County government, with commissioners and lots of offices and townships and overlapping jurisdictions, was designed for a past era. That said, in Lucas County it works pretty well ("Cautions sounded on county reform," June 8).
The county has been responsible for difficult and successful development, elected officials run their offices smoothly and responsively, and the safeguard of elections provides incentive for continual improvement.
Executive government is more dynamic than a commission system, but it can also be more destructive if we should elect a bum. That's a risk I think is worth taking, but it takes some thought.
My instinct would be to have a 3- or 5-member county council, as an 11-member council can suck the life out of any executive. And then there are the issues of the row offices, overlapping jurisdictions, and regional government. I'd like to see the full range of reforms explored.
County Commissioner Ben Konop's effort is misguided. We need more time, thought, and participation, rather than rushing his proposal to the ballot. He needs to pull back personally, because he is polarizing and issues tend to become about him.
The idea of an elected review commission is misguided. We need the best minds looking at this, not those who have an agenda and enough free time to gather signatures to get on the ballot.
I'd suggest that the commissioners agree on four chairs of a review committee, who would then select 12 additional members. These should be leaders, thinkers, and those with expertise in management, efficiency, accounting, and political systems.
The University of Toledo could staff the project. The commission should review the best models and the strengths and weaknesses of our current system.
It should be charged with coming up with recommendations, which could be short-term and longer-term, dealing with overlapping jurisdiction and regional government concepts.
Let's do this right.
Peter R. Silverman
I'm a retired nurse who in the 1990s worked at Sunset House on Indian Road in Ottawa Hills. Police there stopped my vehicle every day going to and from work.
I was never given a citation or a ticket, but was always told that I was going 26-27 mph in a 25 mph zone. I even drove my daughter's car and I still got stopped. I can only conclude my guilt is that I am black.
Village officials and residents should not make it sound as though Ottawa Hills is so diverse that any black person is welcome. It insults our intelligence.
Had Michael McCloskey, Jr., who was shot and paralyzed by a white officer, been black, I'm not sure it would have made a slight hiccup in the news.
Jacqueline Y. Chaney
The June 5 letter "Racial bigots not all in one party" stated that most bigots are in the Republican Party. Has he never heard of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former President Jimmy Carter, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and now Helen Thomas?
To the writer who states that most bigots are Republican: How do you explain Helen Thomas?
I take issue with several points in your June 2 editorial "Blame to go around," about the recent Gaza flotilla incident.
Israeli officials do not merely "assert" that the flotilla organizers had terrorist ties. This is a fact. Along with Israel, a Danish research institute and French intelligence have positively linked the main group responsible, IHH (a Turkish Islamic charity), with terrorist activity. IHH was implicated in the 1999 attempt to smuggle explosives into the United States on New Year's Eve.
You cannot overemphasize the implacable nature of Israel's foes. Even the "moderate" Fatah Palestinian faction refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. The Hamas faction in Gaza demands the total and immediate annihilation of Israel.
I find it ironic that you ask Israel to "do more" for peace. Does anyone in the media have the guts to ask the Palestinians to "do more" for peace, since they barely do anything?
You call on Israel to "loosen its controls on Gaza and the West Bank, consistent with maintaining self-defense, even if that entails risk."
Let's be clear on what Israel would "risk": dead civilians. Would we be willing to take similar risks here?
The Veterans Administration clinic does not help all veterans, nor is it available to all veterans ("New veterans clinic aims to expand care," June 3).
I served with the Marines from 1964 to 1968, including 22 months in Vietnam. I got a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat. I was honorably discharged.
I had never gone to the VA clinic until last year. I was told to fill out a large stack of papers that were so complicated that I gave up. I decided the VA doesn't care about me.
One question should be asked: Did you serve honorably? There should not be a book with hundreds of questions.
Your June 3 article "Fish kills cost region $30 million annually; Bay Shore plant in Oregon blamed" was informative and troubling.
In response to the fish kill report, a FirstEnergy spokesman you quoted said: "It's not going to have any impact on the decisions we make." The spokesman also said the company has no interest in reading or debating the report.
In light of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, you would think corporations would be less insensitive or arrogant about environmental issues.
I resent the headline on Jack Kelly's June 2 op-ed column, "Sloth in charge." It was repulsive and repugnant. No U.S. president, even George W. Bush, for whom I have no respect or use, deserves this distasteful label.
Mr. Kelly is the worst columnist I can recall. He's just an ignorant ax grinder, not a journalist. He's so ludicrous, at times he's even humorous in a sick way. So maybe you should place his bilge water in the funny pages.
Jack A. Miller
Congratulations to Springfield High School graduates for conducting yourselves with dignity during your commencement ceremony. Sadly, the same can't be said of some of your families.
When did graduation ceremonies become a spectator sport? The horns, cowbells, screaming, and yelling were so loud and prolonged that the name of the next graduate in line couldn't be heard.
This behavior showed disrespect to the students and disrupted enjoyment of the event for everyone. Guidelines sent home ahead of time either went unread or were willfully ignored.
I left the event with ringing ears and frayed nerves, instead of uplifted spirits and hope for the next generation. A few people with no common courtesy ruined it for everyone else.
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