Monday, October 29, 2012


It was as pleasant an October morning as I could have wanted when
I went to the Medina County Board of Elections last Friday to cast
my votes in the upcoming election.  Though Ohio Secretary of State
Jon A. Husted has been a major force in the Republican Party effort
to suppress voting and, especially, early voting, the local board
members have supported expanded voting hours and opportunities and,
indeed, planned their budget accordingly.

Medina is overwhelmingly Republican territory, though liberals and
progressives do manage to keep our views alive and even manage to
win the occasional election.  However, Medina is also the home to
a virulently oppressive Tea Party and other stone-cold racists and
bigots.  One of the reasons I chose to vote early is to avoid being
harassed by one such barnacle on the hull of democracy. 

The other reason is because there are days when my ongoing health
issues prevent me from leaving the house.  Conversations with other
early voters confirmed I’m not alone in this.  These voters truly
need flexibility in voting.  They could vote by mail, but they also
enjoy chatting with the poll workers who are, at least in the main
office, unfailingly helpful and pleasant.

Voter suppression has been a key tactic of the Republican Party in
this election.  When Husted lost his appeals to the higher courts
that prevented him from limiting early voters, an anonymous group
of right-wingers targeted minority communities with billboards that
proclaimed voter fraud was a felony.  Of course, those of us who’ve
done our research know that voter fraud is largely a myth fostered
by the right-wingers, but, if you’re a member of a minority who has
been profiled and targeted by law enforcement for centuries, those
billboards can still be intimidating. 

Happily, the company that owned those billboards realized - if only
after the protests started - that anonymous billboards violated the
contracts they hadn’t reviewed before putting the billboards up.
By way of penance, they donated several billboards proclaiming that
voting is a right.  Better late than never.

There were seven presidential candidates on the ballot this year.
I voted for Barack Obama for reasons I’ll discuss again a bit later
in the week.  In the meantime, my friend Mark Evanier summed it up
as well as anybody when he Tweeted “If you want to know why some of
us are not voting for Romney, read anything that isn't controlled
by Rupert Murdoch.” 

Voting to reelect Sherrod Brown to the U.S. Senate was another easy
call.  Brown has done a good job, even if I do disagree with him on
a few issues.  His opponent, Josh Mandel, is one of the slimiest of
politicians.  When Mandel ran for Treasurer, he once claimed that
his African-American opponent was a Muslim, combining bigotry and
lying in a particularly noxious mix.  Indeed, PolitiFact has given
Mandel more “pants on fire” ratings than any other person.

Though Mandel won his previous race, he began campaigning for this
Senate seat almost immediately.  He missed countless meetings while
raising campaign funds and hired unqualified cronies.  His Senate
campaign is being bolstered by millions of dollars from Karl Rove’s
groups.  Not surprisingly, Mandel, his campaign and his supporters
continue to lie about nearly everything.

Lots of out-of-state money is being poured into Ohio by Rove, the
Koch Brothers and other right-wing scumbags.  This makes it easier
for me to vote a nearly straight Democratic ticket.  Because Rove
and his ilk don’t want the same country I want.

I voted for Betty Sutton for the House of Representative.  She is
running in a cobbled-together-to-benefit-Republicans district.  Jim
Renacci, her opponent, was consulted when the Republicans drew the
district lines.

Renacci’s another bad egg.  His votes usually benefit the wealthy
at the expense of everyone else, including children, the elderly
and veterans.  His supporters make a huge deal out of Sutton voting
with the House Minority Leader most of the time.  Why this is worse
than Renacci voting with the Majority Leader is something they do
not explain or even mention.

Most of the other races aren’t as clear cut, but I generally vote
Democratic because Democrats are under-represented in my hometown
of Medina and in the surrounding area.  Judith A. Cross, who was a
terrific judge, is running for state representative and she got my
vote easily.  I’ve disliked our Republican County Commissioners for
decades, so voting against them was just as easy.

I don’t care much for our Prosecuting Attorney Dean Holman, who is
a Democrat.  But he’s running unopposed so there’s not much I can
do about that.

I voted for Democrat John L. Detchon for sheriff, based more on the
recommendation of the outgoing sheriff, a Republican, than anything
else.  I don’t need or want politics in that office.

It was tough to vote against County Treasurer John A. Burke because
I like the guy personally.  But the Republican, who I voted for in
years past, hasn’t done a very good job in these admittedly tough
times.  I feel bad about this vote, but I think Burke’s opponent
will do the job better.

None of the three candidates for the State Board of Education was
impressive, but one was definitely a must-vote-against.  Marianne
Gasiecki is a co-founder of the Mansfield Tea Party and there’s no
way I would ever vote for someone from that venomous organization.

There are two state issues on the ballot.  The first calls for the
holding of a constitutional convention to rewrite the constitution
of Ohio.  Which would give the reigning Republicans the opportunity
to push though horrible laws on a wholesale basis.  They will still
try to pass those laws, but at least we can slow down their efforts
to turn the state into an extreme right-wing madhouse.

The other state issue calls for a change to the state constitution
which would take redistricting out of the hands of the politicians.
In the past two redistricting instances, the reigning Republicans
drew the maps to give them unconscionable advantages.  Naturally,
the Republicans are against this amendment.  Just as naturally, I’m
for it.  Because redistricting should be a matter for geographers
and mathematicians.  Not politicians of any party.

