As chief of the lead agency involved in the recent ice rescue on Lake Erie, I have listened to many of the people involved on both sides of this issue. But those actually operating on the ice that day as rescuers have said little.
It now seems to be my job to clear up a few issues.
1) The sheriff of Ottawa County has the safety and well-being of all concerned in mind when he speaks.
2) The Jerusalem Township Fire Department will respond to all requests for assistance, both in and outside of our approximately 31 square miles of land and 238 square miles of Lake Erie. This includes all mutual-aid requests.
3) Charging for ice rescue or any resulting penalties are matters for law enforcement, the state, and the various political subdivisions, not fire departments.
4) My department is most willing to assist in educating anyone interested regarding the ice in our area.
5) At no time should anyone think that ice is safe on Lake Erie or any body of water. Think before you go out.
6) Regarding the cost of these rescues, it should be remembered that 21 organizations, including several private air boat owners, assisted in these rescues. We worked as a team that day and, yes, there was cost involved. Can I place an accurate price on the operation? No, and I will not attempt to because I am sure I would miss something.
All things considered, the organizations and people involved in the rescues that day did a good job. Many of these organizations had never operated together and yet found very few problems in doing so. Resources were requested and resources were received. Communication issues were discovered and overcome. From the standpoint of a readiness exercise, I think we did very well.
All I can say to those people who stated they didn't believe they were in danger is "Guess again." You really were.
Harold L. Stanton
Don't let the negative talk from Democrats about Sarah Palin fool you into thinking they oppose her efforts to stay on the national stage. And it is a quest for attention. What else does someone with a deep-seated need to be center stage do when they're too old for beauty pageants?
Secretly, the Democrats wish that Mrs. Palin keeps on trying to be the new face of the Republican Party. It would be even better if she keeps "Joe the Plumber" in tow. That combination would render Republican efforts to gain congressional seats in 2010 and the presidency in 2012 as dead as the Thanksgiving turkeys that were slaughtered behind her.
Republicans too have their own secret wishes. Secretly the Republicans love this horrendous descent into unemployment and joblessness. They want the "average Joe" so hungry for work that he'll take any job - any job at all, benefits be damned - to put food on the table. It's their dream come true. And it's especially true among the "right to work" Republicans from the southern states (who, by the way, haven't yet gotten over that loss in 1865). Why else would they insist that, after six years of tax cuts under the Bush administration, which did nothing to prevent this disaster, even more tax breaks for big business and the wealthy are the answer? To obstruct the stimulus package and weaken its effectiveness is their win-win. They believe they can keep the unemployed desperate longer and then blame President Obama for a weak attempt at economic recovery.
The Democrats can't control their secret wish but the Republicans can. The Republicans had better be careful what they wish for. Most Americans will see right through it.
Does spending money by the populace help create jobs? Does buying chips and soda pop, gasoline and tires, shoes and clothes, fruits and vegetables, autos, getting haircuts, eating out, and on help create more jobs? My answer is an emphatic yes. But, remember this, people without incomes don't spend.
Jobs are created when there is demand for product. Demand coupled with an ability to purchase is what generates sales. That increase in sales creates a need to hire more help. Jobs along with targeted tax cuts for those who must spend in order to survive is what stimulates an economy. Spending is what stimulates, not investments.
Why are car makers laying off workers? Is it because people are not buying cars? If more people bought General Motors stock, would they hire workers? No! You need lots of people with good paying, be-here-tomorrow jobs to increase sales, resulting in more jobs. People don't get laid off because taxes are too high. They get furloughed for lack of sales, lack of business.
This silly notion that tax cuts for the very wealthy stimulates our economy is a blatantly obvious myth voiced by the willingly blind. Trickle-down only accomplishes one thing: more money in the pockets and portfolios of the very wealthy. Ask yourselves, why are we helping those people?
During the Clinton years, we did the opposite of Reaganomics. President Clinton left us with lots of jobs, a surplus, a growing (not shrinking) economy, and a Dow Jones average higher than it is eight years later. History has smashingly discredited that trickle-down theory more than once.
We gave tax cuts to the rich from 2001 through 2006 and where did that get us? An economy in crisis.
It's no wonder that the liberal Democrats don't mind raising our taxes. They don't bother to pay theirs.
West Lincolnshire Boulevard
It is with great regret that I respond to Rabbi Alan Sokobin's Jan. 27 letter regarding the Jan. 18 prayer service at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
Before writing this letter, Rabbi Sokobin would have been better served by checking with a fellow rabbi at a local synagogue who was personally invited but regrettably could not reach the Islamic Center in time because of a prior commitment. We thank him for his effort.
Our invitation for this hurriedly arranged event was an open invitation to all those who wished to join us in praying for peace in the Middle East. We thank The Blade for announcing this program the day before. Most of the clergy and attendees came of their own good will. Had Rabbi Sokobin come on his own, he certainly would have been greeted with the same respect and attention bestowed on the leaders and followers of other faiths.
All prophets of God preached peace for His creation. But the eternal God existed even before anything else was. One of His attributes that Muslims are taught is "Salaam" - peace - for He is the fountain of peace.
It is well known that the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo maintains an open-door policy. Those who wish to join us at any time to pray for world peace are most welcome.
Dr. S. Zaheer Hasan
Let me get this straight: Congress eliminated $40 billion from the economic stimulus package that was earmarked for the states to use on education, but retained $650 million to help people survive the switch to digital television broadcasts.
Where do I begin with this one? Apparently TV is a guaranteed constitutional right. How does the digital TV switch have anything to do with the economic crisis? What kind of message are we sending to our children and the rest of the world when we show that we value television more than education? Little wonder we're in the mess we're in.
Well, at least everyone will be able to watch Oprah and Judge Judy while continuing to be ignorant and jobless.
After dodging potholes and sinkholes, I am now a qualified stunt driver.