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Monday, April 21, 2014
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Published: 9/1/2002

Ruling on smoking lets Toledo buckle its Rust Belt

It's a holiday weekend, the perfect time for a little A&R:

Action: The Ohio Supreme Court rejects the Toledo-Lucas County health board's ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, and other indoor public places.

Reaction: Can't say I'm surprised. After all, this is Ohio. A progressive measure like this clashes with our stuck-in-the-past mentality. Why, we would risk getting booted out of the Rust Belt if we embraced something like this.

American society has a long history of allowing things that we look back on and say, “What were we thinking?” Slavery and not allowing women to vote were our most egregious errors. More recently, we didn't start to take drunken driving seriously (to the extent that we do now, anyway) until the 1980s.

Is there any doubt that the acceptance of smoking in public places will turn out to be the Great Mistake of our generation? All signs are pointing that way.

Our nation's largest state (California) and largest city (New York) have taken aggressive steps to correct our Great Mistake. So have other states, with Delaware being the latest, and dozens of other cities, including Bowling Green.

As usual, though, Toledo has a vision(ary) problem. It has trouble seeing the future. Must be all of those rust particles in the air.

The industrial Rust Belt isn't enough for us. We want to be a part of a social-issues Rust Belt, too. The same lack of foresight qualifies us for both.

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Action: Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in Tennessee, provides the most detailed and passionate case the administration has made for military action against Iraq.

Reaction: I can't help but believe the Nov. 5 election is a factor in President Bush's urgency. We've waited this long (I thought we should have invaded Iraq months ago), let's wait until at least mid-November so that we can have a “pure” election.

The philosophical direction of this country -- to the “right” (conservative) or “left” (liberal) -- hinges on the people we elect in November. Too much is at stake. After the Florida fiasco of 2000, America deserves a “pure” midterm election.

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Action: The former Brenda's Body Shop will be torn down this month and, according to the property's owner, a new building featuring architecture that's consistent with the Warehouse District will be constructed in its place.

Reaction: Thank you in advance, Myron Stewart, for ridding downtown Toledo of one of its biggest eyesores. Politicians had more than two years to deal with this, but they didn't get the job done. They allowed this dump to stand next to a $39 million jewel (Fifth Third Field) for six months too long. A perfect example of Toledo's foresight, or lack thereof.

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Action: After Dock Treece announced that he was withdrawing from the county commissioner's race, the Lucas County Republican Party names Maggie Thurber as the candidate who will face incumbent Sandy Isenberg in November.

Reaction: Is this the same Maggie Thurber who is just one year into a six-year term as the clerk of Toledo Municipal Court? The same Maggie Thurber who, during a spirited 2001 campaign against Linda Furney, gave every indication that she would not abandon her position to run for another office?

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Action: There are no questions at the end of today's column.

Reaction: They'll return next week. (Meanwhile, click on the link below and check out reader response to last week's questions.) Thanks to all of the readers who respond each week.



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