The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 4

Maybe Cleveland City Council with 17 members representing 388,072 city residents is the ideal size for good constituent service and to represent the diversity of a city of many neighborhoods.

Maybe reducing council size to nine would make it less able to counter mayoral power, as Council President Kevin Kelley says, instead of more able to do so and less parochial in its focus, as argued by backers of a charter petition effort launched late last year to reduce council size and pay. Maybe this petition drive is just sour grapes over a failed city contract bid by one of the charter-change backers, as Kelley also suggests.

But, maybe it will shake up council to take more seriously its fiduciary role and responsibilities. Council’s seeming determination to pay Ward 4 Councilman Ken Johnson the maximum allowed $1,200 in expense money every month, no matter how scanty the documentation, suggests it’s time for a wake-up call.

Cutting the size of Cleveland City Council is a serious proposal that requires serious consideration. Kelley needs to make sure a full, open discussion occurs.

Online: https://bit.ly/2Rc80RY


The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, Jan. 6

We have often criticized state leaders for the deep cuts to local government budgets all while more and more burdens are being placed at the municipal level. So, credit where credit is due to the state for making important demands for a more environmentally-conscious way to deal with dredge materials and then, most importantly, backing that up with actual money to make it a reality.

Last month, the state announced it would put millions of dollars toward several state projects to deal with dredged river materials, including more than $4 million for the planning and construction of Conneaut’s Creek Dredge Material Facility.

Projects that involve innovative thinking, economic opportunities and environmental protection are not as common as we would like, so when a win-win-win like the dredge material facility comes together it is worthy not only of praise but also emulation. We salute this creative solution on the part of Conneaut’s leadership. It is a reminder that local officials often have fantastic and creative ideas, and when coupled with state financial support those forward visions that might otherwise be stymied by lack of resources can actually be put into place to move our communities and environment forward.

Online: https://bit.ly/2TwVGsg


The Blade, Jan. 7

The alleged fraud that has clouded the outcome of a congressional election in North Carolina means that the 116th Congress takes their seats under a Democratic majority with at least one seat vacant.

For now, that’s appropriate. The new House Majority Leader, Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland, noted that the results of the Nov. 6 election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District have not been certified because of the ongoing election fraud investigation.

The election fraud controversy in North Carolina is turning into a circus that will only serve the interests of cynical political operatives.

The most recent developments suggest that an elections board won’t be empaneled until Jan. 31.

Getting to a full and fair accounting of this election with all due urgency is important. But more important is that the process is thorough, transparent, and painstaking. Only if that is the case will the voters of North Carolina and the country have confidence that the state’s congressional delegation wasn’t elected by fraud.

Online: https://bit.ly/2H1TqrA