Fraser Institute Ranks Ohio 47th for Size of Government, 23rd for Taxation, and 39th in Labor Market Freedom

August 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm Matt View Comments

From Jeff Bell in the Columbus Business First:

Ohio finds itself in the bottom half of a new ranking that looks at how tax rates, size of government and labor union activity affect residents’ “economic freedom.”

The state is ranked 34th among the 60 states and Canadian provinces in the analysis by the Fraser Institute, a conservative research and education organization based in Canada. Ohio scored 6.5 on a scale of zero to 10 for economic freedom, which the institute defines as the ability of individuals and families to make their own economic decisions.

Delaware had the top score – 8.3 – while West Virginia was the lowest ranked state at 5.4. Canada’s Prince Edward Island was ranked 60th with a score of 4.

The rankings were drawn from 10 indicators of economic freedom based on size of government, taxes and labor market freedom, said Nathan Ashby, co-author of the report and an assistant professor of economics at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The full report is here, which shows Ohio is in second to last quintile of economic freedom in the region, putting us in line with much of Canada.

The metrics are interesting since they consider specific issues like Ohio not being a Right to Work state… and Fraser Institute has published groundbreaking work on economic growth and development, which was edited by my former academic advisor and friend Dr. Robert Lawson, a founder of the Buckeye Institute who now writes for the Division of Labour blog.

Ohio House District 42- Libertarian Endorses the Republican

August 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm Matt View Comments

Kristina Roegner with former Libertarian candidate John Hoover

Kristina Daley Roegner, a conservative challenger from Cuyahoga Falls with more than twice the money on hand as incumbent income-tax raising State Rep. Mike Moran ($34,169 to $17,169) , has put together an impressive campaign in the 42nd District. Roegner has been campaigning, without apology, on solid TEA party platform of lower taxes, shrinking government, and school choice. She is also is a principled social conservative with her support of  traditional marriage and opposition to abortion in all cases without exception.

Roegner has been so impressive to right-wing activists she he even impressed John Hoover, the Libertarian candidate, so much that he decided to gracefully exit the race:

A Libertarian candidate running for state representative for the 42nd House District is dropping out of the Nov. 2 election and endorsing the Republican candidate.

John E. Hoover, who was running on the Libertarian party, said Aug. 23 that he has withdrawn his candidacy and will endorse Kristina Daley Roegner, Republican candidate for the same office. Mike Moran (D-Hudson) is the incumbent candidate.

“Our positions were pretty close, hers and mine,” said Hoover, a Hudson resident. “It’s going to be a close election between Moran and her.”

Hoover and Roegner, a member of Hudson City Council, met after filing for the election earlier this year. ”

After meeting the first time, I knew right away that we agreed on many of the major issues including drastically cutting government spending, reducing the size, bureaucracy and burdensome regulations of government,” said Roegner. “I am honored and humbled to accept John Hoover’s endorsement in this race.”

When Moran heard about Hoover’s withdrawal, he said he would continue to campaign hard.

“I don’t plan on making any changes,” Moran said. “I’ve worked hard, I’ve made myself available, and I will continue to do the things I have done.”

Hoover, a lawyer with an master’s degree in finance, said he will probably offer Roegner advice on state budget issues.

“I’ve done a lot of research, and I’ll be giving her some information on that since it’s going to be a hot issue this coming year with deficits,” Hoover said.

I like taking a lot of cheap shots at libertarians, even though I agree with them most of the time. Their problem is, in a political system designed for two parties, they can often serve as spoilers for conservative candidates.

Libertarians allow perfect to be the enemy of the good, and come across as crazy anarchists waving black flags from a tree while simultaneously serving as useful idiots for big government statists on election day. And with a Ohio House Democrat majority who has passed budgets with a 4.2% income tax increase and billions of dollars in fees, a staunchly Republican caucus, lead by Rep. Bill Batchelder, offers a real conservative alternative in Ohio’s legislature. Hoover should be applauded for recognizing this, and his fellow libertarians should learn that Kristina Roegner is a true, small-government conservative.

Make sure to friend Kristina Roegner on Facebook here.

