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Published: Tuesday, 10/18/2011

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Texting, driving don’t mix

Your Oct. 10 editorial “Ban texting while driving” says that “Toledo banned this dangerous practice nearly two years ago.” Toledo and the State of Ohio can ban anything they want, but such legislation is not effective.

You said that studies show texting impairs a driver to a greater extent than driving under the influence of alcohol. Instead of a ban, why not call for legislation to elevate the penalties for distracted driving to the same level as those for driving under the influence?

If a driver commits another infraction or is involved in an accident while texting, that driver’s license would be suspended for a year and a fine of $375 to $1,075 would be levied for a first offense.

Additionally, the driver’s insurance company would be allowed to raise its rates for that driver to the high-risk level. Subsequent offenses would be treated in step with penalties for repeated DUI convictions.

Merely banning texting will not eliminate it. There are laws against failure to control a vehicle. Making the penalties for breaking traffic laws while texting commensurate with those for a DUI conviction may cause drivers to reconsider the importance of not texting while they drive, and ultimately reduce the incidence of accidents this activity can cause.

Christopher Werkman
Middleton Township

City grievances pale to auto sector
I have spent more than 25 years in management in the automotive industry. I was astounded by the low number of grievances filed by the unions that represent Toledo city workers (“10 years of Toledo grievances,” Oct. 9).

According to your article, the city’s 2,285 unionized employees filed 3,115 grievances over 10 years. That’s an average of fewer than 1.5 grievances per employee.

These city employees are comparable to a large automotive assembly or manufacturing plant’s work force, which typically is represented by the United Auto Workers. For Detroit Three automakers, it is not uncommon for a single plant to have several hundred grievances filed in a year.

If Toledo’s management team thinks it has a lot on its table dealing with these grievance numbers, compare them with private industries employing unionized work forces. Welcome to the real world.

Richard Bullard
Angel Avenue

Grievance story union-busting
Why doesn’t your Oct. 9 story “Toledo union workers file flood of grievances” include city officials who don’t know their jobs? This story is typical of a right-wing, union-busting agenda.

It’s city officials’ job to call the right individuals for the job. These city officials need common sense.

If the union guy below that city official sends the wrong person or decides to play hero, then the union person also bears a burden for not knowing his or her job.

I’ve worked for private-sector and union employers. Sorry to offend some people, but I love my union.

Scott Collum
Amboy Township

Grievances hurting economy
After years of assuming that union members are one of the main reasons why prices are so high, and why so many companies move overseas, I realize now that it is true.

Not all union members fall into this category, and there was an initial need for unions. But the way unions have developed and acted since the Jimmy Hoffa era has cost taxpayers money.

Just reading a couple of these grievances makes me wonder whether a child’s mentality applies when making the decision to file a grievance. Companies have to save money by hiring outside employees, or using temporary services.

Union members still have jobs. They should be happy about that, and stop being greedy.

Millions of workers get paid less for doing more than most union members do, and they don’t file grievances because they are happy to be employed. That is what matters to them.

Mike Chabot
Hartman Street

Grievance story spurs question
Why were so many grievances filed? Because union contracts were violated.

A contract is negotiated and agreed to in good faith by two parties, labor and management. Why are unions taking such a bad rap when management agreed to all of the provisions in the contracts?

When management disregards the terms of these agreements, the union often has no recourse but to file a grievance.

Pat Cook
Sylvania Township
Editor’s note: The writer is former president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2174.

Baptist flip-flops on Mormon stand
Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, said he supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry over Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination because of the two candidates’ religious differences (“GOP rivals sidestep religion issue; Candidates cautious on Romney’s beliefs, call topic a distraction,” Oct. 10).

Mr. Jeffress said Mr. Romney is a Mormon and Mormonism is a cult, and that Mr. Perry is a conservative, evangelical, Christian. He further said that “a Christian in office is better than a non-Christian.”

Asked whether he would ever vote for a Mormon, he answered no. However, pressed on a choice between Gov. Romney and President Obama, he preferred Gov. Romney.

Apparently he prefers the Mormon, Republican Romney over the Christian, Democrat Obama, who he said must be “unseated for spiritual reasons.”

I wonder whether they had classes in logic at the seminary attended by Mr. Jeffress.

Gene Monroe
Queenswood Boulevard

Super-committee targeting aid?
Now that the fate of so many older Americans is being addressed by a new super-committee on debt reduction, I am worried about our life-giving Social Security and Medicare benefits (“House passes funding for government; President is sent bill to avert shutdown through Nov. 18,” Oct. 5).

On Nov. 23, the committee is to announce its recommended cuts. Then the U.S. House and Senate will vote on the plan.

I have been visiting congressional offices to talk about the need to keep hands off Social Security and Medicare. According to some accounts, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus. Politicians in Washington are meeting behind closed doors to discuss raiding Social Security.

Sam Burnett
Robin Road

Pass or fail, Issue 2 speaks to economy
When Issue 2 is decided, I predict that pass or fail, it will be close.

To proponents: If it passes it will be because enough voters believe that public workers are spoiled and treated way too well. Besides, it doesn’t adversely affect me. If it fails, it will be because you overreached. You should have adopted moderate belt-tightening reforms.

To opponents: If it passes, it will be because you have been inflexible and combative in tough times. If it fails, it will be because enough voters believe that they are next, and that workers are the targets. You should have negotiated moderate belt-tightening reforms in tough times.

Richard Walker
Jutland Street

Thanks to all who cleaned streams
On Sept. 17, the 15th annual Clean Your Streams event was held in the Toledo area. Working at 41 sites covering 25 miles of rivers, streams, and Lake Erie shoreline, 726 volunteers removed an estimated 15,315 pounds of debris from these important ecosystems.

On behalf of the Maumee River Remedial Action Plan Public Advisory Committee and the board of directors of Partners for Clean Streams Inc., I thank all the sponsors and volunteers who helped make our environment and community a better place to live.

Patrick Lawrence
President
Board of Directors Partners for Clean Streams Inc.
Cheltenham Road



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