Look Ahead America Helps Secure Another Victory Against “Black Box” Voting Equipment in Stark County, Ohio

Washington DC— Yesterday, the Stark County Commissioners voted to reject proceeding with the purchase of black box voting equipment. This follows Look Ahead America’s public call to action against proceeding with this purchase on February 3.

LAA Executive Director Matt Braynard issued the following statement:

I am grateful to the elected officials of Stark County for heeding the calls to press the ‘pause’ button on proceeding with this purchase, and am even more grateful to the many citizens of Stark County for making their voices heard.

The next step for Stark County is the need for public hearings on the dangers of black box voting equipment and the benefits of open-source alternatives for restoring faith in election integrity, lowering costs, and growing local jobs.

This is the second recent major victory for Look Ahead America’s effort to eliminate black box voting equipment following the state of Louisiana’s withdrawal of a $100 million contract for black box equipment last week.

Stark County Board of Elections can be reached as follows: Bill Smith at 330.451.7359 or bcsmith@starkcountyohio.gov; Janet Weir Creighton at 330.451.7376 or jwcreighton@starkcountyohio.gov; Richard Regula at 330.451.7370 or rregula@starkcountyohio.gov.

Find LAA’s original statement on Stark County’s proposed purchase here: https://lookaheadamerica.org/stark/.

WHAT IS “BLACK BOX” VOTING EQUIPMENT? Black box voting equipment runs on software and hardware design that is a corporate secret. The source code of the software is generally unavailable for public and government official inspection. Black box voting equipment also locks a client into using only the original manufacturer for service of that equipment.

WHAT IS OPEN SOURCE? Open source is software or hardware with source code or a design that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. Learn more about open source here: https://opensource.com/resources/what-open-source.

MATT BRAYNARD is the former Director of Data and Strategy for the Trump campaign. He drafted and executed the strategy of targeting low-propensity voters who had a high affinity for President Trump. He is the president of Braynard Group, a political and digital strategy firm. He has worked for over one hundred federal, state and municipal candidates, and many national advocacy organizations and non-profits. He previously worked on messaging and survey research for Frank Luntz, was a senior redistricting and election administration analyst at Election Data Services, and served for three election cycles in the Republican National Committee’s Political Analysis department. Prior to joining the RNC in 1996, Matt was a field coordinator for Buchanan for President.

 

 

Why is the Ohio Capital Journal Lying About State Representative Diane Grendell?

State Representative Diane Grendell

Why is the liberal, dark money funded fake news Ohio Capital Journal lying about State Representative Diane Grendell?  And why is no one but this little newsletter standing up for her?

Where is Speaker Cupp?  Where is the House Republican Campaign Committee or the Ohio GOP?  Where are the full time, highly paid House Republican communications staffers?

Crickets.

Here’s what failed journalist turned left wing hack Jake Zuckerman falsely stated today:

Grendell sponsored the “Truth in COVID Statistics” bill last legislative session, which passed the House but died in the Senate. When presenting the bill to the Senate, Grendell made a number of conspiratorial claims including that Ohio’s coronavirus data “has been corrupted” and that “they” are paying college students $20 to get tested.

https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2021/03/11/ohio-lawmaker-to-retiring-anti-vaccine-leader-you-are-wonderful-dont-leave/

With just two minutes of research, anyone could quickly determine that old Jake was full of it.  In fact, here’s what the official incentives page from THE Ohio State University says:

Students who schedule and complete their weekly, required COVID-19 test will be eligible for a variety of incentives. Incentives include:

  • Gift cards to GrubHub, Amazon, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and more
  • Tech products like AirPods, Apple Watches, MacBooks, Wireless Speakers and more
  • Special tours and campus opportunities like lunches and meetings with senior leaders
  • Preferred and priority opportunities like priority course scheduling and OUAB event tickets 

https://safeandhealthy.osu.edu/information/faculty-and-staff/testing/student-testing-program/covid-19-testing-incentives

And don’t get me started on the problems with the data on COVID19.  There are books being written now about all of the errors.

If you would like us to continue producing this kind of research and content, then please consider making a donation by clicking here!

