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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

The Blade's endorsements

Here is a summary of The Blade's endorsements in key election contests:

President

This is an unhappy time for our nation. The country is on the wrong track. By almost every measure, Americans find themselves worse off at home than they were four years ago. Abroad, we are enmeshed in an ill-fated war in Iraq that diverts resources from the battle against terrorism and other urgent needs.

But voters have a remedy: They can disregard President Bush's desperate scare tactics and elect John Kerry, a man who has prepared himself for the crucial tasks for the presidency with a lifetime of public service, from the battlefields of Vietnam to the political minefields of Capitol Hill. The alternative is more of the same.

During Mr. Bush's four years in office, he has failed to take any effective steps to significantly improve the economy. His tax cuts, heavily tilted in favor of the wealthy, haven't produced the jobs he promised, especially in Ohio.

While we do not pretend that Mr. Kerry can magically solve every problem, we believe he is better equipped by experience than Mr. Bush to chart a reasonable course for the nation, at home and in the world.

In the Senate, he has deftly handled difficult and occasionally controversial tasks, such as working with Sen. John McCain on the committee that, in 1992, established conclusively that no more American soldiers, either prisoners or those missing in action, remained alive in Vietnam.

In sum, the United States needs a president who is steady, intelligent, and capable. We believe that man is John Kerry.

Ballot Issues

Issue 4: Smoking Ban amendment

Toledoans should cut through the smokescreen thrown up by bar owners and VOTE NO on ISSUE 4. Defeat of this issue is imperative to keep the city smoking ban in place and protect the health of the majority of people who do not smoke.

State Issue 1: Gay marriage ban

Discerning Democrats and Republicans, including Governor Taft and both of Ohio's Republican U.S. Senators, agree: VOTE NO on ISSUE 1. The sanctity of marriage is not the issue here; approval of Issue 1 would deprive any unmarried couple - gay or straight - of legal rights they now enjoy.

Issue 5: Allocation of 3/4% Tax

The City of Toledo is in financial trouble, but that's not a compelling reason to change the spending formula for the 3/4% city income tax surcharge and divert money from street paving and other capital improvements projects. VOTE AGAINST ISSUE 5.

Issue 35: Toledo Public Schools

The city school district is generating steady improvement in academics and has been careful with taxpayer money. This is a renewal levy, not a new tax, so we urge a VOTE FOR ISSUE 35.

Issue 37: Port Authority

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has finally begun to address the inequities in funding of regional economic development, beginning by putting more funds toward projects located in the city and county. The issue is a 0.4-mill replacement levy generating $2.4 million. We recommend a VOTE FOR ISSUE 37.

Issue 38: Mental Health

This is a 0.5-mill, 10-year replacement issue to bolster funding of the Lucas County Mental Health Board. We recommend a VOTE FOR ISSUE 38.

Issue 39: Senior Citizens

The last issue on the Lucas County ballot, the 0.45-mill replacement levy would increase funding slightly for services to the county's growing population of senior citizens. VOTE FOR ISSUE 39.

U.S. Senate

Although he has able opposition in former congressman Eric Fingerhut, we believe that Sen. George Voinovich deserves a second six-year term in the U.S. Senate. Senator Voinovich has proven himself enough of a maverick within the Republican party by voting against such GOP priorities as the underfunded No Child Left Behind Act.

U.S. Representative

Because she continues to faithfully place constituent service above Washington insiderism, Marcy Kaptur deserves a 12th consecutive term in Congress from the 9th District, which includes most of Lucas, Ottawa, and Erie counties and rural Lorain County.

Conversely, Ben Konop should be elected to replace Rep. Michael Oxley in the 4th District. Mr. Oxley has seniority in Washington, along with plenty of special-interest money, but he has long ceased to serve the real interests of his constituents.

In the same vein, Robin Weirauch is our choice for Congress from the 5th District. The incumbent, Rep. Paul Gillmor, doesn't even live in the district and shows up mostly at election time.

Ohio Senate

Ohio may have no more dedicated elected public official than Sen. Randy Gardner, who represents the 2nd District, which covers western Lucas County, all of Wood County, and most of Ottawa County. He has been present to vote 6,928 times in a row.

Ohio House

Often underestimated in the public policy realm, state representatives have a crucial say in taxation, allocation of state funding, and many other issues that directly affect Ohioans daily. Our recommendations in contested races for the House are newcomer Mark Wagoner in District 46, and incumbents Peter Ujvagi in District 47; Jeanine Perry in District 49, and Robert Latta in District 6.

Ohio Supreme Court

With four of its seven seats at stake, the worst thing that could befall the court is the return of an activist majority intent on legislating from the bench. The best way to forestall another "Gang of Four" takeover is for voters to re-elect Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, retain Justice Terrence O'Donnell, and promote Judge Judith Lanzinger to the high court from the Toledo-area appellate bench.

6th District Court of Appeals

Judge William J. Skow is the stronger candidate for promotion to the appeals court, which covers eight counties of northwest Ohio. A veteran of 19 years on Lucas County Common Pleas Court, plus three years on Toledo Municipal Court, Judge Skow has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in legal research and writing, although he has been a bit slow to decide some matters before his court.

Lucas County Races

Common Pleas Court

Five of six judgeships are contested this year, and the quality of the candidates makes for difficult choices. Our recommendation for judge of the juvenile division is the appointed incumbent, Judge Lynn Schaefer. For the general division, we endorse incumbents Tom Osowik and James Jensen, plus newcomers Gary Cook and Timothy Kuhlman.

Commissioner

Hard work and a passion for the job are the chief reasons we support Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Peter Gerken for commissioner. Ms. Wozniak was appointed to the post two years ago; Mr. Gerken has been a Toledo city councilman since 1996.

Treasurer

Toledo City Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz is our choice to clean up the ethical mess left in the treasurer's office by Ray Kest. The only downside is that the treasurer's term doesn't begin until September, 2005.

Sheriff

Likewise, plenty of work needs to be done in repairing the security lapses in the county jail and administrative problems in the sheriff's office. Our recommendation for the post is Tom Gulch, currently chief of police in suburban Oregon.

Clerk of Courts

Bernie Quilter should be retained as clerk of courts, a post to which he was appointed in 1999 and elected in 2000.

Recorder

The most qualified candidate for recorder is Anita Lopez, a member of the Toledo Public Schools board and director of Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance for the City of Toledo.



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