On the heels of recent distorted reports in The Blade about a special post-9/11 loan guarantee program administered by the Small Business Administration, it's time for a reality check.
Let me point out that the SBA had a disaster recovery, low-interest loan program in which it directly made loans to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Every eligible loan applicant in New York City and across the country who qualified for a loan under this program was able to receive one.
There was ample funding. There was no competition between small businesses for this money, as implied by these articles.
Separately, Congress pursued legislation to respond to the needs of small businesses across the country which through no fault of their own were adversely impacted financially by 9/11. This resulted in the Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief (STAR) program. Through STAR, small businesses could obtain loans, guaranteed by the SBA, at commercially available interest rates.
The SBA implemented the STAR program openly as Congress mandated and it was a success. In fact, many small businesses have stated that they would not have made it after the economic downturn caused by 9/11 without these SBA-guaranteed loans.
Finally, because of these articles and misrepresentations, small businesses that received these loans appropriately are unfairly being dragged through the mud. The real "outrage" would be if this sensational reporting also causes them to lose customers. That would truly be a second injury.
Hector V. Barreto
U.S. Small Business Administration
A Sept. 13 letter was a shock not only to me but probably to the many rock 'n' roll artists who helped shape the area's music scene back in the 1950s.
Considering that I am a member of Toledo's first and original all-rock band, The Storms, we have no intention of going away because the letter writer said so.
This wanna-be musician, or whatever he is, has no right to tell us when to end our musical careers. As long as organizations like the Toledo Public Library, the Maumee Theater, and even the Stranahan Theater and doo-wop shows consider our music, there will always be a place for us.
While the letter writer is part of the new generation, he should note a few things before opening his big mouth again. The Storms don't need or use any high-tech gadgets to impress our audiences.
On stage, our attire is clean and we dress alike. We shave and comb our hair. We don't look like Boxcar Willy jumping off of a train. We don't do drugs or throw our instruments at the crowd.
The difference between our music and his is simple. Ours is family rock 'n' roll. Which is more than I can say about his. Not only did our band witness his generation's idea of entertainment, but also millions of Americans, too. Stunts like Janet Jackson's at the Super Bowl really showed us what trash is all about.
What really surprised me is that The Blade would print that man's opinion. Months ago, I was ignored after sending in a letter to thank Toledo for allowing The Storms to be part of the music scene for 50 years.
Maybe I'll bring my entire drum set to The Blade. I'll give you a taste of pure rock 'n' roll music.
Although there are much weightier issues to debate these days, I felt compelled to respond to a recent letter to The Blade complaining about old rockers. I'm not certain anyone can appoint themselves as arbiters of age for any profession - it's called discrimination.
The "gullible" people who the gentleman says "pay the freight" are millions of fans with millions of dollars to spend on concert performances of the music they grew up with.
Old rockers aren't after the "fountain of youth" as he puts it. They are celebrating because their rock 'n' roll music is part of a powerful and enduring legacy that now spans 50 years.
Fans all over the world appreciate rock as a uniquely American cultural phenomenon. If he doesn't like old rockers or classic rock, don't listen, don't watch, and especially don't diss another person's musical preference. No genre of popular music is the exclusive property of the young, or any other age. When he gets older, along with the music of his youth, maybe he'll understand.
I recently read with amusement in this forum as a writer complained about all the "oldies" or "geezer rock" performers out on tour. So sorry he doesn't appreciate great music that is still being written and performed by "geezers" like John Fogerty, Loggins and Messina, Paul McCartney, and the Stones. I have seen all of them perform.
Great music is immortal. The classical composers like Bach, Strauss, and Beethoven have proven that. Their music has lived for hundreds of years. Granted their music is not rock 'n' roll. But in 200 or 300 years, future generations will look back at our music and wonder what the heck we were listening to. I doubt they will be listening to "P" Diddy, or 50 Cent.
The Beatles, the Stones, The Who, and many other geezer rock bands will live on for generations to come.
Rock music now is nothing more than a rip-off of rock bands that have come and gone. Copied, but never duplicated, nothing original and nothing new. The author of that letter should invest in a ticket to a geezer rock show. Call it a "learning experience." Maybe then he will understand why Bob Seeger sang: "Just take those old records off the shelf, I'll sit and listen to them by myself, today's music ain't got the same soul, I like that old time rock 'n' roll!"
Thanks Bob for those immortal words!
James H. Marshall
Once more we have seen the judiciary make law. This in the decision re: Beatty vs. the City of Toledo. Since when does the local court overrule the state statute? This ruling is unprecedented.
The very reason we have the Second Amendment is to protect us from the misuse of the law by those elected to protect us. This action was a miscarriage of justice. The judge either didn't have the intestinal fortitude to express the true meaning of the law or was passing the responsibility on to "higher powers" because of political influence or some other influence.
If we can be consistent with this kind of thinking we no longer need the state legislature. We can begin to have every village and town have its own set of laws which can scam the voters with speed traps, gambling of all kinds, selling alcoholic beverages without control, and avoiding state taxes of all kinds.
If the public schools are a mess right now, can you imagine the chaos which would follow everybody on his own? This attitude, regarding the law, at all levels of government, is advancing to anarchy.
The need for intervention by the citizens is becoming more and more evident every day as our country's elected officials thumb their noses at our federal, state, and local constitutions and the division of our three sections of government: executive, legislative and judicial.
MILTON C. MANN
Teenagers are sometimes thought of by society as self-centered and uncaring. However, working with them every day I often see a different side. After warmly welcoming a new classmate who was displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, the students of the Central Catholic High School Band took it upon themselves to replace the saxophone that their new friend lost in the storm. In just one day the students donated money, purchased the instrument (with the generous support of Rettig Music), and presented it.
What a great way for these students to help a survivor of the hurricane. It is truly an honor to work with students this caring.
Director of Bands
Central Catholic High School