You’ve got big decisions to make regarding the future of Ohio.
One I believe to be remarkably easy — we need to curb the creative carving up of voters that benefits party politics. Republicans and Democrats know exactly where their bases live, so why allow those politicians to draw district lines that determine election outcomes?
State Issue 1 isn’t a perfect fix to the problem of gerrymandering — that’s when voting district lines get warped and contorted into Dali-esque shapes for political gain — but it’s a good step. It would create a seven-seat panel of politicians (big surprise) but with members spanning the aisle. Starting in 2020, if both sides can agree on boundaries they’ll stay in place 10 years. If not, just four years, giving voters a chance to put new decision-makers in place.
Any step that stems the winners’ influence away from rigging the game is a good one.
Issue 2 is a little more complicated.
It’s a panic measure by the Ohio General Assembly to fight marijuana legalization. The language aims to prevent monopolies, which I love. On the flip side, it creates a state board that gets to impress an official state opinion on any citizen-led initiative by slapping labels on it.
The last thing we want to do is allow the state to spin ballot language it doesn’t like. A referendum vote is supposed to be a reflection of the will of the people, not the opinion of the state. If legislators are scared the voters are too dumb to make informed decisions, maybe they should focus on fixing Ohio’s long-broken and unconstitutional school funding formula so we have more capable ballot-casters.
Issue 3 is a minefield.
Marijuana forces a strange division. Some conservatives typically concerned with individual rights don’t want pot legalization, even though it seems clear to me that people should be allowed to put whatever they want in their bodies. And I see liberals who otherwise may label themselves “pro-choice” when it comes to women’s rights fighting the choice to ingest a drug of choice. Often, these are the same people who see nothing wrong with having a few glasses of wine with friends on a Friday night.
The libertarian streak in me would normally full endorse legalization.
Not this time — and not because of pot or arguments about whether it’s a “gateway” drug or the tragedies that may happen when a user gets behind the wheel. I’m voting no against legalization because I don’t want to hand over an entire industry to ResponsibleOhio. We already made this mistake with casinos in Ohio. We don’t need to make it again with marijuana.
Now I’m tempted to weigh in on local issues in our newspapers’ coverage areas: a new Firelands school building, an operating renewal for the Spirit of ‘76 Museum in Wellington, a Central Lorain County Ambulance District renewal, and more. Those I will leave to you. No one knows better what you value and what’s in your wallet. My inclination is to buck selfishness and vote for anything that benefits the public.
But you’ll have to weigh your checkbook and decide on your own how much you can spend.