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Published: Monday, 10/10/2011

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Public-sector workers not to blame

I keep hearing from Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans that the public sector needs to start sacrificing like the private sector has done (“Governor promotes Issue 2 at local rally,” Sept. 30). Specifically, they say that public workers need to pay more for their health insurance and their pensions, like the private sector. What I want to know is, who are they talking about?

The governor is in the public sector. How much does he pay for his insurance and his pension?

What about our legislators? They are also public workers. Are they going to take the same deal as the union workers if Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 passes?

I can’t speak for all public workers, but I can tell you that most of the teachers in our state pay their full share (10 percent of their salary) toward their pensions. When those big buyouts and severance packages are in the news, they are not talking about teachers or police patrol officers. Those deals go to administrators and other nonunion positions.

Republicans in the legislature want everyone to believe that it is the police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other working-class government employees who are to blame for the state’s and the country’s financial woes.

I do not believe that people are so blind, or forgetful, that they will fall for this charade. It was the collapse of the banking industry that caused this recession. Union workers should not be the scapegoats.

Rick Brimmer
Oak Harbor, Ohio
Editor’s note: The writer is a teacher at Lake High School in Lake Township.

Issue 2’s extremes threaten future
Governor Kasich claims that Issue 2 is not a union buster and only asks that government employees pay their fair share. A yes vote on Issue 2 will make Senate Bill 5 a state law.

What he does not tell you is that under S.B. 5, any government agency can raise employee health-care contributions to any level it wishes and reduce benefits whenever it wants. Employees will have no legal recourse.

S.B. 5 eliminates strikes, the rights of seniority for layoffs, and binding arbitration.

The problem with Issue 2 is that it makes these extremes possible. I am not a government employee nor am I a union member, but I know that because of the work unions have done over the years, the majority of Americans have vacation pay, holiday pay, health care, pensions, and fairness in the work force.

If we allow the state government to destroy the public employee unions, what do lawmakers have in store for the rest of us?

Vote no on Issue 2. Our future depends on it.

Ken Fisher
Boxhall Road

S.B. 5 would bring equal justice
The writer of the Oct. 2 Readers’ Forum letter “Catholic Church backs unions” supports repeal of S.B. 5 on Nov. 8, affirming a right to collective bargaining by public-sector union employees.

He paints this right with a broad brush with no qualifications and fails to acknowledge that S.B. 5 does not eliminate collective bargaining, but limits it in ways that will be beneficial and fair to both sides.

The fact that he expresses his point of view as that of the Catholic Church is unsettling because it pits one class of worker, the public-sector union employee, against the private-sector employee who is forced to pay for generous benefits, including collective-bargaining rights for the public employees, when he likely does not come close to having them for himself.

We keep hearing about social justice. Where exactly is the equal justice? As has been said: Socialism is great until you run out of other peoples’ money.

Janet Miller
South Reynolds Road

Way to get rich? Work hard, save
Your Sept. 25 article “Benefit of slicing capital gains tax fiercely debated” quotes economist Marty Sullivan: “The way you get rich in this world is not by working hard. It’s by owning large amounts of assets and having those things appreciate in value.”

How does Mr. Sullivan believe most people obtain these assets? Some inherit it, but most people work hard and save their money or create a business and work hard to make it succeed.

Glen Vaughn
Perrysburg

Russia far from disintegration
Based on what I experienced as a resident of Russia from the mid-1990s until 2008, I differ with columnist Mike Sigov’s view of Vladimir Putin and his version of Russia (“Russia could be spiraling toward disintegration,” Oct. 2).

The Russia I experienced under Boris Yeltsin’s rule consisted of economic, bureaucratic, social, legal, and political chaos. Mr. Putin’s rule has brought economic growth and stability.

My salary and that of my Russian staffs grew consistently, as did business in general. People who relied on state funds, such as public school teachers, medical staff, the military, and the elderly, also received ever-increasing stipends measured carefully so as not to spur inflation or make them targets for crime.

As far as Russia relying heavily on its oil exports, I was under the impression that the Russians used a good portion their natural resources for their own economy to ensure independence. The oil they do export seems to serve as a key to their power rather than an essential element of their survival, economic or otherwise.

The Russians are smart not to export other things such as millions of jobs or billions of tax dollars from their federal coffers to destroy enemies. Russia has many enemies. I get the impression its leaders don’t waste their time, money, or soldiers’ lives bombing those enemies or killing their leaders.

The Russian government’s attempt to prevent investors from developing other industries is called protectionism, a clever strategy that the United States lacks. Speaking of “disintegration,” which pot is calling the kettle black?

Amy Thomson Wexler
Holly Hill Drive

Maumee schools’ levy championed
I’m not a parent, so I feel especially qualified to say that it is to the advantage of every voter in Maumee City Schools to vote yes for the district’s levy on Nov. 8 (“1st ballots to be cast Tuesday in Ohio,” Oct. 2).

This is not an act of charity or just for the kids. Research has shown that the quality of schools directly and positively impacts residential property values. The strength of a school district can impact labor and business site selection. School districts employ community members and use local services and materials.

Although I want students to have what they need to succeed, a vote for this levy does more than support their education. It strengthens our entire community.

Rachel Johnson
Maumee

Jeep plant guests advised of carts
The writer of the Sept. 22 letter “Jeep plant needed carts for disabled” said there were no accommodations at Chrysler LLC’s Toledo Assembly complex’s open house for those who needed help.

Daily communications a month prior to the Sept. 11 event advised employees to bring strollers, wagons, wheelchairs, or whatever they needed to transport young, old, or disabled immediate family members on the tour route.

Thousands of Jeep family members were treated to plenty of music, food, and children’s activities. Any leftover food went to the Cherry Street Mission and the Toledo Seagate Food Bank.

Union and management leadership, along with the Jeep plant workers, are to be commended on a classy open house.

Dan Tyburski
Erie, Mich.

Removing trees not a good deed
I recently went past the Boy Scouts’ Camp Miakonda on Sylvania Avenue. I was surprised to see trees cut down to accommodate a sign that looks like something you would see at a strip mall.

When I was a Scout in the 1950s, we were taught to respect the trees. I got in trouble for pulling one up by its roots for firewood. The Scout leader took me right out to replant it.

Destroying trees to make way for a sign is shameful. Whatever happened to teaching kids about “going green”?

Richard Young
Sylvania Township



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