Editorials from around Ohio
Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Cleveland) Plain-Dealer, Nov. 26
Every ten years, the census counts Ohioans where they live. For about 50,000 Ohioans living in state prisons, that means being counted as residents of the mostly rural areas where many Ohio prisons are located.
And that has political implications.
As cleveland.com’s Rich Exner recently reported, nine of every ten Ohio prison inmates are housed in Republican congressional districts.
That works out well for the GOP, because, under current state law, Ohio felons serving time in prison may not vote. Politically speaking, they thus equate to thousands of “voteless” constituents who help GOP mapmakers top off the number of people required to create congressional and General Assembly districts. That, in turn, bolsters the clout of Ohio’s Republican counties in Washington and Columbus.
Today, formerly incarcerated Ohioans can vote once they’re released from prison. But up until that time, they’re like a Zombie army of voteless pegs to be moved around on a gerrymandering board.
Ohio already has recognized that convicted felons have the right to vote. The state should take it a step further, allowing them to vote while in prison — thereby maintaining their connections to society as members of the communities they call home.
Ohio’s current practices on felon voting rights while in prison and on prison redistricting are unjust and archaic — and must end.
The Blade, Nov. 27
Congress needs less partisanship and more earnest problem-solvers. That means calling in the Marines, along with the Army, Navy, and Air Force, according to one newly launched political action committee.
The With Honor super PAC, launched this fall, aims to spend $30 million on the campaigns of about two dozen veteran candidates running for Congress in 2018.
The group will fund Democrats and Republicans, but only if the candidates pledge to serve with honor and integrity and to work across party lines. Each candidate must agree to co-sponsor legislation and meet regularly with members of other parties.
The PAC’s founders, who include Meijer family scion and veteran Peter Meijer, believe a decline in the number of veterans serving in Congress is partly to blame for the acrimony that has so turned off voters.
In the early 1990s, half the members of the House of Representatives were veterans. Today that number is less than 20 percent.
The House of Representatives is key in deciding how the military is funded — it holds the power of the purse. The people making those decisions ought to include plenty of veterans.
From their service, veterans learn to value teamwork, problem-solving, and the importance of long-term gains over short-term victories. These are good principles for the people’s representatives.
The (Willoughby) News-Herald, Nov. 25
Much has been written and said about the deadly impact of the opioid crisis in the United States and what must be done to combat this scourge.
One of the more memorable recent quotes came from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who served as chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
“Our people are dying,” Christie said in a cover letter for the commission’s final report, which was released earlier this month. “More than 175 lives lost every day. If a terrorist organization was killing 175 Americans a day on American soil, what would we do to stop them? We would do anything and everything. We must do the same to stop the dying caused from within.”
Christie’s candid assessment and urgent call to action prefaced a report listing 56 recommendations for the president and Congress to enact to combat the growing epidemic devastating families and communities across the United States.
We believe that some of these ideas could play a meaningful role in helping our country gain traction in what seemingly has been an uphill battle against opioid addiction and its frequently fatal consequences.
The (Findlay) Courier, Nov. 25
The National Park Service should rethink its proposal to double admission fees at more than a dozen of the nation’s favorite parks.
The reasoning is that by increasing fees during the busiest five months of the year, needed revenue for maintanance and infrastructure work can be raised.
It’s a good thought, but a bad idea.
The park service has estimated the higher fees would generate an additional $70 million a year, which would address much of the parks’ needs over time.
But it would also mean fewer people would get a chance to visit parks. Higher fees would put them out of reach for many lower- and middle-class citizens.
National parks belong to all of us. Park operations are funded by tax dollars and admission fees, but national parks should be destinations within reach of all citizens, not just the wealthy.
It’s not surprising that there has been significant push back since the fee proposal was announced in October.
Anyone who cares about the parks, and who may want to someday visit them, shouldn’t hesitate to weigh in.