County GOP head responds to feedback
To the editor:
Bits and pieces of my leaked "confidential memo" to Salem Republican officials have been bandied about in the local newspapers and have been the subject of more than one letter to the editor. Of course, I have been roundly criticized for daring to speak my mind as the Republican Chairman.
Well guess what?: I don't intend to stop speaking my mind on issues that are rightfully within the domain of the Republican Party. And while it is true that much of my focus is at the county level, I have long been active in municipal and township campaigns throughout the county, but most especially in my home town of Salem.
While I may well have arranged for a Sunday morning meeting to organize a two-day petition drive opposing Salem city council's recent repeal of the municipal income tax credit, some 1,200 city income tax filers that will face an immediate 100 percent increase in their municipal income tax as the result of council's actions, might feel otherwise.
The infamous confidential memo that has my critics so exercised merely implored Republicans at Salem City Hall to govern like Republicansto look at cutting costs, for instance, before proposing a 50 percent increase in the city's income taxover and above the repeal of the municipal income tax credit. Is it really that shocking that a Republican Chairman would call this into question?
Never mind that the city's tax revenue has steadily increased over the course of the past 15 years, from $3.1 million in 1995 to $5.2 million in 2009. Never mind that, so far this year, during the worst economic recession in seven decades, city tax revenues are actually up by more than 4 percent over the prior year. Yet demands for spending are up even more.
Meanwhile, the city's tax revenue split between operations and capital improvements has gone from 60/40 to 85/15 respectively, leaving barely enough funds to patch our deteriorating streets, not much less invest in the infrastructure that is needed to keep Salem in business.
So where's all of the city's money going?
For starters, it is going to a lavish pension programone which even our elected officials are cashing in onthat is costing the city more than $350,000 per year. Hundreds of thousands of dollars more are being squandered on a health care package that is twice as costly as many of the leading private sector health care plans in our community. More hundreds of thousands of dollars are buried in excessive overtime and an abused "paid sick time" program that, again, nobody in the private sector enjoys.
I guess I should shut up about all of this and just "go along to get along". Well that is not in my genetic makeup. But I will promise you this: over the course of the next several months, leading up the November election, a very thoughtful and informative campaign will ensue which more thoroughly examines the city's finances and the options that face our elected officialsand our community.
In the final analysis, it will be the voters that determine the direction that this community will follow. And that is as it should be.
David W. Johnson,
What gives with bringing Barney Franks to area?
To the editor:
Congressman Barney Frank is the keynote speaker for the Mahoning County Democrats on Aug. 12 at Mr. Anthony's in Boardman. Why does Chairman David Betras feel that Barney has anything in common with the families of the Valley? Barney Frank just made news over not getting his senior citizens discount for a ferry boat ride, but he thinks nothing of spending our tax dollars at an astounding pace.
It is time for us to let our elected officials know their votes with Barney Frank have caused the greatest loss of personal wealth to each of us in the history of our country.
Congressman Frank supports more government regulations, and the spending of trillions of dollars while his wink and a nod of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae caused the collapse of the housing industry.
Can Charlie Wilson and Tim Ryan set up a public meeting earlier that day to meet the citizens of the valley who have lost their homes, are unemployed or underemployed so they can ask Barney-why?
Some messages for Congressman Wilson
To the editor:
I opened another email from Representative Charlie Wilson. Charlie says: "This week I voted to rein in Wall Street, end taxpayer bailouts of big banks..." Well Charlie, don't you remember that you voted to bail out those Bansksters?
After your voting for the massive, expensive, and unconstitutional Obama healthcare, sponsoring the do nothing, feel good, "check the box" shell game, and your DOA 2/3 vote needed just to make a recommendation sweep I have come to expect your doublespeak.
Tell me Charlie that you actually read and understood the 1,800 pages of this "Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" that you are so proud of - somehow I don't think so. For each of those 1,800 pages there are numerous unexpected consequences - even beyond your abilities to foresee.
My father told me to never sign anything without understanding it - you must have missed that lesson. How can it not be obvious that "our representatives" should read and understand the bills that they are voting for?
Year after year Congress makes more laws, longer laws, yet the problems only accumulate. Every time there is a problem the answer is to make more laws while opposing the most basic and sensible reforms. But, after making all of these laws--that don't address the root problems the answer is to make additional unconstitutional reforms. Is it possible that these laws are flawed and that they are creating most of these problems rather than solving them? It is notable that Congress and the government, in general, is never part of the problem and never takes responsibility for any of these problems. Didn't the government create Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which will have more than $160,000,000,000 in losses - paid for by the taxpayers? Does this bill address that massive government made problem? No it doesn't. It is always someone else who caused the problem and Congress will fix it - but it is never fixed. We are just given more bureaucracy, more costs and another placebo.
Maybe the difficult and serious issues are not in Charlie's priorities, as indicated in his latest email: "This week I was proud to work...to amend H.R.5781...the bill would have put Ohio... at a significant disadvantage from ever housing the retired shuttle orbiters." Now there is a game changer. Getting one of those retired shuttles should solve the unemployment problem, the federal deficit, Social Security/Medicare underfunding and all the rest of our minor problems. With all of our problems why are you focusing on something as trivial as a retired space shuttle?
We will have another museum relic to remind us of what we once were, that we once could manufacture something--anything. That once everything that we used was not made in China, that once we went to the moon, that once we were a great and competitive nation.
Now instead of supplying the world with goods, we supply the world with debt, a never ending war in the middle east, and a failed war on drugs--aren't these all a result of our government - our Congress?
Charlie, there might be more important problems to spend your time on than our past achievements - how about our future and how we can again become competitive?