Category Archives: County

Stop the Sales Tax Rally

Sales Tax RallyIn the 10-degree cold on Friday afternoon, a rally was held outside of the Lorain County offices in Elyria to gather signatures to stop a .25% sales tax increase from going into effect.

If the commissioners felt they needed this raise, they could have made that argument to voters last fall before the tax was defeated by a 75-25 margin. If the commissioners were going to cut the sheriff’s office in this time when the heroin problem is increasing in the county, they could have persuaded many voters to support this tax increase in November. If Commissioner Lori Kokowski thought the sales tax wasn’t necessary before the election, what didn’t she understand about the Lorain County budget during her campaign? What will Commissioner Matt Lundy say during his campaign next year?

The problem many Lorain citizens have with this sales tax increase is the manner in which it was done. Opponents to the petition (who were also present at the rally, by the way) argue that the county government needs financing to do it’s job. That is not in dispute.

Sales Tax RallyThe half of the sales tax increase offered on Election Day was to go toward transportation initiatives. There were no cries of layoffs in the Sheriff’s Office, and certainly no effective communication strategy to explain this to voters. Again, Lori Kokowski initially OPPOSED the tax increase so what were voters supposed to think?

Voters are sick of politicians who campaign one way and then vote the opposite way once elected. The voters were asked to decide on the sales tax increase and given the information we had at the time, it was rejected overwhelmingly! How can we now trust the commissioners who don’t provide people with good information before the election and then suddenly decide to cut law enforcement after the election?

On Facebook, you can follow Citizens for a Better Lorain County to see petition signing locations across the area. These petitions will stop the sales tax increase so we can have the debate that we apparently should have been having throughout 2016. Do this quickly though, as signature sheets MUST be turned in by Friday, January 13.

Trump Takes Lorain County *UPDATED: Almost…

Lorain County City map for election

UPDATE: This was written before the official count, and when Lorain County added all of the provisional and absentee ballots, Hillary Clinton emerged the winner by 131 votes! Lorain County is still the type of county across the rust belt where voters flipped. In 2012, Barack Obama won by 20,000 votes and with a 56-42 margin. In 2016, Donald Trump eliminated that margin.

ORIGINAL: In the closest county race in Ohio, Donald Trump got about 400 more Lorain County votes, a difference of 0.28%, than did Hillary Clinton. Sen. Rob Portman also won the county, as did Rep. Bob Gibbs, not Rep. Jim Jordan (although he won his OH-04 district), State Rep. Nathan Manning and incoming State Rep. Dick Stein. Pat DeWine won the county on his way to the Ohio Supreme Court, and Stephen Evans was unopposed as Coroner.

Looking at the Lorain County map, first of all we have to understand that we are looking at a tie. Despite how red the county looks, we need to acknowledge the intense split between the rural and urban areas. This is not unlike state maps that we saw across the Upper Midwest states including Michigan and Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton only won seven of the 88 counties in Ohio, and they included some of the most populous. Similarly, Hillary Clinton won Oberlin by about 80% and and city of Lorain by near 70%. Elyria, another more populous area of Lorain County also saw a Clinton win although by a smaller margin.

Lorain County may have flipped in this particular election because of Trump victories in some swing areas like North Ridgeville, Sheffield Lake and Village, Amherst, and Vermillion. Additionally, there was an intensity not always seen with Republican victories in the villages and townships south of the turnpike (except for Oberlin, of course).

Unfortunately, the Trump coattails were not strong enough to carry other Lorain Republicans to a win. Connie Carr lost the County Commissioner’s race by about 3000 votes, a much closer race than has been seen during presidential election years. Krista Marinaro also came up short, as did Jessie Tower and Don Larson who were trying to win in districts which leaned heavily Democrat.

Many people within Totally Engaged Americans were quite active in their support for these candidates, and are looking forward to applying what we’ve learned to the next elections. Please join us for upcoming meetings and learn about conservatism and founding philosophies that make this country uniquely designed to protect – not grant – our liberties.

Hear from Lorain’s State Rep Candidates

Ohio State Capitol BuildingTotally Engaged Americans greatly appreciated the three candidates who were involved in our Candidate’s Forum last month. Lorain County has three districts within it’s area: the 55th which covers portions of northeast and central Lorain County, the 56th which covers northern and western Lorain County, and the 57th covering southern and eastern Lorain County. The three Democrat candidates were not in attendance but we were happy to hear from the three Republicans in each race.

The State Representatives go to Columbus and work on key state issues such as the state taxes and the budget, as well as state-directed education, transportation, and environmental policy. We hope you can learn and share this information to your Lorain County family, friends and colleagues.

