Today’s post is one that I do not want to write.
That said, I feel compelled to do so as it is time some of these things were said. I will do my very, very best to keep it positive. After all, fighting fire with fire never works.
I have, numerous times, made it quite clear how I feel about the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) on this site. For refreshers, and for the sake of brevity, you can read here, here, and here to see past blog posts that have mentioned COAST on this site. Lastly, Andy Chirch, of “Downtownity,” wrote an article in which I discuss COAST – if you missed it, you can access it here.
However, time & time again I read an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer that clearly leans toward COAST’s principles, and I am not sure why – for an example, please read this morning’s cover story on the streetcar subsidies. I also see numerous people around town embracing their ideas, and (again) I am not sure why. I fully understand the desire to keep taxes low, and I embrace the idea of government having a true and time-tested system of checks & balances, but I do NOT condone hate-speech, less-than-honest lawsuits, and the impediment of progress.
With that said, I feel it is past time to let you all know who COAST really is, and how they operate.
I will, briefly, re-post (in its entirety) a few bios below to serve as introduction:
Mark Miller: Engineer and COAST Treasurer. You may remember Mr. Miller’s name as Chris Seelbach asked him to step down as COAST’s Treasurer after Mr. Miller tweeted, on the 10 year anniversary of September 11th: “3% of FDNY died 10 years ago by terrorism. Today Cincinnati lost 17.5% of fire companies by brownouts to pay for a streetcar. Which is worse?”
Jason Gloyd: Real estate agent and COAST Chairman. Mr. Gloyd and his cronies went after Hamilton County Commissioners when they spent 20 cents on a proclamation of Gay Pride Day.
Chris Finney: Attorney and COAST Figurehead. Mr. Finney’s name may be familiar to you, as most who follow local politics have run across his name from time to time, but one piece of his career is conspicuously not spoken of all that much. First – we all know that there is a deficit in Hamilton County’s Stadium Account. Some of us know that Mr. Finney and COAST opposed any tax increase (obviously) a few years ago to plug that deficit. To go further back – in 1996 voters ok’d a half-cent sales tax increase that was supposed to pay for both of the new stadiums (this increase was supported by Mr. Finney and the County Commissioners). More back story – the lease between the Bengals and the County is lopsided, at best. The lease calls for all upgrades to be paid for by the County, revenue to be shared when the stadium is used for other purposes, and, best of all, does not require the Bengals to pay rent in the latter years of the deal. Wow. Hamilton County got the short end of THAT stick. But why? In 1995 Mr. Finney lauded the deal, saying, “the plan makes sense and it won’t cost me a nickel.” Oops. Mr. Finney’s plan, all those years ago, was to increase the sales tax and use the increased revenue to rebate some homeowners on their property tax (namely, wealthy homeowners who stand to gain from receiving rebates on property tax – NOTE: this rebate meant nothing to low-income people – and very little to the middle class). Mr. Finney was quoted as saying, “how does this magic happen – that a tax increase results in lower out-of-pocket expenses and solves these crushing problems? The half of the taxes not returned to property owners will be paid by out-of-county residents.” Oops, again. Mr. Finney is an intelligent man, but he was unable to foresee a future in which residents outside of Hamilton County did not make as much money as planned, nor did he account for the low-income residents INSIDE of Hamilton County. But, the good news is that Mr. Finney and his friends got a nice kickback to cushion their bank accounts. Oh! And one more piece of good news – one of the three county commissioners responsible for getting the stadium deal to go through, Bob Bedinghaus, was hired by the Bengals in 2001 and now serves as the team’s Director of Business Development. So, at least someone is profiting off the deal. Lastly, in 2011, the Wall Street Journal, lauded for its conservative presentation of all things fiscal, called the stadium debacle and the Finney-supported-tax-deal “one of the worst professional sports deals ever struck by a local government.”
Ok – so there are some of the major players.
COAST and Mr. Finney have appeared in the news as of late due to their role in the parking lease referendum. So, his name may be familiar to you. I have heard from some close to the parking referendum that Mr. Finney has a “twisted view” of reality. Not my words – theirs.
So, why this post today about COAST? Why continue to beat a dead horse, you ask?
Because I can handle greed, hatred of the urban core, and even a little bit of grandstanding. I understand how these play into people’s public life. I may not like it, but I have seen enough of it to understand it and ignore it.
One thing I cannot handle is intentionally misleading the public – those you purportedly support – for your own personal gain. But again, I have already touched on this far too many times in relation to COAST.
However, my latest discovery has me on edge, and I feel that the citizens of Cincinnati need to know how low COAST can go. More importantly, I ask COAST to join the rest of us in civil debate. There is room for all of us at the table, but not when insults and misinformation are tossed around so casually.
There is a website out there, Republicans For Higher Taxes, that is chock full of misinformation, hate speech, and borderline illegal articles that walk an all-too-not-fine line between defamation of character and libel.
