I am concerned about the difficulty citizens receiving welfare are facing when seeking employment opportunities, due to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
The purpose of this act, signed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996, was to prevent dependence on welfare by helping recipients become self-sufficient through assisting them in finding employment.
One way this act encouraged welfare recipients to seek employment was strict work requirements.
Due to the requirement for one to work in order to receive assistance, the act, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, stated what activities met the standards for the work requirements.
With this new policy, furthering one’s education through receiving an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to find preferred employment opportunities no longer filled the compulsory work requirements which used to be acceptable under Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
The inability to count higher education participation as a work requirement frustrates me. There are limited job opportunities for those who have a high school diploma or less. If people are able to find employment with a high school diploma or less, the wages are exceptionally low, which prohibits individuals from supporting themselves and their families.
To find a career that will allow financial stability, a post-secondary degree is a must. Without the resources or the support of the government to further their education, citizens get stuck in mediocre jobs that keep them dependent on welfare, which is the opposite of the goal of the welfare program.
I think the work requirements need to be updated to include higher education. I believe welfare recipients should get help to at least attend an associate’s degree program.
Without this change, our society will continue to have a large number of citizens dependent on welfare without the opportunity to obtain the needed life skills to become self-sufficient.
A ward for Highland Square
I have been a Highland Square resident for almost 20 years and was delighted that Highland Square will be getting more appropriate representation on the City Council by the reshaping of Ward 1.
Any perceived appearance of the usual political shenanigans in other wards aside, for Highland Square, this is a long overdue improvement.
At face value, consultant Robert Dykes’ notion to redistrict the city into wards that represent neighborhoods is right on the mark and should lead to substantially better representation. Over recent years, Highland Square has been unfairly associated with a reputation of being loud and often difficult to work with.
The reality of Highland Square’s current representational predicament is that, by being divided into four wards, its residents have virtually no representation.
Council members from Wards 1, 3, 4, and 8 are compelled to work for their larger constituencies, away from Highland Square. The problem is no more acute than in the current Ward 1, where the incumbent’s priorities lie in North Hill.
I applaud the city for taking the initiative to devise a district for Highland Square. It was my sincere hope that any appearance of political interests in other parts of the city would not derail what is a very good idea for Highland Square.
Mark D. Smith
Return the favor?
Since our president has sent billions of taxpayers’ dollars and response teams to help countries overseas that had superstorms, floods or earthquakes, I wonder whether any of them will return the favor to this country as a result of our superstorm Sandy disaster.
I don’t think so. What do you think?
George L. Wagner Sr.
Roadblock to business
I want the people of Fairlawn to know how much damage their mayor is doing to businesses in Montrose by his foolish attempt to close Rothrock Road.
I own an office building on the east side of Rothrock Road, just south of Rosemont Boulevard. Thanks to Mayor Bill Roth and the Fairlawn City Council, I find that I am unable to rent space because my prospective tenants are put off by the possible permanent closing of Rothrock, and who can blame them?
Whoever heard of a city closing an important road because a small group of neighbors don’t like plans for a big new retail complex? It is especially strange when the land in question has been zoned for commercial use for more than 20 years and stranger yet because Walmart is already in their neighborhood.
Fairlawn’s golf course community was built years later, with full knowledge of how the surrounding land was zoned and would eventually be utilized.
These homeowners live a few hundred feet from Interstate 77 and the noise that it generates. Having some additional traffic on Rothrock — probably reducing some of the traffic on Cleveland-Massillon Road — would certainly do no harm and in fact would make the traffic situation in Montrose better.
It is obvious that having three points of ingress and egress is better for traffic flow than funneling all of the traffic through one route. The Montrose business community deserves support, not roadblocks to our growth.
Patrick T. Finley
These monster, 100-year storms we are now getting every few months magnify the importance of having supplemental sources of electricity.
Generators require gasoline, which is hard to get in a disaster, as we are now witnessing. In a world where our fragile, centralized grid is continually threatened, having backup solar panels only makes sense.
Tasty memories of Peninsula
In regard to your wonderful article and pictures of Peninsula, I have to say, “Oops.” You didn’t mention Fisher’s, a longtime restaurant across from the Winking Lizard (formerly the Peninsula Niteclub).
My husband, former Akron Mayor John Ballard, and I ate there often. The “Grandpa George” hamburger was great, at (I think) $1.25. A couple of times, I listened to former Mayor Fisher and former Mayor Ballard talk about past times and issues. It was a real treat.
One more memory: There was a grocery store in the back, offering a limited assortment of articles. I don’t remember how many years ago that was, but buying some milk and bread after a “Grandpa George” lunch was fun after my drive from Akron.
Tough road for bus drivers
I understand that public workers are held to a higher standard than the general public, but let’s get real. I also understand that your fist’s rights end where my nose begins. When I saw the actions of the Cleveland RTA bus driver who fought a rider, I saw a person in fight-or-flight mode. He is a human being put into a circumstance in which he was alone and felt that he was being attacked. He chose to fight.
A bus driver sits in a bus with strangers on a daily basis. They are often subjected to split-second decisions due to unruly teens and intoxicated patrons, among other issues.
They have to be a detective when a felon hops on a bus or a runaway hides in the back. They must monitor two doors and assist those with special needs, be they physical, emotional, or mental.
They deal with nonreaders and direction-challenged riders all the time. They keep the city moving every day without accolades.
I find it hard to judge the driver’s response as harshly as his critics. He has no idea if riders have weapons, are under the influence or have a need to take out frustrations on a vulnerable person. He has no idea if a person is acting alone, or if he is about to be ambushed.
Granted, maybe in hindsight he should have called for assistance rather than taking action, but does that mean he is worthy of all the negative attention and punishments?
Words and deeds
The Nov. 2 edition contained a full-page ad titled “RAISE TAXES, REDUCE EXPENDITURES, SHRINK THE DEBT, BE RESPONSIBLE.” The ad listed the chief executives of 40 of America’s largest corporations who supported this.
I noticed the name of the chairman and CEO of Eaton Corp. Just a few months ago, the company announced it was relocating its headquarters to Ireland because Ireland has lower corporate taxes.
This is just another example of the rampant hypocrisy that permeates our country.