Jan. 2, 2024: This week’s editorials from Ohio newspapers


By The Associated Press

Cleveland Plain Dealer. December 31, 2023.

Editorial: New Year’s resolutions for our elected officials

No doubt many of our statewide elected officials — and those hoping to succeed them in 2027 — are already making their 2024 resolutions, focused on the money and political support they need for that next electoral step up the ladder. Gov. Mike DeWine, who’ll be retiring after a long and distinguished political career when his gubernatorial term is up at the end of 2026, may be thinking about priorities for the rest of his time in office.

We’d like to offer all of them — and a whole slew of other elected officials from Ohio — the benefit of our editorial board’s New Year’s resolutions, mindful of their blind spots, frailties, failures and egos, and of what voters really need and should be able to expect from them.

Herewith our inaugural New Year’s resolutions for our elected officials.

* Gov. Mike DeWine. A governor of Ohio has the state’s most visible and audible pulpit. Use it to counter the General Assembly’s increasingly truculent stances on social issues. Ohio needs to welcome diversity, not shun it.

* Lt. Gov. John Husted. Since you’re positioning yourself to succeed DeWine, be his nudge toward a policy focused more squarely on Ohio’s future, not its most reactionary factions.

* Attorney General Dave Yost. Since we also suspect you’re aiming to succeed DeWine, reach for a little more gravitas on the issues that matter rather than the incessant publicity-hound stuff.

* Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Rarely has there been a more Jekyll-and-Hyde shift from a devoted voting-rights advocate to someone stressing election fraud as part of your brown-nosing pursuit of Donald Trump — who instead endorsed Bernie Moreno, one of your rivals for the GOP Senate nomination. Maybe you’ll be able to raise more money if you go back to being more authentic.

* Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and Cleveland City Council. Resolve to understand what motivated the 49% of voters who supported the People’s Budget proposal in November and find a way to welcome those voices into your policy discussions at City Hall. Cede control of the city’s two airports to a regional authority to allow the change that’s needed in financing regional airport growth and expansion.

* Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. Stop being a political gadfly and tackle the serious issues straight-on and with adequate public input, including over the new County Jail and fate of the Justice Center.

* Cuyahoga County mayors. Please give serious thought to a regional governing approach. Fifty-eight cities, villages and townships banding together will yield huge economic benefits for Northeast Ohio and streamlined services.

* Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman. The Lima Republican who wants to become House speaker better remember to be careful what you ask for — because you might get it in 2024.

* Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens. In 2024, unlike 2023, keep in mind that highway-naming bills shouldn’t be just about all, besides hot air, the Ohio General Assembly ever produces. And better get the House moving on implementing legislation for legalized marijuana. The more delays in setting a framework for legal sales, the more room there is for bad actors.

* Members of the Ohio General Assembly. Resolve to fully repeal House Bill 6 of 2019, which has already sent two Statehouse figures to prison, and is still costing Ohio electricity customers an extra $150,000 a day — every day.

* Ohio Democrats. Resolve to try, just try, in 2024 to actually win more General Assembly seats; there’s a first time for everything.

* Ohio Republicans. Come to your senses and support anyone but Donald Trump — preferably Nikki Haley.

* U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan. No more unnecessary House Judiciary “investigations.” Focus on actual governing instead.

* U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson. Save Youngstown State University trustees from themselves and help the university continue to prosper by announcing you’ve decided to decline the university presidency and retire to Marietta instead.

* State Rep. Bill Seitz. Now that you’re retiring at the end of next year, turn that acerbic wit that’s delighted so many of your fellow legislators to the writing of your memoirs. Sure to be a best-seller!

* State Rep. Elliot Forhan. Grow up, stop making things worse for yourself and apologize to State Rep. Juanita Brent, so you both can move on with your lives.

* Geauga County Juvenile and Probate Judge Tim Grendell. Save the state and yourself endless aggravation and expense over the Office of Disciplinary Counsel’s charges against you and agree to step down.


Toledo Blade. December 29, 2023.

Editorial: Find gun provider

Gunfire rings out in a large mall filled with people. Mass panic ensues, and the business of more than 150 establishments is shut down by the chaos.

It happened Tuesday night in Toledo at Franklin Park Mall. Sadly, what happened here has occurred often around the country. Luckily there were no serious physical injuries ( “Mayor calls incident a scary accident,” Wednesday).

There is grave economic injury to the business climate of the mall, based on interviews with traumatized shoppers and employees who say they don’t feel safe there. This is the result of an accidental discharge of a handgun in the pants pocket of 16-year-old Lamar Jones. Young Jones was wounded in his leg, and a 15-year-old-girl he was with was struck when the bullet ricocheted.

This despite a Franklin Park Mall rule requiring that youths under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult over 21, merely to enter the mall. Young Jones has been charged with assault with a firearm, unlawful carry of a concealed weapon, and inducing panic. He is being held in a detention center.

Kids with guns in malls is a problem too big for Toledo alone to fix. Ohio lawmakers have specifically exempted gun laws from the home-rule provisions once used to limit legal gun possession, providing police with grounds for investigation. State law says citizens must be 21 to legally carry a gun, but the spillover to children from the avalanche of state-approved weapons is undeniable.

A quarter of the homicide victims in Toledo this year have been between 14 and 17. Far too young to legally possess a gun but armed and dangerous none the less. All of Ohio’s cities are facing the same problem with the same tragic result.

In Columbus this summer at Ohio’s most upscale mall a 13-year-old shot and killed a 15-year-old. As in Toledo, commerce came to a halt because of a child with a deadly weapon. The beautiful Beachwood Mall in suburban Cleveland has been shut down multiple times over recent years because of shootings.

Similar incidents have happened across the country with far worse results than the scare suffered in Toledo. Ideally young Jones will provide police with information on the source of his gun if for no other reason than to mitigate the serious charges keeping him under lock and key.

Improperly furnishing a firearm to a minor is felony in Ohio, carrying a prison sentence and significant fine. Even assisting a minor in the acquisition of a gun is a felony, carrying sentences more significant than a juvenile like young Jones is facing.

Sixteen-year-olds cannot legally purchase or carry a handgun in Ohio.

Whoever provided the weapon causing terror in a Toledo mall Tuesday must face charges for that decision.


Sandusky Register. December 29, 2023.

Editorial: Bridge the gaps

Monday is a new beginning, a new year.

We are quickly heading for showdown elections in 2024, in March, when the parties select their nominees and in the general election, when the choice is made for elective offices. There is so much at stake in 2024.

In the Ohio Statehouse, members of the Republican Party from the far right are challenging incumbents on the right. The same is true for Ohio’s U.S. Senate GOP primary and our own 9th U.S. House District race.

The primary is March 19.

What changes stays the same or changes again, but this right-on-right warfare in the Republican Party serves no good for anyone. It distorts our politics and diminishes the effectiveness of our governments: local, state and in Washington.

In 2022, Ohioans saw nearly the whole lineup of Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat grovel for a year in seeking ex-President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement. For some voters, having his endorsement greatly mattered. For others, it is akin to U.S. Sen. Benjamin Wade, an Ohio senator in 1860, seeking the endorsement of soon-to-be Confederate States of America president Jefferson Davis.

That same divide from two years ago remains as we head into 2024.

Come November, voters nationwide might very well have to choose between two presidents: one awaiting trial, or acquitted or convicted; the other pushing back on claims he’s just as corrupt through the dealings of his son in business and influence peddling.

We urge readers to keep the faith in this new year, remain calm and seek to bridge the gaps, try to listen and hear more than talk or attempt to persuade. Family, health and caring for each other are our greatest responsibilities in this life.


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