March 22, 2011 •
The 24th Address by Mayor Don Plusquellic.
Elizabeth Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, and staff members attended Akron’s State of the City Address, which was presented by Mayor Don Plusquellic. The luncheon was held at the Tangier.
Mayor Plusquellic discussed the challenges Akron faces in the difficult economy amid state and federal budget cuts to local causes. He also praised the hard work of City of Akron employees, as well as the dedicated work of the police, the firefighters, and the school teachers.
Plusquellic spoke of balancing the city’s budget, of exciting economic opportunities with the development of Akron’s biomedical corridor, and of manufacturing initiatives such as $1 million in seed money from Medical Mutual to help establish small businesses.
You can read the full text of the address here.
March 11, 2011 •
Hunger is real. It is important to know that in our communities there are people who experience hunger on a regular basis and by all indications, the problem is increasing in Northeast Ohio.
This week our Highlighted Site of the Week is the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger Campaign. The Foodbank is a distribution center that supplies food to 430 community outreach organizations, which in turn help nearly 180,000 people in need in eight counties of Northeast Ohio. It is a Herculean effort.
I have seen the operation first-hand: The place is huge (85,000 square feet), super-organized, and amazingly clean. The people who work there are my heroes. They work hard, they are friendly to the many guests who arrive in need, and they love to share with the community about the work of the Foodbank.
Each year the Foodbank has a drive called Harvest for Hunger. As their website says, Harvest for Hunger is “one of the largest food and funds drive campaigns” in the nation and is a model for other communities. But with the pressures of a very difficult economy, the Foodbank has found that the level of need has greatly increased. They need our help.
February 17, 2011 •
February 16, 2011 •
Elizabeth Bartz reports campaign finance news from Akron, Ohio.
In 1998, State and Federal Communications worked with Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic’s blue ribbon committee reviewing campaign contribution limits. Unfortunately, city voters approved very low contribution limits and it has taken 12+ years for a charter change to increase them.
On Monday, city council approved legislation increasing the limits for contributions from individuals for mayoral and at-large council candidates from $300 to $450 and ward council candidates from $100 to $200.
The city will continue to study other potential changes to Akron’s campaign finance guidelines.
February 1, 2011 •
State and Federal Communications sponsors the event.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown spoke at the Akron Roundtable January Luncheon. State and Federal Communications had the honor of sponsoring the event and we were excited to be in attendance as well!
Senator Brown’s presentation topic was: “Made in Ohio: Why the U.S. Needs a National Manufacturing Strategy”. A great proponent of American manufacturing, Brown spoke about the need for students to be encouraged to study hard in math and engineering. He believes young students would be inspired by having tours of manufacturing plants to find out how things are made.
Brown recognized the economic challenges facing Ohio and the nation. But he pointed out that out of all the states, Ohio is ranked third in the nation in manufacturing and has a long tradition of hard work and innovation. He believes we have every reason to be optimistic about regaining a strong manufacturing future.
We are thankful for the Akron Roundtable for their 35 years of bringing a world of ideas to our town. A big thanks as well goes to Elizabeth Bartz for giving us the opportunity to meet Senator Brown and to hear his presentation.
Photo by Nicolette Koozer.
December 10, 2010 •
Elizabeth Z. Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, Inc. today introduced The Honorable Don Plusquellic, Mayor of Akron and The Honorable Russ Pry, Summit County Executive, at the Greater Akron Chamber’s 7th Annual Local Elected Officials Recognition Luncheon.
Elizabeth Bartz nominated Mayor Don Plusquellic for recognition as one of this year’s honorees. “Mayor Plusquellic has been an outstanding leader of our city, in our region, and as past President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in our nation. As a member of the business community, it was an honor to nominate Mayor Plusquellic for this richly deserved recognition. Together with Summit County Executive Russ Pry, we have an outstanding leadership team in our city and county,” said Elizabeth Bartz.
Mayor Plusquellic, Executive Russ Pry, Medina County Commissioner Stephen Hambley, and Portage County Engineer Michael Marozzi today joined the ranks of other local elected officials honored by the Greater Akron Chamber. The annual luncheon recognizes exemplary contributions to the advancement of the greater Akron area by removing the barriers to economic growth, streamlining government requirements for economic development, and pursuing creative and alternative funding for infrastructure development and enhancement. Each year the Greater Akron Chamber recognizes local elected officials in Summit, Medina, and Portage Counties for their commitment to economic growth and development as well as community improvement.
November 4, 2010 •
On November 2nd, 2010, Akron voters, by a margin of nearly 56 percent in favor to 44 percent against, approved Issue 14 amending the city charter’s campaign finance provisions.
City council now has 90 days to pass a new ordinance which will implement the charter amendment language. Campaign finance contribution limits will increase to $200 for ward candidates and $450 for city-wide candidates. It is anticipated the new legislation will require council to review, and if necessary, amend, the city’s campaign finance legislation every two years beginning in 2012.
