2009 Buckeye RINO endorsement recap megapost

Election Day is next Tuesday, November 3rd.  Don’t forget to vote.

This year, I’m weighing in on the following issues:  The statewide ballot Issues 1,2, and 3; Lorain County Issue 4; Cuyahoga County Issues 5 and 6.

Buckeye RINO’s local political coverage generally spans Lorain, Huron, Seneca, and Erie Counties.  This year, I’m endorsing local candidates in the following cities:  Amherst, Sandusky, Lorain, and Elyria.

ISSUES (Ballotpedia.org has info on state and local issues, including other viewpoints)

  • No on Issue 1.
  • Yes on Issue 2–I have mixed feelings about this issue.  This is about the living conditions of livestock.  Some special interest groups (animal rights advocates, climate change activists, vegetarian and vegan crusaders), using tactics such as those outlined in Saul Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals,” are waging a campaign against animal-based agriculture.  I’m not enthralled with the proposed solution offered by Issue 2, because it authorizes creation of yet another governing body (groan).  I feel caught between a rock and a hard place.  I’ll take a chance on Issue 2, but my support is far from solid.
  • NO on Issue 3.  If you read Buckeye RINO at all, you know I’m very emphatic on this point.  NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO and NO.  Got that?
  • No on Lorain County Issue 4.
  • No on Cuyahoga County Issue 5.
  • Yes on Cuyahoga County Issue 6.

AMHERST

I’ve endorsed Phil Van Treuren for Amherst City Council at-Large.  Four candidates are running for 3 at-Large seats.  I’ve taken no position on any of the other contested races in Amherst this year.

Phil Van Treuren didn’t bring up this point, so let me do so:  Phil has a lot of knowledge of what goes on in Amherst and throughout Lorain County.  You don’t knock on all the doors of Amherst without getting an earful.  Phil’s knocked on those doors.  Phil started out in Lorain County as a journalist, covering the stories that pop up all over the county.  He has an awareness of conditions and issues that supersedes that of his peers who are running for Amherst council.  This has as much to do with why I endorse Phil as any other factor.

SANDUSKY

Purge the city commission of as many incumbents as possible.  They are “good old boys.”

Vote for Richard Koonce for Sandusky Board of Education.

LORAIN

Three positions are open for Lorain school board.  Above all else, vote for Jim Smith, even if you vote for just one.  Williams and Sturgill are the others preferred by Buckeye RINO.  Bivins is campaigning as a rubber-stamp of the superintendent, which is why I favor the other 3 candidates.

Buckeye RINO endorses Mike Scherach for Law Director.  I expect lawyers to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.  The interim law director failed to meet that basic requirement.

Unfortunately, not all races for Lorain City Council are contested.  Lorain is a central city within a metropolitan area.  Lorain’s proper role is not to be a sleepy bedroom community and retirement center.  Lorain’s proper role is to be a mecca for industry and employment.  Infrastructure is the skeleton to which economic muscles attach.  Lorain’s infrastructure is 30 years overdue for an upgrade.  Anthony Giardini, Democrat party boss, is the puppetmaster for many of the members on city council.  The city’s government is fundamentally broken and entirely dysfunctional.  I favor city council candidates who will present the greatest challenges to existing authority and the powers-that-be.

