Thursday, March 23, 2006

How much does Toledo love its zoo?

Following is a letter I wrote to the Toledo FreePress in response to the above linked article:

I will absolutely vote for both levies. It appears the Zoo is on the right track to correcting the misfortunes be felled last year and it would be unfortunate if the citizens of this community let one of our treasured icons follow a path to failure.

I believe the zoo has made real progress towards correcting many of the issues brought about by last years controversies and to continue to hold those same issues against the zoo because of personal grudges or misinformation would be a real shame. For a group like Citizen's for a Responsible Toledo Zoo to question the Zoo's sincerity and advancements in correcting these issues by way of their February 11 press release shows to which extent they will go to complete their attempted coup d'├ętat of Zoo operations. For Debra Reichard Klein, the sister of Dr. Tim Reichard, who was fired in February as the zoo's chief veterinarian to be named as the spokesman of Citizens for a Responsible Zoo only goes to solidify my suspicions that this groups actions are more of a personal nature than actually looking out for the welfare of the citizens of Lucas County.

The citizens of Lucas County should look beyond the fact these levies will support the Zoo and also realize that they are an "investment" in their own community. A rate of return that generates $6.50 in LOCAL economic activity for each dollar that is received in levy funds is reason enough to vote YES.

For anyone to suggest that they should seek Corporate Sponsors for support (in belief that this does not happen already) are purely basing their theory on lack of-or misinformation to the facts. The ZOO is always soliciting Corporate Sponsors in addition to any levy request as evidence by their programs such as Pumpkin Path, Music Under The Stars and Lights Before Christmas to name a few.

The idea that COSI be incorporated into the ZOO is an idea with no merit. Where exactly could COSI be located at the Zoo? In the Museum of Science? I guess the Zoo (err....COSI) could build a new museum on land the Zoo owns on the River Side of Broadway, but the cost of acquisition and the cost of construction would not be financially feasible. If thinking that the Zoo could incorporate COSI into their institution, why would they want to do that? Why diminish the reputation of a long held locally established icon like the ZOO by bringing in a quasi franchised institution like the COSI? I equate that to attaching a McDonalds Drive-thru window to the side of Tony Packos.

"I Love My ZOO" and as with anything I love I am very protective of it. That is why I have and always will continue to Support the Zoo in their efforts in keeping it a 1st rate institution; not only locally but nationally recognized as well

Monday, March 20, 2006

Toledo Speaks Out Profiles

In response to Lisa Renee's challange at Glass City Jungle, TSO has finally got the Toledo Profiles page up and running. This new page will showcase business, organization or person who makes the city what it is. I will focus on small businesses and regular people. Those whom you may never have heard of but who play a vital role in establishing the Toledo Culture for what it is today.

My first installment profiles the two restaraunts owned by local restraunteers Mustafa and Candi Ilgin. The Glendale Garden Cafe and Reynold Garden Cafe are establshments which I frequent often and were a natural fit to kick off this new feature of Toledo Speaks Out.

I look forward to offering you new profiles every week or so. If any one has suggestions of who you would like to see profiled, please feel free to send me an email with "Toledo Profiles" in the subject line.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Konop paying students to aid campaign effort

As a visiting professor at the University of Toledo's law school, I wonder if there may be some conflict of interest by Mr. Konop in recruiting college students from the University of Toledo's College Democrats?

Are these College Democrats being recruited enrolled in law courses that Mr. Konop is teaching at the university? Are there non-democrat students (or even democrat students who do not support Ben Konop) enrolled in his courses as well? If so, is impartial and objective grading occurring or are students who may take a different view point then that of Mr. Konop receiving a lesser grade?

Before everyone goes off on me, I am not suggesting that Mr. Konop is intentionally or with malice skewing grades, merely pointing out that there may be a perception of conflict of interest. For instance, any college professor who is able to persuade a student to support his ideas may percieve that support as a demostration (to a degree) that they understand his beliefs and therefore have learned from his professes. There may then be a subconscious inclination on the part of the professor to grade these students based on those understandings . Conversely, a student who fails to jump on the professors bandwagon may reflect in the mind of the professor a misunderstanding or non-comprehension of his teachings and therefore results in a lesser grade, warranted or not.

