In response to ‘‘What Lake Erie needs,’’ the May 21 editorial about Gov. John Kasich’s confusion regarding Lake Erie impairment: I am really not surprised.
This governor has always minimized environmental issues. The load of nutrients that fuel the algae blooms in the western Lake Erie basin has increased or at best stayed constant during his 7½ years as governor. Despite this failure, the Kasich administration recently bragged about spending $3 billion to control water pollution in the Lake Erie basin.
Kasich’s administration wasted all this money and 7½ years while avoiding taking any meaningful measures. His administration tried to give the impression it was doing something to resolve the algae problem. A lot of talk, a lot of money, but no improvement,
The Environmental Law and Policy Center realized that this administration does not have the inclination or the courage to face the agriculture lobby and campaign donors, so the group filed a federal lawsuit to initiate appropriate actions to fix the lake. This lawsuit forced the administration to reconsider its approach. However, we shouldn’t expect that the Kasich administration will initiate anything meaningful.
This is not surprising from a governor and his Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director who allowed coal companies to draft their own water discharge permits. Instead of clean water for Ohioans, this governor and his minions have prioritized positioning themselves for their next career moves.
Let’s pray that next January Ohio will be in good hands.
George A. Elmaraghy
Editor’s note: Elmaraghy is a former chief of Division of Surface Water at the Ohio EPA and federal commissioner at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.
Divided and broken country
I have lived through incidents of bullying and violence in my 75 years of life. In recent years, I have seen some people dishonoring our flag, national anthem, teachers and elected officials. Our government is broken; our parties are divided.
I feel the hurt of our veterans, elderly and people we have lost to drugs. I hear the news media condemning everything and everyone. I see people in prison living better than our homeless on the streets who have done nothing wrong.
Here in the United States — ‘‘in God we trust’’ — we are to love our country, love all people and obey the laws. My heart is burdened. I can only imagine what God is thinking.
Not buying the NRA’s bluster
The May 19 letter ‘‘Learn about the true NRA’’ has all the National Rifle Association talking points down pat. Sadly, this is what happens when you confuse freedom for license and when idolatry reigns. Fear-mongering about “total confiscation” is the reason that only in our country are children dying in schools.
Sure, the NRA does some good things about gun safety. What it does best is buy politicians and brainwash some of their co-conspirators to think guns are more important than the lives of our children.
Common-sense gun laws save lives in the states that have them. Ohio legislators need to push aside their idols of iron and the NRA cash.
I read with a mixture of fascination and sadness the May 16 letter “Speaking out on LGBT issues.” Fascination because I don’t understand how my marriage (my spouse and I have been together for 41 years) is causing families to suffer. We were married in California, just under the wire, mere days before good people, like the letter writer, pushed through Proposition 8, making it again illegal for gays to marry.
Sadness, because, it seems the letter writer displays profound ignorance about sexual orientation. I no more chose to be gay than I chose to have brown (well, formerly brown) hair. From the time I was 4 or thereabouts, I and my parents knew I was different. I was harassed throughout my years in school — called names, ridiculed, had epithets sprayed on my school locker. I had one potential employer tell me I was the most qualified candidate, but he had to give the job to a ‘‘family man.’’ Harassment continued at several companies where I worked. Had it been a ‘‘choice,’’ do you think I would have wanted to endure ridicule, bigotry and shame?
As for the science, the American Psychological Association has said that “efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) practitioners and advocates.” And suffering: The results of a Public Religion Research Institute survey released May 1 found that 61 percent of Americans now favor gay marriage.
I can promise you, my spouse and I are boring men in our 60s, living in the suburbs. I attend church, lead an adult Sunday school class. We own a house, have a cat. Neither my husband nor I are making anyone suffer.
David F. Denes
Volunteer fills critical needs
I would like to acknowledge and thank Dave Murray for the work he is doing in Summit County for the poor, needy, homeless and less fortunate among us (‘‘Small, single shelters coming together,’’ April 29).
I am an aging prayer warrior and advocate of humanity’s poor, needy and dysfunctional. Murray and his helpers are living the Gospel of what all of us should do. His cause is to give people dignity and support.
Sage Lewis of Second Chance Village also is trying to help the homeless, but no American should live in a tent without proper living conditions.
I, too, wanted to open a house of charity based on the Catholic Worker Movement and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The legacy goes on in our modern day with Murray and Lewis and developer and philanthropist Joel Testa.
Day in and day out many of our present-day leaders provide us with reasons to be ashamed of ourselves. Daily we witness cyber bullying, lying, racism, denial of our many differences and a lack of regard for what’s best for our children.
Yet, there is hope. We in Akron are blessed to witness close at hand the making of a true leader. Whether he’s on the basketball court stunning us with superhuman moves or off the court working with families, teachers and children to provide a stellar education for children, we can be proud of who he has become.
He lifts us up. Thanks, LeBron.
Kathryn E. Shafer
Ever since becoming president, Donald Trump has governed like an unhinged child, lurching from day to day with no apparent guiding principles, except self-preservation. Each day the news media are forced to cover his early morning Twitter rants because he’s the president.
Sometimes he’s announcing policy changes, without even discussing it with his own administration. Usually, he’s just spewing insults at someone who has made him angry, anyone perceived to be a threat to himself or his agenda.
His constant attacks on the media for simply reporting what is happening have eroded confidence in facts themselves. He has cynically figured out that if you keep saying things that aren’t true you can get many people to believe you.
Just as destructive has been his denigration of law enforcement, particularly the FBI and Justice Department. He has managed, with the help of Fox News, to convince his hard-core followers that there is somehow a plot to delegitimize or end his presidency. Never mind that virtually everyone he attacks is a Republican, in some cases someone he himself appointed.
All of this instability seems to have one goal: to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
It’s hard to imagine anyone acting more guilty. If he’s done nothing wrong, as he says, then let the investigation proceed.
Following these daily events is exhausting and exasperating. I hope the checks and balances built into our democratic system continue to hold our republic together through the completion of the Mueller investigation and its aftermath.
