Regarding the Feb. 10 commentary by Doug Oplinger (‘‘What I heard Ohioans say about the opioid crisis’’) — that was well thought out and well written, but he missed the reason for the crisis.
This opioid crisis is about the addictive personality — not the drug companies, the physicians or even society. The fault lies squarely in the lap of the addicted person. No amount of legislative or public outcry is going to work unless you fix the problem, which is the person taking the drug.
There are a few bad eggs in any profession, but as a retired advanced practice nurse who wrote prescriptions, I am appalled at the attacks that put the blame on the medical field. It is the patient with the addictive personality who is the problem, not the doctor.
My own family was caught up in this mess, and several family members are heroin addicts. Whose fault is that? The doctor who treated his broken leg years ago? No. It is the person taking the drug whose fault it is. My relative chose to stick a needle in his arm, not me or the health care profession.
As health care providers, we took an oath to protect and treat patients with care and thoughtfulness, and using opioids is still sometimes the most feasible choice for chronic or acute pain. Focus on treatment of addiction, not blaming everyone else for a person’s individual problem.
Because of this narcotic free fall, people who really need opioids are being denied the treatment they need most. The only thing to “cure” this narcotic death spiral is for addicts to take responsibility and go into treatment to recognize and gain control of their addictions.
I grew up in a working class family which supported the Democratic Party. When Democrats supported Roe v. Wade, I became a Republican. Now that Republicans are supporting the worst president in the history of our country, setting up the largest debt and deficit in the history of our country and refusing to support gun control when we continue to have mass murders in schools, I can no longer be a Republican.
I am nothing.
Ralph B. McNerney
Portman stands with the NRA
On Valentine’s Day an angry young man with an AR-15 mowed down 17 high school students and teachers in our nation’s latest school shooting. Predictably, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman offered his prayers, but just as predictably, little else.
The National Rifle Association donations in excess of $3 million dictate his actions, not the safety and welfare of the citizens of Ohio and the United States.
Portman has the blood of children on his hands. Whose child will be next?
Threat to kids
I’ve heard our noble leader say the ‘‘savage gang MS-13’’ has infiltrated our schools. No, Mr. President. American citizens with legally purchased assault weapons have infiltrated our schools. Maybe we should just leave the flags at half-staff, at least until this xenophobe is out of office.
I’m a Christian, served in the military, have engaged in sport shooting, and I am highly disturbed over our national madness over guns in recent decades.
I’m angry with public figures who say their ‘‘thoughts and prayers” are with the victims of mass shootings when they don’t mean a word of it.
I’m angry with churches and religious denominations that speak of the sanctity of life, but are silent on the subject of gun violence.
I’m angry with Sen. Rob Portman, for when I called his office in 2012 asking for a response in the wake of the Newtown murders and was basically told there was no response. Not surprising that a recent list of National Rifle Association campaign contribution recipients showed Portman among the leaders.
I’m angry with state legislators across the country who ignore the opposition of police organizations and continue to pass lenient gun legislation including increasingly loose “stand your ground” laws.
I’m angry with members of Congress who say after mass shootings that “this isn’t the time” to talk about tightening gun regulations, even though the majority of the public wants action. I disagree with those who contend we are a “Christian nation” — we’re not even close. Money, power and corruption over guns trump human lives. This is not an environment that fits with the teachings of Jesus.
Cash flow of the gun lobby
Another day of horror as parents mourn the loss of innocent schoolchildren at the hands of a mentally unstable youth with weapons of war. For every life lost, there are families, classmates, police officers and even media onlookers experiencing shock, fear and deep dismay. We hold church services, pray, explain the derangement of the shooter, go to court and wait for the next tragedy to strike. It will.
The gun lobby cash flow into Congress that keeps assault weapons flowing freely across the nation is terrorizing us. Our representatives must turn away from the National Rifle Association cash flow and allow restrictions on civilian use of weapons of war immediately. We must not allow one more gun lobby-funded candidate to be elected or re-elected.
If there is any national security problem that needs to be addressed, it’s that our children go to school in a virtual war zone of unstable persons exercising their gun rights. This is not the way to be “free” in America. It must stop.
Loss of control at school
Regarding the Feb. 13 article ‘‘Akron teachers protest lack of student discipline,’’ the school board and teachers have no one to blame but themselves.
Rude behavior and verbal assaults have evolved over the last 50 years. The schools gradually took prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance out of the classroom and so went respect for faiths and our country.
The schools gradually limited discipline of students by teachers and so went the value of right and wrong, which is not taught at home anymore but in courtrooms. History and government courses are politicized, and many students can’t name all 50 states. The blame game goes on, but both sides and society need to rethink strategy to get classrooms and school halls under control.
I was extremely troubled after reading that the city of Green settled with Nexus for pipeline construction.
Fossil fuel companies are no stranger to drilling against the wishes of the public, and that Nexus has the “right” to put a pipeline through a city that did not want it seems atrocious to me. Why does a business have more rights than the group of people it puts in danger?
One of the biggest criticisms facing natural gas is the sheer amount of leaks it has. Because it is a gas, it is easy for amounts of methane to be lost throughout the various collection and transportation processes.
Not only that, construction can contribute to local air and noise pollution, along with increased sedimentation in waterways as the excess soil from drilling potentially runs off.
Green has a right to keep itself and its citizens out of danger, and yet its only compensation is a settlement. This is not two parties compromising — this is Nexus taking what it wants and paying the city to back down.
Faith in justice is strengthened
Regarding the Feb. 9 editorial “Clemency applied just as it should be,’’ I completely support Gov. John Kasich in taking the reasonable step of issuing a temporary reprieve for Raymond Tibbetts to ensure that the parole board can consider all the information about his death penalty case.
When the juror from Tibbetts’ case came forward and expressed his concern and shock that he was not given the accurate information he needed at the time of trial, I shared his concern and shock. That’s not how the system is supposed to work.
