Council member responds to meeting
To the editor:
I just read the article regarding Ms. Weaver and ROCS' meeting held the other night regarding the two tax increase issues on the November ballot. I applaud her for the effort she is making to educate voters.
It is true that Salem has grown through annexation over the years. Although not always popular, it has enabled the expansion of the tax base. I would guess that the revenue generated from the annexation of the areas mentioned - "the industrial parks, Bricker Farms Pearce Circle, Stone Castle, Quaker Lane, Home Depot, Walmart," - exceeds the expense of plowing, salting and patrolling there. This expansion has contributed to our rise in income in the city of more than 600 percent while maintaining a 1 percent tax rate over the past 40 years. We should be proud of this. While other cities frittered away their tax revenues on government expansion and eventually raised their tax rates, Salem has managed well within its 1 percent rate.
It is also true that we will be facing some infrastructure issues that may be beyond our control. There is a concept though of matching the nature of the revenue to the nature of the expense. It doesn't make sense to raise revenue through a general income tax for mandated infrastructure improvements.
Income tax revenue can be redirected by future politicians to government expansion and non-infrastructure expenses too easily, thereby generating future cries for more tax revenue and increased rates. Instead, a levy or assessment or sewer rate increase is the more appropriate way to cover such expenses, if and when those expenses are imposed on us.
Ms. Weaver did a good job of pointing out that our government has grown and is becoming costly. I made the same conclusions in a presentation I gave in an open meeting in my ward, although my suggested solution was different from taxing everyone more to maintain the status quo. I had suggested that we need to look at restructuring City Hall (consolidating management through a charter government), utilizing volunteers in our firefighting force, modeling our employee benefits to mirror what is experienced in the private sector, increasing our police force to fight rising crime issues, and planning for the infrastructure improvements we want to see in the city.
Only after we take some or all of these steps will we really know how much money we need to operate correctly for today and into the future. Then, if we do need more money, we need to ask the voters only for what we need. And we need to match the method of tax to the expense - income tax or levy or assessment.
Right now though, we are just asking for more money without the appropriate planning to know just how much more we really need. That is just not right.
I have made the video of my ward meeting available to be aired on public access Channel 9 so that people can gain insight into city finances. If you are interested in seeing it, please call the mayor to ask when he will allow it to air. And remember, a "yes" vote restores the tax credit and a "no" vote stops the 50 percent tax increase.
Salem City Councilman, Ward 1
Humane Society volunteer speaks out
To the editor:
As an unpaid volunteer of the Humane Society of Columbiana County, I spend hours monthly at our staffed shelter. I observe our neighbor to the north, Mr. Grande tending to his garden amidst the horns of the trains, numbering several per hour, the acceleration and braking of semi-trucks, numbering more than sometimes fathomable, the blaring of sirens rushing by and the productive noises of commerce at the always busy Circle K.
I must admit, I have never seen him scoop the "waste" of his cattle from the field either daily or especially before a rain. What is visible to me is the bright yellow school bus painted on the side of his garage. I am told this was created in protest to some long ago feud between him and the township.
I have also had to attest to the phone company the necessity for repair of our telephone line that was severed by a semi-truck allowed, by our neighbor to the north, to use his quiet and peaceful yard as a roadway and parking lot. We appreciated the cooperation of the Perry Township police in citing the law in this matter.
Not all of Mr. Grande's time is spent in his quiet neighborhood as he ventures out to support individuals in municipal court when curiously enough they are involved in litigation as defendants in cruelty and neglect cases sponsored by the humane society.
His attorney also represents these individuals on a case by case basis. There are two sides to every story. The volunteers and staff of the humane society spend countless hours providing a service to this community which is not funded by one cent of taxpayer money. We operate by the seat of our pants. The reality is, without more financial support soon, we will cease to exist.
Perhaps the positive act of generosity and recognition of a donation from Walmart in Calcutta interrupted a period of silence from Mr. Grande. But, then we all know a dog barks when stimulated.
