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Published: Tuesday, 4/5/2011

Voter-ID bill should be rejected

I applaud your thoughtful and well-reasoned March 24 editorial "Photo-ID ruse," on the restrictive and unreasonable voter-ID bill that was rammed through the Ohio House recently.

I agree with your conclusion that the intent of this hastily conceived measure "seems to be to make it harder for some Ohioans to vote — especially those who would be less likely to vote the way the bill's supporters, mostly Republicans, would prefer." I voted no on this proposal.

Under current law, voters may present one of eight forms of identification at the polls. HB 159 would unreasonably restrict voters to only four forms.

This bill could very well have the effect of disenfranchising the elderly, the poor, and younger voters, all of whom may have difficulty meeting this stringent government mandate.

Proponents of this measure allege that their motivation is to fight perceived voter identification fraud. As the former director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, the second-largest voting jurisdiction in Ohio, I can tell you that instances of illegal voting are extremely rare.

A 2005 study by the highly respected League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio found that of more than 9 million ballots cast in Ohio elections in 2002 and 2004, just four instances of illegal voting were found.

Also, as someone who has conducted high-turnout elections, I can tell you that more voting irregularities have been identified in connection with absentee voting. This bill does nothing to address those issues.

If this bill is approved, I'm quite certain it will require more of the taxpayers' hard-earned money to educate voters on this restrictive, government-mandated ID requirement.

I join The Blade in urging the Ohio Senate to reject this bill. We need careful and thoughtful elections reform, not hastily conceived and potentially costly government restrictions on the right to vote.

Michael Stinziano
Ohio House of Representatives
25th District
Columbus


Is it too late to save our democracy?
In the two years since the Wall Street meltdown, large American corporations slashed a net 500,000 jobs. They hired 729,000 overseas workers. Those corporations will pay no tax on their profits as long as those profits remain overseas.

Fourteen million Americans are out of work. Many millions more are underemployed and adjusting to a much lower standard of living. Meanwhile inflation in health care, energy, food, and cable television services marches on. Underemployed people are paying less in taxes, so state and local governments are making drastic cuts — which will lower tax bases even further.

The Constitution guarantees everyone the right to petition Congress. The financial and corporate elite buy the people we elect, dictate policy, and run the country.

Today, government policy is to cut taxes more for the rich, and pay for that by cutting benefits to the poor, the sick, the out of work, returning veterans, and those on Social Security.

Without a grass-roots movement, it might be too late to save our democracy.

James P. Struble
Sylvania Township


Voters really need facts, not politics
If The Blade would publish area school district and city budgets, I could make a decision on how I vote based on facts, not politics, when I go to the polls.

Cheri Newbold
Sylvania


Shelter denies dog to rescue group
Last week, my wife and I went to the Seneca County Humane Society in Tiffin to get a dog from its kennel, but we were denied because we run a rescue organization, Safe Harbor Schnauzer Rescue.

We called before we drove there. The manager said the shelter has worked with rescues, but it did not want to work with us on this dog. We were told three other families wanted to adopt the dog.

After four days, we called and the humane society still has the dog. I feel we were discriminated against and lied to. I'm filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Dave Stepanek
Port Clinton, Ohio


Founders' wisdom no longer applies
There is no way to know what our Founding Fathers would think about limiting the power of the federal government in our world today ("Let's rediscover founding principles," March 25, Readers' Forum). Many changes have taken place since 1787, and one wonders what wisdom these men could contribute to the size of the government now. Those who look for guidance from these wise men must assume they were all conservative on this subject.

D.H. Popp
Perrysburg


Once decision is made, get over it
The one thing that astounded me many years ago when I moved to the metropolitan Toledo area was how The Blade would continue to rail against any political or economic measure that its editors didn't agree with, even after those political or economic decisions were made and the majority of folks were set to move forward.

Your March 25 editorial "Regulating business" should leave any thoughtful reader incredulous, regardless of political leanings.

Gov. John Kasich has signed legislation creating JobsOhio and CSI-Ohio, the Common Sense Initiative. The former bill replaces current government-driven job-creation efforts known to be feckless, with a private nonprofit corporation that is at least designed to more effectively and efficiently help Ohio's job creators — something governmental entities simply cannot do.

The latter essentially creates a process for cutting through costly and burdensome red tape and duplicate regulations that impair Ohio businesses' ability to create jobs.

The voters voted for Mr. Kasich and the legislation was signed into law. That can be changed in the next election cycle. Your use of the century- old Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire as an omen of what could happen as a result of these two bills is a bit over the top. What does it accomplish?

Jay Shenk
Maumee


Congress should cut defense budget
Republicans and Democrats in Congress continue to negotiate over how much to reduce spending. They must come to an agreement Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown. Our lawmakers need to reduce spending, but they're looking at the wrong targets.

The first thing they need to do is take a 10 percent cut in their total compensation. That wouldn't go very far in reducing the total budget or deficit, but it would be an important symbolic action. Our representatives and senators should share some of the pain that millions of Americans have suffered since the financial crisis of 2008.

The second thing they should do is stop trying to eliminate small domestic programs and instead go after the real money: the Defense Department budget.

World War II in Europe ended in May, 1945, and was over in Japan in August of that year. Yet the United States still has military bases in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Why? These countries are not a threat to world peace. We should close those bases and bring the troops home.

The Department of Defense operates hundreds of bases all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica. We developed this huge network of bases in the aftermath of World War II when we feared that the Soviet Union and possibly China were intent on world domination.

We won the Cold War. Russia and China are not seeking to destroy the United States. We no longer need and we can no longer afford to maintain our vast military empire. It's time for Congress to take an ax to the bloated defense budget and bring it into line with the threats that we do face.

Robert A. Kelso
Sylvania


Obama appears to be the real cowboy
Why didn't President Obama consult with Congress before committing our troops in Libya?

The President has shown himself to be the real cowboy.

Lou Villaflor
Monclova



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