I want to respond to The Blade's April 8 editorial entitled "Husted's power game," which said that as a candidate for secretary of state there is a reason to doubt the sincerity of my reform proposals.
I don't ask The Blade to trust my words, but I ask that you acknowledge my actions as a trusted reformer of the flawed way we in Ohio draw our legislative and congressional districts.
As Speaker of the Ohio House, I tried to pass two different redistricting plans. During my tenure the House voted on two plans: one offered by Republican Kevin DeWine and one by Democrat Steve Driehaus.
While the majority of the Ohio House voted in favor of both plans, unfortunately we were unable to get the 60 votes (three-fifths majority) required to send it to the voters for approval. While the majority of Republicans were supportive of both plans, only one Democrat crossed the party line to support either proposal.
No one can defend Ohio's current method of redistricting. It's a winner-take-all system that ranks Ohio as one of the most partisan states in the country. This leads to partisan decision making rather than problem solving.
As a legislator and now candidate for secretary of state, I have been willing to lead by once again offering a proposal that would end the partisan gerrymandering of districts that allows the politicians to pick the voters rather than allowing the voters to pick their politicians.
For those who disagree with the substance of my proposal I ask that they offer their own constructive alternative.
It is going to take more than changing political officeholders to solve Ohio's many educational and economic problems, we have to change the system.
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 fifteen dollar 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.
I was astonished at a letter that criticized calling our planet Mother Earth and celebrating Earth Day.
To their credit, pagans honor the earth, our home in this dimension. To their credit, so do many Bahis, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Taoists, agnostics, atheists, and Unitarians.
I would never presume to speak for God, but I simply cannot imagine that our loving parent God is in the least distressed when we honor Mother Earth or celebrate Earth Day.
On the other hand, I can easily imagine God's anguish at the wanton destruction we wreak on our planet and the callous lack of compassion we show our fellow inhabitants.
I believe we would all be better children of God if we celebrated Earth Day every day by better caring for our home and our brothers and sisters.
Judy Lee Trautman
In regard to the April 2 letter concerning concealed firearms: As a Christian for my entire life, I wish to express my opinion in relation to the 6th Commandment. I absolutely agree that the word of God is unalterable and finite. However, this compels us to ensure that we, as God's people, fully comprehend his commands. Therefore, it saddens me when such commands are misinterpreted.
If we examine the Bible and study it in its original language, we can see that 6th Commandment states "Thou shall not murder" instead of "Thou shall not kill." Certainly, the distinction is clear. By dictionary definition murder is "the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought" whereas killing is plainly "causing the death of [something]."
Now, of course, intent is open to interpretation, but if protecting my family or saving my fellow church congregants from an entity who is intent on causing inestimable pain and suffering is considered unlawful, then I have reached the breaking point.
No one wants to see death, but unfortunately some people want to watch the world burn. I don't speak for God, but I don't think he wants us all to burn with them. I don't think I am clinging to guns or religion, only common sense.
The city budget crisis could be solved if everybody would be willing to sacrifice a little bit. The idea of Forum contributor Michael K. Veh would work.
If every working adult would agree to give the city $200, we could get Toledo back on track. Also, some businesses and corporations could give more if they can afford more. One hundred and forty thousand workers paying $200 equals $28 million. That's less then $4 per week per worker.
I'm not one of the workers (I'm retired) but I would donate my share to keep our police officers and firefighters working because we need them to protect us. Also, the city would have to get its act together to make sure we don't get into this situation ever again.
Let's keep our police officers and firefighters working, fix the potholes, and not raise refuse collection fees.
The finding that one in five U.S. 4-year-olds is obese is not surprising considering the heavy dose of sugar, white flour, and refined vegetable oils provided by many of the foods in our grocery stores. It's a mistake to blame fat for our obesity epidemic when the carbohydrates in sugar and flour are more readily converted to fat in the body.
I'm waiting for the day when our media and our politicians will have the courage to place the blame where it belongs: on our agriculture and food industries and their addiction to corn, soy, and wheat, and all the refined and processed foods made from them.
In the name of sustainability, let's put the animals back out on pasture where they belong and do what it takes to encourage our small local farmers to produce real food and our families to prepare and eat it.
Editor's note: The writer is a retired dietitian.
Did President Obama bow to the king of Saudi Arabia? The picture of the meeting which I saw clearly shows our President bowing to the Arab king.
Mr. Obama could have emulated the meeting of the king of Sweden and our great athlete, Jim Thorpe, who, instead of bowing as was the European custom, smiled and stuck out his hand and said, Hi, king!
Americans bow to no king.
Gordon M. Mather