WHILE Ohioans duke it out over how best to ban indoor smoking in public places, California has enacted a far more sweeping environmental law without anyone having a nervous breakdown.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a major global-warming initiative that will fill the void on federal policy and possibly lead the way for other states to take action. The Bush Administration's bankrupt approach to the environment, particularly on the matter of limiting greenhouse gases, leaves leaders at the state level no alternative but to pass laws over Washington's head.
Some will say Governor Schwarzenegger, a Republican, crafted the historic pact with California Democrats because it's an election year, but we see it differently.
No doubt the governor scored political points with some, but he boldly broke with - and some would say upstaged - his party's president on an issue of national and global importance. That took guts; too many politicians shrink from courageous positions, particularly in an election year.
The California law will set the nation's first emissions caps on factories, refineries, and utilities to cut the greenhouse gases that warm the earth. Between this law and the state's tough rules limiting auto tailpipe pollution, California hopes to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels - a 25 percent cut - by 2020.
That's major-league environmental leadership that deserves to be copied in the White House and Congress. We urge Ohioans to step up and make the same bold statement on Nov. 7:
No on Issue 4, Yes on Issue 5.