I can imagine a "C" student thinking that he can bump his grade to a "B" just by showing support for their teacher in a political campaign and get $8.00 an hour to boot. Party Money!

It is not my intention in this posting to question Mr. Konops qualifications for a seat on the LCC. I have read some of his positions and even agree with some of them to an extent. Nor am I questioning the rights of a candidate to pay canvassers for campaign expenses they may accumulate; I am questioning the pool of recruits any College Professor who is running for public office may pull from. In this case I do not think it appropraite to solicite canvassers from a student body which may be enrolled in one of his classes.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Feds probe union led by councilman

Another scandal of corruption appears to be surfacing in Toledo politics. This time involving Toledo City Councilman and LCC candidate Phil Copeland. According to the Blade article, the Fed's are looking into allegations that Local 500 has allocated monies to their members including Phil Copeland for use in entertainment venues such as Strip Clubs and rafting trips. Also under investigation are large distributions of cash to Mr. Copeland for what he refers to as "deferred salary".

Before I jump to conclusions and determine that Mr. Copeland is guilty until proven innocent, some of his statements appear to be conflicting and smell of misdeeds and underhandedness of Union funds which he controlled as Secretary-Treasurer of the union.

It is mentioned that he "did not take member-approved raises when "work was down" from November, 2002, to July, 2004". This gives the appearance that he declined raises to salary due to a work shortage which was effecting Union revenues generated by dues owed by their members. I wonder if Mr. Copeland was up for re-election to Local 500 in 2002 and whether he fully disclosed to the members that his refusal of a raise was merely a deferral, not an out-right rejection of salary increase.

Laborers’ International Union of North America Local No. 500 stated his annual salary of 2004 at $113,675, a 69 percent increase from 2000. It would be interesting to discover what his declared salaries for 2002 thru 2004 were and whether his W-2 statements from the Union for 2002-2004 reflected no increase for those three years? Anything else would suggest that he misled his union constituents in declaring that he was rejecting a salary increase. Also, did he declare the "large payment" referred to as a salary deferment to his 2005 taxes or file an amended tax return for 2002-2004?

Then comes the question of his settlement of a $62,000 in unpaid state and federal tax bills linked to a failed business venture. I wonder if any Union monies were used for either the settlement or invested in the failed venture.

A lot of questions need to be answered and I guess we will have to wait until the investigation is completed before any conclusions can be made. However, with suspicion in the air, one has to wonder if this is the type of fiscal responsibility Mr. Copeland would bring to the Lucas County commissioners. I hope we have a clearer picture of incident before we take to the voting booth on May 2nd.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

TAGGED by LISA...I'm IT. Geeeeez.

Lisa Renee over at liberalcommonsense has tagged me in the game of BloggerTag. So without further ado, here are my responses...

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4.
A dedicated server is one that functions only as a server and not as a workstation or client
2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, what do you find?
3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Jimmy Kimmel Live
4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
12:10 p.m.
5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
12:20 p.m.
6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
Birds and a Train whistle
7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
This morning to retrieve the newspaper. I don't know why
8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
Toldeo Talk
9. What are you wearing?
Jeans and a thermal t-shirt
10. Did you dream last night?
Ummmm... Let me think. If I did it wasn't all that good since I can't remember.
11. When did you last laugh?
Last night watching Jimmy Kimmel Live
12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Nothing. I am a minamalist.
13. Seen anything weird lately?
UGLY KIDS billboard
14. What do you think of this quiz?
Easier than my Algerbra quiz in HS.
15. What is the last film you saw?
War of the World on DVD. I don't get out much.
16. If you turned into a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
A ticket to ride on Starship One. I would love to travel to space
17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
I almost got married once
18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt and politics, what would you do?
Eliminate the need to work.
19. Do you like to Dance?
Depends on how much I drink
20. George Bush.
Extrodinarily.... ( fill in the blank)
21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her? in I wanna this and I wanna that
22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what would you call him? in Get me this and Get me that
23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Is Canada considered abroad?
24. What would you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
"Please have your I.D. ready and be prepared to pass through the Metal Detector"
25. 4 people who must also do this theme in their journal.
History Mike, Hooda, Subcomandate Bob, Lloyd

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rat-squirrel back after 11-million-year absence

I know this story has nothing to do with Toledo but I found it interesting just the same. So I thought I would share it with you.

