The stakes were pretty high here in Ohio yesterday for ourÂ NovemberÂ election. Â On the ballot there were three proposals two of which were proposedÂ amendmentsÂ to the stateÂ constitutionÂ and the third a proposal to shut down SB 5. Â For those of you who don’t know Ohio politics intimately, SB 5 eliminated collective bargaining for public workers. Â This is a hot button issue as you can imagine, and I have to say that no matter how you cut it, there isn’t a good answer. Â The long and short of it is that Proposal 2 failed which booted SB 5 which means collective bargaining will continue for public workers. Â Now, despite the fact that an Ohio election worker bit the nose of a voter at the poles yesterday, I’m not actually talking about your safety and security at the polls. Â I’m talking about how your vote secures your safety.
0232 – Voting Safety & Security?
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Hot Button Issue
First, let me say as a disclaimer that I am not taking sides on this issue. Â The only reason I’m not taking sides is that there is no good solution. Â Eventually we are going to run out of money. Â It is inevitable the way our state and the country is heading. Â So you are welcome to get frustrated at today’s topic. Â You are welcome to get frustrated with me. Â I’m just going to call it how I see it.
What does all this have to do with safety?
A fair question. Â I have to say it has a lot to do. Â Let’s start with the obvious. Â I am a big fan of our emergency services and the men and women that make it happen! Â Â Our 911 system is pretty amazing and the level of service that is offered is, in most areas, the best in the world. Â Those men and women are some of the very folks that would lose bargaining rights under laws like SB 5. Â Lets be serious. Â We are having a tough year in LE related deaths in 2011. Â We are on par with 2010 which was a record year, and mostÂ disturbingly, the trend for violent officer deaths continues to move up. Â We are 13% higher than last year when it comes to violent LOD deaths. Â The situation is no different with firefighters and paramedics. Â We are asking these folks to deploy into ever increasingly dangerous situations to save our hides. Â None of them get paid enough to do the job we ask them to do. Â Simply stated these folks have a pretty strong case for why they should have a labor organization to represent their needs. Â Often times, the public, the politicians and the administrators do not have the best interest of their front line at heart. Â Someone needs to help these brave men and women look after themselves. Â So, to state the obvious, if we want emergency service to continue in the most efficient manner possible we need to have workers fairly represented. Â Remember, the representation of workers doesn’t always revolve around wages. Â ThereÂ are serious workplace safety issues and many other reasons to have collective bargaining than just the paycheck.
Blood from a Stone?
And its a good thing to cause here is the rub. Â We can’t get blood from a stone. Â When the money gets tight, the money gets tight. Â When it runs out, it runs out. Â I believe that in the next ten years we will be unable to continue services at the level that they currently reside. Â Eventually cuts will have to be made. Â But these cuts should be made with the input of the folks on the front line.
The issue is a tough one and the solution may have more to do with us than it does with government. Â You see, I look at voting as an issue of personal freedoms. Â SB 5 gave more power to the government and less to the people. Â I’m not a fan. Â When I vote, I look at it from the stand point of wheter an issue will give me more freedom to do what I need to do to take care of business, or will it give me less freedom. Â I look at things from that simple of a stand point. Â I don’t worry about party lines, or what some talking head on tv says. Â Instead I break it down in the simplest of terms. Â I do this on all issues and in all races. Â Whether we are dealing with issues or candidates we have to look at our level of freedom with a yes vote or a no vote.
This focus on personal freedoms is important to me. Â More important than any one issue on any ballot. Â You see, I am responsible for me. Â As much as I like our emergency services and support the men and women that do the tough job they do, the safety, security and well being of my family rests squarely on my shoulders. Â Eventually the money is going to run out. Â WhatÂ differenceÂ is it going to make if folks have a union or not. Â When it is gone, it is gone and my family is still my responsibility.