Editorials from around Ohio
By The Associated Press
Sep. 03, 2018
Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Blade, Sept. 2
Greece has exited eight years of financial bailouts, a milestone for the country and the European Union.
However, the positive headlines shouldn't for a moment overshadow issues that could come back to bite the 28-member bloc. Greece's economy remains fragile; many of its residents remain under-employed, if not impoverished; and the country's woes are a dark reminder of how the failure of one economy can threaten many others in an interdependent world with large trading alliances.
Yet Greece still has a mountain of debt to repay, struggles with bureaucratic sclerosis, lags in wireless infrastructure, and must rebuild an economy that's 25 percent smaller than it used to be. Unemployment, though lower than at the height of the crisis, stands at a staggering 20 percent.
One Greek citizen told PRI's The World that the recovery is "only on paper and, in general, I don't think that people really care about that right now." That's because many Greeks are finding that rebuilding their lives will take longer than it did their country to navigate the bailout.
As Greece's economy continues to improve, the conditions of its citizens should too. But for now, the world should view the end of the bailout as Greek citizens do. It's a work in progress and many, many families have not yet turned the corner.
The Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 3
Ohio's overcrowded prisons remain a major problem and challenge, but the man who just ended his seven-year tenure as director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction deserves a lot of credit for getting the system moving in the right direction.
With any luck, perhaps in another seven years, the numbers will be more to Gary Mohr's liking. If they are, the changes he championed likely will be part of the reason.
Mohr, who retired Friday after a 44-year career with the department, pronounced himself "disheartened" with the fact that Ohio's prisons today hold 49,500 inmates — about six times as many as the 8,300 who were locked up when he began as a teacher's aide at Marion Correctional Institution in 1974.
When Gov. John Kasich named Mohr as prisons chief in 2011, Mohr was determined not to just watch the prison population, then topping 50,000, keep growing. Instead, he focused on mental-health treatment for inmates to help them get their lives on track and avoid ever returning. He pushed energetically for alternatives like community-based supervision and drug treatment that have proved to be twice as effective as prison at turning lives around.
The results are impressive: In 2000, 39 percent of people released from Ohio prisons reoffended within three years, but under Mohr's watch, the recidivism rate dropped below 30 percent, well below the national rate of 68 percent. Thanks to that and to sentencing alternatives favored by Mohr and Kasich in the 2018-19 state budget, the prison population actually shrank a bit.
The Courier, Sept. 1
State lawmakers underestimated the complexity of setting the framework for Ohio's first major step into legalizing marijuana.
House Bill 523 was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich two years ago this month, but it gave officials two years to fully implement the new industry.
Apparently, they needed longer.
Medical marijuana is required by the law to be available to patients beginning Sept. 8, a week from today, but the state will apparently not meet the deadline.
One big reason is because many of the pot plants that will be processed into the products that patients will be able to purchase are still in the ground, and not ready for harvest.
The late rollout of medical pot is unfortunate on various levels, but primarily to those who are counting on it to alleviate pain, inflammation or nausea. But it is still better for the state to get it right than to create problems that would undermine the law.
Many communities in Ohio took a wary approach after lawmakers approved the marijuana law in 2016. Some cities moved to ban medical marijuana, but others, including Findlay, chose to issue a moratorium until guidelines were in place. The city's moratorium expires Sept. 8, and with so many safeguards established, there would seem no real need to extend it.
Yes, Ohio's painstaking move to a controlled and monitored medical form of marijuana will have a learning curve. Still, unreasonable delays and burdens must not be placed on those who are now eligible to use marijuana for health purposes under state law.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 2
One week ago, the student loan ombudsman at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau submitted a blistering letter of resignation. Seth Frotman argued the bureau "has turned its back on young people and their financial futures," abandoning "the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting." Part of the bureau's work goes to ensuring that students who borrow for their education are not cheated or otherwise abused by lenders and loan servicing firms.
Student loans largely work through the federal government lending directly to borrowers. The Education Department hires private companies, or loan servicers, to manage the loans. In January 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Navient, the country's leading servicer of federal and private student loans, charging that the company cheated borrowers on their repayment rights.
The Education Department subsequently announced that it would cease sharing its student loan data with the bureau. It contends the bureau has become "overreaching and unaccountable." Actually, what the department has done is put loan servicers beyond the reach of the bureau. Without the data, the bureau cannot perform its job.
Recall why the bureau was created in the aftermath of the Wall Street calamity that deepened the Great Recession, the record replete with stories of lenders scamming consumers. Bankers and others in the financial industry have their squads of lobbyists and political action committees. The reasonable notion is: Establish an advocate on the side of consumers.