We appreciate the May 5 Saturday Essay written by Bud Welch, the parent of one of the 168 victims in the Oklahoma City bombing. Mr. Welch's struggle to come to terms with the loss of his daughter in a nonviolent, non-vengeful way is inspiring.
His willingness to meet with Timothy McVeigh's father and sister gives evidence of the spirit of forgiveness that went a long way on the road to inner peace. Not letting anger control his life, even when it involved the death of his beloved daughter, is evidence of his greatness of spirit.
His lifelong opposition to the death penalty continues even though “a part of my heart is gone.” He is truly an example for all of us.
Thank you for publishing his story.
DICK and PAT HANUSZ
Every few years, members of the Toledo teachers' union holds the rest of Toledo hostage, threatening Machiavellian cuts to the quality of local education if the levy fails. They whine and threaten and repeat their mantra, “It's all about the children,” until they get enough sympathy to pass the school levy on the backs of property owners.
Then at contract time they show their true intentions and give themselves an exorbitant 15 percent to 26 percent pay hike over two years, for the children! Plus bonuses and financial incentives if they actually do the job they are being paid to do! Whatever happened to the customary 3 percent pay raise? And you get fired if you don't do the job you are paid to do?
Despite the teachers' other mantra, “we are so overworked and underpaid,” teachers are compensated plenty with a short working day, a full-time wage for a part-time job, great benefits, and extremely early retirement. Ask any teacher to exchange his or her job for a $9 hour factory job with eight-hour days, a 51-week year, poor but expensive benefits, and retirement at 65-plus, and see what they say.
One other thing. If everyone had to subsidize teachers' pay raises, not just property owners, then more people would get upset. I guarantee you that the property-owning taxpayers will not be fooled at the next levy. We know it's not about the children; it's about money in the teachers' pocket.
I noted with interest the April 25 editorial that discussed the airline situation in Toledo. I love the term “dumbing down” of the airline business because it applies to a very high percentage of consumer and even wholesale businesses. The general public is treated by almost all large retail businesses like it has no ability to think, and I'm afraid the combination of poor parenting and social promotion has created exactly that situation. Really all one has to do is turn on the television to ascertain the intelligence/sophistication level the entertainment industry feels is its market.
The government and the airlines are tuned into that very same process. Reregulation of the airline industry would only return us to the pre-1978 market situation of cost-plus thinking that gave no regard to service. Toledo to Florida in the mid-1970s cost approximately $450 in 1970 dollars at a time when a new Cadillac was $15,000. Using that analogy, a ticket on Delta, US Air, etc., would cost more than $2,000. Service would not be better and safety would be diminished. Let's face it, deregulation has been good for the airlines, the economy, and the travelers. Inviting the government back into our lives would be a grievous mistake.
THOMAS J. WILES
National Flight Services
I would like to suggest more freedom of choice be given to business owners and patrons if a smoking ordinance is passed.
Owners should have the option of selecting one of three options for their establishments:
1. Smoking not allowed.
2. Smoking allowed.
3. Approved smoke-free area provided.
Option one and two are obvious.
Option three means both are permitted and nonsmokers would have an approved area that is truly smoke free.
F. J. SWEETMAN
The free market always works. It is guided by what some call the “invisible hand” where supply and demand are balanced when consumers and producers use price as an indicator for action. Prices rise, consumers consume less, and producers produce more and vice versa.
When government intervenes in this process, things go from bad to worse and the free market gets the blame. Nothing demonstrates this better than the energy mess in California.
First the environmentalist tree huggers petition their politicians to stop production of new energy plants. After 15 years with no new sources for power, companies like PG&E have to buy power out of state. Prices rise and people once again call for government intervention.
Government as usual does exactly the wrong thing by instituting price controls, causing PG&E to buy high and sell low and forces them to file bankruptcy with losses exceeding $300 million a month. Government, knowing the loss of power plants would be disastrous, raises prices, causing an outcry from the incurably ignorant electorate.
Once again government does the wrong thing and to stifle the people they promise $588 to those who need help with their electric bills. Does anyone stop to ask where this money comes from or the consequences of such action? Of course not.
The solution to California's problems will come from the free market as PG&E buys power plants outside California and states like Oklahoma see opportunity in adversity and build power plants at warp speed in order to sell power to Californians. When this happens, I'm sure the California politicians will step forward to take credit.
You can see the pain in ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey's eyes, as you can in most servicemen who went to Vietnam.
They were asked to combat an undistinguishable foe. The Vietnamese did not want to submit to any foreign power. The bigger enemy was Russia and China.
If you had a son who was 12 years old when the United States got involved, you watched him grow up until he was old enough to serve there.
MELVIN F. LANE
Are you kidding me: $4.1 million for crude steel-plate rendering of a dinosaur?
I admittedly do not have a deep appreciation for modern or abstract sculpture, however, the price tag on Alexander Calder's “Stegosaurus,” in my humble blue-collar opinion, is disgusting.
The Toledo Museum of Art is highly regarded for its presentations of treasures with cultural, artistic, and historic significance. The cost of “Stegosaurus” is the only thing that makes this work significant.
The representatives of the museum would have been well advised to contact a few of the many local steel-fabricating shops for a price on something similar. My guess is that several million dollars would have been saved and made available for other significant purchases. The drawback here is that if “Stegosaurus” were fabricated locally it wouldn't be “art,” it would just be a crude steel-plate rendering of a dinosaur.
Pay first, pump later
Regarding people who drive off without paying for their gasoline: it's simple. We do not need any more laws. Just have the people pay first. It works for McDonald's.