The High-Tech Recycling Police in Cleveland

August 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm Matt View Comments


It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling — and fine them $100 if they don’t.

The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard.

City Council on Wednesday approved spending $2.5 million on high-tech carts for 25,000 households across the city, expanding a pilot program that began in 2007 with 15,000 households.

$2,500,000 more to spend on an activity which doesn’t help the environment anyway.

This is the goal of the progressive movement: to monitor and control every aspect of your life.

Suddenly, Audi’s Super Bowl commercial doesn’t seem so funny:

New RGA Ad: Ted Strickland’s Trade Hypocrisy

August 27, 2010 at 10:47 am Matt View Comments

And now for another herky-jerky, slow-paced conversational ad from the Republican Governor’s Association:

RGA TV Ad: Ohio – Ted Stirckland “Twice” from Republican Governors Association on Vimeo.

The woman is perhaps too old to be the man’s daughter, so who is he? Obviously, he’s a businessman who became successful later in life and thus dumped the older, ugly first wife for a younger, more attractive #2. And unlike the old battle-axe, this one likes to cook!

I hope Columbus NBC 4′s Patrick Preston likes the mention of his scoop of how Ohio’s cash-for-clunker-fridges program, which in and of itself is a wasteful program designed to artificially boost the sale of refrigerators while simultaneously making second hand fridges more expensive for the working class, employed workers at a call center in El Salvador, as part of a $171,3000 state contract with Parago.

But as Ohio House Republican Leader Bill Batchelder and his caucus mentioned, the issue isn’t the trade with China. It’s hardly part of the Republican platform to want to STOP the inflow of cheap consumer goods to America. But what’s troubling is Gov. Strickland’s HYPOCRISY on trade, when taking a hard-line Pat Buchanan/Lou Dobbs anti-trade position, while voting in Congress against his own protectionist beliefs. The ad is off message.


OH-1: Steve Driehaus’ “Tax Cut”

August 27, 2010 at 10:18 am Matt View Comments

Congressman Driehaus, who is in a conservative district and will likely be defeated by former Congressman Steve Chabot rolled out a new ad yesterday:

Besides the obvious fact that taxes can’t be cut for 99% of Ohioans when more than 1/2 of all adults do not pay federal income taxes, what tax cut is he talking about?

He is talking about the Obama Stimulus package!

“I supported tax cuts for 99 percent of Ohioans and tax relief for small business to help them create jobs. Steve Chabot opposed the bill,” Driehaus said in the ad, referring to last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Chabot’s campaign spokesperson, Jamie Schwartz, fired back, saying Driehaus “has a serious aversion to the truth. His first campaign ad is a clear sign that he is desperate.”

“I’ve never heard of him refer to the stimulus package as a tax cut bill. It’s hard to make that argument when you’re spending $800 billion taxpayer dollars,” Schwartz said.

Gee whiz, so instead of embracing the anti-stimulus zeitgeist of this election cycle, massive spending projects are now  “tax cuts.” Driehaus earns an “A” for creativity.

Race to The Top Education Sweepstakes Due to Clerical Error in New Jersey

August 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm Matt View Comments

Ohio’s educators will receive a bailout, full of future spending mandates, thanks to a clerical error by bureaucrats in New Jersey. Gov. Christie explains in his famously blunt style:

Of course Ohio receiving the money after Ted Strickland’s State Superintendent was responsible for Ohio’s ranking DROPPING during the application process has NOTHING to do with the White House helping Gov. Strickland’s re-election campaign.

State Rep. Joe Uecker and Mike Wilson at Ohioans for Concealed Carry Picnic

August 26, 2010 at 5:58 pm Matt View Comments

Recently, the Ohioans for Concealed Carry hosted their annual Picnic in the Park, which is most certainly the safest picnic to attend in Ohio. While it was depressing to see so many Democrats there… including Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray and Gov. Strickland’s brother Roger, there were many faces from the Ohio legislature of Republicans who fight to expand access to your 2nd Amendment rights.

