Monday, October 27, 2008

Whalertly Endorsements: Issues 1 and 2

Post 66

If you would like to see the full Secretary of State reports on the issues please follow THIS LINK.

Issue 1

Require that a citizen-initiated statewide ballot issue be considered at the next general election if petitions are filed 125 days before the election.”

I feel that any day amount is acceptable in my mind. We should have more time to review and think about any issues on the ballot, not have only a month. By having 125 days (I would prefer if they had the term 4 months, but this works too) you have roughly 1/3 of a year to review a document. Furthermore, due to this deadline, I am willing to bet that we would have better and more applicable initiatives in this state. The main downside to this is the fact that if a bill is passed 100 days from the election, you can not create a petition or referendum about it til over 1 year later. I would prefer if we allowed petitions and referendums during our spring elections as well.

Establish deadlines for boards of elections to determine the validity of citizen-initiated petitions.”

I feel that this is a good thing to have written into our system in Ohio. With a requirement for the issues to be finalized as okay at 105 days (20 days minimum for checking), I feel that the citizens will be able to properly analyze all of the issues. Furthermore, with this deadline, there is no wasted spending on issues that, ultimately, will not have enough signatures. Again, like the previous one, I would rather there be a month count (in this case 3 months).

Standardize the process for legal challenges to citizen-initiated petitions by giving the Ohio Supreme Court jurisdiction to consider these cases and establishing expedited deadlines for the Court to make decisions.”

This part is both the best and worst part of the proposal in my mind. While it is nice that the court has the ability to review and decide on issues (95 days til election, with 85 as a deadline for decision). This is nice because it give SCoO the original jurisdiction of these decisions and allows for all changes/adaptations needed. A downside to this is the fact that the court only has 10 days to make a decision. Based on outside factors, this might be a bad move for the court.

In the end, I feel that Issue 1 has many, many good things going for it with very few bad things. Due to the streamlining and time saved for the voters, Whalertly endorses Issue 1.

Issue 2

Authorize the state to issue up to two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) of bonds for conservation and preservation of natural areas, open spaces and farmlands and other lands devoted to agriculture, including by acquiring land or interests in land; provision of state and local park and recreation facilities, and other actions that permit and enhance the availability, public use and enjoyment of natural areas in the state; and land, forest, water and other natural resource management projects.“

This is a great idea. As timber is wroth more and more, oil becomes more in demand, and the ever-expanding cities try to take over, our state will be making sure that we, and our decedents, will have great areas to enjoy. I feel that preservation, both of open areas and parks, and of historical locations and buildings, is good both for our tourism, our youngsters, and good for us as a society. We need to enjoy these locations, keep them clean, and make sure that they are there forever. That said, I want to make sure that the preservation of farmland is for the betterment of our society (more food, cheaper food, historic farmland for education, etc.) and not on the behest of lobbying mega-farmers.

Authorize the state to issue bonds up to two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) for environmental revitalization and re-development of publicly and privately owned lands, including environmental remediation, assessment or clean up of contamination or pollution.”

I will not address this part as it ties roughly into what I do.

Limit the amount that could be borrowed in any one fiscal year for either 3. conservation or revitalization purposes to no more than fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) plus the principal amount of those obligations that in any prior fiscal year could have been but were not issued. “

Now, this part of the issue is something I am not too happy with. We are setting aside up to 200,000,000$ for usage of preservation yet we can only spend 50,000,000$ a year. While this makes some sense if we are going for small projects, what if we want to buy a large chunk of waterfront land for some park and it would cost over 50,000,000$? How do we handle that sort of issue?

In the end, even though there is a limit on this which I absolutely hate, for the betterment of our state and our decedents, Whalertly endorses Issue 2.


Peter O said...

I have the Dispatch review of the Issues on the ballot, and they couldn't find anyone to oppose it, so they had to make it up themselves. Basically, it would make a little more debt.

Kadim said...

I voted against Issue 1.

I thought it was a lame solution to a problem that could be solved more easily.

The reason 90 days wasn't enough is because the signature verification is a huge process. 90 days is enough for the litigation that occurs after verification.

So the legislature's brilliant idea was to move the deadline back to 125 days. I figure that if 3 amendments to the state constitution hit in one year, you're basically at the same position you were before--boards of elections wouldn't have enough time to verify signatures and litigation would still take too long.

The most painful part of this is that most petition campaigns are started far in advance. But because Ohio law (not the state constitution) requires that all the signatures be turned in simultaneously, then boards of elections wake up one morning with a million signatures to verify, the majority of which had been sitting in a warehouse for months.

All the legislature needed to do was change Ohio law to allow the streaming-in of petitions. The petitioning companies don't want to sit on signatures...they'd love to turn them in as soon as possible and know where they stand.

If streaming-in were allowed, then the majority of signatures would be verified well in advance of 90 days, leaving plenty of time for litigation.

Barga said...

Peter -

If you followed my link to the SOS reviews, the same situation was there. Basically, these are good ideas with maybe one or two small problems

Barga said...

Kadim -

I agree that they should allow streaming voting, but the old system does not have that either. I do not see why you vote against something if neither have what you want (i.e. how can you use that to justify it)

Kadim said...

The legislature can change Ohio law to allow streaming-in of petitions. With that minor change, this amendment would be unnecessary.

So I see no reason for it, and I suspect in the long run the legislature would end up adopting streaming-in anyway.

Barga said...

I disagree. I think that the time limit, the ammoutn of time for voters to review, and giving the court power to review challenges is an important thing that this proposal does

Kadim said...

I agree that there are things this amendment does do that the streaming-in wouldn't.

I was at a candidate's fair a couple hours ago and ran into one of the State Rep's who sponsored the bill.

He agrees that streaming-in would happen eventually anyway.


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