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Published: Friday, 3/19/2010

Is Bell picking a fight?

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell gave some employees generous raises. On the heels of that, he went to the city unions for concessions and pay cuts ("City officials given raises up to 26.9%; Increases OK'd as Bell seeks union givebacks," Feb. 9).

The rank and file of any union would have hung its leadership out to dry if they capitulated to this.

Was Mayor Bell raised in a vacuum? Did he want to pick a fight?

Robert S. Haynes

Sandra Drive

I no longer live in Toledo, thank goodness. But when Mike Bell ran for mayor I told all my Toledo friends to vote for him. Now I am wondering.

To balance the budget, he needs to rescind the raises given to some employees, then take 10 percent from them and ask them to pay a bigger share of their health care. Before he takes concessions from union people, he needs to take an equal amount from all management workers.

Then and only then should he even consider asking those who put him in office to endure pay cuts and tax increases. Otherwise, he's biting the hand that feeds him.

Judith L. Gable

Temperance

It's time Mayor Bell sets the example of a true Toledo patriot. He is a triple dipper, receiving two pensions plus a paycheck from Toledo. He should reduce his salary to $1 a year.

Such leadership should motivate other double and triple dippers to take similar action. It would also prove to unions that the mayor is willing to do whatever it takes to balance the budget.

When more prosperous times return, reasonable salaries could beestablished.

Jim Krumm

Oak Park Road

We have elected a bunch of fair-weather sailors. Elected leaders should gladly forfeit their pay to set an example for the unions and the rest of Toledo.

As an officer in the military, I learned never to ask someone to do what you would not do. If anyone on City Council wants to quit, I will do the job for free.

Gary Buck

Scottwood Avenue

Although our new mayor encourages outside-the-box thinking to address the city budget deficit, he does not practice what he preaches.

At a recent budget hearing, Mayor Bell said that nothing else can be cut from the budget. Baloney. He can cut nearly $12 million by eliminating trash service. I'd rather pay a private company that met my needs than throw more money at the wasteful and inefficient city service.

The mayor said that Toledoans don't have the option of walking away. He's wrong. But we're not walking away; he's driving us away.

Sheila Gramenz

Meadowwood Drive

Why do city officials say they need to raise taxes or look to the unions for concessions?

I do not hear the mayor and City Council offering to make concessions in their pay and benefits. I am 65 and I'm tired of the little guy getting the wrong end of the stick. Enough is enough.

Carolyn Dixon

Galena Street

We know the drastic measures that the City of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools say are necessary to close their budget deficits.

The consequences of layoffs are unpopular, but what never comes up is the salaries of administrators.

The Blade should publish a list of those making more than $100,000, those who receive a salary while also receiving retirement benefits, and any plans for paring back these positions and eliminating duplication within job duties.

Robert Dutkowski

Shallowford Drive

Enough already about increasing my income taxes.

I live in Toledo but work in Northwood. Toledo is seeking a tax increase by ending the reciprocal tax credit. Northwood is thinking about increasing its income tax, and Toledo Public Schools wants an increase in income taxes.

I cannot afford more increases against my earnings. I guess the American dream of retirement will pass me by.

Milt Hubartt

Airport Highway

I take issue with Toledo Mud Hens President Joe Napoli's argument opposing the proposed tax on tickets for entertainment and sports events ("Ticket tax could result in significant harm to Toledo," op-ed column, March 13).

If you have attended Mud Hens games in the past few years, you know that ticket prices have increased by about $2. If Mr. Napoli is so worried about increased prices driving away business, he would not have raised ticket prices.

Have you bought food at a Mud Hens or Walleye game? Prices for hamburgers and hot dogs have skyrocketed.

If Mr. Napoli is worried about driving away customers, he should lower the prices charged for food rather than complain about the ticket tax.

My family will still support the Mud Hens and Walleye whether or not the ticket tax is imposed. We will gladly pay the 8 percent ticket tax if it will help the city maintain the quality of life we have come to love and appreciate since moving to this region 10 years ago.

MarK Gibbs

Ottawa Lake

Anyone who skews and overstates as Joe Napoli did in his op-ed column impresses me as being a blowhard.

He argued that the proposed ticket tax would cost event-goers about $200 a year. He argued that level of taxation would lead to a loss of about 125,000 ticket sales in Mayor Bell's effort to raise $1 million.

Mr. Napoli argued that city taxes cannot be levied against county venues. His data indicate that all income levels will be affected. Is that supposed to be an argument against an inequitable tax? It sounds perfectly fair to me.

At the recent hockey history night at Lucas County Arena, hockey jerseys were auctioned off for thousands of dollars.

Clearly, someone has more than enough money to buy these things and to pay high prices for food.

Royce Wicks

East Broadway

I wholeheartedly endorse the opinions of Joe Napoli, on behalf of the entire cultural community, protesting the ticket tax.

Everyone understands Mayor Bell's challenge. However, a ticket tax on sports and arts events will do irreparable harm to Toledo's cultural amenities, quality of life, and attractiveness as a business location and tourism destination.

It will also profoundly damage its creative economy, which is central to Toledo's future economic revival and competitiveness.

It will maim Toledo's identity and ambitions.

Katerina Redi Ray

Brittany Road



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