Hi, folks. I’m back – a little earlier than I had planned but the upcoming election forced me to weigh in now rather than later.
I’m not sure what direction this blog will take, or whether I will continue it into the distant future. A lot depends on the feedback that you, the reader, provides. And, of course, I need to make some money and that fact might preclude my offering a smattering of opinions and/or news.
Likewise, I’m uncertain what direction this blog will take when it comes to publishing your comments. I am not enamored with the state of online newspaper comment sections that for the most part resemble the Old West at high noon – everybody’s shooting at somebody.
So, let’s get on with it.
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Recently, I received a political mailing that was headlined, "Ohio Democrats are Voting NO on Issue 3." Prominent Democrats against Issue 3 include Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.
After those names, the list gets a little dicey.
Others mentioned included state Rep. Ted Celeste of Columbus, Parma Mayor Dean DePiero, state Sen. Teresa Fedor of Toledo, Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady, Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and state Rep. Tyrone Yates of Cincinnati.
In addition, a TV ad proclaims that one of the promoters of Issue 3 – Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert – once was arrested for illegal bookmaking. Well, yes, he was – while he was a student at Michigan State (his record ultimately was expunged).
Given the current economic situation in Ohio – it ain’t pretty – it’s time to finally bite the bullet and allow construction of casinos.
In other words and for what it’s worth, the editorial board of this blog (me) endorses passage of Issue 3 on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Is Issue 3 a perfect solution? No, of course not. It only allows for construction of casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. Gilbert is involved in the Cleveland and Cincinnati plans. And if the casinos are successful, Gilbert and friends will make money. If they aren’t, Gilbert and friends are the big losers.
One can only imagine what would have happened in distressed Lorain County if Alan Spitzer had been permitted to transform an old shipbuilding site into a Las Vegas-style casino resort back in the early ‘90s.
But voters throughout the state turned down Spitzer’s proposal because, well, it wasn’t perfect.
Been to Lorain lately? It ain’t pretty.
In the meantime, while we looked for the perfect solution and depended on our underperforming Legislature for one, our neighboring states planted gaming sites close to our borders in order to tap into Ohioans’ pocketbooks.
OK, see if you can wrap your arms around these bullet points:
-- The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cincinnati Enquirer have endorsed passage of Issue 3 despite long histories of being against casino gambling in Ohio for whatever reason. Could it be the editors at those esteemed institutions looked out their ivory tower windows and were alarmed by what they saw?
-- Editors, by their nature, are primarily conservative in their outlooks on society. We don’t want to be too Democratic or too Republican or too anything. And gambling is rather decadent in nature (isn’t it?) and we would rather you spend your money on four Cleveland Browns tickets than blow $200 for a chance at a million and that’s the main reason most newspapers don’t endorse casino issues, excepting the PD and Enquirer this time around.
-- The newspapers that didn’t endorse Issue 3 will gladly accept any advertising thrown their way if the casinos are built.
-- There are many Democrats who are supporters of Issue 3. Check out the list at www.yesonIssue3.com.
-- Most politicians don’t want to go out on a limb and reveal that they are for casino gambling, although privately they’ll admit that "we have to get it done."
-- The casinos will employ thousands of Ohioans, although it’s conceivable that some skilled positions might go to out-of-state residents who have the qualifications. It’s conceivable that some of those people are ex-Ohioans.
The state is broke and our big cities need be reinvigorated. Issue 3 will help on both counts.
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It’s tough to get excited about Issues 1 and 2.
Issue 1 gives rather meager bonuses – $500 to $1,000 – to veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan by allowing the state to issue $200 million in bonds (at no cost to the taxpayers). How can anyone be against that?
Issue 2 is a pre-emptive move to create an agricultural board that ultimately will determine what’s right and what’s wrong with how our farmers treat the animals that provide us our food supply, and it amends the constitution to empower the board.
I don’t like amending the constitution to accomplish something like this, but like I said before … if you wait on the Legislature…
This blog supports passage of Issues 1 and 2.
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See you next time.