There would appear to be contrasting opinions in Eric Anthony Johnson’s Nov. 25 commentary, “A sense of ‘place’ matters to Akron” and Bob Dyer’s “Free Internet plans in city are failing to connect,” published the same day.

Johnson praises Akron’s “placemaking,” the ability “to connect people with their place.” He points out the need for cooperative efforts by established business, educators and entrepreneurs, and the role of University Park Alliance to catalyze new development through collaboration.

He rightly points out that this can play a vital role in talent attraction, investment, economic growth and job creation.

Dyer, on the other hand, points out difficulties the Connect Akron project has had in reaching its goal of providing free Internet access to the masses (62 square miles of the city).

Significant financial aid was donated by the Knight Foundation, the University of Akron, Goodyear and others. This in addition of $2 million in federal government stimulus money. FirstEnergy (parent company of Ohio Edison) refuses to participate (collaborate) by absorbing the costs of installing poles designed to hold the radios needed for connection.

There were negotiations between Diamond Communications (current owner of the rights to the utility poles) and OneCommunity. No agreement has been reached. Furthermore, Mark Durbin,spokesman for FirstEnergy, contends OneCommunity “simply stopped communicating with anyone.”

Akron Deputy Mayor David Lieberth has been a real asset to the Akron community, and it would be sad to see him retire without bringing this project to a positive conclusion.

Tim Duncan

Akron

Punishing ?the innocent

What a shame. Our Ohio State Buckeyes, arguably the best team in the country, cannot play in any post-season games, all because some idiots traded for tattoos a couple of years ago. Who is really being punished here? The decent players, the students, the staff and the alumni. Talk about punishing the innocent.

The same thing has been done to our neighbors, Penn State. The faculty, students, decent players, alumni and community are being punished for the crime of Jerry Sandusky and the higher-ups who allegedly covered up.

To punish thousands of students and alumni who did no wrong is not just foolish, it is the height of idiocy.

Rebecca Novak

Akron

Test of civility

Thank you for your thoughtful articles on the increasing divisiveness of “religious” people in our country.

As a Democratic, born-again evangelical, I often find myself having to defend individual freedom to those who deplore what they call the “creeping socialism” that is destroying our “economic freedom.”

I also find myself in the company of people who think that “fundamentalist” religion (religions based on holy books) is at the root of strife in the world.

It occurs to me that we who believe in the redeeming love and grace of the savior of the world can do a better job of demonstrating sacrificial love, repentance and a clear expression of the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” Romans 3:23). That takes humility in the seemingly high stakes world of politics, but we must remember that our Savior died for the sins of the whole world, not just those who think like us.

Rick Hawksley

Kent

Meaning of the day

This is in response to the Nov. 22 letter about killing the meaning of Thanksgiving (“Turkey of a holiday”). The writer is absolutely right. I can find no reasonable argument against his logic, only one against his conclusion.

As long as there is even one person willing to keep the tradition and purpose of the day alive, it will, like our country, never disappear. The writer is not alone.

Jonathan C. Plant

Akron

God, Lincoln ?and Thanksgiving

I wonder if anyone else noticed the irony in two articles printed on Thanksgiving. On that day there was an article on how prayers are being removed from the public forum (“Prayers before public meetings debated”), and there was the main editorial reprinting Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation for a national day of thanksgiving (“Lincoln celebrates Thanksgiving”).

And to whom did Lincoln implore us to give thanks? In no less than eight different places, Lincoln mentioned God. Please notice that Lincoln did not casually use a reference to a supreme being, but wrote about “the ever watchful providence of Almighty God” and “the gracious gifts of the Most High God.”

While today we try to remove God from our government, leaders such as Lincoln and our Founding Fathers realized the importance of “our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to use Lincoln’s words.

Could one imagine any part of today’s government issuing a proclamation such as Lincoln did? The atheists and the progressives would have a fit and would do all they could to keep God hidden.

Thank goodness that men such as Lincoln knew whom to thank.

Randy Ley

Tallmadge

A vote for ?opportunity

In George Nehlsen’s Nov. 19 letter “Question of affluence,” he argues that the more affluent communities went to Mitt Romney on Nov. 6 because those voters understood that their wealth is attributable to the policies of the Republican Party.

Therefore, he posits, those in less affluent areas who supported President Obama did not understand that their vote was what keeps them from becoming wealthy.

Nehlsen’s argument is flawed on many levels. In addition to being an extreme oversimplification, that all of us go to the polls with the ultimate goal of electing someone who can make us wealthy, he also ignores the many social issues that motivate voters to support one political party or the other.

Many people support the party whose policies attempt to give all people the means to live lives of dignity, with opportunities to work in jobs that provide livable wages and access to health care.

The policies of the Democratic Party, such as support for labor unions, a push for more decent wages and better working conditions, support the idea that our ultimate goal ought to be caring for one another, not simply moving to Hudson or any of the other “more affluent communities” Nehlsen lists.

The market crash and subsequent recession, due in large part to deregulatory, laissez-faire, greed-based policies, have done nothing to make those who supported Obama, as Nehlsen writes, “more affluent.”

It only stands to reason that people who are struggling as well as those who hope for a government that makes it a priority to provide everyone with the means to a decent life would support the Democratic Party.

Kelly Urbano

Akron

Inefficient mandates

I am responding to the Nov. 19 editorial, “Long for efficiency,” regarding Ohio’s energy efficiency mandate. As a small-business owner employing 12 people, it is unbelievable that the government and the newspaper think that adding costly, burdensome regulations and mandates to my list of challenges will somehow help me, and my fellow business owners, create jobs.

Like every Ohioan, business owners are keenly aware of their expenses, and we will all take action on issues like energy efficiency when it makes economic and common sense to do so, not because the government forces us. The worst part is that the law makes all customers pay through our electric bills, even if we don’t want to participate.

I’ll close by making a plea to readers to join me in telling the government to stop adding costs to my electric bill and substituting my judgment with their views.

Nancy Roesner

Copley Township

Appearance of ?a conspiracy

I am not one to shout “conspiracy” at every strange turn, but I am beginning to wonder. There seems to be a cozy arrangement between the government investigators and the attorneys in the Fair Finance case.

Like the Evergreen case before it, only the attorneys are getting any money out of the deal. We innocent investors have gotten nothing, and we are likely to get more of the same.

I lost money in both Evergreen and Fair Finance and have yet to see any return, in spite of all the lawyers involved, or is it because of all the lawyers involved?

When it all started with the investigators, did they really think we investors would get even five cents on the dollar?

Did they know going in that the attorneys assigned to the case would be the only ones compensated?

The newspaper would do a service to the community to explore this.

The Rev. Thomas T. Baumgardner

Tallmadge