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Published: Monday, 7/17/2006

Toledo's inferiority complex

Although I live in Los Angeles I recently purchased a second home in downtown Toledo. I still have family and friends here and thought it would be a good investment, especially if the downtown area grows as hoped.

I've spoken with a lot of Toledo residents since I've been back and virtually everyone asks me incredulously why I would want to come back to Toledo. Sometimes I'll get a sarcastic quip about how exciting or interesting Toledo is. Again, I hear this with just about everyone I talk to when they learn I also live in Los Angeles.

I've lived in a lot of cities and I've never found one where the residents had a bigger inferiority complex than those in Toledo.

I'm not sure why this is. Maybe Toledo is a lot worse off than I remember it, or maybe they know something I don't. Whatever the basis for their discontent, something has to be done about this. When the residents of a city consistently act ashamed of where they live, there is a problem.

Every city has troubles. Los Angeles is nice, but it is not some kind of heavenly nirvana. However, the Los Angeles city leaders do a great job of presenting the best aspects of Los Angeles. Despite the constant traffic headaches, ridiculously high housing prices, and lousy public schools among other issues, Angelinos by and large feel happy about where they live. City leaders have to do a better job of presenting the positives of living in Toledo.

Believe me, it isn't that bad here. But if you can't convince your own residents of that, good luck keeping them around.

MICHAEL KOLINSKI

Washington Street

I do not understand all the fuss about "leaking" news stories concerning U.S. investigations into terrorists' bank transactions. "Old news" is not "new news." Anyone with a brain could have listened to government officials say, immediately after 9/11, that they were going to go after the terrorists' money flow. So what was new about any current news coverage concerning that pursuit?

The real issue is the Bush Administration's addiction to secrecy. President Bush only wants the public to know what he wants it to know. That is not the way a functioning democracy should work.

The Dubai contract to manage some U.S. ports might have been approved had it been openly discussed before it was announced. But how that situation was handled clearly shows how the Bush Administration prefers to deal with public policy. In secret.

Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous meeting with the executives of energy companies, in secret, to determine our government's energy policy is another example. The list goes on.

The real issue isn't whether the press has the right to print or broadcast information it receives.

The real issue is why does President Bush want everything to be considered a national security secret when we are living in a democracy? What kind of democracy are we trying to export to Iraq? A pre-Watergate democracy?

President Bush is picking and framing issues to support his sagging poll ratings. Why is he promoting constitutional amendments that have no chance of passing instead of facing the important issues that face us all. He is a divider, not a uniter.

I am certain that members of the press know where to draw the line when it does come to genuine matters of national security. A free press is essential for a functioning democracy.

GREGORY MELCZAK

Sandralee Drive

The July 5 editorial, "Media story hardly treason," was right on target for what we are facing in this country today. The George Mason quote, "Freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained except by despotic governments," in the July 4 issue should be printed as a banner headline in all print media and as a lead in all broadcast media to remind the people in this country just how close we are to that despotic government under George Bush and his Republican parrots.

The two Forum contributors of July 5, and their ilk, should also keep that quote in mind. It would also be a good idea for everyone in this country to re-read the Peter Zenger story. And to remember what the first controls enacted by Hitler, Lenin, etc. were.

The Bill of Rights must never be abridged for any reason. That is why we became the nation we are and why despots would never have or respect a "bill of rights."

EDWARD P. BACHMEYER, JR.

Perrysburg

I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Johnny Paris, saxophonist, founder, and leader of Johnny and The Hurricanes.

My memory fondly takes me back to July, 1960, on a hot, humid evening in a non-air-conditioned amusement park ballroom, 10 miles from home. Two local bands and Johnny and The Hurricanes were featured at a dance. This was the time when the "Hurricanes" were at the top of the record charts, and had achieved national recognition from TV and concert appearances.

The two local bands were pretty impressive, that is, until The Hurricanes took the stage. Wow, what a difference! The Hurricanes' stunning and polished performance was several notches higher on the performance scale. I was already a fan, but this "live" performance converted me for life.

That unique organ sound, the clever way the songs were arranged, the sax and guitar solos, the highly infectious beat. All contributed to a winning formula for a sound that grabbed listeners' ears, set their toes tapping, and wouldn't let go.

To Johnny Paris and all the former Hurricanes, thanks for that wonderful music!

RON ZUBY

Shenandoah, Pa.

What can the city of Toledo do to give the sports arena project a jump start? I have an idea. Why not begin the search now for a company that would be interested in the naming rights to the new arena? Just vision this picture of the future: Key Arena, Fifth/Third Field, and SeaGate Convention Centre all in close proximity to each other in downtown Toledo, all of these great facilities working together to help make the city prosper and grow.

The company that is the successful bidder for the naming rights would partner with the City of Toledo and Lucas County to help the arena project get started.

If the company is a financial institution, it would certainly have some sound ideas of how to finance the new facility. Whoever has their name on the building would want things done right and obviously would take ownership in the outcome.

If securing financing is currently the major hurdle for the new arena then we need to find some creative ways to move forward. We might be able to find some answers in the private sector.

I hope that Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, City Council, and the Lucas County commissioners give this idea a chance. I think it might work.

GEORGE W. WEIDNER

Barrows Street

Thank you so much for your recent article on the opinion page about Amtrak. What Amtrak needs are rails of its own, not the freight rails. The trips I have taken have been delayed by a derailed train out west in 2003 and I missed connections in New York City.

Last September I sat on the train here in Toledo while they cleared the tracks of freight trains. Coming back from Chicago we had to wait for three freight trains in Indiana because they have the right-of-way. We do need money for Amtrak.

I am not a flyer, so on long trips I take the train. Planes have their problems, too.

JEANNE REISLER

Beaufort Avenue

Astounding! A man who stole chewing gum gets a year in prison, while a man who failed at his watch over Bureau of Workers' Compensation resources, facilitating the loss of millions of dollars in Ohio's resources, gets a finger-wagging reprimand!

DANIEL BARCZAK

Dexter Street



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