My faith in the justice system and its checks and balances is stronger because the governor stepped in and made sure the juror got heard. I hope the parole board also does the right thing. Since the juror’s one vote would have made it impossible for Tibbetts to be executed, I hope they give him life without parole.
Safety is no burden
The Feb. 10 editorial ‘‘O’Connor’s complete dissent,’’ regarding the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision on the Toledo abortion clinic, ignored the facts.
The editorial emphasized Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor’s remarks that transfer agreements jeopardize the rights of a woman to an abortion as protected by the law.
Abortion is a surgical procedure, and all ambulatory surgical facilities in Ohio must have a transfer agreement. While any hospital will accept an emergency, transfer agreements are in place so that if a crisis occurs during any surgery, the patient will be taken to the hospital by ambulance with all medical records for continuity of care so that hospital physicians will not have to start from scratch.
That rarely happens with abortion clinics, even when agreements are in place.
Women who seek abortions should have a reasonable expectation that even though their preborn child will die, they will not. An expectation of safety should not be considered an “undue burden.” Proper health and safety protocols are not an obstacle to women’s rights.
Right to Life of Northeast Ohio
I’m a gun owner, National Rifle Association member and ardent Second Amendment supporter. In light of yet another school shooting, I think it’s time gun rights advocates took the lead in proposing laws that will help keep more guns out of the hands of irresponsible, unstable and violent people.
I propose several ideas to make it more difficult for dangerous or irresponsible people to possess and use guns.
• Raise the legal age of ownership and use of semiautomatics, handguns and high-powered rifles to 26. Exceptions should be made for law enforcement and military members, or for persons who undertake extensive safety training.
• Make mandatory 16 hours of safety training every four years for all gun owners. One weekend every four years is a small burden and would serve as a deterrent to persons not serious about gun safety.
• High school dropouts or someone expelled from school should be barred from buying or owning weapons for a lengthy period (10 years or 20 years) or until they complete their basic education. We want smart, responsible gun owners only.
• Ban any device that converts a semiautomatic to imitate an automatic weapon (i.e. bump stocks).
• Violation of any of these or other firearms laws should result in a loss of the right to buy, sell or possess a firearm for a lengthy period. A second violation should result in a lifetime ban.
If gun rights advocates don’t take the lead and demonstrate the ability to shape positive, responsible gun laws, others will do it for us and the result will undoubtedly be a significant loss of our civil liberties.
Deadly by design
The Feb. 15 story ‘‘AR-15 rifle used in recent attacks’’ suggests that when a trial is held the public might get “a chance to learn why the massacre happened.”
The Florida massacre happened because a disgruntled former student had a high-power, high-capacity gun.
Let’s cut through the talk about mental illness, better training, more guns in schools, prayers and condolences and name the evil: guns. Guns kill. That’s why they were invented and have been developed. No secrets here.
What we need is the recognition and will to deal with unrestrained and unlimited access to guns and stand up to the National Rifle Association. Otherwise, we’ll continue to have school shootings at the rate of — what is it now — one per week. Hey, America, are we feeling great?
It is gratifying to see so many qualified people vying for the vacant seat on the Akron school board. However, as a lifelong Akronite — and Republican — I write to endorse Tom Sawyer for the position. Sawyer, a former teacher in an inner-city school, has spent his entire career, in the Ohio General Assembly, as Akron’s mayor, and in the U.S. House of Representatives, dealing with the problems and possibilities of our educational system.
It’s hard to imagine anyone with greater experience or a broader perspective. His career also demonstrates that he builds bridges, not walls. He has served the public well over the past 40 years; it would be a grave loss not to allow him to continue to do so.
Robert L. Keener
Applause over the years
Regarding the Feb. 7 letter writer who was disgusted by Democrats ‘‘who sat like lumps’’ through the president’s address, I have to ask: Did she miss all of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses?
Steve Chapman is partly correct about the reasons for growing federal spending (“Why spending grows,” Feb. 5).
Citing John Cogan’s book, The High Cost of Good Intentions, he writes that new programs limit benefits to a group “deemed to be particularly worthy of assistance.” Groups outside this category “push to be included and ultimately prevail,’’ with the process repeating itself ‘‘until the original rationale is lost.”
However, there are additional reasons for the growth in spending, such as changes in the political culture and the economy that increase pressure on the executive and legislative branches.
For example, the original Social Security legislation omitted certain categories of persons from its protections (e.g. farm laborers, domestic workers, most self-employed people). After World War II, these provisions began to be altered. Not only were we a more prosperous nation, but it was difficult to justify such omissions if we were to have a national retirement system that provides a safety net for older Americans.
Similarly, cost of living increases were introduced under a Republican president, Richard Nixon, when it was found that a high proportion of retirees were living at or near the poverty level and inflation was beginning to grow rapidly.
As people became more sensitive to environmental degradation and the adverse effects of pollution on public health, there were increasing demands for governmental action. Thus, the Environmental Protection Agency was created and monies were appropriated for cleaning up rivers and reducing dangerous emissions.
Because much of the spending fuels the economy and helps people pay for health care and other necessities, it is unlikely that there will be significant cuts in the foreseeable future.
Concern for the Akron schools
I am one of the 57 people who applied for the vacant Akron Board of Education seat. I had no idea what my chances were when I applied for the position. When I got the email from the board that 57 people had applied I was as much astounded as they were.
I hope the board does what it suggested in getting someone from one of the other neighborhoods and not one of those big names with a political agenda. The board needs real people with a genuine concern for the students and their education. Not just those looking to keep their name out there.
Editor’s note: Phillips is not among the 17 names on the whittled-down list.
People deserve representation
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if our government representatives really worked for the people?
Have you considered that our president and our governor are term limited?
Have you considered that our representatives in Congress, with much thanks to gerrymandering, have a lifetime job with magnificent benefits? What’s wrong with this picture?
Add in that our federal government is not required to have a balanced budget, and it is quite clear what our problem is.