It’s the nominator
Bernie Sanders, dozens of Democrats and John McCain have difficulty explaining why they voted for John Brennan and oppose Gina Haspel for director of the CIA?
It’s very simple: Brennan was nominated by Barack Obama, Haspel by Donald Trump.
Back off or steer clear
Attention all drivers: Take a chill pill and stop tailgating me. You are not going to guilt me into breaking the law and believing your time is more important than mine.
I just want to do the right thing, so relax.
Have you ever had a day where you really could have used a booster shot of positivity? Where nothing seemed to go right, and even just a “hang in there” from a friend would have gone a long way? I’d like to encourage all of us to take these moments as opportunities.
Today, pay attention to your fellow workers, students, neighbors as well as friends and family. Who could use a few words of encouragement? Step outside yourself and offer someone a kind word. Maybe it’s a compliment on their totally cool glasses or a quick praise of someone’s excellent work on a project. If appropriate, kick it up a notch and say it in a team meeting. We don’t have to be the boss to encourage our fellow humans.
If we put out positivity, it is sure to be returned over and over again.
To all the “kids” out there protesting gun violence and demanding gun restrictions, you should know that you are being foolishly exploited by those with an agenda, and they are taking advantage of your grief, your youth, your enthusiasm, your desire to be heard.
You fancy yourselves to be protesters akin to those of the civil rights era, but they protested for enhancing rights, not the taking of and diminishing of rights.
You are being exploited by those who fund your groups and protests. When those who are using you now no longer have need of you for their purpose, they will certainly abandon you.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Certainly, they will lose both.
Also, the safety that you seek will not be found in new firearms restrictions or bans. Truly, only a ruthless total confiscation of all arms would begin to achieve your goals, and thankfully, that will not happen in a free and Constitution-abiding America.
You rail against the NRA as an evil. But do you know what the National Rifle Association is? It isn’t some corporate group of “suits” plotting violence. The NRA is 6 million members, real people, representing millions of families and many millions who aren’t members but share their ideals. It is the foremost organization teaching firearms safety and training. It is dedicated to preserving freedom found in our Bill of Rights. This is an organization that cares about individuals’ liberty, responsibility, and security. The NRA has always pushed for stronger penalties for those who commit crimes with weapons of any type, and continues to do so today.
Don’t buy the lie. Learn the truth about who the NRA really is.
Make America what again?
Seemingly, with the Trumpian agenda, before we can “Make America Great Again,” we must first completely destroy our country both internally and externally.
Legal drugs are safe drugs
Don’t you think the current opioid epidemic (recreational drugs being laced with fentanyl) is the greatest argument yet in favor of legalizing drugs for private consumption? Make it legal for people to grow their own and they know what they are consuming. Make it available from regulated dispensaries so there is no way for it to contain elephant tranquilizers.
Young people are still out there buying off the streets, but they are playing Russian roulette now. Just look at the alarming downward trend of the ages of people in the obituary column each day.
H. Craig Erskine III
Slinging lies and mud
The May 13 article that appeared on page A10 of the Beacon Journal, “Ex-mayor of New York fears lying is epidemic,” deserved front page coverage, and the entire context of Michael Bloomberg’s speech at Rice University should be published.
We have had more than two decades of our overpaid politicians justifying their partisan antics with the defense of “they did it, too.” Parents don’t accept that excuse from their children, and it certainly should not be accepted from the alleged adults occupying the highest offices in our democracy.
It truly is time to “drain the swamp,” but you cannot accomplish that when you need the swamp in order to have mud to sling at the other side of the aisle.
The May 18 commentary “Catching up with the future, nano-style” misspelled the author’s name. He is Matthew Putman.
I strongly support the April 16 editorial ‘‘Ohio EPA gets scolded’’ that commends Judge James Carr’s action relative to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.
The judge criticized the U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection agencies for delaying until 2018 classifying Lake Erie as “water quality impaired.” Based on satellite images of the algal blooms, we have known since at least 2012 that there is a major problem in the Western Lake Erie basin. It is currently known that the vast majority of the phosphorus that fuels the algae growth is provided by runoff from the farmlands in the Maumee River basin (nonpoint sources of pollution). Since the 1970s, Ohio’s large public wastewater treatment plants have successfully removed phosphorous from their discharges. Ohio also banned the use of phosphorous in detergents sold in the Lake Erie basin.
Almost all farms in Ohio are regulated primarily by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, with assistance from the Health Department. These agencies have generally viewed the Clean Water Act of 1972, and the resulting Water Quality Standards and water uses, as Ohio EPA’s problem. The Ohio Farm Bureau meanwhile, supports education and voluntary improvements by farms in mitigating agricultural runoff’s contribution to the algae problem. The editorial noted that recent OEPA monitoring found phosphorous levels in the lake’s tributaries at more than twice the desired levels.
Forty percent reduction in phosphorous from the tributaries is not an impossible goal, like zero discharge from a combined sewer system. However, it will take more than voluntary compliance from nonpoint sources. Ohio’s future actions, in conjunction with the powerful agricultural lobby, will be worth watching.
I yearn for everyone understanding that EPA means protection of our lake, our health, and our environment. And its funding is not an optional budget item.
James L. Greener
Speaking out on LGBT issues
Gay marriage is bad for America. I know it is now the law and approved, but the children and parents are suffering.
Why? Many kids and some parents think that gender is now a choice rather then a biological fact. Follow the science, we are told, but why not in this case?
The topper was the drag competition at the Akron Civic Theater on April 20. A spokesman in the April 15 article ‘‘Drag queens to rule at Civic’’ stated that the show might be edgy. You think? Yet he said it was “family friendly.”
I don’t want anyone telling my grandkids they have choice or must have a Day of Silence because of LGBT “persecution.” Everything is tolerated except an opinion against gay marriage.
Don’t be silent at this time
Aside from being the commander in chief, Donald Trump is the ‘‘exemplar in chief” — as president, he sets an example that reaches into the heart of this country. That said, few days go by without some negative behavior emerging from the depths of this man’s soul.
