Bravo that Toledo is a finalist in this year s All America City Award competition.
With all the adversity that besets Toledo, it has become clich to suggest that our elected leaders must not be sufficiently aware of or focused on our challenges. It seems as if our municipal leaders dare not express a hopeful thought or urge us to adopt a positive goal, no matter how ambitious or modest.
The most recent evidence of this is the negative reaction to the announcement by Mayor Finkbeiner that Toledo is once again a finalist for the National Civic League s All America City Award. The mayor s critics are certain that his willingness to draw national attention to some of the good things about our community is somehow a sign of dissipated leadership or a denial of the grim difficulties that afflict Toledo and occupy so much of his time.
Toledo is not the only city in Ohio or the nation with serious challenges. Going forward, I for one am very happy that especially now some of our mayor s attention remains on the positives about Toledo. To succeed, public and private leaders must attend to the immediate issues while also advancing the long-term prospects for our community, particularly when times are rough. Since another clich is the relentless willingness of Toledoans to denigrate ourselves and our community, I believe that we must actively nurture our positives and work to cultivate increased local pride and community competitiveness.
The old industrial cities of the Midwest that prosper over time will be those whose leaders and citizens appreciate and embrace this balance.
Hugh W. Grefe
Senior Executive Director
I want to start by wholeheartedly congratulating the girls basketball team from Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame High School for winning their fourth consecutive Division I state championship, and five out of the last six. That is an amazing feat, one that should not go unrecognized. Those girls have undoubtedly solidified their spot among the nation s elite high school teams.
That being said, my attention is turned to the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Is it even worth tipping off and playing out the state championship game when the outcome is pre-determined? Is it fair for the girls of Start High School to play their hearts out, throw their bodies around, and leave everything they have in them out on that court when the referees and the OHSAA decided before the game even started who would win?
I feel for the girls of Start. Just think what an amazing game this could have been if it was officiated fairly. But, hey, everyone loves a feel-good story, and that is what we got.
Laissez-faire capitalism is business without interference, especially from government. Left on their own, all these highly educated, intelligent, captains of finance, and industry have brought the nation to its knees. Our government representatives at all levels, who with their imperial wisdom, either ignored, or cheered geniuses who led them into the morass. That was not allowed to happen. Government to the rescue. As usual, the wrong people were rescued.
Consumers need jobs. So far the large financial institutions have not created one meaningful job. They have instead laid off thousands, and are sitting on the money given them courtesy of the taxpayers of this country. Hint: the infrastructure of this county is falling apart for lack of attention. The water and sewer systems of this nation are estimated to need between $250 billion and $500 billion to keep them from failing. Roads, bridges, renewable energy, you name it. Then there is educating people for different vocations, keeping them afloat until they find meaningful employment. The taxpayers get the money, the taxpayer pays it back. No one else will.
What do Henry Paulson, John Thain, Tim Geithner, Ed Liddy, and Robert Rubin have in common? They were, or are, all Goldman Sachs executives. Why were Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers allowed to go down the tubes? Were they pushed? Was Goldman Sachs really too big to fail, or too well connected to fail? Goldman employees were among the largest donors to the Obama campaign. Big money still reigns. The tax payer still pays.
So where s the change? That s what is left in your pocket after your wallet has been picked.
James P. Struble
I take issue with Jack Lessenberry s March 20 column critical of education in Michigan. Why contrast countries with a mere state? Let s compare a few items in the countries he mentions.
According to the CIA s the World Factbook, in India, a heterogeneous population, 73.4 percent of the males and 47.8 percent females are literate, with an average school life expectancy of 10 years and per capita income estimated at $48,000. Now there s a standard worth pursuing. In Japan, with its 98.5 percent homogeneous population, the literacy rate is 99 percent for both genders, with 15 years in school, and the per capita is $35,500. In the United States, a heterogeneous population, we have achieved a 99 percent literacy rate for both sexes, with an average of 16 years schooling and per capita of $48,000.
As for the state of Michigan if you are worried about how many days we spend in school, I suggest the writer examine the state s useless attendance policy. Willy-nilly, and without meaningful consequence, students are pulled out of school to go on vacation, have pattern absences two or three days a week, or don t show up for whatever reason. Some absences are legitimate but many are not. The schools can do virtually nothing because the state does not back us up. The courts do virtually nothing. And many (not all) home-schooled children are virtually unsupervised by the government.
Too often, too many (not all) children are placed in programs which invariably mean they are not expected to become self-reliant or responsible. As a society, education is not valued, as was demonstrated in Michigan survey conducted a few years ago.
Because charter schools have not been held to the same level of accountability, they have provided choice but not competition; mostly they have merely taken money out of the system. And as for President Obama s idea of merit pay, I m a good teacher, so I think it s a great idea. As soon as he can send me children who have all had the same socio-economic, environmental, and genetic advantages as his own two adorable daughters, count me in.
I m not pretending all teachers are terrific; we have our failures just as any other profession or occupation. But please stop listening to pundits and politicians just get your kid to school and let us teach.
Obama must say sorry to families
It was like Special Olympics or something. With these words, President Obama both broke my heart and infuriated me. While I do not believe that he has any malicious feelings toward people with disabilities, his thoughtless remark instantly dehumanized and degraded millions of people who have. The President is known for his remarkable oratory and eloquence, but his words on the Tonight show were thoughtless and ignorant.
I am disheartened that there has not been more public outcry over this matter. However, I should not be surprised by this since I am the mother of a 19-year-old son with severe autism and have had to deal with the public s ignorance for all of these years.
The President s daughters are blessed with normal cognition and physical health. He will never have to sacrifice income because there is no day care for persons with disabilities. He will never have to hope his children do not have to go to the bathroom while out shopping and have to decide between taking his grown daughter into the men s rest room or going into a lady s rest room himself.
He will not have to wonder if his nonverbal child is sick or just having a bad day. He will never lay awake at night and be haunted by what is going to happen to his children when he dies or is no longer able to physically care for them, fearing they will end up in some godforsaken group home where no one cares about them and views them as a job they are not getting paid enough to do.
It s great that the President apologized to Timothy Shriver of the Special Olympics, but now it s time for him to man up and apologize directly to those whom he hurt, most of all to persons with disabilities and to their families.
Revitalization of downtown Toledo will not happen until everyone realizes that one important part of any plan is free parking.
I used one of the parking garages the other day and only had a $20 bill. The machine was supposed to give me back $15 in coins. Unfortunately, it did not have change. I had to submit a request to the company s office and go back downtown the next day to collect my change. This change was paid in paper money.
And people ask why no one wants to go downtown to conduct business. Paid parking is the number one cause of people seeking places that are more friendly to both the workers and everyday visitors. One answer is to expand the area that is considered downtown and require every new development to include off-street parking. We have a lot of areas surrounding the current downtown that need revitalization.
Public leaders and planners need to expand their thinking for our downtown to thrive again.
Want a good laugh? Going west, from North Detroit Avenue on Poinsetta Avenue there are hundreds of potholes. But the laugh is in the speed bumps in between the holes.
I wonder which came first: the holes or the speed bumps?
Just try to maneuver that street.