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OUR READERS WRITE...

November 6, 2011
Salem News

In opposition of SB 5

To the editor: As the election is just a short time away, I wanted to write in opposition to Issue 2, the repeal of Senate Bill 5 (SB5).

The general public at this point is aware that SB5 was a successful attempt to abolish collective bargaining, or unionizing, in the public sector. The basis of this abolishment was to provide government with tools to balance the state budget; analysis has revealed getting rid of collect bargaining to balance the budge is like going after the Great Wall of China with an ice pick. All in all, I would like to share what SB5 means to nursing in the public sector.

Outlawing discussions about safe nurse staffing levels is at the forefront of reasons nurses oppose Senate Bill 5. Research shows that patient outcomes are directly linked to the amount of nursing care patients receive while in the hospital. We would all like to believe that healthcare employers use such research in making nurse staffing determinations.

Yet, more than any other issue, unionized nurses find themselves addressing substandard and unsafe staffing levels in the bargaining process.

As it relates to nurses, "staffing" is a difficult word to define because so many variables are at play. The number of nurses assigned to patients during a given shift is certainly part of it, though not all or even most of what comprises staffing. All the patients must be periodically assessed by their caregivers to determine acuity, or how sick the patients are.

The acuity must then be matched to the skill and experience level of the nurses on a given shift. The design of the patient care area and the ease with which nurses can deliver care should also be factored into staffing decisions.

The concept of staffing can best be understood by putting oneself on the receiving end of nursing care.

As a patient, I want to know that my nurse has the skills and expertise to care for my condition; else fluctuations in my condition might be overlooked or missed altogether. In most cases, I am not the only patient on my nurse's assignment. I want to make sure that there are not too many other patients, however, because that means my nurse does not have adequate time to spend at my bedside giving me the care I need to heal.

As cost pressures continue to press down on the healthcare industry, the unfortunate reality is that nurses are asked to take on more patients with fewer resources. Whether healthcare is delivered in a public or private sector institution, it is vital that the nurses who deliver care have the right to address safe staffing practices. And the standard of care in one facility impacts the standards in the surrounding healthcare market.

This is only one of the multitudes of problems SB5 promises for public sector nurses. It is so easy to get pulled into the rhetoric, but it is dangerous to rely on commercials as our sole source of information.

Nurses rely on bargaining rights to advocate for safe staffing practices. Silencing these patient advocates is a dangerous proposition that will do nothing to improve healthcare delivery in our state.

Although I have never worked as a nurse in a collective bargaining hospital, I write this letter in opposition to SB5 because it affects all nurses. The rationale for the bill was to balance the budget and the bill does not. Nurses have an ethical obligation to advocate for the patient and to have knowledge of the well-being of the community. It is my personal belief that, given the current economic environment, the middle class of our community cannot withstand much more of a burden.

BRENNON GILES, MS, RN, CNP Secretary, Ohio Nurses Association

Mayor speaks out

To the editor: There's an old adage that advises against throwing mud ... Something about all you do is lose ground with both parties getting dirty and the other party enjoying it. It is from these lessons that I traditionally resist the temptation to publicly respond to baseless, unwarranted, and misleading attacks against me.

Today, however, I feel the obligation to set the record straight on a few things. I have served as your mayor for four years, and in that time our village has moved forward not backward.

We are fiscally sound; in fact we've lowered government spending by over 30 percent. We've applied for and received over $1.4 million dollars in federal and state money. And we've used these funds to strengthen our police and fire departments, and to invest in our infrastructure. We've also brought several new businesses to town, and our village has begun to turn the corner toward a brighter future. We have a lot to be proud of, yet you will hear just the opposite from some in town.

Several years ago when the attacks on me began I was directed to a passage, Matthew 5:43-45. As I read this passage of scripture I continue to find solace in its message.

DAVE BERTA, Mayor, Salineville

Support for auditor

To the editor: I would like to take this opportunity to support Betty Brothers for auditor. I have worked for the city for 32 years, most of those as deputy auditor.

Betty is a hard working woman who is up for the challenges that are ahead for the city. She has experience in many areas that will give a fresh eye to our city government.

