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Corruption 101: The biggest red flag to look for

By David Pepper Dec. 6, 2023


"So whenever you see politicians hard at work to eliminate or gut or take over entities that provide independent oversight or management of key government functions, look out. That smoke will likely build into fire.


And those fires have been blazing in Ohio for too long.


The pension fund, of course, oversees billions of dollars. Thanks to the votes of retired teachers—frustrated by the fund’s performance—the board was on the verge of asking independent questions about those investments. But again, DeWine’s last-minute maneuver keeps that independent oversight—those tough questions—from happening." - David Pepper






"We all more than earned a dignified retirement"

A Gut-Wrenching Reminder of the Stakes

By David Pepper

Dec. 8, 2023


David Pepper received the following email message a few hours after posting his "Corruption: 101" video on December 6.


“Here’s what that story looks like from my own perspective:


I was born and raised in poverty in the south, left on a scholarship to Ohio, and swore never to be in poverty again. As a young teacher first paying into the [teachers’ pension] system, [I] began to witness my older colleagues and mentors retire[.] I then came to notice that they all lived in poverty after about 5 years of retirement. I didn’t understand that until the campaign began to get the COLA put into place. After it passed, I understood.


So we got that done, and retirees could then keep their heads up and live with dignity. I retired after 35 years in 2012, expecting the same. 


The impact: Now I realize how I’ve missed that COLA for 7 years myself; I’m beginning to really miss that nearly $7K that would have been in the family funeral account by now. I had to bury both my parents, and will have to bury all 3 siblings as well, likely within the next few years as they have diabetes, heart problems and COPD- all my family still lives in poverty, I’m the only one who "made it out.” Now I help support their grandchildren. As a Principal, I learned that some of my best teachers came from a similar background of poverty, and were now the heroes, providers and emergency financial back-ups for their extended family members. We all more than earned a dignified retirement, especially, as women…having been paid 1/3 less than men whose training and degrees in other professions were similar.


Thanks for the respect you show for educators, both retired and active, and the CRITICAL work that you do in documenting what’s happening to our democracy.”




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