Two weeks ago today, the Columbus Dispatch issued an unqualified endorsement of Governor Kasich’s RobsOhio legislation. It was, and has been, the only newspaper in Ohio to do so.
While every other paper that covers the State, including the conservative Wheeling Intelligencer, has said that the RobsOhio legislature is an affront to transparency and ethics in government.
But not the Columbus Dispatch who said on transparency:
The Kasich team has committed to accountability and transparency in JobsOhio and the reorganization of the Development Department. Sufficient accountability measures would quell concerns about conflicts of interest and potential insider gaming of development efforts. Kasich’s plan creates an audit committee and requires an annual independent financial audit as well as regular reports on JobsOhio’s activities. Names and salaries of JobsOhio employees will be made public.
Yes, the Kasich team has been committed to accountability and transparency, hasn’t it?
Well, something must have happened in the past two weeks (maybe they actually read bill now), because today the Dispatch (“Improve JobsOhio”) tried to change their tune while praying to God nobody noticed:
As the Senate considers House Bill 1, the measure to create JobsOhio that was passed by the House last week, lawmakers should take care to make the new entity as strong and effective as possible, by building in the transparency and accountability needed to ensure public confidence.
Ohioans know the state needs a new approach to promoting economic development, but they want to be able to judge the effectiveness of that new approach. That requires public access to information about deals struck by the private, nonprofit board, which would have nine members with Kasich as its chairman.
They also want reassurance that JobsOhio, a public-private partnership new to Ohio, won’t become hobbled by controversy and lawsuits that could result from any perceived conflicts of interest.
Turns out they were, at least, partially moved by the fact that Speaker Batchelder let it slip that JobsOhio as Director Kvamme keeps talking about it would be patently unconstitutional.
Still, I guess in my dilemma as to whether I should laugh or cry at this development I should at least take comfort that it’s not often we see the Columbus Dispatch editorial page finally reflecting something we’ve been saying on a major policy proposal for months.
Better late than never, right?