In a recent interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Governor Strickland noted that he felt he never got the credit and support he deserved from Northeast Ohio, especially from the “local media” (i.e.—the Plain Dealer):
"Maybe it is because I’m from Appalachia," the Scioto County-born Strickland told The Plain Dealer. "I think they always considered me a hayseed, someone who couldn’t possibly understand or be sophisticated enough to understand what life is like in the city."
This, of course, leads to a predictable editorial by the Cleveland Plain Dealer that proves him absolutely correct:
Governor, but your troubles in this metropolitan area — underscored by your failure to carry Cuyahoga County by even 100,000 votes on Nov. 2 — had nothing to do with bias or misperception. They had everything to do with your inability to lead on issues of importance to Greater Cleveland. (emphasis added.)
And here are the official results of the gubernatorial election for Cuyahoga County according to the Secretary of State’s office:
I was no math major in undergrad, but I’m pretty sure that shows Strickland carrying Cuyahoga County by more than 100,000 votes. What was that about there being no bias or misperception, again?
So, according to the PD, Strickland didn’t get the issues of Cuyahoga County even though he got 61% of the vote there. Then, what does that say about the guy who got only 36%? (And what does it say about the Plain Dealer since they endorsed the guy who got less than 36% in their county?)
The “Innerbelt Bridge”
The Plain Dealer’s comments about the Innerbelt Bridge come off as whiny:
It delayed final plans for a new Inner Belt Bridge, ignored community input and ultimately chose an uninspired design. Some of this was surely normal bureaucratic inertia. But a governor committed to Northeast Ohio could have told his ODOT director to get the lead out. Strickland did not.
Boo-f’ing hoo. During one of the greatest economic downturn in our country’s history, second only to the Great Depression, when the State is cutting spending by $2 billion, the Strickland Administration commits the State to begin one of the single most expensive infrastructure projects in State history and commits the necessary stimulus funds to make it happen. So, naturally, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wants to complain about how it’ll look. Cry me a river.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati, I believe, is still looking for funding to replace its bridge for I-71/I-75 to Northern Kentucky. I bet they’d been glad to get the kind of support Cleveland got and wouldn’t complain about the aesthetics in the process. (Incidentially, ODOT just held another public meeting on the 15th to seek final community input to suggest improvements to the aesthetics of the final design.)
The film tax credit issue
Here the Plain Dealer engages in historical revisionism:
“[A governor committed to Greater Cleveland] would have pushed early and often for a robust movie tax credit, not fought it almost until the end.”
Fun fact for the Plain Dealer: Guess who introduced the Ohio film tax credit that is now law? Governor Ted Strickland!
Yes, it’s true that Governor Strickland two years ago this month vetoed a film tax credit that was passed during a lame-duck session of the General Assembly. And here’s why Strickland vetoed it according to his veto message at the time:
I disapprove of the enactment of Substitute House Bill 196 and have the following objections to it. Substitute House Bill 196 provides for the issuance of up to $100 million per year in transferable film tax credits during an historic economic downturn and when the state has made $1.9 billion in budget adjustments this biennium and faces a potential deficit of more than $7 billion in the next budget. With future revenues highly uncertain, a commitment of such a substantial amount outside the context of budget deliberations is unwise and seriously weakens the state’s flexibility in making budgetary decisions.
A transferable credit may change hands many times, making accurate tax administration cumbersome and expensive. It is also an inefficient way to subsidize an industry, as much of the credit will be realized by those who are not involved in the film industry, such as credit brokers.
The experience of other states suggests that the return on investment with a film tax credit is a weak 14 to 20 cents on the dollar, making the credit a very expensive means of creating jobs. Given the uncertainties in our economy and revenues, I do not believe an expensive, new, and difficult-to-administer tax credit should be adopted outside the context of budget deliberations.
That’s what he said in December 2008. That such a tax credit was too expensive, too difficult to administer as drafted, and was too portable to be an effective means of economic development and really should be discussed in the context of the overall budget.
And then what did Governor Strickland do? He wrote a tax credit that addressed each one of those concerns into his next budget introduced just a couple of months later, urged the legislature to pass it in his State of the State address, and then got it enacted despite nearly uniform Republican opposition.
That’s hardly the markings of someone who “fought” a tax credit “almost to the end.”
Strickland and charter schools.
Again, the Plain Dealer makes up facts.
He would have understood — as Cleveland public school leaders have — that some charter schools are beacons of success that deserve public support, not tried to kill them as a sop to his teacher union friends.
Governor Strickland hasn’t tried to kill charter schools, and he’s realized that some are beacons of success. He’s said so countless times. The only kind of charter schools Strickland tried to “kill” are for-profit charter schools which countless objective studies and audits have shown are not “beacons of success,” especially when compared to public schools, private schools, and non-profit charter schools.
The Plain Dealer is attacking Strickland over a position he actually never held for four years as Governor.
Ted Strickland and the budget.
The editorial claims that Strickland never anticipated the potential economic downturn and prepared the State. Never mind that Strickland’s first budget was haled as the most fiscally conservative budget in over 25 years. Never mind that his second budget cut State spending $2 billion, he obtained numerous concessions from the State’s public unions, and cut the State’s payroll to the smallest size its seen since President Reagan.
If Strickland deserves any blame on the budget, it’s that he waited too late to declare that the State just simply couldn’t afford the unpaid, massive, across-the-board tax cuts Republicans enacted in 2005.
Strickland and the 3C.
The editorial ends by blaming Strickland for not being a better salesman on the 3C. Ironic given that it’s coming from a paper that repeated some of the worst information about the 3C and only admitted that it was untrue when its “PolitiFact” rated it as such… but only after the election.
In just about every aspect of its editorial today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is factually wrong. Strickland’s education reform, including the evidence-based model, was not an act of being timid. Nor was declaring the State’s experiment with a deregulated electricity market (something the business community demanded during the late 1990s.) an utter failure that could lead the State further into economic disaster, an act of timidity, either. His alternative energy portfolio mandate and what he did to create incentives to position Ohio as a leading manufacturer and user of renewable energy took Ohio from the back of the pack to the front of the line.
And the fact is that the Plain Dealer’s editorial page complained about just about anything Ted Strickland did every day he was in office. They were worse than the Columbus Dispatch (until the election this year.)