The Blade's special report "Renewal to Blight" (June 24-26), about mismanagement by some Toledo community development groups, is shocking. As a home owner and former landlord, I am appalled by the millions of taxpayer dollars that were misappropriated in this disastrous government program.
I see a correlation between the slipshod way the federal government and large banks loaned billions of dollars to low-income mortgage borrowers, which led to the mortgage meltdown, and the absence of supervision or accountability demonstrated by the people responsible for managing the city's housing programs.
It's no wonder large swaths of the central city have boarded-up and burned-out houses and overgrown lots where once new houses were intended to give low-income families a decent place to live.
The underperforming community development corporations need to be held accountable and their managers fired.
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) ought to clean house. There can be no excuse for allowing this waste of taxpayer money to continue.
A feel-good plan went off the tracks
The taxpayer-funded program to build single-family houses for low-income people is another federal feel-good program gone awry.
The designers of the program seem to have been unaware that the people to whom these houses are marketed often are financially unable to maintain the properties once they move in, and have little motivation to do so in the absence of personal investment.
Not only has the program wasted millions of taxpayer dollars building houses that stand vacant and vandalized, it has created resentment among middle-class taxpayers who must pay market value when they rent or buy similar houses.
No longer is it enough to provide every citizen with decent housing. It would seem that some feel there is a new entitlement for everyone, regardless of income, to own a home.
Residents need to keep homes nice
Why would houses built since 1997 need to be replaced or repaired? This does not make sense, unless the houses were misused.
Perhaps some of our tax dollars should go to teach people how to care for property. Habitat for Humanity has discovered essential elements to make housing effective. Let's look there.
Alert sounded for child sex abusers
I encourage our community to use the child sexual abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky as a call to action ("Sandusky guilty of child sex abuse; Jury convicts ex-coach on 45 of 48 counts," June 23). We need to ask ourselves what we can do to prevent even one more child from being sexually abused.
Teaching our kids about scary strangers and focusing on people on the sex offender registry won't keep them safe. Research shows that children are most likely to be abused by someone they know, trust, love, and admire.
It is hard for most of us to recognize when someone we know could be sexually inappropriate or abusive toward children. We don't want to offend an adult by asking about his or her behavior. Meanwhile, too many children are harmed by sexual abuse because individuals, organizations, and communities are afraid to be wrong and don't know what to do.
Sexual abuse is a crime. It is incumbent on everyone in the community to take a stand to protect children.
Interim Executive Director Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center Cherry Street
Sandusky verdict found gratifying
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I am gratified that the jury in the Jerry Sandusky case found him guilty.
The verdict vindicates victims everywhere who have suffered in silence, and those who speak out but are not believed.
The guilty verdict is also proof to prosecutors that these kinds of cases can be won, no matter how famous the accused might be.
I hope this case ushers in a new era when children are seen, heard, and believed, and the guilty are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Child-abuse awareness a must
Parents, youth development practitioners, teachers, administrators, camp directors, not-for-profit board members of youth-serving agencies, and volunteers who work with youths should receive training in child-abuse prevention and follow though on what they have learned.
Pedophiles will test children to see whether they will keep a secret and continue to prey on the children who don't tell.
Once the pedophile has determined that a child won't tell, the abuse heightens to a level that can damage a child's development and life if the abuse goes undisclosed and untreated.
I have developed child-abuse recognition and prevention training for youth development managers and their staffs. As a developer and operator of early education, care and camping programs at the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo for more than three decades, I provided training to more than 1,000 individuals.
In every training session, there is disbelief at the reality of the situation. This cycle must stop.
There are more Jerry Sanduskys being protected, and their actions are ignored or swept under the rug. If you see a suspicious situation, report it to authorities. Our children deserve to be safe.
Alcohol, pregnancy do not go together
I am alarmed by recent news articles about a Danish study that suggests consumption of as many as eight alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy is generally safe for the developing fetus. The study does not give carte blanche for drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
No safe amount of alcohol consumption has been established by the Danish study or by other research over the past 30 years. Alcohol is known to cause birth defects such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. These are preventable if women do not drink during their pregnancy.
Double ARC, a local nonprofit organization with nearly 20 years of experience in working with children who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol, joins the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and other researchers and prevention specialists in encouraging women to stop or avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
There is no safe time, no safe kind, and no safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Sister Mary Sartor
Executive Director Double ARC Secor Road
He spells out his gratitude
I would like to express my gratitude to The Blade for sponsoring me to go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington recently.
I was proud to have represented northwest Ohio at a national level. It was an honor and an awesome learning experience.
My only wish is to go back to Washington next year and win the contest.