Ronald J. Price
I sympathize with the people who live on Sourek Trail (“Neighbors fight development,” Feb. 10) who do not want an invasive housing development in their backyards that would replace the grassland, woodlands, streams and wetlands replete with wildlife that they now enjoy.
I’m sure the township land use planners back in 1972 did not realize the extent to which urban sprawl would overtake most of the natural areas of Summit County in the following 45 years. There has been entirely too much development of rural land, despite the fact that the population of Northeast Ohio has not seen a significant increase during that time. People move out of the cities, leaving formerly well-to-do neighborhoods open to blight and decay.
I hope that if development off Sourek Trail does occur, that changes will be made to Cuyahoga Falls’ current plan to allow for fewer homes, larger lot sizes and the preservation of the wetlands and forests that will help maintain clean air and water and lessen the threat of flooding and erosion so near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the homes of those who have enjoyed living close to nature for so long.
Urge a halt to deportations
As Congress kicks the can down the road on passing immigration reform, people who could be included in reform are continuing to be deported each day.
First of all, Congress needs to support legislation to protect Dreamers. People who came to the U.S. looking for a better life, to provide for their families, and who call it home are pursuing political equality but may be taken away before a path to citizenship opens.
Stopping deportations is sensible and humane. It resolves a crisis thousands are facing instead of prolonging it.
It makes sense to cease the removals today of the people Congress could make citizens tomorrow.
Please urge President Trump to suspend deportations as Congress works to pass immigration reform. Make sure those seeking a path to citizenship aren’t deported before it even opens.
The Rev. Anthony J. Commarata
Pedestrians at risk
Sidewalks! Why do we not have any sidewalks on state Route 82 in Broadview Heights and North Royalton?
It breaks my heart to see all of the people, both old and young, walking up and down the shoulder of this major highly trafficked road with cars and trucks just inches from them. Especially now in the winter with the shoulders covered in snow, and they can’t even walk on the grass.
We have public transportation along this road but no sidewalks for the people to get there. We want more people to take mass transportation, but you have to take your life in your hands just to get to the bus stop; this is ludicrous.
What if your child had to walk to school or the drugstore for a prescription or the grocery store for a gallon of milk?
Our leaders should make this a priority before any more road widening, retail expansion, new Christmas light deployments or city hall expansion.
I watched the State of the Union address, hoping to hear President Trump talk about his investigations into things like steel imports. It didn’t come up. Maybe he’s forgotten about it, but the steel industry hasn’t.
Last April the president said his administration was preparing a report on whether steel imports were undercutting national security. He promised he’d turn it around by July.
But then Trump put it off until they dealt with Obamacare and the tax bill. Now, it’s 10 months later, and the president has his report. But there’s still no word of what he plans to do with it.
The steel market is bottoming out, and prices are cheap worldwide because the Chinese government basically runs its own steel industry. Chinese mills don’t worry about profit, they just keep cranking out steel and unloading it at dirt-cheap prices around the world. Mills that don’t get government checks — like those around Ohio — are forced to keep up or go out of business.
We need steel, because our military needs it. It goes into battleships, tanks and troop carriers, not to mention all the infrastructure like bridges and pipelines it supports. This stuff should be made in America.
Trump ran on support for American manufacturing like steel — he should finish his report.
Rally your voices
Regarding the Jan. 28 editorial ‘‘Payday lending options,’’ House Bill 123 will not see the light of day in this legislative session. The bill would plug loopholes and limit the interest charged by payday lenders.
These short term, low-dollar loans at over 400 percent interest take hundreds of millions of dollars from our state and from those least able to able to afford it.
‘‘Small dollar loans’’ at reasonable interest rates with longer payback times are needed in our cities. Local banks, civic organizations, credit unions and churches should step up to offer such loans. Low-income residents also need help with financial training and jobs.
Every Ohio citizen should contact your state legislator and ask him to bring H.B. 123 out of committee and to a vote.
Choices for leaders
The Feb. 7 letter in response to the article about the ads protesting Preterm is sad (‘‘Respect women and their choices’’). The writer states that pro-life supporters should be called anti-choice, which is really puzzling.
Anti-abortion advocates are all about choice and want mothers to choose to let their pre-born children survive the pregnancy. Pro-abortion advocates only care about one choice: that of a mother to kill her pre-born child.
Anti-abortion advocates do believe that a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her own body. However, when she is pregnant, there is a totally separate life involved which pro-abortion advocates ignore.
You must consider the damage that abortion does to both lives. This has nothing to do with sexism or racism; the pre-born children and their mothers are human beings, plain and simple.
Any candidate or political official who would support ending the life of a pre-born human in the womb has no business being a leader.
Regarding the Feb. 4 article “Senior facility faces hurdles,” zoning in Bath attaches to a property, not the project. Local residents object to the R-4 zoning, not because we don’t like older people. Many of us are older people. We object to Bath’s hodgepodge definition of R-4 zoning.
Much of the development allowed under R-4 zoning is not truly private or residential. The R-4 category does not allow apartment buildings but allows nursing homes. Also, government facilities, private business offices, service facilities, golf courses and indoor recreation facilities, such as laser tag or a bowling alley, are all permitted under R-4.
After the property is rezoned, Omni could abandon this project, leaving an R-4 parcel in the middle of our quiet neighborhoods, with little hope of something even remotely residential being built there. In Copley, Omni has outlined a project almost identical to the proposed Bath development. Why would Omni build two assisted living facilities just a quarter-mile apart?
The run-off from a development of this size remains a concern not just for neighboring properties but for anyone downstream on Yellow Creek.
The new use should be sensitive to wetlands, not contribute to an already difficult traffic situation and be truly residential, semi-rural and peaceful, just as the township characterizes itself. Retaining the property’s current R-2 zoning ensures those goals will be met.
House panel fails to do its duty
Once again U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes has shown why he is not only not unqualified to be a chairman of a congressional committee, but also a member of the House of Representatives, a body that the framers of the Constitution created as an independent, co-equal branch of the federal government, and not a political arm of the executive branch. The political partisanship shown by both Democrats and Republicans clearly shows why the appointment of a special prosecutor was necessary.
