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Published: Wednesday, 11/2/2005

Our chance to reform redistricting

On Nov. 8 I urge all to vote for Issue 4 and reform redistricting in Ohio. I co-sponsored similar measures in the Ohio Legislature many years ago.

Passage of Issue 4 would prevent gerrymandering, the practice of political parties creating legislative districts to maximize their voting strength.

It divides counties, towns, and people, and creates weird shapes, with tentacles reaching out for no other purpose than to benefit the party controlling the procedure. Independent voters are cut out of the process entirely. It is all done in secret, behind closed doors. It protects incumbents and stifles competition.

Gerrymandering has been called one of the most politicized and corruptible practices in American-style government. Issue 4 would change this. It would establish an independent commission which must choose the best redistricting plan offered, as designed by law. Districts would be more compact and more competitive.

Our present method of redistricting is a perverted political procedure.

Issue 4 would make it fair, open, and honest.

JOHN A. GALBRAITH

Vice ChairmanRepublicans for Reform Ohio NowMaumee

Another Election Day is rapidly approaching and a group promoting Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5 is hoping that you will either be too confused to understand or too lazy to care why these four issues quiet your voice in government. As a nine-term member of the United States House of Representatives and a former Ohio Senate President, I understand why fair elections are so crucial to our future. That being said, I believe Issues 2-5 weaken our system and cheapen your vote.

The proponents of Issues 2-5 purposely crafted these amendments to be more than four times longer than the entire U.S. Bill of Rights in the hope that you will not read all of the text. If you failed to read all 2,000 words of Issues 2-5, you may be unaware that these proposals give interest groups and the wealthy unheard of advantages. If successful, they will also allow unions to divert your dues to support candidates or issues you oppose.

In addition, the power to create our congressional districts would be stripped from your state elected officials and given to unaccountable political appointees. This will virtually assure us of grossly distorted districts and split communities.

Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5 will result in more bureaucracy, more political appointments, and less responsibility in Columbus. They are bad for Ohio and I urge you to gather all of the information you can before going to the polls on Election Day. This is a time for Ohioans to decide the future of the political process in our state.

U.S. Rep. Paul E. Gillmor

Old Fort, Ohio

My 18-year-old daughter, Erin, just graduated from Northview High last spring. She was set to go to college (Eastern Michigan University) this fall, like most of her classmates. We have friends who are part of the 180th Air National Guard unit based here in Toledo. They espoused the benefits of having tuition and expenses paid for while in the guard, as well as many other opportunities associated with military service.

Erin investigated, visited the base, and made contact with recruiters. I certainly was not happy with the idea, but she persisted, tested, and was accepted into the 180th.

Erin went to basic training for the Air Force at Lackland AFB in San Antonio two months ago. I can say that I have never been a prouder parent than I was at her graduation ceremony from basic training.

She had turned into a confident, proud, accomplished young person who conquered the rigorous mental and physical challenges of basic training. She had to deal with responsibilities that children of today are seldom exposed to.

She learned independence and leadership as well as the importance of teamwork and following orders.

She graduated with 700-plus other young people, very proud of themselves and proud of their country.

She said she wouldn t have missed this opportunity for the world.

She loves it and can t wait to return to Toledo and proudly serve where she is needed while attending college.

Don t arbitrarily dismiss the idea of military service for your child. There are many rewards associated with it, both tangible and intangible. I have been duly impressed.

Dayle Pugh

Sylvania Township

Your Oct. 24 report on a case of bird flu in Great Britain contained the suggestion that the virus was contracted from exposure to birds from Taiwan. This has been proved incorrect.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) has stated that Taiwan is free from avian flu.

Upon receipt of news that the H5N1 avian influenza virus was found in the parrot from Suriname in the British quarantine facility where the birds shared airspace with birds from Taiwan, BAPHIQ sent health inspectors to the farm of origin to examine the health status of the birds.

All birds on the farm were healthy. Throat and cloaca swabs from the birds on the farm were sampled, and the results were negative, indicating that the H5N1 virus isolated from the Suriname parrot in quarantine has no relation with birds exported from Taiwan.

BEN SHAO

Taipei Economic and Cultural OfficeChicago

It tore my heart out to watch on TV the pillaging, plundering, and rape of the neighborhood I was raised in for 18 years.

The criminals, so illegitimately referred to as folks by some Fox News wag, broke down the doors and windows and swarmed like rats running over each other to squirm up a narrow staircase to get to the second floor of Jim and Lou s for no other reason than to inflict harm.

All the time the police seemed to be regrouping, from my vantage point.

So it s OK for our uniformed troops in Iraq to empty their magazines on trucks that even look suspiciously laden with explosives.

It s OK for our night-vision pilots to vaporize unidentified insurgents who look like they are planting a roadside bomb.

It s OK for our sharp-shooters to take out one crazed whacko who is holding hostages.

Why, then, isn t it OK for the police to shoot to kill anyone who is battering a person s front door in on national TV?

Had the tavern owner and his nephew remained at home and not escaped, we would be wringing our hands asking how could we have let their murder happen!

The Toledo Police Department has a motto: To Serve and Protect.

I remember this since childhood and that has been more than 45 years removed.

This motto raises the question: Who?

Rick Lesniewicz

Marstons Mills, Mass.

One of America s Great Newspapers has turned bitter and sour and obsessive.

The opinions expressed on the editorial pages color every news article that reports on the subjects of your editorials. Your readers deserve fair and objective reporting.

Specifically on Iraq, how can you justify honoring those who serve there and so completely ignore and diminish their accomplishments?

They are working there to give Iraqis a chance to make choices. Through all history, absolute dictators have never enhanced the human rights or the dignity of their subjects.

Lighten up.

Life is tough enough without being hammered senseless every day on every page.

JACK MacMILLAN

Sylvania

The Ohio Republican Party came out against the reform issues on the Nov. 8 ballot. Reason enough to vote for Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Larry Koosed

Perrysburg



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