I can’t help but wonder how history will judge this ignominious era. I suspect it will proclaim, “… and the people were silent.” Let the people roar: Vote.
News of the lawsuit filed by the victim of an illegal and outrageous “search” by Brian Simcox, a captain in the Akron Police Department, was interesting and troubling beyond the lawsuit itself (“Akron police facing federal lawsuit,” May 5). The story reports that Simcox, in connection with a stop and search of a woman’s vehicle, accessed her phone, found a pornographic picture and photographed it with his own phone and shared it with fellow police officers and others.
In response, the city demoted Simcox from captain to lieutenant. Demoted? Is this officer’s character, judgment and maturity suitable for service as a lieutenant but not as a captain?
Having represented other city employees as an attorney, I know firsthand that far less egregious offenses by other city employees have resulted in immediate termination of employment. I doubt that citizens are now reassured that Simcox is only a lieutenant rather than a captain.
Meanwhile, the Summit County prosecutor reviewing the circumstances finds nothing worthy of filing criminal charges. While there may not be grounds for felony charges, there is ample evidence to support misdemeanor charges for trespassing and voyeurism. If not the county, then certainly the city law department should pursue these charges.
Most significant, these apparent double standards feed the cynicism that many feel about the disparity in how justice is administered between people of influence and ordinary citizens. Both the city of Akron and law enforcement would do well to revisit this case irrespective of political and professional considerations.
Kevin J. Breen
Dividing families is inhumane
The Trump administration has been separating children from their parents to discourage families from seeking asylum in the United States. News reports indicate that more than 700 children have been taken from parents at our borders since October, including more than 100 children under age 4.
This practice violates basic rights. Separating children from parents not only traumatizes the children, but it creates a toxic culture that tolerates cruelty to children. That’s not the America I want. Congress and the administration need to do what’s right.
Asylum-seekers deserve compassion, dignity and respect. The heartless treatment of refugee mothers and children must end.
Support life at all stages
When a woman is pregnant, she learns that life is developing within her. Scientists can identify the stages of that development, but they are not in accord when it comes to giving a name to that developing life.
The term fetus becomes the safe name for the human life. The contention comes when deciding when the fetus becomes a person. Science cannot call the fetus a person or a doctor could not perform an abortion. Aborting a person would be murder. Is anyone right all the time?
On the political level, neither party is pro-abortion. Neither should pro-life be limited to birth. If human life is sacred, so is the journey of that life from birth to death. Feeding, giving medical attention and educating are part of supporting all stages of human life.
Sister Kathy McIntyre
Regarding to May 6 story ‘‘Akron’s most common jobs pay too little,’’ the Policy Matters Ohio research arrives at a faulty conclusion (that new jobs pay too little to afford an assumed lifestyle) and then suggests counterproductive solutions.
Jobs are created to achieve certain goals of a business, such as sales, production, customer service and administration, not to afford anyone a given lifestyle. Rates of pay are determined by a mix of government mandates, local labor supply and the skills needed for the job. The lowest-paid jobs are typically those for which the needed skills are minimal and for which a large supply of ready labor is available.
Whether the given pay for any job meets the consumption needs of a job taker is not a relevant issue for any employer. The sole requirement is that the employee’s output exceeds the cost to employ him, or the job will not exist. The prospective employee must decide if the compensation offered meets his needs.
Researcher Hannah Halbert then suggests counterproductive means to achieve higher pay: increased union legal privileges, a higher minimum wage and expansion of the overtime salary threshold. These coercive means force employers to pay more for an employee’s output than it is worth. The only source of increased wages is increased productivity — more output per labor hour.
Mandating higher wages is zero-sum economics; the money must come from somewhere. Employers will turn to automation and reduced employment to exist. Note the increased use of automated ordering kiosks and self-checkout machines.
The researcher’s suggestions will result in fewer jobs for those most in need.
Our democracy must be saved
My disinterest in politics changed during the summer of 2016 when I saw a storm on the horizon in the guise of Donald Trump. A year and a half later my worst fears have come true. Our democratic norms and safeguards have been shredded by this most heinous of presidents.
It may be too late, but now is the time to speak out, to act, to resist in the hope that our unique democracy can be salvaged.
Missing decade of candidates
The following is a list of people who have been president or vice president, or ran for one of those offices since 1988 and were born in the 1940s: Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were born in the 1960s, and Paul Ryan in 1970.
Notice something missing? More people were born in the 1950s than any other decade in American history and all we have to show for it is Mike Pence.
As someone who was born in the 1950s, I think this is shameful and embarrassing as we seek a new generation of statesmen to replace these politicians. I once imagined what could have been; now I find myself hoping that we may learn from our many past mistakes. This is not a knock on those born in other decades — but perhaps a peculiar quirk in our history.
Michael J. Walzer
Prize for Trump
Donald Trump is quoted as saying “everyone thinks’’ he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Is the man crazy? He deserves the booby prize.
President Trump’s removal of the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal makes us all less safe in an already dangerous world.
His petulant action is intended only as a slight to his predecessor with no thought of the harm it will do. In one thoughtless move, Trump makes it possible for Iran to start a nuclear program once again with no assurance that it will reduce its efforts to destabilize the region. He has undermined our allies who joined us in the treaty.
The increased oil prices that will surely result will hurt American consumers while helping rogue nations like Venezuela and Russia.
Trump and his administration have not offered any plan on what to do now, other than to threaten Iran with military action. So, once again, he’s willing to put our children in harm’s way when he was not willing himself to fight for his country.
This impulsive maneuver makes our world significantly more dangerous for no possible gain.
George P. Bohan
Voting made more difficult
Tuesday morning I voted. It is my right and responsibility as a citizen. But unlike years ago, when I walked to the neighborhood school, this time I got in my car and drove the 3.8 miles for nine minutes to cast my ballot at a church that’s not on a bus line. My GPS told me I could have made the trip in one minute less had I used the expressway.
Seriously? Do we want people to vote or not? I am retired and had the time. I also had a working vehicle. What about other people not so fortunate?
