Roberta de Boer's Oct. 21 column was a perfect example of The Blade's constant negativity on Toledo. Her cute approach to tearing down any attempt to promote our area's assets is really tiresome and destructive.
Roberta and The Blade should be most aware of the overwhelming positives of living in this area. We have cultural assets that cities three times our size would kill for: the museum, symphony, zoo, Metroparks, and ballpark, to name just a few. And you can get to any of them in 20 minutes or less and parking is free or cheap.
Geographically and geologically, we live in the center of things: the most productive lake in the world and the largest river flowing into any of the Great Lakes providing fantastic fishing and boating; the intersection of the two major interstate highways; lovely suburbs; a revitalizing downtown; four fine colleges and universities; good medical facilities, and lots more. Just tell me, what is there not to like?
When was the last time you were in a daily traffic jam? Commuting or going anywhere is a breeze. If you have plenty of time on your hands and have to have a "big city" fix, you can find one going north for an hour or east for about two hours. Then you can spend hours tied up in "regular" traffic jams, pay big bucks to park, and have plenty of time to wallow in the mental anguish, joy, and expense of living in or visiting a big city.
No town is perfect, but many of us keep trying to improve this wonderful area. Why the media are not leading the way is a mystery to me.
Just ask five people who have moved here from other cities about our livability. You might just get your eyes, and your mind, opened.
Adoption process is difficult, expensive
Many people have no idea how hard, expensive, disappointing, and dishonest the adoption process is. American and international adoptions are extremely expensive and time-consuming. Most of the time, the adoptive parents go through an emotional roller coaster and have no legal rights.
After two failed adoptions, we have the most beautiful and perfect son, who is now 2 years old. What we went through to get him was not easy, so we chose to go with international adoption for our second child. We decided on China and was told the whole process would take 12-15 months.
Here we are, over two years later, with little chance of going to China until January, 2009. We decided to pull our dossier package out of China. We had to choose between my staying home with our son or going back to work full time to afford the cost of going to China. We went through so much to get our son that we decided to quit. Twenty percent of hopeful American adoptive couples are doing the same.
Adoption agencies conceal these problems from prospective applicants in the interest of collecting significant up-front adoption fees. People pay thousands of dollars, thinking that they'll be able to complete an adoption in about a year.
The agencies "take orders" for babies under terms that they no longer can live up to. Meanwhile, prospective adoptive parents are told to "keep waiting," and "there is nothing we can do." So many are not just out thousands of dollars but of their dream of adopting a baby.
Adoption should be a positive, heart-warming, wonderful experience. There are so many babies who need good homes but if something is not changed with the adoption process there will be fewer and fewer prospective adoptive parents.
Evangelicals losing faith in President
Millions of evangelicals around the United States are beginning to lose faith in our President. He has taken a position that is not consistent with biblical teaching.
I know that he does not agree with this statement. However, President Bush at times has been out of touch with what is really happening and what people are thinking, especially in the evangelical and Bible belts in our country. This lack of understanding and not being open to other people's views will certainly be the downfall of the Republican Party, not only now but more importantly in November, 2008.
The United States has fulfilled its mission in Iraq and needs to withdraw all of its troops immediately, or at least within the next six months. We have no right or authority to continue the aggression and killing of innocent people.
Also, 85 percent of Iraq's citizens now want all U.S. troops removed from their country.
Isn't it amazing that our President is not even willing to listen to the citizens of Iraq, let alone the vast majority of American citizens?
Needless to say, he continues to create a situation that is not acceptable to Iraq citizens or the rest of the world. The outcome of this war is clearly going to be devastating, and a human tragedy of epidemic proportions.
However, Mr. Bush will continue to be President until Jan. 20, 2009, and will be held accountable for his actions and decisions that continue to cost the lives of thousands of people without regard to the wishes of the American people and the citizens of this world.
Steve Von Gunten
Compare Calif. fire response to Katrina
Watching television and reading newspaper accounts of the California fire disaster, I was impressed by the almost immediate response by President Bush in declaring a major disaster area, immediately dispatching top emergency management officials to the area, dispatching soldiers from the nearby Army base at Fort Ord as well as National Guard units, promising immediate federal emergency loans and grants, etc.
I was also impressed by what some of the evacuees at Qual-Com Stadium had to say about how they were being treated. Most said that the food was great, the accommodations very, very nice and comfortable, their kids were having a great time, and they were very grateful for how President Bush was handling the crisis.
Probably some cynics will say that because Orange and San Diego counties are probably the wealthiest and most Republican counties in the country, President Bush's immediate and overwhelming response was politically motivated.
Can you imagine that? How cynical can you get? Remembering the botched response of FEMA and President Bush, it would be very interesting to talk to some of the folks who went through Hurricane Katrina, spent time at the Super Dome in New Orleans, and waited for days for federal assistance. Go figure and think about it.
Gerken ethics bear watching in future
The recent revelation of Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken's $18,000 "donation" to a Toledo pastor's son was quite interesting to read about in The Blade. The pastor's son solicited the money from the Lucas County Improvement Corp. with Mr. Gerken's blessing in exchange for the promise of developing business relationships for the county from Chinese businesses. The problem is that no such business ever occurred.
Not only that, the pastor and his son both have ties to Mr. Gerken's past election campaign. Ironically, the whole thing may never have come to light if not for fellow commissioner Ben Konop's tyrannical attempt to get LCIC's executive director, Shawn Ferguson, fired from his job.
Mr. Gerken must have thought he was back at his old union house, where paying off buddies for "special favors" with union funds was just how things got done. One wonders how Mr. Gerken might handle contracts for work to be done at the new, soon-to-be-built "Gerk Arena."
Mr. Gerken's ethics bear watching. Perhaps Mr. Konop can add this to his list of responsibilities, which now include finding a replacement for Mr. Ferguson, who has since resigned. Looks like Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has competition for the "biggest goof of the year" award.