The Republicans on the House intelligence committee are correct when they say their memo shows transparency. It is patently transparent that the Republicans are in desperation mode to try and save this presidency, and it is patently transparent they are petrified that special counsel Robert Mueller already has enough evidence, and is now trying to add the icing, to accuse Donald Trump and his family with obstruction, collusion, money laundering, perjury and who knows what other goodies.
Shovel those city sidewalks
In the Jan. 31 letter ‘‘Slippery slope,’’ the writer thinks there should be equity in Akron snow removal. Me, too. But my thoughts are quite different than hers.
The city doesn’t enforce the laws it has on the books for snow removal. I’m talking about property owners clearing their sidewalks of snow and ice. When this isn’t done, people who are physically challenged — the elderly or people of any age who need equipment to walk safely — are in solitary confinement until the snow and ice melt.
President Trump does not fit the racist profile of which he is being accused. He has never exhibited signs of racism that I have seen.
Our Heavenly Father is who has allowed Trump to be our president, and this fact should be respected.
Throughout the country, many folks are going through annual performance evaluations. At a major Akron corporation, the basis for the review is two questions: 1) What did you accomplish versus your objectives? 2) How did you accomplish it, such as treating associates with respect and speaking with facts or not? Each question has equal weight.
Let’s apply that methodology to our current president. There is significant disagreement about whether, and how well, Donald Trump accomplished his objectives. But, almost overwhelmingly, the public is dismayed by Trump’s Twitter use, in-person rants and whining, narcissistic self-praise, lying and creation of chaos. (Perhaps inauguration crowd size, Mexican judges, aspersions cast on war heroes and veterans, both sides having very fine people, stable genius, appointing industry shills to manage the environment, and North Korea fire and fury are sufficient reminder. And, of course, no collusion.)
The Fox News addicts and evangelistic crowd who think the press and public have it in for Trump should keep in mind the lack of respect for people and facts Trump exhibits almost every day. It would be unacceptable in any normal work environment.
Trump’s rating for question 2: Unsatisfactory. He must address these deficiencies in the next year or he and his party face massive voter rejection in 2018 and beyond.
Agenda at the FBI
Regarding the Feb. 3 commentary ‘‘Fight with the FBI? Don’t expect to win,’’ Eugene Robinson uses uncivil vitriol and invective to express his hatred of the Trump administration in light of the recently released congressional memo about the FBI spying on Trump associates.
Examples: “Trump and his hapless henchmen,” “Dear Leader Trump,” “paranoid fantasy,” “Godfather-style loyalty pledge.”
How does this help inform rather than inflame?
Aside from the vitriol, one argument he makes is that the FBI can’t possibly be corrupted, with no political ax to grind, even though published e-mails clearly prove otherwise. But then he spends six paragraphs detailing how the FBI has been corrupted in the past. So why not now?
The people at the top set the agenda, and some of them clearly detest Trump.
No defending Chief Wahoo
Chief Wahoo is racist and an insult. If that were a black face with big white lips, there would be hell to pay. People who defend it disgust me. Are they clueless or part of Trump’s quest to make America white again?
This country’s attempted genocide of the indigenous population is shameful. Did you know the government paid a bounty for Indian scalps, including children’s?
The indefensible attitude then and now: “The only good redskin is a dead redskin … or a sports team mascot.”
Regarding the Feb. 2 article ‘‘Protest ads tied to Black History Month,’’ I strongly disagree with this billboard campaign that is extremely sexist and racist.
The term anti-choice should have been used in the article, because the term anti-abortion describes the procedure without acknowledging who is carrying the fetus, the woman. The anti-choicers refuse to acknowledge a woman’s right over her own body, and try to make the argument about the fetus only.
Women of all races have abortions, and to say otherwise is an anti-choice lie. Why does any group, government, elected official or candidate want to regulate a woman’s private medical decision? It is no one’s business at what stage the abortion needs to occur but if a woman decides she needs it, the abortion needs to occur without any legal interference or protest from anyone.
Since 2018 is going to be a big election year, I would encourage people to question any candidate who is running on an anti-choice, sexist platform. The majority of anti-choice politicians currently running for office are doing so out of a misguided conservative Christian religious belief from a sexist, outdated religious book. President Trump used to be pro-choice and turned anti-choice just to get elected.
In 2018, every person must leave religious beliefs at the door and support pro-choice candidates who have real respect for women and their private medical decisions.
Democrats sit like lumps
President Trump’s State of the Union address was excellent. I was a Democrat, but no more. I was totally disgusted and ashamed of the behavior of the Democrats who didn’t applaud, but sat like lumps. There was much in the president’s talk that deserved applause from everyone. They were disrespectful. Shame on them. Personally, I’m tired of our politicians being more concerned about their party than the people.
During my 78 years on earth, I have lived through many long periods of divisiveness where common discourse on subjects of politics, social issues and religion seemed almost impossible. It is happening again, and there is no end in sight. My grandchildren have asked me about this, and I can only tell them that things will get better and that they should stay informed, be willing to listen to different views but to act when they know a wrong is being committed and to not be afraid to get involved.
Two letters to the editor that appeared Jan. 20 illustrate my point. Letter No. 1 began, “President Donald Trump is a pathological liar. Lying is one of his favorite tools.” Letter No. 2 began, “President Trump is a smart, honorable man, and he loves our country.”
My hope is that this current nightmare is over soon.
Undercutting public schools
Don’t you wonder what Ohio’s public schools would look like today if they would have been given all the taxpayer money that has been given to charter schools for the past 20 years? I think we would have had one of the best public school systems in the country. What a waste.
Regarding the removal of Chief Wahoo from Indians uniforms, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hides behind the phrase ‘‘culture of diversity and inclusion.’’
Because he thinks Chief Wahoo is wrong, all Cleveland Indians fans must start thinking this way, too. That didn’t happen when he floated his trial balloon during the 2016 World Series. Needing a Plan B he turned to the standard play of labeling us Indians fans racists.
