Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Lima News, Nov. 26
During a period when semi-truck crash fatalities exploded past 4,000 for the first time in seven years, legislation could sneak past Congress that would allow more fatigued truck drivers on the road.
The scenario occurs as lawmakers return to Washington on Monday to debate a bill to keep the federal government open after the current continuing resolution expires on Dec. 9. Lobbyists for the trucking industry will be attempting to use this must-pass funding bill to attach policy anomalies that have nothing to do with funding, but have everything to do with rolling back, weakening and repealing truck safety protections, says the watchdog group, Governmental Affairs Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
The “tired trucker” provision being pushed by trucking industry lobbyists seeks to repeal a requirement for drivers to take a 34-hour break once a week — including two stints between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
… If anything, Congress should be taking action to improve driving and working conditions for truck drivers.
For the sake of all motorists, Congress cannot fall asleep at the wheel as the special trucking interests troll the hallways of Capitol Hill attempting to strip the safety protections…
America is most vulnerable to special interest groups during this short period of time between the legislators’ Thanksgiving break and Christmas recess…
The (Alliance) Review, Nov. 26
An accident in Tennessee that left six children dead and at least 12 others hospitalized earlier this week has reignited a debate over seat belts on school buses.
What’s important to remember is that … buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school. According to the National Safety Council, 25 million students ride buses, keeping some 17 million cars off campuses each day.
Undoubtedly, this decreased traffic in school parking lots and streets surrounding schools has saved the lives of many children…
Both the NSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have endorsed the use of seat belts on school buses. Six states … have mandated the use of lap and shoulder belts.
One major obstacle to implementation in Ohio and elsewhere is cost. …That’s a cost that most cash-strapped public schools — many of which struggle to pass levies just to maintain the level of services they now provide — cannot afford.
Some safety advocates argue it’s a price schools can’t afford not to pay, but does it come at the cost of decreasing other safety programs, such as crossing guards?
Individual communities are better equipped to make this decision than the federal government issuing a one-size-fits-all mandate. We hope it will be left for local voters to decide on a district-by-district basis.
Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 22
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has made the right call for the right reasons in deciding to retry former Officer Ray Tensing for murder and voluntary manslaughter. Deters’ decision to ask for a change of venue … is also a wise one.
As the prosecutor said, justice for both Sam DuBose’s family and the community demands a second attempt to bring this case to a firm decision. An unarmed black man was killed by an on-duty University of Cincinnati officer…That’s both a personal and a very public tragedy.
In saying he would seek to move the next trial outside Hamilton County, Deters cited a near-“revolt” by jurors who balked at coming out of the jury room into open court at one point during the trial…They were fearful of being identified, he said.
Judges rightly set a high bar for change-of-venue requests. Costs rise, and it can be more difficult and expensive for families to attend. Most important, defendants have a right to be tried before a jury of their peers, and that’s ideally those who live in the same region. However, those concerns must be balanced with another cornerstone of our justice system: the right to a jury untainted by previous knowledge of the case and community pressure…
Tensing has now stood trial once in Hamilton County, so the judge can rule from experience … on the likelihood of seating a fair and impartial jury here…
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Nov. 28
Even in death, the life and legacy of Fidel Castro cast a long and powerful shadow over his country of 11 million people and over relations with its fiercest Western Hemisphere adversary, the United States.
The fiery Castro, who died Friday at age 90, symbolized for more than five decades the Communist island nation’s stern and oftentimes callous regime. Even after he relinquished the reins of the presidency after 47 years to his younger brother, Raul, in 2008, Fidel remained an overarching ex-officio figurehead of the dictatorial and iron-fisted brand of governance that the cigar-loving revolutionary established after his 1959 overthrow of the pro-American government of Fulgencio Batista.
Throughout his tenure of repression and human-rights abuses, Castro often found himself at loggerheads with 10 American presidents…
We noted then and we will reinforce now that just like that contorted handshake, the future of Cuban-American ties and their expansion lacks any guarantees of firmness.
As a result, the American government should tread cautiously and not treat the passing of Fidel Castro as akin to a wicked old witch dying in the land of Oz…
… Much of the evil and pain he created there over 60 years — repression of political dissent, human-rights abuses and tight-fisted control of the economy — remain very much alive…