There have been many challenges over the last eight months and Betty learns what needs to be done and sees that it is completed.

She was instrumental in getting the Legacy Lane TIF project completed which is a complex process. The job ahead will be very challenging and Betty has what it takes to face all of the challenges. It has been my pleasure to work with Betty and I think that she will do a great job.

BARBARA HASSON, Salem

Appreciates city parks

To the editor: First on the baseball fields, second on the basketball courts, but now on the football field! A few weeks ago I found time to stop at Memorial Park to watch some Little Quaker Football (recently relocated from Southeast Elementary).

As I watched from the sidelines goosebumps on my forearms appeared retracing the yesteryear when my brother and I played on that same field.

I couldn't help but wonder where would all of these kids play if it wasn't for the generosity of the parks? I just want to thank the parks for "scoring another touchdown" in the community. Salem is very fortunate to have good people running the great parks!

MARK SLOCUM,

Salem

Against United levy

To the editor: I was a student at United from 1976 to 1989. I now have two children who currently attend school there. I have been a resident of the United School district all of my life and pay property taxes as well as income tax to the district.

I am appalled by the thinking behind the 37 year tax levy that the administration and school board has proposed. Why should the voters approve the destruction of what we have built over the past 60 years? I live in a house that is over 100 years old and I know of many residents in the district that are in similar houses.

Mrs. Rinto, the United superintendent, lives in a house that was built before any of the buildings at United were built.

Is she going to tear down her house when the roof leaks or when the furnace needs replaced? The roof on my house was leaking when I moved in 17 years ago. I fixed the roof and it has not leaked since. That was the practical decision.

The practical decision is to teach our children how to conserve resources and to become financially independent and responsible adults. Destroying a building and paying additional tax for the next 37 years does not accomplish this. Renovating our current school and doing so without additional tax money is possible and will teach our children a valuable lesson that will help them for the rest of their lives.

And speaking of practical decisions, the glossy blue and gold signs that we see in the neighborhood were paid for with money from Stifel Nicolaus and John Sebo, neither of which live nor own property in our school district. If this levy passes, they will not have to pay the additional taxes that this levy is going to place on the residents.

The architectural firm that has submitted plans for the new building has hired a consultant to "advise" the committee on how to get this levy passed. It seems to me that these outside interests, who do not even employ anyone who lives in our district, have the most to gain from this project. How much money are these firms willing to spend to get the job?

A new school building will not make our children smarter. It will only make residents poorer for the next 37 years as we pay for architects and construction companies that do not even live in our area. Our school is currently rated excellent thanks to the extremely talented teachers and hard working parents in the community. Let's not get distracted by the glitz and the interests of outsiders and lose sight of the vision that has made United the success it is. I urge everyone in the district to consider the future of our children and vote no on the levy.

JAY HERRON, Salem

Questions for UL voters

To the editor: I have a few questions for the voters in the United School District. After the government gets involved in the school system at 79 percent funding, who will be in control for the next 37 years? Also, it's been said repeatedly that there will be no need for a new operating levy ... have you asked other school systems what it costs to operate their campuses?

In recent years one area school moved their middle school to the high school because they had an empty wing. The population of Ohio has been, and is, declining.

Mr. Walker of Hanoverton stated in his article the fact that with technology moving so quickly and college degrees earned online, could our near future see the same for high school educations? With the economic crunch that Ohio has suffered and so many homeowners "underwater" on their home loans, is it really fair to persuade these same homeowners to take on another expense at this time; an expense that lasts 37 years? If in the future property values go up, this will be more out of pocket expenses dedicated for the school. The tax burden goes on and on!

FRED McNEAL,

Salem

In support of bond levy

To the editor: When I was a kid, I used to enjoy the stories my mom would tell me about what it was like going to school in a one-room schoolhouse. She told me that on cold winter days her mother would make a huge pot of soup and take it to the school on a sled so that all the students could have a hot lunch.

She told me that the teacher would get to the school much earlier than the students so that she could get a fire going in the pot belly stove so that it would be warm when the students arrived. (She even told me a story of how one day the students got an extra-long recess because the teacher fell asleep at her desk while they were outside playing. Maybe it was because she had to get to the school so early).

