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« Reason

What's on the ballot

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published October 29, 2008

This election year we are faced with a stark and, frankly, obvious choice for the next president of the united states. But, you know all about that after two years of non-stop campaigning. What else is on the ballot?

Aside from the down-ticket contests, there are eight ballot issues to decide.

The first appears to be a straightforward measure to amend the process by which ballot issues not originating in the legislature are vetted and the timeline in which they may be proposed. Read arguments for (pdf) and against (pdf) the Ohio Initiatives Deadline Act.

The second would renew the Clean Ohio program. This is a vital environmental and jobs program. According to the Vindicator, the program "has funneled more than $9 million to Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties." In its existence, "173 polluted, abandoned industrial sites in Ohio have been cleaned up and redeveloped, 20,000 acres of family farms have been protected, 26,000 acres of wildlife habitat have been preserved and 216 miles of new trails developed."

It also facilitated the cleanup of the site on which the Taft Technology Center now stands, allowing the YBI to expand and foster new revenue production and  job growth. "Democratic and Republican officeholders in Columbus and around the state are urging continuation of this program." Read arguments for (pdf) and against (pdf) the Clean Ohio measure.


I'm always leery of amendments that purport to extend additional rights that it would seem citizens already have. Amending the constitution is a serious issue and should not be undertaken lightly. According to Ballotpedia.org, the Ohio Water Compact Constitutional Amendment was pushed by Republican State Senator Tim Grendell (Cleveland) in response to the recently passed Great Lakes Water Compact.

It has been endorsed by Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, but opponents include the League of Women's Voters of Ohio, who state that "The amendment is unnecessary because current Ohio case law already recognizes property owners' interests in the reasonable use of surface and groundwater." Mike Eckhardt, Deputy Director of the Ohio League of Conservation Voters told me, "We believe it's entirely unnecessary and would provide no more rights to anyone that they don't have already today." Arguments for (pdf) and against (pdf).

Next up is an important referendum to regulate payday lending. This industry is out of control and needs to be reined in, for the good of the poor. Those who are in need of this kind of lending are currently subject to rates "equivalent to 391 percent in annual interest," according to the Vindicator, which vigorously recommends the issue's passageFor (pdf) and against (pdf).


The casino amendment is next. Aside from the stupid commercials on both sides of the issue, this is just a bad deal all around. The casino may have arguable benefit to the reservation where it would be sited, but casinos as a whole are detrimental to society in their lure to easy wealth. Especially in a troubled state like Ohio, providing encouragement for people to throw their money away seems like a cruel joke. The Vindicator further points out that the enormous money behind gambling frequently creates "an atmosphere in which public corruption can too easily take root." We know a little about public corruption around here, and we should be especially wary of supporting its catalysts. For (pdf) and against (pdf).

The final three issues are critical to the health of our valley and must be approved:

The Vindicator makes a compelling argument for passage of the Youngstown Schools levy: "As the school system goes, so goes the city of Youngstown." Those in surrounding suburbs should care about the fate of Youngstown, as it surely impacts all neighboring communities. It points out, "Last year alone, $5 million was slashed when the board of education eliminated 176 positions — 33 administrative and 143 teacher and other posts. Fringe benefit costs have been reduced by $1 million." These are part of the cost-cutting measures put in place that have been sought by taxpayers.

It's time to ensure that the district can continue to provide education and continue to be responsible in its deployment of funds. Finally, "The ability of City Hall to attract new companies, especially those that depend on an educated workforce, is inextricably tied to the reputation of the city schools." Graduation rates have risen from 51% in 2004 to over 70% in 2008. We need to keep the momentum going. Vote Yes!

The levy for Mental Health is merely a renewal. We're already supporting this service and should continue doing so by voting Yes for renewing it.

The WRTA levy is critical to city and suburban residents alike. There are residents who do not (and can not afford to) own cars and need public transportation to be productive members of society. The Vindicator points out that "there are companies in the suburbs that depend on Youngstown residents to fill low-wage jobs." The Mahoning Valley needs and deserves affordable public transportation. The buses travel throughout the region and are available to all parties. No one likes to pay taxes, but their purpose is to provide for the essential needs of society, and WRTA is part of that essential network of services. Vote Yes for the Valley. 


1lucy(135 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I was just saying that I needed more information on Issues five and six. Thanks.

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2projectgeniene(87 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree that more information about the issues should be out there, in a fair manner, earlier than right before the first Tuesday in November now that we have early voting. Those ballots are confusing with all their legalese. I feel like one needs a law degree to vote anymore!

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3ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Do like I did. Get an absentee ballot, then while filling it out sit here and look up each of the candidates and the issues, read what they have to say and then make up your mind, if you haven't done so already. The days of going to a voting boothe and picking and choosing without any more information than whats on the ballot are over! For me at least.

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4Kcm(7 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Forget if you agree with pday loans or not- FOCUS on the fact that the OGA thinks they have the right to control what financial options are available in Ohio. Big brother style

FOCUS on the fact that other adults are capable of making their own decisions, based on their life. Who are we to say no, you can't use that credit card/bank?