  • For Lorain City Council at-Large, Buckeye RINO endorses Sean Kalin Stipe, who has correctly predicted that Lorain’s fiscal crash is being masked over until after Election Day.  I have my hunches about who the “good old boys” are trying to protect by these maneuvers.  There are 5 candidates running for 3 seats, which means it’s impossible to sweep out all the incumbents this time around.  Buckeye RINO favors Stipe and Keith Jones, the two challengers.  Of the incumbents, I’m willing to try one more term for Mitch Fallis, but I haven’t been impressed so far.  Please show Given and Molnar the door.
  • Melanie Szabo for First Ward.  She’s the only current city council member that hasn’t been a disappointment.
  • Joyce Early for Third Ward.  If Tim Howard were running for Oberlin City Council and if Timothy Haupt were running for Amherst City Council, they might make a good fit for those respective cities, which are far more functional than Lorain.  They don’t fit well for Lorain’s current situation, where the government is fundamentally broken.  Joyce Early takes the more confrontational approach that is needed in these desperate times.
  • Andy Winemiller for Fourth Ward.  This is the GOP candidate I’m most excited about in Lorain.  He clearly outshines Schuster.
  • Greg Holcomb for Sixth Ward.  Yes, he’s an incumbent, and yes, I’m disappointed so far, but his challenger is Bob Kerecz, who has served on council before.  Kerecz would represent a step backward from where Lorain is now (if that’s possible).
  • Kenneth Baughman for Seventh Ward.  Silecky makes no important contribution to council.

ELYRIA

Buckeye RINO endorses Gary Bennett for Elyria Municipal Court.  Bennett has been a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent over the course of his lifetime.  He’s held non-partisan office on the Elyria school board.  He served as an interim county prosecutor.  He pursues no partisan political agenda, and he’s remained apart from the political fray.  He just tries to do the best job he conscientiously can based on the facts at his disposal.  Grunda=partisan.

Unfortunately, not all city council races in Elyria are contested.  Like Lorain, Elyria’s proper role as a central city within a metropolitan area is to be a hub for industry and employment.  Additionally, as the county seat, it is a hub of government, as well.  For the economic vitality of the surrounding region, Elyria is not to be a museum for nostalgic retirees who yearn for Elyria’s past glory days.  The government hub is located downtown, in the heart of the community, which suffers from clogged coronary arteries.  The existing transportation infrastructure supports growth only on Elyria’s periphery.  Though LCCC is situated on the edge of Elyria, the local labor market is ill-equipped to absorb its graduates.  Mayor Bill Grace is a visionary who has the wrong vision.  Grace has Stepfordized Elyria, bringing death to Elyria’s inner soul in Grace’s pursuit of cosmetic conformity for the outer shell of Elyria that remains.  Elyria City Council is in dire need of members who can see the big picture who can provide an alternate vision to compete with Grace.  Council members must not be rooted in the past.  The infrastructure must be upgraded with a vision of the future clearly in mind.  Employee layoffs should begin with Grace’s own staff before ever proceeding to safety forces.  Unemployment and poverty rates are spiking higher in Elyria right now, signaling that the financial crunch will just get bigger if the city continues along the path that Grace is leading it.  With all that in mind, some of these council races are tough to decide, but I’m going to give it a shot.

