Our local, state and federal elected officials should stop finger-pointing, reach across the aisle, get organized and help Lockheed Martin reverse its plan to close the Akron site.

They should stop talking about helping soon-to-be-affected employees find other jobs and instead make sure that they do not lose their jobs. We should not take solace in the announcement that this will only be a ďpartial closing.Ē If only 70 jobs are retained in Akron, they will soon also disappear.

I am one of the thousands of Lockheed Martin retirees who have worked in the Akron site over the past decades. For almost 90 years, Akron Lockheed Martin employees, many of them veterans and union members, have been proudly designing and producing systems that protect our country and our troops.

We have been supporting the United Way, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, local food banks and other charities and civic and educational organizations. We are your neighbors, and we all vote.

The majority of the Akron employees have graduated from Ohio universities. Many high-tech opportunities will evaporate for Ohio college graduates if Lockheed Martin closes its Akron site, negatively affecting efforts to convince college graduates to stay in Ohio.

To those who are downplaying the effect of the pending closure, I have this to say: Check your empathy meter and, most important, ask for your money back from whoever taught you basic arithmetic. If the evaporation of approximately $50 million yearly of primarily federally funded salaries is small potatoes for you, you must be living elsewhere. If you believe that hundreds of houses going on sale next year will not have an impact on everyone, just check with your Realtor.

The mandate for the elected officials is simple: They should do their job, keep the site open, and help it grow. The time frame is short. The decision needs to be reversed in the next few weeks.

If they are not successful, the affected employees, their families, the thousands of Lockheed Martin retirees and their families, and most of the Akron-area voters who are also tired of the pathetic inaction will remember who they are come election time.

Dhiraj Darjee

Wooster

Why visit ?North Korea?

I donít understand why Merrill Newman, at age 85, with what appears to be the blessing of his family, went to North Korea (ďDetained U.S. veteran back from North Korea,Ē Dec. 8).

He should know the enmity and dislike the North Koreans have for the United States would do him no good. He stated he wanted to meet with the South Korean guerrillas he advised during the Korean War 60 years ago. This was a feeble reason. Was there some ulterior motive involved? If so, we need to know.

Patrick Bozzelli

Akron

Reject right ?to work

Once again Ohio working families are about to be assailed with more of the falsely named right-to-work nonsense. It wasnít that long ago that this misguided concept was shellacked at the polls by Ohioans. One would think a reasonable mind could understand we donít want this. Obviously, the proponents are economic zealots bent on putting workers back under the jack-booted authority we dealt with from the 1880s to 1920s.

This is an example of why unions are as necessary today as they were in the past century. Working people, union as well as non-union, need people standing with a constant vigilance on the political landscape to warn us of such assaults and orchestrate the fight against these attacks on our system, our safety and our dignities.

Ohioans are told unions do such terrible things as insist that American companies hire Americans, that their profits should be invested in America, that they should pay people decent wages, and that companies shouldnít be allowed to pilfer your retirement plans. There are some good things they do, too.

The bill of goods being pandered this time claims a person should be allowed to seek employment at a union shop and savor the rewards of good pay, safe working environment and right to redress grievances but not have to pay the union dues that brought all that about. If this is such a great idea, why donít we pass a similar law telling CEOs they arenít to be compensated?

No matter what you purchase in this country, a significant portion of the profit goes to pay for lobbyists to promote what businesses claim are their best interest. They cajole, hound, harass, even bribe politicos to pass laws to gain any advantage for themselves regardless of the consequences, many times to the detriment of working people. Any of these CEOs will claim thatís business as usual. And you pay for it.

Now letís say you negotiated a fair price for a vehicle at your local car dealer. Just before you sign on the dotted line, you ask the dealer for a written guarantee that the profit from the sale will not be used to undercut working peopleís ability to pay their debts. You will be told you have a choice: If you donít like it, donít buy the car.

Thatís the same choice workers have if they hate unions: Donít work there. However, unlike company lobbyists, the union is looking out for workersí best interests even if they arenít in the union. And you donít think the union should be paid? For your financial future and the benefit of your posterity, when someone asks you to sign this petition, just smile and say, ďNo thanks.Ē

Randy M. Fleet

Akron

Bogus claims ?about educators

Concerning the controversy at the Summit County Educational Services Center: I want to stand in support of Superintendent Linda Fuline and Treasurer Sondi Cleavenger who are dedicated professionals at the center. How sad that the new, misinformed Republican board members want to tarnish their careers with bogus claims.

If it werenít for their work, many wonderful programs and services would not be available for our most needy children in Summit County. As with many board of education members all over our state, personal agendas get in the way of doing the real jobs they are elected to do. Keep in mind that if our Republican governor would fund these needed programs, school boards wouldnít have to stretch the money in such ways. Also one has to wonder if their sentiments would differ if any of these newly elected officials had children with severe needs.

As a retired lifetime educator and former director of special education in a Summit County school, I know firsthand of the wonderful work accomplished at the Educational Service Center.

Shame on the newly elected officials for being so self-righteous.

Phil Martucci, Ph.D

Akron

Led to ?slaughter

Gee, thank you, Mark Price and the editors at the Beacon Journal for that wonderful, uplifting holiday story (ďNo beast safe in 1818 hunt,Ē Dec. 23) of wanton, malicious, undeserving slaughter of hundreds of wildlife by a small army of drunken, moronic manly men.

Iím surprised, and admittedly somewhat disappointed, that the men didnít manage to shoot one another in the process. I mean, when you surround an enemy as vicious as deer, turkey, fox, raccoon, rabbits, etc., and lead is flying everywhere, you would naturally expect some collateral damage.

Protecting home and livestock from predators and feeding your family is one thing. This hunt was something else. Thanks so much for sharing.

P.D. Wilson

Akron

Casualties of ?the dysfunction

As one of the long-term unemployed whose unemployment has run out, Iíd like to wish our lawmakers a wonderful holiday. As I face a shutoff of my utilities and hunger for my pets and myself, Iím sure that our representatives are all very worried about me.

As they sit down to their holiday dinners, I hope that they remember that there are those of us who donít have what they have. I donít have taxpayer-paid medical coverage or a taxpayer-funded pension.

As a 50-year-old diabetic smoker, Iíve had a rough time trying to find a job. While I can quit smoking, I cannot change the fact that Iím a diabetic. As I also have arthritis, I have a harder time trying to do the job that Iím trained for (data entry). So, please, letís all wish our dysfunctional government a happy holiday.

Stephanie Huffman

Akron