EDITORIAL: Our View, our vote

Most people aren’t too worried about off-year elections, but there are a lot of issues on the ballot that affect college students. The following represents this editorial board’s opinions on some of the candidates and issues offered on the ballot tomorrow. And if you don’t agree with us, that’s even more reason to go out and visit the lovely poll workers.

Issue 9: PARTA sales tax renewal

In a time when gas can rise to extremely high prices on a whim and some people in Portage County can’t afford to put fuel in their cars, public transportation is important. PARTA faces severe cuts if the 0.25 percent sales tax, which provides nearly half of its funding, is not renewed.

Don’t get this confused with Campus Bus Service. Voting “no” as a way of speaking out against the ineffective campus busses won’t do any good – this tax is for city busses.

PARTA services thousands of community members each day and should be given the funding to continue to do so. Vote “yes” on Issue 9.

Spirituous liquor license for Mike’s Place

The question here isn’t “Why?” but “Why not?” If Mike’s Place wants to sell mixed drinks, it should be able to do so. This goes for the rest of the establishments applying for various alcohol licenses. Some of these regulations for selling alcohol date back to prohibition laws. We’re into a new millennium. Allow people to have margaritas with their wings or – God forbid – buy a bottle of Merlot from Marc’s on Sundays.

Crestwood, Southeast levies should pass

The Crestwood and Southeast school districts are in dire financial straits, and passage of the levies for each is of the utmost importance.

Crestwood is asking for a 4.93 mill operating levy which will bring $1.375 million per year to the district for the next five years. School officials suggest the benefits of a tax increase will far outweigh the disadvantages of parents having to pay hundreds of dollars for their children to participate in athletics, and the costs incurred from having to provide transportation to and from school for those living inside a two-mile radius.

More importantly, the Crestwood schools would be able to purchase modern textbooks and instructional materials. The schools would also increase their students’ capability to access technology, and it will keep all-day kindergarten a viable option.

Failure of the levy would result in larger class sizes, decreased custodial services and reduced tutoring and special education funding.

The Southeast school district is in even worse shape and is seeking a four-year, 8.9 mill emergency levy that will provide desperately needed services and improvements. Passage of the levy would ensure new textbooks, a top priority according to Paul Wulff, the treasurer for the district. It also would allow the continuance of all-day kindergarten and would eliminate Southeast’s “pay-to-play” policy for athletics. Furthermore, it would eliminate the district’s current $450,000 budget deficit.

If the levy does not pass, however, the state could seize control of the district and would likely cut programs in art, music, industrial arts and other areas. Furthermore, teaching positions would likely be cut, and students would be required to pay for participation in athletics.

“With the way state funding is, it’s very difficult to run on 10-year-old money,” Wulff said. “It’s a situation that so many school districts are in. School districts have become more of campaign managers than educators. It’s unfortunate you have to do that.”

We agree, and passage of these critical levies would be a good step toward restoring the proper role that the school districts play in education.


Tomorrow, six Kent residents will face off for three City Council at-large seats. This editorial board endorses William Tarver, John Bard and incumbent William Schultz.

Tarver has a good idea in relaxing zoning ordinances to stimulate Kent’s economy. As the economy continues to spiral slowly downward, it will take good, local leadership that is willing to think creatively about how to keep small towns financially afloat.

Similarly, Schultz wants to focus on economics, as well as fixing roads in disrepair. Bard wants to focus on the city’s economics and fewer “pet projects.” The editorial board feels confident in recommending these men because they will consider repairing Lincoln and Sherman streets first.

Sales tax increase will address the county deficit

The Stater reported last week that Portage County’s budget deficit will reach $2.3 million next year. With high gas prices and jobs leaving the county faster than an audience watching the movie Doom at a theater, the deficit will only get worse unless someone fixes it.

On tomorrow’s ballot, Portage County voters will decide whether they approve of a one-half percent sales tax to fix the deficit. The county already gets its primary source of income from the current sales tax at 6.75 percent, and the increase will raise it to 7.25 percent. If passed, the sales tax increase would go into effect beginning April 1, 2006.

Taxes can be confusing, so it’s time for some simple math to break it down. A 6.75 percent sales tax means that for every $100 spent in Portage County, consumers pay $6.75 in taxes. Should the increase pass, consumers would then be paying $7.25 in taxes for every $100 spent.

Fifty cents. The same price as a bag of Cheetos or a can of Pepsi in most places.

According to Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito, the sales tax increase could create more than $6 million, enough to balance the county’s budget by fixing the deficit and covering the county’s operational budget. Some of us haven’t heard the phrase “balance the budget” since the Clinton years.

Granted, nobody enjoys paying taxes. Many residents in Portage County work at or below the poverty line and have enough difficulty as it is paying taxes. But the fact of the matter is, because those below the poverty line spend much less than the average upper-class person, the poor wouldn’t be paying as much in the long run.

The only other solution to fixing the deficit is budget cuts. Enough jobs have left the county already. John Lehman of the Budget and Financial Management Department explained that if the levy doesn’t pass, budget cuts will most likely come from the county sheriff’s department.

This editorial board would rather suck it up and pay an extra 50 cents than to see more jobs leave the county or cut back on keeping our county safe.

Write in the best of the worst this Election Day

Voters will elect a representative for Ward 4 tomorrow, and that councilman will serve as the voice for an area that includes Townhomes, White Hall Terrace and some of the residence halls.

Unfortunately, this Election Day, voters must pick the best of the worst. His name is Justin Jeffery.

Jeffery, a Kent State student and president of Kent Interhall Council, is the write-in candidate actively endorsed by Undergraduate Student Senate. While this editorial board agrees that a student may be the best representative for an area highly populated by students, it does not agree that Jeffery is the best person for the job.

Jeffery’s goals are lackluster. The Daily Kent Stater reported that he said he wants to look into the police review board and listen to constituents and understand their views and opinions. The goals tell voters nothing about what Jeffery intends to do to better the city of Kent.

The best candidates are not those who attempt to present vague goals to be elected. Instead, the best candidates are those who say what they intend to do, regardless of how voters may perceive them. Truly, those candidates who put it out there honestly make the electoral process easier for all of us. We know whether we want to vote for them immediately after reading through their goals.

The other two candidates for the Ward 4 position are John Kuhar, 57, and Edward Wojnaroski, 56. Both openly back plans to police the ward more extensively: Kuhar wants better noise control in the neighborhoods, and Wojnaroski said, “I’d like to see more police in the White Hall Terrace apartment complex and in other areas in the ward.” Neither seem willing to work with students to improve the living conditions in Ward 4.

Thus, this editorial board encourages voters to elect Jeffery, but in doing so, it extends an encouragement to Jeffery, too: Figure out what you intend to accomplish, or the election of a student to city council will accomplish little, if anything at all.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.