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Published: Sunday, 2/28/2010

Jobs first, then reform health care

At last, some common sense. Kudos to Block Communications Inc. Chairman Allan Block for his full-page ad in The Blade on Feb. 24 headlined, "The economy must recover before we can cure health care."

He's right. The economy and back-to-work incentives must come first. Now is not the time for this health-care proposal to be foisted on the job-creating private sector and kill any thoughts employers have of hiring new employees.

Do we need health-coverage reform? Yes. Do we need it right now? No. Our sole purpose should be getting people back to work.

Robert E. Sawyer

Holland

I was shocked by The Blade's Feb. 22 headline "Recall delays saved $100M, Toyota says." Any government official in this deal who was involved should be punished. I can't imagine the number of deaths or injuries these defects could have caused.

Most Toyota factories are in states that have right-to-work laws. They don't care about unions and the right to negotiate. I hope the American public wakes up very soon.

Fred Dalton, Jr.

Millbury

I have a whole lot more confidence in Toyota products than I have in the big spending, "holier-than-thou," incompetent bureaucrats in Washington.

Recalling the politicians would be far more productive.

Mark Wuertz

Chriswood Road

It is to be hoped that now that Gen. Alexander Haig has died ("Former general was key aide to two presidents," Feb. 21), his "I'm in control here" comment after President Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 will come to be understood as a necessary and heroic act.

Yes, he was abrasive and ambitious. But for those of us who pay attention to the "football" that contains the atomic weapons launch codes, it was understood that President Reagan's shooting created a problem. That system must be constant.

General Haig's action was absolutely necessary. The lack of understanding by the press and the reticence by the Department of Defense to clarify the situation leave an unwarranted stain on a complex but heroic figure. May he rest in peace.

Daryl Blanchard

Ottawa Hills

The U.S. Constitution was meant to protect the rights of Americans, but it is under attack by our government.

Lucas County Sheriff James A. Telb voluntarily gave a statement about a federal investigation into the 2004 death of a jail inmate ("Court asked to keep statements from trial," Jan. 19). His statement was not recorded, yet it could be presented as evidence in his trial.

I find it ironic that a former professor who taught constitutional law for police at the University of Toledo could be subjected to this injustice.

As citizens of the United States, we must hold government officials accountable to insure all our rights as a free people.

Bobby Leist

Philmar Drive

Editor's Note: The writer is a retired lieutenant with the Lucas County Sheriff's Department.

Rather than decry the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on corporate campaign donations ("A bipartisan opportunity," editorial, Feb. 23), you should celebrate it.

Before the ruling, The Blade had no constitutional right to criticize or endorse candidates. Instead, the only reason it could speak was that Congress, in an act of legislative grace, deigned to exempt media corporations from the general ban on corporate political speech. But what Congress gives it can take away.

With Citizens United decided, The Blade can speak without fear that someday the government may mute you out of concern that you have too much "relative influence" with the electorate.

Robert Frommer

Staff Attorney

Institute for Justice

Arlington, Va.

The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United should spur Congress to act boldly to respond to a political system that favors special-interest cash over grass-roots support.

A framework offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) is a good start, but it doesn't go far enough.

The Fair Elections Now Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio), would free candidates from the endless chase for campaign cash. Under this bill, candidates for Congress could run viable campaigns on a blend of limited public funds and small donations.

Any response to the Citizens United decision must include the Fair Elections Now Act.

Nick Nyhart

President and CEO

Public Campaign

Washington

Rep. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) heads the House Ways and Means Committee. Tim Geithner is secretary of the Treasury. Both are known tax evaders ("Rangel acknowledges he faces ethics charges," Feb. 26, and "Treasury nominee offers apologies over tax misstep," Jan. 22, 2009).

Their excuse was not knowing the tax laws. Where is the justice for these two men?

Both sides of the aisle are full of hypocrites. If they want us to follow their lead, they had better not have one set of rules for themselves and another for the people who elected them.

Paul Herzig

Whitehouse

Toledo's finances are in shambles because politicians in city government rely on unions for money and votes, and unions get paid back in the contracts they get from politicians ("Toledo unions reject Bell's giveback plan," Feb. 26).

How else can we explain the city paying the employee contribution to union pension funds?

Toledo should address the outrageous benefit packages unions receive. To fix the overtime problem, make all city workers salaried employees with a cap on maximum hours.

The city should not pay significantly more for health insurance than private employers pay. The days of ridiculously low co-pays for city workers should end.

If unions refuse to negotiate, voters shouldn't support any tax increases. Many workers will be laid off. Then, when these pork-filled contracts expire, we can negotiate sane contracts based on the same benefits taxpayers receive in their private-sector jobs.

James Winkle

Danberry Street

The writer of the Feb. 6 letter "Delta lets businesses slip away" should have investigated further the collapse of the wall of an ancient building in Delta.

Attention should have been focused on the real possibility of the structure crumbling further. Health and injury issues required quick action.

The only fault was that the two-story building should have been taken down or repaired earlier. The writer stated that village officials lacked concern for business losses, but concern was the reason the building was destroyed.

Anything of value should have been insured by responsible owners.

Ben Atherton

Delta, Ohio



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