Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 2
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald would like to be governor, but his first major campaign decision is terribly flawed.
Of all the Democratic politicians in the state to choose as his running mate, FitzGerald picked one who not only owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal taxes, but has been less than transparent in publicly detailing those debts.
When state Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati was announced as FitzGerald's pick for lieutenant governor, the campaign acknowledged that Kearney and his wife, Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, owe $84,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
It didn't mention that he also owes the state of Ohio — for which Kearney would like to be the No. 2 executive, influencing tax policy among other things — more than $85,000....
Even if there are more tax revelations in store about Kearney, the public already knows what it needs to know about his business acumen and managerial skill: He racked up major tax debt and blames it on former business associates.
His credibility suffers even more when he attempts to dodge responsibility for the media company that owes much of the tax debt, Sesh Communications....
What makes this spectacle especially damaging is that Democrats have spent months pounding on state GOP Chairman Matt Borges for his tax debt to the IRS....
The only thing less confidence-inspiring than Kearney's handling of this embarrassment is FitzGerald's poor judgment in choosing to share the ticket with him.
The Marietta Times, Nov. 29
Anyone involved in the Ohio Department of Taxation's scheme of keeping millions of dollars that ought to have been returned to taxpayers should be fired. The arrogance and dishonesty of what happened demands it.
An investigation by the state Inspector General has revealed that at least since 1999, some businesses that overpaid taxes and requested refunds were not sent the money that was lawfully theirs. About $34 million being held by the tax department was identified as being in that category.
Some of the money has been refunded and more is being processed, tax Commissioner Joe Testa told a reporter. He added that his agency "had an obligation to return those overpayments" but did not.
Perhaps even worse, the department had a practice of not informing taxpayers of overpayments, according to the Inspector General. No one can say how much money was retained by the state because taxpayers were not even aware they had sent too much to Columbus....
The Inspector General's office, having uncovered the scheme, should continue its investigation to find out how the system was put in place — and what tax department officials were responsible for it....
This is one of the most outrageous abuses of the public's trust we have heard of in some time. Someone needs to be held accountable.
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Nov. 30
Few in the halls of Congress or in the capitals of the world community herald the recently negotiated six-month Iranian nuclear arms agreement as any significant breakthrough toward a nuclear-free Iran.
Clearly, it is not. At best, optimists view the U.S-brokered deal as the first of many baby steps toward a more nuclear-responsible Iran. At worst, pessimists view it as another example of Iranian trickery, a con game that benefits the Tehran regime in the short term but holds little promise of preventing Iranian-triggered nuclear madness in the long term.
Nonetheless, it does represent a start in a very, very long path toward greater peace and stability in the troubled Middle East. Therefore calls to torpedo the agreement by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress through resolutions for tougher sanctions and even military action are misguided or at least premature.
The agreement deserves a fighting chance to bear fruit....
As the U.S. is finally pulling out of Afghanistan after 13 long years of fighting and bloodshed, our nation must do all possible to avoid taking center stage in yet another conflict across the Atlantic. It's therefore prudent to give the baby steps of this month's nuclear arms deal a fighting chance to creep slowly but surely toward a more responsible Iran and a more secure world.
The (Newark) Advocate, Nov. 30
In the days and weeks since a proposal to change Ohio's self-defense laws was offered, both sides of the debate made strong, impassioned pleas for and against the changes. Although some of the arguments against what some call the "stand your ground" provision were admittedly over-the-top, we believe the current law balances the rights of both gun owners and people who choose not to legally arm themselves.
Under current law, Ohioans do not need to retreat before using force if they are lawfully in their homes, vehicles or the vehicle of an immediate family member. You don't have to retreat to defend yourself, but you don't get to run outside the house and shoot an intruder in the back either.
The change would expand the circumstances where the use of force trumps the duty to retreat to public settings, such as stores and streets.
But we've not seen a wealth of evidence to suggest law-abiding citizens are being charged, and convicted, when they have defended themselves in public situations. Ultimately, the issue begs the question: Is the change essential to gun rights in Ohio?
We don't believe it is. The Fraternal Order of Police agrees, and opposes the stand your ground provision for solid reasons. There is no outcry from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association to clarify the law. They also oppose the change — and have from the beginning....
The proper balance exists in current law and should remain, unchanged.