Your recent editorial call to “Free the highway patrol” from the “vagaries of the state motor vehicle fuel tax” and move to motor vehicle fee-based funding may have some validity. The General Assembly should decide. However, a much more important endeavor would involve the evaluation (investigation) of the cost/benefit of the patrol. There appears to be ample evidence that Ohioans pay an exorbitant price for the benefit derived - not only in taxes but extraordinarily severe traffic fine volume.
For example, a national auto insurance company announced two years ago that Ohio was a “speed trap” and it would no longer consider traffic fines in Ohio when assessing punitive premium increases for their policyholders.
For several years, I traveled each week in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky. It was not unusual to drive several hours in one of those states and not see one highway patrol car, but upon crossing back into Ohio I would see several, many times two at a time parked side-by-side in the median.
Similarly, the top interstate speed limit appears to be artificially low in Ohio. Coming back from Florida recently, every state along the way had at least some segments where the limit was 70, but, of course, not in Ohio.
Accordingly, some of our “public servants” should provide a real service to the constituency by completing and publishing a cost/benefit study of the Ohio Highway Patrol. It seems long overdue. And if there is evidence that the hefty cost of the patrol provides increased safety compared with other states, let us hear about it.
On the contrary, I suspect a study would find a bloated bureaucracy with a stranglehold on a very important segment of Ohio.
LARRY G. GARZONY
I used to read the comic pages to get entertainment until I started reading the letters to the editor from Bush supporters.
One reader claims his economic policies are great. This writer must be a foreclosure lawyer, foreclosures are up dramatically in northwest Ohio. Another says we should be happy with the President's bravery. Where was this bravery when the Vietnam War was raging? He protected the skies of Alabama, supposedly, although his commander can't recall his showing up for almost a year.
Another writer claims God is helping George W. with his decisions, and says Bill Clinton followed the Hollywood elite's guidance.
President Bush follows the advice of a group of chicken hawks who never served in the military, including Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz.
Keep the letters coming. They entertain a lot of people.
The President's first request to Congress for extra spending for Iraq totaled $74.7 billion and included some aid for displaced Iraqis. However, hidden in that bill is $1.65 billion in military and economics to Arab countries that have helped us.
The most astounding part of the bill is $1 billion in direct military aid to Israel in 2003 and $9 billion in loan guarantees. This aid cannot advance efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Again Palestinians will note that the tanks and missiles used against them have come courtesy of the U.S. government.
Strip all military aid from this bill.
A recent letter attributed congestion on Central Avenue to suburban sprawl drivers and praised safe-driving truckers. I live in Metamora and work in Toledo. I drive Central Avenue in the early morning hours between Centennial and Fulton/Lucas County roads. On a recent night I drove the route in the pouring rain.
I counted nine semi-trucks and I was the only suburban sprawl driver. I won't say the safe-driving truckers were speeding but I was driving the speed limit and they passed me like I was standing still.
For the past 56 years I have lived on Crabb Road in Bedford Township. During this time I have watched Bedford's rural landscape change into a bustling community of subdivisions, small businesses, industrial parks, and wonderful park and recreation areas.
It has been exciting to see so many new residents move into Bedford to pursue the “American dream” of home ownership. One thing that has recently bothered me is that a few of our township officials and residents want to take away another “American dream” for some of our township residents: to start or expand their business.
With the adoption of some recent ordinances, the attitude of some of our township officials and residents seems to present a double standard: “Build as many houses as you wish, but if you want to open a business we suggest you go to Toledo.”
I believe that the business owners in Bedford have always been the backbone of this community. They continue to be active supportive community members. (Just look to see who the major donors are to the new YMCA.)
The passing of outstanding community leaders like Ed Tucker, Ray Francis, Dick Oswald, Wayne Lennard, and Leo Bofia made me reflect on the great heritage of this community. Some residents forget who helped build and support this community.
By the passage of these new ordinances what we have really lost in Bedford is trust and common sense. We do need some guidelines but these ordinances have gone too far and need to be revised.
I, along with other Bedford residents, have started a group called the Bedford Advocates Association, which advocates Bedford as a great place to live, play, work, learn, shop, and own a business. Please visit our Web site: www.bedfordyes.com.
The Blade has overstated its objections to the Washington Legal Foundation's participation in a lawsuit regarding IOLTA (Interest On Lawyer's Trust Accounts). You portrayed WLF's participation as conservative mean-spiritedness. This is truly out of line and really unnecessary given that WLF is simply helping to ensure that the rights of all citizens are being protected.
Every day in our judicial system, our laws are being challenged, our Constitution is being interpreted, and our system of justice is being fine-tuned. It is not “mean-spirited” to challenge the legality of a hidden tax on those involved in the legal system, for that is surely what the IOLTA system is.
In essence, those in contact with the legal system who must entrust money to an attorney for purposes related to litigation and other legal matters are forced to pay a hidden tax, as interest income from that money is paid over to state agencies which then distribute money to certain legal aid programs.
The people whose money generated the revenues for the legal aid programs have no say on where the money goes, what types of programs are recipients, or even what types of cases are taken on by the programs.
Every day, our government is expanding its reach into the pocket of the citizens - expanding items to which the sales and income tax applies, eliminating tax exemptions, and increasing fees for services and licenses.
In large part, we are helpless to stop this. WLF is one of many organizations that strive to make sure the government does not overstep its bounds.
DEIDRE A. LIEDEL
Do rude drivers buy SUVs or do SUVs make them rude?