Editorials from around Ohio

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The Marietta Times, Jan. 20

Celebrations of victories against President Barack Obama’s assault on coal and affordable electricity have tended to be short-lived. So it probably will be with a bill passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives last week.

Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency have used every tool at their disposal— and invented quite a few new ones —in their campaign to destroy the coal industry. One weapon has been new regulations allegedly aimed at safeguarding water quality. They would impose requirements so difficult and costly to meet that they would make mining in many places, including much of West Virginia and Ohio, impossible.

Last Tuesday, the House approved a bill blocking enforcement of the new rules. The vote was 235-188.

If the measure becomes law, it could preserve tens of thousands of jobs in mining and other industries. Meanwhile, existing rules would provide adequate safeguards for the streams Obama insists would be destroyed without his regulations.

So yes, the House vote was a victory for common sense. Don’t pop the champagne corks just yet, however. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate.

There, it is expected to be approved, too…




The Lima News, Jan. 23

A new study on the recently released batch of state report card indicators raises some intriguing questions about how Ohio educates the poor.

The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and Ohio Association of Business School Officials asked for an analysis by the Ohio Education Policy Institute of the “Prepared for Success” measure released last week. What it found was concerning.

Howard Fleeting, of the OEPI, found stark differences in how districts prepared people for college and career depending on the economic background of the students.

Fleeter found there is a 23.5 point percentage gap between the average four-year graduation rate in districts with less than 10 percent economically disadvantaged students vs. districts with more than 90 percent economically disadvantaged students. The ACT test participation rate also increases when there are fewer and fewer low-income students in a school.

“A very clear pattern exists whereby the likelihood of receiving an honors diploma increases dramatically as the percentage of economically disadvantaged students declines,” Fleeter said in a press release…




The (Toledo) Blade, Jan. 25

Almost 10 years after Alexander Litvinenko died in London, an official inquiry by Britain concluded last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin “probably” ordered Russian agents to kill him. The report deserves the attention of world leaders.

The agents met Mr. Litvinenko, a turncoat Russian spy who was once a close ally of Mr. Putin, in a posh London hotel and spiked his tea with polonium-210. The radioactive substance caused his agonizing death three weeks later.

The use of “probably” reflects the necessarily careful language of Sir Robert Owen’s inquiry, but his concluding declaration, even if hedged, is still dramatic. The retired judge established a “strong circumstantial case that the Russian State” killed Mr. Litvinenko. But since investigators could not summon a foreign head of state for a deposition, the inquiry could not render a conviction.

The victim declared on his deathbed that Mr. Putin was the ultimate culprit. An extensive Scotland Yard investigation established the mechanics of the crime; the inquiry took testimony from dozens of key figures, but not in an open courtroom.

Theresa May, the British home secretary, who oversees domestic security, told Parliament that the assassination was “a blatant and unacceptable breach of the most fundamental tenets of international law and civilized behavior.” Employing the British penchant for understatement, she added: “We have to accept that this doesn’t come as a surprise…”




The (Canton) Repository, Jan. 25

Fractured counties, gerrymandered districts benefit politicians, not people

Stark County residents might know the negative consequences of congressional gerrymandering better than their peers in Ohio’s 87 other counties.

In 2011, the last time congressional districts were redrawn, Stark was left fractured. Instead of a single congressional seat covering the county— a seat U.S. Reps. Ralph Regula, Frank T. Bow and others held for decades —Stark was split into three districts. (We wonder: Do you know who is your congressman?)

Among the oddest decisions by map makers was the drawing of the peninsula-like boundary around the Timken Co. property, which unlike most of the county remains in the 16th District.

The map drawn by Republicans heavily favored Republicans. But even Republican lawmakers acknowledge the drawbacks of the system used to create congressional districts. Besides, that same system has worked in Democrats’ favor in the past.

In November, voters backed a bipartisan effort to change how state legislative districts are drawn. Now, similar efforts are afoot to change how congressional districts are drawn.

Late last month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a candidate for president, lent a valuable voice to the movement…