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Published: Tuesday, 1/11/2011

Trial lawyers a U.S. pillar

Blade editorial cartoonist Kirk Walters' Jan. 7 cartoon was a broadside against America's trial lawyers. It suggested a link between them and researchers who conduct so-called bogus or quack science.

American trial lawyers are a fundamental pillar of our nation's social and political stability. In this country, we settle our disputes peacefully in courts of law, not with violence or thugs or government oppression, as many countries do.

Trial lawyers are essential to this process, and it would not function if they were dishonest as a group. I have not found any news report linking any trial lawyer trade association or organization to the bogus autism study, or any other quack scientific study.

More important, trial court evidence rules prohibit the use of expert opinions or studies that fail to pass strict rules of scientific validity. Trial lawyers typically do not waste their own or their clients' money on studies that will be useless in court.

Indeed, the British autism study that prompted Mr. Walters' cartoon has been rejected by U.S. courts. Massive news reporting on that now-discredited study has been far more remunerative for the press than the study itself has been for any trial lawyer.

Stephen M. Dane

President

Toledo Bar Association

Perrysburg

Some will be misled by cartoon

Kirk Walters' cartoon was untruthful and an insult to all lawyers and judges, not just trial lawyers.

The cartoon implied that trial lawyers financed the medical study. Nothing that I find indicates this. Your Jan. 7 article "Study connecting vaccines, autism a fraud, journal says" did not mention or suggest this.

The study was undertaken by a British physician and published in a British medical journal. There is no evidence that trial lawyers requested, suggested, or financed the study.

Editorial cartoons can speak volumes; to be so clearly misleading is wrong. Many readers will view the cartoon but not do further reading on the issue.

Trial lawyers often take on unpopular causes and difficult cases against larger and better-funded foes.

Mr. Walters' cartoon was at the least disingenuous, and as false as the medical article published by the British physician. I expect more from The Blade.

John R. Polofka

Madison Avenue

Dippers lack guilt about fees

As I contemplate the rising costs proposed for trash and water services, I wonder why Toledo Mayor Mike Bell's administration feels that because it cannot balance the city budget, citizens should accept these increases to solve the problem.

Toledoans are hard hit, are either laid off, retired, or underpaid, and are lucky to be hanging on.

The additional money it would cost residents to pay for an increase in trash and water services can help buy gasoline, milk for kids, or fresh fruit, or pay part of a bill we have been scrimping to pay.

Where will this end? It is an insult for city officials to collect pensions and salaries, when Toledoans who pay their salaries cannot pay their own bills. I am furious that no one who is a double-dipper or triple-dipper feels any guilt about presenting these proposals.

Sharon Tobian

Adella Street

Thanks, mayor, for selling city

The Bell administration is considering selling city assets to the Chinese to help balance the city budget ("Chinese investors eye Toledo landmarks," Jan. 8).

Isn't it wonderful that Toledo has a fine, caring mayor who traveled to China? Tom Cousino is $99,000 in arrears on his rent for his restaurants.

As the last blue-collar manufacturing jobs abandon this dying city, there is hope that a foreign country will be the new owners and possibly the new employers of this city.

Frank Alberts III

Jackman Road

Chinese might get tax support

I was saddened to see that one of the finest dining establishments, Navy Bistro, was closing. It was an anchor for downtown Toledo. I always enjoyed the food, atmosphere, and river sights.

It amazes me that we pay taxes to promote the Toledo area and to bring new business and jobs. But it seems as though we have no one to assist us when an established business gets into trouble. Where were city, county, state, and federal officials when it came to trying to save jobs at those establishments?

You can rest assured that foreign investors will likely receive tax breaks from the city, county, state, and federal government.

Christopher Terry

Whitehouse

Cousinos gave jobs to many

In the late 1960s, I worked for Tom Cousino's parents at their Whitehouse restaurant. When you worked for the Cousino family, you were considered family, not just an employee.

Tom grew up washing dishes, busing tables, and learning to charcoal steaks. Later, my daughter worked for Tom while she was in college.

Tom had a dream to build The Docks out of a warehouse at the river. When the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge closed for many months, it was difficult to keep The Docks open, but Tom kept people employed.

The Cousinos have kept people working and paying taxes for 65 years. Let's thank them for the dining history they have given us.

Shirlie DeShetler

Oregon

Get the facts on city unions

Your Jan. 2 editorial "Share the pain, again" is misleading on two points.

First, the City of Toledo, by virtue of its declaration of exigent circumstances, has been taking a percentage of the wages earned by members of the Toledo Police Command Officers Association since last April. That's not to mention the percentage of each employee's health-care costs, for a total of about one-eighth of each member's biweekly paycheck.

Interestingly, this is the only city union in which members pay a percentage of their pension contribution that the negotiated labor contract requires the city to pay.

To their credit, City Council members D. Michael Collins and Steven Steele proposed legislation to end exigent circumstances against the TPCOA, but the majority of council failed to support them.

This pension pickup was negotiated in steps over the course of numerous labor contracts in lieu of wage increases, a tool that saved the city money while fairly increasing employees' pay. It has saved the city money by keeping hourly wages down, thereby minimizing the overtime costs that occur as an unavoidable expense for safety forces.

Your characterization of the pension pickup as some sort of public-subsidized perk for city employees is either calculated to sway public opinion or a product of your continued lack of knowledge of the facts.

Jerry Heer

Maumee

Editor's Note: The writer is a sergeant with the Toledo Police Department.

Stand up to gun lobbyists

Americans are becoming their own worst enemies by not demanding a change to gun laws ("6 killed, 13 wounded in rampage," Jan. 9). The right to bear arms is not necessary as it was in 1775.

If so, then whoever wants to bear arms must be restricted to what Americans bore in 1775: a musket loader. No citizen needs a Glock or an assault weapon.

We have cowered long enough before gun lobbyists. I am weary of hearing that guns don't kill people, people kill people. The truth is, people use guns to kill people.

It is time to do what is necessary, and enact gun control laws.

K.S. Wikoff

Tiffin



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