I have yet to see the Chief set ablaze in someone’s front lawn. Nor have I ever seen the Chief spray-painted on anyone’s door or house as a warning to the occupants they were not welcome.
Sadly, Manfred’s demonizing of the Chief hurts racism more than it helps it. Labeling Tribe faithful as racist because our Facebook profile picture is the Chief just continues to ‘‘chicken little’’ real racism.
Ed A. Caruso
A speech about manipulation
When I describe the 2018 State of the Union address by President Trump, the word that comes to mind is “manipulative.” The tragic story of the parents whose daughters were murdered, for example, becomes more tragic when we realize that their story was being used to make us fear and revile illegal immigrants — in disregard of the fact that most crime in the U.S. is home-grown.
The president used nearly every special guest this way, as a tool to attempt to manipulate us, the viewers.
We see Trump trying to strong-arm the Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — and the judicial branch as well. I am deeply concerned by any one person who tries to consolidate power and remake the country — or the world — in his own image.
Some worry about “big government.” I worry more about “small government,” the kind where one person and his close followers are able to consolidate and exercise unchecked power.
Better than a wall
How many think a wall between Mexico and the United States will stop immigrants from entering this country? Do our citizens believe that spending billions on this will work?
We only have to remember the thousands of Cubans who risked their lives across miles of ocean to reach the U.S. More recently, we read about the many thousands of Africans who risk the waters of the Mediterranean to reach Europe. A wall won’t stop desperate people, they will go over or around it.
I think a better investment would be in technology and increased border personnel. Coupled with this would be greater annual quotas for Central American immigrants and a plan to route those entering throughout the states. I believe our city would welcome many of these people as we have done for those coming from Southeast Asia. And how has this worked for our city? They have proved to be an economic engine for Akron.
Lost on the left
I saw another article stating that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. That is correct.
I look at it another way. If you take away the votes from California and New York, then Donald Trump won the plurality vote by 3 plus million votes.
To me that means the far left, elites and Hollywood have lost power in telling mid-America what to do.
As a recent graduate of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), I want to straighten out some information in the face of ill-informed and absurd comments coming from politicians, teachers, residents and the media.
Have these people ever met one ECOT student, teacher or parent?
At ECOT, I spent countless hours each day studying, completing assignments and interacting in online live sessions with teachers and peers. When I was not engrossed in the curriculum, I was socializing in Trivia Club and numerous other student organizations. In Trivia Club, we practiced for countless hours each week in preparation for trivia tournaments all across the state of Ohio.
ECOT fostered incredible growth in not only me, but in countless students and teachers.
At traditional schools, I was an advanced student, earning straight A’s and appearing to be happy and successful, but I was miserable. My stress and anxiety levels reached a boiling point, and my family and I needed a change before it was too late. We needed ECOT.
A common point made by those against ECOT is about its ‘‘dismally’’ low graduation rate. Is one to conclude that students would have a better chance of graduating in public schools? ECOT was not just a school for dropouts, it was for everyone who needed a different form of education and was willing to put in the time and effort to be successful. It was for victims of bullying, people with mental and physical disabilities, children whose public schools were unsafe, and students like me who wanted greater flexibility without the distractions of a typical public school day.
ECOT did not have to close. It was more than willing to work with the Ohio Department of Education on creating a payment plan. The school’s sudden closure not only left staff and students devastated, but prevented the state from being paid the money it greedily desired.
It is a shame to see that money and politics have overtaken the well-being of over 12,000 students, as well as families and teachers. The witch hunt against ECOT and other schools must end.
Enriching lives for 70 years
Regarding the Jan. 28 article ‘‘Musical learning experience thanks to LeBron James’’ about the live music experience with the LeBron James Foundation and the Akron Symphony Orchestra for the I Promise students: While James said he had never experienced a live orchestra concert until he was an adult, I would like to point out that Children’s Concert Society, which is a nonprofit organization in Summit County, has provided concerts for 70 years to students of all ages in public, private and parochial schools as well as home-schoolers.
These experiences include a Concert Hall Series at the Akron Civic Theatre as well as in-school performances. The Concert Hall performances include orchestra, band, steel and jazz bands, opera and ballet performances on a rotating basis. Information is always sent out to all schools in Summit County.
If you would like to know more, please visit our website at http://www.childrensconcertsociety.org.
President, Board of Trustees
Children’s Concert Society
Devoted to coal
Donald Trump has followed through on his pledge to make the coal industry great again by wiping out environmental regulations and now imposing a 30 percent tariff on solar panels.
Not only is this another assault on climate change action, but it deals a blow to the renewable energy industry and will increase the cost of energy to U.S. citizens.
Regarding the Jan. 28 letter ‘‘Not so simple,’’ the team at Upsolve and Community Legal Aid appreciates the writer sharing his thoughts about our pilot program for bankruptcy filing. Like him, we believe that everyone who can afford a private attorney should hire one before pursuing any options with bankruptcy. This is why our pilot program prescreens applicants for income eligibility — to ensure they wouldn’t have the means to do so — before granting them access to the online system. (Eligible individuals and families have incomes at or below 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines.)
Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that many people who need an attorney cannot afford one. Technology can help us bridge this gap.
Our pilot program doesn’t replace the attorney-client relationship. Rather, it enhances it by helping the client gather and prepare the necessary documents, making their meeting with an attorney the most productive and time-effective it can be. All clients still meet with an attorney to diagnose whether they’re a good fit for bankruptcy, and the attorney always reviews the forms and completes the more complicated sections that the client is unable to fill out.
This same program is currently operating in 12 states, with 15 legal aid organization partners. In just one of those states, all 60 clients who filed for bankruptcy last year using Upsolve’s software received a successful discharge. It was this intensive process, as well as the careful design of the software, that earned us funding from the American College of Bankruptcy for piloting this program.
Through thoughtful study and design, and the intentional use of technology, we believe we can open the door for many who otherwise would have no way to move forward.
