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kesmarn On November - 6 - 2013


The weather’s bad. You have so much stuff to do. Election day arrives.

But — hey — we’re not electing a new president this year. We’re not even electing a new governor. So maybe you can afford to just sit this one out. All those choices for mayor, city councilman and school board member? Yawners. Who has time to research all those people and their positions?

Answer? The religious right does. The Tea Party does.

And when it comes to politics — both national and local — they are operating very efficiently. In stealth mode.

Fortunately in some cases — judging from the results of yesterday’s election — voters in the general public seem to be waking up. Terry McAuliffe was able to defeat Ken Cuccinelli, for example, in the Virginia governor’s race.

Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democr...

Here in Ohio, the incumbent mayor of the city of Toledo, Mike Bell, who ran as an Independent (although he was endorsed by the Republican Party) and who had had a clearly GOPTP agenda was soundly defeated by a union-backed, more progressive candidate. It wasn’t even close.

This is widely seen as a rejection of anti-labor, pro-privatization, pro-Kasich policies of rewarding the rich while crushing the poor. Mike Bell was a black candidate who was turned out of office in a city with a very substantial number of black voters. Voters who could see that he didn’t have their interests at heart. How could he when he had openly supported Governor John Kasich‘s union-busting SB-5? When one of his first acts was to privatize refuse collection and throw away city union jobs in the process? When he sold prime river front real estate to Chinese investors with the promise that it would be developed and that good jobs would follow (neither of which, incidentally, ever happened)?

Good for local voters! Congratulations on figuring it all out. Because Bell was far from transparent when he ran for office — starting from running as an Independent with a vague, cliche-laden platform, when clearly the plan to go with slash and burn Tea Party privatization and union busting had been the agenda all along.

John Kasich

John Kasich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The resurgence of Progressive values echoed across Ohio. Ed Fitzgerald, the Democratic candidate for the governor’s office, posted the following post-election assessment:

Last night was a good night for Ohio Democrats. Congrats to our new Democratic Mayors: John Cranley, Nan Whaley, Don Walters, and John McNally! Also, congrats to Mike Collins, the new Mayor of Toledo, and to Mayors Frank Jackson in Cleveland, David Berger in Lima, and Dom Mucci in Steubenville on their reelection.

Lastly, Cincinnati voters defeated a ballot measure, Issue 4, delivering a HUGE blow to the Tea Party. Instead, Cincy voters chose to protect public safety and the heroes who protect us.

That’s good news, no doubt. But what happens when we get distracted? When there’s a lapse in our vigilance?

Then we get folks like the belligerent guy who ran for a local school board here a few years ago. He ran in spite of a record that included allegations of his disturbing past, which included “accusations of assault on a teacher when he was in high school, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest, menacing, driving under influence of alcohol, and failure to pay child support, according to reports.”

Amazingly, he won. With the support of a group of “values voters” who paradoxically saw that aggressive behavior as an asset — as “leadership.”

The bad behavior didn’t stop once he was elected. Shortly thereafter, he was involved in a loud confrontation with a fellow board member. It even made news in the local media:

During the loud argument, board member P.J. Kapfhammer told fellow board member Diana Gadus, “I’m going to kick your ass and I’m going to keep kicking your ass until you quit or don’t run again,” and used other expletives against Mrs. Gadus, according to Mrs. Gadus’ statement in a school incident report.”

So what happened next? Was he pressured to apologize and resign?

He was elected President of the School Board.

Did getting what he wanted modify his behavior? Hardly. Before much longer, he was back in court.

On Wednesday, the Oregon School Board President was charged with “menacing knowingly cause to believe serious physical harm” and “disorderly conduct recklessly by fighting, threatening harm or in violent turbulent behavior”, according to court documents.

He had gotten into a verbal altercation with a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome. This young man had been a student at the local high school and continued to return for sports events, where he would help out in the weight/equipment rooms. Mr. Kapfhammer was apparently unaware of this and approached him aggressively in the process of throwing him out of the school building. Bully first, ask questions later?  He ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor after having been charged with menacing.