Here is State Rep. Joe Uecker of the 66th House District. This week, Uecker introduced an important bill to allow workers to keep concealed weapons in their car while at work:

And here is Mike Wilson, the founder of the Cincinnati TEA Party and a staunch advocate of gun rights who is in a tight race with incumbent anti-gun Connie Pillich, which could mean the difference between Leader Batchelder’s conservative caucus taking over the majority. Gun hating Democrats have promised to assist Gov. Strickland in passing a law that allows concealed carry into establishments serving alcohol into law… but they are sure taking their sweet damn time to do so.

John Kasich’s Plan to Finish the Regulatory Reform Strickland Failed to Accomplish

August 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm Matt View Comments

There is a reason that CEO Magazine ranks Ohio as the 44th worst state to conduct business in and the Tax Foundation ranks Ohio’s business climate as 47th….   Ohio has a heavy handed state government and endless costly, confusing, and excessive regulations. Ted Strickland has played lip service to to regulatory reform, but hasn’t gotten the job done.

From old Man Joe Hallett in The Columbus Dispatch:

Standing next to a three-foot tall stack of books containing state regulations, Republican gubernatorial nominee John Kasich today vowed to reform a regulatory process that he said is killing job development.

The thousands of regulations in the stack of books, Kasich said, have led to confusion in Ohio’s business community and cynicism about the state’s business receptiveness, creating “a modern tower of babble … that makes it difficult for businesses of Ohio to be successful.”

Joined by his running mate, Mary Taylor, and two GOP lawmakers at Ohio Republican Party headquarters, Kasich announced CSI Ohio – the Common Sense Initiative – his second policy pronouncement in a week, one that he said would streamline a business permitting process that can take two years and waste capital.

“Ohio’s cumbersome permitting process often costs us jobs,” Kasich said, continuing his call for a smaller and more efficient state government after announcing a plan last week to privatize the Ohio Department of Development.

Kasich said Taylor, the current state auditor, would be in charge of CSI Ohio, the goal of which is to help businesses, not play “gotcha” with them.

“We are not talking about doing away with all these regulations,” Kasich said. “What we’re talking about here is an effort to say if you’re a regulator, you’re going to work to help companies meet the regulatory standards in a way that promotes economic growth. To have a bunch of regulators out there beating down an industry and not making it easy for them to make money – it’s like a tug of war. You’ve got the business person pulling to create jobs and you have people without using common sense pulling the other way to destroy jobs.”

If elected, Taylor said she would initiate a review of state agencies’ regulations to ensure clarity and ease of compliance, identify duplication or excess, and bring the agencies enforcement process into agreement with the Kasich’s pro-business philosophy. State agency directors, Taylor said, would infuse “a constructive attitude toward businesses” through their staffs and any new or revised regulations would be vetted in public forums. Also, agencies would be required to consolidate new business registration applications in a single online tool.

The Ohio Department of Development proposal should be alarming to conservatives, as not all privatization is good… especially at an agency which exists largely for large transfers of wealth from you to private businesses in the name of job creation.

The conservative Mackinac Center (Michigan’s version of the Buckeye Institute) has been exposing the Michigan private development corporation for waste, fraud and abuse. It is a center which 31 of its executives are paid more than $100,000/year and hands out tax breaks and subsidies to politically connected firms in a state that would be much better served by serious, across-the-board tax cuts.  The only good part of John Kasich’s proposal is that, as far as we know, it will mean that more than 200 state employees (50% of the Ohio Department of Development) will be immediately fired… Something that should happen in more state offices.

But unlike crazy Scott Pullins, I’m not willing to buy Gov. Ted Strickland’s claim that his executive order accomplished regulatory reform and Kasich is just proposing what already has been accomplished. The problem is, though Strickland made minor progress at the margins, when a department suggests reform, it doesn’t face public scrutiny, and there is not consistency with rule changes being submitted to Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).

And after Strickland’s executive order, agencies still terrorize businesses and stifle job creation. For example, the Ohio EPA, which is an agency that probably shouldn’t exist and creates a second, confusing level of regulations on top of Federal EPA requirements. The Ohio EPA scared away 200 jobs from Continental Structural Plastics in the Village of North Balitimore, when the Ohio EPA demanded that they spend $500,000/year on pollution controls rendered unnecessary by equipment upgrades. I suppose this is the liberal dream of a green economy…. no pollution… but tell that to the citizens of North Baltimore who would like to provide for their families.

