What do we fear?
From the waterfront proposals in Sandusky and Port Clinton, to the development of condos and a golf course in Vermilion, one faction or another of us seem to get the voices and signatures together to put the kibosh on a proposal that will move some part of this region's economy out of a dead stall.
Is it because we don't want change?
Is it because we don't want the change in our own personal backyard?
Is it because we don't want anything unless it involves what would be the miraculous return of the high-paying auto plant jobs that sustained this area for half a century and more?
The initiative petition is among the rights of redress citizens have when the actions of the government do not satisfy them, but too often, it seems, it's used simply as a procedural roadblock that let's a political minority overrule the majority.
Why are we afraid to let our elected officials do the job we elected them to do: Consider the information available and make the tough choices?
Even when it's supposedly non-binding, as with the petition calling for a citizens' vote on Sandusky's Marina District project, it can serve as a talking point for the opposition -- "Those lousy commissioners ignored the Will of the People!" -- and, we don't doubt, the basis for dark threats of election reprisal.
At least in Port Clinton, the fight's about which proposal to use. You take your good news where you can find it.
We already know what the response of some to this editorial will be: Why are we -- this editorial board and the backers of projects such as the Marina District -- afraid to let "the people" vote?
Here's this paper's answer:
We're afraid of a vocal minority whipping up popular and sentiment with half-truths and emotional appeal to kill something that, if it doesn't restore us to our auto-plant glory, will at least keep this region -- and we said region, not just city -- from decaying into a slum suburb of Cedar Point.
Sure, we'd love it if the auto plants were cranking again, looking for thousands of people to step straight from high school into $20 an hour with full benefits. Those days are as gone as the Roman Empire. We'd love it even more if our area is successful in grabbing a slice of the promised technological pie that, we're told, will make Ohio the next Silicon Valley if only it works.
But for now, we need something that keeps us from crumbling into the lake shore and bay front that ought to be an unbeatable asset, if only we'd develop it properly. We need to buy some time.
We might lose that chance.
That's what we fear.