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Published: 10/10/2001

Senate bill hog-ties health departments

You've probably heard the expression, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

As we come to terms with the responses required from all sectors of our society in combating the threats from terrorism, the important role that public health departments must play is clear. Their duty of protecting large numbers of people from identified hazards has been critical in Ohio since the early 1800s.

Only during the last 10 to 15 years have we learned how injurious, both economically and healthwise, tobacco use and exposure to other people's tobacco smoke is for all Ohioans.

We need to decrease:

1. The use of a product now realized to be extremely addictive, deadly for at least one third of its users, but taxed and legal for adult use.

2. The ability of other people's cigarette smoke to harm nonsmokers in enclosed areas, regardless of ventilation.

3. The continued promotion to and ease of purchase by youth.

Public health issues all, and yet Ohio Senate Bill 128 seeks to stop any reasonable progress by health departments in protecting our citizens. The paper trail clearly indicates that this legislation was written by Philip Morris to ensure deadly business as usual. This industry does not deserve continued political protection.

The latest figures indicate the taxes our state takes in and the money our farmers make do not cover the medical costs we must pay out. It affects both our productivity and quality of life. It's a losing proposition from every angle and yet the Ohio House is now threatening both the public's health and the governor with its passage.

This bill seeks to destroy trust and divide local forms of government in a time when we must work together.

This bill is pro-death in a time when we all should be embracing life.

STU KERR

Perrysburg

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One of the principal missions of the League of Women Voters is to encourage informed voters to participate in the election process. The League is convinced that one of the reasons voter turnout has been so poor in the past 20 years (about 50 percent of registered voters during presidential election years, 35 percent in congressional election years) is that citizens are turned off by negative campaign practices.

For that reason, the League of Women Voters of Toledo-Lucas County applauds the efforts of The Blade and Toledo's mayoral candidates Jack Ford and Ray Kest to make this year's mayoral race into a “Clean Campaign.”

By signing the Clean Campaign Pledge put forth by the Institute of Global Ethics, the two candidates have signaled their intention to keep the campaign civil and ethical.

To monitor the candidates' commitment to that pledge and to work to convince candidates in future races to sign on, the League has assembled a diverse group of community leaders and citizens to serve as members of a Toledo-Lucas County Citizens Clean Campaign Committee.

Citizens who believe as the League does that voters are turned off by negative campaigning can do something. During the current campaign they can be on the lookout for examples of issue-oriented, informational campaign practices as well as examples of negative, unethical campaigning and let the Clean Campaign Committee and the candidates know what they find.

BONNIE BISHOP

President

League of Women Voters

Toledo Lucas County

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I want to commend The Blade web site for regular updates concerning the World Trade Center bombing on Sept. 11. A few of us here at work had a great deal of trouble getting on to the web sites of CNN or MSNBC, so I suggested my hometown paper's web site ... The Blade. We got through immediately and had regular updates.

GEORGE WALTON

Whitehouse Station, N.J.

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Since the events of Sept. 11 there has been a resurgence of patriotic pride. The U.S. flag can be seen flying everywhere to honor those who died and as a symbol of unity. Many individuals asking questions about proper flag etiquette have contacted the Veterans of Foreign Wars and we appreciate their questions.

To assist in displaying our nation's symbol, I would like to share a few guidelines:

A flag displayed on a car should be fastened to the right side bumper, antenna, or to the window.

If displaying a flag on a wall or porch, the blue field should be in the upper left corner (including if displayed vertically). The flag should never touch the ground.

When you wish to leave our flag displayed 24 hours a day there should be a light near it at night so it is not in complete darkness.

Above all, when the flag becomes worn, please replace it.

For additional flag etiquette information, visit the VFW web site at www.vfw.org or contact your local post commander.

Old Glory has been flying for more than 225 years and will be flying for many more. Thanks for showing your patriotic pride.

GREG VELA

Commander

Department of Ohio, VFW

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It is important to extol the virtues of public education. Public education is the bedrock of our democracy. Further, a good public school system is a critical component for a dynamic, prosperous community.

However, I wonder about the recent announcement of a $15,000 advertising campaign by the Toledo Public Schools to bring students back to the public schools. Frankly, it would appear that the bureaucracy of TPS continues to sell the public the myth that the only thing wrong with public education is the public's perception of public education. If all that were needed is a marketing campaign, TPS would not have competition from charter schools, nor would so many parents want to home school their children.

TPS has implemented many programs over the last year that appear aimed at convincing the public that it is taking action to improve the outcomes for all students.

Unfortunately, most of these efforts affect very few of the district's 38,000 students, have few benchmarks to evaluate effectiveness, and have no mechanisms or plans in place to replicate successful efforts in all schools. Even the recently negotiated increase in the school day means little if we see no changes in how these extra minutes are used.

I also believe that TPS is embracing parent and community involvement in words only. If we are to work collectively to improve student outcomes in a district in academic emergency, it would seem critical that its customers, parents, and community be meaningfully involved in the decision-making process.

In the final analysis, a quality educational experience for all students is the foundation for an effective long-term marketing campaign. Is it farfetched to propose that our tax dollars be spent on textbooks, parent involvement efforts, or teacher supplies that can more directly impact student outcomes?

STEVEN G. FLAGG

Elmhurst Road

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Ever notice, if it involves violence, the answer (seems to be) “let 'em carry guns.” The answer could be “anger management.”

If it involves 911, the answer seems to be “give 'em more money.” The answer should be, for “non-emergency” calls “dial a non-emergency number.”

NAYLAND C. ROSE

Holland



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