Posts Tagged ‘Licking County Commissioners’

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.”

Days Of Irony: Gaslighting For Beginners

April 5, 2020

Analysis shows irony instrumental in gaining insight into the totality of a nation being consumed by Covid 19. The dictionary’s primary definition is “the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite” but the supplement speaks more to the times we live in: “a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.” After all, we all are consumed by the news we consume which is essentially a literary technique; Dear Leader’s daily propaganda conferences come to mind. Which brings up the local leadership of not only Newark’s Mayor Jeff Hall, as well as the Licking County Commissioners – all MIA. But when they do surface (Local governments brace for possible recession as coronavirus pandemic continues, 4-4-20, The Advocate) their primary concern is the projected loss of revenue. As long as the dollars show up, what difference does it make whether there is a healthy hand or sick one holding it? The last time we heard from the Licking County Health Department was its refusal to allow for a needle exchange. Be safe Newark! Staying with the politics of it all, what if they gave an election and no one showed up? The slightest proposed gun regulation legislation always provokes swift and vociferous protest while Ohio’s primary being shifted to a “mail in” election, slated less than a month after legislation, is received with not even a whimper. The irony is that the alternate date of April 28 (and mail in format) was lobbied for by none other than David Pepper and the Ohio Democratic Party. Ostensible reason was for the expediency of vetting delegates for the July convention. Ironically, the anointed candidate for said convention changed the date of that convention to August (or even September). The irony grows when one considers that nasty old Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders mucking up party unity with all his agitated speech about income inequality, direct universal healthcare, free higher education and childcare. Too radical for the American people to embrace! They’d prefer Biden’s more moderate ACA HMO approach that determines ahead of time, for the doctors, who deserves care and who doesn’t qualify. Or Dear Leader’s “be nice to me” approach of dispensing patronage health care benevolence. NOT. Ironically (which is the theme of this posting), Covid 19 has shown otherwise. The current time sees an active preference for universal direct health care, forgiveness of student debt and child care urgency. There are smaller ironies, like abortion clinics “needing” to be closed while churches (and gun stores) “need” to be left open. Some rights are essential rights while others are non essential. But the largest, most blatant irony of them all is that, in just over 10 years, “free market” capitalism has required a total bail out of enormous proportions, again! This is no small individual bank collapse or savings and loan scandal. We’re talking maintaining and subsidizing an entire system to make sure it doesn’t become something else, entirely or partially (think hybrid cars). Both the incumbent candidate, Dear Leader, as well as his presumed opponent, Joe Biden, advocate bailing out the entire “free market” system in order to maintain and preserve it. Free market capitalism has abdicated responsibility for any of it through promotion of entrepreneurial agency (subjectivity), personal choice (and responsibility for) individual health care, retirement, employment, etc. The ultimate irony lies in the solution to the collapse of these entrepreneurial enterprise, self employed subjects with the current crisis. Stay at home or go to work? The token response is a one time cash hand out “dole” that is way short of even smelling like Mr. Sanders’ capitalist socialist state (with the added welfare insinuation that a “dole” implies and all); all done to ensure the health, safety and exclusivity of “free market” capitalism in these days of Covid 19.