So — is he gone YET? No, he is not. In part he’s still there because his “mission” of instilling “values” into this school system is not yet accomplished.

He’s getting there though. [Journalistic disclaimer: what follows is technically hearsay. I was given this info by a student in the school system. A student who’s credibility I have no reason to doubt. But I did not witness it firsthand.]
Junior high students — make that MALE junior high students — are no longer allowed to try out to be drum majors. Apparently, this role is no longer considered to be sufficiently “manly.” And the charming Southern custom of allowing students who run out of lunch money to witness the lunch that they were about to be served being dumped into the garbage can is now being imported to his schools. It’s regarded as “edifying” to “teach them a lesson” that there’s — quite literally — no free lunch.

So — yes. Turning our backs — even for one “unimportant” election — can be costly.

Just ask any unemployed Toledo refuse hauler.

Or a hungry 7th grade boy who only wanted to be a drum major.

{Sources:http://www.bridgetownlaw.com/newly-elected-president-of-oregon-school-board-had-a-dui-past/ http://www.toledoblade.com/Education/2012/04/07/Oregon-school-board-session-ends-in-expletives-records-reveal.html http://www.northwestohio.com/news/story.aspx?id=860158#.UnqGMiizKpg}

Written by kesmarn

History major "back when," who recently retired from having been an RN for a bazillion years. Political junkie. Warren, Sanders and Reich fan. Happy to have been a Planeteer for more than five years now!

29 Responses so far.

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  1. fjb says:

    The Declaration of Independence states: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Hence, any laws we pass are designed for all.

    But some localities have decided to pass laws that do not adhere to the basic tenets of America for whatever reasons they deem fit such as slavery; which was a punishment for being black.

    So in order to avoid conflict with localities the 8th. amendment section 1: {Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction}, was ignored.

    Local elections hold a great deal of sway as some think they have the right to ignore laws that forbade them from infringing on human rights.

  2. agrippa says:

    Yes. Politics are local.
    Congressional candidates are mostly recruited locally. And, mostly a promotion from state legislative office or local office. Campaigns are organized locally; GOTV is local; voter registration is local.

    Money is not really local; but voting is ore important than money. Governor and US Senate are state; which is also ‘local’.

    So, yea. Politics are local.

    • kesmarn says:

      You summed it up in six words, agrippa. “Voting is more important than money.”

      They’re working hard on disenfranchising a lot of people. But until they succeed (and we’re fighting that), we’ve got the power.

      • agrippa says:

        You do what is necessary.
        If a person is legally entitled to register to vote and to vote, you do what is necessary to legally cast your ballot.
        As in: “you will not prevent me from voting”.

        If that occurs, the ones trying to disenfranchise will fail.

        All the money in the world will gain nothing if GOTV is done correctly.

  3. SallyT says:

    Kes, thank you for taking the time to write this article and educate me on OREGON….OHIO that is! I read that Oregon School Board and was scratching my head, “Who the hell is that and when was he on the School Board? How come I never heard of this?” Glad to hear it wasn’t here but sorry to hear that it is there with you.

    As I spouted off last night, there is a lot of money being spent on local and state elections by the Tea Party and Kochs. You have to pay attention. They do pick off the low fruit when they can. Of course, they replace the low fruit pickings with rotten fruits!