Eventually, the members of the community in which my mom grew up, had the vision to consolidate eleven one-room schoolhouses into one school. That school united all the one room schoolhouses to form United Local Schools. I remember my mom telling me how thrilled all the kids were when they finally got to go to the new school. The new building had state of the art technology (like indoor plumbing, coal-fired heat, and separate classrooms for each grade). My mom was in the first class to enter United Local in the fifth grade and the first to graduate from United in 1959.

About 12 years ago, my wife and I decided that it was time to sell our old house and finally build a new one. We had a 3-year old son and a daughter on the way. When we started our search for a piece of land to build on, we had two things in mind. We wanted to live in a rural setting and we wanted to have a quality school system for our children. We looked at many areas and finally decided that the setting and the schools in the United Local School District were just what we were looking for. After 12 years of living in this community, I have to say it was one of the best decisions we ever made.

United Local Schools are rated "excellent" on the state report card year after year. The staff at United has seen to it that my children and all the children of the community continue to receive a great education as well as opportunities to be involved in a variety of extracurricular activities.

The teachers genuinely care about their students' success. The administration is very supportive of not only the teachers and the staff, but the members of the United community as well. The maintenance department and custodial crews work "miracles" on a daily basis to maintain portions of the building that could easily crumble apart because of age. In fact my mom was shocked in a recent tour of the school to see the old wooden doors with rounded windows were still on the classroom entryways in the elementary building where she attended in 1951.

I cite all this information to say that, in my opinion, the time has come to have the vision that our grandparents' generation had when they realized that they needed to build a school that would provide their children (and grandchildren for that matter) with the quality educational facilities that they deserved. Just like they did over 50 years ago, it is our turn to provide excellent facilities for the students of the United community.

However, if you are anything like me, as soon as you hear the words "bond levy," you automatically think, "Here we go again, more money out of our pockets." I agree, I think that we are taxed to death. When I think about the money I make, as opposed to the money I actually see in my bank account, it makes me angry. I think most people agree that the government gets way too much of our money and what makes it worse, many times the money is mismanaged and wasted on government projects that rarely benefit us at the local level. But I think the building of a new school at only a 21 percent share of the responsibility to the local tax payer is a refreshing exception to what we have seen in government waste.

The bottom line is that we are going to spend $9.75 million (or more), over the next several decades one way or another. We can either spend it to try to maintain a facility that is falling apart, or we can spend it by adding it to the almost $30 million being offered by the OSFC and build a brand new, 21st century facility that will serve our children and grandchildren for years to come. To me, the choice is obvious. Please vote yes on the United Local Bond Issue Nov. 8.

RAY CONSER,

Guilford Lake

Votes 'up' for future

To the editor: Folks it's like this-unless your goal is to ultimately have the United Local School system closed, eventually, one way or another, the local money is going to be spent. The United Bond issue is not an up or down vote on spending $9 million. On Nov. 8, that is not your choice. Your decision Nov. 8 is about how this money is going to be spent - for creating new or maintaining old. I vote "up" for the future.

THOMAS YOUNG, Salem

Just say no! to levy To the editor:

The letter to the editor in the "Are you smarter than a fourth grader" suggested that even a fourth grader was smart enough to take the Ohio School Facilities Commission money to build a $39 million school at United Local. If United taxpayers don't take the money we must be stupid was the gist of the letter.

This kind of fatally flawed logic is what got us $14 trillion in debt nationally, $33 billion over income in Ohio and imposed ever higher county, local and school taxes on the 53 percent of our citizens that actually pay taxes. Fourth graders always take "free" money because it comes from someone else and since they have never actually earned any money they see no reason not to spend anyone and everyone else's money.

It is painfully clear that the government earns no money. They only get it from taxpayers. All the School Facilities Commission does is spend or give other people's money to local school districts. School administrators are just like fourth graders and believe taking other people's money, or at least 75 percent of the $39 million to build a new school, is a really good deal. When this same state commission makes the same offer to schools in Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus or any local school board or administration the teachers and others who think like fourth graders jump up and say it's "free money." No it is not. The money they entice you with comes from all taxpaying citizens.