Representation

January 18, 2020

In April of 2013 the Licking County Commissioners announced the demolition of the Children’s Home on East Main Street (2 of the 3 Commissioners continue to this day). The decrepit county jail was spared the wrecking ball (for it’s amusement potential). Today one can go to the Newark Library and peruse the archives for photos of the Home as well as the jail. One can walk a few blocks and look at the jail, point to it, and maybe compare it with the archival photo (something one cannot do with the Children’s Home as only the photos remain). Dear Leader may claim that “It doesn’t matter.” yet there is a difference between the architecture of The Historic Jail on south 4thStreet, and the representation of that and the Children’s Home found with the photographs. The dictionary gives the origins of the word “representation” to stem from the Middle English ‘image, likeness,’ and further back from the Latin ‘bring before, exhibit.’ Social media is just filled with representations. Some post photos of the meal they were served. The representation is not what they had for lunch. Then there are the ubiquitous and ever growing slew of people photo’s, including crime footage as well as celebrations. Many are edited to look good (like the Kardashians). The distinction gets a little fuzzy when we take photos of checks, etc. as documentation (if only they could be edited!). The representation (image) is the thing (exhibit). Analysis found updated fuzziness in a pair of news articles that appeared near simultaneously. National Archives exhibit blurs images critical of President Trump by Joe Heim for The Washington Post appeared 1-17-20. “The Archives acknowledged in a statement this week that it made multiple alterations to the photo of the 2017 Women’s March showcased at the museum, blurring signs held by marchers that were critical of Trump. Words on signs that referenced women’s anatomy were also blurred. In the original version of the 2017 photograph, taken by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, the street is packed with marchers carrying a variety of signs, with the Capitol in the background. In the Archives version, at least four of those signs are altered. A placard that proclaims “God Hates Trump” has “Trump” blotted out so that it reads “God Hates.” A sign that reads “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women” has the word Trump blurred out.” How does this differ from the Licking County Commissioners’ erasure of the Children’s Home? “Karin Wulf, a history professor at the College of William & Mary and executive director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, said that to ensure transparency, the Archives at the very least should have noted prominently that the photo had been altered. “The Archives has always been self-conscious about its responsibility to educate about source material, and in this case they could have said, or should have said, ‘We edited this image in the following way for the following reasons,’ ” she said. “If you don’t have transparency and integrity in government documents, democracy doesn’t function.”” Which brings us to the second article, more or less about unedited images (representations) that function, unintentionally, as documents (exhibits). Is their “transparency and integrity” conducive to our democracy? The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It by Kashmir Hill appeared in the NY Times 1-18-20. “Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow hair on their own photos. Then Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.” “In addition to Mr. Ton-That, Clearview was founded by Richard Schwartz — who was an aide to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was mayor of New York — and backed financially by Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist behind Facebook and Palantir. Another early investor is a small firm called Kirenaga Partners. Its founder, David Scalzo, dismissed concerns about Clearview making the internet searchable by face, saying it’s a valuable crime-solving tool.” Hill ends his article with “Even if Clearview doesn’t make its app publicly available, a copycat company might, now that the taboo is broken. Searching someone by face could become as easy as Googling a name. Strangers would be able to listen in on sensitive conversations, take photos of the participants and know personal secrets. Someone walking down the street would be immediately identifiable — and his or her home address would be only a few clicks away. It would herald the end of public anonymity. Asked about the implications of bringing such a power into the world, Mr. Ton-That seemed taken aback. “I have to think about that,” he said. “Our belief is that this is the best use of the technology.”” How does this differ from the Licking County Commissioners tacitly agreeing to keeping the old jail (for amusement purposes)?

