Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Real issue is clouded by Libbey

Some items while thinking Tuesday's televised debate between Sandy Isenberg and Maggie Thurber will yield at least one “dig” that becomes an instant classic:

THE GREATER GOOD: The people stomping their feet and yelling that Libbey High School should be saved are really starting to bug me. Because of their selfishness, one of the most important issues ever to appear on a Toledo ballot is being needlessly jeopardized.

So far, the public debate on Issue 2 -- the final hurdle for an $821 million school construction program -- has been short on substance. Even though the Toledo Public School District's plan calls for 57 new buildings and the renovation of seven existing schools, it's almost as if Issue 2 has turned into a referendum on one school -- Libbey.

The decision to tear down Libbey, rather than renovate it, was made months ago. On May 28, the Toledo Board of Education unanimously approved the master plan recommended by the administration.

The process was fair. Public hearings were held throughout the district. Those who want to save Libbey took advantage of the opportunities to voice their opinions. And so did the people who want the school rebuilt.

Both sides made strong cases and were passionate in their pleas. But a decision had to be made -- and it was determined that the 80-year-old school would be torn down and replaced with a state-of-the-art facility.

We're 23 days from the election, and the “Save Libbey” faction is still making noise. Unable to accept defeat, they are, in effect, holding the levy hostage.

They've made so much noise that the school board has been playing defense instead of offense. At this stage of the process, the board should be encouraging the public to look at the big picture, not defending its decision. For such a monumental ballot issue, one with potential for a $1.6 billion economic impact on the region, the pre-election atmosphere has a Keystone Cops feel about it.

At least Peter Silverman, president of the school board, had the backbone to say the plan isn't going to change.

I've often found myself in agreement with Terry Glazer when he challenges fellow school board members on accountability issues. Not this time. It's way too late to ask the finance committee to re-evaluate the cost of renovating buildings. As board member David Welch said, “Everything is set” and to reopen the process would give people false hopes.

The question is, how many “Save Libbey” people are going to vote against the levy because they didn't get their way? Will they allow their selfishness to sink a once-in-a-lifetime project?

TWIN PACK: Two slanted questions this week. I'm offering 34 points -- the number of Toledo businesses that were cited for selling alcohol to minors during a recent police sting -- for each correct answer. (Note: Click on the link below and check out reader response to last week's questions.)

1) Given that President Bush didn't ask for network time and didn't say anything he hasn't already said, isn't it hard to blame ABC, CBS, and NBC for not carrying his speech on Monday?

2) Doesn't Frank Kass know actions speak louder than words, otherwise no one would be complaining about progress (or lack thereof) being made on the $191 million Marina District?

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