3 U.S. House Republicans from Ohio Vote with Democrats to Proceed on the $1.9 Trillion Blue State Bailout

Conservative Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has been utilizing procedural votes to help gum up the stampede of Congressional Democrats towards socialism.  And you would think that Republicans would help those efforts.  Unfortunately not these liberal Ohio Republican members of Congress.  In a recent vote, Ohio Republicans Bob Gibbs, Dave Joyce, and Anthony Gonzalez joined with Democrats in voting to proceed on the $1.9 trillion Blue State Bailout.  Here’s a pic of the 40 total GOP turncoats:

An Important Update about Ohio Statehouse News

Friends,

I wanted to write and provide you with a much overdue update on Ohio Statehouse News. As you may recall, this web based, Ohio conservative news outlet was started just over one year ago. At the time we had a funder who had provided the site with the financial resources to pay a full time Editor, along with a part time Publisher and Contributing Editor.

Unfortunately, that financial support ended in August of last year. As a result our full time Editor, Cheryl Stephen, has departed the site and returned to her work on her farm and with animal welfare issues. Cheryl did an incredible job and she will be greatly missed!

Since then, my company and I have acquired this site and we have been working diligently to keep it alive. You will begin to notice that we have begun taking some text based advertising and will eventually be entering into affiliate relationships with some conservative advertisers. Finally, we will be making a renewed push to ask you for some financial support. You can easily make either a one time or a monthly recurring donation by clicking on this Paypal link.

As you may remember, this is the third conservative Ohio based news site that I have been associated with. I wrote for the now defunct 3rd Rail Politics site, The Ohio Star, which is still in existence, and now this site.

To keep this site alive, I need your help. Please feel free to email me with your story ideas, your news tips, your news releases, and/or your guest columns. Your guest columns may be signed or unsigned.

As we mentioned earlier we could also use your financial support. I have no intention to take a salary from this site but I would like to hire some contract writers in the future, along with helping cover the costs of hosting, mailchimp, advertising, etc.

I thank you for continuing to read and comment on the site. I hope to start producing some fresh articles shortly and hope you will continue to read us. Thank you.

Scott Pullins

From Our Inbox: Chris Hamilton, President, WV Coal Association, Invites V.P. Kamala Harris to West Virginia to Meet Miners

February 4, 2021

The White House
Ms. Kamala D. Harris
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Madame Vice President:

Congratulations on your election victory and thank you for your service to the United States.

We watched with interest your recent interview on WSAZ television, which covers central-southern West Virginia, in late January. During the interview you highlighted the President’s “American Rescue Plan” and its goal of defeating COVID-19, providing relief to families, lifting children out of poverty, and creating jobs. These are admirable and necessary goals, and we applaud the Administration’s pursuit of them.

During the interview you highlighted the Administration’s strategy for rebuilding our economy, which included transitioning coal miners to jobs rebuilding our infrastructure and transferring their unique skill set to jobs in clean energy.

While all individuals appreciate opportunities to improve their situation, coal miners are proud of the work they do on behalf of the American people. They mine the fuel source to power more than twenty percent of the country and provide the primary ingredient used to produce the steel that built, and is building, America.

Our coal mining professionals receive some of the most rigorous and comprehensive training of any industrial worker. They attain high core competencies and advanced qualifications and perform their jobs with great pride and sophistication. Their contribution to our great state and the nation’s extraordinary quality of life is immeasurable.

I would submit that given the coal miner’s level of skill and proficiency and the ongoing need for the raw material they produce, that America should not seek to transition them to another career, and in fact, should embrace the vital role they play in powering and building this country.

I would like to extend an invitation for you to visit West Virginia and allow us to show you West Virginia’s state-of-the-art coal mining industry and provide the opportunity for you to speak with our hard working, highly skilled coal miners.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,


Chris R. Hamilton
President

Reps. Stephens and Scherer Offer Relief for Ohio Farmers

COVID 19 and the shuttering of Ohio’s businesses is having a significant financial impact on the agricultural industry. This coupled with the fact that Ohio farmers were hit hard in 2019 by higher than average rainfall that forced many farmers to forgo the planting season, and a trade war with China and the states $125 billion agriculture industry is in crisis.

