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Published: Wednesday, 4/13/2005

Schiavo case and plight of the disabled

If anything good can come of the tragic, public end of Terri Schiavo's life, it is attention directed toward issues confronting people with disabilities. The way our society views and values people with disabilities can be affected. The value and availability of supports and services needed to survive and to live a life of independence and quality can be impacted. National dialogue and policy change are demanded by national disability organizations. Some of those demands follow.

●Meaningful federal review of third-party decisions to withhold treatment in the absence of a directive by the person in question or by a surrogate personally appointed by that person. (Legislation has been proposed by Sens. Tom Harkin and Mel Martinez)

●State-by-state review of guardianship and health-care decision laws by state protection and advocacy systems. The results of this review would be to develop reforms that safeguard against involuntary euthanasia.

Rights of people with disabilities to long-term supports in the community must be upheld. Passage of the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act allows people who rely on Medicaid to have a life in the community versus being forced into a nursing home. Appropriate funding of Medicare and Medicaid must be maintained to preserve the independence and dignity of people with disabilities.

Increased public awareness of the value and contribution of people with disabilities who move, communicate, or think in ways that differ from those who do not share their experience. This can only come from people with disabilities themselves. Decisions about the worth of persons with a disability and the decision whether they should live or die shouldn't be made solely on assumptions of people who have not lived with such differences themselves.

SUSAN HETRICK

Advocacy Director

The Ability Center

of Greater Toledo

Sylvania

Your March 23 editorial "The tax-reform game" continues the misconception that high taxes are to blame for Ohio's economic plight. Our tragic loss of 200,000 manufacturing jobs since 1998, or 20 percent of the total, is only marginally greater than the 19 percent for the United States as a whole. Blaming Ohio's tax structure clearly is off the mark; better to blame our misguided trade policies.

Obviously, the Ohio corporate franchise tax has major problems when a third of the 50 largest companies in the state are paying little or nothing under it. But this tax does not discriminate overly against manufacturers. That industry paid 25 percent of the tax in 2003, leaving out the financial companies that pay under a different formula. That share is not out of line with manufacturing's share of the state's output.

While some companies would pay more under the substitute tax Gov. Bob Taft proposes, overall it will raise less revenue. Many of the most profitable Ohio companies will pay millions of dollars less than they do now.

Eliminating the corporate franchise tax is the wrong solution. Instead, the state should fix this tax. By adopting steps that many other states already use, such as forcing companies to file a single combined report on all of their related operations, we can rein in moves by businesses to shift income to other states and avoid the tax.

Zach Schiller

Research Director

Policy Matters Ohio

Cleveland

In the midst of the media frenzy surrounding the recent death of Terri Schaivo, I cannot help but give thought to those whom we never heard about, and who perhaps are deserving of the most notice. I am referring to those hospice nurses and caregivers who daily had to battle their way past the throngs of media and self-serving zealots in order to enter a place where the mission is to provide care and comfort to those who are in their final days.

We are taught to see the patient as an individual, and to remain neutral to whatever family issues are going on, and I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for those caregivers in this situation.

They are to be commended for staying true to their mission, and caring for Terri despite the incredible challenges they faced on a daily basis.

Karen Swartz

Woodville, Ohio

In response to The Blade's latest cause, drive, fight, or whatever you want to call it, about replacing the Sports Arena, I say at least be fair about it.

Of the many articles that pushed for this, the worst was by your sports department titled "It's unanimous, Storm fans want a new arena."

Nothing could be further from the truth. I was at the Sports Arena for a game on Good Friday and had a sign that stated "Long live the Sports Arena." When I showed it to different sections of fans they applauded, nodded their heads in approval, or gave a thumbs up. The couple behind me liked it so much they even asked if they could take it home with them to put in their garage.

By the way, I also talked to some fans from Dayton who come up every time Dayton plays here because the atmosphere is so good. One of them stated that they have a new arena and they hate it. They said even with 5,000 people in it, it's as quiet as a library.

I know you want a new arena, but let's be fair about this. You complain about President Bush deceiving the public and using his clout to push his agenda through, but apparently you have no problem doing it. Sounds hypocritical to me.

Dean Bobzean

Tremainsville Road

I was saddened to learn that northwest Ohio is losing another expert. Dr. Karen Ratliff-Schaub is another victim of Toledo area arrogance and ignorance. When are we going to be realistic? We are not Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati. We are a shrinking small- to medium-sized town. We can barely afford to keep police and firemen on the streets.

I don't blame anyone for leaving given the sad state of our area and the fierce competition between hospitals in this case. What was even more disheartening was to read the response of our local "leaders."

At least Dick Evans, president of Mercy Hospital, acknowledges that he worries the competition may send more specialists leaving. But Dr. Kathy Carlson, president of Toledo Children's Hospital, shows her complete arrogance and ignorance by stating she doesn't view competition as a factor and goes on to say she is already recruiting a developmental pediatrician for her hospital. Well good for her. She should be proud of herself.

What about the kids and families she should be serving? There has to be a good reason we're the only town our size with two children's hospitals. And I'll bet it's because it just doesn't work!

Chris Delaney

Pinedale Drive

With the price of purchasing a passport around $100 per person, why would someone pay that for an hour drive to Canada? I have been to Windsor several times for a short, relatively inexpensive vacation at the casino and clubs. I don't think I will be going there in the future, due to the hassles and money involved in purchasing a passport.

Just think if a family wanted to vacation there, every single member of the family would be required to purchase a passport at a hundred bucks apiece.

Tim Rysz

Rossford

The proposed requirement of a U.S. passport to enter the United States from Canada and Mexico is the height of folly and raises questions about renewal of the Patriot Act.

The only terrorists it would deter would be those entering the U.S. in comfort by auto at places like Windsor, Ont. Any other place along our long and open border they can enter on foot, in a canoe, or even an auto without a passport check.

What it will give us is more bureaucrats and congestion at the border. This is similar to airports where boarding passengers stand in line to have their shoes thoroughly checked. If this goes through, chalk up another victory for Osama bin Laden against the infidels.

Elmer Lotshaw

Waterville



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