Rohan Pavuluri and Jonathan Petts
Community Legal Aid
Do something: Get out and vote
Are you sick and tired of the Washington, D.C., drama? Have you had it with all of the name-calling and disparaging remarks? Are you as appalled as I am with a president who is more interested in “winning” than governing?
I urge you to register to vote or make sure you’re eligible and walk, run or crawl to your polling place to make your voice heard. We cannot allow this fiasco to continue. It must be stopped in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Not alone in his efforts
What a pleasure to find the Jan. 21 commentary, “Like Stalin? How fake,” by Jay Ambrose of the Tribune News Service. His comments addressed a balance of unacceptable and vicious lies versus a sense of “manifest virtues.” The history of the expression “enemy of the people” was particularly interesting.
I also appreciated the review of past presidents showing that Donald Trump has no corner on the market for attempts to control the news media. Remember James Risen of the New York Times calling Barack Obama “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation”?
William W. Young
Regarding the Jan. 28 editorial ‘‘Payday lending options,’’ the editorial board again pronounces its support of state management of the lives of the poor. Specifically, the premise that the poor, being too ignorant to be trusted to conduct their own affairs, must be protected from payday lenders, and such protection must come from, of course, the wise politicians and bureaucrats of the state.
Those who patronize payday lenders are the worst credit risks in the market. They are the unbanked, those whom the heavily regulated banking sector refuses to service. They live on the monetary edge — one bill away from catastrophe.
Payday lenders take on the very real risk of default associated with this clientele, lending the crucial funding these folks need to avoid disaster. The progressives among us would seek to better these customers’ lives by closing these businesses en masse. Fortunately for the poor, they cannot.
Those looking to government for relief from presumed high costs make the worst choice possible. If as contended, the costs of servicing the unbanked poor are too high, the answer is to invite more payday lenders into the market to compete for clients. This ensures prices are as low as possible and quality service is at its peak. Nothing drives down costs to their minimum like free market competition for customers.
Hopefully this paternalistic progressive legislation remains ignored in the Columbus Statehouse and Ohio’s poor can maintain another piece of their dignity, and their freedom to run their own lives.
What Obama did to Trump
In response to the Jan. 22 commentary, “Mad Hatter on a mission,” by Marilou Johanek, you’re all like drug addicts, and Donald Trump is your heroin. You get your fix by trying to demean our president at every chance.
Right-wing conspiracies? Buckle up, because once the four-page dossier memo is released to the American people, hard evidence will become your reality. The Obama administration used FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrants to spy on the Trump campaign as well as his transition team.
The shredding of our Fourth Amendment rights should be a huge concern to us all. Yet you’re blinded by your pure hate of our president.
The city of Akron’s policy of not removing snow from residential streets unless the snow is 5 inches or more is absurd.
If drivers are expected to be able to negotiate side streets that haven’t been plowed, then it only follows that drivers can handle the main streets, too. The city could save even more and not plow or salt any street until the snow is 5 inches deep.
Let there be equity in the snow removal policies.
Was Rip Van Winkle the author of the Jan. 27 letter “Hating Trump solves nothing”? His statement that he had “never seen so much hatred being aimed toward a president of the United States, or any public official” means that he must have been asleep between November 2008 (President Obama) and only woke up on Jan. 20, 2017. He must have slept really soundly during the 2016 campaign (Hillary Clinton).
Here it is January and time for my annual trek to the local E-Check station. Every time I take an hour and a half out of my life I can’t help but wonder whether anyone in authority at the Environmental Protection Agency has given any thought to the fuel expended taking vehicles to and from these centers. One must also consider the concurrent amount of noxious gases released for the purpose of occasionally finding a car that fails to meet Ohio’s air quality standards.
Factoring in the toxic gases released by trucks, aircraft, lawn mowers and so on which do not come under its umbrella, the E-Check system stands solely as a monumental pacifier to the noisy eco-maniacs generating no positive effects at all. It’s time to end to this absurd waste of time, effort and money.
Loren A. Raymond
Four-day work week
So the University of Akron plans to enhance its chances of enrolling students by eliminating Friday classes. Why doesn’t the university just plaster billboards across the entire country advising employers that they should not consider UA graduates because they have certainly not acquired any kind of work ethic in their years at UA?
UA also is introducing a class analyzing all nine Star Wars movies. How much more absurdity does this institution feel it can include and still have potential employers accept their conferred degrees as valid?
Not so simple
As a bankruptcy law practitioner, I wanted to comment on the Jan. 21 article ‘‘Simple program can help people file for bankruptcy.”
Filing for bankruptcy relief does not merely require the completion of some paperwork.
Important initial decisions need to be made: Is filing for bankruptcy a good idea? Is it necessary? What type of bankruptcy should I file (there are different types of bankruptcies with vastly differing results)? When should I file?
These decisions cannot be correctly made by a computer program. In my experience, some of the largest mistakes I’ve seen in bankruptcy filings have been made by people who have tried to file their own cases without the assistance of counsel.
One other point is that once a bankruptcy is filed, it cannot be automatically dismissed if it is flawed. Filing for bankruptcy relief is a little like pushing a boulder down a steep cliff. Once it starts rolling, it is very difficult to stop it.
I would strongly suggest to anyone who is contemplating the filing of a bankruptcy that they consult with experienced bankruptcy counsel. The cost that you will be required to pay in fees may be minimal to the cost of attempting to go it alone.
Marc P. Gertz
We have signs at Akron’s city limits that announce this is the home of LeBron James, champion basketball player. James is another kind of champion. He is a champion of kindness and giving. He has given to help and enrich the lives of children and this community. James is a champion of the heart.
Thank you, LeBron.
I disagreed with the pronouncement of suicide in the death of Canton firefighter Tonya Johnson back when I read about her in 2016.
She sounded like someone who was trying to get away from her husband. She may not have chosen the best way to run from him, but that is no reason to call it a suicide without more proof of intent on her part.