Similar stories of Ohio EPA insanity come from Timken, where the process of applying for a permit to install new equipment at their two electric arc furnance steel plants in Canton. The Ohio EPA required widly expensive add-on controls for mercury at both plants, even though the combined mercury emissions from Timken facilities, even after installation, would be far below Ohio’s regulatory requirements. But the Ohio EPA decided they would require it anyway, through application of their “engineering judgment” even though the federal EPA and the Clean Air Act does not require the upgrades. It’s as if the environmentalists at the Ohio EPA take pleasure in killing jobs.

In the summer of 2008, State Senator Keith Faber chaired a bipartian regulatory reform task force which met with business leaders and economic development professionals about barriers to job creation in Ohio. In March of 2009, bipartisan legislation was passed through the Ohio Senate to bring about regulatory reform, but once it got into the House it was severely watered down into an almost meaningless form by Ohio House Speaker Budish’s anti-business caucus.

In my opinion, the most important part of Kasich’s proposal is that regulations have a clear sunset date, instead of the current rules set forth by Strickland’s weak executive order allows those excessive regulations sitting dormant until a bureaucrat decides to play “gotcha” with a hefty fine or other punishment.

This is a proposed change that will be yet another sign on Ohio that says “Open for Business.” Instead of an administration which plays lip service to reform while breaking the law to enrich union friends, Kasich and Taylor’s pro-business posture, which could certainly be fined tuned, is still refreshing.

Rotenberg Moves Senate Race from “Toss Up” to “Tilt Republican”

August 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm Matt View Comments

From Rothenberg Political Report:

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) remains unreasonably optimistic about his prospects in the Senate race given his financial disadvantages, his standing in the polls, his campaign staff turnover and the national political environment. While Republican Rob Portman’s record certainly gives plenty for Democrats to shoot at, Fisher’s problems seem even larger. Because of that, we are moving this raced from Toss-up to Toss-up/Tilt Republican. Even this rating may understate Fisher’s problems a little more than two months out from Election Day.

Now the question is: Will the new communications director hired yesterday make it until the end of the month?

Ted Strickland’s New Ad: The Same Old Protectionist Song and Dance

August 24, 2010 at 9:05 am Matt View Comments

This is from a Governor who correctly voted for most-favored trade status China. Oh hum:

Ted Strickland should note that the real threat to Ohio manufacturing jobs isn’t outsourcing, but advancements in technology. Strickland’s childish approach to debating America’s dynamic economy is breathtaking.

Favored Nation Status for China Hypocrisy

August 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm Matt View Comments

If we stop trading with China, do you know how many products and services we would have to give up? And what we receive in the form of cheaper goods, China has a rapidly growing middle class. Trade, by definition, is mutually beneficial for all parties involved and makes both countries better off.

Gov. Strickland’s comments are populist and soft racism… and he is a hypocrite for voting for favored nation status.

Ohio House Democrat Depseration: Butler County Dems Falsey Acuse Rep. Combs of a Campaign Violation They Committed

August 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm Matt View Comments

First this was reported by the Oxford Press on Thursday:

The Butler County Democratic Party has sent a complaint Tuesday, Aug. 17, to the Ohio Elections Commission alleging Ohio Rep. Courtney Combs, R-Hamilton, has two illegal signs in Fairfield.

Jocelyn Bucaro, chairwoman of the local Democratic Party, said the two yard signs along Nilles Road do not have disclaimers that identify a campaign committee, committee officer and address, which is required by the Ohio Revised Code.

“It’s ‘Campaign 101,’ ” said Bucaro. “If any of my candidates would have done this, I’d call them out on it.”

The problem? ALL of Combs signs have the disclaimer printed, in small letters, as you can see from the pictures below:

And the great irony in all of this is that Bruce Carter, the Democrat candidate, has committed the same offense that his county party is accusing Combs of: failure to include a disclaimer on campaign materials. Below is Carter’s fundraising invitation with NO DISCLAIMER, which lists Jocelyn Bucaro, the Chairwoman of the local Democrat Party, as the RSVP:

Carter Fundraiser

I suppose it’s campaign 101 for House Democrats to throw everything and the kitchen sink at Republicans about to reclaim the majority… But in their eagerness, Democrats are making sloppy mistakes.