A provision is also expected to be made which will allow for public comment on any proposed changes to the city’s campaign finance rules. Finally, the legislation is expected to remove the city’s campaign finance language from the city charter itself. Going forward, campaign finance regulations will be authorized by ordinance.
October 11, 2010 •
Akron City Council has approved a resolution of support for issues 11 to 17 which will appear on the November 2 ballot.
If approved, Issue 14 will require the council to pass legislation within 90 days amending the city’s campaign finance regulations. The caps on individual contributions would increase from $100 to $200 per candidate per election for ward candidates and from $300 to $450 for candidates for mayor and council members-at-large.
Also, the council will be required to hold mandatory public hearings every two years to revisit the city’s contribution limits to consider adjustments for inflation and costs of living.
August 17, 2010 •
Akron City Council voted Monday to place a campaign finance charter amendment before the voters this fall.
The amendment would increase the amounts an individual may contribute to a ward council candidate from $100 to $200 and at-large council and mayoral candidates from $300 to $450. The proposed amendment would also remove campaign finance language currently in the city charter.
If approved, council would have to replace the campaign finance charter provisions with an ordinance within three months time. Finally, council would be required to review campaign finance issues on a biennial basis with provisions made for public hearings as part of the review process.
Akron voters will vote on the proposed campaign finance charter amendment November 2nd.
July 29, 2010 •
Akron City Council has approved legislation amending the city’s campaign finance law.
Under the new legislation, the city’s contribution limits of $300 for mayoral and at-large council candidates and $100 for ward council candidates do not apply when candidates are raising money outside of their own elections or reelections and other expenses such as “the duties of public office and seeking nomination or election to another office”.
The new legislation also lifts contribution limits for fundraising efforts by candidates for other candidates or for a political party.
July 19, 2010 •
We always wanted to race, and now we got our chance!
The five-member pit crew arrived at Derby Downs early in the morning and spent a majority of the day assembling and decorating a classic soapbox derby car. The team, lead by driver Sarah Gray took fourth place.
Here is a video of Sarah in her first trial run:
The event is an opportunity for local companies to participate in the lead-up to the All-American Soap Box Derby, which will be held the weekend of July 24, 2010 and a chance to help Summit County United Way. Other major Summit County businesses participated in the event this year including PNC Bank, Bridgestone, and Summa Healthcare. Bridgestone was the champion of the Corporate Derby this year.
Teams decorated their derby cars with paint, decals and the classic derby tin-can headlights. The double-elimination tournament was an excellent way for participating companies to give back the community, spend time with one another in a less formal setting, and take part in one of the few remaining true slices of Americana.
Sarah Gray shared her thoughts:
Have you ever thought something was a good idea until you were about to do it? Racing a soapbox derby car down a 25-foot hill for the United Way Corporate Derby was one of those ideas for me—it sounded fun until I stood at the top and looked all the way down to the finish line.
When I first arrived at Derby Downs, I was excited about the race… until I saw the monster they call a “hill”. I knew I had to focus on the more urgent matter at hand—turning the pile of wood and wheels provided to us into a well-oiled, State-and-Federalized machine of terror! Together with my four colleagues, we did just that, except the only person feeling the “terror” was me!
I was selected to be the first crash test dummy, that is, take the first test drive down the hill. I asked everyone I saw, whether I knew them or not, if they worked for the Derby or not, and if I should be scared. Suffice it to say, I was the entertainment that morning. I’ve been told even the timekeeper watching the finish line was amused at how frightened I was. As I coasted down the hill, I had two options—steer or push on the brake. There was no “off” button, no reverse.
The cheers from the crowd as I sped down the hill eased my fears. Nearly the entire staff from State and Federal was there to root me on, some bearing signs, still more with cameras at the ready. I glided over the finish line and caught my breath—I made it!
The fear I originally held was gone. I couldn’t wait to get back to the top of the hill and zoom down again. Each time there were more people giving me advice, keep your head down, keep your rear-end back, don’t look up, don’t swerve, and just relax. After six exhilarating rides, I finished fourth place, not bad for an amateur. Not many people can say they have raced a soapbox car down Derby Downs and I would have regretted not following through with race. The memories I gained were well worth it and will last a lifetime.
Here is a picture of Team State and Federal!
July 13, 2010 •
The City of Akron Charter Review Commission has issued its final report to city council.
Among the recommendations submitted to the council is a proposal to remove campaign finance reform from the City Charter. The commission found, with one exception, campaign finance reform was not contained in the city charter of any other major Ohio city. Citing the need for periodic amendments to campaign finance legislation and the need to adjust campaign contribution limits from time to time to account for inflation, the commission recommended the city adopt future campaign finance regulations by means of ordinances rather than charter amendments. Given the potential complexity of the issues involved, commissioners concluded campaign finance regulations require a level of detail inappropriate for a charter. The Commission’s recommendations also include a mandatory review of campaign finance legislation every two years going forward. The review would include a public hearing to obtain public comment on any proposed changes to campaign finance ordinances. The proposal must now be passed by council and then submitted to Akron voters for final adoption.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.