  • Ray Noble for Elyria Council at-Large.  There are 9 candidates seeking 4 seats.  Noble is the wisest of the whole bunch.  Rae Lynn Brady, Christopher Best, and Diane Lesesky are the other three who are able to size up the picture quite well.  Oust the 3 incumbents, Lotko, Stewart, and Callahan.  The other Democrat, Siwierka, places too much faith in getting assistance from the state and federal governments.  Sorry, but nobody from DC or Columbus will be coming to Elyria’s rescue.  Quinn’s first reaction to the ensuing crisis is to look for more tax revenue.  Sorry, you can’t get blood from a turnip.
  • Forrest Bullocks for Elyria 2nd Ward.  This is bad news for 2nd Ward.  You aren’t well served by continuing to follow the city leadership that Bullocks supports, but Sandra Laubenthal hasn’t done enough homework to be prepared to challenge Bullocks, and would not hit the ground running if elected to council.  I hope 2nd Ward fields stronger candidates the next time around.
  • Garry Gibbs for Elyria 3rd Ward.  Thank you to all the 3rd Ward voters who’ve supported Gibbs year after year.  Gibbs is one of the few bright spots on Elyria council.  If you vote for Noble, Brady, Best, and Lesesky for the at-Large seats, Gibbs will be a capable leader on council that can serve as an effective counterbalance to Mayor Grace.  Koepp brings nothing to the table.
  • Brandon Rutherford for Elyria 4th Ward.  Among council incumbents, Mark Craig is my 2nd favorite, behind Gibbs.  Craig has been a model for communication and transparency.  If Craig were running for an at-Large seat, he probably would have picked up my endorsement.  Rutherford, however, is the more visionary.  There are several things I admire about Rutherford.  Rutherford is resourceful.  He makes lemonade out of lemons.  When faced with a setback, he usually reacts with a swear word, but after a few moments, he’ll start brainstorming  for a way to proceed.  Elyria is going to get slammed with more financial bad news in the near future, but Rutherford is one who won’t be paralyzed into inaction.  Read through Rutherford’s guest blog entry and see the stuff Rutherford can come up with that can improve a community for little to no $$$.  Also, when brainstorming, Rutherford reaches out and picks at other people’s brains across the political spectrum.  4th Ward constituents are among those prone to turn back the clock to a simpler time and less hurried way of life.  They want a cozy environment for their retirement years.  Unfortunately, they are the ones who will be clobbered with the price tag for what they desire, because the working population will have departed for elsewhere, seeking job opportunities that are missing in Elyria.  At a Rutherford fundraiser, I saw YOUNG people.  These are the people Elyria needs to attract and retain WITH JOBS in order to prevent retirees from getting crushed under a heavy tax burden.  What’s missing from the Craig platform is: the future.
  • Marcus Madison for Elyria 5th Ward.  Tom Aden seems like a very nice fellow.  Aden was instrumental in getting West by the River neighborhood designated as a historical district.  Great.  Madison is talking about infrastructure upgrades, like replacing 4-inch water lines with 8-inch water lines.  Good.  Aden=past.  Madison=future.  I’m going with Madison.
  • Dorothy Klimczak for Elyria 6th Ward.  A no-brainer, she is far and away the better choice.  Mitchell is running as a rubber-stamp for Bill Grace.
  • Jerry McHugh for Elyria 7th Ward.  This is a tough choice, but, unlike the tough choice for 2nd Ward, this is good news for the 7th Ward.  Ed Sinegar would also be a good choice.  Flip a coin over it.  The best news is that the incumbent is not in this race.  McHugh first caught my attention and raised my eyebrows during the primaries of 2007 at a candidate forum hosted by CHIP in Lorain.  After watching the event, I sent an email, comparing notes, with someone who was also at the event.  An excerpt of my email reads, “Can’t compare Jerry McHugh with no-show Burkholder, but I like the guy’s demeanor.  I’d like to see him on Elyria council.”  I guess that’s why I’m picking McHugh in this one, but whether you vote McHugh or whether you vote Sinegar, it’s bound to be an improvement over the previous occupant of the 7th Ward seat.

Like my endorsements?  Don’t like my endorsements?  Feel free to sound off in the comments, below.  (Keep the language clean, though.)  Don’t forget to vote.

Criminals sponsor gambling? No way! . . . umm, YES way, hello . . . wake up, people . . .

Dan Gilbert, the Michigan resident who, if Issue 3 passes, would be allowed to own and operate Ohio casinos while Ohioans would be forbidden from doing the same, is trying to whitewash his past.  Gilbert saw to it that an illegal bookie operation during his college days was expunged from his record.  In a Plain Dealer story, he said what he did back then was “dumb,” but since then, he’s had that criminal record fixed.  No harm done, right?

Jeff Jacobs, a would-be rival who covets an opportunity to own a casino of his own, was quoted by the PD saying:

“It’s one thing if your youthful indiscretion is a barroom brawl.  It is another if you caused a college student to be so fearful that he goes to the police, who end up wearing an undercover wire just to shut your illegal bookmaking down.”

Sobering observation about Dan Gilbert’s past, don’t you think?