Here is Rep. Combs counter-complaint.

Lee Fisher Endorsement Amateur Hour

August 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm Matt View Comments


What do a roomful of cops do when they expect a politician or his substitute to show up and neither the pol nor his proxy shows?

They endorse the other guy.

Members of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association might have had other reasons Wednesday evening to prefer Rob Portman, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio. But Lee Fisher, the Democrat, could have improved his chances of winning the endorsement of the patrol officers detectives and dispatchers by making more of an effort.

Portman came and addressed the cops. Fisher was supposed to send a substitute. The sub was a no-show.

Well before Wednesday, Loomis received calls in support of Fisher from people whose names he won’t divulge but who came, he says, from the federal, state and local levels. The union told Fisher’s campaign that its members like to hear from the candidates, and the union told the campaign that it hoped to see both Fisher and Portman on Wednesday.

Fisher apparently had a conflict. But, Loomis says, “We were told a representative was going to come up.”

“He would have been better off had he said he wasn’t coming rather than saying he would send a representative,” Loomis says. “We were told that somebody was coming, and nobody did. It gives the impression, although I don’t believe that it’s true, that they don’t give much care to whether we are going to endorse them.”

It’s obviously not true for another reason. Fisher made a personal phone call to Loomis — at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, about three hours too late.

“He was asking me real basic questions, like ‘what is the endorsement process like’ and who does he need to talk to.

“Those,” says Loomis, “are questions that should have been asked two months ago.”

Lee Fisher thought about firing someone because of this, but he really can’t afford more of the endless staff turnover his campaign has been going through.

OH-13: Betty Sutton Attacks Ganley for Not Joining Millions of Democrats Who Believe Obama is a Muslim

August 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm Matt View Comments

Things must be getting ugly in the 13th District, as this is a very desperate fund raising email appeal:

And why should Ganley take a position on the surprising news that less than half of America doesn’t know that President Obama is a Christian, including many who still approve of his job performance? Why should he concern himself with any comments about the public image that the President presents?

After all, his father Muslim, and he can recite the Islamic call to prayer in a 1st class accent.

And he spent multiple decades attending Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which preaches radical black liberation theology, hatred of America, and is associated with Louis Farrakhan.

And he reviews daily spiritual updates on his Blackberry from religious advisers, including Muslims.

And he supports abortion in the last month of pregnancy.

Tom Ganley later clarified his comment by saying, “According to the White House, our President is a Christian and I have no reason to believe otherwise.” So Ganley, Betty Sutton and I all agree: President Obama is a Christian.

Stimilus Dollars for Columbus Art

August 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm Matt View Comments

NBC 4 Columbus has a fantastic report which shows you just what sort of nonsense stimulus dollars are spent on… But in Keynesian economics this is perfectly acceptable, as all spending supposedly educes the sort of economic recovery we are yet to see anywhere in the world when such programs have been tried:


Obama Caught in a Stimulus Lie… Columbus Project Actually Funded by Congressional Pork

August 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm Matt View Comments

No body is entitled to their own set of facts, except President Obama..

From The Dispatch’s soft spoken liberal hack Mark Niquette:

A local project that President Barack Obama cited during a visit Wednesday to Columbus as an example of how the federal stimulus package has worked isn’t actually being funded with stimulus dollars.

The president spoke at the North Side home of architect Joe Weithman, and both Obama’s comments and information from the White House touted Weithman’s work on a project that the president said was being at least partially funded by the $787 billion stimulus bill passed last year.

“What we’ve been trying to do is to build infrastructure that puts people back to work but also improves the quality of life in communities like Columbus,” Obama said in his remarks. “So Joe is an architect, and he’s now working on a new police station that was funded in part with Recovery Act funds.”

But although federal money is being used for the project in question, there are no stimulus dollars involved, said Columbus Finance Director Paul Rakosky, a Democrat.

Rakosky said the project is not a police station but rather the renovation of an abandoned warehouse that the city purchased on the South Side in 2007 to house the city’s police crime lab and property room.

