The Columbus Dispatch, March 31
Arguments on Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court in two landmark gerrymandering cases — one involving Democrats, the other, Republicans — were a sign that Americans are tired of tolerating the damage that extreme partisanship has done to this country’s ability to govern itself.
There’s no question that the congressional district boundaries in the cases were drawn to advantage the parties in power in their respective states. What’s less certain is what the court will do about it. Some justices on Tuesday questioned whether the high court should even “wade into” the issue. And if the court does rule, it may or may not find that partisan gerrymandering violates anyone’s constitutional rights.
Ohioans, meanwhile, can hope for “gerrymandering relief” from two different sources: a state constitutional amendment approved overwhelmingly by voters last May and another lawsuit working its way through the federal court system.
We hope both are successful because Ohio’s current districts are a joke.
It came as no surprise that a recent Associated Press national examination of gerrymandering found one of the worst examples in Ohio. By the reporters’ metric — how closely the makeup of a state’s congressional delegation matches that of its voters — Ohio is way out of balance.
The Canton Repository, March 31
With little fanfare — well little more than this right here — a venerable Stark County institution celebrated its 204th birthday Saturday. Think about that for a second: Something that began back in 1815 still is here. It survived two world wars — and one civil! — and still is here telling the story of your community.
Saturday was The Canton Repository’s 204th birthday, and we have no plans to go anywhere.
It is our plan to be here for another 204 years and more. We don’t always get it right. Yes, we are human. And in a world where the printed word is so permanent, errors are bound to happen. We appreciate it when you bring them — politely, of course — to our attention. For 204 years, though, no one has stood the test of time in Stark County as we have.
These are trying times, which will, undoubtedly, get stranger as a presidential election year starts to cast a shadow over all of us. However, we promise to be here for you, bringing you the stories of your community, and we invite you to be active participants in the process.
The Plain Dealer, March 31
Tandem bills sponsored by state Sen. Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, a Richmond Heights Democrat, would provide Cleveland’s Housing Court with additional tools to do its job.
The legislation, partly paralleling powers already granted to the municipal housing court in Franklin County, was introduced at the request of widely respected Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ron O’Leary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of housing enforcement in Cleveland.
The two bills would raise the level of administration of justice in Cleveland housing cases. They should be enacted. The Cleveland Housing Court has jurisdiction in Cleveland and Bratenahl.
Reflecting the bills’ noncontroversial nature, both have already drawn bipartisan co-sponsorship.
The Dolan and Yuko bills are constructive, creative measures unlikely to draw opposition. The Senate, then Ohio’s House, should pass the legislation swiftly.
The Marietta Times, March 27
For many years, coal mining was a major employer, not to mention a key part of the tax base, in many eastern Ohio counties. Now, in large measure because of federal government action, the industry is struggling.
Meanwhile, abandoned mine land throughout the region needs to be reclaimed. Gov. Mike DeWine is right in thinking the task requires a minor infusion of state funding. DeWine has included $5 million in general state revenue in his state budget proposal, for the purpose of ensuring a mine reclamation fund can do its job.
As is the practice in several states, a special fund for mine reclamation has existed for many years. It is funded through fees paid by mine operators, including a 14-cent per ton tax on coal they produce.
Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of mine sites abandoned decades ago by companies that may not exist today need to be reclaimed. Some of them are right here in our area. And the results of reclamation — thousands of acres of once-devastated land that have been restored — also are apparent here.
State legislators should go along with DeWine’s proposal, then. While there already has been controversy over some of his budget plans, there should be none regarding this one.