In the aftermath of last year's presidential election and all the controversy that surrounded the final result, voters might be inclined to dismiss Tuesday's primary election as unimportant. They would be making a grave mistake.
Whether it's a race for city council, or an income tax issue or a school levy, the decisions made Tuesday will have a greater impact on a community and the lives of its people than the outcome of most national or state elections.
There are contests in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties that deserve the attention of the voters, and there are tax issues that demand sound judgment on the part of the electorate.
We believe that every election is important, which is why we interview candidates in selected races with an eye to making an endorsement. That is what we did over the past several weeks and what follows is a summary of The Vindicator's recommendations for tomorrow's Democratic primary.
Mayor: George M. McKelvey
Council president: Charles Sammarone
Municipal court judge (1/1/02 term): Robert A. Douglas Jr.
Council president: Michael G. Orenic
Council-at-large (three to elect): Robert D. Carcelli; Ronald M. Matthews; Dexter A. Hollen
Treasurer: John B. Taylor
Council-at-large (three to elect): Robert A. Marchese; Daniel E. Polivka; Gary Fonce
Council president: Leo S. Grimes
Council-at-large (three to elect): Douglas Rohrer; William J. Williams; Ray Farcas
Schools: Levies and bond issues for schools deserve the support of all individuals in the school districts. To those who argue that taxpayer money is simply being squandered by the schools, we say, "show us." Given the current method of funding public education in Ohio, the support of voters on the local level is crucial.
Warren income tax: And on the issue of taxes, we believe that the 0.5 percent income tax for police and fire services that will be on the ballot in the city of Warren warrants special attention. Why? Because as we noted in an editorial endorsing the passage, the city's survival depends on it.
Warren's taxpayers have made it very clear by their previous votes that they aren't about to give the administration and city council a blank check. Their concerns have been noted and thus the decision to specify how the money generated by the tax will be spent. The keyword is "safety." Residents need to feel safe in their homes and safe on the streets.
In addition, taxpayers will be able to decide in a relatively short time, three and a half years, whether the tax should live or die. The onus is on city officials to be good stewards of the public's dollars.
We support the passage of the tax.