There's a destructive conflict going on that affects our lives every day. It isn't the war in Iraq, it's the battle between the major political parties. The casualties are the reputations of the people seeking office and the respect that we would otherwise extend to our fellow citizens.
I'm concerned about how political differences appear to be dividing us into two increasingly bitter and vengeful camps.
I don't happen to support the current administration, but I know many clear-thinking responsible people who do. I don't believe that we should have invaded Iraq, but there are many people who feel just as strongly that it was the right thing to do. I don't believe that trickle-down economics works, but there are many other middle-class people who do. I believe that there is a role for government to play in meeting the needs of the governed, but I know that there are many who feel the less government we have the better.
Rather than debate the merits of these important ideas, we've allowed our political parties to turn this election into a mud-wrestle.
I lived through a similar time in the early 1970s when the issues were the Vietnam War, executive privilege, and the rights and patriotism of dissenters. The passionate views of many today are testimony that 30 years later those wounds are still not healed.
Perhaps as a society, we feel more comfortable demonizing those who disagree with us rather than doing the hard work of understanding another point of view. In that case, we will reap what we sow.
I hope we're better than that. I hope that friends, neighbors, and co-workers can reject divisive politics and engage in the sorts of honest and respectful discussions of ideas that we need to make an informed choice in November.
Regulating business of wildlife control
On behalf of the Humane Society of the United States and its nearly 300,000 members and constituents in Ohio, I wish to commend you for your excellent Aug. 1 editorial ("Nuisance animals' violent end"), which pointed out the need for stronger regulation of the wildlife control industry in the state. Ohio lags behind other states in this respect and is long overdue for upgraded laws and regulations regarding the lucrative private wildlife business. My organization has researched a set of model state regulations, but it remains to be seen whether Ohio will use them.
You also alluded to the importance of human tolerance, an approach that combines appreciation for wild animals in urban settings with common sense tactics that prevent conflicts with wildlife. My office provides information on such tactics for virtually any species Toledo area residents might encounter.
It is insupportable that so many animals are dying for nothing more than the offense of having thought that an attic or a chimney would be a secure place to make a den and, perhaps, raise young. But it is heartening to know that in some places a more humane business philosophy is not only available but also competitive. AAA Wildlife Control (Toronto) practices humane conflict resolution strategies, specializing in evicting offending animals while maintaining the integrity of family units. Homeowners are satisfied, animals have the greatest chance to survive (versus off-site relocation or trap-and-kill), and the business has grown into four franchises with 50 employees.
Thank you for weighing in on the side of humaneness toward wildlife by exposing the dark side of the wildlife control business in Ohio.
LINDA M. REIDER
The Humane Society
of the United States
We are killing God's creatures every day
To the citizens of Toledo who call getting rid of nuisance animals murder: If you take the time to think, you, yourself, participate in killing God's creatures every day. It's called selective killing.
What happens to the insects when the mosquito sprayer goes up and down Toledo streets? What happened to the wildlife that used to live where you now live? Think of all the creatures you kill and maim when you walk across a golf course or step off the sidewalk. How about the creatures that suffocated under the parking lot so you can shop? Think of all the baby animals and bird nests you kill with your tax money when the state mows the berm of the road so that you can see. Our neighborhood is full of mole traps and poison to protect the precious grass. Wildlife does not have health care. When they become overpopulated, they get rabies and mange, which are transferable to humans.
The wildlife biologists of Ohio are educated professionals like doctors and scientists. They do a fine job with Ohio's wildlife.
Like the former Blade outdoor writer Lou Klewer said at a meeting one night, "Excuse me while I get a napkin and wipe this carrot blood off my lips."
Helping the arts thrive in Toledo
When he was elected, Mayor Jack Ford shared a vision of Toledo as an elegant city. Given this vision, we knew it would take many projects, partnerships, and time.
In November, 2003, the Strategic Plan for the Arts and Culture was unveiled. To highlight the plan, Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and a professor at Carnegie Mellon, was invited to speak to the public about what makes cities exciting. He told us we must make our downtown a place where young people feel welcome and the arts thrive.
With his thoughts and the strategic plan in mind, it was recommended that the city sponsor two signature events. The first event was this past June's Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival. Thousands of people ventured downtown to listen to world-class jazz. They came from out of town, stayed in hotels, and dined in our restaurants.
This November, Toledo will host the second signature event - Artworks 2004, a partnership with the city and the Arts Commission that will feature local and national artists. We will once again invite people to Toledo for the weekend and perhaps go to the Valentine Theatre, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Opera, or the Symphony.
The Strategic Plan pointed to the need for an arts web site. The city partnered with WGTE, the Convention Center, and the Arts Commission to create Toledoarts.org. We have had tremendous support from our universities and colleges in the form of committee members who diligently work on arts projects.
Arts groups that once sparred over issues are now coming together as a united front for our community - and just recently someone said to me that the mayor's vision for the arts is really working. So maybe downtown Toledo is coming alive!
City of Toledo
A wonderful visit to our own backyard
Each spring and fall the Center for Lifelong Learning of Northwest State Community College in Archbold offers an educational trip. We've been to cities like Toronto, Chicago, Lexington, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. But this time, although we're only an hour's drive from Toledo, Louisa Strock, the director of the center said, "Let's do Toledo."
The center's members know Toledo. It's the destination for shopping, hospital visits, doctors, and movies. But to be a tourist destination was another story. We couldn't excite enough people to take two vacation days to fill the bus only an hour from home, but we came with a light load anyway.
And now we want to shout to all of northwest Ohio, including Toledo residents, it was grand! We had a first-class experience from start to finish. Pride and commitment oozed from those we met at each stop. It wasn't just OK. It was top-notch.
It was great to be a visitor in the city in our own backyard.