.

Yesterday, Peter Deane announced the establishment of T.O.A.S.T. -- Taxpayers Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.

Hamilton County used to rely on C.O.A.S.T. (Citizens Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes), but since they have endorsed a tax increase something had to change.

I have established this blog to see if others might be interested in using it as a clearinghouse for T.O.A.S.T. related activities.