After an 11 million year absence, the Laotian Rat-Squirrel has reappeared. The nocturnal rodent living deep within the Laotian Forrest was previously thought to be extinct and identified only through fossilzed records in China and other Asian nations. Biologist discovered the rodent last spring and thinking they had discovered a new species of mammal nicknamed the creature the Laotian Rock Rat.

Upon seeing reports of the rodent, Mary Dawson of the Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History immediately recognized it from fossilized records and broke the news that it was not a new species at all but one that was 11 million years old. The animal is neither a Rat nor a Squirrel but a species called Diatomyidae.

Now if Mary can identify the Rat-Monkey from the infamous movie Dead Alive!
Wipikedia reports :

The Sumatran Rat-Monkey is a hideous fictional creature created by director Peter Jackson for his 1992 horror film/ comedy film, Braindead (also known as Dead-Alive). As seen in the film, the animal is found only on Skull Island, a fictional island first conceived of in the 1933 film, King Kong.

The Sumatran Rat Monkey, (least according to a zoo custodian in the film) is the offspring of small tree monkeys and giant plague rats that scurried off passing ocean liners, swam to shore, and began raping the monkeys.

The hideous offspring(s) of these unions is only shown once.

It is a nearly hairless creature with vacant, wide eyes. It appears to resemble a rat far more than a monkey. It is a carnivore and bites at nearly anything it can fit within its mouth.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Burning Down the House....

As I write this, another major fire has broken out in the city. This time the victim is the Miracle Manor Apartment complex on Laskey at Jaminson Drive in West Toledo. Just yesterday (3/8/06) we suffered two residential fires in the city which destroyed at least 3 properties. One in the 1500 block of Airline and another in the 300 block of Bronson.

On Sunday (3/5/06) a 2 alarm blaze destroyed a Westgate office complex which housed several doctor and lawyer offices. In addition the area has seen a rash of devastating fires since the first of the year including...

While all these fires may seem independent and coincidental from each other, one has to start to wonder if something more sinister might be at work. Does Toledo have a "Firebug" on the loose or maybe terrorist are using the area as a training ground. It is interesting to note that several structures involved in the major fires including one last year in Downtown Toledo had to be demolished before Fire Investigators could make a certain determination on the cause.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Katie Holmes Dad to Tom Cruise: Marry My Daughter Before the Baby

Fact or Rumor...
It has been reported by Us that Katie Holmes dad insisted that Tom Criuse marry Katie before the baby is born and that Catholicism be part of the ceremony. Way to go Dad! No word from Tom.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

George W. Bush as a 3 Term President?

In a Letter to the Editors of the March 5th, 2006 edition of the Toledo Blade, a Maumee resident poised the question...

Third term of office for George W. Bush?

It has been suggested that President George W. Bush run for a
third term on the premise that his first term does not count in asmuch as he was appointed by the Supreme Court, not elected.

In my view, there is a basis for this in the Constitution. If a vice president succeeds to the presidency because of the death of the president, the term of office thereby filled by the vice president does not count as his or her allotted two terms.

Since this would require an interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court, recently enhanced by two new appointees, the idea has some validity.

While this may be wishful thinking on the writers part, I believe his premise for the question is somewhat askew. The writer states...

