Words Columbus Media Insider with the M looking like broken glass

I am tired of elected officials acting like they are smarter than we, the people.

I am tired of them acting like we, the people, are Rip Van Winkles, who just woke up from a long sleep.

I am tired of them scheming with and making secret promises to the powerful and keeping we, the people, in the dark.

Case in point: Gov. Mike DeWine's proposed 18-cents-a-gallon gas tax increase for highway and bridge projects.

Do you remember candidate DeWine campaigning on a massive tax hike?

Do you remember the candidates for the Ohio Legislature doing so?

Of course not. Candidate DeWine promised voters to not raise taxes. Now he is a born-again tax-hiker. Coincidentally, he just announced he's paying himself back the $3 million he lent his campaign. It's a good bet he will get lots of donations from highway builders made busy by the gas tax.

The Ohio House seems in a hurry to pass the bill. Speaker Larry Householder, who had to court and make concessions to Democrats to win the job, knows there is lots of money to be raised from contractors in future elections cycles to enshrine him in power for the next six years.

The Ohio Senate is playing hard to get. President Larry Obhof appears to be resisting the massive tax hike, but probably can be persuaded to provide the votes if the tax is lowered a bit. He needs happy contractors to tap for contributions, too.

All three conservative Republicans know that the sooner the bill is passed and the tax implemented, the better. They are betting that voters will forget the pain of paying more at the pump when they go to the polls in November, 2020.

We, the people, aren't even part of the calculation.

The news media, who should be looking out for us, has carped a little bit, but largely supports the gambit, believing that highway building will boost economic activity and swell advertising revenue.

Our country was founded, in part, because Colonists were taxed unfairly by the British Parliament. "No taxation without representation" was a battle cry. And a worthwhile one.

Nearly two-and-a-half centuries later the "parliament" in Columbus is about to  impose a major tax increase on us "colonists," ordinary Ohioans, without consulting us.

There is a remedy to this undemocratic approach: LET THE CITIZENS VOTE.

A time-honored political axiom of local politics is: NO TAX HIKES WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE.

DeWne, Householder and Obhof have no mandate to proceed. They didn't campaign on it. They shouldn't do it.


Damaged Kris Jordan Gets Another Freebie From The Media

67th DistrictState Rep. Kris Jordan of Delaware County is getting another free pass from the Columbus media as he files for Delaware County Clerk of Courts only a few weeks after taking office.

Jordan suffers from a messy divorce filled with domestic abuse allegations and an unwillingness to campaign in public. He will face incumbent Cindy Dinovo in the GOP primary. The winner will face Democrat Emma Mirles, a dynamic people's lawyer.

Republican Jordan severely underperformed in November, winning only 56 percent of the vote against Cory Hoffman, a dynamic young attorney, in bright red Delaware County.

Jordan avoided public appearances, but spent more than $100,000 sending multiple color postcards to prospective voters.

He is betting again that name recognition, big money and hiding out will carry the day.


  • Attorney General Dave Yost continues to get freebies from the Columbus Dispatch. He gloms onto whatever the paper covers and it puts him on Page One. Republican Yost is such a publicity hound that one wonders if he is planning to run for governor in 2022 if septuagenarian DeWine steps aside.
  • Waiting in the wings to run for attorney general in 2022 may be Democrat Marc Dann, who won the post in 2004, but resigned in disgrace.  Dann filed a lawsuit on behalf of journalist John Damschoder demanding records of state pension investments with John Kasich's pal venture capitalist Mark Kvamme's firm. This could be a bombshell scandal in the making.
  • The Columbus news media still hasn't uncovered the amount of Ohio State University's buyout of Urban Meyer's multimillion dollar contract.
  • The most powerful Democrat in Ohio is now officially Andy Ginther. Unopposed for a second term as mayor of the capital city in the state's most populous region, Ginther has five free years to go statewide, or national, or both.
  • Thanks to the Delaware Gazette for publishing an updated version of my February column titled "Local Government At Its Worst."

 (Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,

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