Words in support of Craig Brown
To the editor:
I am writing this in response to the recent story about Craig Brown. I was on the court for the 2008 Johnny Apple Seed Pageant, and I was so upset when I read the article about Craig Brown. He was always professional, never once did he say something that was crossing the line, and never made me feel uncomfortable.
After reading that article it left me wondering why someone who is Christian, loves his family, and a huge active member in this community would jeopardize his good standing for one pageant contestant? He would not.
This pageant mom needs to realize that her daughter lost, and guess what, the world did not end. And most certainly nothing to ruin someone's life over. I also wanted to add that I lost in the running for queen that year, but my mom did not write a letter blaming Craig for something so easily made up.
More kind words offered on Mr. Brown
To the editor:
I have worked alongside Craig Brown in the planning and operating of the Johnny Appleseed pageant in the past. This current year I was unable to assist due to a prior commitment. My past involvement included attending the dinner for the contestants, being at the interview/pageant session with Craig. During those events Craig was always appropriate with the girls. He never did anything that violated the State of Ohio Code of Ethics or anything I felt was inappropriate.
What shocks me the most about the article printed in the paper is that if this mom felt her daughter was at risk due to Craig's behavior why did she permit her daughter to go to the dinner or continue to be involved with a pageant?
As a mother of two daughters, if I felt my girls were at risk, emotionally or physically, I would remove them immediately from a situation and not allow them to continue. It sounds like we have "stage mother" who is upset that her daughter didn't get the crown.
If it was not for Craig Brown the Johnny Appleseed pageant would not be in existence. He stepped up to the plate to bring it back after five years of not having a coordinator to facilitate the pageant. Sadly, it looks like the JAF pageant will again be without direction.
Addresses rumors regarding fundraiser
To the editor:
The John Leyman Memorial Ride and Dinner Benefit was held at the Lisbon Eagles this past Saturday, Oct. 2. Everything went off without a hitch and even the rain cooperated. However, it's come to my attention that there have been vicious rumors surrounding where the money was going and whom it was benefiting. I'd like to clear this up.
John was tragically taken from us in an ATV accident Memorial Day weekend of this year. He was a great guy who left behind two beautiful daughters, a loving mother whom he had been helping out in these tough times, and a caring brother.
As John's mother and daughters were three of the most, but not only, important people in his life, it seemed appropriate that any money raised at the celebration of John's life be placed into accounts that were opened after his death for his mother and daughters. I repeat, the money went into the accounts opened for his daughters and his mother. The money went to no one else. It was solely to help three of the women John so loved.
This should adequately and completely address anyone's concerns about the dinner. The gracious local businesses who donated and allowed the bikers stop at their places of business helped to make it a great celebration of the life of a man so many cared about.
I appreciate your help in resolving these rumors.
Hanoverton Township Volunteer Fire grateful
To the editor:
The Hanover Township Volunteer Fire would like to thank all community members who attended our annual rabies clinic at the fire department. Our next clinic will be held on May 21, 2011.
Hanover Township Volunteer
An education on what is on the ballot
To the editor:
With election day coming in November. I thought it would be a good idea to educate the populace on what is on the ballot.
There are five candidate for governor/lieutenant governor, four running for attorney general, three for auditor of state, three for secretary of state, three candidates for treasurer of state, six for US senator, four for Congress Sixth District, two for state representative and so on.
In Salem there are four issues to consider and one county issue. There are two write-in candidates for governor and US Senator, do you know who they are? Explore your candidates/issues so you know who and what to vote for.
Why I am I doing this because I think you the voter should be educated on what is on the ballot.
Before you come to the polling place or vote early, you should be prepared before you vote.
Elections board workers are not allowed to discuss what is on the ballot to voters. Contact your local political party or the board of elections for more info. I found information on the Internet on each of the candidates. Most of them have websites. Be an educated voter.
Former officer lends support for candidate
To the editor:
It is rare today that we find a politician that actually does what he says he will do, regardless of the impact that it may have upon his next election.
Twelve years ago here in Columbiana County there was such a political figure. He came into office amidst the worst financial crisis ever to hit the court house while at the same time facing a federal court order to build a new, multi-million dollar county jail.
