Issue 1: Hypocritical and Corrupt

Democratic governance is about choosing lawmakers and holding them accountable. Accountability limits errors in judgment, abuse of authority, and the sort of material corruption that Ohioans saw so clearly in the First Energy bribery scandal. Gerrymandering permits Ohio’s General Assembly to avoid accountability and maintains its one-party supermajority. It wasn’t hyperbole last year when Senate President Matt Huffman told a newspaper, “We can kind of do what we want.”

Ohio voters thought they had fixed the problem. They passed constitutional amendments in 2015 and 2018 to reform Ohio’s redistricting process. But state officials managed to subvert those reforms in 2022, granting themselves two more years of unchecked power. That’s why “they can do what they want.”

What they wanted to do last year was to avoid August elections. Voter turnout was too low to be representative, they said. August elections were an unneeded expense, they said.

. . . Until the Supreme Court opened up the abortion issue, that is. Suddenly the prudent thing became an expensive, unrepresentative single-issue election they they could use to play to their base and mine donors for more contributions. Issue 1 in August is dandy for that.

Thing is, I don’t think it’s about abortion at all.1 Both sides in the Issue 1 campaign have focused on the upcoming November vote on a reproductive freedom amendment as the main issue. That’s an important issue, and it’s probably the issue that has donors contributing to both sides of the campaign. But while it’s a real issue, I suggest that it’s not the real issue. Some Issue 1 sponsors want to save babies, but they all want to be re-elected, and Issue 1 has the potential to help them with that. I suggest that Issue 1 isn’t about babies: it’s about grownups.

Redistricting reform, probably headed for the ballot in 2024, has the potential to finally end one-party rule in Ohio, and Issue 1 would make its passage exponentially more difficult.

By scheduling Issue 1 for an August election which they had just recently declared unrepresentative, Ohio’s legislative princes hope to forestall accountability not just now but for the foreseeable future.2

To fight corruption and promote accountability will take two elections. First, on Tuesday, we need to defeat Issue 1; then in the primary and general elections of 2024, we need to punish those responsible for this cynical power grab.


  1. I recognize that none of us ever really knows the state of someone else’s soul. I’m sure that some legislators are sincerely pro-life, but please permit some skepticism. I may be paranoid; but paranoia doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.
  2. There may be good reasons to consider a change in how Ohioans amend their constitution. But just now? In a wasteful, imprudent August election? No.

Now They’ve Gone and Done It!

Now they’ve gone and done it! The Twinsburg Historical Society has invited me to give a talk on Wednesday, March 22. The title is “Organizations:
American Democracy’s
Secret Sauce.” (Unless I change it: I tend to fiddle with my presentations right up until showtime, which in this case is 7:00 p.m.)

The location is 8996 Darrow Road (route 91), Twinsburg, Ohio. You may recognize the building, which is shown above. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Continue reading “Now They’ve Gone and Done It!”

In-Person: If, When, How?

Having made heroic efforts to master new technology quickly under pandemic-induced duress, many organizations are weighing a return from electronic to in-person meetings. And many are asking their parliamentarians for help and guidance.

This article is aimed at those parliamentarians, not at the organizations themselves. So let’s first review – what do parliamentarians mean when we talk about meetings?

For the purposes of this article, meetings are what RONR1 terms deliberative assemblies. Organizational meetings, committee meetings, conventions, etc., are deliberative assemblies; classes, staff meetings, and social gatherings generally aren’t. (See RONR 12th ed. 1:1 for more.)2

During the pandemic emergency, electronic tools provided a lifeline: without them, those organizations would not have been able to meet at all.

Participants experienced frustration as they learned the technology, but something funny happened on the way to the home office: some organizations enjoyed increases in participation and attendance. Travel costs decreased, travel time was eliminated, and a, shall we say, less casual dress code prevailed. (Feel free to pause here for your own humorous recollection.)

Continue reading “In-Person: If, When, How?”


  1. “RONR” is shorthand for Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th ed., currently the world’s predominant parliamentary authority–commonly called “Robert’s Rules of Order.”
  2. It’s possible that some of these remarks will pertain to other kinds of meetings as well, but I make no such promises.