Left-of-center blog Plunderbund has heavily discounted the notion that any noticeable increase in crime will materialize if Issue 3 passes.  If you click over to Eric’s blog entry on the matter, be sure to scroll down to the comments section, where I’ve pointed out that it’s a matter of historical record that the gambling industry and crime have a symbiotic relationship with each other.  The opportunity to launder money via casinos greatly facilitates organized crime.  Who first conceived of the notion of operating casinos in Las Vegas?  A criminal.

Quite frankly, Issue 3 backers are already demonstrating that they can run circles around law enforcement efforts.  So far, a solitary individual in Cincinnati, as a former employee of a company formerly contracted by Issue 3 backers, has been charged in an absentee voting fraud scheme.  But while there may be closure on the horizon in that Hamilton County case, Franklin County still has to get a handle on absentee voting irregularities within its jurisdiction.  And let’s not forget the dead voters who signed Issue 3 petitions, because Erie County, among others, has yet to get a handle on that, too.  These are clear demonstrations Ohio’s communities just don’t have the means to police the casinos proposed by Issue 3, I don’t care what Ohio’s FOP says to the contrary.

The leaders of the Republican Caucus in the Ohio House of Representatives, state reps William Batchelder and Louis Blessing, Jr., on Friday, released the following statement to the press:

Background Checks Needed with Advent of Casinos

Issue 3 may open floodgates for criminals without proper regulations

COLUMBUS—House Republican Leader William G. Batchelder of Medina, today announced his commitment to safeguarding casino licenses and preventing individuals who have committed crimes in the past from obtaining a casino license, if Issue 3 is approved by voters this November.

“If Issue 3 passes, the General Assembly has an obligation to ensure that the Casino Control Commission carefully screens applicants who want to own and run the Ohio casinos and makes sure that licenses are not granted to anyone with serious gambling infractions in their past,’’ Batchelder said. “Many other states ask applicants about past gambling charges, even if they have been later expunged or overturned on appeal. This industry is highly regulated for a reason, and Ohio should not bow to pressure and adopt regulations that are lower than industry standards.’’

As per Section 3770.051 of the Ohio Revised Code, the director of the State Lottery Commission must request the criminal records of any vendor with whom the commission is considering entering into a contract, to protect the integrity of the state’s online gaming system or instant ticket system. Batchelder seeks to extend a variation of this law to apply to Ohio casinos, should the issue pass a public vote.

“It is prudent that policymakers work together to ensure there are safeguards in place such as background checks, so that anyone with a criminal record cannot apply for a license to operate casino in Ohio,” Batchelder said. “I can remember the Ohio Lottery suffering from scandal in the early 1970s caused by the lack of safeguards.   Clearly defined rules and regulations on something as vague as gambling are necessary to prevent the dismal mistakes of the past.  I urge my legislative colleagues to come together to proactively work and prevent the potential abuse that could come from Issue 3.”

Assistant Republican Leader Louis Blessing Jr. of Cincinnati, who is an opponent to Issue 3, stated the following: “A review of other state standards suggests that criminals would likely be denied a casino license in other states. The cavalier attitude that individuals with similar pasts, who apply for a license here in Ohio tells me they think previous mistakes are just college pranks. This is another reason why we need to know the identity of all of the investors. If the main financial backer can’t get a license, can their partners? We have no idea because he refuses to list the other investors.’’

Other states have similar laws that serve to uphold the integrity of the state casino system. According to Blessing’s research, Pennsylvania regulators ask casino applicants to list all ‘offenses or charges,’ even if the charges were later dismissed, or downgraded.

In Indiana, applicants are asked whether they have ever been ‘arrested, detained, charged, indicted, convicted, received pro-trial diversion, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or forfeited bail concerns any criminal offense, either felony or misdemeanor…’ In Colorado, the first question regulators ask is, “Have you ever been convicted of any gambling-related felony at any time?’’

Batchelder and Blessing have seen the polls showing that voters are favoring Issue 3, and they want to be as ready as they can be if the issue passes, but, as they’ve pointed out in an earlier press release, this criminal background screening they propose might be a moot point, as passage of Issue 3 would etch the casino proposals in stone as an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution.

