Editorial roundup


The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 29

The first fatal shooting of an on-duty Cincinnati police officer in 18 years is a tragedy. It’s also a wake-up call that something must change in our city.

City Council’s main response so far has been for its law committee to talk about starting the next police recruit class early. That would require finding an additional $4 million for a $133 million police department budget was passed less than two weeks ago, along with the rest of the city budget.

… Training 40 new officers five months sooner isn’t guaranteed to do anything for the city’s 10-year high in gun violence except cost more money. Better to quickly reposition officers we already have.

… Officer Sonny Kim’s death on June 19 was a breach in the thin blue line that stands between citizens and danger. This is a moment when leaders need to step forward and lead, to say the violence won’t be tolerated, to stand with the good people who are combating bad elements in their neighborhoods …

Council members and Mayor John Cranley — both through their physical presence and ambitious thinking – need to show we won’t let criminals take our streets …

Online: http://cin.ci/1RIK65e

The (Findlay) Courier, June 24

Voters elect representatives to make the tough calls, like whether or not to legalize marijuana …

While the pot plan seems like a bad idea because it limits the number of people who can profit from its cultivation and sale, it’s also a bad idea for lawmakers to try to change the rules at the eleventh hour.

The Legislature is considering its own ballot initiative that would prevent private groups, like the one behind the pot plan, from using the Constitution to set up a monopoly …

By putting a separate constitutional issue before voters, the House and Senate would be clouding the legalization issue, and likely create confusion for voters.

Should both issues make the ballot and be approved by voters, the one that gets the most votes would prevail, according to Secretary of State Jon Husted …

Legalization of marijuana is a controversial issue that could have been better handled “in-house,” that is, by easing into it by passing a limited-use law for marijuana for specific medical uses …

Come November, though, it should be left to voters, not lawmakers, to decide if the time is right to legalize marijuana or if that should wait.

Online: http://bit.ly/1InLXvA

Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, on child nutrition program:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture should lift the absurd veil of secrecy from a $6.8 billion child nutrition program.

Not only would transparency deter fraud and abuse, it could also advance the Obama administration’s goal of alleviating food deserts …

Nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood has lifelong effects, which is the rationale behind the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC, which provides access to food and infant formula.

In Kentucky, 112,000 pregnant women and young children participate in the program that also encourages breast feeding and provides nutrition education, at a cost to taxpayers of $83 million a year.

The about 750 stores that are approved WIC vendors in Kentucky can be penalized for such things as overcharging, selling expired food, not stocking the required food (including fresh fruit) and letting customers use WIC cards or vouchers to buy cigarettes and alcohol.

The Herald-Leader’s John Cheves was able to ferret out that at least 16 Kentucky stores appeared to get WIC disqualification letters during 2014 for a variety of violations.

But because of the silly rule, the stores’ names and locations are secret. The justification is unclear since participating stores post WIC signs in their windows; also, all kinds of government inspections and penalties levied against other businesses are public records.

The USDA, which oversees WIC, is revisiting the regulation. While protecting some proprietary information may be justified, the blackout on information about disqualifications is counter to the public interest …

Knowing where stores are falling short of WIC’s mission would also help those working to expand access to healthful food …

Federal investigations in other states found that businesses that should have been disqualified for violations continued to collect millions of dollars from WIC.

But as long as the data are secret, there’s no way for the public to know if there are problems in their neighborhood stores …

USDA nutrition programs should be a driving force in combating the epidemic of diabetes and other diet-related diseases. The taxpayers who support them have a right to know how those programs are working.

Online: http://www.kentucky.com

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