The recent passage by Congress of U.S. free trade agreements withColombia, Panama, and South Korea is the right move for agriculture and northwest Ohio ("Free trade, at last," guest editorial, Oct. 17).
Agricultural products, including soybeans, consistently generate a huge trade surplus for the United States and Ohio. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ohio exports of soybeans accounted for $7.6 billion between 2001 and 2010. These were just direct exports.
Even more economic benefits and jobs are represented in secondary industries that support agriculture, including transportation, shipping, processing, packing, manufacturing, agricultural research, product development, and technology.
When I look around northwest Ohio, I see a strong base for growth in every one of these industries.
Northwest Ohio's agricultural sector is also strong, with six of the top 10 soybean-producing counties in the state.
Ohio agriculture faces significant competition in global markets, and our competitors are not sitting idly by. Europe, Brazil, and Canada already had trade agreements in place that were eroding our market share.
With these three trade agreements, Ohio agriculture will have the ability to compete on a level playing field and take those markets back.
These agreements give agriculture the chance to grow. Opportunity for agriculture is opportunity for northwest Ohio.
Chairman Ohio Soybean Association Versailles, Ohio
Waniewski draws resident's complaint
Residents of Toledo City Council District 5 should closely scrutinize Tom Waniewski's bid for re-election ("Labor vote key in contest for District 5 slot," Oct. 17).
If you try to contact Mr. Waniewski about a problem with a city department, expect many delays before a response. After speaking with Mr. Waniewski in person and contacting him by email, I was informed that he would place me on his monthly newsletter list. This never happened.
No other District 5 resident I have talked to has received the newsletter. Not all residents of District 5 are fortunate to have computers.
Mr. Waniewski's campaign slogan, "Raise your expectations," is applicable. District 5 residents need to raise their expectations for a councilman who will not want to flee when a better political opportunity arises.
Smaller towns don't need Issue 2
Toledo's suburbs don't have as many grievances written up by their public employees as the City of Toledo does ("Toledo union workers file flood of grievances," Oct. 9). Could that be because people in smaller communities sit at a table, attempt to resolve issues in good faith and in a timely manner, and try to get along?
Those smaller communities do not need Issue 2. Voters should not assume that Issue 2 will go the way they want and fail to exercise their right and duty to vote, leaving others to decide for them.
'Joe' not member of plumber union
Samuel Wurzelbacher, who also is known as Joe the Plumber, is thinking of running for the 9th U.S. House District seat. He is in no way affiliated with our international union ("House run considered by 'Joe the Plumber'," Oct. 11).
Our plumbers complete a comprehensive five-year apprenticeship program, after which they must pass a rigorous exam. They are required to sit for the City of Toledo journeyman plumber licensing exam. Mr. Wurzelbacher has done neither.
His claim to be a plumber is an insult to all who aspire to an honest and honorable profession.
Business Manager Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics Union Local 50 Northwood
When is a cake not a cake?
House majority leader Eric Cantor says he hopes President Obama will drop his "all-or-nothing" approach to reviving the economy ("Obama's jobs plan blocked by Senate," Oct. 12).
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Mr. Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, have said they will not compromise or negotiate. Does Mr. Cantor's "my way or the highway" approach make more sense to him?
Republicans, it would seem, are willing to leave out sugar, flour, and eggs in a cake recipe, and then insist on still calling it a cake.
Wind-energy story fails to cover all points
As a resident of Lenawee County, which faces wind turbine development, I was disappointed that The Blade did not tell all sides of the story in your Oct. 11 article "Wind is churning up cash; Area farmers reap rent, utilities add power sources."
The article did not mention numerous issues related to wind: the massive tax credits, which we can't afford, that make these projects profitable; the minuscule carbon dioxide reductions that we pay enormous sums of money for, because wind power requires fossil fuels to back it up when the wind doesn't blow, and the billions of dollars in transmission lines that will be needed across large swaths of the United States to get the power to cities.
There was no mention of the residents whose quiet country way of life is affected by a large-scale industrial park surrounded by noisy 500-foot-tall structures; of the attendant property devaluation, or of the thousands of birds and bats that each wind farm will kill each year.
There was no mention of the recalls in township government after officials with wind leases refused to recuse themselves from voting on wind regulations, or of wind companies using public relations firms and political organizing firms to push these projects on residents.
So many things were not mentioned. Why not?
Joshua Van Camp
Wind story paints unclear picture
A sentence in the article is ridiculous on several levels: "Altogether, the area farms will have the capacity to generate 1,450 megawatts, enough to power nearly 1.5 million homes during peak wind conditions."
Do the arithmetic: This comes to under 1,000 watts per household, just enough to toast bread for breakfast. And we only get that much power from the wind turbines at "peak wind conditions"; that is, depending on the type of turbine, around 30 mph. That wind is so rare, we can discount it entirely.
The 1.5 million homes cited in the article represent a population of some 4 million, assuming 2.7 persons per household. This is equivalent to the combined populations of the cities of Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Toledo.
Household consumption of electrical energy provides roughly 30 percent of electric utility sales in this region. The numbers cited in the article provide nothing for factories, supermarkets, malls, schools, street lighting, and so on. It would require 3⅓ times as much power as households use to satisfy the full needs of this city.
It is difficult to understand why the proponents of wind power do not stick to its merits. It is a rapidly growing industry and one day will likely be a significant contributor to our need for sustainable, nonpolluting energy. So why continue to distort its current role to the point of folly?
Editor's note: The writer is a retired corporate economist for Toledo Edison and Centerior Energy and a retired professor of economics at the University of Toledo.