Somewhere, someone, sooner or later must say no to the runaway government spending of taxpayer money that has gotten us all in this vicious debt crisis nationally, statewide and locally.

As a former teacher; current parent and business person who is a resident in the United School District we need to know that there is no free lunch. Someone somewhere has to cough up the money for the "fourth graders" wish list.

In our throw away society older buildings have some limitations but all the new buildings, school or otherwise, are not perfect either. An example is the new Columbiana County Municipal Court that has leaked since constructed and now after five years needs a $500,000 roof that we are paying for.

I've never met a politician, a school administrator or a fourth grader that doesn't enjoy spending other people's money. The question is do we the taxpayers in United School District really need (at a cost of $39 million) a new school?

Parents and teachers are the people who cause education to happen not shiny new things that fourth graders like. As a United graduate, former teacher and business person I believe we can just say no to excessive spending by governments and schools.

People, particularly politicians, bureaucrats, school administrators and others in the public sector never have enough money, which means never enough of your money. You can bet they will need more of your money for operating levies (see Leetonia) in the very near future. They, like your kids, want and need your credit card and will pay a PR-consulting firm to tell you almost anything to get it.

They will put this levy on the ballot numerous times (see Beaver Local) and spend your taxpayer money for special elections while hoping only a few people will show up to vote and you won't know about it. The money spenders are a whole lot smarter than fourth graders in their efforts to get your tax dollars. Thirty nine million and more- just say no!

JIM RUSSELL,

Lisbon

Need volunteer drivers

To the editor: Recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) launched its Road to Recovery program in Columbiana County. It is intended to provide free transportation for cancer patients to their medical appointments. So far, we have on board seven volunteer drivers and we are always looking for more.

These rides are available to cancer patients irrespective of income or ability to pay. We recognize that one cannot always rely on a friend or neighbor to drive a person to his/her medical appointment. And that's why we are here.

My purpose in writing this letter is to draw attention to the program and invite prospective drivers. If anyone is interested in volunteering please contact me at 330-853-7388 or Helene Moncman at helene.moncman@cancer.org.

JACK DEFAZIO, Lisbon

Questions for Johnson

To the editor:

On the front page of the Wednesday Oct. 19, 2011, edition of The Review, was an article titled Johnson Speaks to Rotary Club.This was the latest of a long list of articles in the press about U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (our congressman) meeting with this group or that group and attending different functions. One group that's missing from that list (and probably the most important) is the average everyday Joe. People that don't belong to any organization. Johnson has repeatedly ignored request for him to hold a public town hall meeting in this part of his district.

Starting in April I have called his office in Salem each and every month requesting that he hold a public town hall meeting. Each and every time I was told they would give him my request but there was no meeting on the schedule and no plans to hold one. Johnson should give everyone the opportunity to ask him questions and not just selective groups.

I have some questions I would like to ask Johnson and I'm sure I'm not alone. Why did he take a pledge, to never raise taxes, to a man named Grover Northquist? Who is Grover Northquist? Why would Johnson make a pledge to a man who does not live in the state of Ohio and has nothing to do with our district or the state of Ohio? I don't like taxes, but would it be prudent or sensible of Johnson to take the position to not raise taxes before he knew all the facts?

Why did he vote to allow big oil companies to keep their tax subsidies? This is money that taxpayers are giving them! Given the price of gas and the huge profits these companies are making, should we really be giving them more money?

Why did he vote for a budget bill that would end Medicare (as we know it) for people under the age of 55? Given the current cost of health care insurance,how could these people afford to buy it when they reach the age of 65? If it's such a good deal why wouldn't he want to include people currently on Medicare?

Why did he vote for the Cut, Cap and Balance bill when it would surely result in cuts in benefits for everyone on Medicare?

Where are the jobs? There were campaign ads during the election last year blasting Charlie Wilson on jobs and claiming that Johnson knew how to create jobs. What jobs has Johnson created as our congressman? What legislation has he introduced that would create jobs now?

U.S.Rep.Bill Johnson should schedule a town hall meeting in this part of his district and stand before all the people and explain his votes and actions. Don't bet on it!

DAVID H. MARTIN,

East Liverpool

 
 

 

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