Time for a single, sensible smoking policy in Ohio
I'm tired of unnecessary government bureaucracy. There is too much of it already in Ohio. The varied and often changing smoking policies that can be found around the state serve as one typical example. It is time to have one clear and reasonable smoking policy for the whole state that protects people's health without creating more bureaucracy.
A group of businesses and organizations called Smoke Less Ohio have created a common sense smoking policy. I support what they are doing because their plan would ban smoking from over 90 percent of businesses, but would still make the right move by letting places like bars and tobacco shops the choice to allow smoking.
The limited number of exceptions is important because they take into account the reality that many businesses rely upon smokers. Also, some proposed bans would abuse the rights of business owners by putting in place a harsh, total ban.
I support Issue 4 because it is a common sense smoking policy that protects individual health while reducing government interference.
Don't be tricked into amending Ohio Constitution
Let's hope our citizens are paying attention to Issues 4 and 5 on the Nov. 7 ballot. Issue 5 would ban smoking in all public places. Issue 4 -- backed by RJ Reynolds -- does nothing to protect the air. In fact, it would overturn voter-approved local ordinances that ban smoking in public places.
I believe it was put on the ballot by deception -- voters thought they were signing the petition to ban smoking. It will continue to deceive and confuse voters on election day unless we are clear on what is included in the provisions of each issue.
I am in favor of Issue 5, which bans smoking in all enclosed spaces and places of employment.
I grew up in a house in which both parents smoked. I now have asthma, as do three of my siblings. My mother has severe emphysema and is on oxygen. My grandfather died of lung cancer. I do not want to be around tobacco smoke. If I didn't have to breathe their smoke, I would support smokers' right to kill themselves slowly. Unfortunately, they are polluting the air I have to breathe, and I resent that.
These are just personal concerns, and don't even take into account the enormous impact of smoking on the health of Americans.
My other really big beef with Issue 4 is that it wants to amend the Ohio Constitution. The constitution should be a framework for our state government and should not be used to enact public policy. Regardless of how you feel about the two issues, be sure to think long and hard before voting for anything that amends the constitution.
If both Issues 4 and 5 pass, Issue 4 wins -- the constitutional amendment would simply restrict smoking and overturn current local smoking ban ordinances. If Issue 4 wins, it would prevent anyone from ever passing a smoke-free law without amending the constitution.
Don't be confused. Vote no on Issue 4 and yes on Issue 5.
ALICE I. SLUSHER
Stop being victimized
The Oct. 11 Vindicator had a story about how an impaired driver caused a fatal accident and another highlighted the weak sentence an individual received for vehicular assault while driving under the influence and driving under suspension.
Why do we, as a public, continue to lay prostrate and allow ourselves to become victims to these people? Why are we willing to pay the resulting bill from such reckless acts but not the one to prevent it? In all respects, has our world simply become the modern day Roman coliseum?
KIM R. KOTHEIMER
Slot machines won't solve higher education problems
Slot machines and casino gambling in Ohio would solve financial problems? I do not believe it for even one minute. I'm more than skeptical that a zero sum Mugg's Game would accomplish what is expected of it. Magic wand solutions to Ohio's self created fiscal problems that resulted from years of legislative folly just will not deliver what is expected of them. They create no wealth whatsoever. They merely transfer it, mostly out of state. There are also other factors.
First, there is the overhead that needs to be factored in. Very high security, the infrastructure to handle the increased traffic, the overseeing bureaucrats to ensure honesty in handling the funds, and don't be sure at all they will be successful in preventing fraud. Also, there is the rake off by the concessionaires hired to run the games that needs to be considered. It is very doubtful there will be much left for the state.
What about the behavior of our all so wise state legislators. I do not think they are capable of seeing more than one minute into the future. When the state lottery was first proposed, it was envisioned as supplying funds to supplement the state's funds for education. As soon as it was up and running, the state legislature completely and foolishly destroyed that idea by cutting the funds by the amount they thought the lottery was supplying.
Then there is the matter of those who would patronize a state casino. The number of potential gambling patrons for the proposed casinos is limited in size, and the more casinos there are, the fewer patrons there would be for each casino. Besides, they go where it is fashionable. Unfashionable casinos have gone bankrupt, and there is absolutely no guarantee they would find an Ohio casino fashionable enough to suit them.
If we want to gamble, let's gamble on building our educational institutions to the highest standards -- like Rensselaer, Stanford, M.I.T. That would also include our secondary schools, none of which have, as an example, courses in GIS operations, as some high schools outside of Ohio do. That is very much more likely to attract the high tech industries our officials claim they want. After all, the people who work for those industries have kids to educate.
JEROME K. STEPHENS
Hypocrites oppose Issue 3
I have been reading and listening to those who are opposed to state Issue 3. The positions taken by leaders of the Catholic Church and members of the African-American Clergy are appalling. I have a problem with groups who are trying to determine what's "best" for my community. Thistledown race track is my village's largest income taxpayer. The impact of the loss of Thistledown's tax revenue would be detrimental to the village's and the region's economy.
The Catholic Church has bingo, casino night, etc. Let's not forget the countless chartered bus trips that leave our communities, packed with church-going passengers headed out of state to the nearest casino. The concern for morality is hypocritical.
As the mayor of this community, I support this issue because I understand the need. Issue 3 will create jobs and boost the regional economy. I am also the pastor of a church within the village. I understand that we will always have moral, social and economic issues. It is the job of the church to instill and reinforce the morality of its parishioners.
Enough is enough. Stop being hypocritical and support Issue 3.
DAVID SMITH, mayor
Village of North Randall