Letters to the Editor: Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024

Credit: Josh Sweigart

Credit: Josh Sweigart

The Editorial Board is right to draw critical attention to police misusing Marsy’s Law by shielding officer identities and other important public records following violent and sometimes deadly interactions with the people they are sworn to protect and serve. Access to such public records is critical to maintaining a transparent and accountable government which, in turn, increases trust in our systems of government. After all, state actors authorized to take our life and liberty ought to be subject to high levels of transparency and accountability. It is worth noting that a fix to this problem is within reach. Not only is this matter being litigated in the Supreme Court of Ohio, but it is also the result of legislation meant to implement the constitutional amendment passed by Ohio voters in 2017. This is to say that, if our state lawmakers wanted to get back to work and fix this issue, they could. However, this issue doesn’t seem top of mind, especially in a legislative session which has only seen 17 bills passed thus far.

- Patrick Higgins, Policy Counsel at the ACLU of Ohio

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Congratulations on the effort DDN put into the analysis of the “LifeWise” phenomenon. It is telling that this program was introduced to school districts through the auspices of elementary school- not high school. This is, no doubt, the result of the complete decline of organized religion across the country. LifeWise’s agenda is at complete odds with the founding ideas of our country- the complete and utter separation of church and state. These ideas were posited by the absolutely deist based founding fathers. “There may be a God- a Creator. So be it. Period.” The fact that school education is, at least for the time, an arm of the government, albeit the local government, seems to be irrelevant to LifeWise. The only presentation of any religious information in school should be through historical or political analysis - and that is firmly placed in the high school. An elementary school child has every chance of now being told, potentially, (through the Old Testament) how much Yahweh hates them, how they should be stoned, and that they should give up their free-thinking mind to an ancient belief system that has no place in public education. It is bad enough that a parent my do so to a child - but that it should happen in a public school, in the United States, is criminal. LifeWise’s strength is the (apparent) abject laziness of parents who could care less or are uninformed, and the utter failure of the school district officials to safe-guard their students. Shame on them all.

- Matt Johnson, Dayton

As the recent Dayton Daily News article (January 26) highlighted, more than 600,000 people were disenrolled from Ohio Medicaid coverage in 2023 as continuous coverage provisions put in place during the pandemic ended. Should families learn they are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage, there are free resources available to help identify and enroll for new health insurance plans. Get Covered Ohio, led by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and funded through a cooperative agreement from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, connects Ohioans to unbiased information and free assistance exploring health insurance options and enrolling in health coverage. Navigators that work in tandem with the Get Covered Ohio campaign are certified and licensed. Not only are their services free, but they are required to be completely fair and impartial when helping individuals shop for the best health insurance coverage that suits their needs and budget, with some plans as low as $10 a month through the Marketplace, or Healthcare.gov. If you or someone you know needs support with finding a health insurance plan, schedule an appointment today. Appointments are available in-person, by phone at 833-628-4467 or online at GetCoveredOhio.org, and in multiple languages.

- Grace Wagner, Director of Health Initiatives for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks

This year, energy policy is more important than ever – both here in Ohio as well as in Washington. The good news is, America is the number one producer of natural gas and oil in the world – a stark contrast from 2008, when the U.S. imported on net 11.1 mb/d of crude oil and petroleum products, making us the largest importer in the world. Today, the U.S. has net exports of 2.3 mb/d and is by far the largest producer of gas and oil. Ohio contributes to America’s advantage as a leading natural gas-producing state – and as recent data shows, the Buckeye State is also boosting oil production. The natural gas and oil industry not only provides affordable, reliable energy but also supports over 351,000 jobs in Ohio, and nearly 11 million nationwide, while injecting billions of dollars into the state’s economy. energy. While we are seeing record production, the bad news is that our energy advantage is at risk under the onslaught of federal policy and regulatory restrictions, including a pause on new approvals of liquefied natural gas export facilities and the most restrictive offshore leasing program in history. As the American Petroleum Institute’s President and CEO Mike Sommers said recently on the State of American Energy, “Our country should not suffer the consequences of short-sighted policies that ignore energy realities.” Our energy future depends in large part on what happens now. To help ensure our energy advantage continues, we need smart policies in place.

- Chris Zeigler, Executive Director of American Petroleum Institute Ohio

I always read Ms. de Rugy’s column if only to get my blood boiling on a Monday morning. This week, she was complaining about how the Consumer Financial Protection Board is planning to cap overdraft and other bank fees and how the poor banks will suffer. After all, she notes they make so little money on small accounts . . . . (A moment’s pause while we hear the world’s smallest violin playing “My Heart Bleeds” for the banks.) The banks have increasingly plundered their depositors’ funds ever since the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933 was replaced by the Gramm-Leach-Bililey Act in 1998 that allows banks to invest their depositors’ funds in risky investments. Some claim it’s the reason for the housing bubble and the Great Recession of 2008. Banks are greedy; their management is greedier. I shed no tears when a bank collapses; most of their management should be jailed when that happens and made personally responsible for the irresponsible ways they treated their depositors’ money as their own. It’s time to renew Glass-Steagall: put a barrier between commercial and investment banks. Then, perhaps, there will be no need for the CFPB.

- Thomas Moon, West Carrollton