Your recent editorial on possible energy production in part of Alaska's 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ("ANWR under siege"), does not provide your readers with many important facts.
First, while some 59 million acres of land in Alaska have been designated as wilderness, the area of ANWR being considered for energy production has not. In 1980, this area - representing just 0.01 percent of ANWR's total acreage - was set aside by President Carter and Congress for study of its oil and gas potential.
Second, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the area contains 10.4 billion barrels of oil. You may consider this amount trivial. Other Ohioans will be interested to know that this would meet all the demands of the Buckeye State for 43 years. At peak production, ANWR could produce more oil than the state of Texas.
Finally, the legislation to be debated requires that any ANWR production "result in no significant adverse effect on fish and wildlife, their habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment." The legislation also limits the amount of surface disturbance to 2,000 acres. We expect industry to meet this stringent standard thanks to tremendous advances in oil field technology. For example, workers may build any necessary roads and exploration platforms out of ice, so they melt away in the spring. Or they might utilize one of the new high-tech elevated platforms that requires much less surface disturbance than other methods.
With America's domestic energy production in decline and our imports from foreign sources increasing, now is the time to pursue environmentally sound production here at home. Instead of foreign suppliers, we should benefit American taxpayers and workers.
Gale A. Norton
Secretary of the Interior
The latest great idea for things to do with other people's money: Let's spend a huge amount of money (your money) on building a state-of-the-art facility to replace Savage Hall. It seems the building is old and antiquated (30 years old) and the roof leaks. Well, actually it's more than that. Savage Hall suffers from a terrible sin: It's old and there are nicer, newer facilities around. Our facility doesn't have a restaurant, it doesn't have luxury boxes, it doesn't matter that Savage seats 9,000 and our dismal basketball program probably doesn't fill half of those seats.
People are mad. People are overtaxed. People went to feel that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. The real problem is there is such a huge disconnect between the powers that be and the poor taxpayer who funds all these grandiose schemes. The president of the University of Toledo just recently, while lamenting funding cuts to education, proposed a more than 10 percent increase (1 cent), in the state sales tax to fund universities. It was probably a good thing that the $50 million luxury facility was not brought up in this speech.
Tuition continues to skyrocket. We must continue to tighten our belts. We must increase taxes to fund education. We should build a $50 million sports complex?
Best of all we can fund the new luxury complex with OPM - other people's money. Don't look now, but those other people are you, the taxpayers.
Stephen G. Spitler
Marilou Johanek, in her Feb. 4 column, raised concerns that many people have personally experienced or observed with loved ones during emergency room and/or hospital stays. These are real and valid concerns and they should be addressed.
I do, however, take exception to her last two paragraphs, which dispute the President's take on what he feels is one significant problem within the medical system.
Ms. Johanek's disdain for the President in particular and the Republican point of view in general has been well documented in her past commentaries. If she would put her biases aside she might realize that the removal from the system of the costly "lawyers and frivolous lawsuits and outrageous malpractice claims," as suggested by the President, would free the health-care providers from the high costs of protecting themselves and thus provide the funds needed to hire additional staff and relieve the pressures on the system.
Hubert M. Lontz
Congratulations to Mayor Ford for finally deciding to get Toledo seriously recycling.
To be the city that other cities look to, Mayor Ford and City Council should make recycling mandatory, or put something on the next ballot for the people to decide. Late in 2004 with a budget crisis they wanted to charge for trash removal. Why not do both? If the citizens of Toledo recycle, removal is free. If they continue to just throw away their trash, they pay. Very simple! You would still have an option and most intelligent, community minded people would choose the free option. Help the budget and the environment. Mayor Ford could consult with other areas (Sylvania, Maumee, Perrysburg, etc.) and hopefully these communities would join the effort. I'm not positive, but recycling can be another positive way for Toledo to spur economic growth in this region, with minimal cost to the taxpayers. Keep Toledo recycling!
Thomas H. Allore II
Mayor Ford's disingenuous attempt at addressing the waste management problem and lack of commitment to recycling is truly galling. The fact that he waited until he was up for re-election to do something about this increasingly pressing problem proves his lack of commitment to this issue. In fact, when they were talking about balancing the budget for this year, the administration talked of eliminating curb-side recycling as a "solution." That is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Extending the life of our landfill by reducing the waste stream into it will reap financial and environmental benefits to our city for many generations to come. Enlisting community organizations and schools to promote the value of recycling is a good thing.
Our community organizations and schools offer the best hope for promoting responsible behavior and affecting positive changes in our neighborhoods and communities. It is a welcome change to the usual government-driven solution.
So Mayor Jack Ford says that Toledo is "Ohio's greatest city and the best mid-sized community in America." He then quantifies this statement by listing a couple of his greatest accomplishments of the past year: getting some potholes filled and getting some trees trimmed. He must have been really grasping at straws in order to find some positive news for his State of the City address.
If this is the positive news, can you imagine how bad the negative news would be? Unfortunately we don't have to imagine. We see those negatives every day.
JOSHUA C. MILLER
On the sixth grade proficiency test, in the citizenship portion, there is usually a question that deals with the names and definitions of types of governments. There is "oligarchy," a government in which power belongs to a few people, "monarchy," a government or state headed by a monarch, and of course, "democracy," government by the people.
For the next four years we in the United states will have George W. Bush and his type of government: "Malarkey."
So, out of the State of the City manifesto comes the conclusion that "It's downtown Toledo's time." Well, perhaps they forgot to take a number when they came in. East Toledo has been in line forever and this mayor continues to ignore the gate crashing, not to mention the elected will of city voters.