Wednesday, September 20, 2017





Repository Executive Editor Rich Desrosiers

LWV President Amy Striver-Dreussi

Ohio Alliance of Retired Americans
Dan Fonte

Moderator Ron Ponder

Stark County Citizens
Did the Forum Help Them in Deciding?

By The Stark County Political Report's (SCPR) count, some 75 Stark Countians, more or less, crammed into the McKinley Room of the Stark County District Library—Main Branch, 715 Market Ave., North in Canton last night to hear the "experts" weigh-in on whether or not Ohio's voters should vote yes or no on Statewide Issue #2.

Here is a copy of Issue #2 as it will appear on the November 7, 2018 Ohio ballot:

The event was sponsored by the Canton League of Women Voters and The Repository.

Which way to vote on Issue 2 is about as clear as mud as articulated by Repository executive editor Rich Desrosiers in his opening remarks.

Desrosiers followed Canton League of Women Voters (LWV) president Amy Shriver Dreussi who crisply and clearly explained the primary LWV purpose of being a vehicle for voters to become "informed" voters.

To the SCPR, the most informed person in the room was former Local 94 Plumbers and Pipefitters union official Dan Fonte.

Fonte was present last night as a representative of the American Alliance of Retired Persons who like Desrosiers and The Repository editorial board has been wrestling with which side to come down on in recommending how voters vote on Issue 2.

Fonte says that organization that he is affiliated with has been discussing which way to go in advising its clientele on how to vote on Issue #2.

He says that he individually is leaning in the direction of voting "no" because of the uncertainty of how Issue #2 would be implemented should the issue pass.

As can be seen in his own words in the following video clip, Fonte says he has concerns that Big Pharma will do everything in its power to cause implementation to fail which appears likely to include manipulating the available formulas and thereby forcing price increases for those affected by passage of the issue.

The Stark County Political Report is convinced that Fonte's take is on the mark and accordingly is now leaning towards believing that a "no" vote is likely the best vote for the welfare of any Ohioan who will be affected by Issue #2.

The Stark County Political feels uncomfortable in siding up with Big Pharma on which way to vote.

One of the reasons that Issue #2 might pass is that there are likely many Ohioans who suspect that Big Pharma is all about enhancing the industry's profit level which already is astronomical.

Ballotpedia is in the judgment of the SCPR the best source for citizens to get a handle on what facts are available in the fight over whether or not Issue #2 should pass.

Here is a Ballotpedia graphic on the campaign financing on the issue as of September 15th:

Another interesting Ballotpedia graphic is polling in August showing that at that time Ohio voters were likely to pass the measure:

Given the extremely large 54% undecided vote, the most that the "yes" folks can take from the poll is that at one time they had a leg up on the "no" vote opposition.

The two campaign groups:
  • Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices
    • Chris Galloway
  • Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue
    • Victoria Zyp
    • Tracy Jones
both had representatives at last night forum.

Here are the opening and closing arguments by each side.

First, Galloway, then (the open), then Zyp and Jones followed by Galloway (the close).

Ron Ponder was the facilitator of the the discussion last evening, and as always effectively moderated the event.

The correct protocol was for audience members to submit written questions so as to avoid duplicate or unseemly questions.

There were a number of times that audience members injected from the floor and Ponder handled the intrusion deftly.

One such interruption was between an "from the audience" person directed at Chris Galloway which could have turned ugly but which Ponder using his experience as a moderator turned into a positive for those attending, to wit:

After the forum concluded and the audience filed out of the SCDL McKinley room,  the SCPR asked three members of the audience whether or not the forum helped them gather information for a decision on how they would vote, to wit:

The SCPR thinks that the "yes" group needs to find a way to convince voters that passage of Issue 2 will not boomerang on voters to their prescription drug pricing detriment a la 
Fonte's fear which The Report shares.

If the "yes" folks cannot assure voters that they have a legal strategy to keep Big Pharma from using passage to reach "unintended by the 'yes' folks adverse to prescription drug users consequences, then as a matter of self-interest, it is hard to see why a voter would take a risk that their "yes" vote could backfire on affected prescription drug users.

The "vote yes" folks clearly have the higher moral ground.

But can they protect their voters and, indeed, all affected Ohioans from the unintended consequences of Issue #2 getting passed?

That is the big question on the Big Pharma seemingly leverage.

Can the "vote yes" advocates convince enough of the 54% undecideds in light of the attendant risks of voting "yes."

It certainly appears that it is unfair that Big Phama has the clout that it does.

But such is strong strain in American politics.

Unfortunately, "might" does often make "right" in the world of power politics.

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