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Published: Friday, 3/12/2010

Solar power is trendy

You present a misleading picture of the state's role in solar power, which is a money-losing boondoggle ("Eclipsed? The state of Ohio's solar industry," March 7-9).The demand for solar power isn't there, in large measure because its technical inefficiencies make it much more expensive than the usual sources of power: coal, oil, nuclear.

The only way solar can fly is to make taxpayers cover the difference between revenue and expenses. Why is it the taxpayers' responsibility to pay for private firms' deficits?

You carefully note that one big reason California has some solar power activity is that the state government is subsidizing those efforts with $3.2 billion. That's $80 per Californian, when many analysts believe California will become the first state in 200 years to go bankrupt.

The wisdom of sinking public money into trendy energy sources was last demonstrated by the Carter administration.Maybe Gov. Ted Strickland has learned more from recent history than The Blade has.

John Murray

Professor of Economics

University of Toledo

Thomas O'Grady, master thoracic surgeon, past president of the Toledo Academy of Medicine, and a colleague at the Toledo Clinic for more than 30 years, recently died ("Dr. Thomas J. O'Grady, 1933-2010; Surgeon was respected for his technical, people skills," March 3).

Tom's great surgical skill, combined with his outstanding surgical judgment, helped define the field of thoracic surgery for his generation of surgeons. Hundreds of families in the Toledo area think of Tom with gratitude because of his life-giving services to their relatives.

Tom had faith in God. He operated with skill, dressed the patient, and had faith that the patient would heal.

Tom was very proud of his Irish heritage, loved to tell stories, and when appropriate, could bring out a bit of blarney. He loved to sit at dinner with friends and family, with a fine glass of wine in front of him, telling stories.

For many, this is how we will remember him. Good-bye, good friend, and Godspeed.

Allan B. Kirsner, M.D.

Toledo Clinic

Secor Road

I wonder how many sick kids without health insurance could have been helped with money wastedby taking care oftheOhio death-row inmate who tried to commit suicide ("Killer given reprieve after pill overdose," March 9).

How much money would have been saved had he succeeded?

Beau Ruetz

Lima Avenue

It was heartening to read that the New Order National Human Rights Organization has started a group in Toledo ("Rights group seeks recruits," Feb. 27).

The group is concerned about last December's tragic death of Linda Hicks, which inspired the formation of the Toledo affiliate.

May the citizens of Toledo give their effort the warm welcome that it deserves.

Walter F. Schlegel

Colburn Street

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain wants to scrap the health-care plan and start over.

Let's take away our congressmen's health-care plan too, and start over.

How quickly would a health-care plan pass then?

Tony Picciuto

Gibsonburg, Ohio

Insurance companies that underwrite casualty, health, or any other risks base their premiums on the return they receive from money markets.

When the economy is strong, insurance companies' investments allow them to reduce premiums.

When the economy is weak, such as now, they must raise premiums to compensate for the low return on their investments in money markets.Health-insurance premiums are not immune to this economic process.

Ron Talloak Everett

Maumee

In a mischaracterization of a Pew Center on the States report on public pensions ("Pension wake-up call," editorial, Feb. 23), you missed key points about the health of public pensions.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office and other pension experts suggest public pensions should be funded at 80 percent of all accrued benefits. In the midst of the worst economic downturn this nation has seen in 75 years, Pew reports they are funded at 84 percent. That is cause for praise, not alarm.

Ohio was issued the highest rating as a "top performer," with 87 percent of its total pension costs in the bank.

Ohio is one of only six states on track to fully fund its retiree health-care obligations with $11.1 billion on hand, higher than any other state in the country.

If you look at a conservative estimate of states' projected spending over the next 30 years, the unfunded pension obligation amounts to just 2 percent.

Ohio's 500,000 public employees are not eligible for Social Security. By kicking in 10 percent or more of their salary into their pension, they earn on average a mere $23,535 in retirement. In exchange, Ohio gets a stable public work force and a better economy through public sector retirees' spending.

According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, every dollar paid to a retiree in benefits returns $1.33 to the Ohio economy, which is estimated to create 79,410 jobs in Ohio.

Rather than sounding alarms, The Blade should point out how well-run our public pension systems are, and the vital role they play in keeping our seniors out of poverty and in stabilizing our economy.

Sally Powless

Regional Director

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

Ohio Council 8

South Reynolds Road

When Sarah Palin derides President Obama for being a professor, i.e. for being intelligent, it tells us all we need to know about her.

John A. Galbraith

Maumee

Ohioans should be outraged as the Humane Society of the United States and Ohioans for Humane Farms, kickoff their petition signature process ("Humane Society offers wording on livestock treatment," Feb. 2).

Ohioans decided last fall, with 64 percent passage of State Issue 2, that farmers, consumers, veterinarians, and food safety experts from Ohio should decide animal care.

The Humane Society wants to change the Ohio Constitution and direct a livestock care board to adopt certain animal care practices before the board members are even named and organized.

This out-of-state activist group has an agenda to reduce or eliminate meat consumption in Ohio and the nation. Its members say they are for the family farm, but eating meat one less day out of every week, as the society suggests, would decrease meat consumption by 14 percent.These reductions would affect our family farm and other family farms across the state.

The society has nothing to do with your local animal shelter and only spends $1 out of every $200 collected for saving dogs and cats. Please make sure you know all the facts before signing its petitions.

Animal care is of the highest priority on all farms.

Jeff Wuebker

Versailles, Ohio



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