State Representatives Jason Stephens (R- Getaway) and Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) have introduced House Bill 485 which alleviates bureaucratic red tape for farmers by removing a requirement that owners of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program file a renewal application each year in order to remain in the program.

While this doesn’t undo the economic hardship facing farmers it does take away the threat of qualified farmers losing their property due to government paperwork procedures.

According to joint testimony provided by both Representatives Stephens and Scherer the CAUV program is designed to permit agricultural land values to be set below true market values, at its current use value. The formula for CAUV values incorporates agricultural factors (soil types, yields, prices, and non-land costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat) to calculate the capitalized net returns to farming land based on the previous 5 to 10 years. This program allows commercial agricultural farmland to be valued based on its value in agriculture, rather than the full market value, which can result in significant savings for farmers.

A renewal application must be filed every year before the first Monday in March to continue in the CAUV program.

Along with the application process, county auditors are also required, each year, to inspect the farmland on CAUV, to ensure continuing compliance with commercial farming.

H.B. 485 repeals the requirement for property owners enrolled in the CAUV program to file a renewal application each year in order to remain in the program. A property owner is required to notify the county auditor if the owner’s land no longer qualifies for the CAUV program. Additionally, some property owners will be required to submit documentation, in lieu of a renewal application, to demonstrate continued qualification for the CAUV program.

These landowner will still be required to report information demonstrating continued qualification for the CAUV program if they meet one of two criteria.

1. The owner of a plot of land of less than ten acres must document the yearly income earned from that land. Small plots of land qualify for CAUV only if the land generates at least $2,500 in annual income or is enrolled in a federal conservation program. Currently, the renewal application requires such information to be provided for such plots.
2. The owner of CAUV land that becomes enrolled in a federal conservation program after initially qualifying for the CAUV program must provide to the county auditor a copy of the agreement between the owner and the federal agency. Land enrolled in a federal conservation program continues to qualify for CAUV even if it is no longer actively used for farming. Currently, that documentation must be provided with the first renewal application after enrollment in the federal program.

Should H.B. 485 become law the new CAUV program application procedures apply to tax years beginning on or after the bill’s effective date.

For working farms over 10 acres both Stephens and Scherer state that requiring these farmers to complete the renewal application every year and requiring the county auditor’s office to check the farm land each year results in unnecessary redundancy and difficulties for working farmers across Ohio. Under H.B. 485, the county auditor’s office will still be required to check the farmland annually, as in current law, but these farmers will no longer be tasked with the renewal of the CAUV application.

State Representative Jason Stephens serves residents of the 93rd House District, which includes Jackson and Gallia counties, as well as portions of Lawrence and Vinton counties. Stephens is the former Lawrence County Auditor and has first-hand experience addressing the challenges of CAUV. “CAUV was put in place in the 1970’s before auditors had access to aerial photography and other forms of technology to assess land valuations. The goal of this legislation is to simplify the process. CAUV is cumbersome for the farmers and is an unfunded mandate for local governments.” Stephens continues, “If you look at homestead and owner occupancy it is left to the auditor to administer and not written specifically into law as is CAUV. The goal is to give each county auditor flexibility to ensure each farmer is receiving CAUV while eliminating unnecessary paperwork.”

Under current law, failure to file the renewal application results in detrimental effects to the farmers. Not only does failing to file the application result in converting the CAUV land to a non-agricultural use which can cause significant financial loss, but land that no longer qualifies for CAUV is also assessed a recoupment charge upon removal from the program. According to current law, if the farmer does not return the application, for whatever reason, then they lose the CAUV credit for their property and their taxes most likely will go up. For many farmers this would result in losing their property.

The legislation was introduced in January and is being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee.

“I am very aware of how difficult farming is especially for small family farms. We can provide regulatory relief for farmers that makes sense and that maintains the goal of CAUV. It may be a small change but for the people it impacts hopefully it is one less burden.” Stephens concluded.

Ohio Small Businesses Can Get up to a $10,000 Advance on Federal Disaster Loans

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), “small businesses can obtain up to a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan even if a previous application was denied.”

This loan advance will provide relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a loss of revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SBA has stated that the funds will be made available within 3 days of a successful application. This advance does not have to be repaid.

The application for this advance is online and Ohio small businesses can apply by clicking here. There is no word yet on how long these reviews will take or when these advances will take place.

