On Tuesday, voters of Summit County will have an important decision to make. The Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board levy for behavioral health will be up for renewal.

As the CEO of the largest behavioral health-care organization in the county, serving over 2,500 clients with severe and persistent mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and severe depression, I have seen thousands of individuals over the past 25 years turn from a life of despair to one of hope and empowerment.

Rarely do we see individuals spending months, even years, in state psychiatric hospitals today.

With new medications and services such as housing, employment, homeless outreach, integrated health care, counseling and a host of other supports funded by the ADM Board, individuals are living in their communities, holding down jobs, supporting families and living a life like you and I.

One in five individuals will experience some form of mental illness during his or her lifetime. It is essential that we provide the necessary financial support to ensure the needed services are available in anyone’s time of need.

Support Issue 1 on Tuesday.

Terrence Dalton

Chief executive officer

Community Support Services

Akron

Positive choice ?for Norton

I am backing Joe Kernan for Ward 3 councilman in Norton. He is a good, decent man who loves his community. The most important thing about him is that he is a thinking man. He has experience. He will work for the people of Norton as a whole.

Certainly, with all the crazy allegations swirling around this community, we need a positive, intelligent, informed person to represent Ward 3 for all — a person who will listen and act, a person who will represent, not bully, threaten or whine.

Working together is the key in any organization. We have lost that in Norton. Kernan is the best choice to be on the council because he has been there before.

Visit his website www.josephkernan.com. Look at his goals section. It is clear, with no maligning of others.

Kernan will work for the citizens of Norton, not just the Citizens 4 Norton or People of Progress. I have known Kernan for several years. I have worked with him and used his professional guidance regarding legal issues. I trust him. He is the answer for Ward 3.

Donna Longfellow

Norton

High pay ?at the zoo

I urge a vote against the renewal levy for the Akron Zoo, Issue 3 on Tuesday’s ballot.

As was reported on April 29 (“Akron Zoo chief earns bonuses”), the president and CEO of the zoo made $230,143 in 2011, which included a $40,000 bonus. In the past three years, the zoo has paid out more than $117,000 in bonuses.

Ask yourself, are you making this kind of money? Can your budget afford a hike every couple years for high salaries and bonuses? Why isn’t her income based on the average median household income of all the communities in Summit County?

Although the renewal levy will only cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $23 a year, the middle class cannot afford to support the higher-paid individuals any longer.

Why hasn’t the zoo decreased reliance on taxpayers in the last 14 years? When zoo officials talk about expanding and adding exhibits, you can bet that they are going to ask taxpayers for more money.

Tim Arbogast

Norton

Location, location

When we relocated to this area well over 20 years ago, a Realtor steered us away from Norton, citing little sense of community, disgusting politics and no hope for meaningful change. After all these years, it would appear that was right on target.

Lawrence R. Cook

Wadsworth