Community casts votes on controversial topics

Across the nation this Tuesday, millions of Americans voted in state and local elections.† Like most elections held in odd-numbered years, this Tuesdayís contests were primarily on the municipal level.† Wooster elected three city council members, one trustee and one new Board of Education member. Three state issues were also on the ballot for all of Ohio.

State Issue 1, which passed with a sizable measure of support, will appropriate up to $200 million to be given as compensation to Ohio veterans and the families of those killed in action in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.†† Some of this will be issued as bonds sent directly to the recipients, while some will be set aside for the administration of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Compensation Bond Retirement Fund.

Issue 2, also known as the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Amendment also passed, although by a narrower margin.† This controversial amendment will set up a 13-member board ìfor the purpose of establishing standards governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in this state.” The members of the board will be appointed by the governor. Many Ohioans worry that the powers being given to the board are too much for a non-elected body, that it would be very easy for large agribusinesses to take control of the board† and that the measure constitutes an inappropriate use of a constitutional amendment.

The most divisive of the three issues, the Ohio Casino Initiative, passed by a margin of just over four percent.† This measure will amend the Ohio constitution to allow for the construction and operation of four Ohio casinos, to be located in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colombus and Toledo. The primary argument for the amendment has been that it will bring in revenue for the state in the form of a tax on the casino operators and that it will create jobs and help stimulate the economy.† The amendmentís detractors believe that most of the jobs generated will go to people from outside the state, and that loopholes will allow large amounts of casino revenue to go untaxed.