Weithman’s firm, Mull & Weithman Architects, is handling the $300,000 in design work for the crime lab as part of the project, and the $300,000 is coming from a congressional earmark, Rakosky said.


August 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm Matt View Comments


Lee Fisher Defends Ground Zero Mosque? What About Other Ohio Democrats? Strickland?

August 18, 2010 at 11:59 am Matt View Comments

From Sabrina Eaton in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Democrats in Ohio want no part of the partisan brouhaha that has erupted over a plan to build an Islamic center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

“This is a sensitive issue, especially for those most directly affected by the attack at Ground Zero, and I trust that those in the area are in the best position to find a solution,” Copley Township Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton said on Tuesday.

“It is up to the people of New York City and their elected representatives to decide the disposition of properties in their city,” said Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “I might add that any person or group that uses tragedy for political gamesmanship two months before an election is not worthy of the term ‘American.’

Gamesmanship? Why are the ones raising the questions- aka 70% of America- the ones who are suspect?

Wouldn’t you rather ask questions about why anyone would, in the name of a supposedly peaceful religion, want to build a mosque ontop of a MASS MURDER SITE WHERE THE CRIME WAS COMMITTED IN THE NAME OF THAT RELIGION?

Lee Fisher’s 4th or 5th campaign manager this year, Lynne Bowman, a radical lesbian activist who is offended at the slightest perceived anti-gay comment, has no problem with Islam, even though in basically every Islamic country Lynne would be the first in line to be beaten and brutally executed:

Spokeswomen for Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lee Fisher said their bosses think local officials in New York should be responsible for the decision. Brown believes that “political operatives who seek to divide the country with this issue and others are attempting to distract from our most important priority — creating jobs and getting the economy back on track,” said his spokeswoman, Meghan Dubyak.

Lynne Bowman, Fisher’s campaign manager, said the candidate believes “that given the awful nature of the 9/11 attacks, that that decision should be made by the people of New York. But he’s also conscious of the constitutional issue — that we need to protect people’s freedom of religion.

Is that really a good enough answer? The War on Terrorism and 9/11 doesn’t just affect New York, but every state, and thus every United States Senator should express more than just a vague notion that it’s a local issue. And this has nothing to do with freedom of religion, as no one is being prohibited from practicing their faith… We’re simply raising a question of optics and taste.

And with President Obama in Ohio, spending more than $1 million and disrupting Columbus traffic to fundraise for Former Pastor Gov. Strickland… Someone must as today: TED STRICKLAND, DO YOU STAND WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SUPPORT THE GROUND ZERO MOSQUE?


Obama Is Not Really in Clintonville, but 5 Blocks North in a Fairly Upscale Home

August 18, 2010 at 11:04 am Matt View Comments

Here is the home, 156 E. Kanawha Ave.

What do we know about the family?

His architecture firm has done a number of fire houses and government buildings.

Joe & Rhonda WEITHMAN. 156 E KANAWHA AV. Columbus , OH. 844-5464

She has been a fairly consistent Democrat since 2000.

Joe voted Republican in 2006, and was a Democrat in the 2008 and 2010 primaries.

She has degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, and their Olin Business School, plus from Eastmoor High School

She is not Director of Business Development at Mull & Weithman Architects, Inc.
Architecture & Planning on Indianola in Columbus, Ohio and was Senior Account Executive at Time Warner Telecom

Joe’s background:
Joe Weithman, AIA grew up around the family business and worked as a laborer for Weithman Brothers, Inc. General Contractors in Galion, Ohio throughout his High School summers. Through this exposure, he realized that given his interest in the building process and his love for the visual arts, he would pursue a career in architecture.

While both Joe and B.J. were enrolled at The Ohio State University in the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, they discovered their ideals and commitments to the practice of architecture were aligned. Their friendship and dedication to the field of architecture grew while continuing on their collegiate experience. Together, Joe and B.J. attended the University of Oxford, England Architecture Summer Study Program in 1985, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in 1987, were employed at the same architectural firm in Columbus from 1985-1987, and completed the Architectural Registration Examination in 1992.