Our democracy depends as never before on making our voice heard by those holding and seeking office. We cannot bemoan poor voter turnout if we make casting a ballot difficult for many of our fellow citizens.
Don’t subsidize speedy internet
Regarding the May 6 story ‘‘Hudson ponders high-speed internet,’’ it is unfortunate that the City Council wants to tax all of Hudson’s homeowners so that a nonessential service can be provided at below-market cost.
The city spokeswoman’s comment that prices will be “less than what people are paying now” will be true only for those who buy the high-speed service. For those who don’t want or need the 1 gigabyte speed, the property tax will be a 10-year wealth transfer (subsidy) to the internet users.
Bernie Sanders would be proud of this creative way for City Council to use other people’s money.
Pipeline station is an eyesore
Regarding the April 20 letter “Gas pipeline is quiet neighbor,” as another long-term resident of the Norton area, I agree with the writer that the pipeline has been silent. However, I cannot agree that a marker is the only indication that the pipe existed.
There is a pumping station on Wilbur Avenue that is in remarkable disrepair and has been for several years. It detracts significantly from the attractiveness of the neighborhood and likely affects property values, as well. The paint is peeling on the shed. All of the shrubbery that at one time covered it has been removed, so the eyesore is completely exposed.
As an American, I am happy the government, politicians, community organizations and local law enforcement departments have banded together to combat the epidemic of opioid deaths. However, it was greatly different when crack, a crystallized form of cocaine, hit America in the mid-1980s. To combat this scourge, our government went on a binge of building prisons, corporations saw a sea of dollars to be grabbed, politicians, judges and prosecutors saw a fast track to Congress and to governors’ mansions, and police departments became militarized and SWAT teams became common.
Why the difference? When President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse ‘‘Public Enemy Number One” on June 18, 1971, the press coined the phrase, “war on drugs.” Since then, this war on drugs has been primarily waged against black Americans. Treatment was not an option. Jail and long prison sentences were deemed the designated cure.
Here is the difference. In the 1980s, the power structure in America falsely believed crack was a black problem. In truth, more whites were using crack than blacks. The current opioid epidemic is killing mostly white suburbanite Americans, and decimating white rural communities.
I fervently hope that some day all of America will realize that drug abuse is an American problem and not a skin color problem, and act accordingly.
Joseph Rice Jr.
Neighborhood already suffers
Regarding the April 29 story ‘‘Small, single shelters coming together”: As a homeowner on Minota Avenue, who inherited from my aunt and uncle, I will go on record: not in my backyard.
Crime on this block alone in 10 years has escalated because of homes being converted to rentals. We pay over $1,200 a year in taxes, and our street has no curbs or sidewalks. We have ongoing burglaries, car break-ins and cars passing through with loud, blaring music. Four years ago a murder was committed across the street from my home.
I am opposed to a shower house and meeting space with shelters for the homeless at Minota and Arlington Street. A friend who lives near the tent city in the Middlebury area is fed up with the situation there and couldn’t advise me strongly enough to oppose it. He is trying to move out of his neighborhood with his son.
I will be at every Akron City Council meeting and hearing that comes up. If you oppose this project, please come to council meetings and let your feelings be heard. This could happen in your neighborhood, too.
Cathy S. Wood
Reset priorities to fund schools
I am in agreement with those who say we need more money for our children’s education. However, leaning on residents for more property taxes is not the answer. Our federal government sends billions of dollars to other nations but spends little on educating our children. The answer is simple: Cut in half all foreign aid and put the money saved into education.
Gerald C. Wise Sr.
I am proud to say that I am an employee of Norton City Schools. We have a fantastic staff that goes above and beyond for the students.
School funding in Ohio is a mess, and the state does not give the schools enough money to operate. Therefore, the schools have to put levies on the ballot to make up the difference.
I am amazed that in so many other countries, teachers are revered and respected alongside doctors, lawyers and other professionals. In this country, we don’t do such a great job at that.
You are entrusting your most cherished thing in the world — your children and your future — to teachers. Of course they deserve to make a decent living.
One of the years I was in the classroom I kept track of all the time I spent doing my job, and the end result was 2,444 hours for one school year. That averages to 47 hours a week year-round. Yes, they are only in the building from August until June, but teachers pack a whole year’s worth of work into that time frame.
Obviously, the largest part of the school’s expenditure is going to be staff-related.
Someone asked a teacher once what they made. The teacher’s answer was: “I make a difference.”
This Tuesday, please vote yes on the Norton levy, or for any school levy, for that matter.
Abortion as the last resort
It never ceases to amaze me to what extent the Right (to Life) will fabricate “alternative facts” to make their case. The April 28 letter from the executive director of Right to Life of Northeast Ohio is a prime example.
The statement that lit up my untruth detector was “All women are led to believe that abortion is without risk, and that it can be used as birth control. … ” She went on to cite false complications fabricated by the anti-abortion establishment and finished with “women are led to believe that this is the best way to prevent birth.”
I worked in a major Cleveland medical center for 19 years and have been acquainted with many health care providers. If the letter writer can identify a single licensed provider from a major medical institution who has ever made any such statement, I will personally donate to a fund to work to revoke that provider’s professional credentials.
So what do actual health care professionals recommend for birth control? I can tell you: abstinence (especially for younger patients), condoms, contraceptive medications and IUDs. I guarantee abortion is recommended only as a method of last resort in special situations.
And who exactly is leading the beliefs of “all women”? No evidence is cited. No quotations are provided. No publications are listed. If you oppose abortion, I completely support your right and duty to advocate this position. But stick to the facts. Facts are facts; “alternative facts” are lies.
Jonathan C. Sell
No guarantee with gun permit
The Streetsboro man convicted of murder over a dirt bike and the mother who accidentally shot and killed her 2-year-old daughter in Wickliffe had something in common. Each was authorized to carry a concealed weapon.
It is too easy to get a CCW permit. The CCW course may teach when it is appropriate to bring a weapon to bear, but it does not and cannot assure that the permit holder has the judgment needed to act upon what they were exposed to in the course.
