The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Given Cleveland’s 2015 consent agreement on police reform, you’d think the city would want to bolster police accountability, not blur it.

But what else but an attempt to mask police responsibility could lie behind Cleveland’s policy of blurring the faces of Cleveland police accused of a crime before releasing those images to the public?

City officials contend that Ohio open records law allows such shenanigans via an exemption for police images. But the city’s interpretation of that language is laughably broad and cannot withstand scrutiny.

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The section of the law being referenced says "public records" don’t include "peace officer ... residential and familial information." The statute defines that as including "a photograph of a peace officer who holds a position or has an assignment that may include undercover or plain clothes positions or assignments as determined by the peace officer’s appointing authority."

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Defining every police officer as a potential undercover cop would "create a virtually limitless exemption" to the state’s open records law, Cleveland First Amendment lawyer Patrick Kabat told cleveland.com.

The city’s stance is indefensible and clearly contrary to state law. It needs to change. Now.

Online: http://bit.ly/2GGBS0g

 

The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon

Human trafficking is happening in Ashtabula County.

No one wants to believe that. In fact, many people will not believe it because human trafficking often doesn’t look the way people imagine it or the way it’s portrayed in movies with children or young women kidnapped, forced into slavery and kept in chains. That’s not to say some trafficking doesn’t take this route, but most traffickers don’t want to call attention to themselves or expend so much energy keeping their victims from escaping.

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Ohio ranks fourth in the country for sex trafficking, but those statistics are misleading. One of the biggest reasons Ohio ranks so highly is because task forces were developed to deal with the problem. Those agencies were able to spend the time and develop the cases — and relationships — needed to have successful human trafficking busts, which make the numbers look higher. But trafficking is happening everywhere across the country, and pretending it’s not isn’t helping anyone.

That’s why it was outstanding that experts on human trafficking offered an important and informative seminar in Ashtabula County last month for counselors, social workers, law enforcement personnel and medical professionals to make people aware of the risk factors and signs of human trafficking.

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Understanding how human trafficking takes root in a community and what it really looks like is a small step forward. At the very least, that knowledge can help people better accept and believe it when a victim does come forward.

Online: http://bit.ly/2pqZMEL

 

The Akron Beacon Journal

President Trump likes to operate by instinct. He trusts his gut. Which was the point he was making in that talk at a fund-raising dinner in Missouri last week. The president wanted Republican donors to know that even though he "had no idea" about the trade balance with Canada, he was proved correct.

Trump "sent one of our guys" to check, and he returned to say, according to the president, "Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn’t include energy and timber. . And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year." The president added, "It’s incredible."

Oh, it is. Because the president’s gut wasn’t right. His story was about an exchange he had with Justin Trudeau ("nice guy, good looking guy"). Trump said he didn’t believe it when the Canadian prime minister correctly informed him that Canada did not have a trade surplus with the United States. Ultimately, the president landed on a figure he has used in the past, that $17 billion deficit a partial portrait of the trading relationship between the two countries.

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The North American trade agreement should be updated. What is misguided is the president instinctively seeing trade deficits as inherently bad. Many in our daily lives, at home or in business, buy things from those who never buy from us. That doesn’t translate to losing.

Online: http://bit.ly/2FLLaLl