Hero of the Lost Cause (pragmatic_chimp) wrote in ontd_political,
Hero of the Lost Cause

Ohio's New Governor Finds Astonishingly Original Ways to be a Hypocrite, even by Repub Standards

COLUMBUS — There's been no doubt that there will be budget cuts after Governor-elect John Kasich takes office, and he was warning even before the election that there would be protests over some of what he plans.

And then he saw the recent photo of a horrified Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, as London student protesters, angry over the tripling of college tuition, attacked their car headed for the theater.

"There are going to be some protests [in Ohio]," Mr. Kasich told The Blade. "It's all right. When I noticed the picture of Charles and Camilla on the front page, that somebody tried to kick in their door, that's outrageous. Frankly, it hacks me off to see people being so violent."

Mr. Kasich, a Republican, faces a potential revenue shortfall of as much as $8 billion to $10 billion going into the next two-year budget. He declined to comment on whether protests of the level seen in the United Kingdom, Greece, and other European nations over budget cuts are likely at the Statehouse.

But he said there will be protests.

"Do they scare me? No. I went to school in the '70s, come on," Mr. Kasich said.

Mr. Kasich, 57, has frequently said that he owes no one anything as he prepares to balance the next state budget while simultaneously promising no tax increases.

He stresses that everything is on the table, but his early priorities will challenge entrenched interests.

He's vowed to take on public employee unions and eliminate binding arbitration, part of Ohio's 27-year-old collective bargaining law that forces both sides in local police and firefighter disputes to submit final offers to a neutral third party who settles the dispute once and for all.

Binding arbitration was created as a trade-off to prohibit public safety workers from striking.

"I'm totally against binding arbitration," Mr. Kasich said. "That's ridiculous. It's just killing cities, killing our communities. It's somebody who comes here from the moon and imposes an agreement on taxpayers. Then they leave and have no responsibility. It just handcuffs our mayors and our public officials. It's going to come to an end if I have my way."

Republican control

And with Republicans in control of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate as well as all seven seats on the Ohio Supreme Court, it looks as if there won't be anything to stop the governor from changing the state's labor laws if that's what he wants to do.

He declined, however, to detail what labor law reform might entail.

His first year in office also will include negotiations on the next three-year labor agreements with state employee unions.

Shortly after he took office, current Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland won a pay freeze and two years of 10 mandatory unpaid leave days for workers to help balance the state budget.

Mr. Kasich said he will seek "equity" through civil service reform.

"In the old days, if you worked for the government, you got lower pay in exchange for more benefits and more security," he said. "Now you get better pay, better security, better benefits. Just this whole thing about sick days and personal days and vacation days, nobody in the private sector gets these kinds of things."

"It is not fair for a lady who's a single mom with a couple of kids, working two jobs, to have to pay all this largesse for a public employee she's supporting," Mr. Kasich said.

He wants to end the practice of requiring the prevailing wage — typically local union-scale wages — on public construction projects.

He's vowed to undo orders signed by Governor Strickland extending collective bargaining rights to home health-care nurses and independent child-care contractors.

‘Not against … workers'

Even so, Mr. Kasich insisted he's not out to get the unions.

"I'm against the union bosses of the public unions," he said. "I had a beautiful conversation with the president of the [United Auto Workers of America]. He's going to be a good guy to work with, but I think union bosses at the teachers' union and a lot of the public employees' unions have just not been good.

"I'm not against the workers," Mr. Kasich said. "I'm not really against anybody. I just think these union bosses have lost their way. I think they have self-interests that outweigh all other interests and the public's interests. I think they know I think that way, too."

Mr. Kasich's desire to seek changes in the collective bargaining law is likely to find some support in local government offices around Ohio.

John Kasich celebrates as the GOP sweeps state offices on Election Day. With his party in control of the governor's office, the legislature, and the Supreme Court, Mr. Kasich's policies will be hard to stop.

Toledo Law Director Adam Loukx said arbitrators want to split the opposing contracts down the middle, rather than recognize a community's inability to meet the contract demands made by their unions.

"My fundamental problem with it is that you're allowing one guy to overrule the people of the legislative body of the municipality or the governmental entity, and given the fallibility of humans, I just don't like putting it in the hands of one guy," Mr. Loukx said.

John Mahoney, deputy director of the Ohio Municipal League, said his members are not satisfied with the collective bargaining law, which he said has not been revisited since it passed in 1984.

"My folks feel binding arbitration has developed a bias against management," he said.

Union push-back
Mr. Kasich's plan to take on public employee unions will face intensive union push-back, which is already forming.

Outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland has had discussions with Joe Rugola, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO that represents some of the largest state and local employee unions, about forming a public policy think tank to counter the influence of the conservative Buckeye Institute think tank.

He disputed claims that the collective bargaining law has been an obstacle to efficient government.

"We're not going to solve budget problems at any level of government by driving down wages, pensions, and benefits for people who are already making nothing more than a moderate working-class living," Mr. Rugola said. "If you want police and fire protection, if you want safe highways, clean drinking water, your trash picked up, you have a better chance of doing that if you pay someone a decent middle-class wage rather than if you pay folks minimum wage, which I think, frankly, is the kind of work force John Kasich is aiming for eventually in Ohio."

Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, which was swept out of statewide executive offices and lost its leadership in the state House of Representatives, said Mr. Kasich won the election because voters had a hard time believing that the Strickland administration was not as bad as it was being portrayed.

But he predicted Mr. Kasich, along with formerly moderate Republicans who support him in attempting to dismantle the collective bargaining law, will overreach.

"John Kasich doesn't understand because he spent the last 10 years working for Lehman Brothers. He has a Wall Street mentality. Why on earth would you attack the middle class, the very backbone of Ohio?" Mr. Redfern said, referring to the investment firm whose 2008 collapse contributed to a worldwide financial crisis. "The voters of this state, led by the firefighters and the police officers and the teachers and sewer workers and the garbage men, will stand up and say, ‘Enough.'?"

Call for review
Kevin DeWine, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said collective bargaining and the prevailing wage rules are due for review.

"It's been nearly 30 years that law's been in place with little revision. It's time to take a long, hard look at whether that is still serving all the constituencies of the state," Mr. DeWine said.

Lucas County GOP Chairman Jon Stainbrook said Mr. Kasich is exactly what Ohio needs right now.

"For years, Democrats have given away the store to public employee unions and we need to reverse that," Mr. Stainbrook said. "If Governor Strickland would have spent the last four years modernizing state government it wouldn't be so hard, but Democrats haven't been willing to cut spending the way it needed to be cut. The party is now over."

The governor-elect continues to gradually fill his cabinet posts. But for a man who campaigned on bringing an outside business mentality to government, the vast majority of his picks are people who are in government or returning to it.

"Part of the trick here is if you can get people and have them be reborn, and many of them have been saying, ‘There's no way I would have wanted to go back into government, but I think things are going to be different in this administration'," Mr. Kasich said. "We have some people who have been recharged. It's not like they've gone from one government job to another.

"I said we're going to have a businesslike mentality," he said. "What you don't want to do is just bring a business person in, put them in a bureaucracy, and have them go into a learning curve where they get eaten by — what are those fish? — piranha."

Staying in Westerville
The governor-elect has opted to move his own office back to the 30th floor of the Vern Riffe Tower, a state office tower across the street from the Statehouse.

Mr. Strickland had been the first governor since fellow Democratic Gov. Richard Celeste to base his operations in the Statehouse.

Mr. Kasich insisted the decision is not an indication that he will be less accessible, either to everyday Ohioans or to reporters who might otherwise run into him in the halls of the Statehouse.

"It provides a little bit more of a controlled atmosphere," he said. "I know I'm going to go into that [Statehouse] office, because I used to go in there to see Jim Rhodes from time to time. But I think it's more orderly (to be in Riffe). The thing you learn in this is you need to have order. … I think it can get chaotic on that [Statehouse] floor there."

He also has said he, his wife, and twin daughters will stay in their home in the Columbus suburb of Westerville rather than move into the Governor's Residence in Bexley.

Although he faced criticism early in his campaign for a lack of news conferences and media accessibility, Mr. Kasich said he doesn't believe anyone has been more available to the press since the election than he has been. Recently, he's held multiple news conferences across the state as he's rolled out his cabinet.

"In terms of the public, I haven't changed anything," Mr. Kasich said. "I still go to the World Gym. I still go to Bob Evans. I don't intend to change any of that. In fact, the other day I was in the gym lifting weights. I was lobbied in the gym on prisons, Medicaid, the arts.

"People say, ‘Look, I have no other time that I could ever talk to a governor,'?" he said. "So I say, ‘Talk, but I'm going to lift weights while you're talking.'?"

Source is local. 

Love how this jackass is ready to stand up for Charles and Camilla, instead of the working class students in England who are literally having their futures stolen away by these educational cuts. It really shows where Republicans' true loyalties are when we see them pandering to the super rich like this.

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