Archive for April, 2021

Revolving Door

April 25, 2021

            Ever wonder why the candidate who has raised the most money, has the biggest war chest, is considered to be a front runner for being elected? Despite SCOTUS Citizens United ruling that money speaks, it still remains that money doesn’t do the voting. Or does it? “The Licking County Commissioners approved on Thursday an Alternate Energy Zone for a 512-acre Harrison Township site proposed for a 108-megawatt solar field.” (Licking County Commissioners OK Alternate Energy Zone for solar field; more on horizon Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate 4-25-21). No end to where the public revenue of this project will be distributed in this reporting. Similar articles outlining new corporate investment surrounding Newark usually travel down the road of tax credits, abatements, etc. with no promises of who will get what (“some risk involved”). Why not this one? Could it be that taking credit for “real” market forces at work (Amazon, Google and others need the electricity) rather than the contrived “subsidized” pie-in-the-sky creations is being usurped by GOP county commissioners who otherwise treat climate change/global warming as a preferred whipping boy? But Analysis digresses. Of course we are all familiar with the “revolving door” complaint when it comes to national administration, also state as well as local. How often is it the case that someone appointed to lead a regulatory body, or department has previously been salaried as part of what that body or department manages or administrates (what George W. Bush referred to as its “customers”)? And then, with a new administration (or just time passing), the same gov’t administrators go to work in the private sector for those they previously regulated. But what about elected officials, representatives of the people? Recent news was that central Ohio US Representative Steve Stivers has opted out of running for re-election, as well as seeking a senate run to replace Rob Portman. Stivers has agreed to a leadership role with the state’s Chamber of Commerce that salaries him at twice what he is making now. Just reward for services rendered? We’ve seen this movie before. Several years ago US Rep Pat Tiberi opted not to run and assumed a leadership position with the Ohio Business Roundtable. The similarities are uncanny. Both white men had accumulated vast war chests for whatever position they would run for. Both opted to “double down” on their earnings rather than continue to “represent” the fine people of their district. Both no longer “fight” for their constituents’ values. Why should they? After all, they’ve made it to the top of the public service leadership ladder where they can now be more “quietly effective.” The unmentionable underwear in all this is, of course, where did all the accumulated war chest donations come from? Hint: the very lobbying groups who lured them away to higher salaried positions represent these folks; you know, the people who contrive all the tax credits, abatements, etc. for the sake of “job creation.” Analysis will let Cardi B, who btw nailed it, have the last word: “this is why people gotta vote, elect better people cause you got these dumb asses representing states.”

It’s Time To Defund CIC’s

April 1, 2021

            What is a CIC? The NDP (Newark Development Partners) uses the terms “Community Improvement Corporation” as part of their full name, so we’ll stick with that rather than “investment”, or the British “interest company.” In Ohio these are primarily public/private entities, or at least that is what their stakeholders claim. The “public/private” generally refers to the entire operation being funded by the public sector and administered by the private. Grow Licking County is funded not only by the county but also income from the various municipalities that it markets. Its administration is in the care of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, a private entity; public sector funding, private sector spending. Amount of funding supplied by the public is readily available (thanks to freedom of information), how it is spent and the outcomes of that expenditure not so much. The term “public/private” is confusing enough. That probably stems from its oxymoronic character. And oxymorons, as we all know, are the preferred devices for the conveyance of magical thinking and mystical alliances. But what does “Community Improvement Corporation” mean? Or is it also an oxymoron, or a near kin? Analysis of the component terms may offer a clue. “Improvement” isn’t a toughie. Defined as “better” is sufficient for understanding. The dictionary gives two relevant meanings for “community”: 1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. For “corporation” only one: 1. a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. For “CIC”, no entries found. Again, we’ve hit the oxymoronic wall. Is it a community of improvement corporations? Or is it community improvement by corporations? The oxymoronic element appears to be the contradiction of people living in common fellowship and authority under force of law. Holy crime fighters, Batman! It sure looks a lot like another publicly funded service institution in crisis today. It is no coincidence that “authority” is used in another area public/private CIC – the Newark Port Authority. That “Community Improvement Corporation” is just soap suds to screen the laundering of money is quite apparent. And the washed sums are considerable. The Licking County Chamber of Commerce was the largest in Ohio when most of LC’s CIC’s were begun back in the early years of the Kasich administration. What “better” has the fellowship of people living in common have to show for all the wealth siphoned to the top? “Places to work” we are told. Employers stress their number one need is that workers have a reliable way to get to their jobs yet Licking County has no fixed schedule public transportation after all this time. Neighboring counties do though their Chambers of Commerce are dwarfed by LC’s. Ditto for affordable housing having been built over that period as well as presently projected. Lancaster (and soon Zanesville) have the Pearl House for those without housing while Newark has the promise of shopping in the waiting-to-be-historically-designated Arcade (and other rainbow stew propaganda). It’s time to defund Newark’s Community Improvement Corporations.