The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 12, 1991 · Page 9
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 9

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 12, 1991
Page 9
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A-10Comment THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Thursday. September 12, 1991 . I EDITORIAL fyCS XfS i THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER WILLIAM J. KEATING Chairman and Publisher GEORGE R. BLAKE Editor, Vice President THOMAS E. DUNNING Managing Editor THOMAS S. GEPHARDT Associate Editor DARRYLW. EVERETT Vice President, Advertising WILLIAM R. JOHNSTON Vice President, Circulation MARK S. MIKOLAJCZYK Vice President, Production JAMES A. SCHWARTZ Vice President, Finance GERALD T. SILVERS Vice President, Marketing Services A Gannctl Newspaper Government Not even an economic recession slows the work force's growth to no elected body, meanwhile, may be especially fertile for payroll abuse. Empire builders can expand the job rosters of such agencies with scant fear of Congress, a state legislature or city council. Yet elected officials en nY7U....TAKING II ALL?....." Rebirth for the Soviet people -.a Robert ; Webb Despite job-force reductions by some Northeastern states, the trend in state government employment nationally is up 1.3 in the year ended in June. Local government employment rose 2.1, despite a reces sion that led many private employers to reduce payrolls. Ohio state employment was up slightly to 60,822 full and part-time permanent employees in June, 1991, compared to 60,639 the same month of 1990. So, too, was Cincinnati's municipal work force, with 6,140 full-timers compared to 6,035 the previous June. Voinovich Increases in state and local government payrolls nationally recall a Federal Reserve staffer's reminder about 20 years ago that even if another depression hit, it would mean more jobs in Washington for people to provide the economic answers. Clearly public payrolls have a way almost of reproducing themselves. Create a government department and it typically spawns new entities with high-sounding, purposeful titles. A 1985 directory of the U.S. State Department lists 14 assistant secretaries of state, all with seemingly important areas of responsibility. Independent agencies answerable ( f i country, shouldn't and surely won't confuse the United States with Utopia. Ours is a marvelous country, to be sure, but its crime, drugs, deteriorating schools, mounting racial and ethnic separatism and much else leave much to be desired. There is, in short, a lot of unfinished business for Americans, and we need all the help we can get. Some of that help may come from this conference, expected to feature the largest gathering ever of Soviet citizens in America. Exchanges of Cincinnati and Kharkov delegations the past few years laid the groundwork. Cincinnatians marvel at the open-hearted hospitality they find in Kharkov, and open their hearts, in turn, to visitors from there. The exchanges bring not only greater understanding between the two cities but also growing economic and cultural links between them. Kharkov, appropriately, is co-host for the conference. The second U.S.-Soviet cities conference ever (the first was two years ago in Tashkent) didn't just happen. Cincinnatians genuinely wanted and made the strongest case for it. Hard work Many have worked hard on the program out front as, for example, Kingston Fletcher, chairman of the conference board, and Richard J. Griewe, conference coordinator. Others, mostly volunteers, have also worked assiduously on its countless details, arranging hotel accommodations, workshops, social outings, transportation, press coverage and the like. They merit the gratitude of all Cincinnatians, who're invited to a public gala 6:30-10 p.m. tomorrow at the P&G Performance Pavilion, Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point, to welcome their visitors. These are, indeed, historic moments, historic days. The challenge will be to make the most of them. Sister Cities Conference here an opportunity to exchange ideas and hopes few years in the Soviet Union. But events there, especially those of August, have been epochal. Michael Henderson, an English author, journalist and broadcaster living in Portland, Ore., writes that "even more dramatically, perhaps, than the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union signaled a new era for the world. Whatever the uncertainties of the next months, these 10 days (in August) that shook the world are a gift to the long-suffering peoples of the Soviet Union. Just as they are to us." Yet one danger is that a world for many years preoccupied with a threatening, expansionist Soviet Union may turn isolationist. The opportunity should be seized instead for maximum cooperation by Americans and others abroad with their Soviet friends to fashion a world as free of fear and want as possible. The hunger for great living knows no racial, color, ethnic or nationality boundaries. It is inborn, if not always acknowledged. But its fulfillment demands great, overarching aims. Disputes and wars often arise from goals too narrow or too selfish, too nationalistic or