The March 19 commentary by James Boland, retired Ernst & Young vice chairman and former president of the Cavaliers Operating Co., was one of the most ridiculous defenses I have read of Gov. John Kasich’s effort to use JobsOhio, a private entity, to grab the public’s tax money.
He is intent on shielding its dealings with the business community from public view.
To hear Boland tell it, state Auditor David Yost is overstepping his bounds, but state law clearly demands that when public money is infused in private-sector activities, there must be transparency in how those funds are used.
Boland would have you believe that the private sector is somehow more adept and more intelligent than the public sector in spending our tax dollars for economic development. That is simply not true.
I am a proponent of economic development, having worked in community and economic development locally for the past 20 years and for more than 10 years in the private sector. Believe me when I tell you the governor’s mantra of “working at the speed of business” is not what citizens want or need.
When will the pro-business crowd realize government is not a business and a business is not a government?
A business’ main function is to make money for its stockholders, and government’s role is to protect the public interest, meaning tax dollars.
It is that simple — so someone inform Boland and Kasich to quit trying to run government like a business. They are different animals and should remain so. The public doesn’t want it or trust the results.
As for the private-sector businessman Boland pontificating as though he is the smartest guy in the room because he was a vice chairman of Ernst & Young, isn’t that the same Wall Street company that agreed to pay $123 million to settle federal allegations that it helped wealthy clients defer or avoid more than $2 billion in tax loses more than a decade ago by using fraudulent tax shelters?
JobsOhio’s giving back some of the public dollars used to fund its operations does not mean it is are out of the woods yet. The private economic development organization still plans to take the liquor tax monies (yes, public tax dollars) to fund future development, when that money should be invested in the constitutionally mandated funding for our public schools, strengthening Ohio’s work force and long-term economic health.
Sorry, Boland and company, taxpayers were not born behind the barn. Boland is asking for our trust that the private sector will do the right thing when doling out our tax dollars. No thanks. Yost is doing his job as a public official and what is expected from our government.
Advances in solar power
Hats off to the University of Akron and Kent State University for pursuing renewable energy with their planned installations of major solar arrays on their athletic field houses.
Further, a blue ribbon goes to Walmart for leading the way for big box stores, with solar installations on 12 stores now completed in Ohio and 240 renewable energy projects under construction worldwide. The 12 Ohio stores’ solar panels would cover 11 football fields.
Honorable mention in the retail division should go to Costco, Kohl’s, and Walgreens for their solar energy projects.
Walmart aspires to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy at some time. Talk about a noble vision.
It sounds like it is going to be achievable, and, thereby, take thousands of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere annually and improve the environment.
Tom Babcox Jr.
High cost of the Iraq war
It was supposed to be a limited mission, the target Saddam Hussein. The American people were told he had arsenals of WMD, and he had to be taken out. Shortly after 9/11, the Bush administration kicked the war machine into high gear, calling for Hussein’s head for his alleged involvement in what was inarguably the worst day in our history.
As the twin towers fell, many innocent civilians fell along with them, their families left to grieve with no answers as to why.
The price tag didn’t seem to matter as troops were deployed, many of them fresh recruits.
The war drums were beating and time was ticking away as the tyrant with WMD was still in power, yet not threatening our country.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney saw him as a threat, and that’s all that mattered. Reports on the existence of WMD were all but ignored. War was already imminent in the minds of so many, convinced that the WMD really existed. A couple billion was all it would take to invade, secure the arsenal and get back out again.
That was a gross miscalculation, and, as war raged on, it became apparent that billions more would be needed to accomplish our objective. What Bush asked for, he got, billions in taxpayer money.
Months into the war, we were treated to a spectacle that few could argue was a display of male bravado. Bush, in full military regalia, and rather prematurely, landed on an aircraft carrier to declare, “Mission accomplished.”
Hussein and his Baathist party were toppled, and this was seen as a victory and something to celebrate. Somewhere within the rugged hills that border Afghanistan and Pakistan, the mastermind of 9/11 was plotting his next attack.
It would take a different president, with little fanfare, almost 10 years later to take him out. Now that was truly “mission accomplished.”
Now far removed from what he started, history will have to play the judge and jury to former president Bush and his administration.
The newspaper recently ran a story reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of the war (“10 years later, Iraq struggles to heal from war,” March 17). Above it was a picture of 7-year-old Shams Karim, rendered blind by a bomb that also took the life of her mother. She is receiving kisses from two girl cousins.
This brought tears to my eyes, left guilt in my heart as a mother and had me wondering how the mission could possibly have been accomplished.
What ails our politicians
Last week, state officials reported that Ohio’s deer herd shows no evidence of chronic wasting disease. It was the 11th consecutive year that Ohio’s deer herd was found to be disease-free.
Chronic wasting is a disease that causes the brain to degenerate. The disease has been found in deer, moose and elk in about half the states and Canada. State wildlife officials reported all 519 samples collected tested negative for the disease.
But it is quite apparent state officials are not collecting samples from politicians. Perhaps the state should consider the effort and the expense of doing so.
Evidence is mounting that politicians continue to show a lack of common sense on many of the most important issues we are facing. The disease must be running rampant among our politicians.
Divorced from logic and reason
John Rosemond’s columns normally focus on child development and psychology How appropriate that his March 17 column, “Spring break for teens has many temptations,” included a comment concerning politicians: “They [parents] think like politicians, always worried about doing something that might hurt their chances of re-election.”
Today’s politicos have so fully divorced themselves from logic, reason and responsibility that the concept of “government for the people” is a forgotten dream. Two recent events are worth a second look.
First, there have been multiple reports that driving while using a hand-held cell phone is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Although using a cell phone while driving may be critical for a police officer, it’s not necessary for the average citizen.
However, since the idea of losing this “right” to benefit the common good might cost the politicos votes from the 18-to-25-year-old set, the only passable law carries no teeth.
Second, for several years, the newspaper has repeatedly commented on the reluctance of crime witnesses to step forward.
With that in mind, the March 11 article on Don Schismenos is of interest (“Akron officer paid $83,000 while on leave”). In Schismenos’ case, the mayor tripled his punishment for zealously, perhaps, trying to secure evidence from a citizen who would not cooperate. How many votes did this punitive action garner?
As a result, how many current police officers will do nothing more than ask “pretty please” for witness assistance? Perhaps if Akron had more “proactive” officers, witnesses might feel more protected and more willing to step forward.
Since the attorney general’s special prosecution unit closed the case in November without charging Schismenos, I eagerly anticipate the mayor’s apology and reinstatement of Schismenos. Oops. I forgot. That might cost the mayor some votes.