The Blade was dead-on with its article concerning child trafficking and prostitution. Children who end up in this situation are all too often running from a home where abuse is present and children are easily lured away by seemingly kind words and offers of cash or gifts.
Childhood sexual abuse is one of this country's greatest challenges in terms of social and economic problems. More commonly than the child prostitution described by The Blade, girls are most often abused by someone in the home while boys are more likely to be abused by a familiar person outside the home. Sexual abuse has devastating effects on children well in to adulthood, many ending up on disability with depression or other mental illness. Abuse survivors have a much greater vulnerability to drug addiction, learning disabilities, and entering into an abusive relationship in adulthood.
All of these issues cost society greatly in terms of stability in the community, people's ability to work and raise families, and ultimately, the economy.
Given the costs to society, it would stand to reason that family stability would be a priority concern. We need to strengthen, not weaken, neighborhood public schools. More support needs to be given to social service agencies that are on the forefront of safeguarding children. Yet schools and health-care agencies, responsible for helping families and protecting children from abuse, have experienced serious budget cuts in the last six years while utility companies enjoy record profits with federal blessings and senators go on golf outings. The government has spent more time and money on Terry Schiavo, intelligent design, loosening pollution control regulations, and that fiasco called FEMA than it has on the real issues concerning all of us.
We need a better set of priorities.
On the surface, the Westgate project appears to suffer from political posturing, paralysis, and lack of strategic leadership that leave Toledo with vacant downtown waterfront property, an ice hockey franchise with no respectable place to play, and acres of suffocating commercial property throughout the city.
What appears to be unique with Westgate, though, is a longtime property owner who has decided to take a new approach and appears to be willing to play by the latest Toledo rules of the game.
This new strategy for Westgate may not be popular with all parties; development rarely is. But in this case we have someone who wants to invest in Toledo, to provide a new shopping experience in a desirable area of the city.
But wait, something is wrong.
Let's see what can be done to delay, debate, and express serious doubts about whether this development is worse than more years of no development and more taxpayer dollars for further studies.
Do we need another gas station in the neighborhood? No. Do we need more paved parking in the neighborhood? Except for the crazy week or so before Christmas, the answer would be no. Do any of us stand to benefit from the first intrepid step into an improved Westgate retail environment? Yes.
If after all is said and done, and the citizen voice suggests that the city continue to wait for the "perfect" deal, we must all be willing to accept the consequences of additional vacant properties waiting for another day to generate revenue.
When the Westgate development plan is reviewed again shortly, let's put our best face forward, confirm adherence to the rules of the game, and greet an old neighbor. It's the right thing to do.
There are a lot of uppity residents in the Westgate area.
These people can't appreciate the fact that someone like Costco would be willing to build in their area. One complaint they have is that there are plenty of empty buildings in the area to build at instead. But what do they call the Dillards/Lion Store building?
They complain about all of the asphalt in the plans. Well, what's out there now? A huge asphalt lot! At least the plans make better use of the entire Westgate area.
I think that they would rather let the whole area become even more dilapidated than it already is.
Don't they feel fortunate that someone's willing to put money into the area when the other option is to run the area into the ground?
I would love to have a Home Depot in my area, especially if the other option is an empty lot.
Also, it is the residents' fault that there is an empty hulk instead of a movie theater. The theater owners wanted to put the theater in the back instead of the front of the lot? Unthinkable! I don't blame National Amusements for jumping ship to the mall instead.
Walk Westgate? Please.
These guys need to ask themselves how many of them actually walk to the stores in the area. If they are too good to have big business in their area, I'm willing to bet that they're also too good to actually walk places.
Brook Point Road
I find it incredible that Toledo officials are doing an awful lot to discourage Costco from coming to Toledo.
Costco offers good paying, permanent, full-time jobs with good benefits. Costco's CEO was chastised by Wall Street for giving his employees too much in the way of pay and benefits. But Costco has a very high retention rate of employees. It does not rely on the government to supply benefits for its employees as does another discount warehouse chain.
Well, I have a suggestion for Costco. Come to Wood County. We would welcome a business such as theirs. And we have the space available.
I bet the people who operate Crossroads of America between U.S. 20-23 and State Rt. 795 would love to make available the space for a large store, a gas station, and plenty of parking. There are restaurants, supermarkets, and other retailers already there.
So come on, Costco, give up on the crybabies in Toledo.
This Wood County resident welcomes Costco. And besides, the area I described is easily accessible from the two aforementioned routes and also the Ohio Turnpike and I-75.
ROBERT De STAZIO
Electronic billboards are beaming into my life, and I don't want them! More visual pollution. (What "elegant" city?) The reverse of beautification. More distractions on the road. Who needs it?
People are trying to drive. Is this not a full-time task? (Oh, and they're trying to make a phone call, too, excuse me )
All change is not progress. Progress means going forward and I, for one, believe this kind of advertising is a real step back, increasing clutter and distraction and ugliness.
Many have asked me whether I am for or against the war in Iraq. That is a worthy question, but I believe there is a question of greater value: Will we finish what we have started?
In spite of the fact that we have a responsibility in Iraq, some want to pull our troops out because they want peace. I have respect for those who desire peace, but these persons need to realize that responsibility comes before peace.
Sadly, many Americans are impatient. They want immediate results. Very few have the patience for the suffering that is required to go through a war and finish it.
We need to persevere in the work we have started. We must finish what we have begun. The struggle is hard, but by God's grace we will prevail!
JOY E. PHILLIPS
Three reasons for the sports arena to be built on the East Side:
Parking. Parking. Parking.