There were two tax levies on the ballot.  I voted for renewal of a
tax for the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities, an
organization that does great work in our communities.

I voted - and this was a hard vote - against an additional proposed
tax levy for the Medina City School District.  Yes, the schools do
need more money.  But, the district has an arrogant, untrustworthy
superintendent and a school board that isn’t smart enough to bounce
his ass out of the job.  Since I have no confidence that the board
and the superintendent will spend the money wisely, I can’t bring
myself to vote for it. 

However, I make this promise for all to see.  If the school board
fires the superintendent, I’ll vote for the next proposed tax levy.
Even if it’s twice as large as this one.

This will be a week of somewhat different bloggy things.  I feel a
need to clear my bloggy thing file of the all of the topics and all
the odds and ends I haven’t gotten around to write about yet.  I’m
not sure I’ll get to them all, but, after this week, I’ll return to
my usual mix of news, views and reviews...and throw a surprise or
two into the fray.  It’ll be fun.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. As to redistricting, look at Cincinnati and Rep Chabot. The 1st Congressional district was the southwestern corner of Ohio. Now it's a figure-8 shape which includes the solidly republican Warren county to the Northeast of Cincinnati and it trimmed some of the city off to better provide non-representation to the inhabitants of Cincinnati.

  2. On ballot initiatives, the FL Repub-dominated legislature pushed a number of them onto the ballot so they wouldn't get blamed if they voted them into law. (Repubs so dominate the FL legislature that Democrats don't even need to show up.) The measures include "religious freedom" (aka giving taxpayer dollars to churches); "taxpayer bill of rights" (aka kneecapping the government's ability to collect any taxes) and "protecting a woman's right to choose" (aka laying the groundwork to ban abortion). And they managed to ignore the "non-partisan" redistricting amendment that was overwhelmingly passed in 2010.

  3. The only comment I have is on redistricting.

    Districts should be drawn by a panel that is made up of 50% of each majority party. If it takes 'em 50 years of fighting and arguing to get it done, well, that's the best reason I can think of for voting for an independent!!!

    I further believe that districts should not be drawn with a piece here and a piece there. It should all be, for lack of a better phrase, connect/continuous. Pulling islands of the population from here and associating them with an island of people there is just bad business.

    ---Tom Hunter

    1. In fairness, I have to admit that my State (Oregon) always has a bit of trouble redistricting, even doing so fairly (we have the land mass of Great Britain and a population smaller than metro Los Angeles - the population distribution tends to be in clumps.) Things got bad enough that we had to pass a referendum a couple of years back allowing redistricted officials to take a year to get to know their new districts.

      I liked the late Molly Ivins' tale of redistricting in Texas, where the law requires that districts be "compact and contiguous". One year the proposed districts resembled the infamous 'Gerrymander' or worse, leading the head of the committee to ask plaintively, "Does this look a'tall 'compact and contiguous' to y'all?!" Which drew the response from one Member, " a ARTISTIC sense, it is!"

  4. Donna and I mailed in our ballots, since it can sometimes be a hassle for us to get to the local voting place before work. By the time I get out of work at 9:00pm the polls are closed. Also, since Orange County is about as Republican as you can get, we don't need any hassle.

    Voting for Obama/Biden was pretty easy, as was casting a vote for Dianne Feinstein for another term. We voted straight Democratic, as we usually do. Here in California the Propositions on the ballot each time can be overwhelming. Much of that has to do with the ads running pro & con, plus remembering if a YES or NO vote will be in favor or against some particular issue. We try to discover what organizations, newspapers and individuals are paying for the ads and that can pretty much move us to vote one way or the other.

    If you read Mark Evanier's column on his own voting last week, you can pretty much guess how we filled in our own ballots with only a couple of exceptions. Of course, I have an old Navy buddy out here and I can bet that his vote on each issue and candidate pretty much cancels out mine or vice versa.

    It should be interesting to see if the current storms hitting the East coast creates problems for Election Day. Have to keep an eye on which districts are still without power for polling places next week.

  5. I voted a week ago today, first day of early voting here in Texas. Quite a turnout too.

    No ballot initiatives this time out. I was careful to make sure my straight Democratic vote had registered as such; there were reports of some glitches.

    Talking of redistricting -- my Congressman, Smokin' Joe Barton, is up for reelection. (He's the guy that apologized to BP.) It'd be nice if he lost but his district is almost ridiculous – something like 40 miles tall and three feet wide.

    Remember, if voting didn't make a difference, they wouldn't try to suppress it!

  6. I also believe that Ohio's current method for redrawing legislative districts is an abomination. However, I voted against Issue 2 because it sets up a system whereby sitting judges would select the members of the commission that would redraw the district boundaries. I am a firm believer in the seperation of the three branches of governmnet and therefore could not support this solution to the redistricting problem. IMHO, redistricting should be done by an algorithm that would equalize districts based on poulation and geographical compactness. No discretion would be allowed in the draft districts. These districts would then become official 30 days later, unless overturned by a 3/4 majority vote of the Ohio House and Senate, the Governor, and the Secretary of State. If overturned, then each district would have to be approved by the voters in the proposed district. I would support almost any process that starts with a mathamatical determination of districts.

    1. Excellent points and the only disagreement I have is that I feel Issue 2 was the best present alternative. But I prefer this.


  7. I’m for it. Because redistricting should be a matter for geographers and mathematicians. Not politicians of any party.