On Sept. 24, the Akron City Council will vote on the city’s proposal to add five digital billboards to Akron’s existing four digital signs. I understand that four static billboards will be removed from the Ohio and Erie Canal scenic byway, where billboards are illegal, but I question adding digital signs elsewhere.
The first factor is safety. The Federal Highway Administration has not released its study on the impact of digital signs. Mary Tracy, the president of Scenic America, told me that a recently completed on-road study by a European government agency has again demonstrated the excessive amount of driver distraction caused by digital billboards. The researchers confirmed the excessive levels of distraction originally found (but never reported) by the U.S. industry-supported study at Virginia Tech.
Specifically, these latest researchers proved that drivers “had a significantly longer dwell time, a greater number of fixations, and longer maximum fixation duration(s) when driving past electronic billboard(s) compared to other signs on the same road.” This study used the now standardized two-second distraction criterion in their work.
I am concerned that if the federal ruling supports driver distraction particularly in the right-of-way, that any accident victim could sue the city. The city decision-makers should wait for the legal questions about these signs to be resolved before approving them or at least place a condition for their removal if they are determined to be dangerous.
Here is a quote from the billboard industry at www.marketingprof.com: “One of the best ways to work out if your billboard is working is to find out if there has been an increase in the number of accidents near your billboard.”
The next factor is neighborhood improvements. With public-private partnerships like the University Park Alliance, how can a digital sign be permitted in that neighborhood? Not only are the billboards ugly. Any neighborhood that might consider adding housing would find them a nuisance. Digital signs can be seen at far greater distances and the impact of these conversions creates a problem for residents who can see the signs from their homes.
The messages change every few seconds resulting in flashing colors and lights casting beams into the living areas. Further, if a business like the New Era Restaurant (the location of one of the static signs to be removed) wanted a billboard removed, think of removal costs to the city and its citizens if that billboard were digital.
Maybe before adding digital signs to Akron’s landscape, the city should look at its land use plan that has not been updated since 1987. A beautiful community brings economic growth through tourism and new businesses. Akron does not permit billboards in the central city, why should neighborhoods outside of this area have “litter on a stick” added to theirs.
Respect for our fallen soldiers
Regarding the article “War weary U.S. numb to news of troop deaths” (Beacon Journal, Sept. 9): Thank you for publishing the names of fallen military. The picture of the flag draped coffin evoked painful emotions for me. Please do not assume that Americans do not care. I am over 60 years old. Everyone I know hates the war and grieves for the dead and injured, but feels powerless to stop it. It is not only the dead and injured in the war itself. It is also the servicemen and women who are committing suicide at an average of one a day.
I wish that everyday the Beacon Journal would publish the casualties on the front page and, with permission, pictures of family members who have lost loved ones. Published names are powerful, but pictures are even more powerful. Why should we remain in Afghanistan another year, with hundreds more casualties? They do not want us there, and we are accomplishing nothing. I have shed tears for the casualties.
During the Vietnam War there was a draft. There were public protests. Young people today can stay tied to their electronics, their cell phones, Facebook and YouTube, and unless they choose to enlist, they avoid the horrors of this war. Most are disconnected.
We need to get out, bring our troops home tomorrow and protect America here at home.
More than a choice
In response to the Aug. 24 letter “Clueless about birth control”: I found it rather naive and callous in regard to abortion. Although I agree with using birth control to prevent conception, I strongly disagree that abortion is merely birth control. While it is every woman’s right to decide to either abstain from sex and/or prevent conception, once another life is formed, it should no longer be the right of the woman to decide that other being’s right to life. That life is separate, with its own unique DNA and potential.
Furthermore, in the writer’s attempt to make this a women’s rights issue, she and others would do well to research the emotional and spiritual toll that abortion has on women. They are often haunted by regret. They may experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Many have difficulty bonding with future children and may struggle with self-esteem issues.
As a volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center, I have encountered women who struggle with these issues, and I have seen their pain.
My generation, born after Roe v. Wade, has been lied to by the so-called women’s rights activists who tell us that abortion is simply a choice: a quick, easy solution that is surely better than raising an unwanted child. What a load of nonsense so many have bought. The truth about abortion is that it is anti-woman, anti-human and yet another form of control and trauma against women.
As far as pastors and clergy “yelling” at people about abortions, I believe the writer is once again misinformed. What church does she attend where she hears the pastor yelling about this? None I have ever attended. Instead, many churches offer healing for women who have had abortions and programs for single mothers. Also, many churches and clergy support crisis pregnancy centers that love, support and provide material goods to women who are in an unplanned pregnancy.
I encourage the writer to visit one of the pregnancy care centers in the Akron area and see firsthand how churches and pastors are indeed helping people in need. Her description of “yelling pastors” is almost laughable, if it were not so scary.
From someone who was once herself pro-abortion, I strongly encourage every woman and man to think hard about this issue. Look at online pictures of fetal development and research the statistics. Use your heart as well as your mind and stop buying into the lie that abortion is merely a “choice.”
Where were you, baseball fans?
Shame on you, Akron. A gorgeous Saturday evening, the hometown Aeros in a crucial playoff game and needing to win to stay alive … and where was everyone?
Sure, this is AA baseball, so nothing, necessarily, hangs in the balance. But the “team up north” isn’t near the playoffs. So what gives?
It was embarrassing to see so many empty blue seats in beautiful Canal Park. Friday night high school games were long over. The Browns were not playing until the next day. Ohio State had already won. What gives?
We whine about ticket prices and parking and concessions, but we had a perfect opportunity to enjoy a spectacular evening outside. What did a $10 ticket and $5 parking get? A great pitching duel and an Aeros win.
You can’t get that one back, Akron. You missed out, big time.
Eye on ‘2016’
If you have not as yet decided whom you will vote for in November, or even if you have made your decision, you must see the movie/documentary Obama’s America: 2016. It will most certainly help you in making your final and wise decision.
The Beacon Journal (“Dems and GOP fight for Ohio, as they always do,” Sept. 9) quoted a 30-year-old lawyer from Lexington, who voted for Obama in 2008, on the upcoming election, “We’ve seen what Barack Obama has to offer. We’d like to see what Mitt Romney has to offer.” The operative word here is “like.” Good luck with that one. Romney and Paul Ryan don’t want you to know their plans, as the Democrats will find the flaws.
Those of the Democratic persuasion parrot: “Republicans wage war on women.”
Really? So says a party that at its convention nearly bestowed sainthood upon the late Sen. Teddy Kennedy and practically swooned in the presence of President Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton.
Such is the blissful ignorance of short memories. Not all of us have forgotten.