Discussing the Matter of "Issue 2"; Map Walk at Cleveland State University
First, here is Issue 2 as it appears on the ballot for the November 7th election:
To require state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and require state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law
Proposed by Initiative Petition
To enact Chapter 194 of the Ohio Revised Code A majority yes vote is necessary for the law to pass.
To enact Chapter 194 of the Ohio Revised Code, which would:
Require the State of Ohio, including its state departments, agencies and entities, to not pay more for prescription drugs than the price paid by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Establish that the individual petitioners responsible for proposing the law have a direct and personal stake in defending the law; require the State to pay petitioners' reasonable attorney fees and other expenses; require the petitioners to pay $10,000 to the State if the law is held by a court to be unenforceable and limit petitioners' personal liability to that amount; and require the Attorney General to defend the law if challenged in court.
Second, we attended what was billed as a "debate" at the City Club regarding Issue 2 on Wednesday, October 25th, featuring former U.S. Congressperson Dennis J. Kucinich, spokesperson for "Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices" presenting the case for Issue 2 and Mr. Dale Butland, Ohio Chief of Staff for former U.S. Senator John Glenn, representing "Ohioans Against the Deceptive RX Issue" presenting the case against it.
Third, in our opinion the term "debate" wouldn't be exactly the right one to describe as to what went on at this noontime forum. We think that "sparring match" would be a more appropriate description because the atmosphere was as intense as any City Club forum that we have ever attended if not more so. It even made the Cleveland mayoral debate between Mayor Frank Jackson and Councilperson Zack Reed which we described at the time as being somewhat "raucous" seem tame by comparison. In fact, Mr. Dan Moulthrop, City Club President and CEO, anticipated the combative spirit of the day and cautioned all of us in advance to behave like good City Club members and to "put down our softballs" and ask "fair and insightful questions" which is what mostly took place although it was a bit obvious as to what side the questioners were on.
Fourth, although both sides of the controversy were adequately represented, most people at this forum were there because they were "confused" by Issue 2 both in terms of its wording and its potential impact and thus sought clarification. But whether or not they actually received this clarification is questionable, at least in terms of the potential impact, because both Congressperson Kucinich and Mr. Butland did a very creditable job in making their cases while treating each other with courtesy albeit strained courtesy. Mr. Butland effectively took Issue 2 apart point-by-point and made good arguments as to why these points just wouldn't work to the advantage of Ohioans. Nevertheless, U.S. Congressman Kucinich was just as commanding as he demonstrated why Issue 2 would be a kind of shock to the system and why this shock was very much in need. Both opponents were excellent in terms of mastering the details of the arguments they were making but we won't even try to recount what they said because it was so exacting that if we left anything out it would be misleading.
Fifth, this was one of the few events that we have been to as of late that immigration didn't figure at all into it. Usually we are successful in working it in, somehow, but this time it would have been fruitless to try. In fact, the closest that we came to it was a conversation we had before the program started with a gentleman who said that in both his careers as an attorney and as a businessperson, Ms. Margaret W. Wong has provided excellent counsel to him on immigration matters. Also later on, we ran Mr. Butland's name on the internet and discovered that, in addition to being a fine debator, he wrote a fine op-ed in "Akron Beacaon Journal" on November 30, 2014 praising President Obama's immigration policy and upholding his executive orders. Likewise, we know that U.S. Congressperson Kucinich is a consistent advocate for constructive immigration reform both during his tenure as an elected official and as a private citizen.
After we left the City Club, we went to the Student Union as CSU, located just a few blocks away, to attend a "Map Walk of the Middle East" presented by Dr. Stephen Cory with the help of Ms. Sarah Nemeth, his assistant. This project consisted of 80-100 maps laid out on the floor of the atrium and held down by beanbags. This enables the participant to take off her/his shoes and actually walk on the maps to study the geography of the countries represented.
To be sure, since Dr. Cory has been using "map walks" as a teaching method since 2008, some of the maps were newer than others but all of them came together to provide an excellent learning opportunity because as Dr. Cory and Ms. Nemeth contended, one needs to understand how countries are geographically connected to really appreciate their histories and, in addition, it makes it easier to visualize the historical events that took place there. Dr. Cory went on to show us how an app could be downloaded onto a cellphone that would enable its holder to take a journey in the steps of of a renowned explorer who lived centuries ago.
In April of 2018, Dr. Cory plan an even more ambitious "map walk" project in the Student Center Ballroom that will take the participant on a journal through the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. It will feature some 500 maps!
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC