Ohio’s Gov. Strickland Pays the Price for Neglecting Cities

Today is a special day, because today the Plain Dealer wrote something I actually agree with.

In an editorial titled “Timidity was Strickland’s Undoing” the PD alleges the outgoing Ohio governor failed to win the support of the Cleveland region, and as a result, failed to win reelection.

The editorial was in response to some comments made by the long-time Ohio politician who hails from Appalachia. In an interview with a Plain Dealer reporter, Strickland charged Clevelanders thought he was too much of a “hayseed” to understand “what life is like in the city.” Poor turnout in large Democratic constituencies like Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County helped Republican challenger John Kasich handily overcome the incumbent governor.

The Plain Dealer fires back today saying Strickland lacked the leadership to advance policies that were important to the state’s cities–and Cleveland in particular.

“A governor committed to Greater Cleveland and other cities would have celebrated historic–preservation tax credits to revitalize urban cores, not treated them as, at best, a necessary evil. He would have pushed early and often for a robust movie tax credit, not fought it almost until the end. He would have understood — as Cleveland public school leaders have — that some charter schools are beacons of success that deserve public support, not tried to kill them as a sop to his teacher union friends. He would have stood up for home rule — and common sense — against the gun lobbies.”

I have to say, I think the Plain Dealer hit the nail on the head. Anyone whose a loyal reader of this blog knows I’m a died-in-the-wool progressive on almost every issue. It says a lot that I considered voting for Kasich. (But of course his stance on Ohio’s 3C rail, negated that possibility.)

Strickland simply didn’t appear to be acting boldly enough to pull the state out of its many crises. The sad thing is, a new Strickland has emerged since he lost the election. He’s been calling out Obama in the national press and fighting Kasich tooth and nail over his efforts to kill high speed rail in Ohio.

I have to say, sadly, I’ve never liked Strickland more, or Kasich less.

Will Kasich take leadership on cities seriously? I have to say I’m not optimistic, but drawing from Strickland’s example, it might be in his best interest.

-A.S.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Ohio’s Gov. Strickland Pays the Price for Neglecting Cities

  1. Special K

    To be fair to Ted Strickland, does anyone think a Republican administration will be better for Ohio’s cities?

  2. I’m not saying Kasich will be better. All I’m saying is, allowing large portions of your state to wallow in decay is not leadership. He wasn’t a strong leader. Ohio needs one. Now we have someone new, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be better.

    It really says a lot about Ohio voters’ dissatisfaction with Strickland that they were willing to elect Kasich. And maybe things will get worse. But things were getting worse anyway and the governor didn’t seem to be doing anything about it, at least not anything tangible.

  3. Modern Esquire

    A majority of voters didn’t vote for Kasich. And for the first time in awhile, less than half the eligible voters voted.

    Kasich is likely going to be cutting aid to local governments. Cleveland is going to be bracing for it. Kasich, unlike Strickland, never unveiled an urban agenda during the campaign.

  4. Earl The Pearl

    Kasich lives Westerville, a northeastern suburb of Columbus. Perhaps it is telling that he will continue to live there as opposed to moving into the city. I think it is going to be a long and hard four years for those of us who care about Ohio’s cities and urban areas, but maybe the reign of the most reactionary governor in 60 years is what it will take to galvanize urban advocates. Let’s let Kasich hear it about the 3C and make every day of his four years in office so miserable, he’ll refuse to run again for the governorship in 2015.

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