Tuesday, July 23, 2024

No On 1: Guilt and Hypocrisy in City Politics

Like they say in show biz, that’s a wrap.

The long, sordid saga of the Indicted Four has now concluded with the Guilty Four. All that’s left now is the sentencing, to determine if it will be the Hoosgow Four.

The last of the four former Toledo Council members indicted on federal charges has been found guilty, this time by a jury of his peers. Gary Johnson was recently found guilty on one count of bribery in connection with a two thousand dollar cash payment that he apparently never reported as a campaign contribution. He joins fellow former council members Larry Sykes, Tyrone Riley and Yvonne Harper, all of whom pled guilty to a variety of similar charges of bribery and extortion in return for favorable treatment by council. Now all four await sentencing which could include time in federal prison.

Just ask former council member Bob McCloskey, who did federal time for bribery back in the mid-aughts. It’s no joke.

Johnson sez it was a campaign contribution, not a bribe. It just happened to coincide with a favorable vote on council. And was solicited directly. And apparently never reported. And received in untraceable cash money. Yeah, sure.

Emergency clause 

Speaking of hypocrisy.

Just this January Ohio Repuglicans pushed through sweeping changes to Ohio’s election laws, including eliminating most August special elections except in emergency fiscal situations. Too expensive, they said. And typically very low turnout anyway, because most voters aren’t focused on elections in the summer.

Oopsy! Looks like they found another emergency, only this time the trouble is the voters of Ohio expressing direct democracy and taking power into their own hands rather than bow to a legislature out of touch with the will of the people. And pushing through a change that subverts the will of the people is so much easier if no one pays attention!

Enter Issue 1, which would raise the threshold for voter-led initiatives to amend the state constitution from a simple, fifty-percent-plus-one majority to a much tougher sixty percent. Placed on the ballot by the GOP in an August special election they said earlier this year was too expensive, when no one pays attention.

That was before the Repugs realized that voters were very likely to enshrine reproductive rights into the state constitution through a ballot initiative. The horror!

Issue 1 has everything to do with Capital Care of Toledo, the last and only local provider of abortions. The clinic has been under siege for years and years, from legislative attacks on its transfer agreements in case of medical emergencies to regular harassment of patients and clinic workers to attacks on the rights of women to make their own reproductive health decisions.

Last year’s Dobbs decision by the US Supreme Court removed a federal right to abortion, leaving regulation to the states. Now the retrograde Repugs that dominate the Ohio legislature are poised to destroy a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive health care, if only those pesky voters don’t get in the way.

Get registered and just say no     

Here we are. A special election is scheduled on August 8 in a brazen attempt to raise the bar so you and your ilk can no longer exert simple majority rule, a fundamental precept of American democracy. This would make it almost impossible for voters to control policy decisions around issues like women’s reproductive health, and instead allow the Repug legislators in Columbus to run amok, unfettered by the public will.

If you would rather let the elected hypocritters control all future decisions than have any say in the laws governing the state, by all means vote “yes” on Issue 1. On the other hand, if you trust your own judgment and believe in democracy, for the love of all that’s holy, vote “no!”

No really. Get out there on August 8 and vote “no” on Issue 1. 

It bears repeating. “No” on Issue 1!

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