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Published: Tuesday, 6/5/2001

Breathing is still a number one concern

I must respond to the May 24 letter, “Smoking ban plan on a slippery slope.” There were five examples listed of near equal importance to the nonsmoking issue for the Toledo/Lucas County restaurants. I think not!

1. Restaurants required to have special areas for the reformed alcoholics, so as not to be enticed by liquor. If I remember correctly from my nurse's training, drinking an alcoholic beverage does not affect the surrounding public's health, which is the only concern. I believe however, drinking alcohol will in time effect the consumer's liver. But second-hand drinking will never cause liver disease.

2. Restaurants required to have Braille menus. Yes, I agree. But, the American Disability Act (ADA) only requires someone be made available to read and explain the menu. And to my surprise, this may be because only a small percentage of the visually impaired read Braille. Still, this has no effect on the public's health.

3. Restaurants required to have wheelchair accessibility. Again, I agree. And the ADA also requires all public buildings to have wheelchair access. And obviously this accessibility has no effect on the public's health.

4. Restaurants required to provide cell-phone areas for cell-phone addicts. This also would not jeopardize the surrounding public's health.

5. Restaurants required to post all of the above accommodations. This would not be necessary, as these issues do not influence the health of the public.

Now let us not try to compare apples and oranges where the public's health is involved.

I will focus on both good food and alcoholic beverages of restaurants, as the writer requests. But please, also focus on the fact that secondhand smoke is a real health risk. Even as annoying as cell-phones are in public areas, breathing in a restaurant is still our number one concern.

KAE L. HEIL

Hidden Ridge Road

Regarding the smoking ban, you stated that health officials have assumed that “because 74 percent of Lucas County residents don't smoke, the public overwhelmingly is in support of the regulation.” In the first place, I question how they arrived at their 74 percent conclusion, and then used this conclusion to make their assumption.

I am a nonsmoker, thus should be included in their alleged 74 percentile. However, in no way do I support this regulation. Our world is full of potentially cancer-causing pollutants, and the only way to fully protect the citizenry from their effects would be to equip every single one of us with an unremovable gas mask.

To single out smokers as the whipping posts for this mindless crusade is indeed foolish, and must at some level be unconstitutional, as smokers pay taxes, too.

I applaud Doni Miller of the health board for casting the sole sound and dissenting vote. Her clarity of vision and courage of conviction have marked her in my memory.

As for the woman who “can't go to many bars and restaurants now because the smoke is so thick,” I would suggest that she either stay out of public places altogether in light of her delicate condition, or indeed choose her places of imbibement more carefully.

I go out to eat (and drink) frequently, including to places such as Arnie's, and have only on occasion been mildly aware of any smoke at all in the air. This whole issue has been severely exaggerated.

JANET MILLER

Juhasz Street

The Blade's editorial praise for Sen. James Jeffords for leaving the Republican Party is an appalling example of political hyperbole. To compare Senator Jeffords favorably with Winston Churchill under any circumstances would be laughable, and in this case is simply ridiculous. Since when is this a “courageous” act?

It might have been courageous had Mr. Jeffords gone independent before last November's election, not six months later, or if he had resigned and called for a special election in Vermont so the voters would have a chance to vote on his new status, as Sen. Phil Gramm did a few years ago when he left the Democratic Party.

But then, of course, Mr. Jeffords would have had to do without all that money from Republican supporters. Instead, he took the coward's way out and simply jumped ship, apparently because he was miffed about being snubbed.

Conveniently, of course, this “courageous” move was made after the election. To suggest that Mr. Jeffords, like Saul on the road to Damascus, suddenly saw the light and realized the Republican Party was too conservative for him is na ve and silly. The Republican Party has had a conservative philosophy ever since the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan. Indeed, he was being courted by the Democratic Party as far back as 1992.

If Mr. Jeffords has performed a “great act of courage,” as The Blade maintains, why did he extract concessions from the Democratic Party, including a committee chairmanship, before the switch? That doesn't sound courageous to me. It sounds like political opportunism from a hack who doesn't want to risk his cushy Senate seat for the sake of principle.

STEPHEN T. PRIESTAP

Glendel Lane

Lloyd Mahaffey certainly does not have his rank and file's best interest at heart when he suggests that they should shun the area's largest hospital. He would be doing a disservice to them by denying them the best in health care that Toledo has to offer.

Is that what this union stands for, using its membership like pawns to make a point? The other unionized hospitals may not be able to accommodate the critical care needs and provide the necessary diagnostic services to such a large number of members if there were such a shift. I also must assume that the Paramount contract was at a competitive price.

The reality of the situation is the union failed in its quest to organize the hospital. The UAW did not convince the employees that it could improve upon their benefits and working conditions. It's that simple. The management at TTH did nothing different than the management at other institutions, but the NLRB will prove that out. The UAW did not present itself in a professional manner as compared with the TTH management.

Lastly, let's talk about buying power.

MARIANNE BURKETT

Department for Respiratory Care

The Toledo Hospital

The UAW trying to force members away from Toledo Hospital is one good example of how not to conduct business, in any city, with any company. I believe that majority still rules in this country and the majority of employees did not accept a UAW contract.

The UAW is trying to bully members on the grounds that the majority spoke. Democracy prevailed. That speaks for itself. I don't believe members will base any decisions for health care on the UAW trying to force its way into businesses. I believe they will and do look at the quality of health care and service that is provided. The Toledo Hospital and ProMedica is not just a business; it is an active and important part of our community.

LISA BROWN

Cherry Hill Road

I believe I speak for many as I congratulate the Central Catholic High School class of 2001 for their baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies May 22 and 23. A spirit of reverence befitting the occasion and the splendid decorum of the graduates in both the magnificent Rosary Cathedral as well as at the school's Sullivan Center were highly evident and commendable. Good luck to each and every graduate! Go Irish!

DICK RITTER

Perrysburg

Grow up, Mahaffey

Boo hoo hoo. Toledo Hospital didn't let me win, so I'm going to take my ball and go home.

Grow up, Lloyd Mahaffey.

We, the employees of Toledo Hospital, voted down the UAW. I'm not sure what he calls so unfair. We just didn't believe all the promises the UAW made. We didn't want its representation.

Get over it!

S.J. LOWERY

Wellesley Drive



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