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Published: Monday, 4/4/2011

School vouchers just wrong

The photographs accompanying your March 23 story "Ohioans rally to cheer Kasich's voucher plan" provide an excellent demonstration of why school vouchers are so wrong.

Both photographs are of a rally in Columbus, with marchers carrying placards urging vouchers to support Catholic schools. What obvious disregard for the U.S. Constitution. And using children to increase its emotional appeal, no less.

Apparently religious schools are failing to teach our history and the basis of our laws. The attempt by religionists to gain public financial support for teaching theistic superstitions has caused conflict since the founding of our country. Voucher programs typically are a backdoor through which religious schools seek to gain public money.

I was employed for many years at a state university as a science educator. Secular education is committed to seeking truth through evidence and reason. Sectarian education always has some component of unrevealed "truths."

The writers of our Constitution were well aware of this difference, as well as of the diversity of theistic viewpoints and the history of religiously inspired violence.

Those are the main reasons the First Amendment to the Constitution disallows government support for religious organizations. They are to be privately supported, if at all, though many piously attempt to circumvent the law.

I hope that others will rally to restore and maintain church-state separation. If religionists wish to perpetuate their superstitions, let them pay for that themselves, but absolutely not with public funds.

Voucher programs should be curtailed and our public schools supported.

Lloyd A. Jones
Weston, Ohio


Kasich puts fox in ODNR henhouse
Your March 21 editorial "Preserve state parks" said that David Mustine, the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, has control of 600,000 acres of Ohio's parks. The editorial also stated that previously Mr. Mustine was an oil and natural gas executive.

"King Kasich" wants to drill for oil and gas in our parks. It would seem our governor has put a fox in charge of the henhouse.

Louis A. Marlatt, Jr.
Lyons, Ohio


Unions advocate for social justice
The United Auto Workers and many other unions advocate in the political process not simply to protect members, but to push for social and economic justice for all people.

It is wrong and ignorant to suggest that union members are simply in politics for themselves.

Members are not greedy and self-centered; they seek justice. That's something most people who advocate in the political arena can't say.

As a retired UAW member, I say thanks to my union and the many other advocacy groups that seek justice through politics. Corporations and many of the wealthy in America contribute to politicians to further their own interests.

Those who oppose unions' role in politics argue that members' money shouldn't be used for anything but negotiations and contract enforcement. They seek to silence those who work against their greedy interests.

The UAW raises large sums of money to advocate real democratic governance. Much of it is from voluntary contributions from members over and above the dues they pay. The UAW has never pressured me to contribute. It has explained its agenda and won my support.

Much more money in politics comes from wealthy individuals and corporations than all unions combined. A law should be passed that requires corporations to get stockholder approval for all political expenditures, or pay a premium dividend to those stockholders who wish to opt out of supporting political expenditures.

Mike Harrington
Oak Grove Place


Republicans' show of hypocrisy
I have been a police officer in Ohio for more than 20 years. I do not for one second buy the argument that Senate Bill 5 is anti-working family. More accurately, SB5 is an effort to correct years of irresponsible spending and practices created by Democrats.

I have been a registered Republican my whole life and have never voted otherwise. My problem with SB5 is not with the passage of the legislation, but with the hypocrisy with which the Republicans passed it.

Gov. John Kasich promised to go after collective bargaining and union wages and he did so. However, he gave his staff a huge taxpayer-funded raise at the beginning of his term. The governor should lead by example or he is a hypocrite.

Sen. Shannon Jones (R., Springboro), the architect of Senate Bill 5, will make more than $60,000 this year as a state legislator. That's a lot of money for part-time work.

How does she criticize teachers for "part-time work" and justify her own?

The senator can also legislate her own raise.

Wrong is wrong. There is no greater entitlement system than the one in which the elected officials in this country feed.

Force them to lead by example.

Kevin Pooley
Lambertville


Our roads are in horrible condition
I did not attend the meeting on road conditions in Monroe County ("Rage over roads fills Bedford Twp. forum," March 29), but I do agree that something must be done. The roads are disintegrating in front of our eyes.

Crews may fill the potholes along Sterns Road, but the next day many new ones are waiting for motorists.

We need to tell Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and our legislators not to build a new bridge to Canada. We could use that $100 million to fix our roads. Let Manuel Moroun, owner of the Ambassador Bridge, build the bridge and risk his money instead of our tax dollars.

Where I live is more rural than Bedford Township, but we have the same bad roads. Sterns Road is a major east-west access road for many businesses.

We cannot attract business or buy new cars only to wreck them on the impossible roads.

Sharon Tipping
Ottawa Lake, Mich.


Cancer cluster still a mystery
From time to time, I read about the mysterious cancer cluster in Clyde, Ohio, that experts are still puzzling over ("Sen. Brown co-sponsors disease cluster bill," March 30). Meanwhile, local people continue to die of cancer.

In the book Don't Drink the Water, author Lono Kahuna Kupua A'o discusses how water becomes poisoned by pollution and how it can travel many miles underground for years before it is tapped from a well.

He wrote about Bellevue, Ohio, where public and private wastes were dumped into sinkholes and wells beginning in 1872.

Bellevue is just down the highway from Clyde. Although no one has solved the riddle of the Clyde cancer cluster, it's a good bet that either the air or the water is to blame. Locals may not have a choice about the air that they breathe, but they certainly can do something about purifying the water they drink.

Ernest Ryan
Temperance


Voter-ID bill is not a poll tax
It was disappointing to read that opponents of Ohio's voter-ID bill compare it to a poll tax ("Bill says voters must show government ID," March 24). They are alluding to a time when politicians tried to stop minorities and poor people from voting by charging them money to vote.

This is an unfair comparison, suggesting that supporters of the bill are motivated entirely by racist feelings, and that the only reason lawmakers passed this bill was to prevent votes for the opposition.

The government is offering free ID cards, so it is more reasonable to say the bill is meant to prevent irresponsible people, who will not take the time to get the cards, from voting.

These references to a darker time in our nation's past are damaging to the representatives who are trying to ensure the safety and accuracy of all elections in our state.

Topher Garzony
Drummond Road



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