I kept a lot of this quiet until after the election. I’ve spoken about the results often, and the actions on behalf of Lakota, but I have purposely left out a portion of the story….until now. This is Part II of a short two-part series. CLICK HERE to review Part One. After the election of 2011 No Lakota Levy had defeated the school at the ballot box, and there was persistent discussion that Lakota would become just like Little Miami and continue putting up election after election until they won. But I had told our group at No Lakota Levy that if Lakota chose to do that, they were truly after results that had nothing to do with rationality—and we would deal with them on that basis. I also told them that if Lakota tried for a fourth attempt in 2012, that they’d have to find someone else to be the spokesman, because I had a book coming out called Tail of the Dragon which had nothing to do with education and I didn’t want to fight a school levy while promoting the book.
As recently as the last school board meeting of 2011 Linda O’Conner reached out to my wife and me in the parking lot of the administration building off Princeton Road to wish us a Merry Christmas and to let us know that there were no hard feelings. I told her that I left the meeting early because they were boring me to death—but that it was a Christmas present of sorts, I was going to spare them having to listen to me speak publicly. I didn’t want to rub their nose in the No Lakota victory, but I did expect them to listen to what over 18,000 voters had said—and at least propose a salary reduction to the teacher’s union for the sake of the community. She smiled and said that she’d present it to the board, and we parted for the last time on civil terms. Because immediately after that, in the winter of 2012, Superintendent Mantia showed that she was going to play the radical progressive, just like President Obama, and cut away all the aspects of the public school that people actually valued—not out of fiscal concern, but with the intention of extortion. In the coming months, Lakota did nothing upon the recommendations proposed by No Lakota Levy—the victor in the last election by a sizable majority—much greater than in the last election where Lakota won by less than 1%.
This presented a problem for me. 700 WLW approached me about being the education pundit, sort of what Mike Allen is currently regarding legal issues. The popular radio station wanted me to be The Big One’s education specialists. This sounded good, but at the time my publisher was having multiple fits about my controversial stance against public education. My novel, Tail of the Dragon was set to be released during the fall of that year and all the media contacts I had from years of building relationships suddenly saw me as the face of the anti tax movement in Lakota.
I offered myself as the face because I’m in a unique position to carry the title. To me it was a job that needed to be done, and nobody else wanted to do it, and the controversy actually helped some of my side projects so I took on that role from 2009 to 2012. However, I needed separation from that role prior to the release of my novel because I was too known as an education reformer, and my book was about a car chase which was intended to appeal to a NASCAR audience. Lakota, was proposing another levy attempt right in the middle of my book’s release—and that wasn’t going to work for me.
So I had to get No Lakota Levy self sufficient—where it could act without me, I had to separate myself from the education stuff, and I needed to strike at the heart of the tax levy push and show people what was really going on at Lakota—and stop dancing around the edge of the bowl. It was time to jump into the middle and show what was hidden there. When I talk about this period being a trap set by me for the Lakota school board to jump at, this is what I meant. Once Doc Thompson was fired at 700 WLW there was awkwardness that persisted in the wake of his departure. WLW had thrown him under the bus while he was on his honeymoon so they could make good with Eddie Fingers and I couldn’t remain a friend to Doc and resume my relationship with WLW—so a lot of things were lining up in a bad way. This is the primary reason I didn’t do the requested interview that Russ Jackson tried to set up with Eddie, Tracy and me on March 15th, I felt it was because of Eddie that Doc lost his job, and I couldn’t betray Doc. This made Jackson mad, and things degenerated from there.
In early January 2012 I knew I had to break things loose the best way possible. I began turning up the rhetoric against Lakota letting my true feelings about them be known because they were obviously going for another tax increase in spite of the election results—and it pissed me off in a big way. When I learned that the Community Foundation refused to work with No Lakota Levy after I set up a deal with The Enquirer to give them a story exclusive on a check-mate story, it enraged me because not only was the donation of money that No Lakota Levy was proposing to kids who couldn’t afford the sports fees a good thing to do, but it was strategically powerful forcing Lakota to reveal what they were really about as an organization. When the Community Foundation backed out, No Lakota Levy had to start their own charity group called Yes To Lakota Kids which delayed our announcement by several key weeks. I had been targeting the middle of February and was working with Michael Clark to get the story out, but when the Community Foundation pulled out of the deal—which they had been entertaining up to that point, it sucked the life out of the story, which seemed all too coordinated.
