County Dem chairman responds to Ohio SB 5
To the editor:
By now, you likely know about the debate raging over Ohio Senate Bill 5. Under SB 5, the rights of public employees-including teachers, nurses, police officers and fire fighters-to collectively bargain will be severely restricted.
In fact, the Columbus Dispatch (Feb. 16, 2011) described the bill as, "... the most dramatic attempt ever to change Ohio's 27-year-old collective-bargaining law." Gov. Kasich says public employees in general, and public employee unions in particular, must learn to do more with less due to the state's budget deficits.
That's fine. We all acknowledge Ohio's estimated $8 billion budget shortfall will require shared sacrifices.
In fairness, Ohio should expect the governor to lead the way by paying his top people less, right? Wrong! Gov. Kasich gave huge raises to his top three assistants, as compared to Gov. Strickland.
Kasich's chief of staff will be paid $170,000, up from Strickland's $122,990, for a 38 percent increase.
His communications director is getting almost a 35 percent increase, from $89,003 to $120,000.
Meanwhile, his "poor" press secretary is getting only a 28.5 percent increase from $69,992 to $90,000. In contrast, most public employees are negotiating wage roll backs or meager l to 3 percent increases over several years.
Where is the Tea Party outrage? Where is the GOP leadership on reducing spending? Where is the shared sacrifice and fairness? And, where is the governor's plan to create what this state really needs: jobs?
Apparently, Kasich's philosophy on governing can be summed up as: do as I say, not as I do.
The same is true with S.B. 5. Instead of fairness, instead of shared sacrifice, Kasich wants to take away fundamental rights from the middle class. The truth is that Ohio's budget had a "rainy day" surplus fund of nearly $1.5 billion before the Great Recession hit. Thus, Kasich's claim that collective bargaining is largely responsible for Ohio's budget shortfall is absurd.
But, if you're not a public employee, why should you care? Well, you may not care ... for now.
But rest assured, a day is coming when the governor and State Rep. Craig Newbold will demand that you too sacrifice your own hard earned rights and money, and then you will care. But, if you do nothing now, it will be too late.
Now is the time for all families who care about fundamental fairness to call Columbus and demand shared sacrifices from Gov. Kasich and Rep. Newbold.
Public service isn't just a job - it's a calling
To the editor:
Public service isn't just a job, it's a calling. State employees care about the work we do, just ask those who've served for 15, 20, 30 years or more. Like so many I work with, it's been hard to see services to Ohioans decline. That's why state workers have made sacrifices over the years just to maintain the services we provide.
I take issue with the argument that the right to bargain a contract and have a say in our working conditions hamstrings state government budgets. Look at what's happened over this last decade.
State employees have taken pay freezes for five out of the last nine years; we've taken furlough days and freezes on steps and personal leave as well as increases in our health care, in an effort to help the state balance its budget.
Contrary to what you've heard, it's collective bargaining that has allowed for this flexibility and collaboration with the state on financial fixes. When times are tough, we all know there are sacrifices to be made-and we've made them under Ohio's collective bargaining law.
Had her own guardian angel during snow storm
To the editor:
A guardian angel appears at a time of great need. I would like to thank a young man, Travis Lakewood, for stopping to inquire if I was stranded during the storm that no one saw coming on Monday, Feb. 21.
I was sitting in a parking lot in Washingtonville waiting for AAA to assist me with gasoline because of the long lines of standing vehicles going nowhere east or west on Route 14.
I left Columbiana at 5 p.m. to pick up my daughter in Salem, was told to turn around and head back to Columbiana to find the same dilemma.
Alas, ran out of gas, put a call in at 10 p.m. waiting for assistance with my 5-year-old daughter thinking I just may end up spending the night in the cold. Around midnight with no response from AAA, my guardian angel offered to get me to a gas station in Leetonia and proceeded to escort me into Columbiana declining monetary compensation for his time and effort. He simply said, "I would hope if my wife and child were stranded, someone would do the same. I am blessed." God bless Travis many more times and a sincere thank you.
We should study French on nuclear waste aspects
To the editor:
The question was asked in the Salem News-What to do with nuclear waste?
The nation of France relies on nuclear power for much of its energy needs. France also has a process to use the nuclear waste.
Our country should study the French on all aspects of nuclear energy. It makes no sense to store the waste.
We can't depend on green energy, it just isn't reliable or practical.
All-night lock-in at ROC was a success
To the editor:
My name is Eric Hamilton and I am the director of The ROC of Salem Youth Center in Salem. We are located near the post office on South Lundy.
This past Saturday (Feb. 12), we hosted our first all-night lock-in. More than 40 youth attended this event-it was a huge success.
What made it a success was the fact that there were half a dozen Christian youth leading the activities and professing their faith in Jesus Christ
The ROC's mission is to help youth make more positive life decisions and ultimately, learn about what living a Christian life is all about. It is life-changing.
I believe that with the Christian teens we have leading the way, the ROC can make an impact in our community. But they can't do it alone. They need your help.
In order for The ROC to continue to operate, we need financial support from area churches, individuals and businesses who care about our youth and want to help make a difference.
The ROC is non-profit, so we need your support. Please consider how you can help The ROC make a difference in our community. You can reach me with questions or to donate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does United really need a new school?
To the editor:
Does United really need a new school? Absolutely not.
Those in charge of placing this on the May ballot should have done their homework like I did.
One person compared building a new school to buying a gallon of gas for $3.15 today and two days later it is $3.40 per gallon. Now that is like comparing a grape seed to a watermelon.
Of the 150 employees at United, 60 live inside the district. This leaves 90 living in 27 different communities from Alliance, Boardman, Chagrin Falls, Youngstown, Warren, Steubenville, North Lima plus another 20 that will not be paying a higher tax rate.
They said plans call for a new building to be constructed around the newer parts of the current facility.
They now proposed to keep the newest portions of the existing building: the high school gym, cafeteria, auditorium, and three-story classroom addition and the current kindergarten and elementary office area. They would be kept separate from the new building.
It is my understanding that the problems of the cracked walls and leaking roof is located in the newest additions to the school. Is this the result of shoddy workmanship, poor maintenance or both? No one is blaming the custodial crew at all.
One works with what you have. Yet, at the same time one makes repairs and or replacements way before you spend money on extras or unnecessary items.
Why were books bought that the teachers cannot or will not use? The weight room weights cost $25,000. Rubber mats were replaced at a cost of $22,000. Wall pad replaced with United on side, at a cost of $8,100; New lights in new gym $20,000 (what it didn't have lights?) New lights in old gym $11,000; $800 spent on football field paint for each (five) home games, $4,000; repairs to cracked walls and leaking roof?
I was also shocked to hear they did not temporarily stop the basketball game when the fire alarm went off. January? I always thought a building was to be cleared until the cause for the alarm is found. Am I wrong?
One other thing on closing: I hear they want to put a medical facility, library, community meeting rooms, education, and wellness programs at the school. Is it legal to use the school tax dollars for this?