Rather than stick his head in the sand, this political figure took it upon himself to propose a "private-public partnership" at the county jail, something that was (and remains) unique to all of Ohio, at an annual operating savings of over $1 million per year.
Nobody thought it could be done. The former Republican sheriff fought him. The state corrections department fought him. The unions fought him. He got cursed in the editorial pages of the newspapers. And, of course, he paid the ultimate price, losing his re-election bid by a candidate that swore he would "take back" the county jail.
Well, 12 years have passed us by and the county jail is still run as a "private-public partnership," still saving an estimated $1 million per year.. probably a lot more. The gang that ran this political figure out of the court house had long ago dropped their ambitions to take the jail back because they quickly learned it was not only saving the county millions, but was just plainly a good and efficient manner of running the jail.
Folks, I worked at that jail. I saw first hand the waste and mismanagement that went on while the county operated the jail by itself. And I saw how it performed after the "private-public partnership" took effect. What a difference.
The political figure I am referring to here is the former county commissioner, now candidate for county commissioner, Mike Halleck. He did what he said he would do. And he was right. That's a lot more than can be said for most of the political figures running for office these days.
Former corrections officer
Columbiana County Sheriff's Department
Vote for those who will give the tax breaks
To the editor:
Why are the Democrats using the following sound bite in so many of their political ads? Governor Manchin uses it. Governor Strickland uses it. Charlie Wilson uses it against his opponent, Bill Johnson. They say, "My opponent supports, (or voted for), tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs over seas." That actually sounds like a good idea to me.
First, I don't understand how you tax a company that has already moved over seas. Second, would it not be a good idea to give them a tax break or eliminate all taxes so they will be inclined to stay or come back? Corporations do not pay taxes anyway. People pay taxes.
When a corporation is taxed, they simply pass that cost on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. When their prices get so high that they cannot compete, then they cut costs in some manner, usually by cutting jobs or they move over seas where there is less tax or no tax.
Governor Manchin also points out that his opponent is not in the business of creating jobs but he's in the business of making money. Why would anyone go into business for any other reason than to make money? Creating jobs is a by product of starting a business for the purpose of making money. Please vote for the guy that will give the tax breaks. Let's help businesses make money. I think that would tend to bring jobs back.
Praises efforts of President Obama
To the editor:
Please know my appreciation for the article you printed Wednesday, Sept. 1, about "Obama: Time to turn the page in the Iraq War."
I have been uneasy with some of the articles you have printed in the Salem News about our president. His efforts have been to help the unemployed and other problems he has faced and about to face since he was unanimously elected.
To my mind he has worked harder than some other presidents for us.
Appreciative of help with Carriage Tour
To the editor:
The Carriage House tour, sponsored by the Salem Preservation Society, was a success because of the many who take pride in Salem's preserved history. Working with the carriage house owners was an insightful experience as they were pleased and proud to showcase the history in their backyards along with their autumn landscaping.
We would also like to thank the many people who participated in the tour as well as the students of Salem High School who were excellent docents, Elaine Rousseau, Robert Viencek, Theresa and Keith DePrill, Dan Berndt, Kristina Danklef, Ada and Wade Zimmerman, Charlotte and Steve Wallace, Ginger Grilli and Rick Drummond, Salem Police Department, Giant Eagle, First Baptist Church, the news media, Graphic Touch and Stark Memorial.
Success comes from the efforts of many and for the many not listed, your efforts are appreciated and we thank you also.
'Pro American' vents on aid to the Middle East
To the editor:
I do not think it was ever, ever in the best interests of the United States to send billions of dollars and the latest military weapons to Israel to use in its expansion and control of the Palestinians? I am not anti-Semitic, just pro American!
The leader of our troops in Afghanistan recently said that the actions of Israel are a beacon for the recruitment of Arab terrorists. Bin Laden stated that one of the main reasons for 9/11 was the US-Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.
Middle East peace talks are a pathetic joke and the end of the talks usually end with the US giving Israel and the Palestinians billions more dollars to somehow pacify them? Perhaps someone can help me here?