Even if you favor casinos in Ohio, there is another casino proposal on the table that wouldn’t write loopholes for criminals into Ohio’s Constitution the way Issue 3 does, but for that proposal to reach voters, Issue 3 must be defeated.

I of course, remain in opposition to casinos, as they produce no wealth, they only redistribute it by plundering it from gamblers.  The numbers that Issue 3 backers throw at you, as the PD’s Thomas Suddes points out, are to dazzle you, but aren’t based in reality.  Casinos do no good for our economy.  Those that benefit, beyond the casino owners, are the criminals and the politicians.  (Is that redundant to say casino owners, criminals, and politicians in the same sentence?)

Gambling tycoons don’t ever play games that aren’t fixed.  The more closely you examine Issue 3, the more you will see that the fix is in.   Career criminals are drooling in anticipation.  Please frustrate them.  Don’t sit this election out.  Please get out to the polls and vote NO on Issue 3.

Press release from leadership of Ohio House Republican caucus concerning Issue 3

Editor’s note:  This press release was issued on October 8th.  The proponents of Issue 3 have deflected criticisms of the specific language of the proposed Constitutional amendment by giving the impression that the Ohio General Assembly has the ability to correct whatever flaws may exist in its wording.  The Ohio General Assembly has no such power to override the Constitution, as set forth in this press release.  The only check and balance against the flaws of Issue 3 is held by the people, and can only be exercised by way of voting NO.  Election Day is November 3rd, and early voting has already begun.  Please vote NO on Issue 3.

Republican Leaders Question Issue 3 Tax Analysis

COLUMBUS – Ohio House Republican Leader William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) and Assistant Republican Leader Louis W. Blessing (R-Cincinnati) today stated in a letter to The Office of Budget and Management and The Ohio Department of Taxation their desire for a change in the tax and expenditure analysis created for Issue 3 on the November ballot.

In their letter, they outlined that the current analysis assumes legislative authority from the General Assembly and tax estimates that are not guaranteed by the language of the amendment.  Batchelder and Blessing express concern over the definitions of “Gross casino revenue,” and “Casino gaming” in regards to cash wagering. Highlights of the letter are as follows:

“Your assumption is that the General Assembly would pass a statute expanding the tax base to include cash wagering.  Whether the General Assembly would do that at all is highly speculative.  More importantly, the General Assembly has no authority whatsoever to contradict, rescind, repeal or override a provision of the Ohio Constitution…

It is well settled that the General Assembly can pass legislation which implements and complements constitutional provisions.  However, your assumption relative to the projected tax revenue is far different than that.  You are assuming that the General Assembly can substantially amend, and in fact repeal certain of the constitutional provisions as set out above.  We do not believe the General Assembly has that power…

The question is simple:  ‘Does the General Assembly have the power to revoke, contradict, repeal or override a provision of the Ohio Constitution?’…

We know that you share our interest in providing voters accurate and evidence-based projections.  It is our hope and request that you revise your analysis promptly so that all Ohioans may benefit from the accurate evaluation of the proposed amendment.”

[UPDATE] Coming up this month

Mark your calendars!  Oct. 12, Candidates Night in Oberlin; Oct. 14, CHIP Candidates Night in Lorain;  Oct. 21, Town Hall with State Rep Terry Boose in Norwalk; Oct. 22, Candidates Night in Huron; Oct 25, Chris Ritchey fundraiser to fight Hodgkins Lymphoma in Lorain; Oct. 29, Town Hall with State Rep Terry Boose in Kipton; Nov. 3, Election Day (early voting has already begun).

First Church in Oberlin, on Monday, October 12th, will host a candidates night for 13 Oberlin City Council candidates, and 4 Oberlin school board candidates on Monday, October 12.  Reception begins at 6:30 pm, and the forum begins at 7 pm.  First Church is located at 106 N. Main St.

