Councilman Betty Shultz was recently reported to have spent nearly $1,600 on monthly meetings with "professionals within the information technology field" whom she refused to identify. Meanwhile, Ms. Shultz led a $10 million purchase to "fix" Toledo's computing systems in her position as chair of Toledo City Council's Information Services Committee.
On one hand, it is astonishing that we cannot afford a new class of police officers to keep our city safe, but we can afford secret luncheons at taxpayer expense. On the other hand, these advisers probably have the best of intentions for Toledo.
However, as chairman of the Information Services Committee, Ms. Shultz is in a position of particular influence over the city's IT spending and must be aware of the shadow that a history of closed-door meetings casts over her service. Even when pressed by The Blade, Ms. Shultz refused to identify the advisers. Politicians need to realize that in matters of principal and public money, style is sometimes just as important substance.
On the surface, these kinds of closed-door meetings breed suspicion and rob the public of its right and responsibility to fully review the decision-making processes of our elected representatives. But at the same time, when our politicians experience habitual lapses in judgment, it leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and contributes to a negative perception of Toledo that drives away business investment and our brightest young people.
Our city has a lot going for it but our leaders set the tone. They can choose to be role models for ingenuity, optimism, and an entrepreneurial spirit, or they can choose to be poster children for back-room deals, ego, and turf wars. You don't need a committee of advisers to make that decision.
Here's something to think about: Ford has spent the last 30 years moving its factories out of the country, claiming it can't make money paying American wages.
Toyota has spent the last 30 years building more than a dozen plants inside the country.
The last quarter's results: Toyota made $4 billion in profits while Ford racked up $9 billion in losses.
Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses. If this weren't so true it might be funny.
Dale R. Perne
The Blade has carried many articles related to the proposed $15 billion bailout of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. There are two points that have not been covered by these articles.
First, the automakers seeking bailouts are United Auto Workers companies. The automakers that are not seeking a bailout are generally nonunion companies.
There are millions of U.S.-made autos produced by well-paid, nonunion workers.
Auto workers at the Georgetown, Ky., Toyota plant earn about $25 per hour. The UAW is killing the Big Three with excessive costs and crippling work rules. The bailout will not remedy this inequity.
Second, the bailout is expensive compared to the number of workers affected. According to The Blade, the bailout will directly effect about 240,000 workers. Thus, a $15 billion bailout could cost taxpayers about $62,500 per worker.
A better idea would be to reform the outdated and inefficient UAW practices before they completely destroy the Big Three.
I am more than willing to help somebody when they are down but the auto industry's problems are self-inflicted.
They are a combination of incompetent management, lobbyists, and unions.
General Motors is hardest hit because it is the most incompetent. The fact that it went to Washington to ask for money but didn't have a plan highlights GM's incompetence and arrogance. The only reason the Big Three have survived the last 20 years is because their suppliers have made cost cuts they were unable or unwilling to do.
The Big Three and unions celebrated when their lobbyists convinced Congress not to enforce stricter fuel mileage requirements. How long did they think they were going to ride the wave of big SUVs and trucks?
I never could understand why it is illegal for people to blackmail each other but it's OK for unions to blackmail companies. Unions were needed 50 years ago, but not now. I always chuckle when I hear someone complaining about the increased cost of raw materials. This is somewhat of an oversimplification, but essentially the biggest industrial costs are labor, taxes, profits, capital assets, and utilities.
Big Three executives: here's a start for your plan.
1) Executives give back their undeserved bonuses from the last 10 years.
2) Purge the existing top levels of management.
3) Get union wages and benefits in line with the rest of the folks in the United States
Then we'll start discussing a bailout.
Change? Will it mean that instead of dropping out of our public high schools, all children will take advantage of our free education system until they graduate?
Will it mean that all children have the support of a good mother and father family during their formative years?
Will change mean that instead of asking what government can do for them, our children will grow up having the confidence in their independence and the pride in accomplishments that would engender the "hope" that was so touted in political essays.
This is the fundamental change we should be focused on. At this moment, I can only hope.
Why do all the liberals and your editorial writers who have been bashing President Bush for years now expect everyone to support President-elect Obama?
It seems to me that if I wanted the "change" that Mr. Obama is bringing us by using a lot of the old Clinton people, I could have just voted for Hillary!
John W. Foster
I'm thrilled with the opportunity to change COSI's name to a designation that is more representative of its location in Toledo. Because it overlooks the beautiful Maumee River and its governing body has such lofty designs, I propose naming it "The Albatross." Lucas County taxpayers, again, are burdened financing another losing proposition for time everlasting.
East Rockridge Circle
The Blade hit another low by printing Kirk Walters' "Turkey Nuggets Fun Pack" on Thanksgiving Day.
Just once, The Blade and Kirk could have thanked President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for keeping America safe since 9/11 as a Thanksgiving message.
But no chance. The Blade has to continue bashing Mr. Bush (who has already been bashed to a bleeding pulp) even after Barack Obama has been elected. If President-elect Obama or any other Democrat had been in office during this same time period, The Blade would certainly be thanking them for our safety since 9/11.
And by the way, what are Funky Winkerbean and Doonesbury going to write about after Mr. Obama is in office?
Change? Until everyone can stop making references such as: the first African-American man to or the first woman to , there will be no change. Change is everyone's responsibility, not just that of our new president.
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