Don't change Green charter

As one of the 14 authors of the original Green City Charter, I would like to discuss why we chose the strong mayor/council form of government that is defined in our city’s charter.

Many of us on the Charter Commission felt that the best model for government was to ensure that there was a single individual responsible for managing the city's affairs. We clearly understood that role was to be filled by our elected mayor. The role of council was to control the budgeting and appropriation of funds for the expenditures the mayor felt were needed.

The mayor was intended to be the CEO of the city, accountable to the electors of Green for the proper functioning of all the city's departments.

During our deliberations we considered electing the department directors. In the case of the law director, we felt an elected official would have a conflict of interest between providing sound legal advice to the mayor and council, while at the same time trying to satisfy the preferences of the electors who voted him or her into office.

Consider the recent NEXUS pipeline issue. Nothing the city could do was going to change the route of the pipeline once the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Ohio EPA approved the pipeline permits. Much like a typical eminent domain procedure, it was up to Green to negotiate the best possible outcome. Under pressure from the federal courts to settle with the pipeline company, our appointed law director, together with outside counsel, did just that. The city received $7.5 million, 20 acres of parkland, and most important, we received the ability to oversee the construction and operation of the pipeline through our city. Our appointed law director served the city well.

On Nov. 6, please vote no on Issue 14, the Green law director charter initiative.

Carl Mickelson, Green

 

Friendlier streets

As a frequent driver, regular pedestrian, occasional street biker and embarrassingly infrequent bus rider, I have followed with interest Akron’s efforts at developing complete streets for all users.

For the motorists expressing annoyance that their movement has been restricted by lane restrictions, too bad. Akron’s street grid provides alternative routes to get where you’re going, or allow a few minutes more travel time. And chill while you’re doing that.

As a pedestrian, I have enjoyed the separation from motorized steel traveling at speeds that can kill or cause serious injury. I can cross the street with less anxiety because it’s shorter and faster (a big plus on East Exchange Street). As the many projects underway conclude, I expect walking along the sidewalk will be upgraded with lighting, activity, visual art, seating and landscaping.

Bikers need to get on the street and off the sidewalks. The city has made impressive bike lane improvements. Those of us who advocate for bikes must ride them to encourage others and show their value.

Public transit is a necessity for many who use it. It is also a functional way for most of us to travel around the area if we thought about it. How do we make transit a part of our decision to travel in our city?

Jerry Egan, Akron

 

Nuclear too dangerous

The Sept. 2 editorial, “FES has a nuclear option,” claiming that we must keep open nuclear plants that can’t compete because they are a clean source of energy, is simply wrong. First of all, the uranium pellets used to fuel nuclear plants are not found in the ground ready to burn. The multi-phased mining and processing of this fuel source contributes to climate changing gases.

In addition, nuclear plants routinely vent some of the deadliest gases known to exist. And, of course, there is the matter of radioactive waste storage that can never be done safely. Using energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies can more than meet our energy needs while protecting our health and creating more jobs than coal and nuclear power.

David Hughes, Madison