Sunday, March 30, 2008

Police Auction

The Blade reports on the auction of vehicles by the Police Department Blade Article

94 abandoned vehicles raised $128,075 (goes to the General Fund)
9 forfeited vehicles brought in $11,925 (goes to the Law Enforcement Trust Fund)

What is the Law Enforcement Trust Fund? What does it Fund? If you know, please blog.

Friday, March 28, 2008


The Judge granted an extension to the City of Toledo

In Lucas County Common Pleas Court:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Refuse Fee - 2% of the General Budget

Blade Opinion

I'm amazed at the time and attention given the "Refuse Fee". For a fee which generates only 2% of the Revenue for the General Fund of the budget, it seems to be receiving 75% of the energy the Council, Administration and Blade coverage of the budget. We hear virtually nothing of any plans to reduce spending, freeze wages, require 8 hours work for 8 hours pay... it's just "give me more money" through the refuse "fee". Why not? After all, it's a cash cow for the city as there are no restrictions on how high they can raise the fee to generate revenue to pay for exorbitant expenditures. For the 4.9 million in projected revenue, Council could do an across the board cut of .09% over the $545 million budget rather than push this unnecessary fee.

I have this to offer regarding the Blade editorial:
"The Blade position regarding the city budget is curious given the fact they shut out their employees just recently to force concessions on wages, benefits, employee hours, etc. Not only did the Blade receive numerous concessions, they did so without affecting service. Why doesn’t the Blade as vigorously advocate for the taxpayers by holding the Administration and Council to the same standards and demand similar concessions. Could the Blade remain viable with 28% retirement payments, 0 in medical benefit copay, employees working 4 hours a day though paid for 8 hours, 15 paid holidays, etc.? I doubt it! But then, it is much easier to spend the money of others. This continued position of tax and spend on the part of the Blade is both disappointing and irresponsible as these contracts are crippling the city."

Sunday, March 09, 2008


One of the 5 points on my platform was opposition to the “Trash Tax” as I was running for the District 2 Council seat. I believed as so many others that if Council passed it in the budget, and it was put in the budget by the Mayor, it must be legal, but I did not approve of the fee. After losing in the Primary in September of 2007, as I had spent every available waking moment outside my job campaigning, I needed time to put our home in order and enjoy the holidays.

At the beginning of January, 2008, as talk of continuing the “fee” surfaced, I decided to do some research and found information that convinced me it was not legal. I unsuccessfully tried to confirm this with some attorneys and Judges I personally knew, in fact, they did not even want to discuss it. Finally, I contacted Maggie Thurber and after she researched the issue she agreed it was not legal. Maggie then referred me to Kurt Wicklund, Attorney.

When Kurt and I first started talking, he felt the same as everyone else, it didn’t seem quite right, but it was probably legal. However, as we discussed my research and he did his own research, he came to the same conclusion as Maggie and I, it was not legal. He agreed to take the case. The plan was to wait until after the March primary so it would not conflict with the issues, but with the considerable conversation about the subject and quotes in the Blade, it was deemed prudent to file when we did.

This fee is powerful, if legal. It would never again be necessary to put a tax or levy on the ballot, all Council would need to do is raise the fee to accommodate the amount needed. Had the ¾% tax not passed, the fee could be raised to $53 per month x 91,000 households. TAH DAH! $57,876,000!!. I’d like to believe this would never happen, but believe me, it could and no legislative body should have this type of power for revenue “enhancement”. That is why I’m filing this lawsuit. This is protection for our future generations … let them look back and say “they got it right!” Hopefully, the courts will agree.

For those who want to know if I’m doing this for political gain, that is laughable. I’m a realist. Though I had a very strong desire to represent Toledoans in City Council, it did not happen and in all reality, I have sealed my fate with the White Paper I wrote and this Refuse Fee Complaint and my views on the exorbitant, unsustainable, ridiculous wage and benefit packages with are paying the city employees. Who would vote for me… certainly not policeman, fireman, city employees, their families, or their friends! Who would support me, not the Democratic Party bosses nor businesses for fear of retribution. It is because I let go of running for office that I was able to file, because I knew there would be nothing to gain politically. I faced the fact that the residents of Toledo do not vote issues; they wouldn’t even recognize my name on the ballot and associate it with the lawsuit.

Because it needs to be done! I waited all these months for someone who knows the laws, knows the courts, and has connections to do something, and no one else did. There it is and I’m taking the time to say this because I believe Toledoans have a right to know why … after all, this is going to be a class action suit. If I’m including everyone, then the least I can do is offer an explanation.

2008 Toledo Budget, Grants

It may be nothing to consider, but I would like additional information about State and Federal Grants. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, the City of Toledo received between $25,000,000 and $45,000,000 (2006) in State and Federal Grants. In 2007 and 2008, the budget was $300,000 (as shown in the budget submitted for 2007 and 2008). One explanation for 2007 is that the funds are applied to the account once received and they are then applied to the appropriate account. I checked back to the 2007 budget and it showed $45,000,000 for 2006, so that must not always be the case.

So. what is happening here. A couple possibilities:
1. The funds are budgeted on a different line item under a different heading and transfered when they are received and the transfer was not accomplished for 2007 in November when the budget was presented for 2008.

2. The City of Toledo only will receive $300,000 in State and Federal Grants for 2007 and 2008.

3. The City of Toledo did not budget for revenue of these amounts and will end up in a surplus when they are received in 2007 and 2008.

If #1 is correct, I would like to know which line items the amounts are budgeted so we have a real sense of the expected revenues for State and Federal Grants.

If #2 is correct, are we missing available money? Why a drop of $44,700,000 in Grant money for 2007 and 2008.

If #3 is correct, then we would have a surplus of over $30,000,000 not a deficit.

Because I have filed a lawsuit against the City of Toledo, I am not allowed to request this information. Hopefully, someone else will.

If you would like to review the information, it is linked here: GRANTS