How to support the democratic process that assures fair and open elections; to broaden the field of candidates better reflecting the population; to keep communities together so they may address common concerns and interests; to protect our voting franchise of one person, one vote. These qualities are diminished and can be made extinct through gerrymandered manipulation of district lines meant to overpower the electorate with a single-party rule.
Issue 1 on the May 8 primary ballot is the best answer to address gerrymandering of Ohio’s congressional districts. Transparent discussions and compromise by grass-roots nonprofits and Ohio legislators created this bipartisan solution. Nearly all of the House and Senate and both state political parties have endorsed it. Fair Districts=Fair Elections, a nonpartisan coalition, was always at the table. A bipartisan solution with grass-roots backing is a near miracle in today’s divisive politics.
Issue 1 completes the picture of efforts to end gerrymandering in Ohio. In 2015, we voted to create a bipartisan commission to draw Ohio House and Senate districts. Now, we tackle congressional district gerrymandering with a bipartisan legislative process that stresses transparency, accountability and a system of checks and balances. In Ohio, we are making our own rules, not waiting for the courts to dictate our path.
If voters choose not to vote for candidates in the primary, they can request an issues ballot. Passing Issue 1 crosses any perceived lines of ideology, political leanings, geography and demographics. It is basic to our common good and a strong democracy. This is a statewide issue affecting us all.
Please vote in the primary for Issue 1.
Worth the cost in Woodridge
One of the reasons people choose to live in Woodridge school district is the quality of education. We know the best of anything comes with a price. The attitude of some here seems a bit selfish. I am most disturbed by residents who think that since their child is already graduated, why pay more for somebody else’s child.
Look, being a homeowner in this community is a choice. House prices in this district average at $150,000 — an extra $40 per month is not a hardship by any means. If you don’t like this or any other levy for better education — move.
Judge has earned support
I have observed Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jay Wells interact with military veterans in and out of the courtroom. I am impressed with his candor, demeanor, wit and humor tempered with his understanding of the law and its application.
Furthermore, I value his ability to provide what is needed and necessary for individuals to correct errant behavior. Wells is fair and impartial, strong and guiding without being overly punitive. I trust him in the court, and he has earned my support and my vote.
John M. Schluep
Trees are one of the ways nature cleans our air. Why is there not a law or state policy to plant two trees for every one cut down? Planting trees where others were cut down may not be practical for various reasons, but there are other places trees can be planted: state parks, open public or private lands. Ohio used to be forested from one side to the other, so planting trees on unused land would not be untoward.
I support the Highland schools renewal levy on the May 8 ballot. I have worked as a teacher for Highland since 2000 and have lived in the district since 2012. I chose to move to the district so my own children could benefit from the incredible staff and community that make Highland such an outstanding school district.
The 7.9-mill renewal levy is critical for the continued success of our students. This renewal of funds supports teachers, provides for classroom materials and allows for support services and utilities.
The renewal levy does not increase taxes and is not part of any building fund.
We need to continue to support our school district. We still have room to grow in areas of technology and classroom materials (my own classroom included).
I urge voters to approve the renewal levy. Our children deserve the best education in the best educational setting that we can provide.
Ask East Akron about shelters
I am somewhat disturbed after reading the April 29 article about the group that wants to provide small, single shelters for the homeless at the defunct funeral home on South Arlington Street — just what the area needs.
I wonder about this group from Bath. Volunteers from Fairlawn, Clinton and Bath helping to build said shelters here in East Akron — how noble. I would be much more impressed if they were building these shelters out in Bath, Fairlawn or Clinton. They apparently have no concern for the people with property and homes in the area of the proposed shelters.
Summit County needs the strongest Democrat possible to run for the Court of Common Pleas and that is Domestic Relations Chief Magistrate Kelly McLaughlin. She has over 30 years of legal experience and understands the importance of impartial justice.
Ann L. Brown
Get informed, then vote
Tuesday, we citizens have to register our choices of people to elect. It is our duty and privilege to vote. We will never have perfect, electable candidates so we often have to make choices between two flawed people. It is our job to choose the “lesser of evils” and vote for the better candidate.
For example, if they both support guns and we want to pass gun restrictions, we must vote for the one who has more reasonable opinions on gun restrictions. It is our job to do our research ahead of time and know the views of these candidates.
I know it is common for people to say they have no time for this, but like all important tasks, we must make time for it once or twice a year. Otherwise we get the kind of government we deserve.
Without friends in Washington
A Kent State professor is arrested for lying to the FBI; how ironic. Almost daily we hear stories of FBI agents providing false testimony, including the former director who is on a book tour. We even had a secretary of state storing top secret government data on an unsecured server with no consequence. Apparently this professor has no friends in Washington or he is a conservative.
As a homeowner and taxpayer in the Woodridge school district, I am frustrated with increased property taxes.
My frustration is directed at the unconstitutional way our state funds schools and at our representatives who have done nothing to correct this issue over the past 20 years. I am equally frustrated at voters who believe the problem exists within management of Woodridge schools.
Yes, our district seems to be on the ballot often. However, I recognize this is because the state does not provide Woodridge with enough money to meet the state’s required educational minimums. How can this be the fault of the district?
In the 2011-2012 levy campaign, it was clearly stated that new monies would extend the district’s operating budget five to seven years. The district kept its promise and stretched those funds the full seven years.
Facing $5.6 million in cuts due to a 25 percent reduction in funding by the state and the continued siphoning of public monies for failing charter schools, quality education is in jeopardy. This is not a threat, but reality.
The district has already trimmed $1.2 million and implemented wage freezes. If forced to cut $5.6 million, the board will be forced to eliminate all non-state required programming ($3.5 million cost).
Because the state fails to provide funding for even the minimum requirements for an education, Woodridge would need to borrow $2.1 million from the state just to break even.
We need to come together to advocate for proper school funding and property owner relief. Join us at http://www.supportwoodridge.com/advocacy. We need to pass this levy to support our community.