Lorain’s Coalition for Hispanic Issues and Progress (CHIP) will host its 7th annual candidates night on October 14th in the Gould Auditorium within the St. Joseph’s Community Center at 20th and Broadway in Lorain.  Doors open at 6 pm, with the forum commencing about a half-hour later.  David Arredondo is the contact person for this event (440) 315-7812.  This event provides an excellent opportunity to see and hear the candidates who will be on the local ballot in Lorain.

[UPDATE:  This represents a change to the town hall schedule for Norwalk]  State Rep Terry Boose (R-58) has made a concerted effort to meet voters of his Ohio House district over the past 3 months.  Two town hall meetings remain on the schedule:  October 21st at 7:30 pm in the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center within Norwalk High School at 350 Shady Lane Dr. in Norwalk; and October 29th at 7 pm at the Kipton Village Hall, 299 State St. in Kipton.

At McCormick School in Huron, the Huron Public Library and Huron Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring a candidates night that begins at 7 pm on October 22nd.  Eight city council candidates (Sam Artino, Joel Bickley, Russell Critelli, Richard Hardy, Brad Hartung, Marilyn Shearer, Nancy Thornhill, Phyllis Wassner and Richard Wennes) have been invited to participate.

A fundraiser to help Chris Ritchey fight Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is scheduled for October 25th from 1 pm to 5 pm at Rosewood Place, 4493 Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.  A spaghetti dinner will be served.  Admission is $15 per person (children under 5 years old eat free).  If you can’t make it to the event, but would like to donate to help defray Mr. Ritchey’s medical expenses, a fund has been established at First Federal Savings & Loan of Lorain, 3721 Oberlin Avenue, Lorain, Ohio 44053 (make checks payable to: Friends of Chris Ritchey).  Tickets for the event can be obtained in several ways.  In person, tickets can be obtained at Jenkins and Bevans Insurance, 47375 Cooper Foster Park Road, Amherst 44001; or at Marsha Funk State Farm Insurance, 3004 Oberlin Ave., Lorain 44052.  By phone, tickets can be requested by calling Nikki (440) 282-3195 or  Rich (440) 245-8752 or (440) 989-5141.  Chris Ritchey is the son of Loraine Ritchey, blog author of That Woman’s Weblog (listed in my blogroll sidebar), and, besides her numerous blog entries about Lorain history and government, she shares information about the battle Chris has waged against Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Election Day is November 3.  Though it’s not hyped as much as a presidential election, please don’t sit out this election.  I urge votes against Issue 3 that would amend Ohio’s Constitution to allow an out-of-state casino cartel to plunder Ohio’s economy (what there is left of the economy) while throwing free market principles out the window.  Cleveland’s Plain Dealer continues to reveal Republican and Democrat insiders and entrenched politicians, who have WRECKED Ohio’s economy through their corruption and selfish pay-to-play tactics, who support Issue 3.  Gambling support from crooked politicians of both political parties should warn you that Issue 3 doesn’t pass the smell test.

Absenteeism

Please remember to vote NO on Issue 3.  We shouldn’t amend Ohio’s Constitution to give a few out-of-state people special rights that are denied to all Ohioans.

Ohio’s absentee voting has begun.  Or should I call it the early voting?  After all, any registered Ohio voter can use the absentee voting method, even if you don’t plan to be absent on Election Day, November 3, 2009.  Here’s what the Ohio Secretary of State’s website has to say about absentee voting, FYI.

Police don’t have the tools to hold casinos accountable

As a follow-up to my prior story that asks questions about Cleveland cops, their ability to fight corruption, and the FOP endorsement of Issue 3, I see anecdotal evidence in the Sandusky Register that casinos will run circles around law enforcement.

As you may recall from an earlier post, Erie County has been investigating fraudulent signatures from Issue 3 petitions, including signatures of dead people.

