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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2011

Marina investors need a plan

Blade Editor David Kushma’s April 24 op-ed column, “To save Marina deal, shed more light,” is right on the money.

I don’t know how we can support a plan that we know virtually nothing about. Few if any of Toledo’s assets possess the transformational potential of the Marina District property.

As someone who has volunteered thousands of hours advocating the successful development of this site, I am excited that we have investors interested in purchasing and developing the property. But we only get one chance to get this development right.

As a private-sector, small-business owner, I have a deep-seated ill will for unnecessary government interference. However, I do not believe it is unreasonable to ask the potential investors to provide the community with a detailed and comprehensive development plan before the city transfers ownership of the site.

As a result of the commitment, dedication, and hard work of developer Larry Dillin and others, we are fortunate to have some control structures in place, including architectural standards.

However, once the property has been transferred, the community’s input is limited by the goodwill of the new owners.

No one wants this development to be more successful than the people and stakeholders of East Toledo. We continue to be excited about the potential this site offers.

Let’s move the deal forward at a reasonable pace and without the all-too-familiar, unreasonable demands and posturing of our elected officials.

Dan Steingraber
Oregon

Foreign investors should conform
Mr. Kushma’s column was excellent. There is no reason why a developer investing in the United States should not conform to normal development rules.

Who are the investors? What are their plans? What have they done previously? These are all good and unanswered questions.

A search for the investors’ names on the Internet reveals little.

Once those questions are answered to the satisfaction of the taxpayers who own the property, no hiring restrictions need apply to the sale.

Keep on it. You guys are apparently the only media that give a damn.

Tom Watkins
Waterville

Living in Sylvania all about schools
In 1956, when I was transferred to General Motors’ Powertrain plant in Toledo, I asked our Realtor to recommend the best place to raise our family in the area. Without a second thought, she said: “Sylvania, because of the schools.”

That’s why we moved here. After putting five kids through the Sylvania school system, my wife and I stayed here — and that’s why families continue to move here. It’s all about the great school system.

The schools are Sylvania’s primary attraction. Without their “excellent” rating, we would not have the quality of life that we all enjoy, our property values would start to go down, and families would think twice about moving to Sylvania.

We are part of the community that has no direct connection to the schools, but we have never stopped supporting them. We do not intend to stop now, even though we are on a fixed income, having been retired since 1987.

Sylvania is a great community in which to live and raise our families. Let’s help keep it that way by supporting Sylvania Schools and voting for Issue 2 on Tuesday.

Bruce Wharram
Sylvania Township
Editor’s Note: The writer is a former Sylvania Township trustee.

Schools need to address spending
Sylvania Schools wants to increase taxes with another new, continuous levy. Schools need to respond to shortfalls with a new mindset and operate more like private businesses.

They need to understand that voters are taxed too much now, so increasing this income stream is not an option. Schools need to find ways to reduce their employee and contractor costs. They should get creative.

Look for new income streams in areas such as endowments, estates, grants, and low-interest loans. Make more items pay-to-play-type activities that appropriately match the income to the expense. This is an expense problem.

The abundance of nice Sylvania homes equates to a huge property-tax base. Now that our home values have declined by tens of thousands of dollars, why don’t we get a tax rebate from the schools to make up for our shortfall?

J.J. Wilson
Sylvania Township

Sylvania, Maumee levies are vital
The Sylvania and Maumee school districts have levies on Tuesday’s ballot. As voters ponder their decisions, it is important to consider the meaning of their votes, not just for their school districts, but in supporting the overall quality of life and continued viability of their communities.

It is a lot to ask of voters to support any initiatives at this time that may have a financial cost, and the decision to do so is not taken lightly.

These two districts have taken great pains to ensure greater efficiencies without adversely affecting their effectiveness and the ability to provide students with rich academic activities that help to prepare them for life beyond school.

These districts have a proven track records of success and are both rated as “excellent.”

Many charter schools and parochial schools also do an excellent job. But they do not face the challenges these districts must contend with annually to provide an excellent education to a very broad range of students, from very gifted students to many students with significant challenges to learning. And yet they have continued to demonstrate excellent performance.

As voters, we must expect higher levels of accountability for the tax dollars that we provide.

In the challenging economic situation that all of our communities in Lucas County face, we should expect greater efficiencies — but not to the point of totally sacrificing effectiveness.

Supporting the effort to continue the high quality and performance of each of these districts contributes to improved quality of life, economic development, and helping to prevent the further decline of property values, which benefit all citizens of Lucas County.

David Kontur
Director
Lucas County Family and Children First Council
Toledo

Good reasons to vote against levy
Nothing indicates that money can buy excellence.

Residents of Sylvania Schools should be proud of its teachers for excellent schools. They have achieved this excellence under the present financial conditions.

However, the school board claims it needs a 4.9-mill levy to maintain that excellence. That is an expensive levy for the citizens of Sylvania.

According to City-Data.com the estimated Sylvania median house or condominium value in 2009 was $173,516. Based on that figure, the levy would cost the average household approximately $250 a year.

Seniors who depend on Social Security for some of their monthly income can hardly afford this new tax. For the last two years, they have not received an increase in their benefits.

The price of gasoline is up more then $1.20 a gallon from a year ago, so it costs about $15 more to fill the tank.

Those are good reasons to vote against the levy.

Robert T. Bodette
Sylvania

The tail wags the dog at Ohio State
Your April 27 editorial calling for Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel to at least temporarily step down was right on (“Stand down, coach”).

Unfortunately, President E. Gordon Gee has already made it clear that the tail wags the dog at Ohio State University.

I’m guessing that President Gee is still hopeful that Mr. Tressel does not suspend him.

Carl Collier
Pembridge



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