Scott A. Karlo
Woodridge Levy Committee chairman
No in Norton
Fellow Norton school taxpayers, enough is enough. I urge you all to vote no on Issue 2 and all issues until this school board is transparent, accountable and shows probity. We need to quit funding these people and vote them all out. Norton needs a change.
Right choice for Congress
Protecting the sanctity of human life is a founding principle of this country and a core belief of the Republican Party. As a proud supporter of the Right to Life movement I am excited to vote May 8 for Anthony Gonzalez, congressional candidate in Ohio’s 16th District. Gonzalez is the only candidate endorsed by Ohio Right to Life and is a principled conservative who will go to Washington and do what is right for all, including the unborn. Principles, not rhetoric, will advance the Right to Life movement.
Overlooked in the Falls
Would you believe that not one person who works for the city of Cuyahoga Falls or lives in the Falls is qualified to become the next superintendent of parks and recreation according to the Parks and Recreation Commission? Explain that to those who have worked so many years for the city hoping someday to advance higher.
All city employees and Cuyahoga Falls voters should question the politicians on why they don’t hire from within. Then remember on Election Day to vote properly and not by party — I do.
Regarding the April 17 article ‘‘Akron may spend less on addicts’ treatment,’’ I applaud Akron for trying new things to help this problem.
However, Bob Hoch, who said, ‘‘If those people would behave themselves out there, we could pave twice as many streets,” is an uneducated city councilman.
Hoch is very fortunate not to have anyone in his family with the disease — addiction is a disease by all medical criteria.
Just behave? He makes it sound so simple. Why doesn’t he tell the families of the 64,000 Americans and the 300 Summit County residents who lost their lives just to behave themselves? Addiction, like other diseases, is very complicated.
Hoch should educate himself: See Dr. Nicole Labor’s Addiction 101 video on YouTube and go to a Nar-Anon meeting for family and friends of loved ones with addiction. At our Nar-Anon meeting we offer support to hurting people by sharing experiences, strength and hope.
I am a mother of an addict, and until you have walked in my shoes, you have no right to comment.
Student backs Woodridge levy
The Woodridge school district has a levy May 8 that we need the community to vote for. It does mean that your taxes will be raised, but it also means that Woodridge will be able to continue to provide a great educational system and safe school community.
If this levy doesn’t pass, many extracurricular activities and many sports would not be available to students. Woodridge is all about academic excellence, but its extracurriculars and sports are what make it a phenomenal school.
One of the extracurriculars I am involved in is Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Through FCCLA, I have been able to improve my leadership skills, improve my communication skills and, most important, help others. I have raised over $11,000 for homeless people in Summit County with the help of FCCLA.
Sports, meanwhile, create skills like leadership and collaboration in students. Limiting sports limits these skills. Also likely to be eliminated if the levy fails are advanced placement and honors classes. During my four years at Woodridge, I have taken 11 honors and six AP classes. These classes have benefited my education and advancement to college.
Electives would also be limited. As a result, fine arts, family and consumer sciences and business electives that teach valuable skills would not be available.
There are many reasons to vote for Issue 5; please support it because of what it does for you and your community.
I would much rather have a governor like Dennis Kucinich with an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association than a five-time Jeopardy! winner with an “A” rating from the NRA.
For Issue 1
Gerrymandering breeds extremist partisan candidates, and then extremist bickering in legislative houses. If you are as sick and repulsed by this as I am, please vote for State Issue 1 on May 8.
As a constituent in Ohio’s 16th U.S. House District, I’ve had the privilege to meet and speak with most candidates running for office. Although all of the candidates seem to be sincere people with clear platforms, Grant Goodrich stands out.
Goodrich is a graduate of the Naval Academy, and served 14 years as a Marine infantry officer. He is currently director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute in Cleveland, and formerly was interim CEO of Team Northeast Ohio, responsible for attracting and growing jobs in our region.
Despite all of his accomplishments, Goodrich is a down-to-earth and caring person, often listening more than he talks. And when he talks, he is a wealth of information. At one town hall I attended, Goodrich described available work programs and educational benefits to a mother worried about her unemployed son.
After years of lackluster congressional candidates, Goodrich gives me hope for our country’s future.
Michael E. Cryder
Invest in Norton students
Norton’s 3.5-mill levy on the May 8 ballot would cost the owner of a $100,000 house approximately the same as one pizza per month. Think of what that “one pizza per month” can do to benefit the students. It could allow the expansion of educational opportunities available to students, such as adding advanced placement courses at the high school and additional Career Tech programs (giving both college-bound and non-college bound students a strong start to their future). Class sizes would not need to be increased, nor pay-to-play programs implemented.
A thriving community depends on citizens who are willing to invest in the community. Let’s give our students the best possible start to the rest of their lives.
First priority: Repair the streets
Does Akron need more cops, newer police cars and rebuilt fire stations? Emphatically no. Akron needs to immediately start fixing its detestable city streets.
When I drive through neighboring communities such as Fairlawn, Cuyahoga Falls or Hudson, I don’t see comparable damage, and the winter weather was just as bad there.
Akron must give first priority to its damaged streets and budget accordingly.
Not health care or birth control
The April 24 commentary ‘‘Missed by both sides in the abortion debate’’ made wrong assumptions about the impact of poverty and racism on abortion as viewed by pro-life advocates. We’ve been fighting for a long time about these issues, yet almost every time we point out cause and effect, we’re accused of racism or being anti-women’s rights.
All women are led to believe that abortion is without risk, and that it can be used as birth control in an unwanted pregnancy. Instead of getting informed consent, especially about the risks of breast cancer, on infant mortality in future pregnancies or on post-abortion mental health, women are led to believe that this is the best way to prevent birth.
Most offensive was the implication that pro-life advocates don’t care about the outcomes of abortion-seeking women, and that for us, the sanctity of life ends at birth. Spend a day at any of the pregnancy resource centers that cater to women and their children through pregnancy and long beyond and you’ll quickly change your mind.
Abortion is not health care, and it shouldn’t be used as birth control.