too racist. They arise, in short, from inadequate vision, warped or wrong motives and consequent willingness to reject or even failure to see what is right. "The capacity of human beings for evil is well documented," Henderson writes. "Villainy, corruption, power-seeking, cruelty are part of human nature." He recalled Alexander Solzhenitsyn's reminder that the dividing line between good and evil runs not between countries or political parties but through every human heart. Our Soviet visitors, many of whom may be making their first trip to this dure them, unable or unwilling to act to make such agencies accountable to the appropriate electorates. Ohio's Governor Voinovich has tried to hold the line on public spending since taking office last January. Even so, chances are some Ohio state-agency payrolls could shrink with little harm and perhaps even benefit to the services they cover. That could probably be said for any state or city. Mystifying, however, are the big government work-force increases in some states in the midst of a recession only now beginning to recede. A Wall Street Jovrnal survey shows state government employment in the year ending last June up 7.4 in Nevada, 6.8 in South Carolina, 5.8 in Florida, 5.6 in Utah and 5.5 in Texas. The Journal suggests, however, that recessions generally have a delayed effect on state and local governments and that their hiring may yet fall off. But don't count on it. known for more than 200 years. Granted, U.S. state and federal bureaucracies are sometimes more hindrance than help to municipal progress. But the bureaucracy in Moscow has been a source of unparalleled grief for Soviets craving more local responsibility and the freedom to carry it out. Even now, lines of authority between the new interim State Council in Moscow and the republics and their localities may not be wholly clear. But the democratic process seems irreversible. Officials and civic leaders in Cincinnati from cities as diverse as Donetsk, Ukraine, to Rybinsk, Russia, and Baku, Azerbaijan, will bring fresh news of and insights into that process. Cincinnati is much honored to be the site and co-host with its sister city, Kharkov, Ukraine of this historic gathering. The welcome mat is down for a conference that offers matchless opportunity for Americans to help insure success of the reforms under way in the Soviet Union. It is an opportunity not to be missed. The Taft idea on the state leve! comes at a time when President Bush has begun pushing for limiting mem' bers of Congress to 12 years, and City Councilman Nicholas J. Vehr has succeeded in collecting enough signatures to win a Nov. 5 ballot place for a charter amendment limiting service on Cincinnati City Council. All three initiatives obviously have struck a popular chord. Disenchanted with their political system at all levels many Americans are speaking up in support of change. Whether term limitation is the answer remains to be seen. But officeholders need to get the message: Voters and those who ought to be voters but aren't are unhappy with the status quo. The Russians are coming and the Ukrainians, Turkmenistanians, Armenians, Georgians and delegations, as well, from other Soviet republics. They bring the raw material of history. As mayors and civic representatives of more than 60 cities for the first U.S.U.S.S.R Sister Cities Conference in America, they embody the hopes and dreams of millions the world over. They're more than representatives of their cities. They are the grist, as well, for new relationships between their republics and Moscow. These are the people who care about their cities and, certainly, their republics and the evolving new ties between and among them. Their four-day conference with their American counterparts, beginning in Cincinnati today, could help shape the thrust of their leadership and influence when they return home. Distinct identity Clearly the new Soviet Union or whatever name the new inter-republic entity chooses won't be another United States. Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtu-shenko made that plain on his Cincinnati visit last May. Representing Cincinnati s sister city, Kharkov, in the Soviet parliament, Yevtu-shenko told this writer his country was "in a period of second birth, which is more painful than the first." But he said the new union won't be like the United States. "That couldn't happen, won't happen and mustn't happen," he said. "We have a different history. . . . Russia was the last feudal country, and from feudalism jumped into socialism. Our socialism inevitably had a feudal culture; leaders of the Communist Party were like feudalists." He said what the Soviet Union had all these years, actually, was "state capitalism. It was just called socialism." By whatever name, the Soviet system is changing. The task must be to make that change as constructive as possible for all concerned. Historians 15 or 20 years from now should be able to assess more fully the importance of what's happened the past A job, not BY CHARLENE VENTURA Guest Columnist I would like to commend The Enquirer for the editorial of Aug. 28, questioning the reallocating of funds from local jobs projects by the Ohio