Two recent Readers' Forum contributors seemed perplexed that while it's legal for the City to pay businesses to stay, build, or hire, it's not legal for businesses to reward councilmen for their favorable votes and influence.
We can dispel this understandable cognitive dissonance by remembering that the City has been empowered by its citizens to use force if necessary to protect them from the each other's use of force and to otherwise treat all the same.
Businesses, on the other hand, may and should pursue economic gain by any means except the use of force and other violations of the law. Thus, we can hope that Councilman Bob McCloskey's alleged solicitation of a bribe will be found illegal.
But there is little likelihood that we'll discover the illegality of the City's bribing businesses. Most of us don't see it that way. That's too bad because, when the City delivers tax abatements and other gifts, it not only increases the burden on the remaining taxpayers, it takes the side of the bribed businesses against their taxpaying competitors.
It's a matter of law and fairness that government, in pursuit of economic development, should be limited to providing efficient infrastructure and impartial and speedy approvals required for orderly development. If all this blather about "partnering with the private sector" and "creating" jobs were simply blather, we wouldn't need to worry.
But our local politicians have the reins in their teeth and are enthusiastically buying their way into business with our tax dollars.
PETER S. MILLER
I am constantly amazed by the Bush Administration's modus operandi of waiting to give explanations until they "mold" a story to fit their cause or explain their actions.
The latest case in point is Vice President Dick Cheney's misfortune while bird hunting. From the war in Iraq to the Valerie Plame "leak" case to the disclosure of domestic spying, information is either leaked or withheld depending on what best serves the needs of the administration.
What surprises me even more is that many in this country see the President and vice president as god-fearing men with morals and values.
Thank goodness we only have to deal with these two men of the utmost integrity for another three years.
The Republicans have sent the deficit to a staggering $8.1 trillion and are about to raise it again.
The new House majority leader, John Boehner, says "The American people know our government's too big and spends too much and they expect Congress to do something about it."
Where was he when these budgets were passed with the tax cut of $103,000 for a millionaire's income this year? If this was cut to $90,000 dollars, a lot of programs could be saved, but none of that is going to happen.
Mr. Boehner reminds me of a drunk who complains you've run out of beer, and now he wants you to put him in charge of the wine cellar.
These Republicans have had their time and their way has been a disaster.
The Young Republican clubs on campus should be required to explain how a $14 billion cut in college aid over the next five years is a good idea.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) pointed out that a house in the Cayman Islands had 12,000 tax dodging companies registered in it. Is this the Republican idea of fair taxation?
Seniors weren't spared. A $36 billion cut over five years in Medicare. Thanks for voting these guys in, senior citizens. Now pay your bill.
In the 1930s President Roosevelt used northern tax money to construct the Tennessee Valley Authority, that gave the south electric service at an extremely low rate, which they enjoy to this day. Southern Ohio still benefits from this with electric rates almost 30 percent lower than Lucas County. Gas rates in the Cincinnati area are 30 percent lower than rates in Toledo.
Toledo is saddled with natural gas powered generators for its electricity and is paying for an atomic power plant that supplies Cleveland with much cheaper electricity. This in turn has driven up our cost for both these utilities. With the PUCO granting every rate increase requested, we have but one way to fight back: The ballot box.
Auditor Larry Kaczala has the home values so inflated in Lucas County it's little wonder there are so many people on the verge of losing their homes because they can't pay the taxes. Enough is enough. I for one don't need a zoo with a $200,000 director or want to provide health care, food, and shelter for monkeys, elephants etc. If someone enjoys that, fine, let him pay for it in the form of an annual membership fee and entrance fee.
The Bush Administration has been arguing that its dubious post-9/11 spy program, bypassing court approval, is necessary in order to avoid lost time. However, it's been made clear that the administration has up to three days after each incident to secure legal approval, which voids its argument.
Acquiring court approval, even after the fact, is necessary to keep government spying on the legitimate track of potential terrorists rather than political opponents. Because time is obviously important, the appropriate courts should provide instant 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, discrete emergency service, as needed.
Circumventing checks and balances such as court approval perilously provides the Bush Administration opportunity to spy on and crush political opposition. Removing the checks and balances from our political system introduces a threat far greater than that of potential terrorists!
DAVID A. WARNER
A recent Forum letter, "Change the law for bicyclists," presented a logical and legal flaw, and implicitly put responsibility for bike safety solely on cyclists. The writer recommended that cyclists face traffic on residential streets and open highways. The Ohio Department of Transportation's bicycle laws state: "Every person operating a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable obeying all traffic rules." In other words, cyclists must ride with traffic, not against it. It's the law.
The letter writer claimed that cyclists do not travel much faster than walkers or joggers. On average, cyclists ride between 15 and 35 miles per hour; elite runners are lucky to break 60 minutes for 10 miles. Most cyclists, therefore, do travel much, much faster than joggers.
He also stated that cyclists might veer in the direction of a car when "looking back over their shoulder," which could pull them into a car's path. This comment implied that cyclists alone should take responsibility for road safety. However, ODOT's laws state: "The operator of a vehicle … overtaking another vehicle … proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle." In other words, the responsibility for safety rests on all vehicle operators, or in the case of this subject, the cyclist and the automobile driver. Automobiles do not have a monopoly on the roadways.
Given our recent good weather, and with spring not too far away, more cyclists will be on Ohio's roads. Roadways should be shared by cyclists and motor vehicles alike, as should responsibility for courtesy and safety.
Do you think the television show The West Wing should go off the air? I don't! What great material coming out of "The White House." And "The State of Ohio" could stay on the air for at least another 20 years.
The Blade's Steve Eder and James Drew could be the lead writers on this "reality show."