Right to Life of Northeast Ohio
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps over 40 million low-income Americans put food on the table. SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger for working families earning low wages, seniors, children, people with disabilities, veterans, and people who are between jobs or do not have steady employment, often for reasons outside of their control.
Harmful changes to SNAP have been proposed in the 2018 Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives — changes that would push large numbers of working families off SNAP and impose strict and ill-considered rules that would subject millions of people to harsh eligibility cutoffs, leading to greater hunger and poverty.
We would see worsened health and learning and reduced economic growth and productivity in communities across Ohio. People in rural areas and small towns would be hardest hit. As many as 16 percent of the rural population in our area uses SNAP benefits and up to 14.5 percent in Summit County.
As director of one of the area’s large food pantries, we see families struggle to make ends meet. Many are working two or more jobs and still can’t make their resources last through the month.
Instead of proposing to punish the poor and reduce access to nutritious food, Congress should focus on creating policies to end hunger and lift people out of poverty. Contact U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan today to urge them to vote against this bad bill.
Henri Etta Fletcher-Lockhart
Director, Akron Bible Church Baskets of Love
Renewal levy for Highland
So many of us in the community remain proud of the exceptional reputation of the Highland Local Schools. In an effort to maintain that tradition of excellence, the school district will be asking voters to renew a 7.9-mill operating levy on the May 8 ballot. This levy was first approved in 1998 for operating expenses and is critical for the day-to-day operation of our school district. Because this is a renewal levy, when passed there will be no new or additional taxes.
When renewed for another 10 years, the levy will cost homeowners approximately $155 a year per $100,000 of property valuation, as it does currently. The renewal generates approximately $4.15 million annually for the district and funds educational basics such as teachers, classroom materials, utilities and support services.
This renewal has nothing to do with the recent bond issue for the construction of new elementary schools. The funds from this renewal cannot be used for the building project. Those are separate funds, by law.
I ask for your support on this important renewal levy for the Highland schools.
Norman Christopher, M.D.
President, Highland Board of Education
What schools are up against
Regarding the April 18 letter ‘‘Norton district makes its sales pitch,’’ lamentably, the writer is confused as to who is devious and who is not when he scurrilously and inaccurately describes the Norton school administration and its employees as “devious.”
I’m sure in his confusion he really meant the “devious” administrations in Washington, Columbus and other state capitals that cut taxes and thus funds for education.
It’s not rocket science. Better schools. Better students. Better communities.
John Paparella Sr.
Why does it seem that the current Woodridge school board just loves levies and increasing revenues from homeowners? It seems that year after year they want more, no matter how the voters respond to their last requests.
In 2015, the board told the community that funding was necessary for the construction of two new schools and a larger gymnasium. Homeowners approved that bond issue and construction began shortly thereafter. Now, not even three years later, schools Superintendent Walter Davis and the board are back at it, asking the community for more money.
As a taxpayer in the district I must ask why there was not a thorough analysis performed before the levy request in 2015 that would have included the needed monies to operate the new facilities. Wouldn’t this have made more sense than to ask the community for more money now?
The community has made it clear that enough is enough. In November, the levy request was defeated by 57 percent of voters. That margin was not even close, yet shortly thereafter plans were made to ask the community to vote again. It is apparent to me that if the latest request fails on May 8, on May 9 a plan will be set in motion to ask the taxpayers to vote again as soon as possible. This is not a viable solution. You cannot continue to ask the same voters for the same thing until you get your way. That is not how the system is supposed to work — it is irresponsible and reprehensible.
I ask that Woodridge voters join me in voting no. Tell the board to come up with another plan. It is time to stop asking for more.
Stephen P. Fazzino
Prostate cancer, a real threat
Regarding the April 7 story ‘‘Doc offers health tips for men,’’ I cannot remain silent on the portion that pertains to prostate cancer.
At 51, I went to my primary care physician for a physical that included prostate cancer screening. Since I had no symptoms, I was shocked to learn that I had advanced and aggressive prostate cancer (as measured by the Gleason score). At the time my children were 9 and 15.
My doctors treated the cancer aggressively by removing the prostate and using radiation, and recently I had hormone treatment.
After 13 years, my cancer is in remission, with the help of prayers from my family and friends. My wife and I will be celebrating 39 years of marriage. Our children are grown, and I’ve enjoyed every milestone that they have reached.
I have known and heard of many men dying unnecessarily of prostate cancer. I urge all men to get early checkups before symptoms occur. I am looking forward to many more milestones ahead.
Nothing funny about column
Regarding Bob Dyer’s April 17 column ‘‘Save world, set aside wacky holiday,’’ this was unworthy of your newspaper, or any other newspaper. Neither the letter he received from the clergyman nor Dyer’s comments were appropriate for publication, even in a satirical piece.
There is no place for advocating violence against people for their religious belief or nonbelief. How this trash got past the editors is inexplicable; how Dyer keeps his job equally so.
Rocky and Kerry Kurchak
Raising the legal age to buy cigarettes in Akron will ensure adults under age 21 spend money in nearby communities at the expense of local retailers. Unfortunately, the Tobacco 21 legislation approved by the Akron City Council last week will do little to decrease infant mortality rates or teen smoking.
Prohibition and the war on drugs are two failed examples from history that demonstrate why preventing the use of addictive substances is not best accomplished by focusing on the supply. Besides, cigarettes are readily available outside of Akron to members of the 18 to 20 set, making this legislation a vain attempt to legislate human behavior, rather than a meaningful effort to support public health.
On the subject of prenatal care, the Ohio Department of Health, in its Infant Mortality Promising Practices publication, cites several effective steps Ohio communities are taking to lower infant mortality rates. Raising the legal age at which adults can buy cigarettes is not one of them.
Instead, successful efforts focus on mobilizing local resources to provide expectant mothers with the tools, training and support they need to ensure a healthy pregnancy, such as assistance with quitting smoking.