It has come to my attention through numerous sources that this website is run by @JeffCapell. At the time of this posting, Mr. Capell had not confirmed or denied this assertion – so, I cannot say for certain if this is true, only that numerous trusted sources tell that it is so. Furthermore, Mr. Capell has been known to bash me on Twitter and say rude things about others – rarely stating facts when doing so. One thing IS for certain, Mr. Capell allowed Mr. Finney to use his residency in Blue Ash to file suit against Blue Ash regarding the sale of the airport. Similar to how Mr. Finney used the residency of a Cincinnati resident to file suit against the City regarding the parking lease. I have yet to see Mr. Finney sue his neighborhood of Anderson for anything.
Republicans For Higher Taxes, as the name may indicate, is a parody site – lauding the benefits of the streetcar, the IRS, etc. All of the comments on the site are also parodies. Those who comment are named, “Christine Seelbach,” “CincyCappell’s Childless Marriage,” “Inbred Westsider,” and many more libelous monikers that I am not going to waste my time publishing. Even I have my own name for when “I” comment on Republicans For Higher Taxes’ posts: “Mike Moronski.” It should be noted that when I was teased in the third grade this is what my classmates called me. I would hope that adults could come up with a better way to insult me. Seriously, try a little harder – come up with something clever, intelligent, truly insulting. Alas, I suppose I will have to settle for third-grade humor. I wish I could expect more from those managing the Republicans For Higher Taxes site. One thing is for sure – the name HAS caught on! I have seen people on Facebook calling me “Mike Moronski” in reference to many of my policies that cut costs, promote investment, encourage equitable development, and move the City forward. I suppose those ARE silly ideas. Maybe I am a moron.
I will not go to the trouble of rewriting the hate speech that is found all over the aforementioned website, but I will say this – if COAST, or COAST members ARE behind this site, then they had better get ready to go to court. I am not saying that I will sue them, for I could care less what they say about me – but someone will. You cannot refer to someone’s wife as a “pig,” or reference someone mistakenly killing their spouse because she looks like a pig, or arbitrarily call a person “racist,” etc., etc., for too long before you end up in court.
Mr Finney: If you are behind this in any way, I applaud you for being so secretive about it – for surely you know that the hateful slander on this site teeters quite precariously on the legal tight rope. If you are not affiliated with this site, that would make me very happy indeed – for, as I have already said, we need all opinions at the table, and I hope we can continue to count on yours through polite discourse. However, if any of your cohorts are managing the page, I would back away from them as soon as possible if you hope to retain any of the slowly dwindling credibility COAST has in this City, er, Suburbs.
Speaking of Suburbs. I love the suburbs. I grew up in the suburbs. I am so very confused by the HATRED the COAST Suburbanites have for the City. My wife has a great idea – form a Coalition that protests ballot issues in places like Blue Ash and Kenwood. We can call ourselves, “COST” – The Coalition Opposed to Suburban Taxes. I ask you this, COAST: How silly would it look for a bunch of Downtown residents to protest what was happening in the Suburbs? Methinks it would look very silly, indeed. Guess what? Y’all look just as silly – and greedy – because you throw earning money on top of your silliness.
I want to see GREATER Cincinnati succeed. Many COASTers have sent the exact opposite message – whether they meant to or not. And again, COAST’s cohorts at Republicans For Higher Taxes are dragging them down. I give COAST yet another opportunity to tell me that they have NOTHING to do with that site.
Before I close, I would like to send a couple of messages:
Cincinnati Enquirer: if you truly do get information from COAST, my question to you is simple – “Why?” I remember a tweet from COAST after Barry Horstman died. It made mention of the fact that he was “whacked by the streetcar mafia.” If my memory serves me well, his daughter was quite upset by this. If I was a staffer at the Enquirer, I would be outraged. I was not even a fan of Mr. Horstman’s reporting a majority of the time, but that tweet from COAST was about as cold-hearted & unprofessional as it gets.
COAST: your tastelessness has nothing to do with politics. If the site, Republicans For Higher Taxes, has anything to do with you, and people begin getting wise to how you play ball, you could be in for a nasty day. Your website is tough enough to read at times, but it clearly stays further inside the realm of legality and is slightly less hateful than Republicans For Higher Taxes. I assume you will never read this post, but if you do, please feel free to address my accusations. I, unlike YOUR organization, will respond. Furthermore, I will give you the respect of letting you know that I have written this – unlike when you and your friends bash others (including me) on your website, tweets, and elsewhere.
We live in a democracy. We are all entitled to our own opinions. I, for one, welcome conservative & liberal ideologies alike. I, for one, do NOT welcome hate from EITHER side. For our democracy to work we must engage in civil dialogue. It is time that we stand up to COAST and their counterparts and let them know that their hateful means of advocacy are debilitating to the democratic process and our City’s progress as a whole.