Sunday, September 25, 2016

Don't blame laid-back Ted for DHL job loss

I got one of those slick campaign door hangers the other day, this one beating up Ted Strickland for “higher taxes,” “more spending” and “hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”

Strickland, of course, was Ohio’s governor during the Great Recession and now is opposing Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in his bid for a second term.

Among the jobs lost that Strickland is being blamed for are the 8,000 ones in Wilmington, Ohio, that belonged to DHL, the German company that purchased Airborne Express in 2003 and which then in 2009 basically said, “Never mind.”

DHL abandoned the airfield at Wilmington and left the domestic (U.S.) shipping business, turning over the market to UPS and FedEx. Yes, it moved some jobs to Kentucky in an effort to retool its business strategy – international logistics.

Was it Strickland’s fault?

I think that’s a stretch, although laid-back Ted just doesn’t seem to overwhelm one with his personality and probably would have trouble coaxing a cat to drink milk. Could he have done something to save some of those 400,000 jobs? Maybe, but I’ve always thought politicians get too much credit when jobs are created and too much blame when they leave.

Certainly a governor’s job should be to encourage a business friendly environment and I think John Kasich has done a good job with that. But make no mistake if Kasich were governor in 2009, he couldn’t have saved those DHL jobs in Wilmington. No way. No how.

The rumor is that Dover City Council, with the possible exception of members Bob Mueller and Don Maurer, is poised to endorse the proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot to build a new Dover High School.

Feel the earth move?

Mueller has said he can’t afford it and Maurer has been reluctant to offer an opinion on the issue, but the others, including Mayor Richard Homrighausen, apparently are on board.

Especially on board is Councilman Justin Perkowski, who offered his support of the project in a letter to the editor on Sunday. Perkowski, a 2002 graduate of DHS, is one of the young whippersnappers on Council, and might have been reluctant to offer an opinion on his own. I'm glad he did. It shows leadership.

So, why didn’t Council announce its endorsement decision at its last regular meeting on Sept. 19? Got me. Must be some kind of strategy.

Meanwhile, kudos to Dover Township trustees -- John Miceli, John Fondriest and Andrew Yosick -- who readily endorsed the issue at their most recent meeting. I think they understand the importance of a modern high school as it relates to the quality of life in our community.

One more thing.

Mueller’s statement that he couldn’t afford the school’s tax issue got me thinking. Did he vote for the city’s safety issue last November? Isn’t it logical that if he can’t afford the school issue that he probably couldn’t afford the city’s issue either?

Which begs the other question: What’s he doing with the $7,000 he is paid every year for serving on council?

One of the benefits of writing this commentary for digital consumption is that I can link to stories or clips that might further explain a particular issue.

For example, if you need proof that there are a lot of dumb Americans out there, check out this clip from the Comedy Central.

It was filmed in Canton at a Donald Trump rally and the responses to the interviewer’s questions are absolutely telling. I especially like the guy who’s criticizing President Barack Obama for not being in the office on 9/11.

It brings to mind what I tell young people when they question the need to learn something that seems to be totally irrelevant to them:

“So, my child, when you’re an adult, people won’t think you’re stupid.”

The Trump supporters’ clip also explains why the loyalists can overlook the fact that their candidate mocks handicapped people and women and won’t release his tax returns.

Until the next time…

Friday, September 16, 2016

Your friendly curmudgeon is back

OK, I'm back in this space. It doesn't feel comfortable yet, but hopefully it will soon enough. The good news is that if I see something that I've written that I don't like tomorrow, I can change it. That's the beauty of digital. You can't do that in print.

Sadly, however, there were a lot of readers of my column who enjoyed reading it on paper. I haven't figured out that part yet, but when I do, you'll be the first to know.

If someone you know, wants to read this stuff, tell him/her to send a Facebook request to me. As long as they seem to have a legitimate interest, I'll friend them back. I'm that kind of guy.


What forced me to write sooner rather than later was news that our councils in Dover and New Philadelphia appear to have permanently banned the sale of medical marijuana in their communities. (The source of  that information is our local daily newspaper, which I trust is reporting accurately. If for some reason, it is not, my apologies to the councils and a curse on the paper.)

As I'm reading between the lines, it appears the councils are concerned their communities will turn into Colorado-type, drug-infested havens for evil and long-haired hippies.

Ohio's law, aimed at providing relief to people who are suffering from various serious medical conditions, has no provision to sell recreational marijuana. Nope. You have to have a note from your doctor (read: prescription) and suffer from one of the following conditions:

HIV/AIDS; Alzheimer's disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); cancer; chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); Crohn's disease; epilepsy or another seizure disorder; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; hepatitis C; inflammatory bowel disease; multiple sclerosis; pain that is chronic, severe, and intractable; Parkinson's disease; post traumatic stress disorder; sickle cell anemia; spinal cord disease or injury; Tourette's syndrome; traumatic brain injury; and ulcerative colitis.

With one swipe of their legislative pen, the councils told such members of their communities to look somewhere else for relief. offers a primer of sorts on the new law, which will take two years to fully implement. And at least one lawmaker is urging communities to hold off banning medical marijuana until the details get ironed out.

It's too bad the communties couldn't act as quickly with a program to synchronize their traffic signals as they did with their medical marijuana bans.

Speaking of Dover City Council, it will meet in regular session on Monday night.

Will this be the meeting that council members, with the exception of Bob Mueller who can't afford it, finally endorse the new high school building proposal?

If they don't, I'm hoping that Mayor Richard Homrighausen stands on top of the table and delivers the kind of a speech a far-sighted leader would give on behalf of his community's children. That's called leadership. And guts.

Rumor has it that the Atwood Resort and Conference Center sale -- for $1.1 million -- has fallen through. My sources report that the Youngstown buyer, who supposedly was acting as an agent for the DeBartolo family which has multiple real estate interests, will lose $75,000 in earnest money.

Presumably the sale process will begin anew.