"his first term does not count in asmuch as he was appointed by the Supreme Court"

The Supreme Court did not appoint the President to the Office. According to Wikipedia On December 9, the United States Supreme Court unanimously granted Bush's emergency plea for a stay of the Florida Supreme Court recount ruling, stopping the incomplete recount. On December 12, the United States Supreme Court handed down its ruling in favor of Bush by a 5-4 vote, effectively ending the legal review of the vote count with Bush in the lead. Seven of the nine justices cited differing vote-counting standards from county to county and the lack of a single judicial officer to oversee the recount, both of which, they ruled, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The crucial 5 to 4 decision held that insufficient time remained to implement a unified standard and therefore all recounts must stop.

In a nutshell...The Supreme Court only stopped the recount and let the election results stand. Not appoint G.W. Bush to the presidency.

I believe his interpretation of the constitution is also somewhat askew. The Twenty Second amendment reads:

Section 1
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

Now lets assume for a moment and by some stretch of the imagination that the writer is correct in his belief that the President was appointed. He believes that...

"If a vice president succeeds to the presidency because of the death of the president, the term of office thereby filled by the vice president does not count as his or her allotted two terms. "

Section One of the amendment clearly states

"no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

Therefore, the fact that President Bush served for a full 4 years in his first term would prevent him from running for a third term. His re-election in 2004 would be counted as his allotted one term of being elected to the office.

Tax Abatements Spawn Development

After the arguments by residents which challenged the city's right to seize their homes for the benefit of a private company ( Jeep manufacturer Daimler Chrysler AG ) were rejected by the the U.S. Supreme Court last summer, a new case was heard last week involving tax incentives to the tune of $300 million.

The case involves claims that Toledo residents should not pay for expenses of a private firms wanting to expand or move into the area. Their case cited a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati that granting of tax incentives was unconstituional because it hinderd interstate commerce due to the fact that the incentives were only available to businesses that wanted to invest in Ohio.

I don't understand the reasoning in that decision. Was the court saying that Ohio should also offer incentives to companies which wish to expand outside the borders of Ohio? Justice David Souter who was skeptical about taxpayers' claims that Ohio's investment tax credit discriminates against Ohio companies that do business outside the state, stated if a company decides not to take advantage of the credit and expands elsewhere, "That's not discrimination. That's a free choice."

Recently the city offered tax incentives for the Westgate Development ($2.5 million), GM Powertrain ($34.3 million), and most recently Pro Bass Shops which included tax incentives as part of a $30 million package to build a new store in the Marina district.

I believe that tax incentives have become a neccessary and instrumental tool in luring business to locate in our cities and state. That being said, we have to be careful that these practices do not become a vicious competitive cycle that yield minimal economic benefit and leave taxpayers footing the bill.

It is my opinion that tax incentivs should not be painted with a broad brush giving the business which seek them a carte blanc to avoid all tax assesments. Rather they should be structured in such a fashion that excludes tax abatement for such services as Schools and other levys which suppport the community and which the taxpayers have voted and agreed upon. This could include "direct contributions" ( equal to the amounts which would have been generated by taxes ) by the company seeking tax abatements to those institutions supported by the levies. This would still allow those business to realize a substantial savings in taxes without jepordizing the revenues to be realized by those instituions dependent on the approved levies.

If the Toledo residents' argument is upheld, not only will it hurt economic development throughout the nation, but it will put U.S. manufacturing in an even tougher position against foreign competitors.

I hope the Supreme Court justices agree and don't buy into what is a pretty flimsy argument.

ref: Battle Creek Enquirer

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Is there a Blogger Medic in the house?

I must admit to my bad! Last night I was trying to be creative and hack the Blogger template to create a "read more" link for the long post I am sometimes known to write. Unfortunatly....I only succeeded in screwing things up. The results were that the site woud not load up for about 4 hrs. The site would freeze up and make me ready to throw the damn computer straight through the window.

Because I started out to hack the site with great confidence, I forgot to follow the Cardinal Rule when making changes to your template. I did not create a current backup to restore from. What this meant was I had to go back through my template line by line and hopefully delete all modifications. As you can guess this took awhile.

So for those who may have visted the site last nite and found your Internet Explorer slow to a crawl when my page was attempting to load...I apologize. My Bad!

I thank you for your patience and hope that this issue don't turn you off from returning for future vists.

KraZyKaT. :(