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Published: Sunday, 7/27/2008

Openness is antidote for conspiracies

Ever since the Watergate scandal, the public has exhibited an innate skepticism about government. Conspiracy theories regarding hidden agendas and back-room deals thrive in this environment. So when William Carroll, chairman of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board, says of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's request for an investigation into port authority President Jim Hartung's relationship with a lobbyist is "not his choice to make. This is a port board investigation," he is misguided. Such comments from Mr. Carroll, further fueled by the fact that he "wants to get his investigation concluded promptly but has no timetable for it," only serve to further cloud the issue and feed cynicism about governance and the responsible management of the public's precious taxes.

Mr. Carroll conveniently forgets that the port authority is public, that it is a governmental entity, and that he and his board answer to the residents of Toledo and Lucas County. Mayor Finkbeiner is only performing as the people's representative - the very taxpayers who supply the income for Mr. Hartung's salary (and compensation for lobbyists, by the way). The people have a right to an independent, transparent, and comprehensive investigation of the facts. To be fair, Mr. Hartung and the lobbyist deserve the same.

William Carroll ought to look around him because the walls, furnishings, and doors of the port authority offices are the property of the people of Toledo and Lucas County, and the use of these facilities is theirs to decide. He should be careful about hampering the investigation, or closing those doors to the people's right to know. The mayor's request for a wide-ranging outside investigation is justified.

Clarity is the antidote for thoughts of conspiracy. Let's remember what Ben Franklin said regarding government corruption, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

Michael Young

San Diego

Since when is the letter writer in the July 14 Readers' Forum privy to the "whispered" suggestions of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq into President Bush's ear by ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair? It is my understanding that the reverse was true. The threat of WMDs originated from the Bush Administration, not the Blair regime. Prime Minister Blair's insistence to the British people that joining the U.S. forces during the invasion of Iraq was necessary for both countries' safety was extremely unpopular from the beginning and it almost cost him his job.

It's also news to me and I'm sure the rest of the world that, according to this letter writer, the British Empire is alive and well, or as he put it "a new U.S.-powered British Empire." Maybe he is being satirical, like the New Yorker's recent unfortunate attempt at satire, eh?

Perhaps he needs to review his source of information and revise his obviously prejudiced and inaccurate opinion before releasing it for print. There are far too many erroneous and even malicious rumors and fallacies flying around our country these days to have more added to the garbage.

Josephine Dresser

Oregon

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner deserves recognition for his continued effort to dispute the U.S. Census Bureau's recent estimates of the City of Toledo population. His effort to work with area businesses and government leaders to devise a more accurate number should be commended. The results have already proven successful in respect to other mayors' efforts in cities nationwide. Cincinnati's Mark Mallory is a shining example.

Mr. Finkbeiner's support of this effort is important because an increase in population potentially brings more federal dollars to the city. And we all know, Toledo (like many struggling cities in the rust belt) needs more federal financing. Well done, Mr. Finkbeiner.

Ravi Kumar Perry

Potomac Drive

North Towne Mall slipped unnoticed into oblivion.

Southwyck Mall, after a few minor seizures, is now history.

Businesses large and small are vanishing.

Our population is slipping away.

The airport is sinking slowly in the West.

On the 22nd floor of Government Center, the A's and B's ask what can be done to bring back these people and businesses.

The Great One spreads his arms and pontificates: "Plant more flowers and they will come."

Jesse Otto, Jr.

107th Street

Every Thursday night in June and July, my friends, neighbors, and I meet at Walbridge Park for a concert. The concerts, which feature wonderful local talent, are free, open to the public, and probably one of the best-kept secrets (maybe until now) in Toledo.

Even on hot days, the shade from the beautiful old trees and the breeze off the river offer two hours of fun and the ultimate in relaxation. Bring a picnic or something to cook on the grills provided. Go once and I guarantee you'll go again.

Joan Peltier

Princeton Drive

Once again, the Anthony Wayne school system is asking taxpayers to pass tax levies that have been previously voted down, even though the state auditor's report found the district to be overstaffed and suggesting that they could better utilize taxpayers dollars.

In these troubled economic time, when people are losing their jobs, homes are in foreclosures in record numbers, food prices are rising, and gasoline continues to drain our funds, it is often a hardship to manage. Prudence requires us all to live within our budgets and sacrifice unnecessary spending.

Asking seniors who are on limited incomes, or voters who have no children in school, to pay for students to play sports, be in band, and take part in extracurricular activities is unfair. We need to follow examples of other schools in our state that pay to play.

We are taxed in excess for almost everything. In August, vote "no" on the Anthony Wayne tax levies.

M. Anderson Schalow

Whitehouse

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Toledo Zoo for a memory that will not be forgotten. We attended the Stevie Nicks concert on June 25. There was a constant rainfall. We were not allowed to bring in umbrellas. We were allowed to sit in the rain while being viewed by numerous stagehands and other personnel. (Now we know how the animals in the zoo feel.)

We were never informed as to the status of the concert - canceled, postponed, when it might start. Soaked, we left without even a hint of an update. At least the zoo gives its animals shelter from the inclement weather.

We have learned a couple of lessons: never attend a zoo amphitheater function and what it feels like to be treated worse than the animals housed by the zoo.

Karen Pilatowski

Petersburg, Mich.

I think it's a shame that a Lucas County Juvenile Court Judge Denise Cubbon refused to recognize a union in her court.

In 1934, Electric Auto-Lite also refused to recognize a union their workers were forming. It is one of the main reasons they went on strike. Here we are in 2008, 74 years later, and history is repeating itself.

Sherrie Maurer

Ogden Avenue

It s hard to make anyone smile when talking about today s fuel prices. I ll give it a try.

Q: What is one good thing about sky-high fuel prices?

A: It sure makes a $50 bill a lot handier. It can now do what the $20 bill used to do.

LOUIS A. MARLATT, JR.

Lyons, Ohio



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