Where does The Blade get off condemning Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for their secret meeting? I was surprised at the imperious tone of the June 18 editorial. When I first heard about their meeting, my reaction was, "Good for them." I was glad they managed to give the media the slip and meet in private. It was actually the best political story of the day and one of the best in the long, grueling primary contest.
What's wrong with meeting secretly? Neither was the official nominee of their party and they were not conducting government business. They were just two primary opponents meeting to discuss the future of their respective candidacies, and they wanted to do it in a relaxed setting outside the glare of constant media scrutiny and attention. We know the result of that meeting. We don't have to know every word that was spoken or emotion displayed at their rendezvous.
They may be public figures but they're also entitled to the dignity of some private moments, as we all are. Free press rights shouldn't preclude personal privacy rights.
Robert A. Kelso
Election of mayor is in need of reform
In a recent story in The Blade titled "Reactions of GOP, Dem leaders mixed," three Democratic political leaders shared the same basic view that a strong two-party system will lead to a stronger Toledo. I fully agree and call on The Blade to lead the charge in encouraging Toledo City Council to amend the process of electing our mayor. The open primary process we use now does not give the constituency a balance of ideas come November. We end up with two candidates from the same party with similar positions, even though they may be on different "teams."
As usual with Toledo politics, I am not holding my breath for real change. Real change is hard. We all know politicians run from anything that might threaten their power. That fear, the underlying belief of these three individuals, and that of the Democratic Party was summed up best in the last line of the story, a quote from Democrat Keith Wilkowski: "It may make it harder for us, but it's ultimately better for the public."
Grass overtaking Forest Cemetery
Recently, I read a letter to the editor in The Blade describing how beautiful Forest Cemetery looked on the writer's last visit. I could not believe what I was reading. Are there two Forest Cemeteries in Toledo? Surely, the writer was not describing the one on Mulberry Street?
On Father's Day, I went over to visit my dad's grave. I was appalled at what I saw. It was ghastly. Grass and weeds growing high between the markers, and that was only the beginning.
As I got to my father's grave, located toward the Buckeye Street side, the grass appeared somewhat mowed, but not around the markers. It really spoiled that day to see the cemetery in such disrepair. My father died in early January, yet the ground where he rests is sunken. Also, very large weeds are growing atop his grave. Grass is nonexistent. Even worse, his very expensive marker is tilted and ready to fall over.
Sadly, the real tragedy was when I found out, after making some calls to complain, that only three people take care of five city-owned cemeteries. Seasonal help is hired but very few mowers, no more than two or three, I was told. How are they expected to mow and trim around graves, as it should be done, in five cemeteries in five days? This is unbelievable, not to mention, unacceptable, but does anyone besides myself really care?
Mark D. Fuquea
Nothing will change on overtime abuse
I'm happy to see that someone is finally taking a look at the overtime abuse situation in Toledo, although in the end, I'm sure nothing will change because of the corruption and abuses in city government. I have often seen street cleaning crews out on the weekends and as late as 8 p.m. I have seen them out at the intersection of Monroe Street and Auburn Avenue on several occasions and just don't see the point. This is far from being a model neighborhood.
Is this just another example of city workers being able to do whatever they want because of some sweetheart union contract? It wouldn't surprise me in the least.
Questions for Kaptur on borders, energy
Since Congressman Marcy Kaptur has questions of a serious nature for the two presidential candidates, perhaps she might consider answering some questions that a majority of Americans deem serious.
1) What are you doing to close the borders to the thousands of illegals, including drug dealers, gang leaders, murderers, rapists, and thieves?
2) Why are you opposed to drilling for and producing oil for our country? The Chinese, Indians, and Cubans are just off our coasts drilling - we aren't. A small, desolate corner of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge supports little wildlife and quite probably holds enough oil to last us for decades but we aren't drilling.
One hopes that the votes of Hispanics and support by special-interest groups are not the reason for your negative votes. How about fewer photo ops and more doing what the majority of voters have charged you with?
William P. DeHan
Chemicals increase farmers' crop yields
A recent letter writer who faulted the farming industry was ignorant of some basic facts. First, the use of chemicals has enabled an almost doubling of the harvest. Fifty years ago, 80 bushels of corn per acre was a great yield. Today, 200 bushels is common.
No-till planting saves huge amounts of fuel. We used to plow the ground, disc it three times, and then plant the corn. That was four times over the soil. Then we cultivated the corn three times before the final harvest. That is four more times over the soil, or eight times total. Today there is no-till planting and harvesting.
Finally, the no-till process improves moisture retention in the soil and reduces soil erosion. These are two added byproducts of today's technology.
Hooray for chemicals.
Refuse fees should stay in department
During a recent call to the Department of Public Utilities, I was informed the fee for garbage pick up will increase to $21 and change in July. If I recycle, less $7.
Then I re-read an article in The Blade in which Councilman Joe McNamara said he wants to take funds from the refuse fee account that, as of May, had $70,000 more than what was budgeted and apply those funds to the $45,000 needed to restore drug testing for criminal offenders to comply with a court order of May 30.
This is a major problem. You can not keep borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Peter still needs to be paid back.
What money comes into a department should stay there. I agree with Councilman Lindsay Webb, who said that refuse fee money should stay in the refuse department. We should all be upset about the diverting of revenue from one account to another. I would like to see it in print and law: what goes in, stays in that account. We need more council members to think of Toledo's residents.
North Michigan Street
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner: Cancel that new garbage collection program.
Twice I have witnessed my one recycling bin with nothing but paper and the other with cans, bottles, and plastics, both being dumped into the white garbage trucks along with the garbage. Why bother to recycle?
It seems to me with the local economy down the drain, laying off collectors who are paying payroll taxes to finance garbage collectors and equipment is way out of line. I will never, ever vote yes on renewal of the additional levy if this new hare-brained scheme is implemented.
Mary A. Keller