    I am so upset with Washington State and the GMO Labeling not passing. And that was big corporate money coming into the state! It was doing really good in the polls but there was a onslaught of corporate-financed advertising since Sept when labeling was ahead by 45% percentage points. A consortium that includes General Mills, Nestle USA, PepsiCo, Monsanto,, DuPont and other corporate giants, were key contributors to the roughly $22 million raised to campaign against the bill, much of that spent by November 5. That far outstrips the roughly $7.9 million raised by supporters of the labeling initiative, according to the Commission. It was so frustrating for me to hear those ads that this would hurt the farmers. Being the daughter of a farmer, I can tell you that labeling will not hurt the farmer unless that “farmer” is one of the industrial/corporate farms that are owned or leased by those companies listed above because they are the only farmers that also own the company processing the crop into product! A farmer gets the same price for grain in its raw form no matter what it is going to end up as. They get nothing more after if leaves their field. They get none of the profits of that box of cereal up on the grocery shelf. The price of that grain/crop is market driven. Those same companies drive down that price to where the small farmer can not compete!! It won’t add to the processing cost either. They will make it the same way they always have. It will only cost for the little needed in re- labeling and printing. And, these companies are already doing it in foreign markets because they have to!! They have to label pet food! So, it isn’t going to cost more there either. Of course they scared people that it would raise prices but bull! With their high profit margin, they have no need if they want to sell their product. They do not want to label their product because they do not want to disclose what is in it! That will cost them because people won’t buy their crap once they know what they are really eating! Sorry, but it burns me when they use the small farmer as the reason for their GREED!

    You stay strong, Kes, and keep up watching those local elections. Right now I have to go smash some Pepsi cans, throw out my Nestle Chocolate Chips, and slap a couple of Washingtonians. No need for me to tell you what I would do to Monsanto………….

    • kesmarn says:

      Oh Sally, I had heard about the GMO labeling issue going down, but didn’t know the “back story.”

      Thanks so much for filling us in. I was wondering what the arguments against it could possibly be! Naive me — of course I should have figured out that they would use the “your-Cheerie-Os-are-going-to-cost-$10/box” scare tactic. And the “pity-the-poor-farmer” approach too. Like you, I’m close enough to family farmers around here to know that GMO labeling would have no impact on what the farmer receives for his crops.

      In fact, I think we’d agree that smaller farmers have much more to fear from Monsanto than they do from GMO labeling!!

      And like you, I’ve been making a conscious effort to avoid buying anything from the Nestle company. They’re really awful. Their CEO was the guy who said — in effect — that every citizen in the world should eventually have to pay for every drop of water he/she consumes. (So — remember not to stick your tongue out the next time it rains without sending a check to the CEO of Nestles.)

      Well — on dumb votes. If it’s any consolation, Ohio voters had a chance to outlaw gerrymandering by political parties a couple of years back. There was an issue on the ballot that did that. And they voted it down.

      I think it was because it was worded in such an opaque way that the average voter couldn’t understand it. So they did the knee-jerk thing and just hit the “No” button.

      Thanks, Ohio. :-(

  4. SueInCa says:


    Great article. I am going to post it on FB for my friends to read. It is verification that people are waking up and the Teabillies have reason to be mad. Their gig is almost up but it will take years to undo the horrible policies they embraced and a few more years and a few of their own to experience some of this negative behavior to really rid us of this cancer.

    VOTE, VOTE VOTE. That is the way to speak your mind, that is the way to bring about change. And look beyond the outside to the inside and when you find the flaws, the lies, the deceit, spread the truth to the world. PP gives us that opportunity and while I am not here a great deal, I know it is always a place to come home to. Great piece, again. I have always considered you on the front lines in Ohio and if people there are waking up, the rest will as well. After all aren’t Ohioans in the Bellweather state?

    • kesmarn says:

      Thanks so much, Sue! That’s so kind of you to pass the word along on FB.

      Doesn’t it just drive you up the wall when people say that they don’t vote because “my vote doesn’t make a difference”? Isn’t that the same thing as saying: “If I can’t single-handedly control the outcome of this whole election with my one vote, then I won’t bother”?

      When all’s said and done, doesn’t that seem kind of narcissistic? It’s a way of saying that that person doesn’t feel that he/she is a member of a community. Which is a pretty sorry statement to make.

      I’m hoping that the next step in bellweather Ohio now is getting rid of Kasich. I think we can do great things if that happens, and even greater things if the whole country rejects Teabilly extremists across the board.

  5. Kalima says:

    Great article kes!

