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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Published: Friday, 8/22/2003

Returning the Senate to sanity

Bravo for the “Death to the gerrymander” editorial. Gerrymandering serves only the political parties and not the citizens of Ohio. Competition breeds new ideas and better processes - the antithesis of gerrymandering.

While The Blade is championing the restructuring of the process to elect representatives, I would also like to suggest it take a look at fixing the other house - the Senate - by pushing to repeal the 17th Amendment. It is pretty obvious that the experiment to give “the voters” a direct vote on their senators has failed, thanks to the influx of multi-millions of dollars by the special interests, large corporations, and wealthy donors.

Money has polluted the process of representation in the Senate. By repealing the 17th Amendment, and returning the Senate to the various state legislatures to appoint, we can effectively enact campaign reform, since most of the PAC money flows to senators. We can return the Senate to the states so that they have a conduit into the lawmaking at the national level. And we can, at the least, stymie the gridlock associated with the foul partisan politics that rage inside the Senate because the Senate would become a composite of regional state blocs instead of intractable party agendas.

A call for a national constitutional convention with the express purpose of repealing the 17th Amendment is the only way that we the citizens can get the Senate to return to sanity - and getting rid of gerrymandering is the only way we can reclaim our power over the national party's interests.

RON J. BORES

Fostoria

It was with great interest that I read your comments about the truck problems as they relate to the Ohio Turnpike. As was stated, the solution is obvious, but maybe you should have gone further with other options. Why not eliminate the commission and put the authority under ODOT? There is so much “pork” under the present system.

If a study were done to compare the responsibilities and salaries of these two administrators, the disparity would be staggering. One has control over a few hundred miles of highways and the other thousands. Also, does the present commission report to any legislative agency? On the surface it appears to be operating as some rogue group.

Another point of inept administration is how the financing of the third-lane expansion is being handled. The original bonds were paid off years in advance of the due date and at the old toll rates. Offering affordable fares and therefore increasing traffic accomplished this. Being a businessperson myself, this sounds like a sound and logical business decision. Now we add the third lane, increase fares, and reduce traffic. The logic?

Maybe this road should be run like any viable business. ODOT would be accountable to the public and the legislators and the “Gentlemen's Club”-type atmosphere would be eliminated. The net result would be logical business decisions and the potential of mega dollars for a state that is so desperate for a solution to our deficit.

The Blade should press this issue with the legislators to correct an injustice for all the villages along the turnpike and at the same time help replenish our state coffers.

RICHARD E. EMCH

Woodville, Ohio

The Ohio Turnpike Commission is well on its way to understanding the basic problem. There are quite a few truckers, and other frequent drivers, who regularly take their chances on the two-lane roads rather than pay a fixed fee to cruise the safer but boring turnpike.

About the only way to get some of those people to take the pike would be to print the toll receipts on the back of an Ohio Super Lotto ticket. Actually, the turnpike customer should get a cents-off coupon that, for every dollar (or part of a dollar) spent on tolls, entitles them to 50 cents off on their next Ohio Lottery purchase. That way, turnpike revenues would go up, Lotto sales would go up, increased retail sales at Lotto sites would yield more sales tax revenue, fewer crashes would make insurance rates go down, and one or two professional drivers would win the lottery and retire early.

Everybody wins. Ohio wins. Could this really work? You bet!

LEE NORDEN

Shellbrook Lane

The reaction of two of the three local priests of the Episcopal Church was enlightening. All these years I have been reading the Bible, only to find out that human wisdom is all I need, whether it be for atomic science or sexual morality or economics and politics. It is a relief to know that all the sexual prohibitions contained in that old and apparently outdated document no longer apply. I simply had no idea that adultery, fornication, and homosexual sex, for instance, were something entirely different 2,000 years ago.

The passages I read pointing out the foolishness of human wisdom are apparently outdated as well, and other passages about people liking to have their ears tickled with what pleases their fancies and desires seem similarly passe.

My wife and I are greatly relieved to find out that all the old taboos no longer apply. So many things God seems to want are obviously out of date. Surely, by logic, this must also apply to passages about being generous to others, being kind, considerate, not taking advantage of the weak, and so forth and so on. Just like the Constitution of the United States, these old documents must be consigned to the scrap heap of history to be replaced with the latest most enlightened thinking.

Of course, I cannot see any reason to bother with church anymore, either. According to your statistics, more than a third of the communicants of the Episcopal Church locally have come to the same conclusion. Two more are about to join the list. Should those priests so proud of their worldly wisdom find themselves with empty churches, and thus empty pay envelopes, I am sure, smart as they are, they'll be able to get another really great job.

CHARLES C. MILLIKEN

Parkwood Avenue

Curbing high costof political campaigns

As candidates gear up for the 2004 election cycle, the demand for money to fund expensive campaigns rises quickly as well. Campaign costs continue to skyrocket largely because of the very high costs of broadcast advertising over the publicly owned airwaves. In the 2002 election cycle, candidates, parties, and issue groups spent approximately $1 billion on political ads. Escalating campaign costs drive out potential candidates and require those running for office to spend too much time raising money - too often from special interests.

To help curb the high costs of campaigns, Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.), Russell Feingold (D., Wis.), and Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) introduced legislation on July 30 that will help make ideas matter more than money in our electoral process. The “Our Democracy, Our Airwaves Act” requires broadcast stations to provide free air time to qualifying candidates for federal office. In addition, the bill requires broadcasters to provide at least two hours a week of candidate- or issue-centered programming prior to the elections.

The broadcast airwaves are owned by the American people. The public gives broadcasters free and exclusive rights to use our airwaves in exchange for their serving the public interest. The “Our Democracy, Our Airwaves Act” will ensure that broadcasters serve the public interest by providing the means for enhanced debate and the education of voters. Sens. Michael DeWine and George Voinovich should show their support for a more informed electorate by cosponsoring this bill.

TERRY McCOY

President

League of Women Voters of Ohio

Do they have a better idea?

I'm curious, why are people so critical in your “Readers' Forum,” against politicians, etc., without tender of their opinion?

I like a rule my pappy taught me: Never criticize unless you have a better hypothesis or resolution.

GLEN DeGELNOR

Maumee



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