Since graduating and obtaining architectural licensure, Joe and B.J. continued their professional careers and friendship while working in Columbus and Toledo, respectively. Once again realizing their commitments to the architectural profession and desires to start a new venture, Joe and B.J. co-founded mull & weithman architects, inc. in January 1998. The two principals have a combined 44 years of experience designing Fire Stations, Municipal

Behold! The Greatness of the Third Frontier Program!

August 18, 2010 at 7:24 am Matt View Comments

Promised with the creation of 360 jobs, UltraCell Corp is shutting down their 14 jobs after wasting the money you were forced to invest in their business. This is what Gov. Strickland, Brian Hicks and Jo Ann Davidson worked so hard for.

UltraCell Corp.’s decision to close its Dayton fuel cell manufacturing operations in favor of consolidating in California is a disappointment but won’t stop the region’s technology development, local industry watchers said Monday, Aug. 16.

UltraCell surprised state development officials last week when it informed them of plans to shut down production in Dayton, effective Friday, Aug. 13. The California-based company fell far short of its promised employment in Dayton this year and may have to repay the state and city hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic assistance.

UltraCell’s retrenchment illustrates the risk that high-tech companies face in trying to gear up production for developing markets, officials at the Dayton Development Coalition and the Ohio Department of Development said.

“A lot of that risk has to do with the timing of market acceptance,” said Jim Leftwich, the coalition’s president and chief executive officer. “That’s a risk that every high-tech company has to deal with.” The Dayton region will push ahead with its long-term goals of developing advanced materials, aerospace research and other high-tech industries, Leftwich said.

Keith Scott, UltraCell’s chief executive, informed the state Development Department on Tuesday, Aug. 10, of the decision to consolidate operations in California. Scott didn’t return telephone calls Monday from the Dayton Daily News.

UltraCell was recruited to Dayton with much fanfare in 2006. It began operations in 2007 at a leased plant at Dayton International Airport.

Ohio is assessing how much of at least $2 million in technology-supporting Third Frontier grant money UltraCell may be asked to repay now that it has shut down in Ohio, said John Griffin, a state development official. The company also received workforce development funding.

Dayton gave UltraCell a $200,000 grant in 2007. The city will pursue the return of that money, said Shelley Dickstein, assistant city manager for strategic development.

Some of Ohio’s money supported UltraCell’s local R&D partners, the University of Dayton Research Institute and Miamisburg-based Mound Technical Solutions Inc., and the state won’t disturb that funding, Griffin said.

State Representative Ross McGregor is furious, and fired off this letter to the Dayton Daily News:

Dear Editor

I would like to express my disappointment in UltraCell Corp. for its broken promises to the Miami Valley region. The August 16th article, “UltraCell has closed its Dayton fuel plant, state officials say (Dayton Daily News, pg. A1),” cited that the city of Dayton gave UltraCell a $200,000 grant with the understanding that the corporation would create jobs and invest capital in the region. UltraCell promised 360 jobs to the area, though the plant employed only 14 workers when it closed on August 13th. Had UltraCell lived up to its agreement, the Dayton Region would have seen major advancement in its technological development. Instead, our communities have been denied jobs that Dayton paid UltraCell to provide.

In this faltering economy, the Miami Valley region cannot afford for its industries to default on their economic obligations. To develop a competitive high-tech industry, we need companies and corporations that make good on their promises, invest money in the local economy and enrich the job market. I support the efforts to hold the corporation accountable for the grant money it accepted. UltraCell should exhibit good corporate citizenship by returning the taxpayer money that it had received so that those resources can be used towards businesses that are willing to invest in our region’s economy. Still, I have confidence that the Miami Valley will continue with its technological development. We are on track to becoming a region known for a high-tech boom. Though this plant closing was clearly a blow, there is still hope for a stronger job market and a healthier economy in the greater Miami Valley.

This is what happens when money is taken out of the private economy to be redistributed in less efficient, political ways… Are advancements in battery technology a way for entrepreneurs to build wealth and create jobs? Perhaps, but private venture capitalists, who put their own money on the line, wouldn’t have given UltraCell such a enormous pile of money when they clearly had no intention of fulfilling their obligations.

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