Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And that's a wrap...

This is the first year in 36 that I didn't spend election night in a newsroom. That doesn't mean I wasn't paying attention.
The passage of all three state issues should send a message to the state Legislature, to wit: Ohio voters are more than willing to legislate their own course by amending the constitution to allow such things as agriculture boards and casinos.
As for the casinos, I believe that a $600 million investment in downtown Cleveland (as well as in Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo) will do more good than harm. Unless the Cavs or Indians are playing and winning, the downtown area is relatively dead. A casino just might change that.
In addition, the casinos will provide revenue and jobs for a needy Ohio and perhaps might help in convincing young people to stick around.
It will not be a cure-all for all of the state's ills, that's for sure. Ohio has been slow to reinvent itself during the course of the manufacturing-to-service-to-high-tech sector transition and education continues to be the key.
Last figure I saw was that only 12 percent of Tuscarawas County residents (the state as a whole fares better but not much) are college-educated. That's an increase from a couple of decades ago, but still woefully behind other up-and-coming markets.
Affordable education remains a key to our survival...
* * *
Don't underestimate the intelligence of voters.
New Philadelphia said goodbye to one councilman, who was unable to work with just about anyone. And a township candidate who dipped his campaign strategy into the gutter was soundly defeated.
* * *
I'm not privy to the facts surrounding the resignation of Sugacreek Police Chief Tom Agler but media types throughout the Valley are probably applauding. Agler was less than open with the media, at least the one headquartered in New Philadelphia, about what his department was investigating.
That's not uncommon among small-town police types, who like to keep their communities' bad news under wraps.
Like I said before, be thankful for the Walt Wilsons and Orvis Campbells of Tuscarawas County. They're professionals.
See you next time.


kyle@sift said...

Dick, can you site any examples where a casino actually improved an economy? Vegas has the highest concentration of casinos in the country and their unemployment rate is the second highest in the country. Casinos in Vegas, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and others have all filed for bancruptcy protection recently. Do Ohio residents really want to work as waitresses, bartenders, housekeepers and all the other low wage jobs a casino might provide? I spent 19 years behind a bar. There is nothing glamorous or profitable about it.

Dick Farrell said...

Up until the recession hit, Las Vegas was one of the fastest growing economies in the country, so when times get tough it's realistic to expect that its economy will fall harder (and it has). The recession has taken a big toll on a lot of discretionary-dollar spending at casinos, resorts, cruise ships, etc. Las Vegas casino bartenders, incidentally, are among the highest paid bartenders.
Is one better off heading off to nursing school rather than working as a bartender in a casino? Yes, probably. But a job is a job is a job...
Check out this link in the Wall Street Journal for a story on casinos' impact on Detroit --
Also, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics for info on specific jobs and their salaries.
By the way, I think many nurses will tell you that there is nothing glamorous about their profession either as will most editors and reporters -- especially the ones downsized out of their careers.

Brent said...

Nice post Mr. Farrell. I'm glad to see you surface here on the internet. For the past few months, I've wanted to take my Sunday paper in the front yard and burn it after reading the editorials. Nothing against the new guy, but its like reading a watered down version of Reader's Digest sometimes. I like the "rest of the story" that you give, and like the opinions and thought you put into local issues. Our area has a huge media void to fill when it comes to looking out for the interests of the people.