- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 24

The U.S. Postal Service, like any business should, continues to try to find ways to stay competitive faced with a changing landscape and financial losses. Predictably, though, those protecting what they see as their own self-interest continue to try to thwart such innovation.

The latest volley comes as the Postal Service has launched a partnership with dozens of Staples office-supply stores throughout the country, in which Staples employees do such routine things as sell postage and mail packages - things the postal union considers to be union-only jobs. …

Whenever the Postal Service tries to make a change to stem its losses, which totaled $5 billion during the past year, many understandably worry that consumers will be harmed if postal services are cut. A shared-resources deal such as the one with Staples is a proven way to continue serving Americans while keeping costs in check.

Continuing to lose billions of dollars a year simply isn’t a viable strategy, and postal workers are more likely to see everyone suffer and lose jobs if they resist such reasonable attempts by the postal service to manage its business.

Online:

http://bit.ly/Ml8teS

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The (Findlay) Courier, Jan. 23

Randy Cole may have the toughest sales job in Ohio.

As one of Gov. John Kasich’s top policy advisers, Cole travels the state trying to convince local government officials to find more efficient ways to operate, whether by sharing services, consolidating operations or even merging. …

While some school districts have responded by working with other districts to save money, and municipalities have found ways to provide services more efficiently and/or cost-effectively, government isn’t exactly shrinking. …

It’s human nature to want to keep something around that works and, when it comes to government, it’s often the nearest form of it that is most responsive. In county, township and municipal government, a taxpayer is more likely to know the people who serve and who to call when they need something.

But at the same time we complain about excesses in Washington or Columbus, we shouldn’t continue to excuse the redundancies that take place in our backyards.

Certainly, if someone was to start Ohio government anew, it wouldn’t look like it does today.

Cole’s pep talks about shrinking government and reducing costs shouldn’t be met with deaf ears and closed minds. Local governments shouldn’t wait until the next financial crisis to join the conversation.

Online:

http://bit.ly/1lgU2YH

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The Marietta Times, Jan. 24

This summer marks 42 years since the Israeli Olympic team was taken hostage and murdered in the Munich summer games in 1972. It will be 18 years since a backpack exploded at the Atlanta games, killing two and injuring 111.

It’s been a little more than eight months since bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing and maiming.

With that grim toll in mind, it’s time to celebrate what’s supposed to be good about humankind, with the Olympic spirit awakened during the Winter Games of Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23.

It is with trepidation that the world approaches these games, given the ongoing terrorism in the region - though still hundreds of miles from President Vladimir Putin’s “ring of steel” security clampdown on Sochi. …

Now is not the time for old divisiveness to resurface. …

The interests of two powerful nations that had led the world in decades past can join and bring the power of Russia and the United States to work for the common good of all.

And that would be the best tribute to the spirit of the Olympics, to the desire of men and women to peacefully compete while representing their countries, to be proud and competitive but not at war. …

Online:

http://bit.ly/1d4NlyV

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Akron Beacon Journal, Jan. 26

John Kasich points to the creation of 170,500 private-sector jobs during his three years as governor, a pace that ranks ninth among the states. He cites a 21 percent reduction in the number of unemployed Ohioans. What he and his allies skip past is helpful context. …

That figure of 170,500 jobs is more about raw numbers, akin to Ohio boasting that it ranks seventh among the states in population. Telling is the percentage increase. George Zeller, a Cleveland-based economics researcher, notes that the past year Ohio experienced job growth of 0.38 percent, trailing the national rate of 1.76 percent. …

This isn’t what the governor advertised when he talked about the world wanting to know how Ohio has gotten things right, even achieved a “miracle.” …

The promise was that Ohio would do much better. Yet, three years into the Kasich era, including an engaged JobsOhio, the privatized economic development operation, and the numbers are what they are, Ohio lagging the nation. …

It may be that the state economy is poised to take off, adding close to the 100,000 jobs a year of the 1990s. Or maybe another course is needed. The Democratic opposition has an obligation to develop and convey what it currently lacks - a credible alternative for Ohio.

Online:

http://bit.ly/19XjyNz

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