City Council and the mayor deserve credit for acknowledging the dangers of smoking for expectant mothers and teenagers. However, their legislation will not prevent it and will hurt Akron businesses
Paved for speed
I would like to thank the city of Akron for choosing our street to be paved last year at our expense. We live on Chapman Drive in Goodyear Heights which has mostly retired people living on it. Our street is now the major cut-through street from Brittain Road to Eastland Avenue because it is nicely paved — unlike the treacherous Goodyear Boulevard and the miss-a-hole, hit-two-holes Brittain Road.
Our speed limit signs are 25 mph and 15 mph on the curve. No one follows these signs. Drivers tailgate you, swear at you and even pass you while you are driving or trying to turn into your driveway.
To get your mail you step out into the street and hope you don’t get hit by someone speeding around the curve (we don’t have sidewalks).
We’ve asked for help, even offered to let police sit in our driveways to catch speeders — to no avail.
We are retirees living on the new Goodyear Heights Expressway.
White House with dignity
Barbara Bush’s passing invites contrasts between her and the current (sometime) occupant of the White House. We are reminded that Bush was always quick to compliment and validate others, was unfailingly diffident and modest about herself and her accomplishments and always took responsibility for her actions. She believed she had an obligation to serve and regarded public service as a noble calling.
In contrast to Bush, we have Donald Trump, who never misses a chance to bully, belittle and intimidate others while loudly proclaiming his greatness and small, if not imaginary, accomplishments. He largely disdains the obligation and nobility of public service, and is using his office for self-enrichment.
Federal Judge James Carr’s criticism of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (‘‘Ohio EPA gets scolded,’’ April 16) for its inability to operationalize the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 2012 until 2016 is hardly surprising given the current Trump administration.
Ohio has spent more than $6 billion statewide since 2011, including more than $3 billion spent in the Lake Erie watershed to improve water quality and protect Lake Erie.
As of March 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Science Advisory Board had not met in at least six months.
In November, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive prohibiting scientists from serving on the EPA’s independent scientific advisory committees if they receive EPA grant funding. However, scientists funded by companies subject to EPA regulations were not excluded.
Pruitt fired all board members receiving EPA research grants, including the Ohio State University researcher actually investigating how money is being spent to improve Lake Erie’s water quality. The EPA Science Advisory board replaced 21 members, mostly academics. Sixteen “experts” had ties to industries regulated by the EPA. 14 of the new members consult or work for the fossil fuel or chemical industries.
Numerous programs related to energy and climate change deemed “nonessential” to the EPA’s core mission face significant budget cuts, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Chesapeake Bay program.
The environment is not protected by scientific evidence but is the victim of super PAC money protected as free speech. Whether the designation of Lake Erie’s water status as impaired leads to meaningful action remains to be seen.
Comey does the impossible
Leave it to James Comey to do the impossible and unite the Democrats and the Republicans for the first time in … forever.
Yes, Comey, the disgraced, unethical and unprofessional former head of the FBI, is despised by Democrats and Republicans alike. He’s a joke, Washington, D.C., is a joke and unfortunately, what’s happening to our country is not funny.
Solid for Wayne County
Becky Foster is the best candidate for Wayne County commissioner in the Republican primary on May 8.
Her rock solid Wayne County values are her first recommendation.
Foster’s successes at Rubbermaid and Buehler’s speak to her business skills, skills government desperately needs.
Her genuine warmth and caring spirit are backed up by hard business and engineering experience. Ask any contractor she negotiated with and they will tell you she can be hard as nails.
Foster has never run for office before, so she is no politician. Yet her years of experience managing multimillion-dollar budgets have uniquely prepared her for commissioner duty.
In Oval Office, why worry?
I have a simple question that has been bothering me for quite a while in terms of President Trump and the Russia investigation and allegations about his personal activities.
If there is nothing at all to hide and nothing illegal in current or past activities, why worry at all about any investigations?
The University of Akron is integral to the Akron community. But it appears that the university does not know what it needs to be.
I would suggest that it have three objectives: to be the best regional university in the state, prepare our area students with a quality education at the lowest possible cost and provide a labor pool to the local corporate community.
We need to challenge the board of trustees to create a strategic vision before we embark on a national search for a president.
Is it ironic that the university as a corporate entity runs in the red and yet we still educate business students? Why have we let successful academic programs deteriorate that have provided us with national renown? Does it make sense to maintain an athletic department in its current form that is not commensurately supported by students or alumni? Does a University of Akron graduate really have to owe the national average for education debt? Could we have either avoided or benefited from the intrusion of a new two-year college in our community by using existing university space to help deliver the employees that our local companies need?
Our students need to be taught by quality staff. The rest of the offerings (cost additions that do not bring value to the student) quickly become unnecessary.
We need to research what the Akron student of tomorrow requires, reinvent the current and dated model and make the tough decisions. If we hire more of the same regarding university leadership, we will get more of the same — unused space, red ink and personal debt for our greatest community asset — our students.
Gas pipeline is quiet neighbor
Regarding the citizens of Green concerned about the Nexus natural gas pipeline: I lived in a home in Norton for over 40 years that was 15 feet from a 30-inch gas transmission line running north through the neighborhood.
The line was noted in my deed and existed from the early 1900s. There were bright markers for the pipeline where it crossed Gardner Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue adjacent to my property.
The pipe was replaced about 10 years ago. This replacement and the marker were the only indication in 40 years that the pipe existed. At no time did my family feel threatened by its nearby existence.
Firehouse folly raises alarms
Regarding the second half of the April 14 article ‘‘Developer could buy 11-story CitiCenter building,’’ there are city decisions I thought at first to be a belated April Fools’ Day joke. To an architect living within a half mile of Station 4, the idea of shoehorning an active firehouse between two schools, given the abundance of adjacent vacant land, seems insane.
Compounding the folly, the fire station property will be sold to Rubber City Arches. The company anticipates a McDonald’s on the site of the demolished Station 4.
What do these decisions say to the neighborhood? “If we don’t run over your children responding to an alarm, we will slowly kill your children with cheap nonfood.’’
The ongoing stress of rerouting expressway access and surface roads must not be carried into the new network of the neighborhood. Let’s reconsider.
Mary T. O’Connor