What doesn’t belong in a state constitution…

26Oct09

Vote no on issue 2 and issue 3.  Neither the current casino proposal on the ballot nor the Ohio Livestock Standards Board deserves your vote.  Here’s why:

The Ohio State Constitution is a horror to read.  Sure there are parts delineating the rights of citizens, how militias are to be maintained, and that the seat of government is Columbus, but then there are pages and pages of inane details, the sort of items belonging in civil code, not as additions to the constitution of the state.

Read it.  I dare you– all 74 pages– it will make your eyes bleed.  For this reason, I’m usually skeptical of attempts to modify the state constitution when legislation would suffice.  A constitution shouldn’t contain ordinary statutes, it should be a framework, not full of details… partially because it is such an expensive pain to modify it.  Both of these issues should be addressed with legislation, not popular amendment.

Second, when judging whether an amendment is in one’s own self-interest, citizens should have a healthy skepticism when many more dollars pour in from out-of-state sources for advertising than money raised within the state.  After reviewing the PAC data of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office for 2009, I am alarmed by the torrent of money raised from out of state compared to meagre funding raised in Ohio for both of these issues.  (In the case of the casino issue, the ratio approaches 6 to 1 and much of it originating from out of the state interests.)

For these two reasons I tend to agree with the Ohio League of Women Voters  encouraging no votes on these two issues.

Issue 2 appears innocuous, despite the conflated rhetoric on both sides, but let’s set that aside, I ask does it belong in the constitution?  No, a similar board could just as easily be legislated into existence.  Second, most tellingly, where is the money coming from promoting the amendment?  Not from Ohio…  the big PAC promoting Issue 2 has the rather down home name of:  Ohioans for Livestock Care Political Action Committee.   That’s Ohio money with a name like that, right?  Partially, but look at their biggest contributor:    United Egg Producers, based in Alpharetta, Georgia…  $200,000.00 contributed on September 18th of this year.  Should you have any questions about where the egg people stand on free range chickens, check out the literature they’ve developed to ‘educate’ kids.  Does this square with the rhetoric promoting the amendment?  Not at all!  (Incidentally, the biggest single chunk of Ohio money comes from the Ohio Farmers Bureau, which somehow managed to throw over $500,000 to the PAC starting in August of this year, just days after its last required FEC form indicated only $218,000 on-hand as of July 30th… where did that money come from?  We won’t know until after the election.)  Vote no on issue 2, it isn’t necessary, and it appears to be misrepresented by thost promoting it.

Finally, I have ambivalent feelings towards casinos– they produce some jobs, but steal opportunities from problem gamblers, and have other documented negative impacts.  I honestly view casinos as a zero sum gain.  That said, the current proposal grants local corporate monopolies by name, which earns my uniquivocal disapproval.  These corporations, even with the face of Cavs-owner Dan Gilbert will certainly negatively impact local mom-and-pop entertainment enterprises.  Does this belong in the state constitution and will it truly benefit the state?  No.  So, I voted no.

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One Response to “What doesn’t belong in a state constitution…”

  1. 1 trista

    Keep well and good luck…my brother is with you, and I look up to him in so many ways…I miss him and wish you both the best of luck!!
    Trista


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