With all the arguing about how gays have as much right as anyone else to be married, one has to wonder exactly what rights they are referring to. I am a heterosexual who is also restricted in my rights to marry.
I cannot marry anyone I want at this moment because I am already married. Nor may I marry certain close relatives as identified at the discretion of the state. Nor could I marry a minor, also as identified by the state. Essentially a homosexual has exactly the same "rights" to get married that I do.
Ultimately the state does not go through the effort of recognizing that two people are married just because the state is a romantic at heart or because the couple is in love. A state recognizes marriage because marriage between a man and a woman creates a framework within which we find the best means to create social and cultural stability, and to procreate and raise future generations.
There is a qualitative difference between a married father and a mother both working toward the care and support of their children, and the state is right to recognize that this social unit deserves special recognition and protection from the state.
I have no doubt that gays who are raising children love them very much and want to do right by them, but the state has every right to recognize that as a social institution, encouraging traditional marriage protects the social fabric of our culture at its very core.
Let's give credit where credit is due to Ray Kest.
His shenanigans are forcing Lucas County and Toledo officials to institute policies governing the private use of publicly owned vehicles, cellular phones, and other pieces of equipment. Previous policies were ambiguous and had holes big enough in them that an 18-wheeler could go through.
Lucas County's self-styled "part-time treasurer" should have known better. But to be fair, neither did at least one county commissioner, and probably many other elected and appointed officials, who were using their county-owned cars to haul their kids to school, run personal errands, and do shopping.
Until Ray's dead-of-night DUI arrest while driving his county car hit the headlines, most of his fellow public servants considered cars and cell phones as legitimate "perks" that went with the territory.
Let's hope the revised policies eliminate all loopholes. Public business does not include grocery shopping with a county or city car, or conducting personal business on a county or city cell phone.
I read with interest the article about Ray Kest's cell phone charges. I am not concerned about the amount of the charges or the fact that his attendance at classes held in Cleveland is the reason for the relatively higher charges.
It is, instead, his recent utterance that he is a treasurer "24 hours a day, seven days a week and that's why my calls are so high." Didn't he previously defend his attendance and teaching of classes in Cleveland by suggesting that the job of treasurer is not a full-time position?
What are the parameters of the treasurer's position? My thoughts now range between confusion and irritation.
I have also noted with interest that there are several elected offices, most notably in City Council, currently held by relatively younger individuals. It is to these individuals that I offer the following: Never lose grasp of the diligence and conscientiousness that enabled you to gain our support.
Most important, do not succumb to the malfeasance and resultant intransigence exhibited by the likes of Ray Kest and Sandy Isenberg.
MICHAEL S. JONES
The Alternative Minimum Tax, aka the "Stealth Tax," is an economic cancer spreading farther and farther down into the middle income brackets. Those hardest hit are middle-class families with several children.
These victims of the AMT derive no benefit from President Bush's "tax cut for the rich."
This tax, started about 1969, has never been adjusted for inflation, as the regular income tax has been. Neither party is willing to do what is right and correct this enormous injustice. They are equally guilty of this crime against middle-class Americans.
H.R. Leffel, Jr.
Because the Democratic Party has attempted to speak for the poor and the defenseless and for working men and women, I have generally voted for Democrats. At the same time, I have respected Republicans for their libertarian tendencies and emphasis on small government, small business, personal initiative, and local control.
George Bush and his new Republican majority have abandoned their valued historic principles. They have used fear to attack civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. Thousands, including U.S. citizens, are in lockup without trial or lawyer or future. The insultingly titled Patriot Act makes the details of our lives available to the FBI without court involvement. Due process of law is not necessary, and you are a criminal if they say you are. What will Patriot Act 2, 3, and 4 bring?
The party has become the tool of the wealthy and they have promoted the monopolization of business. Big business is gobbled by bigger business and small business is eaten for lunch.
The Republican welfare plan only includes oil and pharmaceutical companies and military contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel. Massive tax breaks for the rich have bankrupted the future of our children and grandchildren and have erased available Social Security funds for our own generation. The Era of Big Government has just begun.
Do we forget that it was a "liberal" president who balanced the budget, reduced the deficit, and protected Social Security? How can anyone justify voting for a Republican?
Watching George W. Bush get caught in one untruth after another and then try to explain himself, or to watch columnist Jack Kelly spin his toadying tall tales on behalf of Mr. Bush, I'm reminded of the Jon Lovitz character on Saturday Night Live, Tommy Flinagan, the none-too-bright habitual liar.
The only thing missing is if Mr. Bush and Mr. Kelly would look up after telling some of their whoppers and say, ala Flinagan, "Yeah! That's it!"
When I moved here from the Washington, D.C. suburbs in 1996, two things amazed me about Toledo.
First, I could buy an affordable house near work and within the city limits. Second, I was able to directly vote on how my tax dollars were spent.
I believe that The Blade's support for a tax levy to fund the zoo, metroparks, COSI, Valentine Theatre, etc. is a bad idea.
The Blade stated "COSI going alone is not worthy of a tax levy." I disagree. If COSI and the Valentine Theatre need more community support, let them ask me via a tax levy. I like having the power of deciding how my money is spent.
Let the recipients of my money be directly accountable to me and other citizens. My worst fear is that I am forced to vote against a zoo or library levy, not because they are unworthy, but because I don't like some other part of the package. I am not tired of voting for levies.
I say more voting, not less.
Let The Blade report and I'll decide.
Glen Valley Drive
One day recently the price of gasoline went to $1.77 a gallon. Well, the sun did shine and it did rain about 50 drops. U.S. troops are still being picked off in Iraq, there's civil unrest in Haiti, gays are getting married in California, and the big oil companies do need money to contribute to the Bush re-election campaign.
So I guess there are many reasons for the increase. Take your pick.
I'm willing to bet that Ray Kest, CPA, can walk on water.
Ralph A. Schneider