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Published: Monday, 5/17/2004

Let's keep tourist dollar in Toledo

While the Ford administration wrestles with the comatose Marina District, it is time for the city to drop its long habit of trying to emulate the successes of other cities. Instead of trying to copy what worked someplace else, Toledo needs to build upon what works here.

The success of the Toledo Zoo cannot be denied. Conversely, the failure of the city to capitalize on that success is equally blatant. Along the Anthony Wayne Trail from the zoo to I-75, there are no amenities for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the zoo annually. Instead of a thriving mix of retail, restaurants, and hotels, we have the carcass of the elevator factory and other vacant industrial land to escort these visitors out of the city.

Our world-class art museum attracts numerous tourists and the glass center, when completed, will attract even more. Yet, where is the concentrated effort to keep these tourist dollars in Toledo? An arts district full of cafes, galleries, and bed and breakfasts surrounding the museum would help recast Toledo as a weekend destination for people from across the Midwest.

Both of these projects would revitalize two long neglected parts of central city. Also, both would help fuel the growth of the Warehouse District by spurring development along two of its borders.

The corrosion of our local economy during the last couple years bears testament to our need to diversify Toledo's economy. Instead of trying to pull tourists out of thin air, like the Marina District would attempt to do, let's concentrate on retaining those who already come here. Through wise development, creative promotions, and cooperation between the city and our attractions, we can make Toledo a vibrant weekend destination for millions of tourists each year.

STEVE LATSCH

Parkwood Avenue

Your story that chronicled the life of Jonathan Judge was quite moving and a fine tribute to the Sylvania Northview senior who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. This young man's positive attitude, selflessness, and determination to excel academically should serve as a lesson for all of us.

Although his life on this earth was far too short, he leaves behind a legacy that will endure forever in the hearts of his family and friends. His parents, David and Christen, must be extremely proud to have been a part of that legacy.

MICHAEL J. NAVARRE

Chief of Police

City of Toledo

The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by a few of our military was a travesty, and President Bush is right to be disgusted and embarrassed by the action of those few soldiers. Most Americans are aligned with the President and harbor those same feelings. These types of degrading actions are, at least in part, the reason that we take military action in many parts of the world.

The American people are getting frustrated beyond doubt with the Arab world and their treatment of Americans in both the Arab press and television. The constant battering of our military and political fractions on Al-Jazeera coupled with the celebration activity by the Iraqis whenever there are American casualties is a bitter pill to swallow here at home as well.

That being said, we need more than ever to represent our country with pride, honor, and compassion when faced with the enemy, whether it's the Taliban or suicide bombers threatening the lives of our soldiers.

These few soldiers must be held accountable for their passionate but criminal actions.

JACQUES GROSS

Maumee

We have a person who has the title of President of the United States of America who is not man enough to take responsibility for his lack of leadership. He has misled the world, initiating a war under false pretenses and costing hundreds of American lives, ruined the economy with record deficits, undermined social services to feed his war machine contributors, and destroyed our moral and legal standing in the world.

Why hasn't he resigned? Why, at the very least, have impeachment proceedings not been initiated against him? Where is the "moral right" when one of its own needs to be held accountable? He is a disgrace to this country. Yet this person is running for re-election! Where is the moral outrage in this country? I can no longer stand by and accept the embarrassment of him representing us as our "leader." For the good of this country, it is time George W. Bush resigned as President.

T. PORTER

Sylvania

A recent letter decried uneducated "Bush bashers" for unpatriotically buying foreign vehicles. Detroit has had 30 years to catch up to foreign car makers in fuel mileage, reliability, and compactness. Detroit has shown an appalling lack of creativity, common sense, and vision in its decision to urge Americans to buy larger, inefficient vehicles.

In choosing designs which necessitate increased oil usage by Americans, thereby making it more likely that our soldiers will die in Middle Eastern combat, Detroit has been anything but patriotic. I like to buy American, but Detroit isn't making better cars than Toyota, Honda, etc.

Come on, Detroit, show the world that Americans have more style and power on their minds. Help us be less reliant on foreign fuel sources.

The earlier letter writer and I must travel in different social circles. Most of my college-educated friends, colleagues, and family do not agree with President Bush's policies or his crude disdain for the truth.

SARAH ABTS

Ogden Avenue

Thanks to The Blade's Sandra Svoboda, we can glimpse the power vacuum created by the Toledo school board's caving to the muscle of the Toledo Federation of Teachers.

At Rogers High, evidently aware of the TFT's stranglehold, but hoping nonetheless to improve the Rogers product, KnowledgeWorks (a quasi-public foundation) and the Gates Foundation paid some of the Rogers teachers to study and consider the merits of the foundation's notion of fixing Rogers.

You've read about it: subdividing the school and mumbo-jumbo about "problem-based, interdisciplinary, expeditionary, and project-based" models. Why, you ask, didn't KnowledgeWorks use the front door, selling to the board members or the system's executives?

Well, as all parties seem to understand, the board has ceded veto power to the teachers' union. And, having taken the money for the tasks of studying and deciding, the Rogers teachers (well, a minority (!) of them) have given thumbs down - and that's that. The minority could be right, but I'd put my money on KnowledgeWorks.

Either way, the TPS administration has escaped its duty to propose what to do and the board has evaded its responsibility to decide whether to do it - leaving the field to the outsiders and the TFT.

In correcting this sorry state, the board need not worry too much about deferring to the teachers. The teachers aren't elected. Thus, the teachers aren't responsible. The teachers of the TFT cannot fully share the priorities of the TPS.

Now if the board acted and some teachers didn't like it, these teachers should - voluntarily, if possible - depart for environments in which their superior knowledge is recognized and appreciated. If the board continued to cave and stiff the voters, the voters would continue to have no recourse but to withhold funds.

PETER S. MILLER

Marin Drive

Perhaps we're rushing to judgment in regard to our prison guards in Baghdad. Remember that they're dealing with people with a misplaced sense of priorities who believe that the murder of Americans is gallant while the glimpse of a woman's hair is an abomination.

The prospect of having a woman snicker at them might be exactly the deterrent necessary to squelch the desire to be heroes and martyrs.

PETER R. STROBL

Perrysburg



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