    A friend of mine in NC is unemployed, has no healthcare for many years and suffers with a chronic illness for the last four years. As you know the Repubs stopped unemployment benefits and will not take up the ACA, so he spent some of his last dollars to go to vote yesterday, hoping to unseat even one of the extremist TP crazies. Kudos, I’m proud of him.

    Complacency by voters led to the 2010 infiltration of nutters to The House, and the only way to be rid of them is to be involved in voting at the local level as you so clearly pointed out. When you weed a garden you have to make sure that you pull them out by the roots, otherwise in just a short time they grow back and spread. The same can be said of the tea party, so uprooting them is the only way to destroy them.

    The despicable man you wrote of needs to be exposed especially since being on the school board has this violent man making decisions for the community’s children and surely there must be enough concerned parents to start a petition for his removal? If not, there should be once they have all the disturbing information about him.

    Time to start the weeding. Vote for a Dem, any Dem on the ballot will be better than the alternative.

    I posted this a few weeks back and thought it quite nifty as it encourages younger people to vote.

    “Vote for Them” by Slam Poet Carlos Andrés Gómez

    • kesmarn says:

      Kalima, your friend in NC is one courageous citizen. People like him — who actually sacrifice to be able to vote — are really an inspiration. Isn’t it amazing that this right — that so many have fought and died for — is taken so lightly by so many?

      The weed analogy is such a good one. If they’re just broken off at ground level, it may look like they’re gone, but a week later they’ve taken over the garden again. And these GOPTP folks are nothing if not persistent.

      Carlos Andres Gomez’s vid was wonderful. I was talking to my twenty-something son tonight and he said he’s one of the few people in his age-bracket there in Madison who votes. And if the bright young grad students don’t vote — who does? The GOPTP people do for sure.

      • Kalima says:

        Yes my friend is a firm believer in democracy and I so admire that he votes even when the cards are stacked against him in his state. To all those who can vote and don’t, shame on them for the suffering they help create for millions of others.

        When the elections happened in the U.K. in 2010, I would have given anything to vote but couldn’t because I had no permanent address to register with over there. Now I do, and nothing would keep me from voting in 2015 for the sake of all those who have suffered and are suffering now under the Tory austerity hammer.

        Well those younger people who don’t vote will grow older and one day wish they had when something hits home with their own lives. If they don’t bother to vote they should keep quiet with their opinions as they haven’t earned the right to voice them.

        • kesmarn says:

          Kalima, it’s so good to hear that you’ll be able to vote in the 2015 election in the U.K.!

          As we’ve often said, a change in government is desperately needed there. The sooner the better!

  6. Well done kes, and also very good news. Remember, among TPers, all politics is yokel! 😉

    • kesmarn says:

      Ain’t it the truth, KT? 😉

      I do have a sense that the tide is turning. Don’t you think that the fact that the GOP cuts in food stamps came right before the election had something to do with the tremendous rejection of the TeaBillies at the polls? I wouldn’t doubt it myself.

      • It certainly didn’t help. Did the farm bill pass? I’m a bit behind the times for now.

        My sister depends a lot on food stamps, and I’m sure this will hurt her. But we are spending a few billion dollars building a brand new aircraft carrier. A carrier that we don’t need. Plus we are spending several billion more on 3 new destroyer ships. Which we don’t need.

        • kesmarn says:

          KT, all the money spent on the unneeded and unwanted military equipment is so frustrating! Unless — of course — you own a boatload of stock in Lockheed-Martin or Halliburton?

          And it’s beyond appalling that $24 billion were wasted on the shutdown, when these food stamps cuts only save $5 billion. No one can waste money like these guys.

        • OK, I just decided to stop being lazy and read up on the farm bill. Here’s what I found:


          I don’t think the president will sign a bill that contains what the TPers want. Radical cuts to the food stamp program. When will the more moderate republicans learn? As long as they kow tow to the tea party, they will continue to shoot themselves in the feet.

