I am in receipt of two Akron water and sewer bills with rate hikes. One is for a 14-unit portion of a 34-unit, two-bedroom apartment complex, which for the past two years has varied from $400 to $500 per month. The bill I received is for $995.
I also received a bill for a two-bedroom house with four occupants that has averaged $120 per month for the past two years. It is now $350.
Quite simply, I cannot increase rents quickly enough to offset the costs for the units where the water and sewer are included in the rent, and I doubt the apartments would be practical and feasible at the rate necessary. At the units where tenants pay the water and sewer in addition to the rent, the increase would make them unaffordable, too.
The city has mishandled or misappropriated funds collected for water and sewer for 50 years or more and has chosen to settle a lawsuit with the Environmental Protection Agency without regard as to how the required repairs will be funded, other than increasing the rates of the remaining water customers.
The population of Akron is in decline and has been for some time. The largest employers are the hospitals and the university.
There is no industry pulling people to Akron. Crime is on an increase, not a decrease. Schools are not superior to those found in surrounding communities and suburbs. It’s simply economics.
By more than doubling water/sewer bills, the city is forcing residents, whether renters, landlords or homeowners, out of Akron, to where housing is cheaper, crime rates are lower and the schools are rated much higher. This essentially means that the city will go the way of Detroit.
If you force out all those who are working and paying taxes, you leave behind those who do not to take over the neighborhoods.
Once we start losing occupancy that we can’t replace, then it becomes increasingly untenable to maintain the property, due to lack of funds.
This will guarantee that anyone capable of moving will do so, leaving us with a decision to accept Section 8 and other forms of low-income housing. With taxes, insurance and maintenance cost increases, I’ve been struggling, unable to undertake some projects.
The fate of Detroit could be our own.
History says don’t intervene in Syria
When are we and the United Nations going to accept the fact that what’s going on in Syria is a civil war, and no outsider’s intervention will do any good?
Have we and the United Nations still not learned the lessons of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan?
Had we not intervened in Vietnam, that civil war would have been decided at Dien Bien Phu (1954).
Instead, our right-wing military war machine conned President Johnson into going to all-out war, which dragged that conflict out for an additional 10 years.
The Korean civil war has yet to actually end (it is the longest running truce in history), and Iraq and Afghanistan are still going strong, though covertly.
If all outsiders were to stay out of the Syrian civil war, it would be over in a few months. We and Israel may not like the outcome, but it would be over.
Suppose we had another civil war, and China sent troops to “help” one side. I would always view it as Chinese soldiers in my country killing my countrymen.
No service, no pay
Well, our government is now at a standstill, all because our representatives cannot reach an agreement. So here is an idea:
Let’s pass a law that says if the House and Senate cause the government to shut down, their pay will be suspended until the government is back up and running.
I’ll bet they won’t shut it down again.
To the litigators belong the spoils
Robert Samuelson’s column on Tuesday (“From a productive to a spoils society”) provides important definition to changes that have been taking place for decades and helps to explain underlying causes to many whose lives have been severely impacted by losses of economic opportunity they once enjoyed and relied upon.
I believe a major underlying enabler of our shift to a “spoils society” lies in our practice of law on all levels of government. We have for years presented ourselves to the rest of the world as a nation governed by law and codes, written to protect the dispensing of justice evenly and fairly to all, irrespective of the places in society trial opponents may hold.
It seems clear that by failing to enforce laws we write, selectively ignoring violations of them, we ceased being a nation of laws and we became a nation of politics, where almost every legal question can be solved by negotiations, accommodations, considerations or granting favors, and that this has been the growing enabler for decades.
It’s less of a factor in criminal cases involving violence where the accused has no deep pockets, but in cases where a business is the accused, ample financial resources seem to be most often the winning factor.
Without condemning all who practice law — just many of those we elect to office — lawyers rule, money talks’ and candidates for judge on all levels are deemed support-worthy by their political party, and often little else.
Undeniably, our system has been transformed, to the pleasure of powerful political interests.
With state and federal legislatures overflowing with attorneys, it seems to me impossible to expect any change in how we administer our legal system or arrest its continued degradation.
Enemy from within
Who needs terrorists when we have the tea party Republicans?
Both are aiming to destroy our government.
Return of marathon man
I want to thank all the staff at the Akron Marathon for a great marathon once again.
Thanks to this hard-working, dedicated Akron Marathon team, this past Saturday will go down as one of the best days in my life.
The entire marathon staff went well beyond my expectations and made my return to the marathon after going into cardiac arrest at the 2012 marathon nothing short of spectacular. Having my wife and teammates waiting for me at the finish line was a moment in my life I will never forget.
What Akron Marathon did for me is just one of the many reasons why it is one of the greatest marathons in the world.
A worthy candidate for Falls mayor
This Nov. 5, there is an election for mayor of the City of Cuyahoga Falls. This year, we have the privilege of having the man for whom our family has voted for the City Council as the Democratic candidate.
We have come to know him as a person who will greet you with a genuine smile and a handshake, listen attentively to whatever question you may have concerning the city and be ready with a thoughtful, complete answer.
We know Don Walters as a person dedicated to the success of the city, including not some, but every neighborhood, regardless of demographic or economic makeup.
We know him as a person engaged in all of the issues important to the citizens of this town, which has been our home for close to 30 years.
We know Don Walters as a person whom we trust with every vote from our household and feel certain that he will represent us as mayor every bit as ably as he has as our councilman.
Isn’t it a shame that the people who pay the salaries of the “do nothing” Congress can’t withhold their checks and send their representatives home as “nonessentials”?
Y. Grace Porter
Parade of memories
I was so glad staff writer Dave Scott covered the Brimfield parade (“Red,white and blue tribute with parade for veterans,” Sept. 22).
The community was so supportive of our soldiers, by carrying signs and waving flags.
The rain even let up. As we left, it was a downpour again. Was that someone else thanking them?
After going to 30-plus All-American Soap Box Derby events, I was amazed to see the Cadettes in the parade. They were always one of the top groups when we had bands come from all over, even Canada, for the derby.