• The Marietta Times, Jan. 5
Ohio faces its share of economic struggles. Its unemployment rate in November was 4.6 percent, while the U.S. as a whole saw unemployment at just 3.7 percent. Some regions of the state see unemployment considerably higher, or are anticipating massive job losses.
Meanwhile, in one of those quirkily specific polls conducted once in a while by corporations, Ohio ranked sixth on a list of “Most Moved-From States in 2018.” The survey was conducted by United Van Lines, and is a tracking ONLY of its customers’ state-to-state migration patterns. But it yielded some interesting information.
Of those customers leaving Ohio, 16.9 percent said they were leaving to move to a new location in retirement; 13.78 percent cited “family” reasons; 8.77 percent cited “lifestyle” changes; and a massive 60.75 percent said they were moving for a job.
As Michael Stoll, economist, professor and the chairman of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California in Los Angeles put it, “That says a lot about Ohio’s ability to provide employment.”
It is a small survey; not particularly scientific, but it points to a real need in Ohio. Lawmakers must continue to look for ways to diversify and strengthen the options for it workforce.
• 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.