Some items while slowly warming up to the idea of attending The Phantom of the Opera:
GRADE INFLATION: I wish I would have had Peter Ujvagi and Gene Zmuda as teachers in high school. Thanks to their generous grading, I could have attended the Ivy League school of my choice.
On second thought, I'm glad they weren't my teachers. They would have given me higher grades than I deserved. Sooner or later, that would have caught up with me.
Blade reporter Tom Troy recently asked Mr. Ujvagi and Mr. Zmuda, both of whom served on Toledo City Council in 2002, to give Mayor Jack Ford a grade for his year in office.
Mr. Ujvagi said the mayor deserved an A-minus. Mr. Zmuda gave him a B-plus.
Talk about lowering the political bar. Using the criteria on a standard employee evaluation, I don't see how Mr. Ford could receive anything higher than a C. (By coincidence, in this space last week I asked readers to grade Mr. Ford's first year. Their voice was clear: C.)
Being more civil than Carty Finkbeiner is only going to get Mr. Ford so far. Time and time again, readers made mention of Mr. Ford's decorum -- but offered no other praise. In addressing the lack of progress in skyline-altering projects and Southwyck Shopping Center's stalled renovation, readers often prefaced their remarks by saying they were giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Based on reader feedback, I sense that Mr. Ford's “I'm Not Carty” pass is going to expire in 2003. As one reader put it: “Give him a C [for 2002]. One more year like this and he will be in the F column.”
In administrative matters, Mr. Ford has laid a solid foundation for the rest of his time in office, whether three or seven years. Like most mayors, however, his legacy will be linked to the big-ticket projects.
BRAVE NEW WORLD: I was intrigued by a recent letter in the Readers' Forum. A Sylvania resident complained that businesses assume everyone owns a computer. (In a TV commercial, for example, a company may direct people to its Web site.) He said he can't afford a computer and even if he had one, he wouldn't know how to use it.
I have a suggestion for anyone who shares his sentiment: Visit the public library nearest you. It has computers available for general use and offers classes on how to use them. Why, you could even open an e-mail account.
The library is a wonderful place to explore. Don't worry about imposing on anyone -- after all, these are your tax dollars at work.
TWIN PACK: Two slanted questions this week. To commemorate the number of days it's been since President Bush declared that he wanted Osama bin Laden “dead or alive,” I'm offering 469 points for each correct answer. (Note: Click on the link below and check out reader response to last week's questions.)
1) Given that North Carolina's electoral votes went to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, isn't Sen. John Edwards the Democrats' best bet in 2004? (Look at it this way: If the other 49 states voted the same as 2000 and North Carolina flip-flopped, then Mr. Edwards will be residing in the White House on Jan. 20, 2005.)
2) Given the “threat” that each country poses to the United States, isn't it perplexing that our primary target is Iraq and not North Korea? (In other words, doesn't it seem that this really is about oil?)
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