After the election instead of working with No Lakota Levy, Lakota went on the offensive, members of the union began going around town attempting to dismantle my name and it was around the middle of February when learned about it. Doc Thompson had also just been fired from 700 WLW which left me in a strange place with them. And my publisher was very concerned about my political beliefs and questioning whether I would be dragged into another levy fight right in the middle of the novel’s release. So I wrote my article about the Latte sipping prostitutes. I wanted to empower No Lakota Levy to proceed without me while I released my novel, and I wanted to see what Lakota would do with it and see how things progressed. Even though I spoke about “women” in general my comments were directed at a few major tax advocates and they knew who they were. I knew things about their home life, and pointed my comments in that direction. After all, if they were going to smear my name, I had the right to do the same to them. They were the primaries behind the mudslinging instead of taking the olive branch that Linda proposed at Christmas time. They chose that course of action.
This led to the events discussed in Part One. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW. What I put up on my articles I certainly stood behind, otherwise I wouldn’t have written them. I wanted Lakota to take a shot at me in a literal way so I could flush out the architects that were smearing me behind the scenes and I needed the names of the perpetrators. Julie Shafer who debated me on 700 WLW wanted to be the hero of the school board and eliminate the biggest resistance to the board’s tax increases. She worked with Superintendent Mantia to eliminate me from the scene. They didn’t know the things I just revealed about my novel, or my desire to see No Lakota Levy develop a new spokesman freeing me of the job, at least for the fourth levy attempt. This is the first time I’ve discussed these things publically—so they wouldn’t have known. They instead used my statements in the worst way possible. They knew who I meant specifically, yet chose to use the collective tendency of women to rally their base—another progressive trick, and they hit as hard as the possibly could.
Their actions were of the type that I intellectually anticipated they’d take. The same thing basically happened to Arnie Engle over in Fairfield, the levy supporters kept poking and poking and poking until Arnie snapped, and then they prosecuted him to the furthest extent of the law. The courts forced Arnie into probation and anger management classes to “deal” with his temper. As soon as they thought they had Arnie out-of-the-way, Fairfield tried for another school levy, which thankfully in 2013, lost. The public knows the games that are going on. However, conceiving such a ploy and feeling the wrath of it are different things, and it did surprise me how ruthless Lakota’s levy supporters truly were as human beings. What they did and how they did it showed me that they didn’t care what the results were to me personally, they simply wanted me out of their way politically. If I were the kind of person who had a traditional job, what do they think would have happened to me if I worked for a woman who day when every radio station in town was calling me a sexist, even the FM stations–literally? What about the effect on my wife and daughters or my mother—sister and other family members? What Lakota through their school board orchestrated, coming directly from Julie Shafer and Karen Mantia was the kind of thing that could have ended careers, marriages, or even residence. Several women from Julie’s circle of friends wrote me directly and actually stated that they were going to run me out-of-town, the fires of fury coming directly from the Lakota school board. And they felt entitled to do it—that is what my thousands of dollars spent every year on the stupid Lakota school system buys me—those kinds of people representing that kind of institution.
