No matter who you choose to vote for, candidates seeking our votes take note of our needs when we vote. One can vote by mail, at the Board of Elections, or at their polling location on Tuesday, November 6. Please consider the following:
(for any ballot items that are not listed here, there is no recommendation)
- Governor: Mike DeWine and Jon Husted (R)
- State Attorney General: Steve Dettelbach (D)
- State Auditor: Keith Faber (R)
- Secretary of State of OH: Frank LaRose(R)
- State Treasurer: Robert Sprague (R)
- U.S. Senator: Jim Renacci (R) or Sherrod Brown(D)
- Representative to U.S. Congress, District 11: Marcia Fudge (D)
- State Senator District 21: Sandra Williams (D)
- State Representative District 9: Janine Boyd (D)
- Cuyahoga County Executive: Armond Budish (D)
- Member of County Council District 10: Cheryl Stephens (D)
- Ohio Supreme Court: Craig Baldwin (R), Mary DeGenaro (R)
- Court of Appeals: Michelle Sheehan (D)
- Cuyahoga County Judges: Joseph Russo, Ashley Kilbane, William McGinty, John O’Donnell, Daniel Gaul(D) or Wanda Jones(R), Kathleen Sutula, John Sutula, Emily Hagan, Deborah Turner
- State Issue 1 – Reduce drug possession to a misdemeanor and prohibiting their sentencing to jail, prohibiting judges from sentencing most non-violent parole violators to jail, requiring reduced prison sentences for almost all criminals based on participation in rehab, and allocating funds to rehab services. Vote No
- Cuyahoga County Issue 10 – Disallows the county to discriminate regarding employment based on gender identity. Vote No
- Cuyahoga County Issue 11- Allows the auditing office to bill the departments it audits. This is merely an interdepartmental issue and should be supported. Vote Yes.
- Cuyahoga County Issue 12: Established the already in place office of Inspector General and gives it the power to subpoena in an investigation. no recommendation
As a general perspective, in making my recommendations I am often faced with a choice between supporting principles we believe in, and practical considerations for facilitating the needs of our community. I do seek Rabbinic guidance to help balance these interests, and the recommendations above reflect that.
In that vein, I would like to note that Democrats Sherrod Brown and Marcia Fudge have supported us on issues such as funding for anti-terrorist security improvements in our schools. Richard Cordray is a centrist with a good record who has pledged support for maintaining the voucher system, along with Sandra Williams. Steve Dettelbach has ties to our community and like all those listed here, a good working relationship with our askanim. Locally, Janine Boyd and Cheryl Stephens known our neighborhoods well and have been good advocates for us. Our community needs people in office who will pick up the phone and respond when we call and we have good reason to show gratitude at the polls to people in both parties.
A word about Judge Daniel Gaul: While he has made some insensitive comments and was censured, all sources I’ve contacted say that Judge Daniel Gaul has, in his 28-year career, done a good job and is rated significantly higher than his opponent by the bar associations. He is said to be caring and comes to the right decisions. However, his comments and style have become highly public, and therefore the Plain Dealer is now narrowly recommending Wanda Jones.
State Issue 1: Support and Opposition to this largely falls along party lines; most Republican politicians opposing; most Democrats supporting. The goal is laudable: currently, people are convicted just for possessing drugs, and wind up in prison, which is itself a terrible environment. This imposes significant costs on society, and this Issue reallocates those funds to treatment. However, the mechanism of this issue is to create a constitutional amendment. This prevents lawmakers from adjusting it or changing aspects of it, no matter what happens. This is of particular concern since it lumps together several complex items, and the success of such a program has not been validated in any other state. Further, it doesn’t differentiate between types and quantities of drugs, or whether the drugs were for personal use or distribution. There are many very dangerous types of drugs, and Ohio is in the top 5 states for deaths due to drug overdose. This issue, as written, ironically may have the effect of trivializing the seriousness of the drug epidemic in Ohio. Finally, it even takes the issue out of the hands of judges to decide based on the circumstances of the case, which is why it is opposed by organizations of judges and law enforcement. Aside from the drug focus, it also enshrines sentence reduction for participation in education programs regardless of whether they are deserved or likely to be effective in a particular case, and without regard to the effects on victims. Further, it is supported by out of state interests, and law enforcement foresees a rise in assaults, robbery and most other violent crimes if this passes based on recidivism rates resulting from the violent jail environment. As important as the problem is, it is just as important that the solution be structured in a way that everyone can
rally around. Vote No, but lobby legislators to support an effective solution.
County Charter Amendments
Issue 10 – Recently, Council made it illegal for any place of public accommodation (businesses, all places where you don’t require a membership to get in including Churches) to use “gender identity” issues as a factor in hiring. That was legislation and affects all public locations. This is a Charter Amendment which is the equivalent of putting it in the county constitution. However, this amendment differs because it refers only to County Offices and how the overseeing personnel offices deal with hiring, firing and discipline among themselves, while adding gender identity neutrality into the Charter – even if this only refers to County offices and not all businesses. As for how it
works, it is just another tweak making the county work better in terms of interdepartmental affairs, but it also takes the opportunity to put that nondiscrimination wording into the charter. It’s already the law because they passed it, so no need to enshrine it more permanently. Vote No.
Issue 11 – As above, this is merely tweaking the way the government works to make it work more effectively and is like other such amendments offered after the redesign of county government where they found what doesn’t work and came to the people to correct it. It provides the Department of Internal Auditing discretion to bill departments for the cost of conducting audits. This is merely an internal county affair. Vote Yes.
Issue 12 – Again, this is merely a correction. It moves the Charter of the County of Cuyahoga to establish the Agency of Inspector General, who would be the chief ethics officer and conduct investigations into wrongdoing of any department or head and who would have powers including access to county information and subpoena power. This office already exists as an appointment. This would make it permanent at the charter level and add the subpoena power. Supporters feel it is important to have such an officer. Opponents worry about abuse of
subpoena power, but those I spoke to were less concerned, because the scope of the Inspector would be to inspect the county offices, its personnel and officers, but not the general public.