Lucas County voters underscored their unwavering support for public safety and compassion for the vulnerable by approving most of Tuesday's ballot issues by wide margins. An unfortunate exception was the ADAS board's alcohol and drug services levy, which was rejected again, an indication that many still don't accept addiction as everyone's problem.
Thanks to voters' support, the 911 system will be upgraded, the mental retardation board won't have to cut services, and Children Services can continue caring for abused and neglected youth.
However, the Lucas County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services board issue was narrowly rejected, with 48,279 voting against Issue 4 and 47,164 voting for it. ADAS had sought a 0.5-mill levy for agencies under its umbrella to provide treatment to drug and alcohol addicts. In March, 2000, ADAS unsuccessfully sought a 0.35-mill levy from voters.
ADAS was a relative unknown then; it had never asked for taxpayer support before. But although voters are somewhat more familiar with it now, the board still failed to make its case that addiction is a community issue.
The notion that individuals get themselves addicted and should get clean on their own is not only callous and uncaring, it doesn't recognize the harm done to their families, their jobs, and the community in general. Plainly, the community pays one way or another.
Fortunately, voters were more compassionate about Children Services and the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities board. Children Services' 1.4-mill levy, a lower millage, was approved easily, as was the mental retardation board's 3 mills. The passage of both issues shows that the public wants the defenseless in our community properly cared for.
It will also help that voters approved the 911 levy. That 0.7-mill levy will allow police, fire, and emergency medical workers to communicate with each other by radio. And while it was not a big surprise that Toledo's 0.75 percent payroll tax passed by a 2-1 margin, it can never be taken for granted that voters will merely approve a measure again simply because they have in the past. The payroll tax, for city services, has been approved five times now.
All in all, voters showed commendable support for maintaining Toledo's quality of life. Perhaps in time they will also accept the community's role in treating addiction.