55th, Nathan Manning – Manning is the incumbent and was represented this day by Tyler Yalpe. He helped bring the business tax down to 0% for the first $250K and also helped keep personal income taxes the low. He passed a bill that allows wineries to sell in farmer’s markets and also to help insulin recipients with their prescriptions.

56th, Jessie Tower – Tower is a Lorain resident and has been an attorney and CPA since 1995. She had worked at the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services as a chief auditor and then assistant deputy director in the office of Children and Families. She is currently the director of the Tower Education Center getting children ready for kindergarten and coordinating after-school programs for school-age students.

57th, Dick Stein – Stein became involved with the tea party movement in Norwalk since 2009 when it began. He is a small business owner and has received endorsements from the NFIB, the CPA Society, and two right-to-life groups. His focus is on keeping job taxes and energy costs low as well limiting burdensome regulations to help spur economic growth, and to study the costs of healthcare to better manage price.

Again, we thank these candidates for giving their time on a Saturday morning to speak to our group. And to the reader… if you have read this far and watched the videos then you are one of the more engaged citizens in Lorain County. Please share this information and your thoughts with other voters and help our county become a more civic-minded community.

Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016

Hear About The County Commissioner & Issues

dollars and cents

Tax Forgiveness Stopping IRS Tax Levies

Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016

We were happy to hear from Connie Carr’s representative, DesAnn Collins, about her candidacy as well as from Commissioner Ted Kalo and others on some of the issues on the ballot in Lorain County. While Ted Kalo is on the ballot for County Commissioner, he has no opposition. Lori Kokowski was not able to attend, but Carr’s representative spoke on her behalf. Additionally we had speakers advocating for the Drug & Alcohol Addiction levy and the Euclid City Schools building levy.

Carr’s spokesperson first noted the volume of tax issues on the ballot, and declared that there must be a different way to manage our finances. Her experience as an attorney gives her the experience to be a tough negotiator, and she respects the vast diversity and opportunities that already exist within Lorain County.

Commissioner Ted Kalo discussed the three county tax issues on the ballot. There are other countywide or local tax issues as well, but these three were directed from the County Commissioners. Issue 34 is the TB Clinic renewal, a tax which actually was cut a few years ago. Issue 33 deals with the Coroner’s Office and Crime Lab which has been burdened by the recent heroin and opioid epidemic. Lorain spends about half as much on this office as the similarly-sized Lake County. Finally, Issue 32 is the sales tax addition of 0.25%. Lorain County has a low sales tax compared to other counties and hasn’t had a permanent increase since 1985. Half of this increase will go to public transportation initiatives.

Peggy Baron of the Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County spoke on behalf of Issue 35. This increase will help provide additional treatment and recovery support by reducing wait time and providing detoxification residences for those wanting help. The Services Board also provides education to families and children as well.

Finally for voters in the Euclid City School District, Superintendent Tom Jama spoke on behalf of Issue 23. This bond issue for Elyria City Schools could bring $125-135 million to replace all of their elementary and middle schools with only five schools, and to rebuild Elyria stadium as well. The state, which will help with the funding upon passage of the bond issue, said that none of the schools were worth renovating, which is why the complete replacement is necessary.

Again, we thank these speakers for giving their time on a Saturday morning to speak to our group about these important issues for the citizens of our county. And to the reader… if you have read this far and watched the videos then you are one of the more engaged citizens in Lorain County. Please share this information and your thoughts with other voters and help our county become a more civic-minded community.

Hear from the Lorain County Judicial Candidates

judge's gavelWherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016

Last month at our Candidate’s Forum, we were very pleased to have all four candidates for the two competitive judicial positions on the November ballot. It is always our goal to provide as much information as possible to the voters of Lorain County so that engaged citizens can make the most sound decision possible.

Many voters come out in presidential election years to vote for the top of the ticket, but then begin leaving other races blank because they feel uninformed. in 2012, the judicial candidates received about 70% of the votes given to the presidential candidates. We hope that YOU can become better informed with this series of videos and that you will share this information with other Lorain County family and friends. Here are their videos and a summary of their speeches.

Chris Cook, Common Pleas – Cook has pent all his life working as a prosecutor and defense attorney as well as being a magistrate in the courtroom. His proudest accomplishment is being chosen among the 500 judges and lawyers in Lorain County to be the lawyer for the Lorain County Bar Association.

Will Spiegelberg, Common Pleas – Spiegelberg is new to Lorain County although he has been a referee for many sports games across the county. He has a strong door-to-door campaign and wants to see judges work more closely with the Commissioners and also work more often to reduce the extra costs needed for a magistrate. Finally he believes that we need to return God back to the courtrooms and the classrooms.

Sherry Glass, Domestic Relations – Glass is a lifelong Lorain County resident, a mother, and has spent 18 years as a county prosecutor. She’s worked with each city in Lorain County in cases that include rapes and unsolved murders, and has been endorsed by many unions, police, and fire departments in the area.

