The Blade continues with unbalanced criticisms of public schools. A recent editorial lumped teachers unions with charter schools in terms of being greedy.
In 20 years of teaching and bargaining for teacher salaries in smaller, semi-rural schools, I have not seen settlements that outpaced inflation. All we have been able to do is try to keep up with the cost of living. That doesn t make teachers unions greedy. Don t blame teachers for those cost increases.
Money spent on public education may have outstripped inflation over the last 20 years, but schools have taken on greater responsibilities in trying to meet more diverse needs of students. Don t blame teachers for those cost increases.
The Ohio Legislature has recently reduced the state s share of public school funding, requiring local property taxpayers to carry more of the burden. Don t blame teachers for those cost increases.
Teachers are in the middle of the middle class. Don t call us greedy.
Your July 7 article on the one-year anniversary of the death of a St. John s student puzzled me. I do not doubt that he was a remarkable kid and agree that his death (like that of any teenager) was tragic.
However, I guess the problem I have is that there are many tragic teenage deaths; why did this one get so much attention? I remember my freshman year of high school when a Central Catholic freshman was tragically gunned down. I also remember sitting in musical rehearsal in the spring of 2004 and watching an eager young freshman collapse and eventually die. Not to mention the endless numbers of good kids who fall victim to gang violence and drunken drivers.
Where are the front-page, above-the-fold articles on them? Yet a teenager with a history of drug use, found dead of a cocaine overdose in an Ottawa Hills garage, receives extensive coverage. What message are we trying to send? Where is the justice in that?
I would like to point out that I have nothing against the young man or the St. John s Jesuit community, and I truly mourn their loss. However, I question The Blade s methods and motives.
I was willed a home in West Toledo four blocks from Crawford Avenue that my mother owned for 33 years. Every five or six years she would get water backing up through the sewer drain in her basement. Over the course of the last 33 years we have incurred thousands of dollars in damages that insurance wouldn t cover.
Now the insurance company suddenly wants pictures of the damages so they can refuse to cover what they already don t cover, and a claim has to be filed for those same damages that aren t covered so they can increase our premiums.
All this so we can attempt to apply for FEMA funds to repair the damages caused by a faulty sewer system which we have been paying to have fixed for the past five years.
Need I mention that we have been flooded three times since paying for this upgrade, twice in the past two weeks? On top of this, I got slapped with a notice that they want to raise my property values in order to increase my taxes! I was laughing so hard I nearly fell down the steps into my basement. It s a good thing there was water down there to break my fall.
The city keeps saying that it is due to the creek overflowing. If the creek was overflowing, then why wasn t the water covering the street on California Boulevard instead of coming in through the drain? And why were there some residents on Crawford and the rest of the streets south of Crawford who didn t get so much as a drop in their basements?
Call me dense if you will, but if a creek overflows, the streets and yards should have water in them, too.
A July 8 editorial implied that the actions of the Palestinian militants who killed two young Israeli soldiers and abducted a third was justified because of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Would The Blade justify the taking of an American soldier in Afghanistan by the Taliban because of their fellow terrorists in American jails?
Does The Blade justify the almost casual taking of Americans and other hostages by Iraqi terrorists?
Can any justification be stated for the indifference to human life and liberty so cavalierly exhibited by either Iraqi insurgents or Palestinian militants?
The Blade further called for an American mediation to show the two sides of that tragic conflict a way to a calm resolution.
On the same day that the editorial appeared there was a telling article in the New York Times. It quoted spokesmen of the Army of Islam, one of the groups that killed the two Israeli soldiers and took the third as a hostage. In a Web-posted statement the Army of Islam exhibited a picture of Osama bin Laden. It further indicated that negotiations will never work and that armed conflict was the only solution.
The logo of the group is a symbol of a globe, a sword, and a Qur an. There is nothing about Palestine. The group is reported as saying that it is not fighting for a piece of land but waging a religious war aimed at restoring a religious caliphate, or government, throughout the Muslim world.
For The Blade to propose mediation is to build a castle in desert sand. Even the very able editors of The Blade would not be able to mediate with such an ideologically extreme, war obsessed, religiously fanatical group.
Alan M. Sokobin
Pine Ridge Road
I recently read in The Blade that 10 percent of Mexico s population lives in the U.S. and that Mexico s president wants more liberal immigration policies so that these illegals can become U.S. citizens.
I have a more simplistic solution. Let s follow the example of the European Community and annex Mexico. That would make all Mexicans into American citizens and bring all the industry that moved to Mexico back under U.S. law and control.
Our labor unions, which are suffering from a decreased membership, could organize the workers down there. The government would then only have to build a short wall separating Guatemala and Mexico to keep out drug traffickers.
Who knows, we could even eventually annex Canada.
Then we could decide if we wanted English, Spanish, or French to be our national language.
If you can t beat them, join them.
I live on a short dead end street in North Toledo. Across the street is a large field, owned by the railroad company. I have been cutting it (about a half of an acre) for over 30 years. I leave a small amount for the city to cut, which they always do if they want to tax the railroad company for the whole field. That s OK with me.
The city as a rule cuts the weeds twice a year. So far it has not cut them once. I have called the mayor s office three times and was told the weeds would be cut, and they have not cut them all around North Toledo. The weeds are four or five feet high. When, Mr. Mayor, are these weeds going to be cut?
Talks started on July 10, 1951, regarding the Korean Conflict. That makes about 55 years we have been talking to North Korea. Just what makes the United Nations or anyone else think that talking to North Korea is going to bring a solution to its nuclear program or its firing of medium- and long-range rockets?
Their government will let us talk all we want, but there will never be a diplomatic solution other than they get everything they want, including South Korea.