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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2007

The people who run TPS don't get it

Almost any passerby if asked at random can tell you that kids and teachers are the reason schools exist. Ask again what to cut if a school district has budget problems, and it's doubtful that teachers, books, and classroom materials would be at the top of the list.

That's why those of us in classrooms wonder if people who run schools really get it. Case in point: Superintendent John Foley has proposed cutting 50 more teachers this fall. Under some circumstances that might be justified, but Mr. Foley will not eliminate a single administrator.

Schools close, jobs disappear, teachers are laid off, yet no management people lose their jobs. In raw numbers over the last six years, there are now 392 fewer teachers but two more middle managers.

Someone should take a fresh look at Toledo Public Schools, especially the bloated management staff that has a sweetheart contract that protects administrators, needed or not.

Francine Lawrence

President

Toledo Federation of Teachers

The Masons remain community-minded

A June 19 editorial viciously painted our Masonic fraternity with a broad brush. To "flee" implies a cowardly, desperate action that we who keep the flame find offensive.

First, we aren't about the building - really. The lessons of integrity, fidelity, and tolerance have nothing to do with bricks and mortar. We just utilize them as symbols in our degrees. The first working lodges in Ohio territory were military lodges composed of men with no more than tents for shelter.

Historically, many Masons have enjoyed the from-your-bootstraps meritocracy known as the American dream. Most notable were Paul Revere and Ben Franklin, both from humble beginnings. Lodges then met above taverns (when they didn't adjourn for tea).

In the last century, entrepreneur captains of industry were our patrons. Locals included Grafton Acklin and Robinson Locke as well as Robert Stranahan. World War II vets who missed the camaraderie and fraternity of military service swelled our ranks disproportionately.

Times change. People change careers more readily than trading in SUVs. Nine-to-five jobs are nearly gone. Service clubs, mainline religions, and sports leagues are all shrinking. Corporations not on this continent replace family-run businesses as local employers. The deep pockets are gone, along with much of the local noblesse oblige.

Finally, both Zenobia and the Valley of Toledo have always served Masons of several counties away. Sorry to break it to you, but downtown or south end, Toledo is not quite the sun that it used to be. (Why did you not bash the Sight Center, the Red Cross, or TV30/FM91 for relocating? Why isn't Buckeye TeleSystem downtown?)

As Masons and Shriners, we have been, and remain, very community-minded. However, we are under no obligation to shore up aging, poorly located, or underutilized facilities.

Paul C. Peters

Cherrywood Lane

Bassett's closing handled with class

As an employee of the Bassett's Market at the Starlite Plaza, I would like to publicly express my appreciation of the way Mike Bassett and Bob Carpenter told the employees of the closing of the Sylvania store. Mike, Bob, and store manager Mark Katafiasz made sure that all employees were aware of an important meeting being held on Tuesday evening. This included calling employees at home. I'm sure it was a very difficult message to convey to us, but they did it face to face, in person, unlike some area businesses that left a note on the door telling their employees arriving for work that they were "closed for good." To me this shows class, integrity, and honor. They treated us with respect.

Shannon Clare

Ottawa Lake, Mich.

Republicans are never wrong, right?

A June 11 Forum writer accused The Blade of not doing any "legwork" on a couple of stories. He said that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was untruthful when she said there weren't enough National Guard troops available after the recent devastation from a tornado. He said, "It is no coincidence that the governor is a Democrat who will be running for re-election soon."

Had the writer done his own "actual legwork" he would have found that Governor Sebelius was just re-elected last year and is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. Perhaps those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I wonder how many times this letter writer has proclaimed "The Gospel According to Rush Limbaugh," without bothering to fact-check.

Oops, what's wrong with me? Republicans are never wrong, are they? Those weapons of mass destruction are still buried in Iraq somewhere, right?

John G. Pietrowski

Temperance

What about family of slain nun?

What I find to be most troubling about the recent letters supporting the sign honoring Msgr. Jerome Schmit is that they give little or no consideration to how these signs may impact the grieving family of murder victim Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

How would any of us feel if it were our elderly aunt choked and stabbed to death? How would any of us feel if the person responsible for it had escaped justice for more than 20 years? How would any of us feel if the police investigating the murder testified under oath that their efforts were thwarted by a monsignor decades earlier? How would any of us feel about a sign honoring that monsignor?

If it were my family member, I'd get a ladder and take that sign down myself.

Linda Waters

Sandusky

Residents get wind of new coking plant

The coking plant construction process in East Toledo/Oregon is gathering steam despite local efforts to show the hazards that will exist if it is permitted. Local and state politicians like Carty Finkbeiner, Marge Brown, Marc Dann, Randy Gardner, and Gov. Ted Strickland himself are really greasing the wheels of progress and are cutting through lots of red tape to make it happen. The unnamed investors and plant owners really appreciate our local politicians' efforts, too. They want to break ground in 60 days!

Problem is, none of these people live downwind of the plant! Carty and Marge and Marc and Randy and Ted won't mind if a little mercury-laden pixie dust gets sprinkled downwind in Lake Erie or on the children who live in Harbor View and Oregon, and the thousands visiting Maumee Bay State Park each year. Those 150 coking plant jobs in Toledo will be more than worth it, right?

Jim Brower

Oregon

Has Bush not noticed 'salvation' at hand?

With President Bush constantly badgering Congress for additional money to fund his "faux pas" surge(s) in Iraq, I'm surprised that Mr. Bush and his administration haven't come up with any alternative ways to help defray the cost of the war.

By now, I thought that Mr. Bush would have already commandeered the "Salvation Army" to serve a tour of duty in Iraq in a fund-raising capacity.

By doing so, the Salvation Army workers could be placed in all major cities, villages, and on the farms of the poppy growers in the outlying areas, where they could solicit the Iraqi people for donations to help supplement the American taxpayers' dollars that are being spent on this inane fiasco. Of course, all of the workers would have to furnish their own "kettles."

Marvin Gagnet

Commonwealth Avenue

President Bush explaining his veto of stem-cell research legislation: "It would compel American taxpayers - for the first time in our history - to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos." I applaud the lofty goal of this administration to prevent taxpaying Americans from involuntarily supporting morally questionable causes.

However, in retrospect, would it not be equally appropriate to exempt those same taxpayers from paying their share of the $500 billion spent thus far on the morally indefensible invasion of a sovereign country?

Karl Walters

Fostoria



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