- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

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

The Akron Beacon Journal, May 20

… For the past 50 years, state law has barred discrimination no matter the number of the housing units. Now there is an effort at the Statehouse to reverse course, the timing bewildering on at least two counts, the advances in equality made by gay men and women and the chilling scenes from many cities where black men, especially, face persistent prejudice.

This isn’t the time, as if there is one, for rolling back protections against discrimination.

State Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, has revived legislation (Senate Bill 134) that would restrict the reach of the state’s fair housing law. He and other proponents describe the measure as a sensible aligning of state law with what the federal government requires…

Seitz and allies, including groups representing property investors, want to undo what has endured for five decades in the state. They would open the door to discrimination by landlords with smaller numbers of rental units. Is that a message Ohio wants to send?

… That would not serve Ohio well, putting roughly $1 million in federal enforcement money at risk. That result would compound the problem, the state backing away from what is right and just: barring all housing discrimination and taking the necessary steps to prevent it.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1FDXfu5

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The (Bowling Green) Sentinel Tribune, May 20

America’s ingenuity is crumbling from years of neglect.

Many expansive highways and impressive bridge spans - once the pride of our industrial nation - have reached the end of their safe lifespans.

And many leaders who saw the thrill in building the infrastructure now lack the courage to invest the necessary funds to maintain the roads and bridges.

For more than 20 years, federal gas taxes - which pay for the bulk of federal roadwork - have remained stuck at 18.4 cents per gallon.

Even as more fuel-efficient vehicles create less revenue, elected officials have refused to do the right thing out of fear of voter and lobbyist retribution.

Many state gas and license taxes have also remained stagnant…

For several years, the state gas tax and license tax have been “flat line.” But the costs to fix roads and bridges continue to grow…

Of the 607,380 bridges in a recent U.S. National Bridge Inventory, more than 65,000 were classified as “structurally deficient” and nearly 21,000 were listed as “fracture critical.”

… An estimated 20 percent of the nation’s 900,000 miles of interstates and major roads are in need of resurfacing or reconstruction, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association…

The problem cannot be fixed with cheap remedies. Just last week, Congress introduced a two-month extension of the federal highway and mass transit program.

That type of Band-Aid won’t work for roads and bridges that have been neglected for years. Short-term repairs ultimately cost more and create more delays for motorists. But any attempt to create a long-term program has been met in the legislature by gridlock…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1F6qa6k

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Northeast Ohio Media Group, May 22

… Getting most voters to buy into the argument that judges are underpaid is about as difficult as convincing them their taxes are too low. A great many believe judges earn salaries that are scandalously high.

But the voters who think that are wrong. In fact, it’s not hard to make the case that low judicial pay might very well be affecting the quality of justice in Ohio.

… Elected judges in Ohio have gone more than seven years without a raise. Gov. John Kasich’s budget included a raise of 5 percent annually for four years, but the House - burned last year when it passed a pay raise bill and the Senate refused to concur - removed the provision.

… The $121,350 salary of a Common Pleas judge is below that of his counterparts in every state that borders Ohio. It’s $52,000 less than what trial court judges earn in Pennsylvania and nearly $66,000 less than judges in Illinois.

Ohio’s appellate court judges ($132,000) rank 32nd nationally in pay, and Ohio’s Supreme Court judges ($141,600) rank 39th. An Ohio Supreme Court judge earns about a third - in some cases far less - of the salary paid partners in large law firms…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1cWoSTT

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator, May 25

Unlike any Memorial Day since the turn of the century, today’s solemn holiday will be observed without the United States actively engaged in full-scale warfare in a foreign land. As of last December, America and our NATO coalition partners formally ended formal military engagement in Afghanistan, the longest U.S.-initiated war in American history.

… Sadly, however, for far too many of us, Memorial Day’s primary purpose has been cheapened and corrupted. The day has become one to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, a day to fire up that shiny new grill for outdoor barbecues or a day to rush to the nearest big-box store to save $300 on a new flat-screen TV.

Others tend to confuse today’s holiday with Veterans Day in November. Veterans Day marks a nation’s homage to all men and women - living and dead - who have served in the armed forces in the nation’s 10 major wars. Memorial Day is different. It is the day that a grateful nation has set aside to solemnly and soberly remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

… Sacrifice and selflessness indeed are the watchwords of today’s national holiday. That’s why it’s so incredibly important that we take time out today from sunning, grilling and shopping to pause long enough to recognize Memorial Day’s true intent…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1cWoSTT

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