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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

SB 5 compromise not likely

Supporters of the effort to repeal Senate Bill 5 didn’t seem too keen on Gov. John Kasich’s last-ditch offer to sit down at the table to discuss a compromise that would take the issue off the statewide Nov. 8 ballot.

Kasich and top Republicans called a news conference Wednesday to offer to discuss possibly weakening the new collective bargaining law about which a referendum vote is scheduled.

The new law, which is on hold until the referendum vote is finished, restricts collective bargaining for more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees and others.

It eliminates the option for binding arbitration, bans public employee strikes and gets rid of automatic pay increases, replacing them with merit raises or performance pay.

It also allows public worker unions to negotiate wages, but not health care, sick time or pension benefits.
The timing of Kasich’s call is interesting — why now discuss a compromise?

A recent poll by Quinnipiac University showed that 56 percent of Ohio voters want to see the law repealed, compared to 32 percent who want to keep it in place.

When crafting the bill in January and February, the governor and top involved Republicans never really had a need to compromise or to seriously listen to concerns of Democrats, union leaders and others.

That’s because they hold a majority in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly. In essence, they held all the chips as the bill was debated.

But that changed a little bit with the emergence of We Are Ohio, the group that brought the issue to the ballot with more than 1.3 million signatures.

Now that a referendum vote is scheduled, We Are Ohio has no plans to discuss a compromise or take the issue off the ballot unless the law is repealed by state lawmakers.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine urged otherwise.

“Our path forward as a state struggling under the weight of a sluggish economy begins with offering proposals to find common ground on reforms which place jobs and economic recovery before political point scoring,” he said.

My hunch is the governor figures he had nothing to lose by asking for the two sides to sit down together, while most likely knowing nothing substantially would happen.

“Due to the complexity of the bill and our responsibility to the 1.3 million Ohioans who want to repeal it, We Are Ohio strongly believes a full repeal of Senate Bill 5 must occur prior to any meeting,” said Melissa Fezakas, We Are Ohio spokeswoman.

I don’t seriously think that’s going to happen.


The weekly deadline for candidates or other items of interest to appear in this column is each Wednesday at
5 p.m. Emails or faxes are preferred.


n Fundraiser for Karen Lutz Kowall, candidate for Willoughby Municipal Court judge, from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Pranzo Restaurant in Willoughby. See Jack or Marlene Cornachio.

n Concord Township trustees Chris Galloway and Paul Malchesky celebrate their birthdays with a fundraiser for fellow Trustee Connie Luhta from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at Harry Buffalo in Painesville Township. See Galloway or Malchesky.

n Geauga County Auditor Frank J. Gliha will host a Chinese dinner and auction fundraiser from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Pineview Lake in Munson Township. See Frank or Bernadette J. Gliha.

n Kirtland mayoral candidate and City Councilman Doug Davidson will host an outdoor coffee and doughnut social at the Kirtland Community Center Soccer Field from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. See Sean McGreal, Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

n Fundraiser dinner for Katie Jenkins, Painesville City Council candidate, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Jackie’s Sports Bar in Painesville. See Christine Hart Howlett.

n Labor Day picnic for Wickliffe Mayor Bill Margalis from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Wickliffe Italian American Club Picnic Pavilion with special guest entertainer Tom Todd. See Sue Margalis.

n Lake County Coroner Dr. Lynn Smith, a picnic from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at Painesville Elks Club. See Dr. Ron Taddeo or Sheila Smith.

n Kimberly Evers, Eastlake Council candidate, hosts a fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Captain’s Club in Eastlake. See Evers.

n Cocktail reception for Galloway, who also is a candidate for Ohio Senate, from 6 to 8 p.m., Sept. 10 at the residence of Bev and Dave Vitaz in Concord Township.
Twitter: @newsheraldjah


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