Recently, a letter writer criticized the condition of West Toledo, particularly the 4200 blocks of North Haven and North Lockwood avenues. Her letter portrayed our city's code enforcement staff as unconcerned and uncaring. This is far from the truth. Our staff does care and has done a yeoman's job with what they have faced over the past few years with the foreclosure crisis.
Our staff inspects on average 15-19 properties per day. To date, our staff has completed 24,300 inspections. I encourage you to check with the city of Cleveland on how many inspections their 35 inspectors average per day. I believe you will find out that the average is three. The City of Toledo currently has nine inspectors and functioned part of 2009 with only eight.
I would admit that there are areas of the city that are more challenged than others. But, let's get real. With the current economic conditions, it is difficult for our citizens to maintain their property in the condition that would meet your standards when they are faced with loss of income. This has absolutely nothing to do with a flaw in the character of our inspectors.
Instead of criticizing our citizens and accusing our inspectors, let's help some of those citizens who are having difficulty, similar to the effort of the Department of Neighborhoods that recruited 150 volunteers in the 1000 and 1100 block of Woodland back in September. We worked with residents and volunteers to clean lots, mow grass, clean gutters, and remove unsightly bushes and weeds, and we are not done. We will return to finish painting homes and making other interior and exterior repairs.
The letter writer can contact Bob Mossing, code enforcement manager, if she would like to spend the day with our inspectors. He can be reached at 419-245-1400.
Director, Department of Neighborhoods
City of Toledo
The League of Women Voters of Ohio strongly opposes Issue 3, the proposed constitutional amendment to authorize casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo. We believe the Constitution should be a clearly stated body of fundamental principles and should provide for the flexible operation of government. Issue 3 does not meet these criteria.
For example, if the proposed amendment passes, it identifies the specific parcels of private property where the casinos are to be built. We believe the Constitution should not include Post-it notes that benefit private landowners.
Issue 3 specifies exactly where the tax and licensure revenues will go. The legislature will not have authority to re-allocate revenue where it may be most needed unless another constitutional amendment is passed.
Issue 3 specifies that the casinos have the right to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and to have up to 5,000 slot machines each. If the community where a casino is located finds this excessive, there is no way to change it unless another constitutional amendment is passed.
Issue 3 specifies that Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will determine what additional types of slot machines, electronic gambling and table-game wagering will be permissible in Ohio - Ohio voters and the legislature will not have a say.
The specificity in Issue 3 does not belong in the Ohio Constitution. These are not fundamental principles, and Issue 3 restricts the flexible operation of state government to meet Ohioans' needs.
Meg G. Flack
President, League of Women Voters of Ohio
Issue 3 is a proposal to put casinos in four Ohio cities. Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati have plans for casinos in their downtowns, close to hotels and restaurants, and in the center of other established entertainment attractions like theaters, arenas, stadiums, and convention centers.
Toledo, on the other hand, would be locked into an isolated, desolate industrial site adjacent to an ancient glass factory and all the wonders of downtown Rossford. It gets better: The state is investigating the leakage of a brownish-red substance into the Maumee River from the proposed site. It is no exaggeration to predict that Toledo is now going to suffer through decades of litigation and delay, plus monumental cleanup costs before anything is developed on the site. (Reminder: Greenbelt Parkway took 30 years to build.)
And even if a casino were to be built, its remoteness guarantees that it will operate in seclusion, completely severed from, and maybe even competing with, the regional entertainment center downtown Toledo is rapidly becoming. It is shameful, bordering on dim, that Toledo has apparently blown this opportunity.
Right now, before the vote, it would seem wise for Toledo's leaders to find a way to relocate the casino site where it has a ghost of a chance to be built - a downtown site where it will do more good for the SeaGate Centre, Valentine Theatre, Lucas County Arena, and Fifth Third Field. I suggest the largely vacant Paramount block, (Adams/Huron/Jackson/Superior), where a casino would fill in a sizeable gap and add life and activity to the northern core.
Toledo has one chance to get this right. Please, Toledo, get this right.
Editor's note: The writer is a former Toledo city planner.
There are at least eight casino trips advertised in the Sunday edition of The Blade. If all these casinos have so many jobs and pay so much taxes, why is Michigan in such a financial situation?
I am proud of the work ethic Ohio livestock and poultry farmers possess. This enables all of us access to wholesome, nutritious, safe, and affordable milk, meat, and eggs.
This access is in jeopardy if Issue 2 fails. Washington, D.C. and California-based activists want to tell Ohio farmers how to raise livestock and poultry. They will seek extreme, costly anti-farming regulations that will burden farmers. This will force family farms to discontinue their livestock operations. We cannot allow this to happen. We need Ohio farmers doing what they do best - producing the food you and I enjoy. We must protect the availability of our local food sources.
I urge all to vote yes on Issue 2.
I don't like the term "brain drain" that is used to describe good people who leave the Toledo area for other locations because it is inaccurate and misleading. There are many brainy people with very few talents and even fewer marketable skills. When Toledo loses someone who has brains and skills we should refer to this as "talent drain."
A good example is Rob Powers moving to New York city. Rob has brains, talent, and personality. He is also a good family man who truly enjoys what he is doing. This type of talent drain is good for the Powers family but unfortunate for the Toledo area. Katrina Hancock moving to Detroit was another example of "talent drain." Michael Bell leaving Toledo for Columbus was another example. Fortunately Mike is back in Toledo. Let's call that "talent recovery."
So, let's start a new paradigm for Toledo. We want to retain people with talent, personality, skills, and brains.
All the people who live in the Toledo area with just brains can leave whenever they want.