Newsmakers: Eric Fingerhut, chair Issue 18 campaign; Tom Schorgl, president, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture: Voters will be asked to approve a tax to support arts and culture organizations in Cuyahoga County. Issue 18 calls for a levy of 30 cents per pack of cigarettes, a tax that would raise an estimated $20 million per year for the next 10 years. Proponents say the arts are an important part of the northeast Ohio economy and deserve public financial support. Opponents say smokers are being unfairly singled out. It’s the second try for an arts tax. A property tax proposal failed two years ago. We’ll also ask our roundtable to comment on the arts levy.
Roundtable: Richard Osborne, editor, Ohio Magazine; Hilary Taylor, partner, Weston Hurd LLP; Ned Whelan, Whelan Communications.
Ohio Politics: The two major party candidates for Governor held their final debate this week with Republican Ken Blackwell reprising an old allegation that Democrat Ted Strickland once employed a sex offender on his Congressional staff. Strickland denied it saying after the debate that bringing up the charge smacked of desperation. Strickland has a double-digit lead in recent polls. Republican Senator Mike DeWine spent the week denying a New York Times report that the national party leadership is writing him off and pulling money out of his campaign. Democrat Sherrod Brown’s lead widened in a trio of new polls.
World Trouble Spots: Secretary of State Rice is traveling Asia this week seeking consensus on dealing with the apparent nuclear threat posed by North Korea. So far, no consensus has emerged, but Rice hopes to pressure North Korea to return to the six-party negotiations. Iraq has been a bloody place for members of the U.S. military this month. 73 soldiers have died in October, now on a pace to be the deadliest month for U.S. forces in nearly two years. Car bombings all over the country have taken dozens of civilian lives this week.
Mother Madonna: Debate rages around the world on singer Madonna’s efforts to adopt a one-year-old child from Malawi. Children’s rights organizations have rallied to oppose the adoption saying the child would fare better being raised in his own country. Legal challenges could delay the adoption for years. Madonna has pledged millions of dollars to help orphans in Malawi.