If you are thinking suicide, you can just stand still on Route 8 South at rush hour, and I’m sure you will be hit. Since Johnson made it to the median, she was probably dodging cars and trying not to get hit.
Johnson sounds like a great mom and a religious woman, and I don’t think she would have left her kids by killing herself.
Hating Trump solves nothing
Regarding the Jan. 16 article ‘‘LeBron: Don’t let Trump-era bias ‘conquer us as people,’ ’’ James says that we cannot allow racism to divide us. I agree. What people like James don’t understand is that racism will go away if we would all treat each other as we would want to be treated. This is much more than blacks being mistreated.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s day, he saw blacks trampled on and treated like animals. I believe that King was taking a stand against not only racism, but against hate.
I’m 53 years old and have never seen so much hatred being aimed toward a president of the United States, or any public official. James was right, this racism problem will not go away — but it’s not President Trump’s fault, it’s our fault.
Departure from the Founders
Regarding the Jan. 19 letter to the editor “Preservation through Trump,” the writer’s last sentence really jarred me. He claimed what Donald Trump is trying to do would have been the aim of the Founding Fathers. For some reason I have trouble picturing the Founding Fathers as evil and corrupt as our present administration. Whenever something goes wrong, no problem — just blame the Democrats.
The writer seems to approve of a president determined to undermine any media but Fox News, who are clearly Trump shills and apologists. He seems to approve of a 71-year-old man with a 5-year-old brain and maturity level. Founding Fathers? I hardly think so.
White nationalist needs prayers
Regarding the Jan. 19 article ‘‘KSU refuses white nationalist visit,’’ Richard Spencer has not made any notable contribution to community or humanity and has been reduced to eking out a living marketing hate. He is the epitome of his own counterargument.
If he does gain a venue at Kent State University or some other locale, I would hope that no counter-protests be orchestrated. I would urge a prayer vigil to ask a merciful God to have pity on this man so burdened with carrying the weight of his own hatreds day in and day out.
Jim D. Martin
Make the world great again
What if every American who wanted a decent job got one. Government could focus on fixing roads and infrastructure and people would stop needing drugs, guns and violence. Inner cities would be reborn, and we would stop throwing money at countries that support terrorism. And when we did give third-world countries money, the money would be used for infrastructure like water systems and electric systems and decent housing and give people decent-paying jobs.
Why not? Make the world great again. Now if only we could get Congress to pass a decent long-term budget.
Connie M. Kubilus
Regarding the Jan. 18 editorial ‘‘Conservatives for clean energy,’’ I simply say loudly, yes, join them.
Clean, low-cost energy is sweeping the nation, and can realign budgets while clearing the air.
As Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego pointed out: “Clean energy isn’t just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.” And after a study determined that the city can achieve its goal of 100 percent clean energy at a cost-competitive rates, San Diego is now one of the largest cities in the country to have adopted a 100 percent renewable energy goal, which the city plans to achieve by 2035.
In Ohio, we see our neighboring states move to clean energy in growing numbers, and we even manufacture many parts for those clean power systems, yet the Ohio legislature keeps trying to drag us back to the black stone age.
These are indeed trying times, but we cannot retreat under a rock, we truly need clean and bold leadership in Columbus, and yes, in Akron, too.
After ECOT, more of the same?
I read with interest the Jan. 22 editorial ‘‘Good riddance to ECOT.’’ Ohio public schools were robbed of more than $80 million while Republican campaign coffers enjoyed a generous cut of these ill-gotten gains. Will the Ohio House spend funds to repay the victimized school districts? Not likely.
It is very likely that we will soon see a “new” charter school organization pop up with a new name and the same ex-ECOT leaders in control, ready to bilk Ohio taxpayers of tens of millions while the Republicans look the other way or even celebrate the racket by attending graduation ceremonies as they did with ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow).
This scenario is not idle speculation. This very thing has happened in the past, and I see no significant changes in Columbus to prevent history repeating itself.
Jonathan C. Sell
What kind of nation?
If anybody wants to know what the face of fascism looks like in America, take the case of longtime Youngstown businessman and all-around fantastic person Amer “Al” Adi Othman, who after 38 years of demonstrating the virtues of a perfect citizen, is now being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody pending deportation to Jordan.
This man has no criminal record, has paid millions of dollars in taxes to the American government, has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and has four beautiful American daughters.
If America doesn’t have a place for Othman, then America doesn’t have a place for any of us.
I applaud U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s efforts to fight this injustice, and I pray that the fight endures.
There comes a time when we as a people have to ask ourselves who we are becoming as a nation, and I for one am disgusted with the reflection I see.
Brett M. McClafferty
So, we need 5 inches of snow before our residential streets are plowed and/or salted (“Snow not bad enough for city to salt all streets,’’ Jan. 19). Hmm. Supposedly my street was plowed when we were under the 36-hour parking ban due to the snow emergency a few weeks ago.
I know it wasn’t plowed, because the bottom of my driveway was clear of snow and there was never any indication that a plow had pushed any snow back across it. Maybe they came down the street but “forgot” to put the plow down. I’ve actually seen that.
On a sunny day last week, I saw a city plow driving around on Market Street, and I thought how nice it would be if the city sent that plow down my street so that when the warm-up came we wouldn’t be driving in 5 inches of slush. Yeah, that never happened.
Why must I “request” to 311 that my street be plowed? That is utterly ridiculous. My tax dollars are being wasted, and I’m tired of it.
If you’re not going to plow or salt residential streets, then save your money by not sending crews out to drive around dry city streets and freeways when the side streets are a holy mess.
When the mailman slides into my mailbox again, or the school bus gets stuck again, or — God forbid — the shuttle for the folks in the nursing home around the corner goes sideways and ends up on my lawn again, I may blow a gasket. I challenge Mayor Horrigan and my councilwoman, Marilyn Keith, to step up and address this ongoing problem. For crying out loud, just get our residential streets on a schedule for plowing and salting. It’s shameful and embarrassing.
