Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts on the 2011 Election

The election of 2011 has taken place. The votes have been counted, and the people have spoken.

I am very relieved that Issues 1 and 2 were defeated at the polls. As for Issue 3, the practical effect is nil. Federal law generally trumps state law, and the insurance mandate of the 2010 Healthcare law will likely end up in the Supreme Court. If the court rules for the mandate, all will be required to purchase health insurance. If the court rules against it, the ruling will probably reignite the push for single player health care or - at the very least - a government option.

I am disappointed that Tony Caroscio was not reelected to council at large. Tony’s a nice guy who has served the city honorably. But with so many challengers this year, it was likely one councilor was going to lose his seat. Caroscio was narrowly defeated by Marty Gelfand, who brings a strong background to the office.

Issue 96 was certainly the most hotly fought, bitterly debated contest in South Euclid I can recall. Despite the relatively close vote, I retain my opinion: passing Issue 96 was the best viable option for this land. On Tuesday, I spent six hours working at two polling stations: City Hall and the University Heights Library. During my time there, I saw three people from the No on 96 campaign: Rich Sones, Fran Mentch, and Garry Kanter. All three were from Cleveland Heights, which confirms my initial belief that they were the drivers of this campaign. (Sones’ home was the No on 96 headquarters.) The fact that Fran Mentch in particular felt the need to verbally confront me and other Yes on 96 campaigners and repeatedly accuse us of being paid (which we were not) is an indication of how little they had in the way of facts to support their side. My comment in an earlier post that they relied upon suppositions, hysteria, and character assassination to drive their campaign was vindicated not only in their behavior at the polling stations (with the exception of Sones, who was reserved and polite), but by the increasingly shrill and desperate flyers they sent in the waning days of the campaign, and the vandalism of pro-96 signs.

I am glad this election season is over, and I am looking forward to putting thoughts of the rancor behind me. There used to be an American tradition: after Election Day, we pulled up our lawn signs, life returned to normal, and we all just “got along” as we had before. I don’t feel confident that that’s the case anymore – and not just because of the
reaction to Issue 96’s passage. Witness the years of nagging about President Obama’s birth certificate, then the conspiracy theories about Osama bin Laden’s death. For myself, despite my best efforts, I can’t pretend that there are “no hard-feelings” on the Oakwood issue after the way front groups with phony websites, shadowy funding and a group of activists from a large suburb tried to sway the voters of a suburb only half its size. Many of these people are now saying they’ll never shop at Oakwood. And these same people bullied those of us who dared to speak our minds. I was personally the recipient of such behavior, as was Jane Goodman. They defamed us as paid shills or worse. And I don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to spend my money in any of those businesses which aided them - whether those businesses were in South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, or elsewhere - for quite a while.

A bitter election season is over, yet the bitterness lingers.