Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Columbus Dispatch, July 27
Racist legal documents are part of this nation’s shameful past, and it is easy to understand the shock and revulsion of property buyers confronted with a trail of old deeds that restrict ownership by blacks, Jews or certain immigrants. But a Cincinnati attorney’s solution to make historical documents comply with modern law is neither legal nor practical— and perhaps, not desirable.
Zachary Gottesman this month filed a lawsuit in federal court to force all 88 Ohio county recorders to strip out the racist restrictions from historical records. The 1968 Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate, so new deeds issued for new property transactions can’t have these objectionable restrictions. But he said county recorders violate the law when they provide certified copies of earlier documents involving the property’s history that contain these covenants.
Gottesman’s quest is problematic on several fronts. It would require county recorders to alter legal documents— public records, which they can’t do absent an act by the General Assembly. It would require recorders to make their own interpretation of what’s offensive as they redact documents. And it would consume untold hours and enormous sums of money.
As Franklin County Auditor Terry J. Brown noted, “This isn’t a job you could turn over to an intern.”
The Salem News, July 29
On April 12, 2015, Baltimore, Maryland, police arrested 25-year-old Freddie Gray on a charge of possessing an illegal switchblade knife. He was placed into the back of a police van, where he fell into a coma. He died in a hospital seven days later, of injuries to his spinal cord.
Some in the community said Gray died from the mistreatment by police. The fact he was a young black man may have played a part in his death, some said.
Baltimore Prosecuting Attorney Marilyn Mosby agreed immediately with that assessment, saying she would bring the police officers involved to justice. She filed charges against them quickly.
A grand jury indicted the officers, but that was the last of Mosby’s successes. One officer’s trial ended in a mistrial. Three others were acquitted.
This week, Mosby dropped charges against the two other officers. After doing so, she held a press conference to lay blame for the fact not a single officer was convicted.
Police did not investigate the case properly, Mosby said. The judge would not have convicted the officers, she said. The law needs to be changed, she added…
The Newark Advocate, July 30
With the primaries and political conventions finally— mercifully —over, it’s time to turn our attention to a fall of football and more horrific campaign commercials.
There’s already a bumper crop dominating Central Ohio airwaves with messages so distorted or unfair that many of us are already hitting the pause button on our remotes when we dare to watch live television.
It’s simply brutal and likely to spawn even more negativity from the voters themselves.
The worst? Hands down that award currently goes to “Nightmare,” a 30-second spot paid for by a political action committee accusing former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland of losing 350,000 jobs while spending down the state’s rainy day fund to nothing. Strickland, a Democrat, now is running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Rob Portman.
While both of the commercial’s statements are factually true, this commercial proves political operatives don’t care about putting information into any level of context.
Surely many of you remember the global Great Recession that began in December 2007 under a Republican president who Portman once worked for in two key roles. The financial chaos led to the near collapse of several banks and major corporations, a dramatic increase in unemployment, a crippled housing market and immense personal angst for millions…
The Blade, Aug. 1
The murder last Tuesday of an 85-year-old Catholic priest offering mass in a village church in France should outrage every thinking and feeling human being.
Promptly claimed by the Islamic State for its “soldiers,” this vile and barbarous act should take the West to a whole new level of determination and, yes, war. It is another day that should “live in infamy.”
When are we going to say: “Enough”?
The immediate repercussions of the act will be felt in French politics, with presidential elections to take place next year. For French President Francois Hollande and his beleaguered Socialist government, coming on the heels of the recent Nice attack, the Paris Bataclan massacre, and the earlier Charlie Hebdo affair, the new attack couldn’t be worse.
What case can you make for retaining a government that cannot keep its people safe and seems lax about even trying?
The French, in general, are not tolerant of, but are slightly hardened to, attacks in sophisticated environments such as Paris and Nice, with lots of different nationalities mingling around. But a public murder in a 17th-century village church in Normandy, with an elderly priest’s throat cut while a nun is held hostage, is an attack on the identity of the French, and of the West…