Krista Marinaro, Domestic Relations – Marinaro stressed the point that the Domestic Relations court focuses on the kids and has an $11 million budget which she wants to make sure the office is being fiscally responsible. She has been a prosecuting and defense attorney as well as a Guardian ad Litem where she judges what is best for the child.

We greatly appreciate these candidates for giving their time to us last month and wish them the best for the remaining campaign. And again… if you have read this far and have watched the videos, then you are more engaged then many of your Lorain County neighbors. Please discuss these candidates with your friends and families and help to increase our civic involvement as a county.

Chronicle-Telegram Misspells “Revitalization”

spouting shoots of grassWhat may seem like a “Civil War” to some may actually be a healthy discussion for others. Now there is certainly no doubt that conservative Republicans across the country have felt let down by statements, actions, and inactions by leaders of the national GOP. This frustration, brewing since before 2008, led to the birth of the modern Tea Party in 2009. The insurgent vs. establishment lines were drawn, and the dialog began.

On Saturday March 26, the Chronicle-Telegram featured in its top story the “Civil War” occurring within the Lorain County Republican Party. Despite efforts to use violent imagery and characterizations, those directly involved in this particular dialog should consider this a war of civility. The changes that occurred happened at the ballot box. It happened because people came to the polls and made a choice with their vote. There is an enormous opportunity for the Republican Party to be more active throughout the county and to be more engaged with the 44,000 Lorain County voters who pulled a Republican ballot on March 15.

In last week’s Republican primary while everybody else was looking at the Kasich-Trump match-up, over 30 Lorain County Republican Central Committee vacancies were filled. It’s also worth noting that among the 188 precincts available in Lorain County, only 17 had competitive races. There will now be 127 members in the Republican Central Committee which, by the way, is more members than the Democrat Central Committee.

These 127 members are resources for the people in Lorain County to influence and steer the direction of the Lorain County Republican Party. Voters WANT to be engaged by their party. Voters WANT to feel that they’ve been given a fair hearing. Despite the negativity that some people have towards politics, we’ve seen great voter enthusiasm this year as primary turnout is hitting record levels. We witnessed this enthusiasm on March 15 where in the “Democrat” county of Lorain, thousands more people actually came out to vote Republican!

There’s much to do before the next County Central Committee elections in the primary of 2020. First, the GOP Convention in Cleveland will choose, by whatever means necessary, a Republican nominee for President. Then of course, we have the November elections where Lorain County citizens will have a chance to change the makeup of the Ohio Statehouse and County offices and judgeships. 2018 will see a slate of new statewide officeholders.

Returning to the Chronicle-Telegram article, it fairly captures the planning of and reactions to the March 15 election of the Lorain County Republican Central Committee. The term “Civil War” might be a little hyperbolic, and maybe we can forgive the need to grab a good headline. But regardless of personalities and details, the Republican Party of Lorain County will be revitalized. On that, we can all agree.

Become An Informed Voter!

Lorain County Board of ElectionsOhio’s primary is only six weeks away on Tuesday, March 15, and it should prove to be a very important and decisive day for the leading presidential candidates. But there are many other races on the ballot on both the Democrat and the Republican side, and many of us usually feel more and more disconnected as we moved down the ballot. Well, this is the OPPOSITE of how it should be! Those people further down the ballot are the ones who live closest to you and over whom you can have most influence. For this reason, let’s look at the Lorain County races (candidates list here) moving up-ballot!

Political Party

Many cities have wards which are the smallest political unit, but not everybody lives in a ward. Everybody in Lorain County does, however, live in one of 188 precincts.

Precinct Committee Chairmen are elected to office on the primary ballot as they only reflect the opinions of those who choose a political party. Some actually go unfilled, and many are unopposed. Primary challenges do exist this year, especially in Amherst and Elyria and then scattered throughout the county. These individuals make up the committee for the Lorain County Democrat or Republican Party.  It is their job to make sure the party is acting as a positive force within the county, and in a direction that correlates with the views of most voters. The split within the Republican Party has been well-documented can be characterized as conservative vs. establishment.

State Central Committee members make up the committee that directs and leads the statewide party. The Democrats don’t have seats up for election this year, but the Republican party (and Green Party) does. There is one male and one female from the 13th State Senate district, covering Lorain and Huron counties, who represent the party on the state level.

The female candidates are incumbent Joyce Houck and challenger Kirsten Penton Hill. The male candidates include incumbent Matt Cox and challengers David Moore and Michael Witte. Kirsten Penton Hill is the director of Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County, and Michael Witte is a longtime member and is active with the Convention of States project. All three challengers, Kirsten, Michael, and David Moore, spoke at our candidate’s forum last month. Continue reading