          • kesmarn says:

            It’s incredible that they actually want to cut $38 billion more from food stamps, KT. Surely, at some point, very serious health consequences are going to result.

            I read an article on MB a few weeks ago that said that in England the Red Cross has actually had to send in food packages. The cuts have been that severe.

            This is madness.

            • kes, I think it verges on criminal. I am sure many of these people call themselves Christians too. Not to mention the Bill of Rights where it says to “promote the general welfare.”

              These TP fanatics are not Americans at heart. They are fanatical ideologues that can’t see their own stupidity. Disgusting. One good thing though, they are really hurting themselves politically. I think you are right, there does seem to be a growing tide against them.

  7. Nirek says:

    Kes, apathy is the biggest reason the tea party got any power. Too many people too lazy to do their civic duty!

    A note for all people who don’t vote; you don’t vote , you don’t get to complain! Get off your ass and VOTE!

    • kesmarn says:

      You put it in a nutshell, Nirek!

      And may I add that if you did vote for a guy like Gov. Kasich, you don’t get to complain either — when your union job and pension disappear!

  8. AdLib says:

    Kes, I am just appalled at the idea of such a monster having power over children and education in OH. How can parents just stand by? I can’t believe that even the more right wing parents would be okay with this hostility and cruelty.

    When is this guy up for re-election and do you think he will be voted out?

    BTW, one of the quotes says “Oregon School Board President”, is that correct?

    As for the previous parts of your article, it is affirming that Toledo and other cities remembered the damage that these RWs have done and have sent them packing.

    There could be a lot more of this trend continuing if GOTV is revved up in 2014. I do think that nothing will be more helpful for spurring heavier Dem turnout than Repubs campaigning in 2014 and acting as they will continue to do in Congress.

    Despite what pundits might conjecture, just because it is an off year election, I think the threat of Baggers in power will change the typical dynamics, Dems and Indies know now how much is at stake with allowing any Baggers to have power and how much better things could be with responsible Dems in control locally and nationally.

    • kesmarn says:

      AdLib, I’ve had the same questions about how and why parents can stand by and watch this bully in action. There is a fairly substantial subset of fundamentalist-evangelicals in the area and they seem quite supportive of him. I think, to them, he looks like a person who is restoring the “natural order” of things. The woman he bullied on the school board seems to have meekly backed down, “proving” that she has learned her godly place. And children are in their submissive and gender-sorted stereotypical roles, as they “should” be.

      I forgot to mention that the kids watch videos of bible stories in their social studies classes — allegedly to learn history. But I don’t hear of any videos that involve Islam being shown… Funny thing, that.

      And on the Oregon School Board question: believe it or not, that is correct. The city is called “Oregon, Ohio.” (Confusing, I know. But only one of many confusing things about that town!)

      But my hope is that the sort of awakening that seems to have occurred across the area, and the state — basically a solid thumbs down on the Kasich regime — will affect this school district too.

      Maybe in the next election this guy will be tossed out like a bad school lunch.

      • AdLib says:

        Kes, how unChristian such rabid self-described “Christians” can be. They are okay with the “least among us” being attacked and harassed and somehow think that fits alongside being a Christian?

        As for the submissiveness of children and women, that’s what you see when a community allows bullies to control their society. You see it in the Middle East and sadly, you see it by the Muslim-hating RW Christians who aspire to the same kind of domination they howl about in the Middle East.

        I do think the majority has been catching on to these “Family Values” hypocrites but those communities where they are the most embedded will likely and unfortunately be the last to change.

  9. Greta42 says:

    Wow, Kesmarn -- What a clarifying statement from you about apathetic voters and what they cost us. Excellent piece. Have you thought to submit this to your local paper as an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor?

    • kesmarn says:

      Greta42, so good to see you here! And thank you so much for the kind words. I was thinking it might be a bit long for our local paper, but maybe I should reconsider that!

      There was one school issue in this area that failed by a mere 5 votes! So anyone who says that it’s a waste of time to get out for these “unimportant” elections is definitely mistaken.

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