Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Eugene Sanders has said that it is reasonable that zoning code waivers be given for the new Bowsher and Leverette Schools.
It is fundamentally unreasonable that public institutions, especially schools which should be focal points of neighborhood pride and connectivity, would even consider requesting waivers to construct aesthetically void buildings in our city.
Flat roofs, minimal landscaping, and facades that are 80 percent concrete block? What comes to mind are buildings more associated with incarceration, not education.
Part of the rationale for adopting school uniforms for students was that outside appearance affects performance and attitude toward learning. TPS should withdraw the waiver requests and build schools which are architecturally pleasing on the outside and educationally strong on the inside.
If not, perhaps school uniforms should be orange.
Plum Leaf Lane
I am one of those Democratic Central Committee members who voted for Dennis Duffey for interim county treasurer, and I will not hang my head in shame. As a strong union member and Democrat, I feel that we did the right thing.
As for those people who think the voters lost, well maybe you should look into it. The voters won. I am pretty sure Wade Kapszukiewicz will take office when his official term starts in September and, if I am not mistaken, the Democrats did vote for Mr. Duffey to take over the remaining term.
To the people implying that John Irish, Mr. Duffey, and the committee members that voted are guilty by complicity, does that mean all the Republicans are also guilty by complicity because of Tom Delay?
Once again Sandy Isenberg demonstrates her uncanny ability to engage her mouth before putting her brain into gear.
In a recent article on Harry Barlos, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party stated she's lost some respect for him because - horror of horrors - Mr. Barlos had been "hanging around with Republicans" and had the audacity to accept their endorsement. How immature can one be?
I wonder what other associations Ms. Isenberg will tell us are inappropriate. Maybe blacks and whites having lunch together? Catholics and Jews serving on the same community boards? Or maybe union and nonunion factory workers bowling together on a Saturday night?
Unfortunately, Ms. Isenberg's comments demonstrate exactly what is wrong with today's Democratic Party. The alleged party of inclusion has taken the position that unless one is in lockstep and toes the party line, right or wrong, you are a second-class citizen.
It is evident many people around the United States understand this twisted mentality based on the re-election of President Bush, and the Republican gains in the House and Senate. And even though it may not be readily apparent, the same is happening locally.
Although Ms. Isenberg took great pleasure in the overwhelming victories for the local Democratic Party, all one has to do is to look at the census numbers over the last 30 years or so to see how people and corporations really feel about local Democratic leadership. They're voting - not with a ballot but with their feet - and leaving the area.
Until there is significant, radical change among the local Dems and they wake up to see the damage and havoc they are wreaking in an area with so much potential, there is little likelihood anything will change.
I am 22 years old and I am proud to say that I will be part of the continuing Toledo "brain drain." I once had aspiring hopes to be a Toledo politician. This city has been my home since birth and I care about it immensely. I became an enthusiastic Lucas County Central Committee member but now my enthusiasm is gone.
Never in my life have I seen adults act so terribly. Even though children were present, there was cursing and shouting. Those who called for decency and order were told to sit down and shut up.
One thing was clear: The Lucas County Democratic Party is not in the hands of intelligent liberals, nor will it be any time soon. I am proud to be a liberal and a Democrat, but I am no longer proud to be a citizen of Lucas County.
It is time to let City of Toledo residents know the facts about city workers.
AFSCME Local 7 represents all City of Toledo workers with the exception of police, fire, and solid waste (refuse workers). In the past 19 years Local 7 has lost more than 1,000 members, going from 1,990 members in 1986 to just 930 members in 2005. This is because of jobs being eliminated through budget cuts. Within the last three years alone, 60 Local 7 positions have been eliminated.
During the last contract negotiations our members agreed to an 18-month wage freeze with raises limited to 2 percent in each of the following two years. In 2005 a 1 percent lump-sum bonus will also be received.
In previous negotiations, sick-time benefits were reduced from 10 hours per month to just seven hours per month for new employees and a tiered pay schedule was adopted. New employees start at 75 percent of the hourly rate for their job classification. In the second year of employment they receive 85 percent, 95 percent in the third year, and, finally, 100 percent in the fourth year.
Expenditures for health care have also been reduced because of our members being involved in the health-care cost-containment program. We have accepted a wage freeze and minimal raises, reduced our sick time benefit, and reduced our starting wage. We have also lowered health-care costs. At the same time we have watched our membership rapidly decline. This has resulted in fewer and fewer employees doing more and more work.
We are also taxpayers and have families to maintain, but we have stepped forward in tough times and have tried to help the City of Toledo with the budget problems it is facing.
AFSCME Local 7
City of Toledo Employees
Amjad Hussain's Jan. 5 column was good, although describing Johar Mir as a "literary icon" was an overstatement. The column was more about the person's life and history and less about any actual body of work that changed Pakistani society or the people's understanding in any greater depth of any subject.
I understand that Mr. Hussain has a platform and a place from which to air his personal views, but "literary icon" is a bit too rich. No matter the personal loss, one must always maintain a sense of perspective. Pakistanis who live abroad under the claim of asylum and political repression are not all great heroic martyrs. For the most part the political elite who leave Pakistan through a back door do so when access to state funds is cut off and living standards decline. The rest of the poor and illiterate masses in Pakistan would also like to leave through this same back door but cannot.
Let's be clear, if one's poetry is so subversive and anti-state that one has to leave one's country, then at least have the courage to give an example of it instead of giving the good people of the United States balderdash by creating myths based on personal opinion with no grounding in reality. Writers have a responsibility, too.
The Blade recently described a Democratic Party gathering as "a messy meeting that featured charges of political manipulation, underhanded tactics, and almost nonstop catcalls from the floor."
It is no wonder Toledo cannot make any progress. We are stuck in a sea of paralysis and ineptness.
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