A recent letter described "financial disasters" experienced by cities that have pursued wireless municipal networks. But there are as many positive research reports as negative. According to the June edition of MuniWireless, there are at least three models for establishing wireless municipal networks.
Many cities and counties have funded networks completely from public money. Some municipalities also have contracted with a communications company to build out the network, intending to fund it by selling subscriptions to residents.
A third model, preferred by the mayor, is a public/private partnership, in which Toledo will contract with a communications company to build and support the network, with the City agreeing to be an anchor partner to provide a minimum revenue stream.
The amount is a known quantity; no additional funds will be required from the City or the project partners to build out or support the network. The capital requirement to build and operate the network is the responsibility of the private partner.
This Wi-Fi model allows the City to advance the capability of safety forces without having any detrimental effect on the budget.
If you asked citizens to rank municipal WiFi along with other city services, it would probably rank low. However, if you described Wi-Fi as supporting police and fire, Wi-Fi would likely rank high.
Having wireless access means providing life-saving and property-saving information to first responders. It means relaying information (pictures, mug shots, fingerprints, videos, maps) interactively in real time. Safety forces' ability to communicate is essential to protect the community, and first responders are crippled without the ability to communicate.
As a bonus, Wi-Fi will also provide Toledoans with free, high-speed connectivity anywhere in the city.
A wireless municipal network is not another black hole for tax dollars; it's a force multiplier for public safety and other municipal services.
Patsy F. Scott
City of Toledo
No more gas cards for needy students?
Where did the $1.1 million from last year's gas cards go? Why is the gas card for students gone? Remarkably, the people who "need" these gas cards are driving around in SUVs getting 12 miles to a gallon and wondering why they can't afford it. I find it egregious in today's society that having a child is rewarded with such open-armed compassion.
I get no money for anything because I do not have a child. However: I am in the process of working midnights to put myself through college, going full-time year around to finish in 2.5 years, I am in the top 10 percent of my class, my 49-year-old father died in a car accident last year, my mother lives in a different state, I have not lived at home since I was 17, I am a recovering alcoholic of three years, lived in my car and on the streets, eaten at the Cherry Street Mission, and have yet to ever receive public assistance for living, driving, or school.
Now you're telling me I don't even have a shot at getting a gas card because I don't have a child, even though I qualify financially? I am appalled to live in such a "Great Society"!
World falling apart, but we still have Paris
What is wrong with this country? We have a President who is running this country into the ground. We have war in Iraq; Korea, and Iran are going nuclear; Africa is being ravaged by AIDS-famine-genocide; pollution is making the water undrinkable; gas and oil prices are outrageous, and people in this country can't afford food or medicine or even have a place to live.
When you read a newspaper or listen to TV or radio news, and the first headline that you read or hear is "Paris Hilton goes to jail," something is definitely wrong with the mindset of the citizens of this country.
Paris' predicament is front-page news?
I wanted to express my disgust at the front-page news on June 9. Not the tear-jerking story about a paralyzed dad celebrating his son's graduation; that was heartbreaking and touching. I was disgusted by the "Paris Hilton plucked from home" story below it being front-page-worthy news.
Paris Hilton in hysterics at being sent back to jail? Who cares? She broke the law and she deserves to spend her time in jail just as any other law-breaking individual should. If you must report this type of nonsense, do it in the Peach section, not on the front page!
Leesa A. Lester
Voucher program is a great opportunity
Our family participates in the Ed Choice voucher program and I think it is the best thing the State of Ohio has done. It gives my children an opportunity to excel academically as well as spiritually.
My daughter is in second grade and she is exceptionally bright. We have had her in the Toledo Public Schools system as well as the charter school system. She was not challenged at either school. There were two or three other exceptional students in my daughter's classes and I felt the teachers taught on the level of the other 17 children, not on the level of these bright children.
In the long run the bright children became bored. I chose to participate in the Ed Choice program to give my daughter a chance to be challenged academically. And she has risen to that challenge. The Ed Choice program is a wonderful opportunity for those it was meant to serve.
Our family lives in an under-performing school district. We did not have to withdraw to enroll or do any of those things that I have read about some families doing. I am on disability due to an injury and could not afford to otherwise send my daughter to private school.
Not all families can afford a private education and not all families are abusing the Ed Choice program. I do not think those families who are already participating in Ed Choice should have it pulled from under them. What will these children do? Go back to their under-performing school and learn backwards? That is a disaster waiting to happen.
Cleveland was the first city to use the Ed Choice program and it works for them. They have guidelines that have to be followed. Maybe the state should have those same guidelines across Ohio.
DeVeaux exceeded our expectations
Are you tired of hearing about the negative news concerning Toledo Public Schools? I am. So here is something good. In January, 2006, my husband and I were starting to shop for a charter school for our son, Tyler, for seventh and eighth grade. We live in the Start district.
During that spring Jim Gault, the principal of DeVeaux Junior High, visited Whittier Elementary to talk up the junior high. Tyler came home excited about attending DeVeaux. We were not as quickly persuaded.
But as the school year wound down, Tyler's enthusiasm grew. We decided to go along with his wishes and start the next school year at DeVeaux, keeping the charter school pamphlets close at hand. DeVeaux Junior High won us over. Mr. Gault has a great school. Mr. Gault is involved on every level, before, during, and after school activities.
The teachers are the best anywhere. And the office staff and counselors are top-notch.
Sure, when you are dealing with 13- and 14-year-olds the energy level and anxieties will be at the optimum limits. But in this case, Mr. Gault, his teachers, and staff have exceeded our expectations.
We are so glad Tyler convinced us to let him attend DeVeaux. We are looking forward to the 2007-2008 school year.
And those charter school pamphlets? They hit the wastebasket months ago.
Why-Fi? That's $2.2 million for Wi-Fi setup. It's all our tax money - city, county, state, or federal. That's 400,000 monthly garbage taxes at $5.50. Let's get our priorities straight.