We, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Akron, are deeply concerned by the prospect of any significant increase in our water/sewage bill (“Mayor says sewer rates could triple,” July 30). This increase, which would be necessary to complete fixing Akron’s sewer project in the time given, would have an adverse effect on an already disadvantaged portion of the city of Akron.
It is not by choice, but it is a necessity that a vast number of our citizens heavily rely upon the services that are currently provided by our churches. In turn, we as churches rely heavily on donations by our members. The donations received by our churches are used to assist local families with small children who have limited or no income.
The majority of the members who give are seniors, most of them women who themselves live on fixed incomes. Any substantial increase in their water/sewage bill would diminish their ability to give and in turn would limit the ability of churches to provide assistance as needed to our communities.
Over the past 10 years, churches all over the country have experienced significant declines in overall donations. In spite of the reductions, we are constantly being inundated with requests for assistance with food, utilities, housing, health services and child care.
Any further reduction to the income of our local churches would necessitate that we eliminate some services relating not just to the quality of life of our members.
We would also be forced to reduce services that provide basic daily needs to our community.
My fellow pastors and I respect the task and process of our government. We understand and agree on the need for clean drinking water. However, members of the community should not be forced to make a choice between whether to drink water or being able to afford their prescription medication.
They cannot afford to do both; if the price of water and sewage rise, they will be forced to make that choice.
Furthermore, we as pastors serving this community believe our ability to assist in providing the fundamental basic needs of our community should not be diminished by a bureaucratic process.
We the pastors and ministers of Akron respectfully and humbly request that Judge John R. Adams of the U.S. District Court consider these points when working for a solution to the city of Akron sewer project.
The Rev. Gregory B. Harrison
Akron Baptist Ministers Conference
Staying afloat in starter jobs
I don’t know what private island the writer of the Aug. 7 letter “Starter pay” has been living on these past years, but I would like to clue her in as to what life has been like for those of us who take our lunch to work.
I have worked alongside retirees who were forced back into the workplace because their retirement funds evaporated during the Wall Street mortgage-backed-security heist of 2007-2008 and because Social Security was insufficient income to pay their bills.
I have worked with would-be retirees who can’t afford to retire for the same reason. Millions more are approaching age 65. They worked hard, saved, played by the rules but now find their retirements jeopardized because their funds were also savaged by Wall Street thievery.
Additionally, plenty more highly qualified people, displaced from their careers, are now working these minimum-wage “starter jobs … worthy of incomes to support a family of four” because they find it preferable to living under a bridge.
I have met laid-off construction project managers who sweep floors and clean job sites because they were downsized from their high-level positions.
There are many more hard-working citizens who need to work two jobs to make ends meet. No wonder teenagers now find these entry-level positions scarce. The jobs are being taken by retirees and displaced college graduates.
Lastly, the writer got her date wrong. The war on the middle class began Jan. 20, 2001, with George W. Bush’s inauguration and has been gleefully waged by Republican leadership ever since.
I advise the writer to do some research next time she writes, instead of regurgitating the Fox News talking point du jour.
I grew up in Kenmore and graduated from Kenmore High School in 1989. My mother grew up in Kenmore. My grandparents lived most of their lives in Kenmore. I have a lot of roots there. I currently reside in Massachusetts, having moved here reluctantly for a job back in 2006, though I would move back in a minute should I be given the opportunity.
I had not been back to Ohio in four years. Last week, I came back to visit my family and friends. I toured Kenmore Boulevard and was flabbergasted by what the area has turned into: Empty store fronts, scores of check-cashing places, people trading drugs on the streets, empty houses, etc.
The old Kenmore Coffee Shop where former President Bill Clinton once had coffee was now closed.
It was a testament to urban decay. It was heartbreaking to see my old stomping grounds reduced to this.
There are still plenty of great people in Kenmore, but negligence by the city of Akron is harming the area. Akron itself has seen its own demise and resurrection. After the rubber plants closed, there was a concerted effort for a renaissance for the downtown area. However, the city has neglected other areas.
Kenmore and neighborhoods like it can be saved. I’ve seen this firsthand in Massachusetts. Scores of cities have been brought back from the brink by embracing the history of the area, rather than discarding it the way Akron has been doing to Kenmore.
Mayor Don Plusquellic forgets where he came from and has forsaken the community that nurtured him. He has addressed the bigger picture. Tax dollars have been used to fuel a resurgence in downtown Akron. Now it’s Kenmore’s turn.
Kenmore and Akron residents can complain all they want, but until they take action, nothing will happen.
Daris J. Boggs