• Sandusky Register, Aug. 13
You have to hand it to the Trump administration — it has flip flopped its stance on funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in its budget proposal like an Asian carp that just jumped into the boat.
After initially proposing eliminating all funding for the GLRI in its budget plan and placing more of the funding responsibility on states bordering the Great Lakes, the Trump administration has warmed its stance, according to Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA administrator.
We applaud the administration’s newfound love for the lakes and encourage our federal representatives to keep pushing forward on this important measure until funding is approved.
The Great Lakes, and our lake in particular — Lake Erie — are in too fragile of a state with annual algal blooms, invasive species and more posing serious threats to the ecosystem and to our drinking water.
We need to do everything we can to protect this precious resource for the next generation to enjoy.
• The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Aug. 11
Cuyahoga County prosecutors felt they had a strong case when they recently prosecuted a Cleveland police officer on charges of negligent homicide in the shooting death of an unarmed burglary suspect. After all, Gregory King, the partner of police officer Alan Buford, appeared to cross the thin blue line of police solidarity in testifying that Buford’s fatal 2015 shooting of 18-year-old Brandon Jones was unjustified.
But the case wasn’t so solid, as shown by Buford’s acquittal by a Cleveland judge who found the evidence didn’t match the charge.
In acquitting Buford of the misdemeanor negligent homicide charge, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Michael Sliwinski ruled that the charge requires a showing of accident, not of intention.
Prosecutors assigned to the case, on the other hand, felt they’d proved negligence in arguing Buford didn’t follow training in putting his finger on the trigger of his gun while he tried to subdue the suspect, an action that resulted in the shooting death.
Maybe the prosecutors felt they couldn’t prove intention. But showing lack of intention proved equally tricky.
At a minimum, the case shows the peril of undercharging.
• The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, Aug. 13
Freedom often means having to tolerate things we don’t like or approve of because someone else has the right to express a view we might find disagreeable or downright abhorrent. … Yet, under the law, as long as someone’s expression does not violate your rights, there are limits to the steps you can take in response and limits to what the government can do and allow.
A Conneaut veteran recently crossed that line by going onto the property of a Conneaut woman, herself a Navy veteran, and taking down her American flag because she was flying it upside down. The woman said she was doing so because she believes the country is in distress and this is her way of expressing that belief. The man was charged with a misdemeanor and faced up to 90 days in jail and fines approaching $100.
His supporters in the courtroom almost plunked down the cash to cover his fine and he was greeted with hugs and support from more than 50 people.
And that attitude is what we find concerning. There is a strong sense of symbolic patriotism that holds up the flag as the ultimate symbol of America and American values, yet does not always come to the defense of those same values.
• The Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 14
When central Ohioans admire a painting in a gallery, enjoy the symphony, rock out at a concert or amble around an arts hop or festival, they probably aren’t thinking “Wow, this is a really great economic-development opportunity.”
Even so, the arts don’t only sate the soul; their impact in greater Columbus can be measured in cold cash: The arts create jobs, provide tax revenues to state and local governments and create an environment that attracts visitors, a creative class of workers and leading-edge employers.
These are the findings of a national study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, which examined the impact of arts spending in 341 cities and regions, including Columbus and in all 50 states. (Read the study at http://www.gcac.org/about/research/) The results are what anyone who has been in Columbus since the last study, released five years ago, might expect: Our arts are thriving.
All arts capture the human experience and tell a story. But this year’s survey changes the story of the arts from, “once upon a time” to a spreadsheet showing a very real happy ending for those who invest.