I have been following the Ohio coin scandal from afar for some time, mostly through the excellent reporting of The Blade. The scandal seems to have evolved from being just an Ohio coin scandal into an Ohio Republican coin scandal.
Yet it looks as though nearly all the legally empowered investigators are Republicans, including the now recused members of the Ohio Supreme Court. If any skuduggery calls for independent outside investigators, prosecutors and judges, it is this one. The foot-dragging Republican investigation looks very much like the proverbial fox investigating the fox's raid on the chicken coop.
Hopefully, this scandal will wake up Ohio citizens. When citizens turn over all levels of government to a single political party, these kinds of scandals are not simply likely to happen, they are destined to happen.
The Ohio situation is precisely what Lord Acton meant when he wrote those famous lines that are oft quoted and little heeded: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Giving one political party control of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government is conferring upon it absolute power.
FRANK K. FLINN
St. Louis, Mo.
It's unfortunate The Blade didn't get into this Noe thing before the last presidential election. Likely we would have a different president today. Consequently, our judicial branch of the government would not be under attack by the legislative branch. Our gas prices would likely be lower. Scores of people would not be in prison without due process. The wealthy would still be paying their fair share of taxes. Our budget would be balanced. Poverty levels would not be growing. Our relationship with other countries would be much better. Our educational systems would have more funds available. The problems of our health system would have been addressed. There would not be a threat of dismantling our Social Security system. Young American soldiers would still be alive. Over 100,000 of Iraq's people would still be alive.
We would not be living in a country with a government guided by "moral values."
The Health Policy Institute of Ohio released a study yesterday that revealed more than two in 10 children live in poverty, and poverty has increased 16 percent since last year.
These numbers are simply astounding. And those of us in the legislature have been nothing short of negligent in our response to dealing with it.
Poverty is not an issue we talk about enough. We don't realize the significant economic implication of having 600,000 more Ohioans living in poverty today than six years ago. Our welfare, Medicaid, and food bank programs are serving more people now than ever, and when people are homeless and hungry, it leads to more crime and greater health-care costs that eventually affect all Ohioans.
But the real reason we need a solution to poverty is not about economics. It's about right and wrong.
We heard a lot about values in the last election, but they were largely restricted to our views on abortion and gay marriage. What we didn't talk about in our values debate was the responsibility we have, collectively, as a community, to lift up those most fragile among us instead of leaving them behind.
Poverty is a moral issue. Protecting our poor is what we should talk about when we talk about values.
In the coming months, the state legislature should explore offering incentives for companies that locate in low-income, impoverished areas and hire those workers. We also must invest more fully in temporary housing and shelter facilities that can offer transitional help for the people who need it most.
We must find a solution to deal with poverty in Ohio not because it is the easy thing or the popular thing but because it is the right thing for our families and for our future.
Editor's note: Chris Redfern is the Minority Leader in the Ohio House of Representatives.
I was both amused and intrigued by a recent letter writer's tirade about taxes being unconstitutional. It makes for an interesting concept.
Undoubtedly, the writer has a comprehensive plan to fund such things as schools, roads, bridges, and other employees without benefit of taxes.
When he makes public his plan for funding the above without benefit of taxes, and runs for public office, I will be the first in line to vote for him.
Remember the old saying, "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."
On an unrelated note, what in the heck is our government doing funding the prescription drug Viagra to sexual predators in prison?
Have they gone totally nuts?
President Bush asked the graduates at Calvin College: "Will you be a spectator or a citizen?" He should realize that those who choose to protest are also active citizens. Pax Christi members in Tiffin have been protesting every week on Friday since before the Iraq war started.
We and other protesters around the country want our government to find ways to bring our troops home soon. If our policy is to stay until the people are safe, we are held hostage to the insurgents.
As long as they bomb and kill Iraqis who support us and our soldiers, that's how long we are forced to stay.
It seems to me that one reason the insurgents are successful in recruiting others is that they feel that our policy is to maintain a large military force in their country for years.
If our leaders would set a date for ending the occupation in Iraq or promise to leave within six months after a new constitution is adopted, the insurgents would lower the level of violence and stop killing our troops and each other.
Under these conditions, the United Nations might consider sending in an international force to maintain order until the Iraqis can do it. So far the total cost of the war in Iraq and its reconstruction is $171 billion. That divides out to $1,517 per household.
Additional costs if we stay three more years bring the cost to $376 billion.
Every dollar spent on the war is a dollar denied to the people of our nation, and every dollar brings tragedy.
Our consciences will not let us stop protesting.
I didn't realize that Westgate Village Shopping Center wants to be or needs to be saved, as so many Toledo residents seem to believe. Westgate is a private enterprise doing business in Toledo as it sees fit.
Neither City Council nor the planning commission have any control over whether Westgate remains an outdoor shopping center or whether it chooses another business concept for its property, such as bringing in Costco or any other venture, as long as the zoning laws permit it.
Whether this is good or bad for Westgate is Westgate's business, period.
The merchants who are presently tenants of Westgate will most likely relocate somewhere in the immediate area.
Westgate will not drag them down if they are truly solvent and successful businesses.
RICHARD L. BULLARD
I have been following the rare coin investment story from where I live in Brooklyn. Seeing as how the government of Ohio in its wisdom decided a rare coin collection would be a good investment, I thought I might interest them in a bridge we have here that I believe may be for sale.
New York City