I’m proud to be an American, but I am not proud of our cigarette industry.
Making a profit through the manufacturing and selling of products and services through our free enterprise system is what America’s economy is all about. It has put us at the top.
But you have to ask: Where is the sense in allowing companies to make a product that destroys the health of the nation?
And make no mistake, that is what cigarette smoking does. It poisons the lung tissue and packs toxins and carcinogens into the body that cause respiratory disease.
Smoking increases the chances of getting just about every common form of cancer known, and is a major factor in heart disease. There isn’t one good medical benefit to the product, and it sneaks up on you. You don’t get sick in year one or two, it takes about 20 years to destroy you — like heroin.
All that adds up to pain and suffering for loved ones and families and skyrocketing health-care bills for which we all foot the bill.
You might be surprised to learn that many of the chemicals added are there solely to increase its addictive properties.
The product was protected. Companies hid the data that showed it caused cancer, lied to congressional investigative committees and ran false advertising to form public opinion, and not one of these tobacco company executives was charged with a crime or did jail time.
Yet they killed millions, and continue to kill millions every year. The political might of tobacco companies is so pervasive that they cite violations of free trade agreements any time smaller countries attempt to limit their marketing propaganda or limit their citizens’ exposure to this poison.
The cigarette industry as a whole represents the largest and most pervasive abuse of the free enterprise system in our history.
Wayward walkers in all weather
The article by Dave Scott and Doug Livingston about students who walk in the street because the sidewalks are covered with snow was quite informative (“Walking to school presents dangers,” Feb. 6).
Please tell me why, when the snow melts and sidewalks are clean, students still walk in the street, sometimes two and three abreast?
I live close to the community learning center better known as East High School, and it doesn’t make any difference whether the sidewalks have snow on them or it is the Fourth of July, students still walk in the streets.
This happens regularly on every side street in Goodyear Heights. Students act as if the cars belong on the sidewalk and never show any respect by moving out of the way of traffic.
The next time these gentlemen write a story, they should write about something local residents benefit from, like getting the students on the sidewalk and having them show some respect to drivers. Or, the police could ticket a few of them. And I do shovel my sidewalk.
High price of open enrollment
Coventry Local School District taxpayers are receiving their property tax statements for the first half of 2013. The amount has increased significantly for school taxes, for the next 34 years.
Here are some facts:
• Of the 611 Ohio public schools, Coventry has by far the largest open enrollment population.
• The district, in its haste to build a new high school, is missing out on the full amount of state funding available for its construction.
• Under the approved 4.89-mill bond issue, Coventry is expending over $5 million of local tax revenue for its new high school to support its open enrollment policy.
Two issues contribute to the growing burden placed on Coventry taxpayers by the school administration.
First, school funding under the state’s wealth-ranking system is misrepresented for Coventry. Norton City Schools, very similar in population and assessed values, is building a new high school that is very similar in size and capacity as Coventry’s. Yet Norton is receiving $4.5 million more in state construction funds than Coventry for its project. The state’s wealth-ranking process significantly contributes to this disproportionate allocation of state funds.
Second, the Coventry school administration has specified to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission that the new high school building is to have a capacity of 734 students. In 2012, Coventry’s resident high school student population was 476 students.
The extra capacity is to allow for open enrollment. What is the cost of extra teachers, additional school buses and operating expenses to support nonresident students? Why should Coventry taxpayers pay more than $5 million for a larger high school to educate students from neighboring districts?
What is the Coventry Board of Education doing to correct this waste of money and loss of funds for the new high school? To be clear, I do support the construction of the new high school.
Taxpayers should recognize that if the Coventry administration would act with fiscal responsibility, they would not be asked to renew the 6.25-mill emergency operating levy in 2015.
Fracking drains water resources
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District has continually found new ways to sell the water under its protection and management to drilling companies that use hydraulic fracturing. I have written to the district protesting its blatant, wasteful and destructive use of the water in its control.
As “little” as 1 million gallons or as much as 8 million gallons of water are used to fracture shale to obtain the gas, oil and other liquids contained within it. None of that water is ever useful again for any human, plant or animal.
The vast majority stays within the earth, while what does come back to the surface is contaminated with chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic, and with radioactive elements, some picked up while in the bowels of the earth and some from the depleted uranium in the shaped charges used to fracture the shale.
Hydraulic fracturing is a lose-lose situation. The money is temporary; the jobs are temporary. Those who tell you differently are making a lot of money and are too blind to see beyond the money. Our children and grandchildren will suffer untold horror because of this.
Double standard on death penalty
I read with interest the Feb. 2 editorial column on capital punishment (“Between life and death”).
I appreciate the research Michael Douglas, editorial page editor, performed on the topic, but found it strangely inconsistent with the approach the newspaper takes to similar situations.
While the argument for or against capital punishment is well elucidated, the newspaper in the past has taken a different approach to other issues. As noted, the U.S. Supreme Court held six years ago: “When the law punishes by death, it risks its own descent into brutality, transgressing the commitment to decency and restraint.”
I would submit that is exactly what occurs in the process of aborting a human embryo, no matter what age of maturity, but certainly of late term. The language the paper seems to support is that of choice, but only one of the three persons involved has any choice, the mother, with no input from the father or child.
It seems to be a very dubious standard when we view capital punishment after birth in a different value system as the beginning of life. The comment, “In other words, death may be necessary, but it must be done right” also is curious in that your publication has no comment about saline injection, curettage and other mechanisms to destroy life.
“We choose to debate if and how we should kill the guilty and readily accept killing the innocent by whatever means possible,” my wife commented.
This may indicate, as many have noticed, how the media has decided to change the language to ignore aspects of choice, restricting it to one side of the equation. This is also reflected by your news staff continuing incorrectly to use the word “homophobe,” which would correctly be interpreted as fear of man, certainly not unacceptable behavior. We have as a culture chosen to adapt the language to our value system rather than to our intellect.
David L. Hoff, M.D.