Department of Human Services. The politics and rhetoric being played out at the state level are irrelevant to a local woman who is the sole breadwinner and stands to lose her ability to get off welfare and start meaningful work. She has taken the initiative and enrolled in a local program to become job-ready and break the cycle of poverty. This is exactly the goal that the Family Support Act of 1988 was designed to achieve. Due to the reallocation of funds and subsequent state cuts, the message is clear: "Stay on welfare because we can't continue to support your participation in our local jobs program that this federal legislation was drafted to support." County support Hamilton County did its part. Through the leadership of the Hamilton County Department of Human Services and a local partnership of private and public funders, we supported 20 non-profit agencies to help 740 welfare recipients find jobs and dignity. The local agencies matched the federal dollars by 40. Through some state bureaucratic quagmire, the funds were cut for local programs and the federal dollars were reallocated to other state agencies. All contracts to local agencies were to be terminated by Aug. 31, 1991. Then, a miracle occurred. Suddenly, after local and state pressure, $10 million became available all to be spent by Oct. 1, 1991. It now appears that the History's first U.S.U.S.S.R. Sister Cities conference in America opening today in Cincinnati was expected to be the largest U.S. gathering ever of Soviet citizens. The 200-odd delegates from more than 60 Soviet cities will meet their U.S. counterparts from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Fla., from Mobile, Ala. to Greater Portland, Maine, in nuts-and-bolts sessions on local government. The four-day conference takes on far more significance from the coup and post-coup events in Moscow. Kingston Fletcher, the retired Procter & Gamble executive who heads the conference board, reminds us that "Cincinnati will now be on the cutting edge of helping to reveal to the Soviets the true meaning of freedom. Our agenda will remain the same, but it now becomes more pivotal to world history." The teaching will not be all one way, of course. The Americans will learn from the Soviets what it has been like to confront obstacles local government in this country hasn't welfare, as the goal Term limits Dissatisfaction with politics seems growing at all levels Robert Webb is a member of The Enquirer's editorial board. welfare through the jobs programs; whereas, it costs $7,279 annually to support a family on welfare. Unfortunately the majority of families on welfare are women and children. The feminization of poverty continues to perpetuate the second-class citizenship of all women. Even though women have made great strides in breaking barriers in most areas of life, the reality is that many women are still one man away from welfare. Success story Without the help of these programs, people like Cindy Grosser would still be a high school dropout, unwed mother and on public assistance. Cindy graduated from a word-processor program with honors in July of 1991. She became job-ready through the YWCA Lifestrides program, received her GED, and entered into a training program through the Urban League. She is currently working at the Western & Southern Life Insurance Co. making $7.50 an hour. Our state legislators need to actively address this grievous situation by helping to restore the dollars that give welfare recipients, mostly single head-of-house-hold mothers, an opportunity to help themselves and honor the spirit of the Family Support Act. Charlene Ventura is the executive director of the YWCA, which operates Lifestrides, a job-readiness program for single head-of-household mothers funded through the jobs bill. r. ' ' . 4 tit. IIMIM -JUi'M. V Charlene Ventura . . . fund cuts hurt goal local agencies will not be able to legally access these funds and they will revert to the federal government unspent. The bottom line is that these federal dollars were meant to be spent in local communities who can leverage support (40 match in local dollars) for job-training programs and remedial education to assist people currently on welfare to compete in the marketplace. The objective of our local programs is to empower the individual by breaking out of the public welfare system and becoming self sufficient. It costs $3,027 to help a family off I 4 1 i v "J Ohio's Secretary of State Bob Taft ran an admittedly unscientific poll of visitors at this year's Ohio State Fair and found, not surprisingly, a dissatisfaction with politics as usual. Mr. Taft, a former state legislator and former Hamilton County commissioner, is proposing that state officeholders be limited to two consecutive terms as a means of reinvigorating the political process. Ohio's governors are already allowed to succeed themselves only once, but other state officials treasurer, auditor, attorney general and secretary of state are legally able to seek one four-year term after another. Many do exactly that. Seventy-two percent of those who took part in the Taft poll favor the restriction; only 28 oppose it.

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