FOCUS on the fact that eliminating pday loans DOES NOT eliminate the need for short term financial options.

FOCUS on the controlling & spending of our household $ by the state. The gov't has shown they are not responsible or budget conscious. Ohio /> 60M in debt!

FOCUS on what else the gov't is going to decide (under the guise of paternalism) that we aren't capable of handling. Restricting how much $ on food/alcohol/cigarettes/housing/gambling /clothes?

FOCUS on the fact that the OGA is intruding on personal financial decisions-where does it stop?!

The Issue is WAY bigger than PD Loans- its a BASIC FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT!

NO on 5

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5tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Who's paying your bills, Kcm? You can't honestly believe that the government stepping in to regulate an out-of-control industry in the interests of helping the poor is objectionable? The payday-lending industry is free to decide under what laws they operate, and their constituency has no power to stand up to them, so the government is stepping in to help. What kind of "financial options" do you suppose are available to the working poor that they're going to be restricted from leveraging?

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6Kcm(7 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

First of all-- the PD lending Industry is *already regulated* in Ohio. They are not operating illegally. And no they are NOT free to decide under what laws they operate- -- for cripes sake this isn't an episode of Sopranos!!

Government stepping in to help?? Protect us from ourselves?! Umm, no thanks!! I'd prefer less (a lot LESS) government intrusion considering the current state of Ohio's economy & 60M deficit created by the same OGA that voted yes on HB 545. IRONIC

"Working poor?" Not exactly. Majority of PD customers earn an annual salary of 25-50k, and that's not HOUSEHOLD income, that's individual income. With the minimum wage at $7/hr which is $14560 annually, I don't think 35k is poor.

"No power to stand up to them?" So are you saying the customers of PD loans are stupid, or being forced into these loans? Come on seriously-- no one has a gun held to their head and they are not being forced to take out a PD loan. Adults weigh their situation and options, freely walk into a store, present necessary documentation, review and sign a contract, and walk out with their loan. There is no coercion, there is no forceful sales pitch. They are there of their own accord!! Consenting adults making the best decision for them.

As a citizen of Ohio 1st and an employee of a PD lending company 2nd, I sincerely hope that my fellow Ohioans understand what is at stake here on Issue 5!! Financial freedom is having options available and making the *best choice* for your individual needs. It doesn't mean the OGA, under the guise of "paternalism" can call all the shots by telling us they know better than we do. It does not mean eliminating viable options for adults, especially when the economy is in such a horrible state.

VOTE NO on 5

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7tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Not protecting us from ourselves; protecting us from parasites.

$35k not poor? Try supporting a family of four on that with both parents working.

I suggest your views are heavily skewed by your obvious conflict of interest here. You'll be making less money by not being able to squeeze consumers with outrageous percentage fees, so I can understand that you don't want to see the laws changed.

It's impossible to defend an annual interest rate of as much as 391 percent.

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8Kcm(7 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

My views are not heavily skewed.... and I don't have a conflict of interest. I am not concerned about my job or myself--- I am much more worried about our customers and the state restricting free enterprise.

Even though you clearly don't agree with pday loans, we are not parasites.

So in your opinion some consenting mature educated adults need to be protected from themselves and decisions you dont think they should make? Where does that stop? Who stops it?

If you'd like to truly see the absolute absurdity of this line of faulty reasoning.....

We should ban and eliminate payday loans b/c a small minority is irresponsible and has trouble making "good" financial decisions and budgeting? So basically let's punish the MAJORITY for the mistakes of the MINORITY.

Gosh-- I certainly hope we don't apply that same flawed line of reasoning to driving, eating, smoking, drinking or anything else. Because it's totally idiotic!!

Some adults get into accidents, yet we don't ban EVERYONE from driving.

Some are overweight and eat fast food , yet we don't ban food or require anyone to eat only at certain restaurants or only eat specific foods.

Some want to smoke & drink, they may be addicted or spend "too much" money on those vices, yet we don't ban smoking or drinking.

Some blow all their money on "frivilous items ie-- lottery, gambling, clothing, electronics, etc & consequently can't and don't pay their bills, yet we don't take away their money.

Punishing everyone for the mistakes or poor judgement of a small minority of others WRONG. The Ohio General Assembly is attempting to protect us from ourselves--- how ironic!!!We need protection from them limiting our basic rights--- including financial freedom!!!

Adults are and should be responsible for their choices! Don't tell me how or where to earn my money and certainly don't tell me where I can spend it!! MY $$, MY CHOICE

NO on 5!

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9tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I should "allow" you to get a loan you desperately need to make ends meet at triple-digit percentage rates? Somehow I can't see that's a "choice" you would make.

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10valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I am a strong advocate for the WRTA Sales Tax. We got to keep this bus service. The inner city relies on it.

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11MillCreeked(24 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Agree strongly with Valleyred, it is imperative for the Youngstown work force, especially with haywire oil prices.

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12jfuze0905(82 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Let's talk tax plans:

Read the article located at http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/Upload...

and then make an informed decision...interesting to note are Tables 7 and 8 where there is a breakdown of the income tax structure by both candidates.

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