Some ballot issues are no-brainers, others like these three, have me wide-eyed staring at the ceiling as my midnight ponderings race through my head.
I’ve come one step closer to voting for casino gambling, but I’m not quite there yet.
I voted against the 2008 ballot issue which called for only one casino in Wilmington. This new proposal, Issue 3, is better. It calls for casinos in Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, locations that are Ohio’s best bet to reduce the amount of Ohio money being spent in casinos in Detroit, Windsor, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
By building close to our borders we can also reap more out-of-state dollars.
So, what’s wrong with Issue 3?
First, once again, it’s a constitutional amendment, not appropriate for a measure that will give two businesses exclusive rights to control gambling.
Two, it is weighed heavily in favor of the owners and there are no guarantees that a Toledo casino would be built. The issue also calls for a one-time $50 million license fee and a 33 percent tax rate. In some states, the license fee is between $300 to $500 and the tax rate is higher, according to some experts.
Here’s what I would like to see: An issue that would call for casino owners to bid for license fees and tax revenue. This approach would increase revenue, which should then be shared by the state, local government and the schools.
Toledo Mayoral race
The city struggling with a budget deficit is fortunate to have two strong candidates running for mayor. Both Keith Wilkowski and Mike Bell are consensus builders and will be able to work better with Toledo City Council than the current mayor, who is both strong-minded and abrasive.
Both candidates are qualified. Wilkowski has served as president of the Toledo Public Schools board of education, as a Lucas County Commissioner and as the city’s law director. He knows the problems the city faces, he knows politics and he is the endorsed Democrat.
Bell, an Independent, has more than 19 years executive experience as Toledo Fire Chief and Ohio’s Fire Marshall.
The difference between the two was evident in the recent debate sponsored by this paper and the East Toledo Club. Wilkowski has a number of great ideas. He wants to capitalize on Toledo’s manufacturing expertise and the University of Toledo’s research acumen in solar and wind research to create “Green Collar Jobs” jobs. He also wants Toledo to become a leader in the use of alternative energy. He would offer tax credits for homeowners who invest in alternative energy and build a solar field at the Dura Landfill to generate energy for the city.
The ideas are worth pursuing, however, a recent U.S. Census Bureau report put Toledo in a list of the nation’s top ten poorest cities. The city’s greatest need for the foreseeable future is to balance the budget and learn to live with less revenue. This is what Bell called a “reality check.” So, the question becomes, who is best suited to work with council and the city unions to balance the budget, keep residents safe and provide services?
If I were voting in Toledo, I’d choose Bell. Not only, because of his background, but also because of this statement he made at the debate, “For too long, you’ve had career politicians who tell you what you want to hear because they are worried about being elected. I can be real with you. I can tell you the truth and I’m not worried about being re-elected.”
That could be what Toledo needs at this time.
State Issue 2
Did you know on some farms pregnant pigs are confined to two-foot-wide cages which only allows them room to stand motionless or lie down? Or, that hens are confined their entire lives in a space no larger than the size of a magazine? Or, that veal calves are kept chained in crates too small to allow them to take more than one step?
Those are claims made by the Toledo Humane Society in a recent edition of The Blade. The author, John Dinon, executive director of the humane society, is urging a no vote on Issue 2. The constitutional amendment would create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, a board comprised of 13 Ohioans including the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, three family farmers, two veterinarians, a representative of the humane society, a food expert and two members representing Ohio consumers. The board would set standards for livestock and poultry care.
Supporters of Issue 2 claim this measure is needed to pre-empt the Humane Society of the United States from placing its own constitutional amendment proposal of its own which would be more onerous on farmers while increasing the cost of food and destroying jobs.
I’ll vote no. I don’t think another bureaucratic board will make any significant difference in the lives of farm animals. I’ll also vote no if a tougher proposal comes from the humane society next year, which is expected.
Here’s what I’d like to see—a bill that mandates labels on meat and poultry. Define “humane” care of farm animals and let the consumer decide.
Each trip I take up to northern Michigan, I drive past veal calves confined in huts where they can do nothing but lay down. This is their existence. I would pay more for food from farmers who allow their animals to be animals, not just factory food.
Consumers support Chipotle Grill in part because the company refuses to buy pork from producers who use gestation crates. I bet some consumers would pay more if assured their meat and poultry came from farmers who allow their animals a little more life.