The county prosecutors want to enforce the law against the perpetrators of the fraud, but so far, they haven’t been able to make heads or tails of the evidence at their disposal.  In a second hearing on the matter, Ian James, CEO and founder of Professional Petition Management (the **cough**cough** astroturf**cough** company that circulated the petitions in Erie County) was as snarky as ever, offering whimsical fantasies about how everything was done according to the letter of the law, no fraud occurred, and that there are innocent explanations for how more than 60% of the signatures gathered were invalid.

If law enforcement officials don’t even possess the abilities to police the petitions for the casinos, how are they going to sift through the web of money laundering, kick backs, organized crime, bribes, contract steering, dope dealing, and prostitute pimping that will escalate once we allow casinos to begin operating?  I don’t think law enforcement is able to keep up in other states, either, and politicians don’t frankly care.

It’s up to us, the voters, to stop this madness, because no one else will.  Don’t sit at home this election.  Get out to the polls and vote NO on Issue 3.

Perplexing questions about Cleveland cops

In the unfolding drama of political corruption in Cuyahoga County, where do the local forces of law enforcement fit into the picture?

The scandals we are learning about in 2009 have been going on for years and years.

Newspaper reports tell of FBI investigators cracking the case and federal prosecutors lining all the ducks in a row.

Without the FBI, would local law enforcement have ever brought the scandals to light?  The scandals have been under the noses of local cops for a long, long time.  Due to proximity to and familiarity with the prime suspects implicated in these scandals, local law enforcement officials should have pounced on the tell-tale warning signs a long time ago.  What happened?  Why isn’t this unfolding saga a tale of the heroism of local cops doing the right thing amidst a backdrop of graft?  Were they looking the other way?  Were key law enforcement officials complicit in covering things up?  Are they, themselves, active participants in the scandalous behavior?  Do they merely lack the tools to police these kinds of crimes?

Or, are local police organizations the unsung heroes of this purging of corruption?  Are local police officers the ones who initiated the process that’s culminating in Federal prosecutions, but they aren’t getting any credit for it?  Were they the ones who tipped off the FBI, realizing that the FBI could bring more resources to bear, and invited the FBI to widen a probe already begun by local police?  In the ongoing FBI investigations, has the FBI continuously been furnished with crucial help from local police, without which, the FBI probe would have been doomed and gone nowhere?  Have local police forces served as irreplaceable foot soldiers in this epic battle to beat back corruption?  Has the FBI been absorbing the lion’s share of the credit for this crackdown when the local police are chiefly responsible for bringing the corruptocrats to justice?

Which, of these two competing pictures, is the true portrayal of the various police forces within Cuyahoga County?

Or is it messier than that?  Is there a dichotomy of both heroic cops and dirty cops that, taken together, convey a murky picture of their overall role in breaking the case wide open?

How soon can we find out the answers to the questions I’m posing?

Why is it important to know the answers to the questions I’m posing?  I can at least attempt to answer the immediately preceding question from looking at just one facet (though there are countless other facets to look at).  Issue 3 will appear on Ohio’s election ballots this November, a proposal that would amend the Ohio Constitution to allow out-of-state entities to own and operate casinos in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus.  Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police, a labor union for police officers, has gone on the public record urging passage of Issue 3.  Police officers in those four cities constitute a huge chunk of the overall membership of Ohio’s FOP.  Cops from Cleveland and its suburbs have an enormous amount of say in whatever endorsement decisions are made by Ohio’s FOP.

Considering the opacity of the casino industry, an opacity that makes casinos the preferred venue for money laundering, and considering the demonstrated proficiency that the gambling industry has for buying politicians, are local police forces up to the task of policing the casinos?

Can we trust the local police to enforce the transparency, accountability, and compliance with the laws that are needed to keep casinos honest and above-board?

UNLESS (that’s a big “unless”) the local cops are the true, unmitigated heroes in reining in the corruption of Cuyahoga County, I place no faith whatsoever in their endorsement of Issue 3.