How Those With Power Use It

March 17, 2019

A recent edition of George Collinet’s Afropop Worldwide covered Quelbe, the traditional music native to St. Croix (the US Virgin Islands). Recent hurricanes Irma and Maria left St. Croix the same as Puerto Rico – neglected, underserved and quickly dismissed and forgotten. Residents of both islands opt to leave for the mainland (as US citizens). Some opt to return which was the case with one woman interviewed on the show. An educator of traditional Croixian culture, she said something to the effect that the hope of the future for the local culture to continue is for the economy to improve. Would an improved economy have that effect on the sustenance and continuance of the native traditions and culture? We are all aware of the Harlem Renaissance but is contemporary gentrification of Harlem having the same effect? And what of Appalachian culture with the exploitation of natural resources boom/bust cycles? Native American culture and casinos? And downtown Newark itself (was there ever a downtown Newark culture)? The list is endless, and international. Following it would result in an anecdotal analysis. How about a theoretic one based on the news of current events and situations? It is history, the rejection of Amazon by the Queens neighborhood of NYC. Business Insider reports Rent in Queens fell after Amazon backed out of plans to build its HQ2 there (Gina Heeb, 3-15-19). “There was a shift in the rental market following Amazon’s February 14 announcement that it was cancelling plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Inc. and the author of the report.” Does the maintenance, sustainability and predictability of the neighborhood have anything to do with the continuance and sustainability of local culture? 3-16-19 Washington Post headlines Arlington County Board approves $23 million incentives package for Amazon (Patricia Sullivan and Robert McCartney). “The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a $23 million incentives package for Amazon to build a headquarters facility in Crystal City at a raucous meeting Saturday repeatedly disrupted by protesters who shouted “shame” and twice forced the board members to briefly leave the room.” “The 5-0 vote was the final action granting local and state subsidies to the online retail giant as part of its much-publicized plan to create at least 25,000 jobs over 12 years in the Northern Virginia suburb.” Analysis would like to say it sounds a lot like Licking County only here the Commissioners are met by raucous silence (OK, occasional Z’s). “In the public hearing, backers argued for the value of the jobs and economic boost they expect Amazon to bring to the county and region. Charles Wagner, a supporter, argued the company would “grow our economy, expand our tax base and diversify our economy away from the federal government.”” The standard trope of the economy “improving” everything heard at countless LC Commissioners meetings. Would that include an “improvement” of local culture? What of continuance and sustenance? “Opponents said Amazon didn’t need or deserve public subsidies, that its arrival would displace low-income communities, and that it had not engaged well with the community. When Kinsey Fabrizio, a member of the Consumer Technology Association, praised Amazon’s outreach to the community, Amazon opponents in the crowd laughed raucously, drawing a rebuke from [Democrat Board Chair Christian] Dorsey. Resident Ibby Han told the board that by supporting Amazon, “You’re just repeating Virginia’s history of prioritizing elites over working people.”” Something completely missing from LC Commissioners meetings. The exchange, that is, not the corporate subsidy. Does traditional local culture spring from the “working people” or from the colonizing “elites”? Obviously economy has a bearing on the environment that fosters culture. The massive upheaval and disruption produced by gentrification results in a definite reconfiguration of that environment, to one maybe even unrecognizable to the original, the “origin” of the traditions grounding the local culture. The multi-story high rises of the Short North have displaced the “creatives” that originated its aura to their new digs in Franklinton (which in turn, as with the Short North, is beginning to displace the marginalized poor that had inhabited there). From whence does culture spring? And what exactly is going on when mega bucks “investors” like Amazon move in? Completely unrelated to economy but pertinent to our inquiry was this news item from the past week: Activist who confronted Chelsea Clinton: She ‘hurt our fight against white supremacy’ (John Bowden for The Hill, 3-16-19) The gist of the story swirled around “In a BuzzFeed op-ed posted Saturday, Rose Asaf and Leen Dweik argued that they spoke to Clinton in a now-viral video clip because they “saw an opportunity to have her ear and confront her on her false charge of anti-Semitism against our only Black, Muslim, Somali, and refugee member of Congress.” Omar is the first member of Congress to wear a headscarf on the House floor, and came to America as a refugee from her home country of Somalia in 1995.” Yet a quote from that op-ed speaks succinctly to our inquiry as to whether an improved economy helps or hurts a traditional local culture: “”To them, we say that anti-Muslim bigotry must be addressed wherever it exists. This is not about left and right. This is about people who do and do not have power, and how those with power use it.””