Questions for Ohio Health Director Amy Acton

Photo Credit: Cleveland.com

Questions We Would Like to Ask Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton

1. Since November, numerous Ohioans, ourselves included, have experienced a significant Covid-19 like virus that tested negative for both flu and pneumonia. Is it possible that this disease was here earlier and a number of us have already experienced and recovered from it?

2. If the answer to question number one is yes, then is it possible that a significant number of Ohioans have developed a “herd immunity” to this virus?

3. If the answer to questions one and two are yes, then aren’t the underlying assumptions about the spread of the virus fundamentally flawed?

4. At what point will we know whether the assumptions about this virus are correct or not?

5. If the assumptions about the virus are wrong, then how quickly can we begin to reopen Ohio?

Clean Energy “Watchdog” Appears to be Phony Organization

Energy and Policy Institute: Clean Energy oversight group or political operatives?

Who Watches the Self-Proclaimed Watchdogs?  What Exactly is the Energy and Policy Institute?

Throughout the debate over Ohio House Bill 6, Ohio news media and clean energy groups frequently cited the work of an innocuous sounding organization called the Energy and Policy Institute. As recently as March 5, 2020 Dave Anderson, the policy and communications manager for the Institute, was the primary source of research for an article on FirstEnergy contributions to organizations supporting the bill.

“Powerful corporations, and utilities in particular, often fund groups to do their dirty work in an attempt to avoid accountability,” Anderson said. But research into the Energy and Policy Institute have borne out their own abject hypocrisy.

In fact, a well-sourced report from the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability  reveals that the Energy and Policy Institute (EPI) is just as secretive as the organizations it exposes. EPI is a dark money group: it does not appear to have nonprofit status, it is not registered with any relevant secretary of state, and no one admits to funding it. It appears that EPI may be simply the creation of a public relations firm. Nevertheless, journalists treat EPI as they would any other watchdog organization. 1

According to the Facebook Page for EPI, they were founded in October 2013. But the trail gets murkier from there. Neither their Facebook Page nor their website lists a physical address nor a telephone number. The only address reported is a Post Office Box for San Francisco.

Furthermore, the organization does not appear to be registered as either a nonprofit or for-profit company with any relevant state secretary of state. As part of their research into EPI, the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability searched corporation databases in California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

Researchers for Ohio Statehouse News searched corporate databases in Delaware, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Additionally, we utilized LexisAdvance business search tools and the Tax Exempt Organization search for the Internal Revenue Service. We found no record of this entity.

According to a  response sent to the Washington Examiner, EPI claims to be funded solely by environmental foundations. But here’s the problem. Environmental foundations have to report the grants they make to other groups on their IRS 990 tax returns. And a multitude of searches both by the Campaign for Accountability and Ohio Statehouse News have not found a single recorded grant. Additionally, charitable organizations are usually not able to make donations to organizations that are not recognized as tax exempt by the IRS and EPI is not on that list.

Here’s what we think is really going on.

In November 2011, a 501(c)4 dark money nonprofit group called Renew American Prosperity, Inc. was formed in Washington, DC. As a 501(c)4 organization Renew American Prosperity, Inc. is not required to list its contributors.

Renew American Prosperity, Inc. has shared the same address over the years with a for profit limited liability company named Tigercomm LLC. In return most of the funds spent by Renew American Prosperity, Inc. are paid to Tigercomm LLC on an annual basis for management fees, according to their  990 IRS tax returns.

The founder of EPI, Gabe Elsner, first worked as a social media associate with Tigercomm before becoming deputy director for the Checks and Balances Project. The Checks and Balances Project is a similar group to EPI that is funded by Renew American Prosperity, Inc. and is serviced by Tigercomm LLC. 2

In 2015, the Checks and Balances Project was caught red handed when it was confirmed that they were funded by SolarCity, the leading residential solar installer. The public disclosure of this hypocrisy led to SolarCity cutting ties to the group.3

EPI would like Ohio legislators and the news media to believe that they are simply a nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog that is exposing fossil fuel interests. But what the facts reveal is that they are simply political operatives, being funded by solar energy and other vested interests, utilizing even more duplicity than the groups that they supposedly expose.