Mayor's divisive tone

Like many people, I was taken aback at the divisive tone that Mayor Dan Horrigan adopted in his Oct. 30 commentary ‘‘While Sage Lewis postures.’’ In the piece, Horrigan blasts, by name, Lewis, the founder of the Homeless Charity, for fighting for his right to shelter people experiencing homelessness. Among other things, Horrigan suggests that Lewis is motivated by fame and a love of publicity and does not care about the well-being of the people he serves. Echoing the tired “outside agitator” rhetoric that people also leveled against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Horrigan also condemns Lewis’ “recently transplanted, slick, out-of-town lawyers” for filing a constitutional lawsuit on the charity’s behalf.

As with any contested policy issue, there are strong feelings on both sides. Horrigan believes that his preferred policy is both lawful and the best course of action; the Homeless Charity and other nonprofits disagree. Disagreement is healthy. But productive policy conversations mean debating the policy, not accusing people who disagree of acting in bad faith.

Horrigan had the opportunity to emphasize the positive things being done in the community by traditional service providers. Or he could have focused on the merits of his policy preferences. Instead, giving the local nonprofit organizations passing reference, he went gratuitously negative, spending the bulk of the commentary impugning, without any factual basis, the personal motives of the founder of a local charity.

Public sector leadership is not a leader overreacting to every petty slight he or she perceives or every instance of dissent. Rather, it is working to bridge divides and bring the community together in a joint effort to make it stronger.

In a time of divisive and overheated political rhetoric, we should expect our local leaders to model civil discourse. Horrigan failed to do so here.

Joseph W. Mead, Akron

Assistant professor at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

 

Raising bar in Woodridge

Once again, voters have approved the levy Woodridge school officials say they need. But, we have expectations.

No longer will we accept reduced rankings based on test performances. No longer will we accept moving from the upper one-third in Ohio’s school districts to the lower half in Ohio’s school districts.

You have the funds. We have the expectations.

We’ll be watching.

L.A. Snider, Cuyahoga Falls

 

Words for Saudi Arabia

Defense Secretary James Mattis has declared that we “won’t tolerate” the likes of Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination. But the fact is, we are tolerating it. The Trump administration has shown definitively where its values lie. We have chosen money and war over decency. In this instance, Germany has outdone us, refusing further arms sales to the Saudis.

If there is a stress test for morals as there is for banks, we have failed it.

David Wesner, Shaker Heights

 

Fighting for the flag

One vet told me something at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Cleveland that I will never forget. Anyone can put out a flag and leave it up all year, without service or sacrifice. It takes a far more patriotic person to actually serve and wear the uniform.

Our wars are not won by putting up flags and showing off for the neighbors. They are won by brave men willing to shed blood and die for their country. Infinite difference.

Veterans, too, put up flags; they know who they are. To veterans, the flag is far more than a decoration.

John D. Ambrose, Norton