Last year, my wife and I paid our share of taxes to the City of Toledo. Like many others, a percentage of our payroll is automatically deducted and sent to the city for use in providing a variety of services to residents. Now the city is contemplating raising water rates to support much-needed citywide improvements to the system.
This is a reasonable use of city funds and normally I would support this. However, I do not live in the City of Toledo. Despite living just outside the city, I pay city taxes and a higher water rate than city residents do. Granted, I work in the city and take advantage of city services so I do not mind paying taxes to the City, but when it comes to other issues that will ultimately cost me more, I would like to have a say in the process.
Since I do not live in the city, however, I have no voice in city government. This, to me, seems to contradict the basic premise of "no taxation without representation." Citizens who pay taxes to a government, regardless of where they live, should have a voice in that government. The actions of the mayor of Toledo and of City Council impact all of the region, not just the city, and for those of us who help support them financially it only seems fair that we should have a vote.
It does not bother me so much that I pay taxes to a community where I do not live, but it does bother me that I have no vote and no say when it comes to choosing those tasked with spending my tax dollars.
Michael K. Veh
Attack on Blackwell was petty and harsh
I think a better title for The Blade's Jan. 9 editorial, "Blackwell a sore loser," would have been "The Blade a sore winner." After acting as a cheerleader for the Democrats during last year's election campaign, The Blade just couldn't deny itself one last attack on Ken Blackwell, the defeated Republican candidate.
Why The Blade had to inform the public of Mr. Blackwell's (alleged) discourtesy to the incoming secretary of state seems strange. What was really unnecessary was the last line - suggesting the prospect of "large-scale shredding." I guess the implication is that he broke the law? Again, this was a petty and harsh parting shot. The Blade got what it wanted Nov. 7. How much longer are you going to gloat?
Worship at altar of political correctness
I wonder if the Christopher Wren building's chapel at William & Mary is part of a national historic landmark. In his zeal to be politically correct, college President Gene Nichol may have failed to get permission from the feds to remove the altar cross.
What would he do if he were chancellor of the University of California-Berkeley and someone complained that a footpath bridge over a campus stream had a Star of David on each railing? If any place in California strives to be politically correct, it is the Free State of Berkeley that surrounds the nation's top public university.
The Blade is right: Mr. Nichol should find something better to do with his spare time.
Doneghy's decision was appropriate
So Tim LaPointe is ashamed of what he did. And he wants to apologize to anybody he hurt. His lawyer says he takes full responsibility and is remorseful. Make that truly remorseful, complete with tears. I can't help but wonder how ashamed he would have been, how remorseful he would have been, how many tears he would have shed, had he not been caught.
Judge Charles Doneghy should be praised for his decision to incarcerate a convicted criminal. Just because he snitched on his ol' buddy Tom, he should not go unpunished.
Help for the most vulnerable among us
I write in response to a Jan. 7 letter, "Wrong solution to group home woes." Family Outreach Community United Services (FOCUS) is a faith-based homeless services organization begun 25 years ago by Old West End churches collaborating to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.
FOCUS proudly addresses and meets the needs of those homeless seeking housing and support services by providing housing subsidy and intensive case management services to allow participants to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency, including lack of education, employment training, life skills, and sometimes the very real issues of addiction and mental health issues.
Homeless families and individuals with severe addiction or mental health issues are referred to programs better equipped and specially staffed to meet their needs.
Housing for FOCUS clients must meet federally established standards, and is arranged through partnerships with landlords or property management companies. The lease is signed by the client and landlord.
The homeless are people in our community who, through a series of events, including living in poverty, job loss, or life events beyond their control, do not have the resources to meet their needs. When they're provided skill-building services and support and are shown dignity and respect, the homeless become citizens just like you and me, able to maintain housing, employment, and create a future for themselves. FOCUS gives families and individuals up to two years of housing and services to reach this goal.
In 2006, FOCUS served 214 people, including 54 families. Of those, 18 families successfully completed the program and are taxpaying citizens in our community, making every attempt to live their dreams.
It brings me great satisfaction to be able to give back to my community by serving as board chairman of this highly respected, effective organization.
David M. Eddy
Brain drain? More like 'financial drain'
I appreciate Carty Finkbeiner's desire to stop Toledo's "brain drain," but unless the mayor stops Toledo's "financial drain," there won't be anyone left living or working in Toledo. Carty and the rest of Toledo's leaders need to address the following issues:
A school system that's hopelessly in debt, and all the elected board can do is argue.
Residential electrical and heating costs that are among the highest in Ohio. Water and sewage, the necessities of urban living, are on the verge of rising to unheard of heights. Car and home insurance rates that are at least a third higher than Toledo's neighboring communities.
At a time when home sales and property values are rapidly decreasing, Lucas County's property tax value increases.
And yes, let's not forget Toledo's payroll income tax.
No wonder people are not choosing Toledo. It's not a brain drain, it's a financial drain.
KENNETH R. DICKSON
True Americans are hoping for peace
What form can an appeal to our national leaders in government take? How else can we say what is deep in our hearts this year of 2007 than to say: Please refrain from talking about victory in Iraq! We have already lost - more than we can enumerate.
We have lost 3,000-plus American lives and disrupted as many families across our own country. We have lost 300,000-plus Iraqi lives from the ranks of humanity and ruined their cities, their dwellings, and their families.
We have lost millions of friends across Europe and Asia because of our arrogance and disregard for diplomacy and because of our indifference to international law and our treatment of prisoners.
We, home-town, loyal, and true Americans are not hoping for victory. We are hoping for peace! We are hoping for an end to this unjust war that has been masqueraded as a deterrent to terrorism but has itself become a terror. We yearn and pray for the blessings of peace now.
MARIE ANDREE CHORZEMPA
Just for fun, I think I'll put my big "Re-elect Mayor Ford" sign in my front yard again. It'll be interesting to see what reactions I get from friends and neighbors this time.
Jane E. Hamilton