Clinton fails to impress
Regarding the Jan. 12 letter to the editor “Let’s seek out a qualified leader:” The writer stated “Hillary Clinton was the most qualified person ever to seek the American presidency.” Ever? Based on what?
I stopped reading right there as Clinton isn’t even close to being the most qualified. Perhaps the writer was confused and used the word ‘‘qualified’’ instead of ‘‘corrupt.’’ She was so ‘‘qualified’’ she couldn’t beat a rookie egomaniac like Trump. Let that sink in.
I voted for Gary Johnson in the past two elections because the Democans and Republicrats have done way too much damage to our republic. Yes, we are a republic, not a democracy. Keeping corrupt career politicians like Clinton in power is a huge problem. But I guess blind loyalty is how some go through life. The only people the Clintons care about are the Clintons. They make the Kennedys look like choir boys.
State lawmakers are the problem
Regarding the proposed supposedly bipartisan redistricting bill introduced in the Ohio Senate: If it’s bipartisan, then why do Democrats oppose it and why do the League of Women Voters and Common Cause oppose it? We don’t want the legislature in charge of drawing Ohio’s congressional districts. This is how we got the gerrymandered districts to begin with.
Here are some suggestions that will prevent us from being barraged by “fake news:”
• Stop watching the news on cable TV networks. Continuous 24-hour news broadcasts distort perspectives.
• Read your newspaper. However, do not read just the headline or first couple of paragraphs. Read the story to the end. Then, watch for follow-up stories. One is more apt to get the whole story this way.
Sure, one can find biases in the news media, but discerning readers can sort it out. Accusations of fake news are used when persons simply do not like a report. Truth, as a result, takes a back seat.
Church worker is a blessing
The Jan. 13 photo on page B1 of Ralph Reese, custodian of St. Bernard Church, caught our attention. We are former parishioners who have known Ralph personally throughout his 37 years at the parish. He truly is a dedicated employee who does his job with great care and diligence. No shortcuts. Additionally, he is a gentleman in all ways and a blessing to the parish.
There are many who work in jobs that are essential but rarely recognized or acknowledged. The next time you notice someone in a position such as his, please let them know their efforts are appreciated.
Phil and Linda Marcin
Art stays relevant
Dorothy Shinn’s Jan. 13 commentary (‘‘Work worthy of museum is worthy of talk”), about paintings commissioned by wealthy power brokers of another age, is a perfect way to expand the context of current conversations about exploitation. What do we do with evidence of unsavory past attitudes and actions?
And isn’t an expanded context what diversity is all about? What America is all about? This really is the way to go forward.
With the 2018 elections approaching, liberals seem to be laying out a playbook. First, portray the president as crazy although it seems the libs are loosing their minds. Second, raise taxes because that’s what they do. Third, protect and encourage illegal immigration (I’m tired of pressing one for English) regardless of the cost to taxpayers. Fourth, increase social spending for people who have no intention of trying to enter the workforce.
Eight years of these policies gave us a mediocre economy and no wage growth while the rich got richer. Let’s hope American voters will choose policies that favor them instead of Obamaism — fewer jobs, lower wages and more illegal immigration.
In answer to President Trump’s question about why the U.S. would want to admit more people from ‘‘expletive deleted’’ countries in Africa or the Caribbean: The people of those places (and the war-ravaged countries that produce so many refugees) are the only ones who still see the U.S. as an improvement over what they are living in now.
People in Norway and the many other countries who are blessed not to suffer abject poverty, oppression or persecution are mostly doing well enough, and increasingly see no benefit in coming to a place led by the likes of Trump.
President Donald Trump is a pathological liar. Lying is one of his favorite tools.
But his constant duplicity has not gone unnoticed in spite of his claims of ‘‘fake news.’’ A Quinnipiac University poll found 34 percent believe he’s honest, while a whopping 63 percent consider him dishonest.
It is absolutely shocking that just one-third of citizens consider our president honest.
Americans expect their presidents to be, above all, honest, and to be examples of integrity for our children.
Past presidents have had shortcomings, but for the most part they were honorable and put country first. But Trump always puts himself first, has lost all moral authority and is likely the most dishonest president in our nation’s 242-year history. That is one reason (of many) that I look forward to the end of Trump’s presidency.
There were 92 million Americans eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election who did not vote. What a shame.
Because it’s unlikely that Trump will be removed from office through impeachment, please encourage everyone you know to get out and vote in 2020 to oust this prevaricator of a president.
Also, in our upcoming elections we should work to oust Trump’s craven congressional lackeys and enablers. The swamp still needs draining.
I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, finding him highly unqualified. In that regard, he hasn’t disappointed.
Go after the bad guys
Regarding the Jan. 11 article ‘‘Agents descend on 7-Eleven stores:” Let me get this straight. U.S. agents are going after suspected undocumented workers at 7-Eleven stores — as if they are taking jobs from eager Americans who can’t wait for the high pay.
Such horrible people — accused of sneaking into our country to earn money to support themselves and their families.
Guess I don’t have my priorities right, but I’d like my government going after people who rob and steal, not someone helping us buy something at a store. Get the bad guys, guys.
Regarding the Jan. 15 article ‘‘Faith communities live dream,’’ focusing on the interfaith celebration: Bravo, Akron.
Participants of all years sang, danced, recited poetry, read excerpts from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and exhorted all to action. Including the young to participate was inspiring to me, as a former educator, who realizes dreams must be passed on to the next generation.
Joan May Maher
Trump gives voice to many
President Trump is a smart, honorable man, and he loves our country.
He sounds like me and I appreciate that he has given us a voice.
I would argue that the majority agree with me.
Sing praises to the Lord
It was a delight to read Holly Christensen’s Jan. 14 column about a church that has invited Buddhists to join the choir. Why not? As I understand Scripture, it says, ‘‘Let all men (and women), everywhere, praise the Lord.’’
Perhaps worship is not as much about us but is much more about the One we sing praises to.
(We really do not want to wait until the very rocks break out in praise to God, do we?) Let everyone who has breath, praise the Lord.