State Referenda Fail, Oberlin Levies Pass
While the Living Wage charter amendment might have been the issue most familiar to Oberlin students upon glancing at the Nov. 8 ballot, Oberlin voters scrutinized, supported and rejected other important issues on Tuesday.
One such issue was Issue 28, a public library tax levy ensuring $3.25 million for library funding over the next five years; it passed with a 65 percent majority. Issues 47 and 48 both offered funding totaling $7 million for Oberlin public schools.
While the two issues went side-by-side, issue 47 received a 64 percent supporting majority while 48 received a smaller 54 percent majority.
“The passing of both levies was imperative,” said Beth Weiss, a newly elected member of the Oberlin school board. “We were getting to the point where if we hadn’t passed those, getting elected to the school board would have been very painful to accept.”
The levies were particularly important for the Oberlin School District because of recent cuts in federal funding.
A vote against them would have done direct damage to the classroom, said proponents of the measure.
“The next round of cuts would have been really [detrimental],” Weiss said, citing the potential elimination of all-day kindergartens and increased class size as just some of the impacts of such cuts.
Weiss was also pleased by the community support demonstrated in the levies’ favorable vote, especially since it may have been hard for many voters to agree to even more taxation.
In addition to city issues, Oberlin citizens also voted on issues relevant to the state of Ohio. Issue 1, which addressed job development, succeeded with a 54 percent state majority.
The last four were proposals for electoral change, specifically regarding early voting, campaign finance reform, bipartisan input in redistricting and a new process for election administration. All four were voted down.
“It was certainly disappointing that Issues 2, 3, 4 and 5 didn’t pass,” said Charles Peterson, a reelected city council member. “After the 2004 election, we realized that something’s got to be done [about] the way we vote in Ohio.”
But despite some disappointments, Peterson, like his counterparts in the school board and city council elections, brimmed with enthusiasm about the outcomes of Nov. 8.
“There were some gains made by the previous council, and those gains
will be extended and there will be more issues,” Peterson said.
“I’m excited about the next two years. I think it’s going to
be a great time.”