Friday, September 2, 2011


 From the Ohio secretary of state's website:

Every 10 years, following the [federal] decennial census, Ohio General Assembly and Congressional districts are redrawn to reflect changes in the state’s population in two parallel, but separate processes.

What are the chances that the winning redraw of Ohio's House and Senate districts done by an Republican Illinois state legislator will become the law of Ohio and thereby the new districts throughout Ohio?

The Ohio League of Women Voters (OLWV) on July 19th opened up competition for the redrawing of districts and on August 24th announded that Michael Fortner,

Answer:  Probably not very good!

First, it would be highly embarrassing to Ohio's legislators that it took and out-of-stater to help Ohio get fairer in how the Buckeye state divides up its legislative districts.

Second, it is likely that the Ohio Republican Party intends to see to it that its grip on the Ohio General Assemby (59 - 40 in the House, 23 - 10 in the Senate) stays right where it is; if not at greater margins.

Nonetheless, one of the draws for "in the public interest" district drawers (which certainly does not include members of the Ohio Apportionment Board - OAB) is to serve the best interest of the public-at-large and thereby lessen the rampant skepticism if not cynicism that permeates the voting population. 

The partisans complain about the increasing difficulty of governing these days as if they have nothing to do with this problem which vexes them.  Their  problems have everything to do with the like of political machinations that Ohioans will be seeing (except for those submitted by the politically disinterested) when the OAB finally! releases proposed maps to the general public about September 24th or so.

Many Ohioans, including yours truly, believe that the Republicans - as evidenced by their silence in presenting their working models for the public to view maps as a "work in progress" are working feverishly "in a political-backroom-esque-fashion" to "cook the books" and "stack the deck" in their favor come the elections of 2012.

While part of the deal with the winner of the OLWV contest is that the winning drawing will be put into the pot of consideration for the OAB, there is absolutely no chance that the Republican-controlled OAB will give his submission serious consideration.

The SCPR salutes Representative Fortner for his commitment to political competition as exemplified by his winning submission to the OLWV (CLICK HERE TO VIEW STATEWIDE PLAN) as a primary way to make politicians accountable to the public and not primarily to partisan interests.

One of the reasons Ohio is in such a mess is that party politics plays larger with our elected representatives than does the public good.

Right now Republicans have the clout in the Ohio General Assembly to ramrod the party hierarchy's wishes down the throats of Ohioans.  And there is every reason to believe that "might is right" will continue to be the order of the day with the Republicans.  The SCPR believes that for their bellyaching, the Dems would do the same if in power.

The effect of both party's attitudes is that "the public be damned."  Both political parties do well for the elites and the loyalists which staff their respective memberships.  But Ohio and the well being of everyday Stark Countians and Ohioans languishes, while the political party connected and faithful do quite well.

Readers of the SCPR should take a try at doing "in the public interest" redistricting by going to the Ohio secretary of state website and trying their hands and doing what Fortner did (CLICK HERE).

If the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) were to adopt a plan that approximates Fortner's, it will likely have consequences for state Reps. Steve Slesnick (Democrat - Canton) and Christina Hagan (Republican - Marlboro Township).

Taking Fortner's Republican or Democrat statistical favorability index for the districts he drew, Slesnick would no longer be in a "slam-dunk" district and the same applies to Hagan.  In fact, the number are against each.  And that should be just fine with Stark Countians as both are "marginal - at best" legislators.  Moreover, both - to boot - are extremely partisan.

Stark County needs representatives that while they have a political flavor to them, they have the ability to rise above partisanship and seek to vote in accordance with the best interest of their constituents from the public's perspective; not that of a political party.  And, by the way, Republican Kirk Schuring pretty much fills the bill of almost always going along with the dictates of his political party.

State Senator Scott Oelslager is the only one of the four who represents Stark County interests in the OGA that separates from time-to-time from party line positions.  However, he is not, as one of The Rep's reporters has told The Report, "highly independent."

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