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}

Leave a Comment

Please Login to comment
9 Comment threads
20 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
fjbagrippaSallyTSueInCaKalima Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

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.


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.


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………….



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?


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



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


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!


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.


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?