When I say it was a trap, I suspected it would happen in the way that it did and I had braced myself for it. I knew that Michael Clark was playing both sides against each other, and that he was telling the school board that Rich Hoffman had big plans against Lakota, referring to the exclusive story about Yes to Lakota Kids. This looked to have a lot to do with why the Community Foundation backed out in the middle of the announcement postponing the endeavor. And I knew that Julie, Mantia, and Powell would look for ways to come after me, and instead of them doing it in the shadows, I wanted to get it out in the daylight for all to see. They bit, and showed what they were all about, and people noticed. Shortly after the debacle of March 15th Lakota through my friends at No Lakota Levy asked for a cease-fire because things had not gone as they planned. I had rallied the anger vote and they knew there was no chance of passing a levy in 2012. In June of 2012 I did an interview with Channel 19 saying that I agreed with the school board’s decision to not pursue a tax increase. I told Cory Stark that the deal was for two years and that we’d be ready to fight again in 2013/2014. Lakota had projected surpluses so it wasn’t worth the public relations nightmare, and they needed time to lick their wounds. This suited me just fine because I was sick of Lakota and their constant attempts to raise taxes, and it allowed me to put my efforts behind the release of my book—just in time. Just prior to the Fox 19 report, I had approved the cover for my novel ahead of a release date of September, the first Tuesday after Labor Day.
However, when the novel came out, I was still known by everyone in the media as the anti-education guy—and it was hard to shake that off. Most likely, I will always be known as that—so my current thinking is that if it’s going to stick to me, then I’ll just make the best of it. My book came out and for 8 months out of the last 12 stayed sold out on Amazon.com. It did well as an initial offering and my family celebrated by going to Disney World over the summer. I needed to get away from publishing and politics for just a few weeks—which I cherished. But there have been complaints of late that Tail of the Dragon is not being carried at Amazon—it’s there, but out of print. Well, beginning at the start of October 2013 American Book Publishing closed their doors as a publisher—so they are no longer restocking my novel at Amazon. They were a small publisher and carried a lot of diverse titles, and a majority of them did not make much money. The writing for this was already on the wall in the winter of 2012 along with all the other issues mentioned, and I was concerned that they’d stay open long enough to publish my book. I think they hoped that things would turn around for them if a production house showed an interest in making my novel into a movie. But after my anti-union comments on this blog, there was a fat chance of that happening which was the real source of their frustration with my political beliefs. So they folded up, and I am searching for a new publisher to re-release Tail of the Dragon as a special edition. For American Book Publishing I had a 120,000 word manuscript that was edited down to 63,000 words, so nearly half the book was cut away. My current thoughts are to release a version of the book that was eliminated in the editing process specified by the PG rating that American Book desired. The special edition will be a rated R version of that same story, which dives even deeper into the freedom loving antics of Rick Stevens—some much harder edge concepts.
So that is the behind the scenes story of me and the Lakota levy. As a result of their approach to me and their desire to pretty much end my life with a ruthlessness that is unforgivable they have made a mortal enemy out of me—and the media personalities who played in that game with them—at this point we all know who they are. I will never forget it, I will never forgive it, and I will remind people of it the rest of my life. I will be 80 and 90 years old still talking about Julie Shafer, Joan Powell, and Karen Mantia. They had no idea what my relationship was with my family, that my wife understands me and that I am very close with my kids. But if I wasn’t, an event like what Lakota did could have ruined me—and they didn’t care. In fact, they wanted it to happen. Lakota took a head shot at me. They missed, part by design, part by luck—but it gave me a clear viewing of where they were hiding in the shadows loading their guns. Prior to that event in the Enquirer, they were shooting at me from the darkness and I could never tell where the bullets came from. After the Enquirer event, I could see the fire flash and direction of origin—and it was the Lakota school board.
So when they play innocent, like what was in Joan’s letter to Graeme, it is an act. They know the games, and where the bodies are buried. What it comes down to is money—the school board has no control over the management of their money because of the teacher’s union, and so long as they pass school levies, they can avoid the harsh reality that they are simply a body of government designed to raise taxes, because that is their only measure of balancing a budget. Instead of using their powers of manipulation against the union, they used it against me because they saw me as less of a threat than the teacher’s union, and I take that as a direct insult. So I will dedicate my time, life, and otherwise to ruining theirs. They will learn that there are greater things to fear than their teacher’s union, and if you take a head shot at me and miss, that you have earned an enemy for life.
That is the state of the union in Lakota in the wake of the 2013 Election.