Politics

Onumba.com editor Ike Mgbatogu interviews House Dem leader Budish

By , March 4, 2011 | 8:53 am | 0 Comment

Onumba.com editor Ike Mgbatogu interviews House Dem leader Budish

 ONUMBA.COM –  On February 24, Onumba.com and Call & Post Political and Community Reporter Ike Mgbatogu interviewed Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish at his Riffe Tower office Downtown Columbus, focusing on a wide panoply of issues that has him at odds with Republican Governor John Kasich. 

Here are excerpts of the interview.  A full story of the conversation will appear in the Call & Post newspaper next week.

On House Bill 1, The HB 1 calls for, ‘JobsOhio’ to usurp the job creation role of the Department of Development to be managed by a small cabal of folks assembled from the business community.  Mark Kvamme, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist The bill passed on straight party line, with all Republicans voting for it while all Democrats opposed it.  Gov. Kasich has called the Department of Development stale and unproductive in terms of job creation, he believes his new ‘Jobs Ohio’ Initiative is the way to go.

“HB1 takes a billion dollar of tax payer money, turns it over to a group of private individuals led by the governor” for economic development.

“The problem is those funds can now be expended in secret.”  Budish said that JobsOhio is “exempted from Ohio Sunshine laws, accountability laws and from Ohio’s ethics laws.  Why in the world would you ever exempt the expenditure of our tax dollars from Ohio’s ethics laws.” 

On Senate Bill 5, “It is extremely unfair.”  “Collective bargaining levels the playing field.  SB 5 is trying to turn back the clock.”

On $400 high speed rail grant: It was ‘no thank you.’  Gov. Kasich turned down the money, returned it back to the Obama administration.  “The money would have benefited freight in the state of Ohio.”

On diversity and cabinet makeup:  “All people in Ohio should be concerned about the makeup of the cabinet.  The strength of Ohio is our diversity.  We are a diverse state and that’s a strong plus.  That is the best way to come up with the best decisions.”

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

Copyright 2011 Onumba.com. The information contained in the Onumba.com news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Onumba Media Group.

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Kasich, Dems collide at the intersection of ‘House Bill 1′ Dr. and ‘Reckless’ Blvd.

By , February 2, 2011 | 1:43 am | 0 Comment

Kasich, Dems collide at the intersection of ‘House Bill 1′ Dr. and ‘Reckless’ Blvd.

ONUMBA.COM If Ohio’s new Republican Governor John Kasich and Democrats had hoped to work together to get things done, this was not a good start.

And the partisan brawl is just starting.

Ohio House Democratic leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) and his minority caucus have one simple word to describe Gov. Kasich’s rush to privatize a portion of the Ohio Department of Development:  “reckless.”

Calling this a hugely bad idea, Budish, last week, urged Kasich to go slow on this to allow more deliberation as part of the process.

But a gung-ho, rabid, cacophonous, tough talking Kasich is moving “at the speed of business” to privatize Ohio’s job growth efforts, vowing not too long ago to “run over” anyone who is not on board.

Budish, cited as one of his reason for opposing this plan, the recent fiasco in Florida where the Republican Governor Rick Scott recently fired the president of a company he hired to privatize the Department of Development in that state.

His niggling bugaboo is the question of “accountability.” 

“The Florida example should lead Governor Kasich to slow down his headlong march toward his reckless plan for Ohio,” said Budish.

“Our caucus raised good questions about accountability, conflict of interest, pay to play and open records. Between these issues not being addressed and the news out of Florida we should be carefully considering this legislation, not rushing it to a vote next week,” said Budish.

Kasich disagreed, calling the Department of Development wonky, stale and in a perpetual lull.

House Bill 1, crafted to drive his vision on this, was muscled to passage by the Ohio House today.  The legislation will now go to the Ohio Senate for consideration. 

The bill calls for, ‘Jobs Ohio’ to take over the job creation function of the Department of Development to be managed by a small pantheon of folks assembled from the business community.  Mark Kvamme, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist was hired a couple of weeks ago to lead the effort.

Democrats are unleashing a firestorm of opposition to this.

State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati), who voted against HB1, said this:

Ohio House Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati)

Ohio House Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati)

“It is irresponsible to allocate $1 million of taxpayer money with so many questions that are still unanswered today.  I don’t know of any bank in America who would allocate that kind of money without a detailed business plan.”

Rep. John E. Barnes, Jr. (D-Cleveland) agreed.

“I opposed HB 1 because it promotes a regressive public policy on business development that lacks transparency and accountability of public funds. This is another example of private sector subsidization with giveaways for the wealthy but no tangible financial assistance for small businesses and minority business firms. Ohio needs a business environment that is both transparent and effective where all economic segments can compete in a fair way. In the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, unemployed Ohioans in urban centers, inter-ring suburbs and rural communities should have the resources they need to revitalize their communities. They can only prosper if they are progressively integrated into an untapped regional, national and global economic strategy.”

None of this came out of the blue, though.  Kasich said he was going to do this, straight up.  During the recent bruising campaign for governor, at pretty much every stomp, he made it abundantly clear that he would privatize the department. 

He even at times vowed to scrap the development agency altogether.   

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

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Onumba.com, Roland Martin to be at Black legislator’s luncheon at Statehouse

By , February 1, 2011 | 1:51 pm | 0 Comment

Onumba.com, Roland Martin to be at Black legislator’s luncheon at Statehouse

ONUMBA.COM – The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation will hold its 13th Annual African American Legislator’s Day Luncheon on February 15.

The event will be held at the Statehouse in Columbus. 

Onumba.com will cover the event wall to wall.

The keynote speaker will be national commentator Roland Martin.  The theme of his speech will be “Leadership in Challenging Times.”

“We are delighted to have world renowned journalist Roland Martin, who will highlight the achievements of the African Americans in Ohio as well as the national community,” said State Representative Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), the President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

State Representative Alicia Reece (D – Cincinnati) will chair the clambake.

Each year, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, hosts a luncheon to recognize the contributions of African-American legislators.

It is held during the Black History Month.

Mr. Martin is a syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate.  He is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host of ‘Washington Watch with Roland Martin,’ a one-hour Sunday morning news show.  He is also a CNN Analyst, and senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Mr. Martin is the author of ‘Listening to the Spirit Within:  50 Perspectives on Faith,’ and ‘Speak Brother:  A Blackman’s View of America.’

In a statement, Rep. Reece spoke about the importance of the event.

“The annual luncheon serves to recognize the achievements of African American political and community leaders,” said Reece.  “We are looking forward to having an excellent event.

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: editor@onumba.com or Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

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