Peanut Butter Knife

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The tricky business of primary voting

...Or how the hell did I end up in Summit County?

Next Tuesday will be the first Democratic primary I will vote in as a Summit County resident. For the most part, this doesn't mean a whole lot. I live on the OH-17 side of things where Tim Ryan is running unopposed in both the primary and the general, so I won't have to muddle through the mass of candidates vying for Sherrod Brown's old seat (though I kind of wish I were, watching this from the sidelines has been interesting, kinda too bad I won't be casting a ballot). The statewide races don't leave a whole lot of intrigue outside of the AG contest and I've looked at the candidates there and am happy to be voting for Subodh Chandra.

However, then we come to the Summit County Council at-large race. There are 8 Dems vying for 3 spots on the November ballot where voters will select the top 3 among the Dem and GOP nominees. The county council is a somewhat new concept to me. In Cuyahoga County, there are 3 commissioners that are elected by the entire county on an individual basis, which essentially means that the Dem primary is the election in such a blue county. Two years ago, I was faced with choosing between the Tims (Hagan and McCormick). I grew up in Cuyahoga County, I knew the candidates names well, I knew the issues involved and who was supporting whom in the race and what that meant. Adelphia cable had a debate between the two, I watched this, followed the race and made up my mind accordingly (I was a McCormick guy, he lost).

Now I'm faced with a decision to select the top 3 Democrats among names that range from vaguely familiar to who is that guy? I live in a part of Summit County that has Adelphia cable's Cleveland programming, so if there's any local TV covering this race I don't know about it. These races are too small for the candidates to have their own websites. So, I'm left with the newspaper. I subscribe to the Plain Dealer and I sometimes read the ABJ online, and both published election previews last weekend.

In each case, the papers toss a few questions at each candidate and they answer accordingly. Both papers asked about the proposed smoking ban, while the PD added questions regarding TEL, job creation and a possible sales tax hike. The ABJ asked about nepotism in county hiring practices. Almost without fail, all 8 candidates answered with somewhat wishy-washy non committal responses on every question or gave typical responses to unchallenging questions. There were two candidates that separated themselves from the pack, in ways both bad and good.

Pete Crossland earns points in my book for coming out strongly in favor of the smoking ban. I realize that the legislation as it stands now is somewhat flawed since it's not enforceable outside of the townships. But I think that its a good start and its better than nothing. I don't buy the old canard that smoking bans hurt businesses. If there is anyone that stops going out because they can't smoke, they're probably going to be replaced with 2 or 3 more customers who are willing to spend their money in a smoke-free environment. Not only that, even if a smoking ban did cut into some profits, I want politicians that will stand up for the public good over profitability. Plus, I give Crossland a lot of credit for standing up for something he believes in when most candidates are taking a pass on answering the question candidly.

Beyond that, on the TEL question most Dems expectedly come out against this horrible ballot initiative. However, Ilene Shapiro states that she "needs more time to study it before she can answer." I'm sorry, but if you've been living in Ohio and following state government even a little bit you know what TEL is, you know that there is strong bi-partisan support against the amendment, you have read all the articles stating what the negative effects are and the articles that show how a similar amendment has brought Colorado's government to its knees, and to say in a major paper that you don't have an opinion on this 2 weeks before the primary. Well, that's disingenuous at best, ignorant at worst.

So that means I have one candidate to support and one that I won't and I have to find two others among the remaining field of six. Are there more resources out there that can shed some light on this race?


  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous human said…

    If we don't live in Ohio... what's TEL? :-)

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger 54cermak said…

    TEL is the Tax & Expenditure Limitation Amendment. Basically it is Ohio's version of Colorado's TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights). It would limit all state and local government to a 3% spending increase each year regardless of revenue.

    It's Ken Blackwell's pet amendment. Need I say more?

  • At 1:06 PM, Anonymous human said…

    Oh. Yeah, I've heard all about TABOR. Ugh. What is it with Ohio these days, y'all got something in the water over there?


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