What is Issue 2 all about?

On the side

Cain’s field manager: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has appointed Michael Clarett of Youngstown as his Ohio campaign field manager.

Clarett is a former Ohio secretary of state field representative when J. Kenneth Blackwell was in office. Clarett also worked twice as a paid staffer for Blackwell’s secretary of state campaigns and once for Blackwell’s treasurer campaign.

Get out the vote: A rally to get out the vote for Tuesday’s general election will start at 5 p.m. Sunday at the New Bethel Baptist Church, 1507 Hillman St. in Youngstown.

State Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland, D-25th, who’s exploring a potential congressional race in the new 11th District, will be the event’s guest speaker.

Election night: Opponents of state Issue 2 will be at the new V2 Wine Bar Trattoria, 100 W. Federal St., beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, watching the election results. The polls in Ohio are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The main draw of the general election is state Issue 2, even though many who’ll cast ballots have little understanding of it.

The issue, a referendum on the Republican-pushed Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), restricts the collective-bargaining rights of public employees.

One reason for confusion is the bill is more than 300 pages long and much of it is in legislative-speak. The first two sentences of the bill reference hundreds of sections of the Ohio Revised Code.

ORC sections

To fully understand the bill, you’d have to read all of those ORC sections, which reference other ORC sections, and so on. In other words, it would take months of nonstop reading to fully read SB 5 and the ORC sections it amends and replaces. You’d also have to comprehend what you read.

The issue doesn’t eliminate collective bargaining. But when final decisions are made, SB 5 gives control to management thus weakening collective bargaining.

Most rational people would agree changes are needed.

Issue 2 requires public employees to pay 10 percent of their pension costs and at least 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums. State workers already pay those percentages. On the local level, those percentages vary.

Polls show the bill won’t pass, with Valley residents expected to come out in large numbers against the issue.

Here’s one observation: We Are Ohio, the leading anti-Issue 2 organization, has a regional office in Struthers, and is airing a lot of TV commercials on local stations.

Building a Better Ohio, the leading pro-Issue 2 group, has no Valley presence and if you watch television, you’d probably wonder if an organized effort to support the issue exists.

So it was a rare opportunity to attend a pro-Issue 2 event in the Mahoning Valley on Tuesday.

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, spoke in Hanoverton at a rally outside the Spread Eagle Tavern. (It’s OK to laugh at the name.)

Valley Democrats held an event at the Mahoning Country Club in Girard that started an hour later.

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras wanted me to attend his rally, but I had already committed to the Kasich event, which was announced days earlier.

Betras — who repeatedly used the word carcass when speaking during the rally — should probably be thankful I didn’t go to the Democratic event. I’m sure I probably would have found something funny and that would have ended up in this space.

Instead, here’s a very funny moment from the Hanoverton event.

While state Rep. Craig Newbold of Columbiana, R-1st, talked about supporting Issue 2, Kasich walked behind him and waited. The crowd cheered when Kasich arrived, but Newbold must have thought it was for him because he kept talking and never turned around. About 10 minutes later, Newbold noticed the governor standing there.

Newbold stopped and said, “I was on a roll,” adding he lost his place and didn’t know what to say next.

Kasich suggested Newbold say, “How about ‘John is here?’”

But Newbold said he still had a few more remarks and made the governor wait a little more before giving up the microphone.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.