It is always interesting to watch city leaders scratch their head and point fingers at the cause of flooding in their neighborhoods. Maybe if they didn't hand out tax incentives like candy to real estate developers and corporations that want to cover the earth with asphalt and concrete, they could stop the flooding. Look no further than the thousands of square acres of farmland being sacrificed in Wood County.
We're burning the candle at both ends - eliminating the surfaces that are absorbent and provide natural drainage and replacing them with asphalt and concrete. We also accelerate the pace at which the water gets to the streams by funneling it into storm sewers that can't handle the runoff from all the newly paved areas. When was the last time the developers built a river or stream? Collection ponds don't count - they just breed mosquitoes.
Maybe all new residential and commercial buildings should be required to catch the water from their roofs for sprinkler systems and other outdoor uses.
Now that we are trying to "grow our energy," it makes sense for people to rethink priorities. Once land is covered with asphalt, its fate is sealed and will never again grow crops for ethanol or food. Do we really need another place to buy dog food, Polly Pockets, and other tainted products made in China? Does Perrsyburg really need an Aldi store right next to Giant Eagle, Meijer, Kmart, Walgreen, Target, Wal-Mart, and Kroger? I can't wait for Dollar General to open a store in Levis Commons.
As I hear about the latest exploits of Toledo's chief megalomaniac, it makes me recall why I moved away more than 10 years ago. Who else was embarrassed when Mayor Carty Finkbeiner wanted to put the deaf community by the airport years ago and it made national news? Now there is Carty and "dog gate." What's next?
As more people flee the area because of the lack of jobs, when will Carty and his administration work on moving new businesses to the area? New jobs will help keep young people in the area, instead of them leaving and taking their college educations with them.
How hard is it to sell Toledo which has one of the best transportation infrastructures in the country, with major highways, major rail lines, air facilities, and shipping ports? More jobs increase taxes and everyone knows Toledo needs more tax dollars. New jobs are always better than increasing taxes for the people who remain in the area. Leave your dog at home, Carty, and get to work bringing new businesses to the area.
I was taught not to buy more car or house than I could take care of, both in the short term and in the long term. This evidently was a message Minnesota did not heed.
Cars take money to maintain. The oil needs to be changed, tires rotated, brakes wear out, batteries go bad, and water pumps fail. Houses need furnaces, hot water heaters, and roofs replaced. Siding needs to be painted about every 10 years, and so on.
Most states and cities do not care for the infrastructure. Minnesota is not alone. Consider Toledo's basement flooding and many terrible streets.
And the federal government is no better. The National Park Service continues to expand, yet the current facilities are in need of repair and there is inadequate personnel to serve the public.
We need to demand that at all levels investments be made to maintain what we have in a safe and healthy manner.
Toledo's economic history is rooted in primary industry and manufacturing. Over the years, that reality has translated to family-wage jobs for hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens.
Industrial and manufacturing developments are being downplayed in today's technology-crazed world of economic development, but there are cities in America that, by virtue of location, infrastructure, transportation assets, and skilled labor, are conducive to industrial and manufacturing development.
While it seems that almost every city aspires to be another Silicon Valley, we should not lose sight of the simple fact that someone is still going to engage in primary industry, manufacturing, and product assembly.
We build things in Toledo. We've always done it, we're good at it, and there is no reason we should be ashamed of it or forsake it as part of Toledo's economic future.
Technology and industry are not at opposite ends of the new development spectrum. Manufacturing, industrial, and assembly operations are hotbeds of technological innovation.
Many of us in Toledo believe that creating an atmosphere that encourages technology-based, environmentally responsible industrial development is essential to a diverse economic development strategy for Toledo and northwest Ohio's future growth. Manufacturing and industry need not by stigmatized as unsophisticated or as a flawed form of economic development.
The FDS Coking project being considered for development is a high-tech, environmentally responsible project that will double the through-put of coal at the port, facilitate the investment of nearly $1 billion, create 1,500 construction jobs, employ 150 skilled workers, and stimulate the development of numerous spin-off businesses.
I and others encourage your support.
Grand Rapids, Ohio
Editor's note: Mr. Duffey is former business manager of Local 8, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and former interim chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party.
As sure as local retailers display Halloween candy in August and Christmas decorations in September, we can count on political candidates seeking office in November to decorate the landscape with meaningless yard signs three months in advance of election day. To make matters even worse and to kick up the annoyance factor even more, our diligent candidates are now opting for the "super size" signs.
Can any potential voter out there honestly say their decision to vote for someone was influenced by a yard sign? I know the pols will respond by saying they are building "name recognition." I will grant them that and urge my fellow citizens to "recognize" these candidates who litter our surroundings too early by not voting for them.
There is only one way to make school funding equal and fair for every taxpayer, school, and child: a school income tax paid to the state and equally dispersed to every child in Ohio.
Why haven't wanna-be politicians, government leaders, and lawmakers discovered this simple miracle they all talk about: a tax collected fairly and equally, paid as you go, and dispersed equally to every child?
The federal government discovered this plan many years ago with the federal income tax, a tax on your yearly income rather than on a home you have invested in for 40 years, a home that sustains you and your family's very lives.
Why don't we get a system that's fair and equal to taxpayer and child alike? Because 88 independent tax kingdoms, divided into 611 independent tax kingdoms would fight it to their deaths.
It would help end financial, social, and racial segregation. No more rich schools, poor schools, but a state-run educational system treating every child and every taxpayer equally.
Anyone who doesn t think this country isn t headed in the wrong direction and we don t need a change in the political party and leadership in the White House consider this: no U.S. citizen can carry toothpaste aboard an airplane in the name of fighting terrorism and spreading democracy, but any American citizen can purchase tainted or poison toothpaste in the name of the free market, globalization, and free trade.
Progress is measured in the way you spin it.
ANDREW T. LINKO