The Blade is right to highlight the positive sides of the unfolding Armenian-Turkish dialogue ("Burying old hatred," Oct. 17).
However, the editorial focuses too much on the difficult history between the Armenians and Turks. The real reason why there were no diplomatic relations and the borders have been closed is the Armenian military occupation of the internationally recognized Azerbaijani territories and the displacement of nearly 1 million civilians.
Since 1994, when the cease-fire was signed, no visible progress has been registered in the Armenia-Azerbaijan talks mediated by France, Russia, and the United States. Without such progress, it is too early to speak of a real change for the better in the region. As for energy developments and exports, they originate in the Caspian Sea, east of Armenia, not to the west, where the Turkish border lies. Consequently, America's interests, described in the editorial, can be achieved only if the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is open. That requires a peaceful solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
Paying more attention to historic narratives more than on the present has been the problem in the first place. Trying to reconcile divergent historic narratives by ignoring the realities of the region or, in fact, geography, hardly takes anybody "two steps ahead."
Editor's note: The writer is an alumnus of the University of Toledo.
As you bring state Issue 2 up on a voting machine on Nov. 3, it will read as follows: Issue 2 - Proposed constitutional amendment to create the Ohio Livestock Care Board to establish and implement standards of care for livestock and poultry.
Is that perfectly clear? Probably not.
Well, here is what it means in plain English - in my words:
Industrial agriculture and their political ilk in Columbus and elsewhere are very afraid of your vote. If the issue of inhumane treatment of farm animals in their animal factories around our state were ever put to a vote of the people, we would vote with our minds and our hearts. They do not want this to happen. Their solution: simply take away our right to vote.
What this means exactly is that if Issue 2 should pass, your right to ever vote on the humane or inhumane treatment of factory farm animals and poultry will be taken away. Your vote will be replaced by ever-more government bureaucracy and regulations consisting of a panel of 13 politically connected individuals and cronies that will make decisions for you.
The privilege to vote for candidates and issues of our choice is the very foundation of our democracy. Our vote is one of the greatest freedoms our democratic country has to offer; shame on those politicians and organizations who seek to take away a piece of this foundation, a bit of our freedom.
If you are not sure what I have written here is the truth, please ask any of your elected officials. Don't settle for any song and dance or evasive answer; a simple yes or no will do.
Join me by voting no on Issue 2. Protect your vote
David L. Blesing, Sr.
As the wife of a fourth-generation family farmer, I understand the importance of agriculture in our state. Therefore, voting yes for Issue 2 is imperative in order to protect an industry that contributes $93 billion annually to our state's economy and that affords consumers with valuable options at the grocery store.
A yes vote for Issue 2 will create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. This board will be made up of 13 Ohioans, including the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture; three family farmers; two veterinarians; a food safety expert; a representative of a local humane society; two members representing statewide farm organizations; the dean of an Ohio agriculture college, and two consumers.
These individuals will work together to assure a safe, locally grown food supply, to determine the best course of action for livestock care, and to protect the viability of Ohio agriculture.
I value Ohio agriculture and support Issue 2. Like you, I appreciate the choices we have as consumers in selecting safe and wholesome food products for my family. By establishing a board of experts to make decisions for livestock production, we can ensure that the food we buy is grown as locally as possible. Issue 2 is a step to protect our state's family farmers and keep Ohio agriculture strong.
Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Ohio. It is our responsibility as citizens to make sure that it remains that way. We cannot allow outside interest groups to come into our state and take over as they have done elsewhere. Jobs, tradition, money, and the comfort of knowing where our safe, locally grown food came from would all be lost. Ohio would suffer.
Issue 2 proposes that a livestock care standards board be instituted, and I believe that it is an appropriate pre-emptive strike. It's understandable that farmers may not enjoy another level of government but ultimately it will aid in the protection of Ohio farms and families.
Vote yes on Issue 2.
Personally, practically, financially, and even spiritually, I am against gambling and in the past I have voted against casino gambling. I have, however, changed my mind.
On a recent trip to Oak Brook, Ill., the motel I was staying at was across the parking lot from an unostentatious looking brick building without any glaring signs or identification whatsoever. With amazement, I watched as cars came, cars left, cars circled looking for a parking spot, and well-dressed people, singly and in groups, sprang out of their cars, and hurriedly entered the building. It didn't matter what time of day it was, the parking lot was always full.
Finally, my curiosity got the better of me. I asked what the building was and I learned it was a casino.
This experience completely changed my opinion of casinos. No one was forcing these people to come to the casino. No one was forcing them to spend money. They were doing so freely. The people had to know the odds were not in their favor but still they came, and were even willing to wait to park. I never saw any rough behavior, never saw a police car in the lot, nor witnessed any type of behavior which would spur concern.
So my opinion has changed. If people want to gamble, why not allow the state to control it and let the residents of Ohio benefit from money that people are freely spending. I'm voting yes on Issue 3.
When I would ask my dad who he was going to vote for in an upcoming election he would say, “I'm going to vote for the guy with the least amount of baggage.”
At my age then, my visualization of what he said was a guy on a railroad station platform carrying a bunch of suitcases. When I got a little older, I asked my dad what he meant by “baggage.” His reply was that he was going to vote for the candidate who “owed the fewest favors to others after he was elected.”
As I contemplate my vote for the next mayor of Toledo and remembering what my dad said, I am comforted by the visualization of a large ringing “Bell” and not seeing any baggage.