In Licking County Wealthy People Don’t Commit Crime

June 20, 2017

The Father’s Day NBC Evening News ran a short segment by Tammy Leitner about pay to stay jails in California. Turns out that if the incarcerated is wealthy, they can upgrade to jail time with amenities like access to store offerings, phone, cable TV, even an ocean view location like trendy Seal Beach Jail (a new twist on Father Knows Best – Father Stays Best!). Your local accommodating jail is not just for misdemeanors anymore. The LA Times reports close to 5% are in for a felony conviction. For a hefty fee, this captured clientele can get an upgrade (eat your hearts out Trivago). NBC was not really presenting news but rather “upgrading” what has been news since 2007, with Analysis also considering it in past posts. In an upgrade of its own 2013 report, the ACLU in 2015 reported IN Jail, In Debt: Ohio’s Pay-To-Stay Fees. “Our statewide investigation analyzes policies at 75 facilities representing 74 counties across Ohio. More than half of jails, 40 of the 75, charge people for their incarceration through a booking fee, a daily fee, or both. Ohioans are getting billed up to $66.09 a day to be in jail.” Earlier this year the Marshall Project in collaboration with the LA Times did a joint investigation that was reported variously (from which NBC created Father’s Day fill). NPR’s Robert Siegel interviewed Alysia Santo, “a staff reporter for the nonprofit news organization the Marshall Project,” (3-9-17). From the transcript: Santo “The most expensive is Hermosa Beach, and that’s $251 a night. And then the cheapest is La Verne, which is $25 a night. More typically they’re between a hundred and $150.” “And in that jail, he was allowed to bring his own bedding. He was allowed to bring his computer and work on musical recordings while he was spending the time there. It also – the judge had said he needed to finish that sentence within one year, and he took two years to finish it. So he kind of scheduled his time over a matter of two years and did two-day increments until it was completed.” “It is. I mean a lot of what we cover at the Marshall Project is looking at the ways that money influences people’s outcomes in the criminal justice system. And some of those ways are no secret. You know, you can buy a better attorney. You know, you can pay your bail. So there are many ways that money comes into play. I think, though, pay-to-stay – what seems outrageous to a lot of people is that it’s so explicit that you really can purchase a more comfortable experience for a nightly fee. It’s very similar to many things in criminal justice. It’s just more in-your-face about it.” With so much being “in-your-face” these days, Analysis finds there may be something in all this that Licking County’s beleaguered commissioners could cash in on, literally. No, not a room with a view between the bars at Buckeye Lake (there are already plenty of those), but rather the historic old jail, which hardly generates any income during its very seasonal and limited Halloween Haunted Hoochie days. It would be the perfect pokey, overlooking Newark’s much desired “destination” location as well as the area’s hottest prime real estate for young urban hipsters. Offering concierge service, the upgraded county lock up could provide the discretionary jailbird with farm market fresh offerings as well as artisan soda and food truck cuisine; all while enjoying the incredible view of the newly refurbished justice center! What could be more rehabilitative than knowing that your upgraded stay is not only helping to pay off your debt to society but also helping to pay for the recent courthouse upgrade? Additionally, detention center guests, er, inmates could “work off” some of their hospitality accommodation charge by volunteering to act as, well, prisoners during the Halloween Hoochie celebration. Analysis finds this would be a win-win for all. It could even lead to a yearly downtown reunion celebration like the local university has for its alumni. What’s that you say? In Licking County wealthy people don’t commit…

Grand Old Party Of Licking County Commissioners

July 21, 2016

Duly elected commissioner Duane Flowers publicly recommended the execution of Hillary Clinton at this week’s very public meeting of the Licking County Commissioners (a quick peek of closet misogyny?). Grand Poopah Tim Bubb came to the defense of his fellow commissioner by reinterpreting the brother’s words. Translations never do give the original meaning (or the original language!). The local press is all in a kerfuffle over these statements. The usual suspects are implicated – freedom of speech, politically correct speech, maybe better said in private than in public, responsibility of public officials, does such violent “rhetoric” (more translation and interpretation!) contribute to violence? Yadda, yadda. Missed in this all was any consideration of the obvious. Analysis finds that Mr. Flowers obviously felt completely at ease to be speaking within the comfortable environs of his peers and within his official capacity at this completely public government meeting. The disposition and assumption of comfort was more bespeaking a Masonic temple or fraternal lodge than a government meeting room. And why not? The folks there were all of the same persuasion and commitment. These might as well have been lodge members or frat brothers (maybe are). Equally outrageous news this past week came from outside the US where the duly elected president of Turkey is purging those of not like mind (with his party) from any publicly funded positions within the state (from police and professors to foot soldiers and bus drivers). All this is being done in the name of democracy. After all, he was democratically elected and his party holds the monopoly of power. Why should his party take anyone else into consideration, let alone benefit from the public largess? Analysis finds that the Grand Old Party of Licking County Commissioners would readily concur.