The appointment of William Carroll as director of Toledo's Economic and Community Development Department could mark a turning point in Toledo's efforts to attract new, stable, and good-paying jobs. Mr. Carroll has one thing going for him that a generation of politicians and public relations flacks before him lacked: As a businessman, he talks the language of business.
Many a mayor (or briefcase-carrier) has set out for New York to woo business, armed with the usual platitudes about Toledo: abundant water supply, great transportation center, skilled labor force, above-average cultural and recreational opportunities.
Still, the jobs don't come. Mr. Carroll is uniquely positioned to ask his business peers, "Why not?" - and to get straight answers.
Despite the glamor of life in the Big Apple, there's a downside. New York rents are astronomical, commute-time from the suburbs takes a huge chunk out of one's day, surface traffic is miserable, and the terrorist threat persists. So why don't service and other white-collar businesses move here, instead of Indianapolis or Columbus?
Honest answers to these questions may make Toledoans feel uncomfortable. The reasons may even (heaven forbid) be politically incorrect, such as overly militant labor unions, a paternalistic newspaper, one-party political rule, or years of "academic emergency" in the public schools.
At least, though, the questions would be asked, and the answers might help us turn our attention away from our municipal navel, and give some serious thought to what problems we need to overcome in order to rebuild Toledo's middle-class employment base.
ROBERT G. MORRIS
Terrorism continues to wreak havoc all over the world, including the recent horrific killing of about 150 children in Beslan, Russia. The downing of two Russian airplanes, the killing of 12 innocent Nepalese in Iraq, preceded this, and so the list goes on.
This is a new face of war that the world is confronted with on a global scale. These terrorist actions have met with an eerie silence in the Islamic world, if not tacit approval. For the rest of the world, the terrorists through their own actions have lost any semblance of sympathy, for whatever causes they may espouse.
Writers like Blade columnist Amjad Hussain continue to harp on Kashmir, as one of the three grievances of the Islamic world. He's at least 40 years behind; the fate of Kashmir was sealed through a full and irrevocable constitutional accession to India.
Instead of outrage, flimsy excuses are being cited for this barbaric behavior. President Bush was right in saying that this war against terrorism is not winnable, since the enemy has no face, no end point. Besides the armed terrorists, there are multitudes of sympathizers, whose attitudes have been hardened by years of teachings in madrasas, advocating jihad, hatred, and intolerance of "infidels." How do you win the mindset of these people?
In the context of the upcoming U.S. elections, a Bush loss would be considered a moral victory for the terrorists. Sen. John Kerry's commitment to fighting terrorism does not appear to be so steadfast. For all his mistakes in Iraq, President Bush is still our best hope to try and end this scourge once and for all.
SATISH K. SOOD
A recent Forum letter cites the abortion issue as a "tempest in a teapot" while reasoning that war is a larger issue because of the "slaughter of thousands."
There is no question both war and abortion are horrible. However the writer either chooses to ignore or is uninformed of the fact that due to abortion nearly 4,000 fetuses are "slaughtered" daily in this country. That is more than 1.4 million per year. That's well over 2 million in this country alone since the Iraq war began. One should never downplay the purposeful taking of innocent life as a "tempest in a teapot," whether it be war or abortion.
If that wasn't enough, the writer went on to imply that abortion is not "truly evil." We must remind the writer of Isaiah 5:20: There are those who call evil good and good evil.
BILL and SARAH PETRO
I'm a bit confused by a recent article, "Trek through Ohio finds a state divided." You present Karen Vetzer and her husband as people who have been hard hit by a souring economy. Ms. Vetzer complains that her husband can't find work, and her gift shop business is drying up. They offer their situation as cause for voting for Sen. John Kerry.
I wonder, though, why her husband can't find work. Housing starts have been at a record high for the past few years. Home sales have also been through the roof. If anything, I would think that construction trades (of which HVAC laborers are integral) would be clamoring for additional help.
Also, why does she conclude that the business of a gift shop, a tourist trade primarily, be negatively affected by depressed manufacturing in Port Clinton? Are Port Clintonians buying souvenirs of their own hometown? And what manufacturing in Port Clinton has closed shop in the past nine months?
Lastly, she says she's probably going to have to get a "minimum wage, fast food job." As a former small-business owner with experience in inventory management, cash flow management, tax issues, and overall business operations, she's definitely a valuable asset to anyone wishing to hire someone for more than what McDonald's would.
I hope that Karen and her husband find a better life for themselves. I'm not interested in pouring salt into their wounds, but I think it would be helpful for them to see the real reasons for their situation, and maybe that might help them better address their problems.
And if The Blade sees fit to showcase these folks as a reason to vote for Mr. Kerry, I think it's appropriate to scrutinize the reason.
First the Bush Administration tried to bury the bad news of a 17.4 percent Medicare premium increase by announcing it on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend.
And now it is trying to shift the blame for the biggest premium increase in Medicare history.
Before the Medicare bill was enacted, the nonpartisan Medicare trustees projected that the 2005 Medicare premium would be $2. After the Medicare bill became law, the premium increase jumped to $11.60 because of $23 billion in subsidies to insurance companies and HMOs.
Those are the facts. Rewriting history won't change them.
Member of Congress
13th District of Ohio
In the true spirit of Democratic politics, we now see an ad showing an American soldier in a defeated position in Iraq. This from John Kerry's campaign, whose position on anything relating to Iraq is time dependant, varying from day to day. I cannot believe this and wonder how low can they go.
Consider also, how our local government in conjunction with the unions have dominated Lucas County for lo these many years. What does Toledo have to show for their leadership? The brunt of songs, jokes, and rhyme. Saturday night in Toledo is the same today as when John Denver sang the song so long ago.
Who is responsible?
Apparently our mayor feels the President is, because he went to New York during the Republican National Convention to whine about our situation. Do he and previous administrations not have any responsibility for our situation? The "good old boys" continue to enjoy political appointments while Toledo suffers!
Maybe the real reason Cat Steven's was put on a terrorist watch list was because he sang a song about peace. That seems to contradict President Bush's policy.