The Blade's Nov. 6 editorial, "A transcendent victory," brought back memories of my first high school class reunion many years ago.
As an African-American living in a small northern city in Indiana with a minimal minority population, I was the lone black student in all of my classes.
However, I was genuinely surprised that none of my teachers seemed to remember me. It felt strange. How could they not remember, as I certainly stood out from the rest of my classmates?
Later, along with other students, I spoke to a teacher whom I admired for his unique presentation of class material. He, too, seemingly did not remember me. Frankly, I always took pride in the fact that I was a good student with an excellent attendance record. However, he certainly remembered my classmates.
I was deeply saddened as I walked away. Suddenly, it dawned upon me. Indeed, it would be difficult to remember someone whom you never saw.
Nov. 4, 2008, will always be an historic day for all Americans, and an extra special day for extremely proud minority group members.
I look forward to the new year with its challenge, promise, and change.
Higher real estate fee is not the answer
I know it's tough to make the county budget work. Mine too. Many who depend on revenue from real estate sales are challenged.
The temptation to raise conveyance fees and taxes may be intuitive, but it's dead wrong.
Valuable lessons can be learned by studying history. Economists tell us that increasing taxes to exploitative levels will always produce increasing "gray market" activity, resulting in under-reporting of taxable events. The result will be lower tax collections instead of higher.
In these difficult times, sound government policy calls for tax breaks and fee reductions. These are now popularly called "stimulus packages" and are supported by the wisest minds in Washington, D.C.
Supportive and empowering paradigms always work better than exploiting the governed to make budgets work. Certainly, the Toledo area real estate market calls for more stimulus, not more taxation. The Lucas County commissioners would be wise to consider this.
I personally support the Toledo Board of Realtors in its opposition to this proposal. The last thing we need is for more real estate buyers or sellers to drop out of the market.
The currently proposed conveyance fee increase will cause more real estate sales to produce negative equity, more houses to go empty, more sellers to end up "under water," and more taxpayers to leave our region for greener pastures.
A certain giant sucking sound will only get louder if this tax increase is passed.
I choose to hope that the county commissioners will see the light. Do the right thing for the benefit of the county budget, for the budgets of all who serve in the real estate market of greater Toledo, as well as for the good of the residents of Toledo and Lucas County.
Furloughs must not put residents at risk
Here is a quick lesson for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner: overtime causes deficits, so to fix that problem, shouldn't you add manpower to the departments to lower the deficit now and in the future?
The canceling of the police and fire classes is not only shortsighted but almost criminal in its stupidity. Shouldn't the welfare, safety, and possible insurance increases to Toledo residents be the number one priority? How many less than $10,000 projects (a new shower and the Erie Street Market, to name a few) and the planting of flower beds does it take to provide safety and security for our residents?
This administration should look up the definition of the word "priority," since obviously there is a large difference in the perspective of the mayor's office and that of the average resident. And does the mayor still drive Scout around in air conditioned and heated comfort while furloughing city employees? Maybe Carty could forgo his city-financed transportation and fuel to help the problem.
If city of Toledo employees need to be furloughed in these harsh economic times, don't jeopardize our safety and security. Add the needed safety forces and find other avenues of savings. And as to the latest mayoral proposal to tax plastic bags, geeze Louise, how stupid. Safety and protection are the first priority of government, after all. Class dismissed.
Robert J. Zuber
Flowers must not compromise safety
Is the city of Toledo really trying to save? Are we looking ahead? It appears that the approach to next year's budget is: If it makes sense, don't do it. The 2009 proposed budget has eliminated the fire class of 40 and the police class of 33. During the next 25 months, the fire division will lose at least 60 firefighters and the police division will lose more than 100 officers. These two divisions are currently understaffed, compromising the safety of the community and our officers.
Toledo firefighters have a minimum manning clause, which is set at a number below what other cities comparable with Toledo maintain. Even though the manning is too low, this clause serves to keep our citizens and firefighters safe. What would happen to the fire division and the safety of our community, were that clause not in place? The Toledo Police Patrolman's Association does not have a similar clause in their contract.
Some uninformed city leaders spout off that the minimum manning clause is causing overtime. Give credit where credit is due. During the Ford administration, the city stopped hiring enough firefighters to properly maintain safe manning levels in the fire division. The overtime was created by city policy. It appears this trend may continue.
Hiring a class of 40 firefighters in December would cost the city about $600,000 in 2009, and will in turn save about $1.3 million in 2010. Those savings to the general fund can help offset the cost of hiring needed police officers. The fire administration and city finance department have gone over the numbers and agree the savings are there.
Asphalt, flowers, and signs should not compromise community, firefighter, or police safety. Hire the fire class.
President, Toledo Firefighters
A person's wealth makes no one poor
With the election over, I'm filled with hope but little optimism. Until Americans substitute freedom as a standard of value for their vote instead of party politics, we will continue our slide into serfdom. To demonstrate, rewind to "Joe the Plumber." When Joe Wurzelbacher's question on spreading the wealth exposed Barack Obama's true colors as a socialist, Joe was quickly attacked as being an unlicensed plumber. Let's look at that, using freedom as the standard.
A license is a permit. A person who lives by permission of another person or the state is in reality a slave. Why would a free man need a permit to join pipes together? That should be the question. Why would you need a permit to feed your family? Would Joe be a better plumber or do a better job for the consumer because he had a permit? No.
As to the issue of spreading the wealth: Wealth is not a zero sum game. Being wealthy does not make another person poor. Also, government cannot redistribute more wealth than is created and government can't create wealth because it has no money. A wise man once said "government has never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity by which it got out of the way." Spreading the wealth essentially destroys the incentive to produce. The bottom line is that under a socialistic policy that penalizes producers of wealth, less and less wealth is produced until the economy collapses.
The question should be, what is the source of wealth? The answer is the mind of those with ability. The requirement for its production is freedom.
The class envy of egalitarianism making everyone equal is seductive, but the choice is really the equality of slavery versus the inequality of freedom.
Go Bullfrogs. It could have been worse. Think Toledo Toads.