From the monthly archives: August 2012

Mike Curtin retired from a long and distinguished career at the Columbus Dispatch and is now taking a position contrary to his former bosses:  Mike supports the redistricting reforms proposed by Voters First.

Mike has written multiple books on Ohio politics and most would consider him an expert on the subject.  He covered state politics for 18 years as a reporter before moving into management at the Dispatch, where he retired as vice chairman and CEO in 2007.

Today he told the Columbus Chamber of Commerce why he supports a YES vote on Issue 2 – the ballot initiative proposed by Voters [...]

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7706 State Route 703 in Celina, Ohio is the home of  State Senator Keith Faber’s Law Firm.  It’s also his campaign office.  And the property is owned by Faber’s company, JMKA LLC.

A review of Faber’s campaign expenditure reports and his Financial Disclosure forms for the past 7 years reveals that Faber’s campaign has paid $38,625.00 in rent to JMKA LLC since 2005 and some, if not all, of that money has gone right back to Faber in the form of “Rental Income”.

JMKA was formed in November, 2004 by Keith Faber and he appears to the be the sole owner.  The company was [...]

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It’s no secret that Mitt Romney’s ground game in Ohio is lacking.   My neighborhood Obama groups have been busy since last fall, long before Republicans had even decided on a nominee, but  Romney didn’t announce the head of his Ohio operations – a guy from Kentucky named J. Scott Jennings – until May.  And he didn’t open his first field office in Ohio until June.

With a race this close, the ground game is going to matter.   And Romney is late to the game.

At last count, Obama had 65 field offices in Ohio.  Romney has about half that many. [...]

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The man who has been overseeing the Division of Accountability for the Ohio Department of Education announced his resignation less than two weeks after the state agency found itself under suspicion of wrongdoing in the investigation into irregularities in student attendance reporting.

William Zelei, Associate Superintendent of Accountability and Quality Schools, submitted his letter of resignation on August 6, only two days after the State Superintendent stepped down, and only 11 days after the State Auditor revealed that ODE was also under investigation for questionable activities regarding School District Accountability, especially regarding the department’s role in the [...]

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Late last week we revealed that Secretary of State Jon Husted was planning to speak at the True the Vote summit this weekend.    Already in the news for restricting early voting hours in Ohio, Husted’s choice to speak at a summit promoting voter suppression techniques drew even more attention nationally.  The pressure, and potential impact on his reelection campaign in 2014, caused Husted to cancel at the last minute.

While True the Vote claims to support “voter protection” their true goals are much more sinister: to disenfranchise Democratic – especially minority – voters.   According to NBC News they are “part [...]

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No.

And that should be very disturbing to all of Ohio’s citizens regardless of your personal opinion on the school attendance investigation.  At this point, the schools and the Ohio Department of Education have not been found in violation of a single law, guideline, directive, etc.  In fact, the investigation was initiated because of “irregularities” in attendance figures and a single district requested assistance in helping to identify what policies and practices might need to be revamped.

No laws broken, no crimes committed, simply a request for assistance from the agency in the state that would aid in conducted an [...]

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In today’s edition of the Columbus Dispatch, reporter Bill Bush claims that the schools tried to pay off internal auditor Tina Abdella back in 2004 because she was, in Bush’s words, “trying to investigate data rigging.”  The article, titled District tried to buy off auditor, liberally asserts that recent claims by Abdella are factual in nature while repeatedly questioning statements by district authorities that contradict the former auditor.

We thought it was strange that these claims conveniently arose seven years later during the midst of an attendance investigation, but we found it to be even more interesting that [...]

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During the past couple of months, uninformed parties have hijacked the narrative that school districts have somehow committed a crime by “scrubbing” the data they submit to the Ohio Department of Education.  In fact, the concept of data scrubbing or data cleansing is considered a standard and positive process that works to identify and remove errors and inaccuracies within a data set to improve its validity.

Basically, the Dispatch’s ongoing criticism of data scrubbing as an inappropriate or criminal act on the part of schools also means that the newspaper is endorsing the use of unclean, [...]

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Despite having one of the worst headlines for an article in recent memory, Joe Vardon’s piece in this morning’s Dispatch is extremely revealing. It highlights what I would call the Tea Party Palinization of the Republican Party that has been going on since a black guy decided to run for and win the highest office in the land.

Palin famously was a policy and issues vacuum, preferring to rely mainly on empty catch phrases, right-wing rhetoric, and thinly veiled racism. Josh Mandel is like Sarah Palin’s cute little nephew, spewing the latest far right buzzwords like some kind of [...]

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While the Ohio Auditor is investigating attendance practices in districts across the state, the Ohio Department of Education (also a target of the investigation) continues to deny any culpability for the entire affair.  Instead, ODE spokesperson John Charlton has repeatedly defended the department’s actions as top notch and crystal clear.

From StateImpact Ohio:

Charlton says there should be no confusion about how to enter absentee data.

“The Ohio Revised Code clearly defines what a withdrawn student is,” he says. “I think if superintendents and school employees follow the revised code they’ll have no problem answering the questions and entering the [...]

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Since the Columbus Dispatch first began (wrongly) claiming credit for instigating a statewide investigation into “attendance fraud” by Ohio school districts, we here at Plunderbund have been the voice of logic.  While the central Ohio newspaper “reporters” have continued their narrative full of baseless attacks on the schools, we researched the law and identified the guidelines (or lack of) that the Ohio Department of Education provided to districts, proving that any districts that have may have modified attendance data retroactively have simply been following the process as spelled out in the law.

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