Former lawyer, law director backs Washam
To the editor:
Scott Washam is the best choice for Columbiana County Common Pleas Court judge.
I've known Scott throughout his legal career and co-counseled with him on several cases when we were both in private practice. He is a skilled lawyer, most familiar with the courtroom in many different roles, as defense counsel, plaintiff's counsel, and as the fact-finder. Judge Baronzzi had the confidence in Scott's judgment to appoint him as Juvenile Court Magistrate where he has served honorably.
Scott is a man of the community, a family man involved with community activities. He has the judicial temperament and moral clarity that we need in this important judgeship. I heartily recommend him.
I was previously in private legal practice in Salem for 26 years, with eight years as Salem law director; I have rejoined the Columbiana County Bar Association after retiring from the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office this year.
To the editor:
War on the Ohio working family:
Here we go again! Washington politics have outsourced our manufacturing jobs. Now some current Ohio politicians and John Kasich, a candidate for the Ohio governor's office, wants to outsource Ohio's state worker jobs. During the last race for the Ohio's governor's office the idea of privatizing Ohio's turnpike for the next 100 years was floated by the losing candidate. A turnpike the Ohio taxpayers built and paid for was going to be turned over to a private company for profit, costing the Ohio turnpike workers (aka Ohio taxpayers and citizens of Ohio) their jobs and all of us paying a toll to a private company instead of the State of Ohio, for use of our own road. All in the name of profits for a private company, profits made by paying lower wages, less road maintenance and higher tolls.
Certain Ohio politicians wanted the private company's lease cash up front to spend, leaving the Ohio citizen on the hook for the bills for years and decades to come. Ohio's voters saw through this. That was four years ago. They think we have forgotten. Now, this same type of Washington politics has resurfaced in Senate Bill 269, a revamped form of privatizing. This time its Ohio's prisons, the Department of Development and many other state institutions Again the Ohio taxpayers will be left holding the bill so a private company can make a profit and Ohio's workers will take the job losses, and Ohio's institutions and our economy will take a plunge.
Check the facts for yourself, its all common sense. Ohio taxpayer money, your money, is used to pay a private company to run our state institutions, likely an out of state company or even a foreign company. The theory is that private company tries to run them at a lower cost by cutting jobs, cutting pay, and lowering benefits and services. When this was previously attempted, the amount saved was supposed to be up to 12 percent. The actual cost to the taxpayer in the previous attempt was actually higher, not lower, even after making every attempt to rig the system to work. Even if privatizing did work and the state initially saved the 12 percent, the actual cost to Ohio's economy would end up being much higher. The actual result would be that Ohio's tax revenue would be reduced not just once but multiple times over. We wouldn't just have the initial tax revenue loss due to lower wages paid; we would also have the loss to the state's economy when the private company takes profits. They would be removing this wealth out of Ohio, no longer circulating it from Ohioan to Ohioan, no longer recreating wealth in Ohio, and no longer generating sales tax revenue for our state's budget. This is the effect privatizing would have on our state's economy. This effect would be multiplied over and over, due to each time this money is earned, spent and changes hands it creates sales tax revenue for the state of Ohio. The amount of wealth and tax revenue we maintain by keeping this money in Ohio far outweighs a fictional 12 percent saved only once. This is basic economics and common sense. Ohio can not afford to outsource anymore decent paying jobs and we surely can't afford to lose anymore money out of our economy. Privatization creates lower wages for our Ohio working families, lower employment, loss of state and local tax revenue, loss of capital in our state's economy and further burdens our unemployment and welfare programs. Then after all of that, Ohio is still on the hook for lawsuits and settlements with little to no control of actual operations and services.
The fact is: you can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility. If the Ohio average citizen understands this, why do certain politicians keep trying to implement privatization? This raises a lot of questions that should be looked into. In Washington it appears that it is normal everyday business to be bought off by special interest money. It would be a very low price for a private company to pad a politician's pocket or campaign fund for the opportunity to siphon millions of Ohio's citizen's taxpayer dollars out of Ohio into a private company's hands.