In his interview at The Blade, Gov. Bob Taft was asked whether Tom Noe's generous contributions to Republican politicians in Ohio had anything to do with the fact that Mr. Noe has been appointed to the Ohio Board of Regents to oversee higher education, despite the fact that Mr. Noe does not even have a college degree. Governor Taft replied, "What's that got to do with the price of eggs in Siberia?"
I don't know much about Siberian eggs, but it seems to me that a person's relevant experiences and expertise should be a key factor in such appointments.
For example, I have spent my entire adult life in higher education, first as an undergraduate and graduate student, and now for the past 16 years as a professor. My only real experience in the business world was working a couple of summers during college at a factory that made aluminum windows.
Would Governor Taft consider appointing me to a business-related board or council such as the Board of Building Appeals, the Industrial Technology and Enterprise Advisory Council, or the Savings and Loan Associations and Savings Bank Board? I sure hope not, since I know very little about these areas.
I am not claiming that Mr. Noe has no special expertise for serving on the Ohio Board of Regents. I am just wondering why Mr. Taft felt he had to respond to a legitimate question about Mr. Noe's qualifications with a meaningless non sequitur.
To paraphrase our governor, "What's that got to do with the price of rare coins in Ohio?"
As a lifelong Ohioan and a lifelong Republican, I was certainly pleased to read The Blade's interview with Gov. Bob Taft.
Sure, Ohio's economy is falling apart, personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures are soaring, young people are fleeing, jobs are declining, and we can't afford health care for desperately ill people, but at least we are taking good care of Tom Noe.
Ohio needs a strong leader with a vision for the 21st century, but instead we have Bob Taft. After six years in office he's had so few ideas he had to have business lobbyists write his proposed tax reform plan, and the plan will have to be phased in over five years so we don't offend anyone or take the risk of creating a few jobs.
With the Bush Administration more concerned about economic growth in China than in Ohio we need someone strong at the helm. Instead we have Bob.
Ohio is behind and the rate of economic change is going to increase, not decrease. We need a dramatic overhaul of the public sector, a dramatic overhaul of our tax code, and we need clear priorities for the future. Don't expect any of that in Ohio.
During my career I have watched both political parties misuse the Bureau of Workers Compensation. Enough is enough. We have bigger issues.
I have read The Blade's tirades about Tom Noe and I have had enough. I know that people will say that I am "defending" him because he is my brother and that I don't clearly see the issues.
Tom doesn't need anyone to defend him. His reputation speaks for itself and it always has. As for the issues, what are they?
Tom made a proposal to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, as did dozens of others. The board felt that there was enough merit in the Capital Coin proposal to award the initial money. Capital Coin turned a healthy profit for the State of Ohio. Since when is making a profit a problem? The Blade has implied and exaggerated, trying to make it look like Tom has done something wrong. That is just not true.
Tom is and has for 30 years been an innovative, visionary businessman, and a successful one at that. No one who knows Tom would ever question his honesty, his integrity, or his knowledge of business.
Anyone who thinks that Tom would jeopardize his reputation for money doesn't know him at all. He is a businessman, yes, but he is first and foremost a family man and he would never do anything that would jeopardize the love and respect that his family has for him. I have always been proud that he is my brother, and I have never been more proud of him than I am now.
Investigate to your heart's content. What you will find is good stuff about Tom. Don't get me wrong. Tom is no saint. But I know my brother better than all the politicians and reporters attempting to tarnish his good name.
Whether it is sour grapes, politics, or jealousy - shame on you all!
BETH NOE JUNE
Clark Lake, Mich.
In an April 3 article ("Ohio agency sinks millions into rare coins") The Blade talks about a coin-related investment by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation that has generated $13 million in profits on a $50 million investment.
Your readers may not remember reading this fact. The point was buried among anecdotes and innuendo from others trying to disparage what is a unique, yet successful, investment. When you cut through the rhetoric, however, the numbers speak for themselves.
Since 1997, Capital Coin Fund I has a cumulative return of more than 28 percent, including 11.2 percent in 2004. Similarly, Capital Coin Fund II, which began in 2001, has a total return of 24 percent, including 10.4 percent in 2004.
Furthermore, the manager selection process goes beyond what's required by law. Each time we seek firms to manage money for us, we publish a request-for-proposal that allows anyone to get involved. Furthermore, we require a tremendous amount of disclosure in every proposal about key elements of each investment manager's operation and performance.
Then through a combination of internal and external checkpoints, we recommend a list of managers to an independent oversight commission that oversees BWC's fiscal and investment policy.
This fair and careful approach was used in 1997 when the Bureau hired Capital Coin, along with 27 other "emerging managers;" there is no evidence of preferential treatment.
While suspicions and speculation ran amok in The Blade's story, the facts paint a compelling picture. Over the past 10 years. BWC's average annual return was 16.51 percent; this stellar investment performance has generated more than $10 billion in dividends, including $362 million for Lucas County employers.
In addition, The Blade reported back in December, 2004, the bureau's "successful investments" were responsible for saving Toledo's garbage collection program by granting a $272,000 dividend.
Adminstrator and CEO
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
I've discovered a new investment opportunity for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
With our electric company's clear-cutting of trees on its right of way and the state agriculture department's ash tree chainsaw massacre, there must be money to be made in investing in stocks of tree removal companies.
North Wheeling Street
I have some old bubble gum baseball cards for sale.
How about some Beanie Babies, and Cabbage Patch Dolls?
For only $1 million they could be yours.
Oh, yes, I would be happy to donate $10,000 to your campaign fund.
JOHN T. KLEEBERGER
The real question is why Tom Noe, a person of no particular talents except an open wallet for Republican candidates, was selected to serve on the board of trustees at Bowling Green State University, the Ohio Board of Regents, and the Ohio Turnpike Commission. Why aren't we conducting national searches for the best individuals for these positions to serve the people of this state, instead of a notorious system of political patronage?
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