Ohio's Auditor Cites Trump's "Utter Lack of Principled Convictions" in Withholding Support
Ohio’s auditor is repeating his strident criticism of his party’s apparent presidential nominee – though he’s hedging ever-so-slightly on his pledge to NEVER vote for Donald Trump under any circumstances. Auditor David Yost raised a stir in February when he declared on Facebook he would not campaign or vote for Donald Trump or even attend the RNC convention in Cleveland if Trump were the GOP nominee.
His latest Facebook post underscores why he felt that way then – and now. He wrote, in part, “My concern has never been just the Trump positions I disagree with -- that's part of politics -- it's the evidence that points to an utter lack of principled convictions.”
Yost’s new post, though, notes “I've been wrong in my life, and that I could be wrong again.” But he said the burden is on Trump to prove him wrong. In February, Yost said he would look to the Libertarian or Constitutional Party for a conservative candidate he could support.
More interest in third parties?
Ohio’s Libertarian Party says it’s seen a spike in interest as Donald Trump has emerged from what was once a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates. Keith Harris says the Libertarians first saw a boost when Rand Paul dropped out of the GOP race and saw it accelerate as Donald Trump was pretty much assured the nomination this week.
“I think a lot of the powerful people in the Republican Party are going come around for Trump because their jobs depend on it – whether it’s down-ticket stuff or they want cabinet positions and ambassadorships. But a lot of rank and file people like my parents -- who are short of libertarian-leaning voters, but they are also Christian conservatives – I’m 99 percent sure they’re not going to vote for Trump.”
Harris says some Democrats -- also disenchanted with the prospect of Hillary Clinton as their nominee also are turning to third parties -- including Ohio’s Green Party.
Medical marijuana moves ahead in Ohio
The Ohio House will vote Tuesday on a bill that would allow limited medical use of marijuana. A special House committee voted unanimously yesterday to send the bill to the full House. It would ban smoking or burning of marijuana but would allow doctors to prescribe pills, plants, oil and vaping – for certain conditions. No home growing would be allowed. Stark County Rep. Kirk Schuring, who chaired the committee, says the bill provides a “very methodical process” that will be safe and effective. If the House OK’s it and the Senate and governor go along, it could still be more than a year before the system is set up and people could still be charged illegally until then. That’s one difference from a proposal that may be on the ballot in November. That proposal also allows a broader range of conditions for which marijuana could be prescribed and allows smoking. Supporters have until July 6 to collect nearly 306,000 valid signatures to make the ballot.
A new poll by Baldwin Wallace University shows Northeast Ohioans are increasingly optimistic that this summer’s Republican National Convention will be an economic boon. More than 8 out of 10 expect a boost in the local economy. A majority also expect it will draw more visitors to Northeast Ohio and boost Cleveland’s image, though they’re concerned about protests and unrest.
Alternatives to the Common Core
The Ohio Department of Education plans to begin rolling out new education standards this summer – the first revisions since Ohio adopted the Common Core in 2010. According to the state’s website, advisory committees plan to have a draft of revised English and math standards ready for public comment by July. Science, social studies and financial literacy standards are due in the fall with all the standards completed by the end of the year and in place for next school year.
Stump Hill to get its animals back
A judge says five tigers and five other animals seized from a Stark County farm should be returned. The state took the animals Wednesday from Stump Hill Farm near Massillon, saying it hasn't met Ohio's tightened restrictions on exotic animal ownership. Owner Cyndi Huntsman argues that her farm is a licensed educational facility and thus exempt from permit requirements. Her attorney says that a related administrative appeal is still pending and that the seizure was premature. He says Judge Frank Forchione granted a preliminary injunction Thursday but agreed with a state veterinarian's recommendation that the animals shouldn't be sedated and moved again for two weeks. Another hearing on the injunction is set for May 19. A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture says it stands by its actions.
Fire at Randall Park Mall theater
A fire gutted a former movie theater on the site of the largely abandoned Randall Park Mall near Cleveland. The fire started shortly after 9 last night at the former Magic Johnson Movie Theater. The mall closed in 2009 and many of the buildings are being torn down.
Rucker is in more trouble
Former Cleveland Brown Reggie Rucker, who won a delay in his sentencing in a case in which he admitted embezzling from a charity, is now accused of assaulting a man at a golf course over a loud radio. Highland Hills police say Rucker grabbed another man by the throat and pushed him after asking the man's group if they had "any golf etiquette" Rucker is awaiting sentencing while he undergoes a study on whether his gambling and embezzlement was affected by concussions.
Hundreds of people gathered in Columbus yesterday for the 29th Ohio Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony. Those honored included Sonny Kim, a 27-year Cincinnati officer who was killed last June while responding to a call about a man with a gun on a residential street.
Political ads will ratchet up in Ohio next month
Donald Trump's likely Democratic opponent and her allies are preparing for the fight against him. Priorities USA is the lead super PAC backing Hillary Clinton. The group has already reserved $91 million in TV advertising in Ohio and six other states that will start next month and continue through Election Day. An Associated Press review of advertising spending data reveals a formidable 22-week television blitz through what the group considers key battleground states. The group's ad strategy is testing what has been a hallmark of Trump's Republican primary rise: His ability to withstand tens of millions of dollars in attack ads.
Obama commutes Cleveland man's sentence
President Obama commuted the sentences yesterday of nearly 60 federal inmates, including a Cleveland man in prison since 2004 for distributing more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. Aundra Coats was sentenced to 20 years for a crime that, under today’s standards, would be four to five years. He’s to be released in September. The president described the commutations as the “right … and smart thing to do.”
Ongoing dispute at University of Akron
The University of Akron’s Faculty Senate has adopted a motion censuring the university president -- saying he hasn’t responded to a no-confidence vote it approved three months ago. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, a motion approved yesterday also calls for President Scott Scarborough to meet with the Senate this month. In an e-mail, Scarborough told the paper that the resolution breaks an understanding that he was to meet with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee this summer. The no-confidence vote earlier this year cited concerns about dropping enrollment and community support, and staff cuts as well as faculty-administration relations.
Pike County killings, two weeks later
Two weeks have passed since the bodies of eight family members were found in Ohio, and authorities have yet to identify a motive or any suspects in the killings. Eight members of the Rhoden family were found dead April 22 at four different homes in Pike County. Authorities say large marijuana growing operations were found at three of the four homes. This has led to speculation that the killings were drug-related. More than 100 pieces of evidence have been sent to the state crime lab for analysis. More than 450 tips have been received and state and Pike County investigators have spoken with nearly 130 witnesses.