As the fight over Voters First (now Issue 2) heats up, top Republican leaders appear to be back to their old tricks by applying pressure on well-respected groups such as the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio State Bar Association to use misinformation to discredit the Issue 2 campaign.
At the bar association, the GOP found an eager ally in Patrick Fischer, a Cincinnati court of appeals judge installed as OSBA president in July. It is well known in legal circles that Judge Fischer aspires to sit on the Ohio Supreme Court – and hopes to fill the vacancy when Justice Eve Stratton steps down in mid-term as expected.
When Justice Stratton retires, guess who gets to fill the vacancy? Gov. John Kasich.
OSBA turned heads when it used bizarre logic to publicly urge a no vote on Issue 2, a proposed constitutional amendment that would take from politicians the power to draw their own legislative and congressional districts and transfer that power to an independent citizens committee.
Good government groups including the League of Women Voters, Ohio Citizen Action and Common Cause have worked repeatedly to try and reform Ohio’s corrupt system of drawing legislative lines.
The Governor was stunned earlier this year when his signature legislative achievement, the assault on collective bargaining rights, was overturned by voters. He is eager to avoid a similar embarrassment this time around if the YES on Issue 2 side prevails.
The best explanation for a YES vote on Issue 2 comes from Mike Curtin, a long-time and respected journalist who recently retired from the Columbus Dispatch as its associate publisher and vice chairman/CEO.
When it comes to our collective attempts to foster good government – honest, open, responsible government – there have been few barriers as persistent, as corrosive and as detrimental to that goal as the blatant gerrymandering of congressional and state legislative districts.
In each decade, as now, the party in power admitted that our system is broken and needs reform. But they found fault with the particular reform being proposed, and said they would be for a better reform plan down the road.
Like an addict with an addiction to an intractable vice, the party in power admits he needs intervention, admits he needs to be reformed, but please not just yet, and not through the program currently being offered. And in each subsequent decade, the gerrymandering of Ohio’s congressional and state legislative districts has become more blatant and more corrupt.